Where Souls Are Sold

by Matt Panfil

 

Deep within the still-beating heart of my bloodless city

Black suited bankers kneel before a throne of gold: their God

Pay sacrifice in blood that’s olive green and slippery black

-the blood of products!-

Products they produce in endless rows that

Smoothly roll off black conveyer belts,

Greasy with the slime of slickened dollar bills

 

The worn and trembling hands of men and women

Fresh from Chinese cancer villages

Their babies dead and shriveled

Tainted infant formula, toxic children’s toys-

 

While, half a world away, those who can afford to do so:

Apply synthesized oils on their naked flesh,

Consume processed packaged goods,

Guzzle bottled water laced with petrochemicals,

Nibble shiny poison-polished oranges,

Chew chicken fresh from ammonia baths

 

It’s in this place where souls are sold

-and black with mold-

Whole libraries burned in a bonfire

Blazing since the revolution

Consuming ancient wisdom

Blackened to a crisp -

 

Now,

Lost shamans dip into the potent snuff,

the earthy stuff that deconstructs existence,

Or, reality consensus

 

Prophets loose like mad men search for words along the plastic shore

Crushed pills like grains of sand beneath their naked feet

While in demand instead

are talking heads which smile pleasantly, eyes lost,

and tell us everything they think we need

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Misery is Real

by Matt Panfil

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Kali Yuga Blues*

by Matt Panfil

 

Kali Yuga blues burn brightest in the midnight hour

Teeming dark with mortal woe and terror

Rumors seeding troubled minds haunted

By nightmare epileptic visions flashing undaunted

 

We’ve all been weaned on TV’s neon nipple

 

Poisoning the blood in highway veins

Seeping electric coded knowledge

 

Nourishing cerebrums soaked in overwhelming

Gobs of information

Processing the stream of psychic data

Overloaded

We are overloaded

Immersed in toxic stimulation

 

Minds are all but burnt out husks of tissue

Flashing dully in the Skullhouse

Driving men to boredom blind to

Glory

 

Oh beautiful forgotten world!

Science and the law of man

Does such disgrace to mystery and magic

Blind eyes turned callously

From beauty

Permeating all

 

*Kali Yuga (“the age of the male demon Kali,” or “age of vice,”) is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga,which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far removed as possible from God. Most interpreters of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga.

* * *

 

Matt Panfil is a poet and experimental filmmaker from Indianapolis, IN. He considers poetry and film to be powerful forces of communication, through which he seeks to visually transport his audience to what Aldous Huxley dubbed “the mind’s antipodes”: subconscious realms of bliss and emotional states of pure awareness. He loves poetry’s unique magic, believing in its strange transporting power due to “lingual transformation of rhythm and syntax, or otherworldly diction through which primordial sensory data can be transmitted to the viewer.” The communicative goal of his poem videos, which combine music, language and imagery, is to over-stimulate the viewer, thereby inducing a psychedelic experience,  a sensory overload resulting in a newborn relationship between subject and observer.

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At Both Ends

by Susan DeFreitas

You burned candles all night while the house slept. You burned candles in the empty room with the checkerboard floor. You burned candles with your cracked-out teenage girlfriend with the tour-kid bedhead and patched overalls. One night coming home from the bar, we found the front door jammed. You’d pushed all the furniture up against it, so we climbed in a window instead. We found the room with the checkerboard linoleum covered in candlewax, like the drip castles of our youth.

You mumbled when you spoke, shaking your head. Sometimes it almost made sense. “I’m straight, I’m straight, I’m straight.” You only were after you weren’t.

You broke glass, knickknacks, and saucers. There were times when I couldn’t find a plate. Goddammit, I thought, eating eggs out of a coffee mug, yet again.

You burned candles all night, every night, and that one time, lit the shag carpet on fire. Dave said you were a good person, deep down. Rich spent most nights with his girlfriend. Mike was moving out anyway.

The night before I left, you kept me up, talking to someone, laughing, but in the morning, you were alone. A living ghost, pale as a flame by day. I left you there to haunt the house.

* * *

Susan DeFreitas’ creative work has appeared in The Bear Deluxe, Third Wednesday, and Southwestern American Literature, and is forthcoming from Sin Fronteras; her nonfiction has been published in Yes! Magazine, E: the Environmental Magazine, and The Utne Reader, and appears regularly on The Huffington Post. She is an MFA candidate at Pacific University, and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as an independent editor with Indigo Editing and Publications.

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The Ten

by Cassie Ridgway

 

Figures remain anonymous

not people but types

each with a secret

sneaky ten percent.

 

10% subtlety. Ten percent aloof.

When you’re super sexy

you can be missing your front tooth

flipping pint glasses

in low lighting

and the girls are likin’ all of it.

 

I know you, faceless blotch.

You’re that paint stroke

in the precipitating audience

moving to and fro

like a field of flowers with their faces

pointed at the sun

eating free sun beams.

 

We, all, matching in little bits:

You with your low brow

second hand ol’ diamond in the rough.

The common interest is forming

a tribe.

 

But

Your 10%

a filigree form that shutters inside constant

and pulsates a hum electric

Your ten percent speaks German

and thinks that the screwdriver

is to a screw a molester.

 

Ten % is kept in that letter

you have. I have.

Hidden and preserved with the careful, clammy drawer

that keeps so few things

so commonly used.

 

No, a mass of bodies here.

Not identities but types.

 

And the 10% hovers above the room.

 

 

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An Explanation of Mag-Big, Second Attempt:

by Cassie Ridgway

 

Luster so      yellow sweet

dripping peachy.

Soil down, and up

white silhouettes—bugs dart beams.

2.   Whispering, “please, oh please” to air

oh thing that fear cannot unbind

if it hears a desperate plea, it is at least listening.

3.    Intoxication because in the moments before

hitting the water

Icarus smiles at the sun.

4.    Animal love.

5.    Song that understands; how it seduces

over and over;

it is a lover we cannot be with

any longer.

6.    A lighthouse casting a shivering slice

through undulating fog;

the mariner catching it in a glass sphere.

7.    Pages and pages of crumbling yellowed words

my grandmother at eighteen

believes in crackling radio broadcasts.

8.    The lover, how he stretches, and in his slumber

rests his hand upon the breast.

Now is slipping into the chill of morning

Still, his dreams, a Grecian urn preserving her.

9.     When dying words are unselfish,

such as,

“try to be happy,” or “smile, my love.”

10.   When trees creak

like whale songs,

without ears

the forest philharmonic.

11.    Awaking to snow

it covers churning streets with impenetrable silence

and we play, in the stillness, and its been years.

12.    The painter, how he cannot stop

with birds and feathers

plumage plucked from the wing of an osprey.

He considers himself from birds eye view.

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Home

by Cassie Ridgway

 

Your hat all hung

a drop of laudanum,

a tendril dangling on the brink

of a shallow glass:

 

sight budding,

open me up how I want to see.

 

The narrative calls itself home.

 

Home,

the house that gave birth

to coevals: stories securely boxed up

inside its humming walls;

we leave her when what is unwritten

seems to hang on the wind

ringing chimes outside the window–

 

bells that resound always home.

 

Home,

separated bodies of water

the growth of vegetation

pulled from warm soil.

This verdant earth is ours

it’s worth dying for, but we can’t just stay here.

 

Home,

That standing on the water’s edge, we look on at the far reaches of our

letters

our tiny prayers adrift like a gas above

home.

 

That home is the distance between us and our occurrence.

 

* * *

Cassie Ridgway is a poet living in Portland, OR. She received her degree from Portland State University in 2010 along with the Kellogg Award for Poetry. Thus far, all of her published works are from her collection, “Mag-Big,” which is also the name of the retail shop she owns and operates on Hawthorne Blvd. Though poetry and music are her first loves, she makes her living as an apparel designer and store owner. Her shop, Mag-Big, features the largest array of Portland designers in the NW. The phrase and namesake, “Mag-Big,” is a kenning that she has been working with for a number of years and hoping to make sense of. Efficaciously, it is a study of her own sense of smallness amid an ever-expansive sense of time and place. To be aware of Mag-Big is that moment in which we are perfectly located in an unfathomably large picture.

 

 

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