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Muster Magazine #4

Muster Magazine #4


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Published by say, "Waffle"
Here we go! Number Four all up in your business. Get it while it's hot folks, cause issue five drops may 15th, 2010 at the well fed artists league spring show. Big love.
Here we go! Number Four all up in your business. Get it while it's hot folks, cause issue five drops may 15th, 2010 at the well fed artists league spring show. Big love.

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Published by: say, "Waffle" on Apr 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Table of Contents

2 This is the Way We Communicate 3 The Story of Alex by the Sea 5 Untitled 6 Vaulting Horse, Part One 10 Substitute 12 Hungover Sunday 17 Haikus 18 Craving 19 Road Doggie Chronicles, Pt.1 20 One is the Only Number 21 Untitled 22 To The People 23 Two Layovers 24 Dark Matter Energy 25 Untitled 26 A Note from the Editor

John Harkins Elan Holdorf Kevin Belew M.E. Brown Manuel Arredondo Zach Costa Kate Burke Barbara O’Neal John Harkins Barbara O’Neal Barbara O’Neal Ashley Owen Chris Gould John Harkins Kyle Enright Chris Gould

This is the Way We Communicate

John Harkins

This is the way we communicate When it’s hot we greet one another with a heavy smug sigh “It’s a hot one, huh?” When it’s raining we glance to our neighbors and passerby’s “How bout this rain, eh?” When it’s cold we all grimace against the ice Give each other a look of mutual pain When there’s wind we all run after each others umbrellas and hats Lean into the gail To return windfall accouterments with communal concern Everyone’s hat or papers or tent is going to blow away someday So we run after the free floaters and find the owners We all have a common oppression or solace When there’s nothing to say we can always talk of the newest breeze Cresting the horizon


The Story of Alex by the Sea

Elan Holdorf

There once was a man named Alex Johnson. He lived on the beach in a cabin he had built himself. He owned a red jeep which he used to get to and from his house. He also owned and operated a plant on his property. It made bad stuff and fucked up the environment and no one knew about it but him. Then one year at a town banquet, Alex surprised everyone with something he had made in his factory. He pulled what looked like a cross between a chipmunk and a pig out of his coat pocket casually while he was sitting at the bar, and initially everyone was scared to death, but over the course of the evening, Alex took every last one of them under his wing. Life on the coast was hard, and everyone in Alex’s town had always been kind of in their own world. They took drugs, had sex in groups, and didn’t care about anythign outside of their little town. So as months and years went by, Alex was able to do some crazy stuff in his factory, and the locals were okay with it, because they were able to reap the benefits. The girls Alex fucked always died within a month or two after fucking him, but no one gave a shit because his factory made so much cool stuff. Alex began giving his friends things like fridges that kept food fresh forever, pills that made you never get hurt, and one year, he even came up with a tool that offered all of the town’s hopeless weed addicts a way to finally scrape their lungs free of resin. Everyone in Alex’s town was happy in their own way and would never leave. One reason for this was that the sunsets on that part of the coast were spectacular. One day, as Alex sat naked on the sand, beneath the most lovely sky he’d ever seen, something crazy happened. There was a woman on his cock. She slid up and down gracefully, nearing orgasm, and when she came, she died. Alex dumped her body in the sea, then cooked himself a vegan meal, and ate it while watching a film on television. Sitting in his black office chair in his cabin, with his feet propped up on his favorite table, starign at his television, eating vegan food, is how he rolled. Things were great in town, until one year, when Alex’s garden went bad. The weather turned, and people started to get sick, the cure for aids that he had been working on hadn’t worked, cause he was still sick with it, and everythign else in his factory was turning out wrong also. Then one day, right around sunset, as the sky filled with the most luscious colors of orange and blue and pink and red, a group of the town’s men got together and drove up to Alex’s cabin in their trucks. Reeking of cigarettes and booze, they broke down the door to his house, only to find that he had flew the coop. They raced along the dirt road up to his factory, stunned by it’s ominous presence atop the hill behind his house, it’s stark gray walls, and the gargantuan plume of blood red smoke billowing out of it’s smokepipes, and arrived to find the front door open just a crack, with eerie red light shining out from inside. “Alex!”, they roared, but they were too late. His naked body lay sprawled out on the floor before them, He had died from hsi meddloing with things best left to no man, and now they would all feel his wrath. Within days, the small Alaskan town was riddled with wet, bloody corpses, draped over easy chairs, laying peacefully on the sand, or frozen in the artful pose of making love one last time.


The CDC arrived on the scene, and the town’s only two survivors where airlifted to a secret location, where they were kept and tested for almost two weeks before they were ejected, mentally and physically traumatized, from heh back of a white Ford van into the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot in Reno. Their names were Tim Mackey and Eric Harris. The two men never spoke and split up. Tim bought himself a new pair of shoes in Wal-Mart, then walked downtown, spent his last forty five bucks on a cheap whore, fucked her mercilessly in an alley without a condom, and then threw himself in front of a train and was killed instantly. Eric took a bus to the nearest motel, checked himself into a room, and was hard asleep on the foul smelling bed within seconds. He dozed peacefully for the first time in months, and upon waking, broke into screaming yells and fitful dance when the shocking realization of what he had survived swept through him. He soon discovered also that enjoying the fruits of long life with a genius madman and a bunch of pale skinned, overweight pudgy faced hedonists could not compare to the bittersweet experience of again with everyone else, but till the end of his days, he could not hold back tears, when he gazed across the waves at the setting sun, and remembered The Story of Alex by The Sea.....


Kevin Belew

painting has been my main focus lately. it is very similar to poetry or writing in general. painting and writing two of the most imaginative things to come from humans, remain two of the most unique things about us. the ability to contort the word, in a manner anyone likes, remains something to be envied. and a man with a paint brush, that can use it, is a genius. some would die to live through what some of the greatest writers have survived. others would tear there eyes out to be able to imagine what great artists have put down. the two are linked to insanity which also makes them very attractive as well. i made that last part up but very believable. or maybe only i believe it. either way it is a tortured saga. the starving artist, drowning in paint, the rogue writer, on the move ready to report the latest opportunity that could lead to the eternal line. neither gets a dollar, for the passion that lives through them, so that they can live. i would not encourage many, to sacrifice what some may call a life, to be a painter or a writer. but many a painters and writers lives have been remembered well. 5

Vaulting Horse, Part One

M.E. Brown

1987 In Lawrence, Kansas, my father was transgendered. So, I ran away to New York City, New York. I was alone in the streets. My fists melted into open palms, wet like bloodied fangs—they were sweating. The city segued motionlessly into irradiating rurality, even here I find estrangement. I was looking though, through bookshelves, tunnels, and people’s faces, to the back of their minds where I saw mirrors. I was scared, scared of seeing myself, like reflections on the subway. Lights ill and waning bat strobe-lit across the train’s windows, that which is fluorescent cowers above me like rogue halos. I ran awkward steps to the corner, bearing angrily both legs in a cacophony of intonations. Lawrence, KS: I wasn’t a boy for long, only sheepish like a girl deigning praise from her father—granting dowry to a first cousin and inheriting a drinking problem from both her paternal and maternal sides. I wanted to find a new home where the houses weren’t painted in lipsticks and where sharks couldn’t be found wading in the standing water of the tub carousing tyrannically about the wastepipe. My high school, St. Anthony’s, was across the street. “Stop going out during the day, Dad.” He would go in his shoes, and in those make-ups and the wigs, his tousled dresses tugging at his round belly and falling at his chest where above the collar his dark hairs would flesh. New York, NY: My ankles felt as though they were bleeding, like I was a horse ridden on asphalt to a hard, very hard gallop. The giant in my head and I were both in need of soil, the equine blundered in the gray mass of the cerebral, gelded and unsaddled, his brawn drifted beneath the sable tufts. That of breadth and strength need the flocculent yawing of seedlings; for magnitude is mostly the faintest of delicacies. For both the colt and I. I went to catch my breath. I want you to meet me right here! I cannot stop screaming, I cannot stop and I—cannot. Where was my father then? I was fourteen. Was he hacking again at his penis, sinewy particles of the fleeting, rosy as weathered cheeks, his parts ruining his party dresses? I would always apologize for his body, speaking as the intruder I would, as his lips make amends in deep breaths, catching dry sockets in the gums below broken teeth and sometimes his eyes crying, he would wrap an arm around me as I looked up at him, frame large, recently shaven he would say, “Son, Christopher, Thank you.” Then he would prowl the dining room table until he found a pack of cigarettes, he’d open it and light one for us to share. “Good night,” I would say. “Good night.” I found myself near a fountain. I found myself under the street lights. I found myself. I began to write a letter, I began to remember. I am under a tree, near a building, the ground is friendly, ballast strewn about the trunk, I crimp my fingers like arcing blades of grass, the tiny rocks hold my hands the way handlebars on my bike do, curling immovable like newly grown limbs. The rocks idled between my palms while I held them as though 6

they were a tress of hair from a lover, surprised when they held back with the secret muscle of a mast. Like an angry snap of lightning I let go, they fell striking like the quick rap of an eyelash, still silent as fine hairs and lightning which swims in electric air. Girls walked by, I wrote down what I thought their names were. I was disgusted. Everything was too absolute for me. I pretended to be a garbage can in an alley way. I was statuesque, the wind shrinking and palsied as static curtailed around, I was elbowed softly and unapologetically felt in its moveable caress. I am kicking myself. I am coughing through the interludes of laughter. I don’t think I have lungs. My mother once called me a fish. I wonder where my father is. Maybe I can spy on the girls. I ran around the corner. I could hear them like wind chimes, like something occasionally annoying. I crawled across the sidewalk of names. Animal verses boy who is betrayed by his reflection. She walked over. I told her I was in love with someone who had the most beautiful three names in the whole world. Although I was not. I made up the names instead. For in Lawrence I knew no one expect my father. I know this: she wants to point me in the direction of home but her fingers are numb locked inside the pockets of her pants, maybe grasping for words, fingers grasping for words picking letter by letter forming sentences. “If everyone was like you, Virginia, we wouldn’t need names.” So, I named her. My father was in Lawrence; did he find my things missing? I had never met my mother. But, only then in her absence was she able to speak to me. And I ran off down the dark street past Virginia’s friends, past puddles and railroads. I wanted shelter, not from rain cold with militants, not from criminals but from self, the self that stole everything from earth and syntax (The self that is criminal, the self that is as destitute as an abandoning storm). The building was steep; each floor was narrow. The walls were encouraging because I knew that structure stood as long as man did not deem to destroy it for the world meant no harm. I felt proud for a moment at my mortality and my ability to create circumstance. I wanted to find a garden somewhere. Later I would find a garden on someone’s patio or balcony. I would plant them something and return every night to water it. I found my shelter in the steep hallway of the building. Being so awake—trashing all spineless benevolence—and being so alone—finding space within space with windows that didn’t lie. I sat high above the street in the window sill. My legs hung over into the air like deformed parachutes stuck on the wing of a plane. There was joy, joy because I saw youth (without the manipulation of an artist’s impression). Because my hands could climb and my feet could dance like volatile wooden pegs, and everything I wanted could be kissed with my lips, it was that near, near enough that my mouth became dry as I pursed them in wait. I felt resistance in the loneliest parts of my body, resistance that spared the simple nobilities of my celerity. Now I would find my pen and write down the hour of this thought so that I could give it to my children. One day I would say of this hour. This is how authors lie with text and clarity: how songwriters base emotion on composition and vocalists taunt us with sounds through the throat, the same voices of disease and functionality and high school theorem. I wouldn’t

base my weight on such a presumption. Stop signs are informative but they do not deter a crash unless obeyed. Rules like yardsticks and crossing guards. We kept to these auguries. I kept to these thinking about my father. Taming The sounds on the cement steps echoed like whispers into a porcelain tub; shrill percussions of foretoken reveries. I turned around like I was going to be handed roses on a special occasion; instead I was safely hidden between a shadow and the wall. My breath had caught up to me and air eased fluently passing in and out of my lungs like it flows through the passage of open doorways. I was silenced by my own repose, revering the sudden occupation of those below that with the benumbed stomping of feet anesthetized the abandoned building. I heard footsteps first then murmurs. I always imagined it the other way around, like clamoring angels pattering their wings and chirping into the darkness until I hear the sonance of their mighty feet. I saw silhouettes, and I felt presence commencing my childhood ghosts, both frightening like when I was in infancy under covers, with hands between my legs. I sat on the landing of the staircase. They approached as innocent the cradle though purring through the chest were wicked hearts ready to tell stories that truth alone relied on. I am scared of dialogue. I wanted to be the period at the end of the sentence. I wasn’t alone. Now I wasn’t alone. I wrote down the time and date that I wasn’t alone. “Are you drawing the street, are you drawing down there, on your paper, kid, you wasting time like the kids who want to be free, like oppression is less in diameter than that window. Right, kid?” I saw the night sky and listened to him. Like lexicon or lecture to be deliberated, like the warnings on bathroom stall: that brilliance in subversion. “Hey kid, maybe you’re writing a book. Can I be the hero of your book? I wanna be what I wanted to be.” They all laughed about being. I was mad because I didn’t know how to do that. “No,” I said. “I am writing down the hour and minute of right now or what was now 30 seconds ago.” “I got hand prints for you, hand prints that talk like they got limes in their mouths, like the taste you can smell, no, no. The smell you can taste” I was allergic to it. I was allergic, like the phobia was a promise, a promise to keep me inside. “You got handprints that I can have or hand prints that I can buy?”

As a Transient I wanted to see more of his face I wanted to take a walk with him in the morning I wanted him to read me a book. I wanted him. She stood next to him like an orchestra, like the back drop to a play. The way a man’s bank account reflects him. Being out numbered made me feel like the last checker to be king. “You’re a boy,” she said. “You got your shirt off I bet the only place exposed that is warm is the only place that isn’t exposed and that’s your underarms.” She had the voice of magnificence, like god calling out at the time of rapture, you could hear her voice like trumpets in the sky, like the dream you just had was real and heroin was just a thing of the past, something your blood thirsted for. I smiled. I felt tender in adolescence. I felt like I wanted her to be alone with me. I wanted to take off the rest of my clothes and jump out the window, I wanted her to stop me and I wanted her to talk every second, every second on the way down. “We’re going up to the roof, Adonis. You can follow us like you’re the sad boy you are or you can continue drawing the street below us.” “Sadness or semiotics?” I tilted my pen. They continued up the stairs chastely, feet guarded with the care of politic, as though there were a baby sleeping amongst us; maybe it was I. I looked down; I had been drawing the street all along. I wanted a promise without absence. I wanted to run from the arrows that were shot from the tops of trees. I wanted to out run them. I was on the street. The church bell rang. I saw an ambulance carry the sun away, tied down on its back to a stretcher. And I waved. All was gone until the morning came.


Manuel Arredondo

It is dark and I am drunk when the phone rings. I reach for the handset and a bottle is knocked to the ground, clanging emptily on the dusty hardwood floors. With my ear to the phone, I hear the automated message. For a second, I forget my employee number. I remember it and punch it in the keypad. The automated voice tells me to report to Liberty Alternative High School by 7:00 AM. There is vomit, mouthwash, shower, socks. I look in the mirror and try to convince myself I look like a respectable substitute teacher. I went to sleep two hours ago. My mental comparison to teachers I had as a kid is unfavorable. I finish a can of tecate, then brush my teeth. The sun is slowly seeping into the dark San Francisco sky as I pile into my ‘95 Sentra. I sift through empty packs of Marlboros and greasy Jack-in-the-box wrappers on the floor of the car, until I find my San Francisco Unified School District Substitute Teacher campus map. I look at the clock at it says 7:19. I drive in a blur, suppress the gag reflexes that intermittently climb from my stomach to my throat. I remember there’s a half-full bottle of Jim Beam in my backseat so I stop at a market and buy some cans of coke. It’s after 8:00 when I pull up to the school parking lot. I kind of gasp when I realize that I’m at the wrong school, and this gasp is almost enough to erupt this mornings High Life from my twisted stomach. I look at the map again. I followed the goddamn instructions. A school security guard approaches the vehicle and raps loudly on my window with a flashlight. The sound is so abrupt and irritating that I prepare to snap. I compose myself and explain that I am looking for Liberty. The guard points across the parking lot, passed a browning athletic field, to a portable trailer sitting in isolation. I park my car. A principal, middle-aged and androgynous, greets me coldly by pointing out the time. She hands me a manila envelope containing a teaching plan. As she pushes me out the door, she explains that Liberty is separate from the main High School because the students have all been expelled for behavioral problems. I walk across the field to the trailer. A handful of Mexican teenagers loiter outside smoking cigarettes. I walk by them without making eye contact, hearing smirks and chuckles, half Spanish half Englis. I enter the trailer and throw the envelope on a desk in the corner, sighing gratefully when I find a coffee maker and some instant coffee. The bell rings, but none of the kids come inside. I open the envelope. There is a booklet entitled “Managing Troubled Classrooms.” There is also a video that says Topics in Biology: Headaches. My attention returns to the pounding in my own skull as I read the title. I sip my coffee. Twenty minutes, maybe more passes. A skinny kid with a pencil mustache leans his head inside the doorway. I sigh loudly. 10

The kids file in, maybe 25 of them. It is crowded in this room. They are blearyeyed and surly. I like that. I hate working schools in rich nieghborhoods--the kids are so fucking upbeat. I explain my name and my goal of playing this video. The kids don’t seem to listen. Another bell rings and a volunteer shows up with a cart of trays. The kids are each given a plastic tray filled with brownish liquid and a piece of bread. Pancakes and syrup, they explain. They eat the food with the video on. I turn down the lights and think of sleep. Within twenty minutes, the class is going batshit. Those pancakes, at 8 in the morning, are like fucking speed to these kids. The room is apocalpyse; shit is flying everywhere, the kids are yelling at each other, someone‘s playing mac dre, and kids are beat boxing and wrestling. I’m sitting there, half horrified and amused. A fight breaks out in one corner and I convince myself to go to break it up. But it was just a ploy. I look back at the teacher’s desk and 5 or 6 kids are rummaging through it savagely. I look at my watch: 9:23. I go out to have a cigarette, cursing that my whiskey is all the way across the athletic field. I’m smoking, picturing making the trip to my car, when in the distance I can see the principal approaching. For a second I’m tempted to run inside, shut the kids up, keep my job. The smoke is delicious though.

Hungover Sunday

Zacharia Costa

The phone rang and I answered. Not because I wanted to, but because it startled me out of my sleep and it was at arms length, making it easy to grope for the receiver. The turning of my head fired up two big Makita drills with Bob Vila at the helm, and he was remodeling my temples. “Hello,” I managed to muster, sounding like I had been gargling with barbwire and everclear. “Jesus,” she said. “Good thing I’m not your probation officer, he’d have you pissing in a cup before you could even get out of bed.” “You know I can’t piss when someone’s looking at me.” “Except for me, I guess that’s why you make me feel so special,” she said with a giggle. “I wish things were so special with my p.o. then I wouldn’t have to worry about being taken away from you.” “Four and a half years with only my vibrator to keep me company was quite enough, and your not going anywhere, so why are you talking like you got a guilty conscience.” “I was just out at Nate’s last night barbequing and having some beers with the guys.” “You got out of control last night didn’t you? I know how you and your friends get. Some beers are never on the agenda. You guys just sit around and bullshit about the old days and get rip-roaring drunk.” “Relax, I stayed out of trouble and besides it ain’t that far of a walk.” “Not that far away huh? Do you even remember how you got home?” “Your gone for one night and you think I’m getting loose all over town.” “Stop pretending to be offended. You know I love you. I just don’t want to lose you over something stupid.” “Yeah, yeah I know. I love you too.” “Since Nate’s isn’t that far away do you think you could stop by there and pick me up a little something for tonight?” “Oh I see how it is, you’ll risk me going back just for a little bit of weed, but when I want to have a good time you want me to tone it down just so you don’t have to buy more rechargeable batteries.” “Stop being a smart ass.” “Smart ass? Sorry but the truth hurts.” “Now your just being an asshole, but we’ll see how that changes tonight. I should be home around 8 so I’ll see you then alright?” “Yeah I’ll see you then.” “I love you.” “I love you too.” I sat up against my best instincts and dragged myself out of bed. Today was going to be a long, unproductive and hungover Sunday. I still felt a little drunk and I resisted the urge to grab a beer from the fridge. That kind of hangover relief would just put it off until tomorrow, and having to work at 5am on Monday was a feat the most functional alcoholic would have a hard time tackling. Plus the fact Jenny would be pissed to come home and find me tossed, made me ditch that idea. My stomach was too queasy to eat and I was still wearing yesterday’s clothes so I downed some water and a handful of IB Profin. Doing anything while hungover is a chore, but I had nothing else to do besides lay in bed and


feel like a pile of shit so I walked out the door, lit a cigarette and started the few mile trek to my buddy’s house Keeping a pace that would accommodate my intense alcohol induced suffering, it took me well over an hour to zigzag through the rundown residential area that was my neighborhood. Out of habit I avoided the main streets and the few big intersections comprised of liquor stores and few businesses. I could have walked straight to his house in half the time but years of habit and my sense of self preservation kept me on the alleys and side streets where I would be less likely to meet anyone with interests that conflicted with my own. I’ve known Nate since we were in junior high and for those 12 years or so he has always been the go to guy. Being related to some big time dealer had its perks, and being an old friend of Nate’s has its perks as well. He sells mainly to old friends, and I being one of them, I get the deals to make profit as a middleman. Although this put me on probation in the first place, I have no trouble existing on the fringe of the scene, just enough to make a few extra bucks and have good times with old friends. “Shit man, you look like you slept in the gutter last night,” he said with a chuckle. Nate stood there smiling opening the door welcoming me in. The everpresent odor of Northern California’s most potent chronic wafted out into my face. “Not quite, just my own humble abode,” I replied, stepping inside. “I was worried about you man, you know we want to see you stick around, but staggering off into the night whiskey bent isn’t the best way to keep a low profile.” “You know me man, I need one poison or the other. I can’t even eat poppy seeds but I can sure as hell buy liquor and drink myself into oblivion. It’s been awhile since I drank that much though, I’m fucking hurting.” “That’s why I keep telling you just gotta burn, like the old days, keeping you mellow and out of real trouble. You and the booze man you just don’t know when to stop… Shit you still reek like a brewery.” “You know I want to, but one dirty test… I do need an eighth for Jenny though.” “Ha! Your gonna come over here and ask me for weed and then not smoke any. That’s fucking ridiculous. Did you know I got those detox drinks from High Times, comes with a triple money back guarantee? They worked for me for my job, and shit you know me I’m about as sober as a hippie at Woodstock. And besides you look like you need it, your eyes are already bloodshot, and the only hangover cure better than more booze is a few bong hits. Shit, when was the last time you smoked anyways?” “It’s been awhile but…I try not to think about that stuff anymore man like it doesn’t exist for me.” “Dude look what your saying, your over here picking up a sack for your girl and now it doesn’t exist, you sound high already.” The pain in my head had receded into a dull but consistent throbbing, and the lingering effects of the alcohol were affecting my decision making. A bong hit did sound damn tempting and it had been quite awhile. “So if I smoke are you gonna give some of those drinks?” I asked. “Shit man, take as many as you want, but don’t get tempted by any of

that other shit.” “Give me more credit than that man, I feel sketchy enough smoking weed.” “You only need one of those drinks but take a couple anyways, follow the directions and you’ll be fine,” Nate said while stuffing the bowl of his fourfooter. “Your going big right?” “I might as well,” I said as Nate handed me the bong. Some bullshitting and a fat choker later, I was walking back home with some stuffed pockets and a more positive outlook on the day. It had been a few years since I last smoked and I could tell right away that I was fucking ripped. The sun seemed a bit brighter, the colors around me more vibrant, my thoughts lifted and varied. I felt like some of the first times I got high back in junior high school. Remembering the good old days simultaneously looking forward to my future with Jenny, everything felt pretty damn good. I was zoning out just thinking about the city, the clouds, my family, and all the rest of the good stuff. I had been walking a little while and I was feeling a little hungry so I started toward the nearest corner store to pick up some munchies. I wasn’t even paying attention as I crossed the street, completely absorbed in my thoughts I stepped right in front of an oncoming patrol car. When I heard the brakes squeal and the cop stop right in front of me I almost pissed my pants, one minute feeling great, the next instant thrust into the completely opposite spectrum of paranoia and fear. I stopped in my tracks, completely unprepared to deal with this situation. The cop hadn’t even got out of his car and I was already freaking out. My mind was racing but I just stood there staring at him. He rolled down his window. “You feeling alright today, son. I could have just killed you, you know.” I didn’t know what to say to him I just felt my sweaty palms and the beads of perspiration rolling down my brow. I stared at him for what seemed like minutes struggling so say something coherent. “Why don’t you take a seat on the curb there,” he said in his most stern sounding voice. If I wasn’t high I probably would have taken a seat, being too hungover to protest, accepting whatever fate the cop was going to drop on me, but it was being stoned that got me into the position in the first place. He would most likely run my name and that’s all it would take. The cops’ right to search any felon stopped for any reason was one that dissuaded me from risky activities before, and now a possession charge would put me back in a cell. The pot’s influence made me fear jail more than my hardened regular self, and I was no longer so accepting of being locked up. A thousand horrible thoughts were coming back to me. The twenty-three hour daily cell confinement, the night terrors, my visits to the ward’s psychiatrist. I was living it all over again and as I saw it I was already in jail, so I had no other options. I started toward the curb and I turned slightly to look at the cruiser. The cop stepped out slowly and I caught a glimpse of his large frame and slight portliness. I half turned to face him to acknowledge my temporary compliance, and then I waited for the door to slam and for him to take a few steps around the car toward me and then I ran. I sprinted as fast as I could diagonally away from the cop in the same

direction I had been headed. I heard him follow for a little while but I was still in good shape and he knew I could outrun him. I knew pigs got off on people running, just watching an episode of Cops you can see they don’t like people getting away and they take it personally when you try to escape, so I had to be one of those guys you never see on the show because he made those mutherfuckers look too bad. Surprised at my own coherent thoughts, I was even more invigorated as I heard the cruiser start up and speed after me. I was running through a few front yards and I made a hard left and easily scaled a six-foot wood fence into someone’s backyard. I could only think of getting back home and I continued my diagonal route out of the yard and through two others and then back out onto the street, which is where I didn’t want to be, especially as I heard tires squealing around the corner. My arms burned and I couldn’t say my cardio was doing much better so I crouched behind a bush in someone’s front yard and watched as the cruiser turned onto the street in front of me and slowed down into a slow creep surveying the street. I was struggling to catch my breath and I was sweating profusely. I hesitated for a minute and then slinked out headed toward my house. I took off my sweater to cool down and change my appearance and I ran two blocks south toward the freeway, and then I made a sharp right and then a left, putting me back on the street I was originally walking down. There was no sign of more cruisers and I knew the area pretty well so I felt like I had a chance. I could see the overpass and I slowed to a quick walk to give my lungs a break. The adrenaline from the initial encounter was starting to wear off and I knew I couldn’t keep the pace up much longer. I could see the freeway ahead of me and I quickened my pace. As I approached the shadows from the overpass I heard the sirens. I contemplated giving up as they drew nearer. I saw one coming from behind and then another turning onto the street ahead of me coming in my direction. They were zeroing in on me and dashing my hopes of escape and any chance I had at salvaging myself from an institutionalized hell. I was going to be trapped and I was desperate. I darted straight ahead on the sidewalk toward the oncoming patrol car and then I made a hard right toward the freeway off ramp, hoping to dissuade the patrol cars. As I was scurrying up the ramp cars were laying on their horns as they passed precariously close to my right side. I heard the slams of the car doors as the cops got out and began to pursue on foot. I wouldn’t have much time on the freeway before more pigs came from both directions. I continued on with burning lungs westbound against traffic trying to put some distance between me and the cops. Unfortunately I was slowing and the distance between us was getting smaller and smaller. There were four lanes to cross until the median, and I stepped into the first, waiting for the others to clear, as I prayed no one would change lanes and kill me. I only looked toward the oncoming traffic, trying to time it just right. It seemed like it took forever to get across to the median and over the barrier to the other side. When I looked back I saw the cop that instigated the chase straight across from me, looking westbound with similar goals in mind. The other one was closer to the ramp running toward him. It was then that the larger one stepped into the first lane and then the second, right into the path of a minivan. He was airborne before the van even hit the breaks bouncing up and off the windshield with a sickening thud, cart wheeling in the air like some dummy,

flailing his limbs in the most unnatural way before slamming into the asphalt. I was still standing there in shock as other cars began slowing down and I knew that poor fucker was dead before he even hit the ground. Now I wasn’t just running from another drug case, I helped kill a cop and short of being a serial killer there wasn’t much worse you could do. I thought of a news story I heard about a fucking police dog that got hit while chasing a guy, and he was crucified by the police for being a killer. It didn’t matter it was his own fault, if they got me I would be skinned alive, and to come this far and give up was not even a question, so I did like I had before and hop scotched across the lanes praying I would get across. Luckily the eastbound lanes were starting to rubberneck and slow down so it was much easier to get through. Not wanting to draw more attention to myself by running down the freeway into some now merciless cops, I climbed on top of a call box and jumped to the top of the eight foot concrete wall and jumped down the embankment on the other side. My lack of caution caught up with me as I tumbled down the rocky hill bruising and bloodying myself in the process. At the bottom I found myself in a half built housing block. Dirty, disheveled and bleeding, with a sprained ankle I knew wouldn’t last a minute on the street, and with multiple witnesses and the death of a cop, choppers would be out in no time scouring the area for me, and just like those cop shows on television once the chopper finds you…. its over. I had one last hope of escape; something I had thought about in jail while scheming about the direst situations. I prayed it would turn out for the best. I scoured the half built foundations for a suitable tool, and after a few moments I found one. I then limped to the street area that had been freshly paved and found my divine means of escape. Freshly placed, devoid of years of rust and grime that might otherwise hold in place, I maneuvered the four foot piece of rebar into a lever and pushed the manhole up enough so I could push it aside allowing room to enter the sewer. It took all of my strength to move it in the first place, and then a second, or by this time third or fourth wind, came from God knows where, and helped me muscle it back into place with the rebar as I hung from the ladder underneath. The darkness engulfed me as I descended the ladder and I took a seat on the grimy floor, resigned to my 25 to life commitment to what freedom I had left.


Kate Burke

You moved me like a new language. Your room purple. Before sex and signs. Missing you is like reaching for an itch I can’t even bare to scratch. Greatest being loss. A dialog of ideas, Pain and suffering.



Barbara O’Neal

A new way to approach the day. Slightly centered interpretation of the way You’re looking at me. Release from black and white diluted thinking. Courage to be alone; Surrender to not knowing. Anticipation and never regretting. Sorrow churns to bitter sweet hope. Lust and fulfillment coupled with entitled woe and denial. How did I not see this coming? I craved shelter from misfortune, comfort from a piles of nails I dug deep into your chest. I pressed my body against yours to complete the yearning. Never before and never again is a promise I spoke. Over and over again a promise spoken broke.


Road Doggie Chronicles Part One Chasing Green Leaves Through Dark Days

John Harkins

Queasy evacuation of the belly, as we glide down the atlantic coast. We arrive in DC bearing romanesco and cauliflower; they find companionship with coco curry back yard basil and familiar garlic cloves. We all spend a nostalgic morning on the stoop soaking in atmospheric change. The southern magnolia smiled magnificent, its adorned arms of succulence shone deep, green in the brisk morning sunshine. The first emerald jewel of broad leaved arboreal endurance we’ve seen for weeks. The journey began plucking frozen apples from stoic branches in Vermont. Steadfast sleeping trees, still, entangled in a blazing orange sanctuary; time honored biological logic. Only three weeks before, all green leaves had disclosed timid neighbors. Brilliant splashes of red, induced by cosmic tilt; the beautiful resigned superficial death, specked the hillsides. Premonitions of the apex ending, entirely expected yet manic in its momentum. Those fall afternoons the apples had dripped from the branches, melting into buckets of bounty and pies. Now all was stiff with cold, the long nights left suspended apples scattered beneath yellow ice fringed leaves. The cold was here, old winter envelope. We catapult south along rivers and sounds, salt marsh collections of life, scaffold and excrement- porous membranes leaking unlocked fertility back to the land. The harbors of warm security are a flight with flocks of life. Heat trapped in the water, the humid vapor saved the cell membranes in the placid leaves; we continued south. From this rainy morning we slide down the corridor of the Appalachian channel. We turn the beast to the sunset, bionic pilgrim frontier, westerly and its carnal humanity. Inland the leaves have just now fallen, a few still cling to their bud wood; summer orgy memories, surface tension lovelorn static cling. All the way through Atlanta then onto Montgomery; finally the earthly happenstance harmonized perpetual growthGulf coast safe haven, water logged electricity. Here at the waters edge we quiet combustion and take refuge on a long dock. Gentle lapping against the finest sands toes have ever touched. The live oaks spill their persistent perilous arms at miraculous angles overhead. Lichen clothing drapes down into the road. Harmonica spells induce jumping fish from the warm shallow depths. The mushrooms had expelled the demons somewhere in Carolina. Pulsing puke at 75 spattered repressed mind monsters along the side window. Emerging on the other side the Mississippi peace whispered promises. Like this delta and the mouth of the old miss, all the latent poisons and neurotoxins steadily pulsed from my thickened veins. May my body be as resilient as this great river. Let me run out courses of defiance, I spit my sickness into the oxygenated life giving recycler. Be brave bacteria.


One is the Only Number

Barbara O’Neal

So I’m single And I’m expected to mingle I’ve been threw all that before Had my heart simply begging for more Now I’m crawling towards that door Of love It’s closed, doesn’t want me no more. Where am I supposed to go, What am I supposed to feel? A moments heart beat buried under the pressured heat. Never been bitten like this before, I still want more. How much time has it been love? Fill me up with your strong promises of another sip, Don’t leave me waiting in this haste. Broken tomorrows. I never was one to borrow. Now I live vicariously through others joys. Yup, she might be having a boy. A baby, born unto this earth with no knowledge of the pain and torment. All dispersed when you hold me near. I can almost hear You’re rushing through my senses.



Barbara O’Neal

Such sad silly walks down this overly traversed path towards no where clear my dear I wish of better days yet satisfied within my ear I hear another meaningless hope and continue wondering where there is only depth beneath this sea of frustration awaiting yet another penetration amidst this hollowed shell craves shelter from the breathe of forgotten deliverance and so for today I have no choice but to say ok


To The People The small thin catarata, waterfall of Las Minas, El Salvador one of the only peaceful places in the pequito village without bullet holes or scars. Children swim into the echoing cavern and stand on slippery slimy wet rocks to catch their breaths and relax their skinny arms exhausted from diving and swimming in the cool water. The older boys stand nearby posing for the camera like muscular giants at a photo shoot for Time magazine a rare opportunity in their small village. These boy-giants’ families fought and lived through hunger war, disease and death all in two decades. As a small wide-eyed boy steps out of the water he is greeted by a nasty horde of black ants hormigas ready to defend their nests like a thousand overprotected crows defending their newly hatched chicks from a bloodthirsty hawk. The ants dig their powerful jaws into the young flesh creating hundreds of tiny red bite marks almost looking like a bad case of chicken pox that itch and burn. The boy face distorted in discomfort rubs his legs En la noche, while he sleeps he will dream of poison ivy crawling creeping up his legs. An old man glances at his worn watch and calls to the children who groan and scramble up the small, rugged trail. The waterfall remains Water rushes down the rocks grinning down at the little children who swim in its waters and who jump off its rocks. La catarata de las Minas

Ashley Owen


Two Layovers

Chris Gould

Dave’s Tavern is a bar behind the Port Authority in New York. Looking to kill six hours on my way down to Little Rock, I walked back to this road the bus took into the terminal. ‘Cause when you go out the front door of that place, you’re right in front of Times Square -Intersection of the World(? I think it’s called)- which is just no fun, expensive, and distracting. But right around the corner, this handsome little pub is just chillin’ quietly with regulars. They sell three-dollar 16-ounce cans of pbr. Everything else is a rip-off; six dollar shots of wild turkey is as low as that goes. And right -directly across the street from there is a shitty pizza spot that sells dollar slices of cheese. Like, a dollar -flat. Brilliant. On the way out the second time, we spotted a beer chest filled with peanuts - what!? The first time, I got two beers in me and started rambling to the bartender about my broke-ass trip. I think I had $40 to my name and was already in for twelve bucks or so. She bought me three beers. This dude rolled in and sat next to me. A bike messenger who said he found the spot the same way; on a layover at greyhound from Cleveland. Told me that when I pass through the terminal there, to look for a dude who’ll be asking for rolling papers. “If you don’t have papers, he’ll ask you for a cigarette. Tell him I said hello.” “Will he know you?” “Well,..no...” _ “Where you headed?” Crooked grim, slurred speech and gentle hand motion towards the horizon, “this, here, is my home.” Ok, ok. “...I come down here to bum cigarettes,” almost an exclamation, letting the words hang, offering the statement, curious to my acceptance. “Ok-shit, I’d do the same thing.” Uprorious, “ah HA HA HA!” After a moment and with another gesture, his eyes like flashlights showing me the landscape in the dark, “What do you think?” “It’s pretty.” “Yeah?” “Yeah, with a nice clean coat of fresh snow, it’s beautiful.” “Well sometime I’ll show you around.” I told him I was off to DC to see the inauguration. He gave me a glance I saw six hours prior while I was talking to two women in a truck stop diner. It was a smile but it was skeptical. Gretchen used to give me the same look when I would get excited about some particular thing that seemed foreign or overzealous or ridiculous. The guy from the smoking section of the Cincinnati bus station gave me the same look as I awaited his words. “You’ll make it...yup. -you got a ticket?” “Yeah.” “You’ll make it.” Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Dark Matter Energy

John Harkins

Time space continuity Dark matter energy Mitochondrial memory Big bang philosophy Great metro mystery Hominid earth factory Laughing conspiracy Hot ocean topography Great continental geography Mirth epic odyssey Single celled ecology Bacterial symmetry Virginal mystery Muck raking barley Back braking rhapsody Settled domestic society Mega fauna anthropology Land sea air life geometry Nanotechnology Crystal menagerie Muse priestless poetry



Kyle Enright

the subsurvient man now trained and broken like a once wild horse his head hung low aimlessly wandering a discontented corral the blinders are off now but he does not want to see that once again he could be so wild and free


A Note From the Editor

Chris Gould

This is issue four of muster. And that means that the issue five is right around the corner. Please drop me a line, or bug a writer and get some writing in here! The only caveat is that you have to put up with my bullshit. Come-on... everyone’s doing it... thewellfedartists@gmail.com We also have the issues up on Scribd.com. Just search for it. Big thanks to Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, homies on the interweb sharing the wealth like good little commies, Larry David, and Matt and Kim. But especially Matt and Kim. I think we should all really try to regard how these people have been out there working hard for you and yours for years. For I don’t know how many years. House shows to small venues all over America and probably some other countries. They’re out there trying to give people a good time. Trying to make them shake and shout and feel alive. Smile and sweat and bump into other people. And you know, they don’t ask for our thanks. Or demand to be recognized, given a platform, a fancy hat or big moneys. No, they just want you to rock. And have a good time. And make a donation for their gas. So the next time you’re feeling sad or lonely or bored or worthless, I want you to remember that they are out there doing there part to make the world a better place to live for all of us.



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