quick black hole spin-change :: edward sanders

I don’t like it–

two massive Black Holes
each twirling at the core of
                      two merging galaxies

get close enough
to fuse together

then quick as a wink
just as they are melting into a New Black Hole Blob

they undergo something called a “spin-flip”

they change the axes of their spins
and the fused-together Black Hole Blob
gets its own
          quick as a cricket’s foot

Don’t like it at all

And then the new Black Hole Blob sometimes
bounces back and forth inside
                              its merged Galaxy

till it settles at the center
but sometimes a “newly” up-sized Black Hole
leaves its Galaxy
to sail out munchingly on its own
                                 into the Universal It

I don’t like it

Nothing about it
in the Bhagavad Gita
the Book of Revelation
Shakespeare, Sappho, or Allen Ginsberg

safe sex :: donald hall

If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge

we live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths :: philip james bailey

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.

god went to beauty school :: cynthia rylant

He went there to learn how
to give a good perm
and ended up just crazy
about nails
so He opened up His own shop.
“Nails by Jim” He called it.
He was afraid to call it
Nails by God.
He was sure people would
think He was being
disrespectful and using
His own name in vain
and nobody would tip.
He got into nails, of course,
because He’d always loved
hands–
hands were some of the best things
He’d ever done
and this way He could just
hold one in His
and admire those delicate
bones just above the knuckles,
delicate as birds’ wings,
and after He’d done that
awhile,
He could paint all the nails
any color He wanted,
then say,
“Beautiful,”
and mean it.

ecclesiastes :: khaled mattawa

The trick is that you’re willing to help them.
The rule is to sound like you’re doing them a favor.

The rule is to create a commission system.
The trick is to get their number.

The trick is to make it personal:
No one in the world suffers like you.

The trick is that you’re providing a service.
The rule is to keep the conversation going.

The rule is their parents were foolish,
their children are greedy or insane.

The rule is to make them feel they’ve come too late.
The trick is that you’re willing to make exceptions.

The rule is to assume their parents abused them.
The trick is to sound like the one teacher they loved.

And when they say “too much,”
give them a plan.

And when they say “anger” or “rage” or “love,”
say “give me an example.”

The rule is everyone is a gypsy now.
Everyone is searching for his tribe.

The rule is you don’t care if they ever find it.
The trick is that they feel they can.

another failed poem about the greeks :: sandra beasley

His sword dripped blood. His helmet gleamed.
He dragged a Gorgon’s head behind him.

As first dates go, this was problematic.
He itched and fidgeted. He said Could I

save something for you? But I was all out
of maidens bound to rocks. So I took him

on a roller coaster, wedging in next to
his breastplated body in the little car.

He put his arm around me, as the Greeks do.
On the first dip he laughed. On the first drop

he clutched my shoulder and screamed like
a catamite. When we ratcheted to a full stop

he said Again. We went on the Scrambler,
the Apple Turnover, the Log Flume.

We went on the Pirate Ship three times,
swooshing forward, back, upside down,

and he cried Aera!, waving his sword,
until the operator asked him to please keep

all swords inside the car. He was a good sport,
letting the drachmas fall out of his pockets;

sparing the girl who spilled punch on his shield;
waving as I rode the Carousel’s hippogriff

though it was a slow ride, and I made him
hold my purse. On the way home

he said We should do this again sometime,
though we both knew it would never happen

since he was Greek, of course, and dead,
and somewhere a maiden rattled her chains.

fifteen :: leslie monsour

The boys who fled my father’s house in fear
Of what his wrath would cost them if he found
Them nibbling slowly at his daughter’s ear,
Would vanish out the back without a sound,
And glide just like the shadow of a crow,
To wait beside the elm tree in the snow.
Something quite deadly rumbled in his voice.
He sniffed the air as if he knew the scent
Of teenage boys, and asked, “What was that noise?”
Then I’d pretend to not know what he meant,
Stand mutely by, my heart immense with dread,
As Father set the traps and went to bed.

note: my parents cut this out from a newspaper during college and mailed it to me…