Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Bed Sheets are White by Roger Leatherwood

        The terrorists lurked outside our consciousness and we waited. And we prepared.
 We looked after government buildings. Public places. Plazas. Trains. Hubs of industry and commerce. We walked to work. Drove and played cards. We protected it all from the parking lots. The world series. United nations. The white house. The king of spain. Buckingham palace. The queen mary. World trading company. Prince albert in a can.
 And there were months and then there were years and it seemed that the threat had been choked off, eliminated, robbed of oxygen. Waylaid and predicted, undermined and subterfuged.
 Until the bomb in the local fair. Not well attended, only 910 people.

Yet they were locals, unimportant and all of the families tied to the land, to the place, the region. The very salt and philosophy and blood of that earth, middle america, for generations. It was a scar that was deep and could not be clayed over or shined up by any political speech or spin doctors from Hollywood. Blood ran on the pages. And then the explosion on an opening night in cleveland for the superman movie. Again not a center of commerce or politics, only regular people, about 6000 of them because there were 20 theatres, 8 with 300, another 5 were 400 and the two large ones were 900 with 2 small ones it was still more than the worldtradecenter years ago and it was "the darkest" and "the most" and "the cowardly."
 The terrorists figured out that their target was not large symbols of the west. They could never topple large enough statues, symbols and granite and empty of the ability to inflict pain if damaged regardless of the lives that may be lost in collateral damage. No they figured out that surgical strikes to critical organs, townships, middle america, the very fabric of every day life could survive the trauma of a bomb in a subway in NY, any government computer server building that linked the IRS to the pay sites - that would never be allowed to go down even if it went down they would fake something. Make the people think things were okay, everything still running, nothing was broken. Repair. Pay your taxes. But when the fair blew up, hot dogs fried in their hands, children burned on horses in the stable, rollercoaster cabs melted to glass and runny aluminum, our boys turned to ash in their cars . . . that broke the back of the union.
 Funny was the bomb had gone seriously off course, aimed for the latin quarter in new orleans, recently in the news and apparently a center of culture, realization and symbol of all that was hedonistic excessive satanic and good about US. The missiles ended up past east st. louis, at east alton in the suburbs in which the people had been laid off when the ash and tire factories closed, 80% unemployment and most had moved or been driving for 20 or 50 miles to other jobs the other side in missouri. Goddamn government.

The explosion unbuilt the bridge and the blowback ash half empty extended to house apts as well as lofts and offices and the people downtown, in the converted antique shops and quik-and-runs realized their future was longer and darker than they had been led to believe, that they were on their own, that there was no god or he was looking the other way for the foreseeable next few years and they found us they have us we have no roof over our heads and even the theatres weren't safe. And in that dark night there was nothing to latch onto and the hours flew clicking slowly by aiming only at the dawn lit by the static on the tv in the other room. Sound down, another day and the orange of the sun under the naked trees another blinding report of surviving, wondering and shivering in the dark corners of the mornings to come.

And in the murky holes of midnight we grabbed the sheets of doubt and our eyes tried to adjust in a vagrant light. No moon. We wet the bed and my shame was hidden in the dark. The twisted cotton kept us company in the thinning night and the blurred shapes distracted us from our regrets. In the wet dawn we saw the bedsheets were still white.

Friday, 30 May 2014

This Savage God by Joan McNerney

Calamity hides under cover
lurking in corners ready
to rear its head.

It lies in neat lab reports
charting white blood cells
run wild.

What is this savage God
who pushes us down to comas?

Sneaking along icy roads
daylight ends while sea gulls
circle steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart as we careen
against the long cold night.

What is this savage God
who lunges us into storms?

An official white envelope
stuffed with subpoenas
waits at the mailbox.

Memories of hot words
like razor blades slash
across our faces.

What is this savage God
who rips open the heart?

So we stand on the edge
breathing mean air
smelling fear.

Fires leaping out of rooms
where twisted wires
blaze from walls.

What is this savage God
who stabs us with flames?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Syncopation by Christina Murphy

Come before
the revolution
is over!

Archipelago / Archipelagone

Oh my my, oh my my
it’s guaranteed to keep you alive

The island chain is the heart’s
favorite boogie and slide

The longing that brings tears
is the on-beat and off-beat

of an empty chamber seeking
to be filled with rhythm and groove

Whisper before you enter so that
everyone can hear you and open
the gates to the future

Oh my my, oh my my
there are so few tempos left

and even fewer clocks that
show how quickly time ticks and talks

Narcissus knew the rhythm of the pond
and the upbeat  / downbeat of the illusion

It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it
Oh my my!

Christina Murphy is an American writer who lives in Huntington, West Virginia. Her most recent work appears in the anthology Let the Sea Find Its Edges edited by the noted Australian poet, Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Scaredy by Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh

“Witches live behind those broken windows,” she whispers pointing to the older Georgian brick house on the hill.

“Not witches. Slave ghosts,” he answers matter-of-factly.

He throws a stone hitting the abandoned house’s shutter. She throws a stone smashing another window. She was always better at things than he was… a better marksman, a faster swimmer.

When she picked wild berries, she was never jabbed by the thorns. She never pulled so tightly the crushed berries oozed their insides. Her berries were always ripe, plump, and whole.

His country cousin always left him in the dust.

“Not this time,” he thought as he glared at the jagged reflections of the newly broken window.
“I am going to scare her to death…”

Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh is an author, activist and good friend keeping busy saving the world and sipping sweet tea on her front porch in Charlottesville, Virginia. She founded Peer Review, a literary and art magazine for the Charlottesville recovery community. She blogs regularly at, a page featured in wordpress’ freshly pressed, and also guest blogs at other sites.

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Collage Handbook by Howie Good

It isn’t the paste
that makes the collage 
or even paper 
from a wasp’s nest 
but a miniature heart 
buried in February 

scraps of Hebrew 
six million dollars 
in shredded bills 
a single thread of hair 
to clearly lead us 
through nasty stains

beneath a crow-
like bird that carries
an ominous egg

Howie Good's latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely, who does most of the real work.

Experience by Steve Klepetar

“I believe in experience,” he says
regarding his half empty beer, amber
bottle dripping and cold.  “I believe
in the language of  mice, in spaces
between solid walls, melting
mirrors and clocks that tic silently
and lie.  I believe in layers 
of night, whispers beneath a steady 
hum of talk.  I believe we could 
reach between torn seams of bar 
smells and chatter, clinking glasses,
juke box tunes, put our hands 
on something in the ultra-violet range, 
a quiet heart, an invisible voice, a tongue 
made of glass.  This is your last night  
and rain batters the street, green 
and red by the garish sign: 
‘Theatre Lounge – Cocktails – Beer’
this point where our lives divide, where
threads untangle, where our letters
burst for a month, then trickle and fade 
to silence.  I believe in memories 
of taste, this bitter beer, these pretzels 
flaking salt into cheap plastic bowls, 
my ex-wife’s first, chocolate-scented 
kiss, the pea soup  laced with sherry 
I gobbled after working all night 
at the P.O., taste of rain in early May, 
factory grit in the air of this miserable town.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Beakful: a poem a day

Bee by C.J. McCafferty
This idea is not new and won't change much from other related literary blogs, here and there on the web. In fact, in 1998, two years after creating Mauvaise graine -- aka mgversion2>datura -- I launched La grainée which was some sort of neologism or pun rather, as the word actually exists, but not for what it was intended to at the time. It could be translated as seedful. La grainée was a weekly leaflet which only lasted a few months, a year maybe, I cannot even remember.

When Aurora Antonovic invited me to post poems on Magnapoets -- One Poem Taking Over the World a Day, I recognized here something I could have done, but did not. Then I found out about Ancient Heart, a poetry blog which comment box is used to submit a new poem that the editor chooses to post on the blog, or not. There is Poetry Super Highway of course, edited by Rick Lupert, in California. Many more blogs of poetry that exist.

I just wanted to add an extension to mgversion2>datura by offering a space to poets, artists, writers, essayists, reviewers who don't really want to get involved in a larger project, but want from time to time to place some of their work outside.

Start submitting your work. Who will be first?

Send one-two poems, artwork, fiction, reviews, essays to mgversion2datura at gmail dot com.
Send all submissions in a txt, doc or odt file, attached to your mail.
Don't copy/paste as formatting tends to get awkward, and hard to manage afterward.
A short biography (very short -- essential only: where you are from (city, [state/province], country), a link to your blog/website, your latest publication...) is welcome but not necessary.
Read the journal mgversion2>datura and the books published through mgv2>publishing to get a sense of what I have been publishing these last 18 years.
I don't retain any rights, your writing is your creation. You are welcome to cite the original publishing place in case you reprinted your work.
Submissions read year round. Response time may vary a lot.