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 Volume #1                     January 15, 1994                      Issue #1
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                                   CONTENTS

      Two Matts and a Bob . . . . . Matt Heys, Bob Fulkerson, Matt Mason

      The blinds aren't from Venice . . . . . . . . . . .  Todd Robinson

      Traces in a Fast Food Restaurant  . . . . . . . . . . Niki LeBoeuf

      Oh Bean Curd! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Byron Lanning

      Grazing Through Life  . . . . . . . . . . . .  Miranda A. Schatten

      Clowns  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  A.J. Axline

      Bigcow  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  A.J. Axline

      the past mostly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edgar Sommer

      The Frog Prince . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Karen Alkalay-Gut

      snow baby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Robert A. Fulkerson

      Tangents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Karen Alkalay-Gut

      Wasted Milk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Capsambelis

      Riding the Yokohama Night Train . . . . . . . . . John Alex Hebert

      Yes Kai, yes Margaret, yes, yes, yes  . . . . . . . . Colin Morton

      B and F Auto Wrecking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Pellerin

      In Museums  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Matthew Mason

      Conversation Hearts Ghazal  . . . . . . . . . . . .  Matthew Mason

      Leaving Home  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Kris M. Kalil

      Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Karen Alkalay-Gut

      Frozen with a Stranger in the Park  . . . . . . . . .  J.D. Rummel

      About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  The Authors

      In Their Own Words  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  The Authors

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 _The Morpo Review_ Volume 1, Issue 1.  _The Morpo Review_ is published
 electronically on a bi-monthly basis.  Reproduction of this magazine is
 permitted as long as the magazine is not sold and the entire text of the 
 issue remains intact.  Copyright 1994, Matthew Mason, Robert Fulkerson and
 Matthew Heys.  All literary and artistic works are Copyright 1994 by their
 respective authors and artists.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                             Two Matts and a Bob
                               (Editors' Notes)

*** Matthew Heys, Co-Editor:

     This I enjoy: zoo aquariums.  What better entertains in any
refreshingly cool aquatic house, what sponsors the pleasure of all those
truly enraptured by the natural world, than the task of misleading our
youth, an activity that is available in surplus within the walls of our
nation's zoos? 

     "See that snail, Angela?  Its fangs can strip a cow to the marrow in
less than a minute." 

     "Really?" 

     "Oh yes, just for snoring too loud, but let's move on..."

          ... and that is untrue, of course.  Snails do not have ears and
              do not attack unless provoked.

     Enjoy the first issue. 

*** Robert Fulkerson, Co-Editor:

The first issue of _The Morpo Review_ has finally been put to bed.  You're
sitting there (or perhaps standing there or jogging-in-place there)
reading this wondering, "What in the heck is a Morpo and, more
importantly, why would it have it's own Review?"  Good question, my
friend, and one that I'm sure will be answered in some future issue. 

One question I will attempt to answer is this:  Why did I get involved
with two guys named Matt to put together an electronic literary magazine? 
Basically, I had no choice in the names of my co-editors.  Overall, I can
count at least six Matts I have met through various on-line networks over
the past decade.  It appears that the late 60s and early 70s produced a
plentitude of Matthews.  I'm hoping that since my name is a three-letter
palindrome it will be easier to remember than Matt or Matt.  But of
course, I'm probably wrong.  Matthew did write one of the four gospels.  I
don't seem to remember "The Gospel According to Robert" being a popular
reading during any period of history.  Maybe I'm just fighting the odds. 
Maybe I just want to be a part of bringing you a quality literary magazine
on a semi-regular basis.  The true meaning of there being two Matts and a
Bob as co-editors of _The Morpo Review_ remains to be seen. 


*** Matt Mason, Co-Editor:

Sitting here looking over the finished copy of the illustrious first ever
issue of _The Morpo Review_, certain thoughts cross my mind such as "I
hope someone actually reads this," "I really need a shower," and "People
need to mellow out and write more funky poetry."  I kind of have a beef
about that last statement (no puns intended on the cow poems contained in
this issue) as I open anthologies and National Book Award winning books of
poems and stuff like that and as much as I'm impressed by the dour
elegance of it all, I'd really like to see a few more poems about cows or
which dare to be witty, mildly unbalanced, or wildly hilarious in ways
that truly make my fanny tingle.  Granted, though, you're here to read
poems and stories rather than listen to some cranky old editor up past his
bedtime ramble on and on about his tingling tush, so with no or at least
very little further ado, I present to you, _The Morpo Review_! 

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 "The blinds aren't from Venice" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Todd Robinson

                    The blinds aren't from Venice

                    they're from Woolworth's, USA.
                    Still, they divide the suburban scene
                    into discrete rectangles.

                    This blond girl, dissected
                    in her red doc martens
                    slides down my street
                    so sure that she's whole
                    unaware of the dozen 
                    blue divisions
                    of her round little self.

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 "Traces in a Fast Food Restaurant" . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Niki LeBoeuf

                 The Sprite(tm) can waits,
                   in faithful ignorance of abandonment.
                 It remembers your lips.

                           **

                 "He was here, I tell you -
                   the ashtray told me so..." And so it goes.
                 Ashes to ashes. Presence to dust.

                           **

                 The cliche of lipstick
                   on a plastic straw, with a side of fries.
                 A table for one, tonight.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Oh Bean Curd!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Byron Lanning
     
       One day in a creme de cacao, contrabassoon country a king summoned
his agriculture minister to his bed. "Reuben," he cried.  "How goes the
bean curd harvest?" 
  
       "Not good," replied the agriculture minister. "The rancid season
came a few minutes late and the beans never had a chance to curdle." 
  
       This news deeply upset the king.  The last time the bean curd
harvest failed an insurrection among his subjects broke out.  During the
rebellion, a group of radical Mexican chefs tried to assassinate the king
by faxing him a large burrito containing a stick of dynamite.  The
assassination attempt failed though because the king had left the palace
to go to the Arctic Circle to hunt trophy-sized lemmings. However, the
burrito did cause serious damage in the palace. When it exploded, it blew
off the queen's new face lift and destroyed the king's mounted heads of
mice, voles, and gophers hanging in his den, which over the years he had
killed on safaris. 
 
       The king started to pout.  He didn't like insurrections at all. 
They gave him headaches.  He ordered his mistress, who lay in bed next to
him, to bring him his fishnet panty hose because he wanted to wear
something that would make him feel good that day.  She paid no attention
to him, for she lost herself in calculations, doing permutations of random
numbers to prove mathematically that God actually made the universe in
five not six days and took the entire weekend off. 
  
       The king then asked the agriculture minister if they could use last
year's bean curd harvest for this year, but the agriculture minister said
if the king used the remainder of last year's bean curd harvest, the
kingdom wouldn't have enough bean curd for the big college football game
in the Bean Curd Bowl.  The king wouldn't hear of such a thing.  He loved
the Bean Curd Bowl, not for the football game, but for the half time show
at which he announced the winner of the Miss Bean Curd Contest, the woman
who had the personality, intelligence, and looks most like a tub of bean
curd. 
  
       This agriculture minister's admonition caused the king to pause and
reflect.  As the king paused and reflected, his mistress put down her
permutations and said, "Why don't you use next year's bean curd harvest
for this year?"  The king replied, "Yeah, why can't we do that?" 
  
     "Well, we could do that," said the agriculture minister, "but this
proposal has two problems.  First, what do we do next year for a bean curd
harvest?  We won't have one if we use next year's harvest this year. 
Second, some disgruntled wizard, angry at your high bikini taxes, put a
hex on next year's bean curd harvest.  Anyone who eats it will get an
unquenchable desire to gulp down coffee grounds and percolate." 
  
      "Hmm, that does pose a problem," said the king.  He scratched his
mistress' beard in contemplation and suddenly said, "Heck," he said,
"we'll just borrow off this year's bean curd harvest for next year."  The
agriculture minister reminded the king that this year's harvest failed
because of a late rancid season, to which the king retorted, "Don't bother
me with details." 
  
       The king then addressed the problem of percolating, said it didn't
seem so bad in comparison to insurrections, so he directed the agriculture
minister to use next year's bean curd harvest this year despite its hex. 
 
      The king's mistress then suddenly had another idea.  She told the
king, "Why don't you make percolating a national pastime.  That way no one
will think percolating is out of the ordinary." 
  
      "I like that!" shouted the king.  He immediately declared a
proclamation, proclaiming that percolating had replaced arson as the
national pastime. 

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 "Grazing Through Life" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Miranda A. Schatten

               I think
               that we humans think too much.
               We get a lot accomplished--
               we work hard, build, play,
               but at the end of our lives,
               that's all we have--
               the end.
               Do you see cows worrying
               about who that new Holstein favors?
               Perhaps we would be more content
               dying not in a hospital bed with perfumed roses,
               but outdoors, looking up at the sky,
               and with a mouthful of grass.

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 "Bigcow" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.J. Axline

                tawny sinewy beast of the field
                your mottled hide taunts and beguiles
                hoof me and hoof me and hoof me and hoof me
                your hooves speak beauty tattooed on my flesh

                one stomach is not enough for you
                not two or three, no, you saucy cow
                you use all four to turn your grass
                into rump and thigh and chartreuse tongue

                what you must think of us; we butchers
                who you see through dark, soulful orbs
                we who are drawn to your macabre mystique
                as hate and awe war in our fat bellies

                you dance in the moonlight as you sleep
                your bovine dreams drum sensual rhythms
                as you sway...trapped in the blacklands
                of tenebrous illusion and sensitive existence

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Clowns" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.J. Axline

     "Let's hear it for the nameless, faceless few!"

     No one cheered.

     "What is this?" one of them shouted from the back.  "What is this
supposed to mean, anyway?!" 

     "Shut up, Bozo!" someone hollered.

     "You'll get your turn, you killer. Sit down."

     The clown glared at the front of the room briefly, then sat down.  He
looked furious and scared under his white face makeup. 

     "So," the instructor continued, "if we take away the poor and the
rich, and the destitute and the dishonest and the not-so-nice and all the
rest of the people that don't deserve to live, who are we left with?" 

     "CLOWNS!!!" they screamed.

     For you see, the room was filled with clowns.

     Tall clowns, fat clowns, starving clowns, white clowns, black clowns.
They were all there, sitting in their desks, wondering why they had come,
looking for answers that no one had any intention of giving them.  They,
like the clown that had shouted from the back, were all furious and
scared.  Some of them had gone beyond normal fear into blank terror. 
Tears streaked their greasepaint, dripped from their chins in big white
drops. 

     "Clowns," the instructor repeated.  He looked like a shark.  "Big
clowns, little clowns, clowns, clowns, clowns." 

     He grinned.  Some of the clowns shuddered.

     "Clowns."

     His mouth embraced the word like an exotic fruit.

     "An elite society of clowns.  How could it not work?  Think about it,
friends and neighbors.  You, as the last remaining leaders, movers and
shakers, running the globe!  Weeding out the weak and crushing them under
your floppy shoes!  Think of it brothers and sisters!  THINK OF IT!!! 
CLOWN RULE!!!  CLOWNS RULING THE WORLD!!!" 

     They were all weeping now.  They couldn't help it.  Sobbing clowns
moaned and wailed around the lecture theatre.  Big polka dot handkerchiefs
were pulled from front pockets, some of them several feet long. 

     The buzzer went off.

     "Get out of here," the instructor sneered.

     They filed out of the room, shaking and sniffling. 

     The clowns composed themselves in the hallway, trying not to look bad
in front of the other clowns that were scurrying around, squinting at
timetables.  One of the dismissed clowns looked back at the bulletin board
next to the classroom door. 

     The bulletin board read: CLOWN REVOLUTION AND SOCIO-DOMINATION 251.

     "I hate that class," the clown whispered to his buddy next to him.

     "What can you do? It's compulsory, Bozo." his friend replied.

     Silently they shouldered their Clown University packs, and went to
their next class.  Slowly but steadily, a few of the clowns would drop out
during the year, unable to take the swelling inside their brains.  There
would always be eager clowns waiting around the country, however; waiting
in line, desperate to take the place of their fallen comrades. 

     In the end, there were always more clowns. 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "the past mostly" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edgar Sommer

            then walking
            in sternly strides
            on the waking moon

            the beach low tide

            these 2
            waiting to hit a turning point in their story together
            but there was only salted rain

            already down 
            spreading thin
            pointing at everything
            and the past mostly

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "The Frog Prince (with thanks to Assaf and Zyggy)" . . . . Karen Alkalay-Gut

          All those princesses retelling the stories of their lives, 
          giving information not previously available, 
          or only lately understood - convincing you,
          poor reader, that princesses in fairy tales
          are real people too you know, and as such deserve
          their side told.  Even the woman now my queen,
          I believe, has had a bash at it, explaining
          - probably - how it was worth kissing a frog
          to get to me.

          I always liked them beautiful -  
          What Proust said, "As for the women of beauty, 
          we will leave them to the men of no imagination," 
          just made me put down Proust
          and pick up some sly lady-in-waiting.  
          You know how they tell women, 
          "It's just as easy to fall in love
          with a rich man as a poor one"?   
          I go further.  It's only possible
          to really feel something if she's got
          a perfect ass, hungry breasts, eyes that seem deep
          as mine, and - this is in addition - an all-abiding hunger
          for me.

          And no bitch.
          Except for my narcissism,
          I'm perfect - smart,
          handsome, rich.  
          I'll never understand why that witch
          put a curse on me.  Unless of course
          she wanted to have me and I
          never looked her way.

          I remember now she did once come around to talk
          before she toadified me,  
          muttered something about Emily Dickinson,
          "I'm Nobody, who are you."
          I was busy listening to my answering machine
          while she went on with
          "How awful to be somebody -
          How public like a frog -
          to tell your name the livelong day
          to an admiring bog."

          "Maybe it is only the media that ruins your minds,"
          she said, looking at my wellstocked library
          of videoclips, "makes you think that your identity
          as men derive from the marketable quality 
          of your female conquests.  What do you want
          from life?  How will you get satis
          faction?  Tell me something to prove
          your kind is worth investing in."

          I didn't think I had to prove anything
          to someone who had nothing to offer me
          in the world.  Maybe if she'd been
          a movie maker she'd have had a chance.
          But I decided to try
          the silent treatment on her
          - it usually works with admiring women
          you can't get rid of any other way.
 
          "Kiss me goodbye, then, boy," she said,
          and I screwed up my face and scrunched my body away
          as if age and ugliness were con
          tagious.

          So I woke up the next morning 
          a stout-bodied amphibian
          with a hunger for a pond
          and a lily-pad.
          And I read the instructions on my pillow
          about the need for being kissed, left the castle,
          and began my quest. 

          It wasn't easy being green.  I just didn't exist
          for all those princesses with the magic lips.
          Had to learn all kinds of tricks
          to get close to them.  Told one of them about 
          my centrality to French cuisine, 
          encouraged a second to see (ahem) 
          my identity deep in my throat,  
          Whispered to another (flawed) beauty 
          that I could cure 
          warts.

          Even the one who finally did it for me -
          the one with the golden ball - 
          was conned, cooerced, threatened,
          before she eventually 
          fell into my trap. 

          I'm not complaining.

          I got what I wanted.

          And a few nights on the town,
          a couple beers, a bunch of blonds,
          got me back to what I was before.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "snow baby" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Robert A. Fulkerson

           apgar 4 no name hunger mommy the only i know
           the only thing i really crave pain more know about me
           machine breathe since i can't myself the world fuzzy and
           won't focus when i try but fills a round warmness
           my eyes and i can only wail long warm and hard
           cat like a not a human craving brain floating on fluid
           thoughts my clearly won't together come
           because they meet don't all time
           the brain with these holes mommy i only
           weigh pounds and ounces two and six tubes
           sucking life pain and pumping into my
           blue veins visible to the world desire mommy and
           upon me come seizures when cold my body shakes
           violently bony blue flailing arms wildly sounds
           cutting me razor blades like to make snow angels
           need more down screaming and wailing to
           put me with my starving
           head breathe breathe breathe brea

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Tangents" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karen Alkalay-Gut

        I 

        All day she passes her hands
        over the money of others,
        counts out what they will need
        for the business trip to Tokyo,
        the honeymoon in Turkey, the
        needed vacation (look how
        his hand shakes) in Lugano.
        All day she counts out foreign 
        bills, with no will of her own
        to sit in this bank
        so near and yet so far.


        II

        So one night I'm a character
        in some guy's dream
        and my part is not very big
        and I don't speak his language
        so most of the time I'm backstage
        waiting for the moment I get called out
        and jabber a few words in French
        to a dreamer's blank face.
        I don't get the incentive -
        I say to whom I think is the director.
        What am I doing in this dream -
        what's my function, motivation, Stan?
        The man widens his eyes
        and dies, or fades away while I watch.
        So there I am, behind the scenes, thinking - 
        don't I have something better to do
        with my time

        III

        So one night she comes to visit me
        and I see it in the way she stares 
        - she's locked back into that old obsession.
         Maybe she isn't but I've got to protect
        myself  I can't stand it when she starts 
        in about our 'relation
        ship.'  We don't have one, I say sometimes,
        but it hurts me to hurt her almost as much
        as it hurts to imagine feeling in her situation.  
        God she lives
        through me the way my mother did in the old days
        - the only son, the fear of my turning, anticipation 
        of my return.  How can I tell her to get a life -
        how can I reel her out into the night and say
        find something to sink
        your teeth into.

        IV

        How do people get to mean things to each other
        how do they not miss falling into formulas, slip
        out of prescribed patterns?  Sometime I am so slow
        I don't know that someone was saying something meaningful
        until minutes after I hang up.  Then maybe I call back
        "Sorry for being such a boor - I should have known
        your situation."  Then maybe she says, "What situation?"
        and I see I'm an egomaniac thinking my responses 
        could be so critical to her.  Or maybe she just says it
        to protect herself from my ill-bred intrusion.  And then maybe
        I take that risk and stretch out my neck just a little more
        and offer her the nape.  

        V

        And here I am out here on a limb of a tree by your bedroom
        shivering in the rain and trying to figure out what to do 
        now that you have refused to open the window.

        Here I am at my funeral looking up at your tears.
        It's a standard photo but the people are real.

        Here I am at the center of the dancefloor, 
        pulling you in out of the shadows 
        for your moment in the spotlight.

        Here is the lonely monarch, her back to the camera,
        alone

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Wasted Milk" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Capsambelis

       Fortunately, the garbage collectors were late today.

       The air was rather soupy, and I had to strain my tired eyes to see
through the mist as far as the curb.  But, yes, three brown draw-string
trash bags sat patiently along the road.  A cat worked its way between the
bags, sniffing here and there, and I waited to see if it would start
clawing its way into the collection of moldy crusts and wilted lettuce.  I
really didn't care if it did rip the bags.  I didn't care about much of
anything since what's-her-name left, so why would a cat tearing through my
trash upset me?  When the cat finally snaked away from the bags, I quietly
turned the frigid doorknob and gently leaned into the door until it
opened.  In the distance, I heard the swish and squeal of the brakes of
the truck. 

       The sun was now behind the row of suburban middle-class houses
across the street.  The first bag was knotted tightly and, after several
feeble attempts to untangle the plastic web, I ripped into the three-ply
lining of the bag.  If the cat saw me now, it would probably laugh at the
irony.  If that girl saw me now, she'd yell at me for making more of a
mess of things. 

       The inside of the bag smelled of spoiled milk.  The rancid,
solidified goo oozed from the rotting carton on to some old newspapers.  I
had bought the milk about three weeks earlier, when I had begun dating the
girl.  She was a coffee drinker, so I bought a half-gallon of two-percent
for her coffee.  I hate milk;  I even eat my cereal dry.  She had begun to
stay over a few nights and had an incredible flare for whining so
obnoxiously that it penetrated the flesh and zeroes in on the exposed
nerves below.  She wanted her coffee every morning, and she wanted it with
milk.  Or au lait, as she called it.  So now for breakfast, she drank her
coffee au lait, and I ate my Apple Squares (no lait).  And we were
content.  But then she left, and I went back to an empty bed. 

        The newspapers, which I hadn't felt like reading lately, were
soggy from the milk and felt like they were on the verge of disintegrating
in my grasp.  Below the newspapers were some crusty paper towels and a
salty- smelling, grease-spotted Pringles can.  "How can you eat that
disgusting crap?" she used to ask--about basically anything I ate.  I
rummaged through everything but saw no sign of the letter.  When I called
her last night to ask her to come back, she said it was all in the letter
she had left and hung up. 

        What a mess.  I scanned the spread of rubbish around me, hoping
once more I'd find the letter.  I wondered whether or not this girl was
really worth the trouble of digging through the waste left over from the
past couple of weeks.  I spotted the disintegrated remains of crepe
streamers from my birthday party tangled around a few chicken bones.  I
remember I came home from work that day to find my house decorated with
signs, balloons, and streamers, and a cake in the middle of the kitchen
table.  I laughed; no one had ever decorated for me before.  Even my
mother had never made a big deal about my birthday.  When the girl came
over that evening, I hugged her as soon as she stepped in, but she
frowned.  "Who did this?" she asked, glaring at a couple of balloons that
had floated to the ceiling.  "This is so childish."  I found out later my
cousin Stephanie did it. She felt bad because she had forgotten my
birthday the year before. "Come on," I said, realizing there was no point
in staying up now. "Let's go to bed."  The cake could wait until the next
morning. 

        The second bag was no prettier or more fragrant than its
predecessor.  It proved easier to open, however, and nothing spilled out. 
I held my breath upon the appearance of a stack of envelopes, the
onslaught of white paper catching me off guard.  But it was mostly junk
mail or bills that had been paid.  She always complained that I waited too
long to pay my bills after they came in the mail.  So this time, I paid
them the day they came.  I told her that one night in bed, and she
shrugged it off as if she didn't care.  At night, she didn't care about
any of those stupid little things that she whined about during the day. 
She would suddenly become passionate when she got into bed.  And not a
complaint out of her until the following morning.  I tossed the envelopes
aside; the letter was not hiding among these intruders. 

        Tssh.  I could hear the air brakes release on the diesel monster
as it closed in on me.  The truck was just around the bend.  I just then
realized how perturbed Gus and Roy would be upon seeing my garbage. 
They'd probably pass right by my house without a second look.  Once, Roy
got really pissed off at the neighbors for not fastening their twist ties
securely, so he launched the bag across their lawn, leaving behind it a
stream of old magazines and watermelon rinds. 

        I dug deeper into the bag and felt the gritty moistness of coffee
grounds engulf my hand.  I grasped a piece of paper and negotiated it
through the rubbish to the opening in the bag.  Not the letter, it was a
free offer coupon from my Apple Squares.  Two proofs-of-purchase would get
me a Kellogg's squeeze bottle.  It started to bother me that she just left
me with nothing but my Apple Squares, a squeeze bottle, and a carton of
curdling milk.  With no notice; I mean, don't I deserve at least a week's
notice to tie up any loose ends?  Like what to do with the milk or whether
to buy more coffee.  I want to call her a bitch, I try to call her a
bitch, but the sounds will not form in my throat and roll off my tongue. 
The word just sits there and ferments. I keep seeing it, but it won't
emerge from its hiding place. It stirs itself around, builds up and
transforms into harsher, more sinister words that don't come out either. 
It's always been like that.  She was a bitch.  But there must have been
sometimes that she wasn't--something that kept me from ending the
relationship.  I mean, I wasn't necessarily unhappy when she was around,
just...frustrated.  It got to the point where I would start dinner
earlier, eat faster, and get to bed quicker, because there I could be with
her without wanting to strangle her. 

        I crumpled the coupon and tossed it aside.  There didn't seem to
be anything else resembling paper in the remainder of trash in the second
bag.  Besides, the fumes rising from the open bag were daring me to
relinquish that morning's serving of Apple Squares.  The grating sound of
Gus and Roy's voices was penetrating the chilly morning as the groaning
truck peeked from behind the neighborhood's only brick house. 

        The third bag was easier to explore.  No flashes of white were
immediately visible to distract my probing eyes.  The trash consisted
mostly of the familiar remnants of bachelorhood:  TV dinner trays, stale
beer cans, an outdated condom.  She wouldn't let me wear a condom.  She
felt it was taking away from the purity of sexuality.  She told me it was
safe, and I trusted her.  Just like I trusted my mother when she told me
to hold my breath and dunk my head under the water.  It seemed stupid at
the time, but I lived through it.  And I enjoyed it. 

        I bought the TV dinners the day after she left me.  I had gone
through the process of ending a relationship before, so I knew I wouldn't
feel like cooking much for a while.  I actually told her this when I
called her to find out why she left. She laughed.  "You've got some
problems," she said.  I thought that was strange.  I thought she had the
problems.  Salisbury steak, fried chicken pieces (mostly white meat), and
turkey dinners still couldn't make up for having someone to spend time
with and--I don't know--have sex with. 

        I heard the crunchy sound of paper as I dug through the bag.  It
was a wad of wrapping paper from my birthday gift.  We were lying in bed
about to make love, and she said that we needed some good sex music.  I
laughed, but she pulled a wrapped cassette from under the covers.  It was
a Marvin Gaye album--an old one that I didn't have yet.  "Happy Birthday,"
she said.  "Let's screw."  At least she liked Marvin Gaye.  The last girl
was a Randy Travis fanatic; before her, a Motley Crue groupie.  But Marvin
had that special way of making the right sounds, the soul, that went
straight from the ear to the pelvis.  After that, every night, we'd listen
to both sides of the tape and fall asleep to his last song, still
sweating, sometimes giggling, always exhausted.  Always happy.  Morning
brought us back though.  Back to coffee and dry cereal and whining. 

        I never found the letter.  I suddenly saw myself sitting amidst
three half-full garbage bags, the skeletal remains of dinners past and
miscellaneous paper products enveloping me.  The truck screeched to a slow
stop, and Gus appeared from behind the truck, stopping abruptly at the
sight of me.  Then, with a puzzled expression began to stride slowly
towards me.  "Find it?" he asked without looking at me, and began to pick
up the leaking bags by the ties, thereupon spilling more coffee grounds
and crumpled Kleenex to the ground.  "How did you--?" I began, my words
grasping at the dewy air as I suddenly realized it was obvious that I was
looking for something. 

        "You shouldn't have thrown it away if you still wanted it."  He
heaved the last bag onto the truck and jumped on and rode away.  I knew he
was right. I stood up, shaking the garbage off of my hands, and walked
towards the house, ignoring the mess.  I don't think there was a letter. 
There never was.  She had nothing to explain, so she had no letter to
write.  I woke up that morning thinking that I had thrown it away
accidentally, but there never was a letter.  Just a carton of wasted milk. 
She's gone for good, I knew this now, and I went to the cold sheets of my
empty bed. 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Riding the Yokohama Night Train" . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Alex Hebert 

           Riding the  Yokohama night train
           vertical elevator vehicle
           voyage measured in minutes not kilometers
           sit and swallow every breath in silence
           looking out window at passing neon wave
           of tsunami consumerism.
           The invasion is complete.
           Gen. Adam Smith is victorious.

           People riding bicycles
           from ramen shop to video arcade
           where electronic digital mah jongg
           is played against silicon brain
           and human is rewarded with
           animated semi-nude Japanese girls
           upon victory and the silicon brain
           only does its programmed duty.

           Fellow passengers sit folded hands
           in lap eyes in lap or stand
           and avoid glance contact between each of us
           no matter how many times I look
           trying to establish eye contact
           they look away and peruse the ads
           plastered on wall of compartment
           of smiling geisha bride
           or laughing teeth white child
           but I need eye contact I want eye contact
           to relieve myself of Western guilt.
           American guilt born out of two
           mushroom clouds rising over
           two cities in '45.
           Cities untouched by conventional bombing
           because war scientists were curious about effects
           of dropping little boy and fat man
           on unharmed cities.
           I'm sorry I'm sorry I didn't want them
           to do it I wasn't even born yet
           just please let me unload my guilt.

           We pull into Shinagawa station
           train load of isolated humans
           with themselves for company.
           Walk out in the quiet crowd
           moving to the exits
           not reading kanji I go with the flow.
           I walk around Shinagawa Eki
           trying to figure out
           which women have the benwa balls.
           Raw emotional feeling like a wound
           or maybe my pecker is showing.
           See all the lovely madam butterflies
           flitting away with tiny steps.
           I feel like a bull
           in a telepathic china shop.

           I must stink of violence and insane depravity.
           Nobody wants to look in my eyes.
           They just walk around in turtle shells
           of ray-bans and walkmans
           shut away in shells of self
           surrounding them.
           My shell broke I'm dripping out want to touch somebody I
           don't have to pay to touch.
           Want to start yelling in the middle
           of all this I'm sorry about the war
           and Commodore Perry  giving you that tiny train
           infecting you with westernization.
           Instead I walk around
           feeling like a dirty gaijin
           with my tentacled flesh
           creeping up their leather skirts
           and if I could have only smiled
           and meant it I'd have been okay.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Yes Kai, yes Margaret, yes, yes, yes" . . . . . . . . . . . .  Colin Morton

  Through our work in Canada      I know you'll be as generous as  
     the small two-member immigration panel      even a minor
  accident could kill      a minute to send your tax creditable
  donation       steadily losing their ability to neutralize     
  the world seems deaf to        your support will allow us to
  intensify our efforts      although public opinion polls show
  that 95% of Canadians      are managed mainly at the local level 
      stop and think about this:  the people of the area     
  understand why the mindless destruction of this     change for
  the better you would      above all, pick up the phone, make the
  government realize      as long as we continue to permit      the
  refugees      that promise for the future.  For a world without  
     legislation, President Bush has said that      62% of all loon
  chicks      specially trained in nonviolent tactics      this is
  a nuclear alert!      as Canadians know all too well, Alberta is
  not      a generous, tax-deductible donation.  I promise you that 
      legitimate, threatened refugees      though frightening and
  shocking to even contemplate      Polka Dot Door and C'est
  Chouette        generals, admirals, and politicians throughout
  the world      woefully out of step with       the feeling of
  being part of something valuable      and when we raise the alarm
  over      polluters of our water, our air, and our land     
  providing nuclear technology to countries      calling itself a
  peacemaker      and we're convinced that      so much of Canada
  and Canada's tradition      put on public display for their
  wanton disregard of      every cent we have      to affect
  significant changes in      white beluga whales      you and I
  both want to see       the unsteady ship of state      is
  imposing what amounts to      nine long, awful days to reach     
  other Canadians who want our government      decimated as we have
  grasped more and more of      an urgent situation  I hope you
  will respond      before we made the decision to turn to you for
  help, we      passed acid rain controls      to make them more
  accurate, faster, and more lethal      in some cases it could be
  a death penalty      to believe compassionate Canadians will help 
   toxic wastes - silent, pervasive, deadly      filled with
  more than a hundred pages of interesting text      but for it to
  succeed      against those who produce and dump      nuclear-
  capable attack-oriented       Americans, because      we sail our
  boats - or hike, or drive, or scuba dive      it's a grim
  situation.  But, with your help      the general public rose up
  and      the government suddenly      signed the nuclear weapons 
      Please send      half a million compassionate fellow human
  beings      haphazard, thoughtless and wasteful      support for 
      our opposition to      colour, sex, ethnic origin, language,
  or religion      working extremely hard.  They aren't asking for 
      important contributions to the      pride in our work and
  confidence in      the base of a red pine soaring 12 stories
  above you, and      please send      torture, lengthy and
  arbitrary imprisonment, and murder       with your generous
  support      quiet, persistent sound of life as it has been lived 
      since Europe, the United States, and even Antarctica      on
  Christmas Eve      three large smelters in Ontario and     
  torture and detention without trial      is tax-deductible     
  and I must seize the moment and make sure      through the window
  of the postage-free business-reply      tax receipt for the full
  amount of your    older sister      haunting call of the loon    
   through hard work and resourceful money stretching     
  immediately helping those innocent people who      timely and informative
  work on     our new one dollar coin.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
"B and F Auto Wrecking" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Pellerin

    The phone rang twelve times before someone picked it up.

    "B and F," said a graveled voice. "What can I do for ya?"

    "Fan pulley for a 1971 Dodge 1/2 ton," I said. "318 V-8 with a
top-loader four speed, no air.  You got one?" 

    "Air? There weren't no fuckin' air on no `71 Dodge, what are you
talkin' about?  Pulleys?  Hell yeah, we got a shit load of those." 
 
    B and F Auto Wrecking is a sprawling tar-pit of Detroit dinosaurs, a
stinking super-fund candidate stacked yards deep in automotive refuse. 
This is not some well managed suburban "automotive recycling center." 
There are no clean-cut young men in blue cotton coveralls keying part
numbers into computer terminals or saying "Good morning, may I help you?"
on the telephone.  The cars at B and F are not organized into neat rows by
make and model, and there is no indoor display of plastic-wrapped hood
ornaments and hubcaps. 

    B and F is one of the few yards that still clings to tradition,
proudly advertising its purpose in hand-scrawled white letters painted on
the rusted sheet metal fence: "AUTO WRECKING".  Most of the cars at B and
F come in behind a tow truck or are driven in by frustrated farmers or
debt-ridden rednecks.  The cars are quickly stripped of their useful
parts, crushed into metal pancakes six inches high, loaded twelve at a
time on a flatbed truck and taken away.  Only the oldest and rarest
vehicles - those with valuable sheet metal parts - are preserved for
future generations.  B and F is, for the most part, a self service
wrecking yard.  They will pull a part for you if the weather is good, but
you had better be prepared to pay for the effort.  At B and F, you bring
your own tools or you bring extra cash. 
 
    I entered the yard and walked toward the office, a single-wide mobile
home that looked like the past victim of a hurricane.  There were old
tires stacked three-high on the roof, like an elevated potato garden.  The
office was propped up by cinder blocks and used wheel rims, the aluminum
siding so dented and torn so that the insulation was visible between the
seams.  I climbed two wooden steps to the front door, turned the knob and
pushed.  The door opened a few inches, then caught against the buckled
floor and stuck.  I pushed harder and the door crashed inward against an
unseen barrier. 

    I stood in the doorway until my eyes became accustomed to the dark.  I
saw Fred, the "F" in "B and F", seated at the grimy black desk.  He was
lighting a cigarette.  When he finished he blew smoke from the corner of
his mouth and said: 

    "You again?" He grinned and showed his stained teeth. "What do you
want?"  he said.  "We probably ain't got it." 

    I told him the same thing that I told him on the phone, minus the part
about air conditioning.  He pulled down the black microphone that hung
from a coiled cord over his head. 

    "Hey, you lazy assholes!" he yelled.  A scratchy soprano version of
his voice squawked out over the P. A.  "Somebody tell this sumbitch where
the slant-sixes are..." 

    "It's a 318 V-8," I corrected him.

    "They're the same," he shot back.  He hadn't released the button of
the mike, and his voice continued rasping out of the speaker mounted on
the side of the trailer. "A fuckin' pulley is a fuckin' pulley." 

    The full-time staff of B & F consists of a pair of twins in their late
twenties.  Both of these brothers are named Steve, and I have never seen
them together.  I know there are two of them, though.  When I explain to
one of them what I want he always says, "Fuck yeah, over there by the
fence," and waves his arm vaguely in whatever direction requires the most
travel. 

    It never fails.

    I'll climb over the rotting corpses of Desotos and Lincolns to where I
think he has sent me, and when I get there his twin will appear out from
behind a Chevy Bel-Air and ask, "What'n fuck are you lookin' over here
for?" 

    There is a third employee, but I've only caught sight of him a few
times, when the sun was at just the right angle.  He is older than Steve
and his brother.  I'd have to estimate his age at somewhere between 35 and
90.  It's difficult to know exactly, though, since the lines of his face
are completely obscured by a decades-old layer of infused grime.  His long
hair could be blond, red, or completely gray, but the grease and dirt that
coat him from head to toe give his hair the same uniform oil-blackness as
the rest of his body. 

    In the dozens of times that I've been into B and F, I've never seen
any activity aside from the occasional movements of Steve, Steve and their
grease-covered coworker.  There does seem to be a constant, gradual
movement of inventory in this place, however.  I am now convinced that the
cars and trucks flow constantly, like glacial ice, toward some unseen
final exit.  I've sold six vehicles into the yard in the past twelve
years.  All of these vehicles have been quickly swallowed up in the
rusting mountains of iron, plastic and steel.  I once brought in a 1964
Ford pickup that had stranded me on the highway three miles out of town. 
I have no patience with vehicles that die unexpectedly, and that Ford had
taken me completely by surprise when the differential disintegrated.  I
towed it home behind an old Eldorado and sold it to Fred the next day. 

    That truck was rolled in through the gates of the yard on a Wednesday. 
By Saturday, when I went back to look for a Pinto taillight lens, the
truck was nowhere in sight.  Surprised that it would be crushed and taken
away so quickly (it wasn't a bad truck, the blown rear-end
notwithstanding) I asked one of the Steves what they'd done with it. 
"Over with the other fuckin' Fords," he said, hooking a thumb to the west. 
I followed his instructions toward the back of the lot where a grove of
cedar trees started.  I climbed over a large pile of engine blocks,
squeezed between a school bus and a Dodge van, and leaped over crevasses
that had formed between half- submerged Lincoln Continentals, Mercury
Zephyrs and Ford Fairlanes.  I finally found my old pickup mixed in with a
dozen other Ford trucks of similar vintage.  The engine had been pulled,
the tires and wheels were off, and the bed was filled with rusting
tie-rods, leaf springs and bumpers.  It was completely surrounded by other
vehicles, some stacked five deep in the mud.  I couldn't see any possible
access, and concluded that the truck must have been either airlifted or
thrown to its final resting place. 
 
    I stepped out of the office and, carrying my wrenches, began searching
for the proper pulley.  I walked in the general direction that Fred had
indicated, detouring around the opaque black puddles until I was deep into
Chrysler territory.  I didn't believe Fred's contention that a slant six
and a 318 shared the same pulley, so I searched for a car or truck with a
V-8 to scavenge from.  The visit to the office had not been for the
purpose of locating the pulley anyway; Fred had no idea what parts could
be found in his yard, or where they might be.  The only reason to stop was
so that Fred would know who was in his yard, and to make sure that he
considered it open for business.  It was rumored around town that Fred had
shot at more than one customer who had been found prowling around in the
back of his yard at the wrong time of day.  Fortunately Fred had very bad
eyesight and was, as a consequence, a very poor shot. 

    I found the pulley I needed dangling off the rusted engine block in
the front of a battered Dodge Tradesman van.  The water pump had been
removed from the cracked block, and the pulley was hanging by a rubber
belt from the alternator.  There was no need to use my tools.  I just
plucked the pulley out from the engine compartment, separated it from the
radiator fan with a yank, and headed back to the office. 
 
    "How much?" I asked, tossing the pulley onto the desk in front of Fred.

    "Five bucks," he said, looking me in the eye.  I fished a five out of
my wallet and slapped it into his palm, then picked up my pulley.  He kept
his hand held out. "Plus eight percent for the Governor," he said. 

    "Fuck the Governor," I said.  Fred's laugh bellowed out of the trailer
and cackled from the speaker as I walked down the steps. 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "In Museums" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthew Mason

                   If the naked statuary
                   isn't shamed, then why are we?
                   Marble penis, oaken chest,
                   surely pale compared with flesh.
                   Granite nipples, painted thighs,
                   cannot be the best designs!
                   We, in all our varied frames,
                   curtain our bodies, obsessed with shame;
                   why can't fellow patrons see us
                   walking naked through museums?

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Conversation Hearts Ghazal" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthew Mason

              Love is shredded wheat.  Filling,
              but it passes quickly.
                   --Herb Verde

   Am I a melon?  Will I be "good" only if your blows echo roundly inside?
   Why can't you just move your lips around my rind?

   I stare at my socks, say "Let's go," and we strip,
   shaving carrots becoming smoother, slicker, transfigured.

   But neither of us has screamed, "Stop!  I'm dizzy.  Please, let me off."
   We only say "Yes," like bread does, apples or milk.

   Will you love me though I'll no longer eat honey?
   Lick every smear of chocolate syrup?

   Will you kiss me?  Imagine the inside of my lip sweet again?
   Will your tongue cool; again mistrustful, again?

   In the wild, do humans mate for life?
   Will you...  No, your hands on my thigh are cold, wide and cold.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Leaving Home" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kris M. Kalil

                 Crouching near my car
                 I plunge my fingers
                 Into the thick black fur
                 Of my German Shepard dog
                                      Dogs
                 And cry because they are both with me
                 Guarding me
                 From the trembling earth

                 Cry because the beast is near
                 Steadily searching
                 Grasping, groping with a methodical fury
                 Telegraphed to my trembling hands
                 Through the shifting ground beneath my feet

                 But I can't leave you
                 Oh God,
                 Why don't you come?

                 Praying to the house of my childhood
                 I watch the windows for a fleeting shadow
                 Wait for the door that inhaled you
                 To blow you back to me

                 A coward
                 I can't run
                 The width of the street
                 I can't scream
                 The beacon of your name
                 To guide you back to me

                 The dark mass of the beast
                 Erupts into my periphery
                 Roaring, reaching
                 As the solid bulk of my dog
                                        (Dogs)
                 Returns his challenge
                 And leaps from my grip

                 Don't leave me!
                 Oh God,
                 Why don't you come?

                 The house continues to hold its breath
                 As I hold mine
                 In the ensuing silence
                 Stillness
                 Waiting for the ground to tremble 
                 With the release of a scream 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Interview" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Karen Alkalay-Gut

     (With thanks to the students of Wayne State University, University 
      of Delaware, and Ben Gurion University)

                I am jet-lagged, tired, fluey, disoriented. 
                The reading is over, the adrenalin is already
                beginning to diminish, and I am remembering
                my ingrown toenail, the itch on my eyebrow,
                the thirst ignored for almost an hour.
                I scratch, shift my weight, sip the water,
                and brace myself for the poems created
                by those who have read deeply into mine.
                Sometimes these questions are like blows
                whose force is felt the morning after.

                "Do you always write the truth?"

                Do you mean my own experiences,
                what happens to me,
                felt on my skin?  Sometimes
                I breathe truths from long ago
                or far away.  They
                make their way from lungs to screen. 
                Or they belong to those I love,
                incorporated unwillingly,
                exposed in thin 
                disguise.

                "Do you mind revealing such intimacies
                to strangers?"  

                More painful to reveal
                them to friends.

                "Do you live as wild a life as you imagine?"

                No one 
                could live
                that wild a life.

                But sometimes it is wilder.

                "Isn't there a discrepancy between
                the poetic and the critical life?

                They feed
                each other
                like the lion
                and the lamb

                (Of course, as the joke goes,
                we have to replace the lamb every day.)

                "Must poets always be lonely?"

                Afterward, I walk out into fresh air
                with whoever was assigned to feed me,
                often someone I really want to know better, 
                and we discuss surprising intimacies

                while part of me remains 
                in the auditorium

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 "Frozen with a Stranger in the Park" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J.D. Rummel

    That year, autumn closed around the eyes of the Midwest like a dead
man's hand, somehow relaxing its chilling grasp to allow sporadic glimpses
of a warmer summer, a time long past. 

    He had never been here before.  Larger urban centers, such as Chicago
or the coastal Los Angeles or New York, suited his needs far better than
here; as he wandered through the airport terminal these facts were not
lost to him, and plainly he had no idea what he hoped to find in such a
place. 

    He chose to stand outside, undisturbed by the brisk night air and its
augury of a harsh winter.  The dim electric light and utter lack of
activity gave the loading zone a spectral, forlorn quality.  There were
only the three of them.  Himself, tall, thin, dressed so fashionably and
with such poise that he might have stepped from the pages of a magazine,
and the two uniformed, commercial pilots he had seen inside who'd been
assigned the task of hauling his baggage.  Quietly, and with a
deliberation reserved for the mentally impaired, they stacked his
belongings. 

    From the south came a sudden rush of activity, disrupting the funereal
atmosphere of the late evening; headlights pierced forward, washing the
dapper figure in whiteness.  A black stretch Cadillac jerked to an echoing
halt, positioning its trunk so as to most efficiently receive a flow of
luggage. 

    The driver jumped out with the same type of confused energy
demonstrated by the limos's approach.  He straightened his uniform and
hurried around the vehicle.  He was a rangy young man, whose gut was
beginning to swell from too much beer and not enough sweat.  Long brown
hair and a thin moustache shaded his narrow face. 

    "Mr. Traven?" he asked, slightly touching his cap brim. It was a false
gesture, carried out with awkwardness. 

    The perfectly dressed figure nodded and smiled.  He motioned the
pilots to begin loading his baggage into the Cadillac.  The driver looked
at this and then to Traven, a perplexed expression curling across his
face.  A face that said: airplane pilots don't do this. 

    Jed Traven formed an innocent grin, "Frequent Flyer perk," he said. 

    "Errr. . .My name is Ron, and I'll be your chauffeur," said the
driver. 

    "It's nice to meet you, Ron;"  Traven glanced down at an expensive
watch, "a little late, though." 

    Ron swallowed, "I'm sorry about that. . .I, well, I didn't..." 
    
    Traven let out a gentle laugh, "No harm done, Ron.  To be honest, I
have all the time there is."  He squeezed Ron's shoulder and the chauffeur
relaxed-- the gesture conveying good will.  "Let's go have some fun."  He
turned and waved the pilots away.  "You may go now, gentlemen." 

    Ron watched them shuffle off, moving with a sluggishness that would
explain any air disasters they might be involved in.  He then opened the
rear door of the limousine and Jed slid across the sumptuous velour seats. 
The interior was expansive and held every requested convenience.  He
opened an ice-cold can of soda and took a long drink.  "You know, Ron,
cold Squirt is one of man's greatest achievements.  I wish we'd had it
when I was younger." 

    Ron glanced at the rearview.  Traven hadn't seemed that old when he
looked at him earlier.  The image that played back was unclear in the
interior gloom of the car.  He swung the vehicle out and toward the exit. 
"Oh, yeah, yeah, I like beer myself--Black and Tans--you ever have one?" 
It was apparently a rhetorical question as Ron never ceased speaking long
enough for a reply to be issued. "It's Guinness an' Harp, the Guinness is
too heavy to mix with the Harp so they stay separate."  Ron looked again
into the mirror, using it as a reference point for the conversation. He
wiped at the muddy reflection with his sleeve. "So, where to?" he asked. 

    Traven let out a satisfied sigh as he finished the soda.  Something
was starting to tingle in his throat, like the onset of the flu. "What is
the most expensive hotel in town?" he asked. 

    "Uh, there's a Red Lion downtown that used to be a Hilton. Do you have
a reservation?" 

    Traven stared out the tinted window as the dark scenery rolled past.
"I won't need a reservation."  His voice had a confidence, as if sharing
some easily verified statistic. 

    "Yeah, yeah, you're probably right.  I can't imagine they'd be full. 
Listen, are you here for business or pleasure?" 

    "I can't say." 

    "Oh, yeah, yeah.  Listen, sometimes I get to talking too much, you
know?  So if I do, just let me know, okay?" 

    Traven chuckled, "I like to talk, and I enjoy listening, so you and I
should get along well.  Tell me, Ron, where can a fellow meet ladies in
this town?" 

    Ron pumped his head in a nod, "Yeah, yeah, I dunno. What're you
looking for?" 

    "Any warm-blooded female will do," he said, wiggling his eyebrows. 

    And Ron replied, "Yeah, yeah." 



    Ron waited outside the bar with the engine idling, keeping the car
warm.  This guy he was driving around was something else.  A mover and a
shaker.  He had to be some big-wig somewhere because the staff at the Red
Lion had fallen all over themselves trying to please him.  He reminded Ron
of a rock star, the way things started happening when he appeared.  But he
wasn't stuck-up or anything. He laughed at all of Ron's jokes, so it
didn't matter to Ron if the guy was a serial killer.  And the guy did like
to talk, just like he'd said.  He talked about things like a man who'd
been rescued from a deserted island.  He seemed hungry for companionship. 


 
    Balls of light floated across the floor and the people.  Monitors
flashed images from the ceiling and walls; cartoons, dancers, weight
lifters all blipped around on the multiple screens.  On the gleaming,
blinking dance floor men and women twisted and bounced to the pulsing
music. Some moved with style, others stomped and jerked to an utterly
private rhythm.  The room flickered with a strobe light.  White beams
rushed out to illuminate a swirling haze of smoke, then withdrew just as
rapidly.  And the closeness of it all--heat curled around the room and
squeezed droplets of sweat from the most sedentary figures, causing liquor
to splash and flow over ice and down into mouths. 

    Traven tasted iron and salt in the thick air as he passed through the
room. His presence turned heads, drew unconscious stares, generated
whispers.  Some saw him as taller than he was.  If questioned, none would
be able to agree on hair color or length, eye color, or build; they would
only concur that he issued a siren call for attention. 

    In the terribly over-crowded bar, Traven cleared a section of an
occupied table with snappy conversation that everyone heard despite the
crashing music;  he requested drinks for the entire table and entertained
those seated around him with an infectious and charming humor that defied
recounting.  Everyone would remember the words and the evening
differently. 

    But as successful as he was, Traven could not concentrate on the
business at hand.  As his newfound guests looked at him, expecting some
engaging anecdote, he felt a long-denied past pushing at him for
recognition.  None of the people were his friends, none knew him.  There
was no Jonathan Rollins amongst them.  How he had enjoyed sitting in the
kitchen with Rollins, tossing back and forth opinion and
observations--pretending that the concerns of such finite lives were
important. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons, he and Parson Dale would play
chess, treating each game as a learning experience.  He missed such times
more than he thought possible. 

    "Can I get you anything?" he heard someone say. 

    His vision focused on a nametag that read: Colleen. Reverie faded as
his eyes trailed from the nameplate across the soft, swollen expanse of
silk covered breasts.  He directed his gaze higher, taking in the ringlet
tresses of blonde, the smooth, powdered face and perfectly shaded blue
eyes. 

    She smiled, "I said, can I get you anything?"  Her voice was loud,
working against the music, unaware of how keen his hearing was. 

    Jed returned her smile with fluid grace, insinuating his will at a
spot just behind her electric blue eyes. 

    "Would you step outside with me?" his voice rolled across to her,
clear and distinct, as if there were no music for it to compete with.  She
mustered a good natured grin, and held up her hand, wiggling the ring
finger so that the wedding band caught the intermittent light. 

    His grasp around her hand was not startling. It seemed the way things
should be.  It was right, totally without threat, yet insistent. Standing,
he gently tugged her toward the door.  They stepped through the crowd,
never seeming to touch anyone, parting the people as they moved. The group
offered little notice of their passage.  It seemed to Colleen that time
had slowed, thickened like cold syrup. Reality was leaking out of the
corners of the curiously tilted room.  She thought if she could just open
her eyelids wider everything would be normal, and she might find herself
at home in bed. 

    Outside, the low hanging moon was too large in the sky, and though she
saw clouds of her own breath, the cold was not apparent. In fact, Colleen
tingled with warmth, perhaps because her heart was beating so noticeably,
the blood flow booming and booming just below her ears. 

    The door of the Cadillac opened to a dark, somehow inviting interior. 

    In his hand, Colleen felt the ring sliding off her finger, not
catching on the knuckle as usual, but flowing smoothly, as if the ring
were many times too big. 

    He held the jewelry between their faces, the facets reflecting red
from his carmine-colored eyes.  "The man who gave you this has forgotten
how a woman like you must be held, how you deserve to be touched," she
heard. 

    And fingers like the touch of rabbit fur trailed down her cheek
pausing briefly over the thickening veins of her neck, then curved under
the hair and combed the loose strands outward.  She drew closer to him. 
He tilted his head down and kissed her.  She had no idea why she was doing
this; it was wrong, but it was as if her conscience had been drugged and
abandoned in some mental basement.  It was true, she thought, her man had
forgotten her, had treated her like some securely stored possession.  She
returned Traven's kiss now, along his cheek and ear, wanting to be closer. 

    She knew he was speaking to her, but the words seemed like warm,
buttered things that melted and seeped under her flesh. She drifted
backward into the shadows offered by the limo; she had a need to feel
those hands on her skin.  The clothing she had earlier tucked, buttoned
and brushed so carefully seemed to dissolve from around her. 

    He knows you, Colleen, something whispered. 

    She guided his hands, saw him despite the darkness, and there was no
mistaking that he cared about Colleen. When those fingertips brushed her,
when his lips and tongue moistened her, she jolted at the pure contact he
granted.  An animal drug was glutting her veins, racking her with spasms
and making her gasp. She welcomed the foreign chemistry, hoping it would
stay longer, that the slow-time of before would stretch and stretch this
moment.  There was a will flowing into her now, an alien presence pumping
across her senses, more than the sound of breath and muscular effort, more
than smells of cologne and deodorant stirred by sweat, more than glimpses
of flesh working in the blackness, more than the salty rich flavor against
her tongue, even more than the animal touch that found her out; within her
now was something beyond her past experience, outside her reasoning, but
never far from her desires.  For all the passion she knew she was safe,
kept in a warm place by one who saw her innermost self and accepted it. 

    And as she floated somewhere with him she welcomed the breaking of the
vein, never begrudging his own pleasure and taking.  Because she
recognized it all as a natural act--a meeting of mutual needs. 


 
    The sleep that came to him later was not the same as long ago, not
like the rest of a man; in the unlit room, with sheets over his head and
heavy cloths draping the windows, he lie in a semi-conscious state, aware
of his surroundings but lacking energy or enthusiasm to deal with any
changes that might occur. 

    Still, a part of him slipped away, seeking release from all the
growing weight that squeezed him when he was mobile.  The figures were all
very clear to him. 

    Very clear.  There was Kay, with her ember-red hair and intelligence;
Lynn, whose wide, grey eyes moved him and made her shocking past so
incredible; Anne, possessed of a spirit that eclipsed her ordinary
features and drew him like a lodestone. Anne shone the brightest this
time. 

    Because it was a dream, things happened that were not true.  The
sadness was not with him, and the night was bright and sunny.  Rather than
leaving her, he remained, spoke with her, learned that she was indeed
everything he wanted her to be.  Her smile and laughter surrounded him;
her silences were mysterious and troubling; she held him in a soft, iron
snare.  The facts held no authority in this world, only what he wanted to
take shape, did.  Because it was a dream nothing went wrong and the two of
them built a better place to be. 

    Because of the sun setting in the real world, because of what he was,
the figures began to lose their definition, the better place started to
recede and dim.  For all the things he could make happen, he had no power
to grasp the dream and make it stay. He could see it, but he could not
touch it. And after a while, he could not see it, either. 

    The sun was down now.  He knew it and his eyes opened.  Movement
became easy again.  He cast the sheets off and showered.  He was hungry. 



    Under the porte-cochere Ron sat in the Cadillac.  Music thrummed from
the expensive stereo making him twitch and shake.  His eyes were closed
and he was smiling, recalling the night before.  That strung-out woman was
wild.  Whatever Traven gave her was some good stuff.  He wondered if
Traven was on the run, if he'd see his photo on one of those criminal
call-in shows.  He wondered what sort of reward there was for him, if any. 
A guy this smooth had to be illegal. 

    "Did the young lady get home safely, Ron?" 

    Ron jerked around so violently he heard a cracking noise from his
neck.  "Geez!  I didn't hear you get in!"  There was a startled anger as
he spoke. 

    Traven ignored the tone, grinning.  "I shouldn't wonder, the radio is
a bit loud, don't you think?" 

    Ron swallowed, remembered that he was talking to a client, remembered
that he couldn't afford to be fired again.  "Yeah, yeah," he said, turning
the volume down. 

    Traven asked again, "The young woman did arrive home without
incident?" 

    Ron was surprised at the honest concern he heard.  "Oh, yeah, yeah,
she wasn't walkin' all that good, but I got her to the door." 

    "Good." 

    Ron rubbed his neck where it was beginning to ache. "So, where to?" 

    Jed Traven made a face.  "I hadn't really given it much thought." 

    Ron guided the car down the drive, glancing at the rearview as he
spoke.  The reflection was still blurred; he had forgotten to clean the
damn thing.  "It's too bad you don't have a costume, I know a couple
parties where they're givin' away prizes for the best costume." 

    Traven opened a can of Squirt.  "And to think I almost dressed up like
a duck tonight." 

    Ron looked back over his shoulder.  "Huh?" 

    "Why on earth would you expect me to wear a costume?" 

    "Well, Halloween, you know. . ." 

    Traven looked up through the polarized moonroof. "Tonight is
Halloween?" 

    Ron wondered how out of touch this guy was.  "Yeah, yeah, it's my
favorite holiday, even though I don't do much for it anymore, y'know?  I
usually watch some bad movie, or one of the old Universal classics, maybe
visit a haunted house. . ." 

    "Haunted house?" 

    "Yeah, yeah, y'know, people put 'em together--radio stations,
charities-- they charge you to get in, then give the money to crippled
kids, like." 

    "Do you know a good one?" 

    Ron caught the interest in Traven's question.  "Oh, yeah, yeah, Spirit
in the Night--like the Springsteen song, 'Like spirits in the night (all
night) in the night (all night)'" Ron's singing was raspy, he performed a
miniature concert, exhorting an invisible crowd. 

    "Ron, does your boss get a lot of comments on you?" 

    "Yeah, yeah, but I work cheap." 

    Traven smiled.  "It has been a long time since I truly enjoyed myself. 
Do you think it would be fun?" 

    "Yeah, yeah." 

    "Do you need a costume?" 

    What ship dumped this guy off? Ron wondered.  "Uhh, no." 

    Traven nodded, "Ron, let's go to a haunted house." 

    "Awright!" And Ron hit the gas. 


    
    A long line of people huddled in the cold outside a derelict office
structure.  A painted sign was illuminated by floodlights and girlish
squeals emanated from the interior of the decaying building.  In the
parking lot a wolf-man jumped out from behind some cars and growled at
newcomers and passers-by. 

     Ron looked at the pseudo-lycanthrope and said to Traven, "That guy's
no Lon Chaney." 

     Traven examined the substantial crowd waiting before the entrance,
"With such a group how do they expect to frighten anyone?" 

     Ron's voice dropped to a dejected register as he spied the line. 
"Aww man, we'll never get in." 

     Traven touched his forefinger to his chin.  "I don't wish to go in
such a crowd.  We'll go in first, and have the others wait out here." 

     Ron slowly turned toward him.  "You wanna cut a line that size? 
Maybe I better stay here." 

     "Nonsense.  Do you see any girl you'd like to go in with?" 

     "Girl?" Ron asked. 

     "Certainly.  Being frightened with a shrieking female appears to be
the charm of this operation.  What would be the point of being brave and
bold for each other?" 

     Ron wondered if the man had been consuming his own drugs. "Uh, that
blonde with the big guy near the front looks good."  He said this not as a
joke, but as a test, to call the bluff of someone over-reaching his
ability. 

     For a moment Traven hesitated, and Ron felt a rush of triumph. 
"Well,"  Traven said, "she's wearing a lot of make-up, but it is
Halloween, I suppose.  Very well."  He pointed at the line.  "I like the
one with the long black hair." 

     Ron followed at a discreet distance, prepared to watch a savage ass-
kicking, and pick up the pieces.  Moments later Traven returned with the
two girls they had singled out, his arms draped over each. 

     "Ron," he said, "you are with Rebecca." 

     Ron nodded, taking only a glancing notice of the girl's groggy
condition.  "Hi. . .Rebecca."  He faced Traven, "Y'know, up until now the
best trick I ever saw was my cousin John juggling three apples and taking
a bite out of one--I think this is better."  And he put his arm around the
girl. 

     "Just to make sure, later, I'll take a bite out of one,"  Traven
said, winking.  And Ron laughed a dirty, ignorant laugh. 

     They stepped up to the entrance.  The line was halted, waiting for
the signal for the next bunch to go ahead.  Ron had no more doubts that
Traven would have his way.  At the ticket counter his faith was justified. 

     Traven spoke to a young woman and a uniformed security guard. 

     "We would like to go in now, just the four of us." 

     The girl making change shook her head and waved her hand like some
annoying bug was in the air, then her eyes glazed over. "Sure," she said. 

     The security guard's eyebrows shot up so fast they threatened to
leave his head, but when he looked at Traven her agreement seemed
perfectly natural--the best of all possible options. 

     Traven looked away from the guard and spoke. "Incidentally, what
charity does this benefit?" 

     The ticket girl tried to focus her eyes and replied numbly; "Uh,
muscular dystrophy. . ." her words dropped off, as if she had forgotten
her lines. 

     Jed pulled a roll of green bills from his pocket, cracked off several
notes whose value far exceeded the fair toll, then strolled inside with
his date. 

     In the cold outside, the crowd was angry; some muttered, some even
shouted obscenities; even the two men who couldn't remember what happened
to their dates were mad. 


 
    Tonight, Ron had broken probably half the company rules he'd promised
to observe.  Of course he didn't really care, this Jed Traven was just too
much fun; the haunted house, dinner, dancing, it was the best date he'd
ever been on, even if his girl did seem more interested in Traven, and
more than a little out of it. 

    He thought about that as he lugged Traven's zombie-woman to her front
door.  Maybe all this guy did was drug-up his dates, but he had never seen
any street action that worked like this.  At the door she seemed to rally,
just like the others, and go back to living with nothing but a pleasant
memory that she could not detail. 

     Traven stared out the rear window.  Although he saw Ron returning he
could not lose the image of Ron carry-walking the female up the pavement.
Nothing had changed. Had he really thought it would?  Now that he was
sated, objectivity returned.  He had gone out and done what he always did. 
This time he gave a complete stranger a human toy to play with.  How
removed from humanity he was. It was always like this; first the hunger,
with its utter disregard for the feelings of others, then the detached joy
of needs being met. How predatory he was. Finally there was the sadness,
the realization that he was no longer a man, just a shadow who lived on
those of substance. This place was the same as everywhere else. 

    Ron got back into the car.  "Okay, I got her inside." 

    He turned up the heater fan, put the limo in gear and started to drive
the early morning streets.  He reached into a sack, removed and then
skillfully opened an imported beer. As he made a turn, several empties
clinked on the floorboard.  "So, where to?" he asked. 

    "Someplace quiet." 

    "If it wasn't so cold I'd. . ." --he cut loose a hollow belch--
"pardon me, I'd say the park." 

    Traven cocked an eyebrow.  "The park will do nicely." 

    Ron shrugged and made a sharp turn, almost entering the wrong lane of
traffic.  "I s'pose you can keep us out of trouble if the Man shows
up--it's way after hours and. . ."  He held up the beer. 

     "You learn quickly." 

     "Oh, yeah, yeah.  Hey, listen, I wanna tell ya, I been thinking, and
man, you were right."  Ron addressed the blurry reflection. 

    "How's that?" 

    "About Rebecca--she did have too much make-up on." 

    Ron thought he could make out Traven's eyes rolling back. 

    "The unexamined life is not worth leading, Ron." 

    "Oh, yeah, yeah,"  Ron replied. 

    Jed saw the park much better under the white moon than Ron did.  The
frosty lagoon sparkled like broken glass, and leaves drifted down in the
breeze settling upon other leaves, forming a shifting, rustling carpet
over the earth.  The pair stepped across the brittle covering, each with a
peculiar gait.  Ron moved unsteadily, the beer flushing his motor centers,
making his moves measured and uncertain.  The beer also prevented him from
noticing that Traven's steps, even in the leaves, were noiseless.  He
travelled like an early morning fog: visible, quiet, and disturbing
nothing. 

    Ron looked around.  "Gee, it's kinda nice; we shoulda kept the girls
with us."  The words slurred together ever so slightly, and something
about the statement twisted a knot in Traven's skull. 

    "They would have come because I made them want to, not because they
cared. Doesn't that bother you?" 

    The question had an intensity that intimidated Ron.  He spoke
hesitantly, the alcohol adding to his deliberation. "Uh, no, not really. 
It just felt good to have them along. Who cares why?" 

    Traven relaxed slightly, nodding.  "Yes, it's like that, the feeling
of power.  But very quickly the reality of who you are slips away and
before long they aren't people anymore..."  Ron glanced sideways at the
man, assessing him.  He took a drink and spoke. "Man, what is wrong?" 

    Traven returned the look.  "What?" 

    "Look.  You ditched two, three, maybe more women.  You got money, some
style."  He looked at Traven for an extended moment. "A lot of style.  You
could probably go anywhere in the world, an' here you are, standing in the
park with a drunken stranger, freezing.  There's something wrong with
you." 

    Traven smiled.  "That's the first insightful thing I've heard you
say." 

    Ron shrugged, "It's the beer." 

    The two of them moved toward a picnic table and sat down on its top. 
Traven steepled his fingers and stared off. "I had a dream about an old
friend named Anne." 

    Ron's lips made a smacking noise as he pulled the bottle away. "You
were in love?" 

    Traven nodded, "Yes. But she's gone now." 

    Ron made a dull face and finished the beer.  "Y'know I don't wanna
make you mad, but yer better off. Sooner or later she'd let you down.
Everybody lets ya down--men, women, friends, family." 

    "I'm sorry you feel that way. Surely you have someone in your life. A
lover." 

    Ron straightened, as if accused of some unnatural act. "No, I don't... 
Well, y'know I don't... I sorta make women mad, y'know?  It was really
great tonight, having a girl do what I liked without wondering what she
was thinkin' about, tryin' to figure out why she did something. Y'know?" 

    "My, I can't imagine any woman being mad at you." 

    Even through the beers Ron heard the sarcasm and bristled, "Yeah,
well, not everybody's as smooth as you.  If I could do the things you
do..." 

    Traven halted him with a glance.  "No.  What I do is wrong, but I have
to do it." 

    Ron waved him off.  "Hey, I know what you mean.  It's like, you gotta
have it, but it's not fair that these other people have got it, and. . .ya
gotta go through all this bullshit to get what you want.  And what you
want is lots simpler than what she wants." 

    Traven shook his head and blinked, "We are talking about two separate
things." 

    Ron pulled a beer from his coat pocket, opened the bottle and spoke
with less heat.  "So tell me about Anne. She couldn't handle you always
scammin' on the ladies?" 

    Traven's lips turned into a wistful smile. "No, I let her go.  I never
allowed myself too near, never took the chance." 

    Ron squinted, "I don't get it." 

    "What I mean is, when I saw that she could affect me, I left." 

    Ron curled his lip, nodded, "Smart move, when you know they can make
you crazy--run away." 

     "But I ran too many times, too far. I found things on the edge..." He
halted, considering his audience. "I was afraid that if I let someone
close enough, even someone I wanted to be there, I would give that
person..." He shook his head. "If you allow yourself to care, you give
part of yourself..."  Again he stopped.  "In loving someone there is a
chance for losing control, because you are trusting outside your field of
authority. I could never do that, I had to have my control. Now of course,
I have it, and I envy humans their capacity to give themselves over to
another.  To trust someone else is a wonderful thing." 

     He turned to Ron and asked, "Why are you wasting this opportunity?" 

     "Huh?" 

     "You have this great potential for an adventure, an exhilarating
experience, the chance of winning or losing, a marvelous gamble, but you
too are freezing with a stranger in the park.  Why?" 

      Ron squeezed his temples and sniffled in the cold. He looked at
Traven with the glare of someone feeling cheated, then finally he spoke. 
"It's so complicated, y'know?"  He considered the beer, then rested it
between his knees. "Y'know, I watched my mom and dad, they didn't have an
adventure. . ."  He pursed his lips--tasting the words before he issued
them.  "It was work.  Hard work.  Everyday, y'know?  I don't think I ever
saw anything I wanted."  Ron sniffled again, staring at his shoes.  "If
what they had is love, who needs it?" 

     "Are you loved, Ron?  Certainly you'd be missed by people, you'd
leave some hole, but the hole would close over.  Would anyone refuse to
let it close?" 

      "Nope," Ron said in an almost whisper, "you?" 

      "I wouldn't even leave a hole." 

      Ron gazed at Traven, deep into eyes he had seen squeeze the will out
of strangers, pulp the conscious logic of so many people.  Traven returned
the moment, trying to dredge up some trace of a long-lost humanity.  Ron
took a swig of his beer and said:  "I really gotta piss." 

     And both of them snorted and looked away, laughing at the scene they
had built between them.  Ron rose and stumbled to a tree, while Jed Traven
wandered over to the pond, curious if it would freeze solid, or if it were
deep enough to retain some softness underneath.  The moonbeams broke into
thousands of tiny twinkles on the surface making it hard to judge. 

     Ron drew abreast of him.  "So, what are you doing here?" 

     Traven breathed a long, slow sigh and Ron distantly wondered why no
steam issued forth in the cold. Finally, Traven spoke, "Every so often I
try to run from what I am.  I never make it." 

     Ron nodded, "Yeah, yeah," he said.  "It's like this movie I saw.  It
had one good line, y'know how some movies are like that?  Just one good
thing?  In it, this guy says: 'No matter where you go--there you are.'
Y'know?" 

     "Yes, I think I do." 

     And the vampire listened as Ron told him the entire plot to the movie
with one good thing, because there were so many hours until dawn and he
really had nowhere else to go. 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                              About the Authors

Karen Alkalay-Gut (gut22@ccsg.tau.ac.il) teaches English at Tel Aviv
University.  Her hobbies are rock music and dogs and poetry. 

A.J. Axline could not be reached for a biography by press time.

Mike Capsambelis could not be reached for a biography by press time.

Robert A. Fulkerson (co-editor, morpo-bond@morpo.creighton.edu) is a
graduate student in computer science, even though he's not sure why he's
there or whether or not he'll return in his next life as a llama. 

John Alex Hebert (jlh2646@usl.edu, include note that it is for John) lives
in Lafayette, LA, the fetid heart of Cajun culture.  He is presently
working as a deckhand on a oil field supply boat in the Gulf. 

Matthew Douglas Heys (co-editor, morpo-kneebend@morpo.creighton.edu) lives
in Omaha, Nebraska and is a tireless campaigner for peace between the
warring bakeries of the upper Midwest. - m@

Kris M. Kalil (kkalil@creighton.edu) is an intrepid world traveler
searching for the perfect slice of cheesecake and is a graduate student in
English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Byron Lanning (bjlanning@delphi.com) works as a struggling writer in
Missouri. 

Niki LeBoeuf (vortexae@mintir.new-orleans.la.us) is a senior at Metairie
Park Country Day High School and is undecided about college but is
planning to major in either English/Creative Writing or Music Composition. 

Matt Mason (co-editor, morpo-frog@morpo.creighton.edu) is a penitent donut
eater currently living in California for no apparent reason. 

Colin Morton (aa905@freenet.carleton.ca) is a full-time writer who lives
in Ottawa, Canada.  His most recent book of poems is _How to Be Born
Again_ (Quarry Press). 

David Pellerin (pellerin@netcom.com) is a freelance writer who lives
somewhere east of Duvall, Washington. He has owned 27 used cars. 

Todd Robinson (trobinso@unomaha.edu) is fervently trying to get into
graduate writing programs around the country.  He is relatively happy, for
the nonce. 

J.D. Rummel (rummel@creighton.edu) hopes to combine his tremendous natural
talent and abundant charm into a career as a financially successful writer
of fiction.  Witness this paragraph as evidence of his fictional
greatness. 

Miranda Schatten (miranda@wam.umd.edu) is an Electrical Engineering
student and a government employee, with strong interests in science, music
and poetry. 

Edgar Sommer (sommer@gmd.de) is continuously climbing the walls to nodom. 
The colliding banter is making his eyes empty all the time. 

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                              In Their Own Words

"The blinds aren't from Venice" (Todd Robinson)
  "The speaker in the poem is unable to reconcile his conflicting feelings
  regarding the 'bohemian' girl walking down his street.  She appeals to
  him on an aesthetic level, but she also angers him.  He despises her
  aura of self-confidence and 'hipness,' yet he takes voyeuristic pleasure
  in watching her 'round little self.' He's confused, much like the
  author." 

"Traces in a Fast Food Restaurant" (Niki LeBoeuf)
  "'Writer's Block' can make one very desperate for inspiration, so I told
  myself to scribble something about the first thing I saw. The first
  thing I saw was an empty Sprite can. So I scribbled and showed it to a
  friend of mine (who had been responsible for emptying that Sprite can)
  who proceeded to write a haiku at me. I couldn't take that lying down,
  now, could I?" 

"Oh Bean Curd!" (Byron Lanning)
  "'Oh Bean Curd!' and its companion story, 'The Story,' belong to a
  collection of humor, tentatively called _Seeing Little Men Who Aren't 
  There_.  This collection will contain twenty pieces.  I have completed
  fourteen of them." 

"Grazing Through Life" (Miranda A. Schatten)
  "I wrote this poem in October 1993 during an introspective mindstorm,
  with thoughts of why people worry so much.  Perhaps I referred to cows
  because they are such 'contented' creatures." 

"the past mostly" (Edgar Sommer)
  "These pomes are pitchers in the mind for a brief moment as they are 
  written down.  Pitchers contain at least as much aural as visual Stuff, 
  in the platonic sense (just kidding).  I don't know them before this 
  happens, and don't understand them much after.  Author and reader are 
  pretty much in the same situation.  Welcome to excrimentalism.  Ola!" 

"The Frog Prince" (Karen Alkalay-Gut)
  "'The Frog Prince' - is a montage of other poems and cultural references
  from Emily Dickinson to Mick Jagger to Sesame Street that is meant to 
  show a culturally inbuilt narcissism that makes human relations 
  difficult at best." 

"snow baby" (Robert A. Fulkerson)
  "I am fascinated by the thoughts that run through the minds of various
  types of people.  There are all sorts of people out there, many of them
  hurting with no way out -- mothers, sons, teachers, cab drivers, 
  Alzheimer's sufferers, killers, crack babies.  This poem is a twist on 
  the 'walk a mile in another person's shoes' adage." 

"Tangents" (Karen Alkalay-Gut)
  "The material from 'Tangents' is autobiographical and biographical (Some
  of my friends recognize secrets they told me here.  I carefully disguise
  them).  I think it is about all kinds of contiguous experiences that put
  together show something about loneliness and the feeling of being 
  tangential to others." 

"Riding the Yokohama Night Train" (John Alex Hebert)
  "The nature of consciousness is such that it is a subjective roller
  coaster ride of sensual experience.  I wrote this poem because the 
  experience of living in Metro-Tokyo would not fit into the structure of 
  a short story or essay.  Watching the Tokyo masses suggested to me a 
  possible future world of socially engineered crowd control through 
  refined 'bread and circus' techniques." 

"Yes Kai, yes Margaret, yes, yes, yes" (Colin Morton)
  "Letters arrive in my mailbox every day asking for donations for worthy
  causes.  I want to say 'Yes' to all of them, and I do give what I feel I
  can.  But if these messages were all I knew of the world, I wouldn't
  have a hope.  By breaking up these appeals and looking at them as if
  through a kaleidoscope, I don't mean to make light of suffering, but to
  express the crazy-making frustration of one to whom it seems no amount
  of 'help' will ever be enough." 

"B and F Auto Wrecking" (David Pellerin)
  "Junkyards are on the verge of extinction in this country.  This is not
  necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.  Their disappearance is
  due to increasingly restrictive environmental regulations, suburban
  encroachment and the recent dominance of 'mega-yards' -- the junkyard
  equivalents of Wal-Mart stores.  The characters in
  _B_and_F_Auto_Wrecking_ are real.  I couldn't have made them up." 

"Leaving Home" (Kris M. Kalil)
  "I wrote 'Leaving Home' to rid myself of a haunting dream prompted by
  various upheavals in my life, both good and bad.  The feelings generated
  by these experiences, however, were the same:  vulnerability,
  instability and fear." 

"Interview" (Karen Alkalay-Gut)
  "'Interview' was written after I did a bunch of readings last year
  around the New York, Delaware, New Jersey area and was beginning to
  feel that the interviews I was giving were the only things that were
  grounding me in a reality of self.  So it's about losing it." 

"Frozen with a Stranger in the Park" (J.D. Rummel)
  "I wrote 'Stranger' in 1989 because I had never written a Halloween
  story.  Halloween is my favorite holiday and I wanted to try and
  capture that cool, autumnal sensation from my childhood.  In real life,
  the chauffeur is a friend of mine who actually can't drive.  There is a
  longer, duller explanation of the story, and anyone who cares can
  e-mail me at rummel@creighton.edu." 

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                       Addresses for _The Morpo Review_

 morpo-frog@morpo.creighton.edu . . . . . . . . . .  Matthew Mason, Co-Editor
 morpo-bond@morpo.creighton.edu . . . . . . . . . Robert Fulkerson, Co-Editor
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                         Submit to _The Morpo Review_

      What kind of work do we want?  How about Sonnets to Captain
Kangaroo, free-verse ruminations comparing plastic lawn ornaments to _Love
Boat_ or nearly anything with cows in it.  No, not cute, Smurfy little "ha
ha" ditties--back reality into a corner and snarl!  Some good examples are
"Oatmeal" by Galway Kinnell, "A Supermarket In California" by Allen
Ginsberg, or the 6th section of Wallace Stevens' "Six Significant
Landscapes." 

      But, hey, if this makes little or no sense, just send us good stuff;
if we like it, we'll print it, even if it's nothing close to the above
description of what we want (life's like that at times).  Just send us
good stuff, get published, and impress your pears and neighbors.  Deadline
for submissions for our next issue is February 15, 1994. 

      So send us your unhinged poetry, prose and essay contemplations at

                     morpo-submissions@morpo.creighton.edu

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