Thursday, April 30, 2009

May 2009

Photo courtesy of Dave Rubio, California

This month features John Grey, Dave Rubio and Ashutosh Ghildiyal

John Grey


He sold and he drove,
into the sun and then into the shadow.
The radio phased in and out.

Around 8 P.M., he ate at a truck stop.
At 10 PM, he stopped at a motel.
The bed was comfortable enough
but he couldn’t sleep.
His body felt like it was selling, moving, eating.

He carried two suitcases.
One was a change of shirt and underwear,
the other was loaded up with rug shampoo.
His territory was as wide as three states
but, on nights like this,
it felt as shrunken as a stain on a carpet.

Tomorrow, a new town.
He’d knock on doors, turn on the charm.
He’d do okay.
But growing rich wasn’t part of the bargain.

The couple in the next room
were arguing loudly.
At least, he didn’t have another’s
dramas to worry about.
But from the other wall
came the sound of frenzied lovemaking.
His restlessness was a lesson in coupling...
the good and the bad.

By morning, he’d be on the road.
The ones who craved his loneliness
and those that felt only pity for it
would still be in bed.

Road, radio, eat, bed, town, house, charm...
each was just a way out of the last.


What’s with my pants leg, the flesh above my ankle,
they’re as whole as the moment I entered through that rusty gate.
And hairs on the back of my neck, even though I have none,
sit comfortably as the mane of a feeding stallion.

I rummage through junk cars, hold hub caps up to the light,
admire headlamps from a 67 Buick like they’re lidded ewers
in an antique store, press fingers deep into ancient leather seats,
and not a snarl, a snap, a jaw full of foaming spit.

And why do I walk so slowly in this cold metal graveyard,
when Fm here to steal corpse parts, uproot steel from its grave.
I should be running, screaming, dodging between hulks,
scrambling over wire fences, bleeding and terrified.

I move too freely through this world, am captivated
by my own good fortune, the lack of threat.
A crumpled up Caddy provides the perfect hood ornament.
Maybe this was the car that swerved to miss a dog.


I'm sitting on a cinderblock,
among grass and weeds,
some of which are poison.
Bugs buzz about my face.
Toxins fog the air as well.

Tenement shadow
falls across my body.
The tenement itself
is shadow of when it was new,
pulsing with immigrants.

A dog runs wild,
with teeth enough to bite.
A seedy looking man
is staring at me.
Is he the one the cops are looking for?

I feel like I'm in some
kind of fish tank
at the Down and Out pet store.
See me behind burnished glass.
But who would buy?

Don't people just gloat
at the tiny flicks of floating orange
and their pretend castles?
No shelter, no redemption,
just blocked drainage, dumpster overflow.

Some kids kick a soccer ball around.
There seem to be no goal posts.
They're citizens of the game and little else.
They're in the bowl too
with no way of facing outward.

Plants, bugs, dog, man and kids,
we all keep to our bits of distance.
We all think we've just enough sense
to be where we are.
Sit long enough, you feel yourself transpiring.

Suddenly, the soccer ball slams the wall behind me
to a great cheer.
So where they live is the goal after all.
A gray cloud rolls over the sun.
The world feels like a ditch.

John Grey lives in Rhode Island. He has been published in Agni, Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal, just to name a few.

Dave Rubio

Tomorrows Away

And today the fear of having to encounter the fears of my fellow man
Have decided to shine upon me

And when one is not afraid one wonders how one can
Have the strength to continue to shine
And smile
Upon one's self
To transfer that smile unto

And today the fear of having to encounter the fears within me
Have decided to shine upon thee

And when one sees the fears that someone else is afraid of, how can one not stop to wonder

“Do those fears exist in me?”

So we say…
“Being bold is just too gosh darn cold.
Can't fear just hold me in my place and cradle me in its brittle bosom?”

And so our fear (which we hold so dear)
Takes our boldness away

And we just save it all because as we know…
Tomorrow is just ‘another so-called-average-ordinary day’

Another day for us to feel we did something that amounted to nothing
A day in which you will hear at least one thing

About someone else doing something

To make you wonder
“If that fear didn’t exist in me…
I could have been that somebody today.”

When will we let
today's and yesterday's fears stop taking…

our tomorrows away?

When will we let go of
today's and yesterday's fears
so that we can let tomorrow




Dave Rubio is a friend, a poet and a photographer living in California.

Ashutosh Ghildiyal


Suspended in the air,
A ring of smoke..
Stuck in the ear,
A resonating note.
A glass of wine,
Half filled.
A captivating smile,
A twinkle in the eye,
A single soft heartbeat,
And a lingering touch...
A mental picture taken
Of an ageless moment.


Remember the days
When we first crossed our ways
While crossing a street
In an alien neighborhood

Remember the days
When we sat and drank at the cafes
Under the moonlit sky
In the damp, cold weather

Remember the days
When we went through that phase
Induced by a silly argument
Of not talking to each other

Remember the days
When everyone else was blasé
I stood in tears amid the alien crowd
And you came forward and no one other

It's been many ages since we last met
You stayed, and I traveled further
But I’ll come soon and shall not forget
To shake your dear hand, my brother


Those hills, so close, yet so distant
Looking at them, you forget yourself
For one timeless instant
Overwhelmed by their overwhelming beauty

Standing there, you grow aware
Of the age of this earth
And of your own impermanence

They will remain, and you, with your
Sorrows, pains, and worries, will pass away
They will be there, as they have been
Since long before you came


Let me make a garland of verse for you
For words are all I have to give

Long have been your days and nights
Lengthy your weary trials

Let me create word music for you
And elevate you to soaring realms

Where the milky white clouds floating
Upon the lustrous night's canvas

Shall give testimonies of your poetic grace
And words will join together in applause

Let us open a bottle of our mutual wine
And sit by the door to our love street

On a dreamy morning reminding you of me
While the music of the spheres plays along

And while the music plays, let me also sing
With an eraser voice smoothly dissolving

The frozen tears on your time- weary face
Sanctifying the distance of empty spaces

Then let me strike the chords of harmony
And breathe poetic melodies in your jaded ears

And take you to a mind flight on the wordship
Bound towards the port of our purple sanctuary


Poetic dreams my newfound friend
Seeks to instill in my
Unimaginative psyche

And as I contemplate
This untried venture
While searching for synonyms
In the thesaurus of my mind

She tells me
I was born to dream
That is why I don't take my head
Off at night and put it in a refrigerator

Very well
I shall attempt to unfreeze
Hidden dreams she claims
I should sample at least

But my mind doesn't move
No visions appear to me
No unheard melodies penetrate
No words form themselves

Leaving me dreaming
Of untried poetic dreams

And a stocked fridge

Ashutosh writes poetry, short fiction and essays. He was born in Lucknow in 1984, where he completed his schooling. He completed his graduate studies in New Delhi and his post-graduate education in Mumbai. He is also a salaried professional and is currently based in Mumbai. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in various print and online literary magazines.

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