One-Fingered Man Fails in Everest Bid
(from an RSS feed)
Who wakes up knowing what news they’ll become by afternoon?
Some, I’m sure, strive for the odd combination
to capture the world’s fascination if only for the time
to click to link and blink a moment in wonder. But imagine
the plain, turning days rolling this man forward without knowledge
of the music drafted in his tracks. One day buying airfare
on a touchscreen. Another folding clothes. Then one afternoon
he’s approaching the stratosphere, feeling drunk and alone,
remembering clearly each finger’s small but tremendous
death as if they happened in someone else’s hands
but had been transposed to his by the same cruel magic
that led him to love this mountain, to come apart in its cold mouth.
This love ascends his bid to its surreal crescendo, raising
his one digit again and again. Always there on the mountain,
yet, in light blotches behind his eyes and in his air-starved
mind, for fractions of moments passed, the idea of “bid”
places him in an auction house. All around him a market—
fine art, cultured desires—exists in a flash of luxury.
Wounded and in his gear and filth he outbids the few
who still care to purchase this dead craft, this climbing of Everest.
Bidding with nothing but breath in a life where this climb is nothing
until a man who seemed so like us loses everything for his art.
It is only a blip between all this pressing through screens,
during which we wonder at what he remembered.
Steven Breyak is an American poet living in Japan. His work can be found on some other great websites like this (he is very Google friendly) and in the pages of Gargoyle, and other literary journals. He's currently attempting to revitalize his blog, so have a look there as well: stevenbreyak.blogspot.com. And as of February 19, 2019 he is very happily a father.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019
Sunday Morning in Middle Age
Before stepping into the shower I remember
a segment from the Nightly News where researchers
in some prestigious university discovered the number
of push-ups a man can do has a direct correlation
to the likelihood of developing heart disease
so as the shower ran and the mirrors misted up
I hit the deck to determine when I would die,
my palms pressed to the tiles, my arms shaking.
If I could hit twenty, I’d reduce my chance of a stroke
by sixty-four percent, according to the researchers.
There’s no suspense here, folks. After ten push-ups,
I dropped flat to my belly on the bathroom rug, done.
A forty-three year old man, found dead in a bathroomin his boxer shorts beside a toilet—an ugly obituary.
Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media in Boston. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.
Friday, April 12, 2019
At times, in my travels through the wild snowy places
I’ve stepped on the nothing about half an inch above the snow
So that I left no track, disturbed nothing,
ghosting past exhausted deer and moose huffing through chest deep drifts
Searching out that last spruce bud within reach.
By sheer coincidence, I happen to always be alone
On these sorties so that, having left no track,
I’ve also left no proof of my passing.
One time I stomped through deep snow from
One copse to another, sweating and heaving
Behind me, single file, a herd of deer picked and snickered in my wake.
When we arrived, they frolicked at
an ecstatic pace until all the snow was tamped down and walkable
Cleverly lifting their reach to the tiny buds, they could not touch before.
I tasted a tiny maple bud
masticating, zen-like and found it good.
We all chewed for awhile and contemplated Thoreau
David Bulley writes poems and songs and stories and shares them with people he thinks might enjoy it. He is an administrator in a high school. Also he can stand flat footed and piss over a dump truck.
Friday, April 5, 2019
We used to be the same, used to
dance in living rooms in Grandview
houses, drunk on homemade Moscow
Mules in copper mugs, and then
you said you would no longer
drink, but you’d watch with
a glass of empty icewater,
drip out the fronts of bars
without a noise.
James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Columbia Journal, Rattle, and Reservoir. He edits The Mantle (themantlepoetry.com). Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (jimjakk.com)