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ISBN 1-440-463441 First Edition - 01/2009

for Levittown…

…a place that made us who we are today

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*excluding italicized words

INHALTSVERZEICHNIS (Table of Contents)

Foreword by Emily Q. Taggart Introduction by Boomer Wadaska
A Mental Trip 1 Introduce Yourself 2 Thoughts 3 Opening Day 4 T.S. Eliot 7 Off-Kilter Poetry 8 Sware Words, Speech Impediment, This Word, Writer’s Block, Directions, Ablutions, Omen A Night in Tiananmen Square, The Following Night in Tiananmen Square Postponing the Uninevitable, Ode to Pure O2 , Emergence Sea, I Stir Eat Your Heart Out Tom Jones An Ethical Math Problem, Christopher Needs Help, Beauty Is Truth Christopher Gets Somewhere, Oda Daimyo, I Am Awake, Eva’s Gone Away, Dr. Henkeisms, As a Matter of Fact, A Bomb Rumble Strips For the Love of Valencio Catholic Guilt in the Nineties Sunday School High Heaven Freshman Poetry i 14 17 18 19 20 21 Keyless and IDless, Pocketful of Emptiness Murphy’s Dog-Day Principles Blues in an Empty Bed, Shaving, Autumn Leaves Neglected Thoughts Front Porch In Just a Few Hours To Someone Who Doesn’t Care Dirk Doom 1 Koch ABOUT GEORGE Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness Shoe Store Girl The Louvre PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e Katie's Torchlight Impressionable Youth Truth and Soul Dumb Ass Flower Addiction Future Interests Every Girl Is Broken DNA Mother Expectations ii

xi xiii

26 28 31 31 32 36 38 39 40 48 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 58 59

Dear John Low Down Man Insensed Why George's Uncle Restless Imagine Picture of Me Prose Part I How I Feel Today, Inevitability of Days A Blow to the Head, The Purge, The Time Machine

60 64 66 68 69 70 72 73 74

98 Prose Part III The Martyr of Reality, A Warning, Notes on Traits of Japanese Politics, The Pit The Expense of the Y2K Bug Y2K Compliant, Limbaugh v. Machinery, Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear, Revenge Is a Dish Best Served First, An Unusual Correlation, Semantics A Man Can Dream, Why Go to Live Theater?

Life's Collage 102 Autumn Lonesome 103 MySpace Girl 104 Decentralization, Contagion, And Now a Word The Paul Bunyan Trilogy 105 From Our Sponsor Untitled 6/30/95 108 A Digression of Chronological Importance, Self- Beloved Dream 109 Criticism, The Magnanimous Salad Prose Part IV 110 Earn a Living Darkness, Nothing Is Something, The Trouble I Shall Now Think 79 with Communication wysiwyg 80 Quashed Hope, Rubber Band Ball, One Last Haiku 82 Thought… December 83 Banana Meltdown 112 Prose Part II 84 The Best of... 114 God’s Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank T.emporal V.ortex, Christopher Waiting Brilliant Exhalation, The Sunshine Lounge, Letter to Beethoven Laundromat, Rehab and Dating, Trapped in a Box Patiently The Countess Is up to Her Old Tricks, Pb→Au Alone

Pieces, Route Down Media Sensationalism, Someone Got Married on This Oughta Be August 21 and I Was There, The Necessity of in Readers Digest 118 Comprehension Dirk Doom 3 118 Untitled 7/5/95 88 Sophomore Poetry 119 Dirk Doom 2 89 With Your Thoughts, Absent, Was It a Cat I cOME oN pILGRIM 90 Saw? What Was I Talking About? Exhausted, I Dreamt of You Last Night 92 Get Up Swiffertail 94 ITHINKICAN 96 Genius or Fool? Weight of Words, My Mind part of me @ least 97 Seethes Hot Thought viii

Between Lust and a Hard Place 159 Have You Ever Seen a Fool a-Walking? Quarter-Life Crisis 160 Inspiring Words from Our Sponsor School for Geniuses 162 The Screaming Children, Acceptance of a Life Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish 164 Less Ordinary Dirk Doom 5 164 Alliterature 165 What Am I? Ennui Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom 166 Wandering Soul A Very Bad Day To Be Rich 168 INVINCIBLe 126 for you again 169 Two From Biology Class 129 When I Met O 170 Class Dreams So Why Bother? 172 Junior/Senior Poetry 174 The Monster That Died Strung Out, Somewhat Lost, A Rebus Plea for Meaningless 131 Help The Smoking Monologues 132 Amity, Owwwwww!, Happenings Dating the Addiction I Hate Poetry, Love and Madness The Photographer Not Just a Package Trixie's Trying Trick Dirk Doom 4 The Sixth Year Raffles So Far Amtrak from Harrisburg The Mud Slide Greyhound to Savannah Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze Blogs Death Rattle 134 136 136 137 138 140 143 144 146 Polyploidy, The End of My Rope Bad, Wicked World, Your Opinion, Bad Luck, Filing System, I Don't Know What to Write My Sacrifice, 911 Today Is Sunday, August 5, 10:25pm The Old Scottish Lane, I Fall for It Every Time 181 182 184 185 186 190 202 205

Beat Street Accidental Bully I Hate Rain Dirk Doom 6 148 For Those Who Have 151 Defied the Odds The Legend of Wolf-Rider My Mind Spoken Predictions in the Year 06 Glossary/Keyword Index H2O>$GAS, I Need a Better Agent, Doggy i Style This Time It's Personal

I Have Not a Phillips Head Hocus Pocus i

155 156 ix

Foreword
By Emily Q. Taggart

As I sit in the Philadelphia International Airport at 5:23 AM, I wonder to myself –why would Boomer ask me to write the forward to his, Chris', Kyle's and Mike’s forthcoming book? The answer -apparently no one else would. I thought gracing the cover of the book with my head on fire was honor enough, but given the chance to get some words down about these fine gentlemen? How could I pass it up? (4th, 5th, or 28th choice, it matters not) Back in college Chris and Boomer used to let me attend some fine music shows with them. Christopher enlightened me to the ways of ska. (They have horns? I love a band with horns!!) Mike and Kyle would join occasionally, but Boomer was a staple, often jumping off something and wreaking some sort of havoc. Eventually I came to see that not only did these lunatics know how to have fun, but they were also ragingly creative. Creative and driven; which is rare to see in people over the age of 25, as far as I’m concerned. I moved to California 5 years ago and despite all the shallowness and self importance, LA/ Hollywood aspiring people have one quality trait in common. They are driven. Can’t stay out drinking too late –I have an audition. Can’t jump in the car with you on an impromptu trip to Vegas – I’m working on my script with my writing partner. They came all the way to California from every corner of the US to make it. And god damn it they will! (-of course there are screw ups and burn outs, but I’m speaking generally now and of my fellow transplants good qualities) Back to the boys, these fools didn’t need to travel to California, pay high rent, sit in traffic and worry about earthquakes to stay driven; they did here in good old Pennsylvania! Using what they have –and a bit of beg, borrow and steal –to continue their creativity, and among a myriad of other things, this book of writings. So read on fellow fans! These boys do not disappoint, and if all else fails, ask Christopher to make you a mix tape, they’re the best.
xi

Introduction
By Boomer Wadaska

Levittown, Pennsylvania could be awarded the distinction of once having held the most eclectic collection of oddball characters known in the history of suburban living. One might be so inclined to attribute it to the heavily-chlorinated tap water, the psychological trauma associated with being repeatedly napalmed by the molten cheese of a Julio's Ginacotti™ or a subconscious indoctrination by the warblytoned O'Boyle's ice cream trucks that skulk the sections of Levittown manned by drivers of questionable character and moral turpitude. Whatever the actual source may be, a fact not debatable is that most people raised in Levittown look at life through a very ripply window. In the late eighties/early nineties, when good teen fun was summed up by keg parties in the woods, bumper riding cars on icy streets, kicking out light poles, not walking on the sidewalk, sorting through the millions of CDs at Positively Records for the millionth time and braving Calhoun Street in Trenton to see hard core shows at City Gardens, there was quite a literary scene albeit, mostly pronounced upon the pages of what would be known as the "Illegal Pad" circulated throughout the halls of Harry S Truman high school. While the bulk of the material contained within those yellow pages could rightfully be construed as transient non-fiction graffiti, there were a few dedicated Keepers of the Pad who took seriously the art of bastardizing proper literary form and function in the face of academia at the lunch table over a breadtangle of freshly-unfrozen pizza. Whether individually influenced by the humor of Douglas Adams and Berkeley Breathed, the social-psychology of Ian MacKaye or the ennui of Morrissey and Robert Smith, the writing was a direct result of a peer-based local culture that included a Chocolate Fire, a Guisantes and a Dudeman. Though the Illegal Pad met its demise at the hands of a flood in a Lancaster basement, many of its works (and later influences) were rediscovered in a pile of continuous form, green-stripey dot-matrix printouts. Once the fun of pulling apart the perforated tabs subsided, this book was assembled.
xiii

A Mental Trip

A Mental Trip
I am consistently failing to maintain coherent thoughts within these pages. Ideas scatter apparently mindlessly about the page with incomprehensible chaotic wisdom and whimsy. Either it is beyond the basic capacities of human understanding or it simply falters to be anything useful. I have a certain conviction that by all means there remains some uniform cohesion to it all that is not to be understood, yet is mysteriously intriguing and enlightening. The profound definition of the entire entity is not meant to be axiomatic, but rather to be accepted as is. Bearing that in mind, a form of clarity can be achieved far greater than simple understanding. These are not explanatory writings (oxymoron or irony?); they are just devices to unlock those unused or long since forgotten sections of the mind and fill the void with something puzzling or unfinished, thusly forcing the brain to function at far superior creative levels. I.e.: A mental trip.

C Michael

1

Introduce Yourself

Introduce Yourself
Half Polish, half German anxiously American white trash suburban bar-coded by Veriscan™ Blonde-headed ambition blue-eyed superstition Scorpio constellation tattooed inanimation Five foot, twelve inches agnostically religious politically bitches hypothetically curious Locally traveled myopically resuméd sexually unraveled financially dismayed Socially abnormal hurriedly mislabeled casually informal wordly capable

“So...how do you like me so far?”

2

Boomer Wadaska

Thoughts

Thoughts
As I lie here on my bed, thoughts go racing thru my head causing large holes as they leave at my pain, I might bereave. These thoughts are strange and very rude I hope they don't settle down and start a brood. But, alas, a thought blew out my eyes, and with them, soared into the skies. Oh, gasp! My teeth are gone! A thought just threw my tongue on the lawn! STOP! Stop, I say! Quit knocking apart my head this way! The thoughts laugh, then laugh some more. Lo, I sneeze. Hark! My nose lies on the floor. Through gaping holes I stare, whilst thoughts rend at my hair. Out my ear, I sense my brain drips, spontaneously combusting, go my lips. At last, I'm left, only to my ears, so I'm listening to the thoughts I fear. "Eat your eggplant!" goes one screeching. Another yells, "Pay attention while I'm teaching!" I'm glad I have no hair to tend because it would be on end. Suddenly, I awake, sweating of the thoughts I dreamed, I am still dreading. But, still I remember the thoughts and I feel unwell there starts a denting in my skull...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

3

Opening Day

Opening Day
jostled up at the crack of dawn because everyone knows that fish are light sleepers i put on all the fishing gear i got the day before but it didn’t seem to fit me i went down to the creek my grandfather cast a line to the water meal worm stabbed limp at the end i sat down and waited. my bobber shot red bullet in the water so I yanked back like i was taught reeled & pulled soon a fish laid by my side down on pebbled shore the hook stuck out of his lipless mouth but there was no blood pulled out the hook went to throw mr. fishy back

4

Michael C. Flor

Opening Day

but my grandfather told me to keep it and put it in a ziploc bag down on pebbled shore. i slid him in as slick scales rubbed my hand i couldn’t help but watch him he sucked and heaved but his face never changed and there was no sound except for plastic crumpling in & out in & out like a respirator. i decided to let him go back to the creek and my grandfather grabbedmeshookmescreamed i ran back crying grandma was drunk she yelled told me i was raised wrong

Michael C. Flor

5

Opening Day

that i had no respect we spent the rest of easter on the slow road back to philly. my grandfather has cancer now his throat gets red/raw from radioactive medicine thick phlegm clutches the air as he tries to breathe in & out in & out and i can only think of trout.

6

Michael C. Flor

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot
With mind askew and swollen brain, I dance out in a hurricane; on deluged streets I skim about where the city lights have blackened out. Through the storm's eye, I continue in with an umbrella parry of a gale-force wind; singing blissful, operatic chants, in time with a mad Gene Kelly dance on a night when I have lost control, a tropical storm would stir my soul.

Boomer Wadaska

7

Off-Kilter Poetry

Off-Kilter Poetry
“Sware Words”
Buy my heck! Why be Oh No!? Fly a Whaaaaa! Kick the Thhhpppbbbt!

“Writer’s Block”
I would like to sever my hand.

“Directions”
Up↑ is that way,

“Speech Impediment”
Linguistic change is on the tongues of the young. They’re getting the double whammy Of “R” pronunciation. I am linguistically fine.

Down↓ that… ←Left that, Right→ This! What more do you need to know?

“Ablutions”
I sweat alone here on my newly sheeted mattress as the cat pees on my recliner.

“This Word”
This word Is No For uh uh So there Go go Grrrrr

“Omen”
An eerie sunshine illuminates my dad’s Tempo.

8

C Michael

Off-Kilter Poetry

“A Night in Tiananmen Square” (as sent to Christian “Doc” Tatu via electonic mail)

Go on! Throw it! Okay! Umph! Clank! Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Clack. Shzzzzzt. KERBANG!!!!! KABOOM!!!!!!! BANG!!!! POP! Fizzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Crack. WeeWoo!WeeWoo!WeeWoo!WeeWoo!WeeWoo!

“The Following Night in Tiananmen Square” by Christian “Doc” Tatu (as sent to me via electronic mail)
(translated from the Chinese) …all of the youths involved say they now recognize the terrible error of their ways, and have reaffirmed their allegiance to the People’s Party… In other news, the annual Chairman Mao look-a-like contest will be held Thursday…
C Michael 9

Off-Kilter Poetry

“Postponing the Uninevitable”
The ti me just is n t write I cnah right it is no good isna happnin maybe late r

“Emergence Sea”
police help me call the please dial 911 they will be hear i here there sirens their they are i sea um i’m buy the see sure officer i should shore by a megaphone they don’t c me they don’t come

“Ode to Pure O2”
He’d breathe it for a while, Happy as a bug, And then BOOM! He is dead.

“I Stir”
My head itches As my right hand falls asleep From leaning on my elbow. The knuckles of my fingers and toes Beg to be cracked, Followed by my neck, Back, And eyes. An itch tickles the inside of my knee. My head itches again. I stir I stir I stir…

10

C Michael

Off-Kilter Poetry

“Eat Your Heart Out, Tom Jones”
A rai ncloud fullof r a i n d r o p s f a l l i n g d o w n m get e w et!

C Michael

11

Off-Kilter Poetry

“An Ethical Math Problem”
“A negative x a negative = a positive” 2(negative) = positive necessarily “two wrongs don’t make a right” 2(wrongs) = right a wrong (times) a wrong make a right right?
^

“Christopher Needs Help”
Christopher could always do anything he set his mind to, But lately his mind has needed to be reset. To reset Christopher’s mind, Press this button ↓

“Beauty is Truth…”
Keats was full of it because this book reeks of truth. Its pages are soaked with horrific accounts of depression and brutal demonstrations of irate madness… sugar-coated with just a hint of delirium…

12

C Michael

Off-Kilter Poetry

“Chapter Two” Christopher Gets Somewhere
Here I am. I am here. Am I here? I here am.

“Eva’s Gone Away”
Save my Ming Vase Eva’s driving on 5th Aves. across America

“Dr. Henkeisms” “Oda Daimyo”
Oda. Yu seek Oda. Big ooooooooh! Go back to Hoboken! Let’s bop down a little farther! Ugly you want, ugly I can do.

“I Am Awake”
I am awake. I am an alert and fully functional being. My body is gelatinous; I quiver and fall down... Splat, I go. I dream. I am awake.

“As a Matter of Fact”
up. goes ever None of my poetry

“A Bomb”
Ut-o There is a bomb on this page!

C Michael

13

Rumble Strips

Rumble Strips
i passed away and live in a dream where you still ride beside me, and we continuing our travel route together driving on smooth concrete, on straightaways and comfortable curves, my hand on the wheel and yours holding mine... it's still a mystery to me how you strolled from the wreckage without a scratch into another car, never looking back to see my face saturated with bloody tears stunned wondering what had just happened and how...

14

Boomer Wadaska

Rumble Strips

the turn signal still flashes in my eyes that see shattered blur that i cannot poke my head through to find where you'd gone. the radio masticates the cassette playing our song while i sit waiting for AAA and to have my limp body pulled out by someone who will cover my totaled countenance with a white rag as i crumble to ash... my body bears slit-like scars salted by time from dried spit. i am confined in fiberglass and plastic, too stubborn to relinquish my license but driving without gas money or toll cash...

Boomer Wadaska

15

Rumble Strips

my seams rip and i breathe asphyxiate air fighting unconsciousness to see if that was really you in the hot rod that just passed by refusing to glance at my empty shotgun. i flip my nitrous switch, depress my pulse accelerator and clutch my chest, fainting at the wheel and riding over rumble strips.

16

Boomer Wadaska

For the Love of Valencio

For The Love of Valencio
Valencio was very sad- distraught in fact- for alas, his hot tootie-frootie had left him. Or, rather, she kicked the spittoon, sang her last ditty, bought the potato...she died. This, for some strange reason, left Valencio feeling lost and lonely inside, for he truly liked the little dormouse. That's what he called her. She hated it. She hated him. He never got the hint. Let me tell you how she died whilst we leave Valencio blubbering away in his Sani-Fresh tissue. He first saw her when she was driving her brand new car from the dealership. Oh, it was a grand sight, let me tell you, but I won't. Anyway, she was cruising down the road, doo-dopping to her most favoritist song playing on the radio, while Valencio was out on the same road studying the cracks in the aforementioned same road. He was doing this because he felt that the cracks in the road had a direct link to the xerophilous plants growing in his shower. Now, back to the woman. She saw Valencio facing her, butt first, and she thought, "Hmmmm, you know it would be an awful shame to slow down about now and swerve out of this fool's way. If I nail him just right, he probably won't leave a dent in my car." And nail him, she did. With a great satisfying clunk, Valencio went down as he was hit by the car's bumper and rolled up and off the hood. Valencio's snuggly-wugglies smiled a morbid little smirk as she glanced at the sprawled-out body in the road, but then her eyes widened in horror as she realized the possible ramifications of her actions. She threw the steering wheel about and returned in for the final blow to snuff out Valencio. "After all," pondered she, "I just can't let the poor creature suffer like that and besides, what if he lives to sue?" This last thought encouraged her to depress the pedal to the floor. Just before the woman crushed Valencio's head into a big gyrating mess, he noticed a new crack had just formed and he rolled over to observe if this was why his moldy cheese collection failed to bring in the chicks. Fortunately for him, it also failed to bring in the 100mph chick spinning rubber doom on asphalt. "**!!@@," exclaimed the throb of Valencio's life, "I'll just have to take him out with a crowbar!”
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 17

Catholic Guilt in the Nineties

Catholic Guilt in the Nineties
Hypothetically speaking, I do no drugs. “Hi! Are names really that important…” My mind twitches because that’s enough to stir my interest. “…If it’s just a casual affair?” Hey! Who said life was difficult? “Buy me a drink, altar boy?” Yes…I’m aware I make no sense. “Thank you.” “Frugal” is a good way of life if you can still get the women. “I haven’t got all night.” My brain is no place for impure thoughts… “Are you from around here?” That’s what fallacies are for. “I live alone nearby.” Can I buy you another drink? “Are you trying to get me drunk?” That’s your option, I’m only offering. “Yes!” God, deliver me from temptation! “Now!” God only has one role in this. “Oh, God!”

18

C Michael

Sunday School

Sunday School
8 years old watching grownups watching the Super Bowl, mature men crying hearts breaking, "Next year's ours for the taking!" Dad working 3 jobs & hardly sleeping, until Sunday football he's teaching, rules & plays segueing to my past days, in life, work & schoolusing football as our conversational tool, related strangers connecting through, a complex game relating to, our own struggles and desires for our life and our team. "What's so great about football?" Mom and Sis ask, so Dad and I reminisce about the past and look forward to what life will bring with hopes our city will finally get a Super Bowl ring.

Boomer Wadaska

19

High Heaven

High Heaven

Waiting, and long weeks in anticipation standing in line, cold and thrilled then violated for a search of things concealed hiding nothing, I enter High Heaven Heaven is a pit of a less evil Hell Smoke wafts through my nostrils I have paid and await my cheap thrills Hopefully, the cacophony of Hell is something I can groove to Then, it's on, my brain clicks off body in total control, I spin and twirl exhaustion comes slowly, consciousness whirls finally, with energy almost gone, so is High Heaven and I anticipate my next chance

20

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Freshman Poetry

Freshman Poetry
“Keyless and I.D.less” A man, with no I.D., walks alone. Everyone knows him; “Come on in,” they say. He tries the door, but it is locked, And he is without a key. Confused, he knocks; Is there an answer?

“Pocketful of Emptiness” or “Upon Having No Money Whatsoever” I reach into my pockets and turn them out. My hands grasp onto lint. I push my pockets back into place. Now they’re just empty; My checkbook is blank, Yet my bank account is dry; Somehow I get by, Without a penny.

C Michael

21

Freshman Poetry

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter I” Grand inhalation this morning, But all for naught; My shower water wasn’t even close to hot. Nothing like the feel of ice water on my personals After a long three-hour sleepless night To wake me up, And slow my heartbeat to a crawl. Thumpity-thump, Snow falls on my bare rump. Today is going to be grand!

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter II” Coffee’s like mud percolating down, I spilled it on my fresh-pressed trousers, brown. Gloppity-plop, The hot sloppy glop makes me hop. Scalded I skip to the dryer, I know I’ll be late for work!

22

C Michael

Freshman Poetry

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter III Disheveled as I run out the door, I jump in my County Squire by Ford. Fumbling with my keys, I fire her up. Clankity-clunk, This damned old piece of junk! I guess I’ll just call a friggin’ cab.

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter IV” Persnickity-snack, I got hit by a big ol’ Cadillac; Nothing like a big black sunuvafockingbitch That guzzle gas like an alcoholic guzzle whiskey, And takes up two Parking spaces, Colliding with my entire body cavity. The pain just feels like hurt, But nobody feels it like me, Because I’m the guy who got killed by the over-sized bastard. I’m dead. How could you possibly know how I feel? Butcha wanna know what really pisses me off? The Goddamned bastard of a driver didn’t even honk! What a prick!

C Michael

23

Freshman Poetry

“Blues in an Empty Bed” Needed you so bad last night, But settled for my pillow instead; Half of it your body, The other half your head, But baby that don’t satisfy; Got the blues in an empty bed… “Shaving” shaving does a number on my face my electric butcher burning my skin with a splash of aftershave alcohol-free? obviously not smooth? no way “Autumn Leaves” I wish I could paint… leaves of autumn, but patience has no place on the end of my brush. “A picture is worth a thousand words…” Better for me to write a thousand. My picture lacks visual perception—only words… My pen is my brush; my ink, my paint. I paint, but not autumn leaves.
24 C Michael

Freshman Poetry

“Neglected Thoughts” Stunted thoughts Trapped in my head, Prisoners of war Held hostage by my despot mind; The thoughts that didn’t escape, Those thoughts nobody hears. Send in the Green Beret, My thinking cap; Rescue these thoughts And bring them safely home, Free at last, Soldiers on file, But now shunned from the world… Scoundrels, these thoughts, Except to a brave few… To them these thoughts are heroes, Suffering for their nation, Their United States of Being, And finally understood, Now their work is done; What is left for them? These poor neglected thoughts, These thoughts nobody hears…

C Michael

25

Front Porch

Front Porch
I was standing outside on my front porch smoking a godawful USA Full-shit-flavor cigarette (how patriotic) in the frigid night air. Here it is, the end of March and it is 18 degrees outside. When that rat in Punxsutawney saw his shadow, did that mean six more weeks of winter from February 2nd or six weeks beginning the first day of spring which was just a few days ago? Weather like this has me missing our balmy winter. When the hell will all of our vain efforts for global warming finally bless us with Los Angeles weather and flood Jersey into the Atlantic giving Levittown prime beach-front property? It has been snowing for the past few days and is supposed to continue for Lord knows how much longer. It seems as though State College has some sort of precipitation every day throughout the year. Now, even though we have these spells of incessant flurries, we have no accumulation to snowboard on, just enough to cause bumper car pileups on route 80. Tussey mountain was open a whole three weeks before someone declared a drought and they stopped making snow. How on earth could we possibly have a drought when every time I take off my boots, my toes have transformed into pale, soggy prunes? I don’t really mind so much wet weather as much as I do the arctic State College temperatures. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could escape it by hibernating indoors in my apartment, but the antique radiators in this place, which are strategically placed under every single-paned sieve for a window, have the heat sucked straight to the outdoors. I am even more disturbed by the fact that three tankfuls of oil since December hasn’t made a dent in the temperature of the neighborhood. If anything positive does come out of this frozen season it would have all of us truly appreciate clement weather much more than all of the idiots in Orange County whose biggest weather gripes are precipitated by frizzy hair.
26 Boomer Wadaska

Front Porch
So as I am standing on my porch, I take notice to cars approaching the intersection of Sparks and Beaver. Every car that arrives at the intersection draws a red light. I then begin to witness a sociological phenomenon concerning how impatient drivers can become when they are the only car stopped at a light, not waiting for opposing traffic, but for a stupid light to register a different color. This has obviously irked the woman sitting in the Suburban who wants to turn left onto Beaver. She hasn’t even been stopped for ten seconds when she honks her horn at the light. This is a practice I somehow missed when studying for my permit test. Does this woman think that there is some kind of audio sensor in the traffic light that recognizes the sound of two short Chevy beeps which translates to a switch to green? As I ignorantly find this amusing, sure enough, fifteen or so seconds later the light changes and the disgruntled motorist is on her way. Shows you what I know! Is this a universal practice that I have been oblivious to all these years of driving? Just think, all of those precious seconds wasted, spent needlessly waiting for a green light I could have summoned at will! Wasted time I could have otherwise purposefully spent with loved ones or doing sudoku. At this juncture, I light another cigarette and wait for another vehicle to see if I could possibly witness a repeat of this fantastic modus operandi. The suspense builds and, three cars later, approaches a Civic hatchback that has a slightly different interpretation to the governing rules concerning intersection signals. The driver of the Honda seems to believe that the light also operates in conjunction with a sensor implanted under the stop line on the road. The Civic rolls over the line back and forth a few times to get it going and, again to my surprise, this also changes the light. Some time later, a guy on a motorcycle under the impression that a video camera hidden inside the light light monitored by a guy off in a booth somewhere can be triggered by waving one's arms above said one's head can attract attention enough to motivate a signal change. The subsequent automobiles that don’t display any visible strategies for traffic light changeability I can only deduce that telekinesis is involved. From this night on, my world of traffic light demeanor has many options from which to choose.

Boomer Wadaska

27

In Just a Few Hours

In Just a Few Hours
It always ended the same way. It always started the same way as well. He always felt the same way afterwards. No matter how bad he felt, he found some comfort in his misery. There is always comfort in the familiar. A known pain is always preferable to the unknown, the unexpected, the different—where all things become possible. Perhaps it was karma. Or more likely, some flaw in the programming of karma that led to this. The very idea that some conscious intent was directing this was way too much for a mind to grasp-to grasp and keep working, that is. He knew he didn't deserve this; but does anyone truly get what they deserve? The happiness, the sadness—life and its attendant frustration. He used to think about these things often; there was really nothing else to do but think about things-these or others. But now, these thoughts, all thoughts really held nothing for him. All thoughts save one. The sun rose like it always does—the first soft rays of light give shape to the darkness. Objects appear out of nothing; they do it all the time really. The conservation of matter and energy is a myth. It was a construct of old science to keep the sheep thinking they were sane. A joke of metacognition, nothing more. The sun rose, the pigeons sang the only song they knew-the only real song left. The call for food, the call for sex, the call for family. The alley looked the same as it had for years. If possible, the only difference was the smell; it might have gotten worse. But that really wasn't possible. His head hurt in the way that could only mean that it was Saturday. The film on his tongue and teeth felt alive, like a separate entity from his body, or consciousness, or whatever he is/was. It hurt to move, the left arm more than anything else, and the blood, once warm was now hard and sharp below his eye. He couldn't remember who exactly punched him. Most times he fought his memory, never seemed to want to remember the specifics; in many ways he thought, it wasn't a bad thing—forgetting. He checked his pocket for cigarettes. He knew he wouldn't find any. Saturday, any day really, it didn't matter; he always ran out the night before. It was a problem he just couldn't seem to get his head around. Not that he really tried anymore. He knew it was only a matter of a few steps, out into the light of the city, the light of the world, and he would find someone that he could make uncomfortable enough to give him a square, but not so freaked out that they called the codex authorities. He knew the light would sting his
28 Michael C. Flor

In Just a Few Hours
eyes. He knew he would not fit in. He knew where he had to go. He knew very many things. His job was to take it to her. The cure. In the street, the sounds of life marched on. Progress and so forth. It was a sound that always sounded alien. The smell of food passed his nose: pizza, spring rolls, samosa, wonton. The cars hummed past. The lights flashed on and off. People avoided the eyes of other people. The beep and pop of credit continued undaunted. The trash was always kept out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind, out of time. The robed people danced in the street. The saffron colors twirled like rainbows. Soon they would distribute books, flowers, food; in another life, their food was delicious. In movies of the future, he always saw them and wondered what it all meant. And then he remembered that there was little room for wonder in this, his world. One of the dancing preachers missed a beat, a slight forgetting of the call-response pattern hard wired into the human race. It was these little changes, something different, that made him almost feel what we, collectively might call hope. Although anyone would be pressed for time to make it to the station by noon, he wasn't too worried. The traffic wouldn't slow him much, and what slowing it did, he knew wouldn't matter. By now, his cigarette problem was long since solved. The hover cab's low drone, continuous like a heart beat, was almost able to make him forget the mechanized world around him. He was on his way to meet her— again. Every time they got together, it didn't end well. Things that start great have only one direction they can go. It had only been, in a way, a few hours since he had last seen her, last held her—but it had also been, in a way, a lifetime. Whole life cycles have come and gone since their last meeting. Fruit flies only live 24 hours. How much living can you cram into one day? Or and endless string of one-days? The sun was starting to set. In the dim, spreading shade, shapes began to get fuzzy, lose their shape, and become one—one with each other in the long dark of night. It's funny how dusk and dawn almost appear identical; that's why he kept his watch set on military time. He checked the time and rubbed his head absently- barely conscious of what he was doing. Some actions become familiar that they require no thought whatsoever. You can do things so often, like tying a shoe, they seem to happen. Auto-pilot. It was seven o'clock again. It is always seven o'clock at this time of day. The cure would reach her by the deadline. He would reach her by the deadline. He always made his deadlines; he was the best. He knew what
Michael C. Flor 29

In Just a Few Hours
she wanted. He knew what she really wanted. He felt his eye throb a dull burn. He knew what he could and could not give her; he always knew. The hover cab had blurred into the past, the dim dark of all things—the dim dark of himself. His hand reached up and swiped his entry card. The visor flashed “diplomat;” he dropped something and entered. They were on him. They punched, they kicked, they asked. She watched. He thought the only thought worth thinking-would things be different if I turned it over. Is his life, his many lives, worth a few ounces of liquid? So many have died for less. So many have died already? Everything dies. Even the phoenix. The cure lay unconcerned among broken glass and syringes, twinkling under the eyes of the street lamp. His thoughts were always elsewhere when fighting. His mind was only truly awake when his flesh was dying. What would happen if I gave them the cure? Would they stop beating me? Would I stay alive? Could I live with myself? And all those deaths? Would I see another tomorrow? Something, a fist, a foot maybe, struck the back of his head. The whole of existence grew warm and silent. He saw her lips-smile maybe. The world grew dim, and everything became everything else. It always ended the same way. It always started the same way as well. He always felt the same way afterwards. No matter how bad he felt, he found some comfort in his misery. There is always comfort in the familiar. A known pain is always preferable to the unknown, the unexpected, the different—where all things become possible.

30

Michael C. Flor

To Someone Who Doesn't Care

To Someone Who Doesn't Care
I'm fun to be around. I make the time fly by with crazy words and deeds. Now that I'm not around, do you feel any loss? It kills me thinking that I'm just a passing whim. Hopefully, it will kill you more When I chase you with a hatchet! To the person who's driven me insane... To someone who crushes my soul... To someone who doesn't care...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

31

Koch

Koch
Kenneth Koch was a silly writer Most of his poetry is just rambling nonsense about things that don’t necessarily have to do with other things and putting words where they don’t belong even though they are together on the same page in the same poem in the same sentence, and sometimes right smack-dab next to each other for Christ’s sake. He’s another esteemed writer who didn’t believe in revision or editing and caution and it’s painfully obvious even though he was a critic on other people’s work while professing his teachings and ramblings and things of that nature at columbia university where his students may not be such free-spirited ramblers but still encouraged toward a product concerning and conceptualized, completely composed of mindless drivel and run-on sentences and tongues untied, and improper use of language and punctuation, sans symbolism, or even anything concrete that people, with limited neuroanatomy can comprehend as far as a grade is concerned. (whew!)
32 Boomer Wadaska

Koch

Did you talk like this in real life Mr. Koch, (or Dr. Koch, as it may well be) considering you were educated at harvard and columbia and lived in new york city, because I am winded just typing these sentences! and if you did speak to others in this manner, influenced by the french avante-garde tradition, especially guillaume apollinairewhoever the hell he isDo people enjoy your witty observations about XXX’s doing this and YYY’s doing that? because, frankly, that would get on my nerves much like those inane personal essays on internet dating personal ads because you know as well as I know that those people really do talk that way as they do using AOL™ instant messenger LOL !

Boomer Wadaska

33

Koch
So here I am a critic much like yourself, Mr. Koch (or Dr. Koch, as it may well be) when you've gone and got me all inspired and stuff to stop halfway through The Circus ©1975 From Selected Poems, 1950-1982 (Vintage, 1985) Copyright©1985 by Kenneth Koch and write, myself in a manner that isn't necessarily of my own particular idiom or ilk or understanding (and it's painfully obvious) patterned that of a tribute to your silly style although I tend to hit the return key a little more often ...
34 Boomer Wadaska

Koch
Of course, this particular poem will have to be workshopped and critiqued and revised with caution concerning and directly attributing to a grade of excellence as a tribute to my own peculiar idiom or ilk or return-key style. Rest in peace Mr. Koch, (or Dr. Koch, as it may well be) who passed away this past summer which saddened the Blue and White as, I am quite sure also, the nouns and the adjectives and verbs and sentences. Your words will do the living from now on and play with us until we join you in The dreams in our toes. (whatever the hell that means!)

Boomer Wadaska

35

ABOUT GEORGE

ABOUT GEORGE
GEORGE AWOKE AND FOUND HIMSELF BEHIND A 7-11... Yet, I find a rip in my shoe and I know not why. James, who is next to me, comments on pounding hangings over and over and over I find a receipt. It says, "Thank You Please Come Again" How nice, an open invitation. GEORGE SCEAMED AND... I'm handed a song that says many wise and wonderful things. James scribbles something wise on the back. James is neat. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuurrrrrrrgh! I find dried spaghetti on my head. No, wait... I laugh! It's just my hair. How wise of me to realize this. GEORGE TRIED TO FIGHT THE VERMIN PATROL, but... I find yet another rip in my shoe's other and I still know not why. There must be some wise and awesome meaning for this. GEORGE IS DEADING, HIS LAST WORDS ARE: "The rats, they kiss..." Looking to the heavens in sorrow, I seek a balding man He is uttering apparently wise things to me and the enchanted throng surrounding me. How strange. Suddenly, this ecstasy leaves me and I slumber. Dreaming, I think of GEORGE...
36 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

ABOUT GEORGE

Now I awake and find many familiar thoughts attack me. They seem to be sights from my last waking moments. GEORGE IS HERE ANON... My mind is wandering, where will it go? I hope it finds a familiar family that will feed it. James is writing things. They are apparent wise sayings. People abide near and I think they know me. I hope they are friends and are familiar with agricultural pharmaceuticals. James stiffens and beseeches the heavens crying: "SUNT EBRIT. NESCIRENT QUID FACENT. HODIE, VITIAE NOS VERIENT." Obviously, James has just screamed something only Pueblo Indians and pygmy feet could comprehend. GEORGE IS NOT DEAD... Sheepishly, James peers back and notices me and passes a piece of paper it says: "Translation: They are drunk. They do not know what they are doing. Today, bad things (evil, misfortune) will come to us." I feel enlightened. The sky goes black and a chill of sorrow runs down my spine A man approaches bearing news. He whispers in my ear. I say: WHAT ABOUT GEORGE?!...
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 37

Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness

Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness
Tom Waits: 'Twas a dark and stormy night in a metropolitan dive without a woman in sight amidst the local barflies. The blizzard ebbs to rest a blonde in a black dress borne from an emerald isle touches my lips with a smile. Jack Kerouac: Hells Angel biker smiles at cool poodle-skirted kitty dancing with zoot-suited hepcat near the table of pinup Bettie, Atomic Fratboy and El Mariachi when Rastabilly tells Dudeman to get Joe Punk to notice that, for one second- a wrinkle in timeeveryone simultaneously sipped a pint of Guinness. Ogden Nash: A shamrock, what's this? Nothing should grow in my Guinness! I'll delight in a draught that prevails not halved by lagers, pilsners or ales. Take back your snakebites, your velvet, your shandy the old Irish standard suits me just dandy. Please don't think me impolitejust don't intrude in my perfect pint.
38 Boomer Wadaska

Shoe Store Girl

Shoe Store Girl
Girlie, girlie, you sure are purty. (Evidentially, I wasn't flirty) In the shoe store you was working tried on those shoes to get you talking. Picked up a pair that hurt my feet (Wanted to ask, "Let's go out, my sweet!") Walked some, as you tried not to stare other than shoe-time no other times we share I asked for a bigger size (What makes me better than other guys?) Watched that skirt swish 'round lovely legs so nervous then, I thought I'd lay eggs. Back you came with the larger shoes I hate (Will I ever ask her for a date?) I mumbled some and told lame jokes us together is such a hoax No more excuses to hang about her (Now I feel my self-esteem go under) Thanks for your time, but the shoes sucked at cupid's arrow, I shoulda ducked. Gotta be more forward, take the leap (A lesson for love I never keep) Anyway, that's my shoe store girl, the one that caused my heart to swirl.
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 39

The Louvre

The Louvre

Coffee Stains

Self-Portrait

40

C Michael

The Louvre

No Fishing

C Michael

41

Ahem..we interrupt this segment to bring you this important message:

Don't Panic

We now return to our regularly scheduled mayhem...
42

The Louvre

Life Is Oblong

C Michael

43

The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 1
44 C Michael

The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 2
C Michael 45

The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 3
46 C Michael

The Louvre

Gone Fission

Cactus Man Is Dissatisfied

C Michael

47

PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...

PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...
The tragic traffic handicap signals significant ignorance with respect to the expanse of a metropolitan map A family of four to fit in an intoxicated station wagon automobiled amalgamation on the road again Intersection dyslexia by rednecks rubbernecking and bypass bottlenecking into five points perplexia Restricted lane accesses to commuters unescorted on a one-way trip aborted display road rage distresses Itinerary actuaries assess without exhausting cautioning of ghost crossings and hitchhiking Bloody Marys

48

Boomer Wadaska

PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...

When highways wrench awry we handle the hullabaloo in a punchbuggy black and blue with a padiddle winking eye So, someone soon will survey alternative transportation in a macho compensation that looks good in the driveway

Boomer Wadaska

49

Katie's Torchlight

Katie's Torchlight
When we first met, I held a candle It's light was faint, but I shone it at you You snuffed it out and said, "Let's be friends." Friends we became, but then you had changed taking my candle, it alchemized to a spotlight you aimed at me. That light! So bright, it pierced my heart through. And it broke upon pulling your plug That light seemed to flicker and die. That stubborn spotlight of yours still lived yet, it again metamorphasized becoming a torch hid in your heart. Now and again, I would see its beam. Hearing whispers: "She'll always bear that torch" I would shiver, my heart breaks apart. That was so long ago and I thought, that obstinate fire has extinguished Finally, no more pyrotechniques. Then, yesterday I got your letter One line made me see out the window Your torch shining clear across the state
50 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Impressionable Youth

Impressionable Youth
Vale was five years old. He was watching cartoons. Some mouse was ruthlessly pummeling a poor pussy cat with a frying pan, which would then take the shape of the feline's head. The cat was just looking for lunch and got more than he bargained for. Shortly after, sirens wailed from outside. Vale, like his curious counterpart, ran out the front door. The sirens, the lights, the ambulances, the squad cars; they were all on his street. He hurried up past all of his neighbors just standing on their wellmanicured lawns. There, at house number forty-four, were parked all the emergency vehicles. Chaos flung about like a flag in high wind as police and paramedics stormed into and around the house. A gurney came rolling out the front door. On it lay a large white shape, splattered with a large red stain. It jumped up into the ambulance as the doors slammed behind it. Then out rolled a second gurney, and again on it lay another white shape, with a huge red stain, but something was different. Dangling out of one side, from underneath the white, hung a loose, limp, hairy arm, swaying, almost waving as it all rolled past and onto another ambulance. A police officer yelled at Vale to go home. He turned around and started down the street, when a white police van caught his eye. There was a dog in there; a big one. The window was cracked open just a little and the dog was just sitting in the passenger seat. Vale walked closer and moved his face toward the glass, his hand over his brow to block out the glare of the morning sun. He waved tentatively with his other hand and eked out a “Hi, puppy!” with his little voice. The dog snapped viciously and started barking, steaming up the window and splattering drool on the glass. Vale jumped back. Another officer yelled at him to get away from there. The ambulances drove off, but there were no sirens.

C Michael

51

Truth and Soul

Truth and Soul
There are too many things in this world to distract a man from making himself a better person: television, sports, internet pornography, beer & drugs, brooding on thoughts and memories... I can't believe I haven't checked my Powerball lottery tickets yet! $200some million could procure a fantastic lot of distraction! One could piss against the wind with a wad like that! After all, productivity is in the eye of the overbearing parent, the nagging girlfriend, the know-it-all friends, the crusty old teacher... where's the fun in responsibility or accountability or karma or self-respect when I could surround myself with a posse of yesmen to validate my life! We covet what we see and hear in movies and songs, the dream we drone on and on about while smoking pot with the local hippie squatters. Turn off the TV and become a drama or a sitcom or even a CARTOON! Do I ever want to be so bored with life that I feel the urge to take a yoga class?! Yessir, talent can be bought and sold to the mindless. You know that because you have an extensive collection yourself, don't deny it! Maybe the resale value of that Milli Vanilli album at Positively Records won't exactly buy a beer but it sure has all that intrinsic and emotional attachment to memories of once being part of the flock of lameass sheep who also bought the religion-backup-plan to save their ass, you never know, just in case... People have no value! No one loves you just because you are you! How egotistic can you be to imagine that you aren't being used? You are a utility service and even worse, covering the tab! Seal your heart emotions in a tin can and join the big boys son! Do you think people actually care what comes out of your mouth? Words have no power! The Powers That Be laugh at their own laws! LOL!!!! ;p Is it god's plan for you to collect garbage for employment in order to acquire your own, personal garbage? The American Dream is all about trash-picking and never having one original thought in that slab of meat you think is a pretty face in the mirror. Stop looking at yourself because you're not as unique and you've been convinced by your mommy. You are a recycled trend that may once again be popular with the ladies... Who lobbied for this PH-balanced world? You make a better door than a window to conclude, in brief.
52 Boomer Wadaska

Dumb Ass Flower

Dumb Ass Flower
Oh, to be a flower! Full of so much power! The sun's rays, I photosynthesize, and young lasses I mesmerize. An easy life is mine, being tended by grannies is fine. In the ground, I have my roots, ...but I get trod on by boots! Maybe I should be a bomb! Or kill people all night long! But not a wussy flower! Who gets drowned in a shower.

good night and good luck

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

53

Addiction

Addiction
(inject) Since the first time that I ripped my skin, I no longer bleed; I have the strength that you pulse through my veins... (inhale) I breathe you in and want never to exhale; to keep you inside forever as you exhume my essence; and transcend my idle mind... (ingest) I- consume [you] whole without: calorie, belch or choke. You- "sizzle" on [my] tongue as I relinquish my control...

54

Boomer Wadaska

Future Interests

Future Interests
A clear, concise message admonishing against any glimpse into future interests... dreams fade... plans fail... hope is lost... time is nigh... What will you do with it?

C Michael

55

Every Girl Is Broken

Every Girl Is Broken
every girl is lonely in a salivating crowd she looks with interest only to where she's not allowed every girl will groan that all men are creeps unless they happen to own pecs, delts and obliques every girl laments about her innocence destroyed, robbed, defiled and spent some of which she enjoyed every girl needs you, when it's convenient until someone else succeeds to make her devotion more lenient every girl is autophobic day by day she grows sterile and anaerobic and blames you for her ego

56

Boomer Wadaska

Every Girl Is Broken

every girl is fickle but you cannot hiccup when your means begin to trickle you are what she'll soon get sick of every girl believes her mind can't be seen into but what is up her sleeves she shouldn't have to tell you every girl is a frustration with needless drama created making simple situations overly complicated every girl is broken but pries into your biz she offers many tokens to what your problem is

Boomer Wadaska

57

DNA Mother

DNA Mother
sweat erupts from my face and goes: s p i r a l i n g n i l a r i p s s i a i g i a i s

down to the earth.

enjoy the dna mother

58

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Expectations

Expectations
you ask me how i expect you to pay for the rest of your life for a mistake we made with zero provision for the carelessness to seize the day for making three small words drive us to create a world of mysticism and lies to please each other as long as good feelings continue to keep us happy let's feel good together we said without consideration of who we would hurt ourselves and others who went out the window with my ornate principles i ask you how you expect me to turn my back and leave indiscretion behind and let bygones be gone to be forgotten with a non-revolutionary solution to fix what you call a problem a constraint an end to your life and what i call a responsibility that we should assume that maybelline cannot cover up
Boomer Wadaska 59

Dear John

Dear John
This is now the second poem I’ve written for you You never read the first The first never mentioned how awkward I felt when I saw you getting changed After you went swimming in Crooked Creek Fully clothed Dress socks and all The way your skin looked Testicles like swollen raisins grey The scar on your back From when your son shot you There was something tragic in that sight I know that much But the years haven’t yet chosen To let loose that secret It’s sad I know that you are a better man Than my words make you out To be. Instead of you I want to write about my house:

60

Michael C. Flor

Dear John

You know Where I grew up (almost as many miles from you as there are days in the year) You know Where you smashed out a wall Without checking with anyone first Because you thought we needed more space In that back room which always flooded You know Where you went to the Hechenger’s And were pissed they wouldn’t sell to you On credit You know Where my mother (your daughter) would lie to you And tell you what you were eating Wasn’t cheesecake You always liked cheese Except when you knew you were eating it She lied to me as well You know Where you repeatedly Tried to teach me the value of hard work

Michael C. Flor

61

Dear John

“if you’re going to do something do it right” But the bottom line is The hedges always had leaves under them The lawn mower spewed blue smoke That hung like fog in the blades of grass And the side of the house still needed to be repainted You know Where we once watched the Three Stooges together (or was it Bugs Bunny?) You laughed so hard I thought you were crying It is the first time you ever seemed human You know The place where you once danced around my bedroom (the same room where my dad said his good byes) I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers Your lack of self consciousness even won me over When I think of you I like to picture this moment Out of so many/so few (Not the hard spankings or the ridicule Not the boiling eyes that Only softened for my sister)

62

Michael C. Flor

Dear John

This moment One finger wagging side to side You’re left hand on your stomach You’re eyes half shut In snake charmer ecstasy And the words: “testify-testify kick a hole right in the sky” Sang out And for a moment This moment I’d like to think That we understood each other.

Michael C. Flor

63

Low Down Man

Low Down Man
Where should I begin? From the beginning, I guess. But where or when is the beginning? Perhaps I will start from the end and work my way back to the beginning. The end's not nearly as interesting as how I came to be there. So it all ends with me listening to Squirrel Nut Zippers' “Low Down Man.” If you haven't heard it, it's a beautiful Louisiana delta blues tune with an easy soft swing beat and a captivating melody sung by the siren voice of Katherine Whalen. To hear it makes me melt. Ordinarily this would be nothing out of the ordinary, except by the end of this story (which of course will be the beginning), it will have taken on an extraordinary meaning that has yet to be revealed. Prior to this, the devil had just torn up our contract. Never deal with the devil; he is a fickle being. Or maybe he was just annoyed with me by this point. The fact is, though, that we had a deal and he broke it. He was supposed to take my soul, but he didn't have it in him. Did I intimidate him? It reminds of me of that dumb old joke: “Heaven doesn't want me and Hell's afraid I'm going to take it over.” Clever cliché, but seriously, I take great offense to the fact that I was rejected by Satan. He had given me this gift in exchange for which he was to take my soul when I died. Obviously I'm not dead, else I wouldn't be writing this piece right now, but I was, briefly. It's tough to remember such a remarkable occurrence as death when it happens to you. The recollection gets so hazy, I'm guessing because when you die, your brain is deprived of oxygen. I suppose that might kill a few memories, especially the more recent ones. I remember my life flashing before my eyes; that theory proved to be scientifically accurate, though I'm not sure how people who never died before came to that conclusion. It's an awful lot to speculate. But anyway, after that I don't recall any bright light or anyone calling me; nothing like that. Instead, there was a big red door marked “exit” in white letters. This struck me as odd because I found myself wondering about a time before doors were invented and thinking there most certainly could not have been a door in the afterlife then. A caveman wouldn't know how to work a door, much less recognize what a door was enough to identify its function. Even if the afterlife's technology was far superior, I'm sure they would have thought that through. Unless the afterlife's technology advanced right along side real life's technology and prior to doors there were only caves marked “ugh.” In hindsight I realize the folly of this line of abstract thinking as I realize that I have read Sartre's “No Exit” and I also understand the workings of the human subconscious. The afterlife must be a construct of our own minds.
64 C Michael

Low Down Man
So there's this door, and I opened it. I entered, or exited as the case may be, and found myself within a void, or so it would seem, except I was standing on solid ground. I felt around to find a light switch. Nothing. Then suddenly, as if my thoughts were being read, the lights went on. I was in a room with no walls; hence, no switch, and behind me was the door. The devil stood before me, brown hair, brown eyes, friendly smile, looks just like me. He shook my hand and said, “Sorry, pal. Deal's off!” He tore the contract we signed into tiny little shreds and discarded them into the void. I shrugged and turned to leave, noticing that on this side the door was marked “no exit.” I actually quipped to the devil, “Sartre's been here,” but he was not amused. With an unexpected full body spasm, I instantaneously awoke in a hospital bed. Perhaps that part was all just a dream, but the doctor assured me that I was clinically dead for about five minutes and that a miracle had just occurred. So all of this left me feeling a little dejected so when I got home, I put on that song. I still don't know all the lyrics, it's just the ambiance it emits really hits home.

C Michael

65

Insensed

Insensed
I'm beginning to think you're a mirage Because whenever we get near things don't look so clear Dreaming in hallucination montage staggering in the void of wayward lives destroyed So when the vultures fly overhead in the daytime you'll find me lost with my head in the sand with you on my mind The deafening silence gets pretty good mileage listening for the sound of an echo to rebound A static reception from a bottle in a message dissembling every word like the bugs on a tyrant bird

66

Boomer Wadaska

Insensed

When the vultures fly overhead in the eclipse you'll find me lost with my mouth full of sand and you on my lips How creative the starving artist is crawling skin and bones stomach full of stones The brain of the smartest whiz hardly makes a meal like toxic goldenseal When the vultures fly overhead in the evening you'll find me lost with my heart in the sand watching you leaving

Boomer Wadaska

67

Why

Why
why do i have to write on this page just because someone else didn't?

68

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

George's Uncle

George's Uncle
Never start what you can't finish. George's Uncle Larry used to say that a lot before he took his own life. After he died, he didn't say much of anything, at least not with words. George stood over his uncle's lifeless body and noticed there hadn't been much change. He wondered why his uncle never lived up to that motto when he preached it so vehemently. His uncle never finished anything, much less started anything. Guess he finished this. George's thoughts were always cruelly amusing to himself. He couldn't help but crack a smile, which he quickly covered with a cough. On a whim his mind eased away, observing the wake from afar, looking at all the weeping people standing around miserable. He saw voluminous amounts of mucous spewing forth into forests of tissue paper. A smile forced itself upon him in light of this grotesque farce. The thought of a self-mutilated corpse and viscous liquids crossed the boundaries of Chekhovian tragedy and made him laugh past the threshold of restraint. This caused an astonishing silence that marked the end of any emotion other than abashment; all of it for George. George found this even funnier as he thought of his uncle's motto. He let it out. He cackled as a general aversion to snot would most likely cause Uncle Larry to take offense to this funeral fiasco. Then he stopped. The clock on the wall ticked the seconds off aimlessly at the end of which everyone in the room lost a minute of their lives in what seemed a lifetime. George walked out as his audience was left riveted. That was the last he spoke to any of his family. He drove four hours back to his apartment, crying, not over his uncle's death, but just in general. He was enlightened that day. Uncle Larry committed suicide because he knew he was a liar. This was his way of finally living up to his truth. George didn't want that for himself. From that day on, every day was to be full of truth. The hard part was facing it.

C Michael

69

Restless

Restless
The thirtysomethings are getting restless... All of my life-long friends seem to be suffering from a dreaded neurosis of becoming festered and funkified. They are buying Jags, Harleys and summer homes, quitting jobs and moving, and predominantly brooding over the day they relinquished bachelorhood. I also know this for a fact because after five years of bitching at everyone for not visiting me here in State College, I have been inundated with friends every other weekend for about three months straight now. It was my assumption that mid-life crisis happens in a person's forties. Did something in the scheme of the universe skew to accelerate the process by ten years? Could it be..."The Greenhouse Effect" or something in the Levittown drinking water? The rapid reciprocation of the Earth's atmosphere due to the condensation on the molecular plane? Or, perhaps, lupus? My landlord, (who also happens to be a full time psychiatrist / psychologist / shaman and a part-time peculiar individual) informed me that it has to do with Saturn's second cycle within one's lifespan. Frankly, I believe it is simply the stark realization that the Biography Channel has no plans to document any of our "True Life Stories." We're despondent that we haven't become rock stars and are inevitably transmogrifying into our parents. We're dismayed that our best stories are rehashed tales from college and high school. We're pissed that we didn't think of the "Girls Gone Wild" idea first. The other day at work, a passerby remarked to me, "Man, I'm glad I don't have your job!" This statement didn't bother me at the time, for the only reason that, how could I possibly debate that my job was better than one which apparently comprised of walking around the neighborhood critiquing other people's professions? This type of sentiment really affected me once, in June of 2000. I was working in the deli of a Giant supermarket and some guy who I didn't recognize said he remembered me from junior high school. He said out of all the people from back in school he always thought that I would be the one to go on to do great things in life and that "the last place [he] would expect to find [me] was working at the Giant deli." That weekend, I drove up to State College and enrolled back in school.
70 Boomer Wadaska

Restless
Somehow, at the time, I thought that would be the way to get into the groove of the livelihood of "doing great things in life." $44,000 in student loans later, I realize now that I could have purchased a really boss car instead and just threw a slice or two of Healthy Choice spiced ham at that kid and told him to shut the hell up and mind his own business. Along with all of the agita that everyone is feeling, I recently got back in touch with an ex-girlfriend. Last week, I found out that she committed suicide. That really shocked me because I always thought that she took life less seriously than me. She was quite an amazing girl and I always thought that she was more cartoon character than human. She was the only person who I have ever met who said and did the things that even I wouldn't attempt, but secretly wanted to. Maybe a bipolar disorder would have kicked me up to that notch too. I will always remember one of the last things she said to me the last time I saw her: "Out of all the people who I have met, you're the only one who never tried to fix me." In the light of recent events, it may take me a while to gauge that remark and find its true context.

Boomer Wadaska

71

Imagine

Imagine. Dream. Wish. Hope. Yearn. Pray. Beg. Plead.

Imagine
Imagine. Dream. Wish. Hope. When you first encounter these words you think they're all synonymous, then you check again and realize they're all different levels on a scale of desperation, in descending order. First you have an idea. It starts as an inkling of a notion in the back of your mind, or maybe you borrowed from something else and changed it to make it your own. Soon it becomes somewhat of an obsession. You like your idea so much, you begin to grow it like a garden, adding the right nutrients, removing the suffocating weeds until it blossoms into a bright big beautiful dream, and a conceivable one at that. So you go about making your dream a reality, the whole time wishing it would happen easier than you know it's going to happen. This can be a long phase, depending on your patience of course. After all of this, you have hope, which is not to be confused with any of the others. You can genuinely say that you always have hope for something, but by this time you're just hoping your wish will come true. And, as you keep failing, the scale gets longer, but we'll just save that for later.

72

C Michael

Picture of Me

Picture of Me

SOMEWHERE ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ OUT \ \ / / v v | | v / / \ \ v v <---THERE--->

IS A PICTURE OF ME

STICKING MY FINGER

IN CARROTTOP'S EAR.

i want it back!

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

73

Prose Part I

Prose Part I
“How I Feel Today”
Better than yesterday, I guess. I hate it when I get that feeling in my chest and I have to take a deep breath that cracks my back, but I still don’t feel any better. I get anxious, and I try to relax, but it takes more effort to do that than I see any point to, so I just end up lying down and twitching. I can’t stay in bed in the morning because of this condition I have where I can’t sleep past nine no matter what time I went to bed the night prior and my foot doesn’t stop rubbing the other one. It says, “Get up and do something.” So I get up and I do something and within a few short hours, I’ve forgotten what’s left to do and nothing gets done. I’m not busy enough. I have no creative outlets, so now I brave this typewriter, hoping that something will emerge. So I type something and nothing comes out. Yesterday, I went nowhere and had a hard time getting there. I got in my van and drove without destination and got very frustrated. So I turned around and it was twice as hard to get back. How symbolic. So how do I feel today? Anxious to get to a better day. It’s tough to live one day at a time when you think there’s something better later on. These days I should be resting; I’m too eager to get my hands on the days I can’t be resting. So how do I rest? How do I get rest? Relax. Relaxative. Rest. Restroom. Relief. Relief.

“Inevitability of Days”
You can’t define a linear existence by giving it a name. What day it is doesn’t matter. It’s still a part of my life. The events in my life are going to happen in order no matter what I label them.
74 C Michael

Prose Part I

“A Blow to the Head”
With ferocious zeal and intense vigor, he brutally assaulted the unsuspecting victim, repeatedly pummeling him with his bloody truncheon. The unfortunate man dropped to his knees in horror and severe discomfort. He felt the club crack open his skull. He felt the blood pour from his head. He felt everything and all he could do was wait until he felt nothing. The blunt weapon crashed harder and harder as it slowly drained his helpless essence. Blood flew, staining the snow and the assailant’s wear. Then with a final solid blow, the victim’s skull collapsed and mangled the brain tissue indiscriminately.

“The Purge”
The pencil scratched its way across the page leaving the unsolicited mark of the damned as the cursed demons within the bearer’s tortured soul released all of his pent up fury and wisdom in what seemed to be an unconscious and unbroken flow of indescribable madness.

“The Time Machine”
He sat there motionless, staring blankly into his own empty void. Visions ignored his world and thoughts remained vague and untouched, blanketing his mind with unfulfilled destinies. He rocked in his chair as his surroundings gradually affixed themselves within his peripheral boundaries, explaining in steps how his life had progressed. The only other movement in the world was the wind; the rest was frozen, dead to him. He noticed individual items as they were: A baby’s stroller, old and worn, refusing to tote another child; a busted red wagon, axels bent, weeping for its care-free days of use and fearing it had become obsolete in a child’s life; a bicycle, rained on and rusted, begging for the solace of an oil can; and the car just glaring at him as he sat and rocked. The car did not care about anything because it still ran and knew it would travel again one day soon. Only old junk and memories remained, except this one brand new item upon which he sat and rocked. This squeaky rocking chair was a new vehicle for him in which he would spend the rest of his days growing older than his memories. This was his time machine.

C Michael

75

Prose Part I

“Decentralization”
I have arranged it so I can’t be hurt so easily. The last time it broke, I decentralized my heart. A ventricle here, an aorta there. You see, I figure when your heart is in one place and it breaks, the whole factory has to shut down for repairs because everything is linked tightly together. But by separating the different chambers and placing them strategically throughout my body, I found that the pain is easier to manage and heals a lot quicker. Now instead of the whole thing breaking, just one portion of it does, and the others can keep functioning throughout the healing process.

“Contagion”
When I think about what my life has been reduced to, I can do nothing else but laugh; however, if laughter is a finite commodity, then I’m afraid my supply has been exhausted by this moment. I wish I knew where I could get more. If only I could borrow someone else’s laughter, just for a little while, I could break it down into the sum of its parts, examine the chemical properties and synthesize it. I’d have laughter again, but only externally. However, if laughter is an internal entity, I’m afraid there’s no way to mimic it that would convince me I’m actually laughing. It might fool others, but not me. Perhaps if laughing is contagious, I could fake it long enough to make someone else do it for real and maybe then I could catch it.

“And Now a Word from Our Sponsor...”
Did you ever get the feeling that everything you did or didn’t do just didn’t matter in the grand scheme of life? Like you have all this ability and you just can’t seem to tap into to it to make it useful for anything in particular, so you just give up instead? Well, try Creatia! Creatia is the answer for all mediocre writers, musicians and artists out there. People who take Creatia are not afraid to put forth their worst effort and sell it for way more than it’s worth. People who take Creatia will increase their output tenfold without risk of doing anything truly spectacular and then actually having to back it up with some more. Side effects include a heightened sense of fraudulent self-esteem, greed, gluttony, a guaranteed return to obscurity, itching and redness, and chronic diarrhea. People with self-respect and common sense should avoid taking Creatia, as it may cause mediocrity. Ask your doctor if Creatia is right for you. If he says “no,” ask more doctors until you find the unethical doctor who says “yes,” so he can receive kickbacks from our mega-corporation that in turn funds political parties to ensure laws protecting our right to profit from the financial rape of your wanton success.

76

C Michael

Prose Part I

“A Digression of Chronological Importance”
And then the writing stopped…again…and it didn’t start…again…not for a long, long time…and it wouldn’t…again…not for an even longer time than it didn’t…which, incidentally, is more impossible than it is improbable…which is possible because mentally time is intangible and therefore a perception translated by personality and activity…even though it is also a measurement of physical existence…and it happens to be consistently happening at precisely regular intervals…even though it can seem (a remarkably vague word) and also be infinitely varied…i.e. second to minute to hour to day to etc…but seconds can seem like minutes, just as hours can seem like days and days, weeks…even though they are exactly the same every single time (there’s that word again, this time referring to any given moment as opposed to an actual measurement) without fail…and time is always going…even though it doesn’t go anywhere… yet we can still feel like it stands still…and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good (even though it hasn’t gone anywhere)…and there’s always more of it, but less or none when we’re late or in a rush…and it never stops…even when it stops for you…but I digress…again…the writing stopped. This was written when it was written…not a moment too soon…not a moment too late.

“Self-Criticism”
The knack for writing I once possessed has deteriorated into a disjointed series of words clumsily strung together into semi-coherent expressions of useless rhetoric.

“The Magnanimous Salad”
I mince words into a delicious salad of sentences with a smooth and creamy verbal dressing that pours from my pencil, but a little too much seeps out and I get this overwhelming flavor as I chew this cud designed for human consumption. It tastes sour and sweet. There are no croutoneous words I could add to give it that frivolous crunch. They have become sogged with the artistry of the calories dumped upon it with zealous flavor. This tossed salad of nonsense makes a lettucy noise as I swallow. It kerplunks and pudribbles through my insides satisfying my mental craving for brain-food fodder. Chlorophyll flavor bursts in my mouth as I find a plain, undressed shred of greenery. “Gulp,” I swallow and say to myself “Mmm! That’s what I love!” Food for thought as it indigests throughout me. I let out a soft gaseous murmur developed within the depths of my gastrovascular cavity. Relief is fine.
C Michael 77

Prose Part I

“Earn a Living”
I didn’t choose to be born into this world, but for some reason I have to earn the privilege of being here. I have to go through my measured paces, suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in order to gain some kind of respect from the great beyond… I got myself to the point where survival has become more important than being. Responsibilities keep me from my dreams; responsibilities I took out of necessity. Now I have something to lose. That actually causes “fear and loathing.” I fear financial destitution; therefore, I loathe my job. I fear the loss of my significant other; therefore, I loathe her absence. You can’t have fear without loathing. So now I am stuck, and with it comes this heinous, crippling disease: a lack of imagination, loss of creativity. The spark of invention has long since turned to wasted carbon. I need a venue, a palate, a media to once again stimulate ideas. I need to be doing, not talking. I must implement the stunted ideas and allow them to flourish. Stop talking. “Just Do It.” Ignite the passion again. Don’t question who you are. Do. The road is clear. Drive on it fast and furiously. Find what you’re looking for. Boredom is past. The future is now. Go

Go

Go

Go

Go! You are Go!den!
78 C Michael

I Shall Now Think

I Shall Now Think

think think think think think think think think think “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“(yawn)”

Whew! That was tough.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

79

wysiwyg

wysiwyg
So Like, I was just going to say I mean, uh Because...well, In any case It would be like OMG Yeah, um BTW I don't know, but LOL On the other hand I think... IMO Just so you know As a matter of fact For what it's worth ATM As far as I know

80

Boomer Wadaska

wysiwyg

FYI You know To be honest It's like Something, something Because If I'm not mistaken In other words Don't get me wrong, You know what I'm saying? TTYL ;^)

Boomer Wadaska

81

Haiku

Haiku

Limit, please, seven syllables for this one line and five for this one.

I don’t like lifting objects that weigh very much because they’re heavy.

Writing a haiku is a tricky thing to do when you’re not sober.

A soft breeze whispers sending shivers down my spine as I think of you.

82

C Michael

December

December
a beautiful scare crow. fragile & cold, dropping pennies in the snow

Michael C. Flor

83

Prose Part II

Prose Part II
“God’s Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank”
One day a long time ago, I believed I was my own god. I was full of passion and ambitious. My hopes and dreams were clear as crystal and on a day by day basis. Everyday was fulfilling and…wait a minute. This is hogwash….I remember sitting in my room at night, lonesome as a shark with my mouth agape, ready to sink my razor sharp teeth into the marrow of life whenever it happened by. I was a hunter, a predator with the extraordinary ability to stalk my prey and devour it in a ferocious feeding frenzy. And I did so every time it swam in front of me. My tail fin was broken, or maybe I was stuck in my cave, or any other number of excuses I could come up with to justify my sedimentary approach to living life to the fullest. That’s when I became aware that God was within me, when I finally realized those feedings were rarely circumstantial. Then I became a hunter. I sought it all out until I grew tired. My muscles had atrophied during their stasis, so it didn’t take too long to become exhausted. Through the years I would come out for more attacks, but eventually I would be worn down by the toils of the predatory lifestyle. Somewhere in the midst of all that push and pull, the unfathomable grip of ennui began to take its toll on this lone hunter, and as a result, I became lost. I was pulled into a maelstrom and couldn’t swim against the torrents and ultimately drowned myself into oblivion, forgetting who I was. Once fully grounded on the ocean floor, in the darkest abyss imaginable, I had nowhere else to go but up, so I turned to desperation. That’s right; I prayed. I became a querulous wimp and sustained myself in the salt water of my very own tears. I prayed relentlessly until God finally answered…or I thought He did. What you believe to be true becomes true for you and things started coming true for me. My prayers became requests, and God became mystical. He was no longer inside me. He became an omnipresent force within the universe; without me. This is a flaw in many religions. Now that God was released and running around the universe somewhere, like a genie released from a bottle, granting me wishes, inside, I died. All my passion left with Him, I guess to be ubiquitous; meanwhile, I was still stuck in this trench, a tremendous wreck of a frame, wondering who in the hell I was. Then this same God who I released from his prison over a year ago, one day grew weary of fulfilling my desires, got fed up with my incessant bitching and moaning and constant demanding of Him to perform his lovely magic tricks at my whimsy. So he shit on my head.
84 C Michael

Prose Part II
Feeling wretched and unable to sleep, I ran around the block. I was angry. When I finished running, I climbed my sacred tree, as I always did, and I proceeded to yell at Him, in the middle of the night. I probably woke him up. My next mistake was so tremendous, who could blame God for shitting on my head? I said, “I love you, but…” Now, do I need to explain how this statement is an oxymoron? So it was at this moment that I heard a little squeak and some bat guano dropped right onto my head, and just like a cartoon character’s memory is jogged when a flower pot strikes his cranium, so too was mine and the light bulb lit up bright as Einstein as I realized I had to put God back inside of me. If only I could find Him. Strength comes from within. If you pray to God for strength, and He’s somewhere else, you’re not going to get it. If you try to find it yourself, and He’s not there, you’re going to grow weary and frustrated. But, if He is inside of you, He’s got to live there, so He’s going to give you everything you need. After all, I imagine He wants a nice house.

“Brilliant Exhalation”
The phone rang and I spoke sheer brilliance and expressed proverbial wisdom for the ages…and now all that wistful poignancy has aspirated into carbon dioxide and either bonded with the atmosphere or entered the life cycle of existing greenery. Where do the words go? We know they exist, but only for a moment in time—then they’re gone forever, a very short life span. I’ll never be able to recapture those thoughts the same way again, worded to perfection. Oh, well…

“The Sunshine Lounge”
He walked over to the Sunshine Lounge, open 7pm-4am, and went in, looking for new faces… There were none. Just the same old sad, lonely, confused grimaces as before, including his own reflected in the looking glass behind the bar. “Letter to Beethoven” Dear Ludwig, You have a very silly name. I think changing it would be a bad idea though, because the world needs silliness. Try buying a funny hat and a name tag. Truly yours, Ludmilla
C Michael 85

Prose Part II

“Laundromat”
I’m sitting at the laundromat rereading the contents of my journal as my rump is being massaged by the gentle pulsations of a General Electric 2 speed commercial washing machine. I’m tired and hungry and In the Heat of the Night is on the television. Mr. Tibbs. Gillespie. Images of a new dead-by-hisown-hand son of an acting legend. Simple diversions of what I really want to write about, but there are too many strange folk milling about to truly get personal. Or am I being lazy? For a moment I was disturbed by something…I’m a bit restless and almost…whatever… The pen is doing strange things. How do I stop it? What can I do? This woman keeps looking at me like there’s something unusual about what I’m doing. What am I doing? I’m shaking…oh, the machine, the machine. That’s nice. The detergent bottle dances and I have a listless grimace upon my face. Am I doing well? Does the woman know? No. Paranoia. What? What? I’m losing track here. Hello. I’m coming back or I’m trying or I can’t… Washer’s done.

“Rehab and Dating”
Crushed, our intrepid hero trudges back to his empty, sheetless bed, accepting yet another defeat, and places the pain of “what could have been” in another empty coffee can on the shelf of sobriety and wakes up to wishes and dreams that he will never touch in the physical world… and it goes on like this…a little while longer because he doesn’t know when or if it will ever end…

“Trapped in a Box”
The moon was so bright, as if someone punched a hole in the night sky, leaving an opening just large enough to crawl through and escape the darkness… Now, if only there was some way to get there…

86

C Michael

Prose Part II
“Media Sensationalism” The further people take this nonsense, the more we enter the extreme. This is the “Extreme Age.” There is no more middle ground. We are traveling towards a black and white world under the guise of a rainbow. Nothing is sacred anymore, especially not religion. We glorify killers and criticize heroes. We treat celebrities like gods and goddesses. Less than ordinary people smile in the camera light, blinded by their own cosmetically bonded teeth clenching tightly without daring to open their mouths and question their lives, held under duress by the risk of losing all of that…attention.

“Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There”
I went to a wedding at the end of which they made the guests read together and aloud an old Apache song (in which I did not participate). The voices in unison sounded like a reel-to-reel tape being played slowly backwards and warped. sssssiiihhht ekiiiil gniiihtemooosssss ddednuoosss tiiiI, and the only word I can remember, the only word I heard was “loneliness.” Meanwhile, I was gazing at the church’s carpet when its appalling pattern slowly began to dance and display symbols. The first and only symbol I can recall seeing was a swastika. This hideous symbol once meant “power” a long time ago as some ancient rune until Hitler tilted it into an icon of malaise. Oddly enough many Native Americans used that very symbol (the older one) in a lot of their art work and pottery. So what is the correlation betwixt the two?

“The Necessity of Comprehension”
Somehow I don’t think it is necessary to try to understand everything. It is always the initial impression that affects us the most. The motive is not important in this case. To analyze anything in great detail is like trying to understand the mechanics of the universe. It’s too complex. At some point we have to accept that it just works. It can not be explained like plumbing. There are no answers, only impressions.

C Michael

87

Untitled 7/5/95

Untitled 7/5/95
Saw this movie that made me feel like those dreams of mine. Felt this love from me to you you to me. A holy circle. When I try to remember you I realize you don't really exist. Just a dream a vapor a movie story. Can't remember your name or face outside of slumber. One thing remains inside my head is the intense dance we had. Wish your void could be filled outside my dreams.
88 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Untitled 7/5/95

One day she'll come and fill up blankness. 'til that day, I'll always have my dreams my sleep that movie story.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

89

cOME oN pILGRIM

cOME oN pILGRIM
Grant holy crusade begin for sacrosanct grail overflow anthropomorphic ejaculation absorbed by body and soul and resurrected trespasses pleading remission absolute at frequented intercess erected by man upon rood Colonnade scaffold deity incarcerate incarnate embodiment where spire ascends to divinity impales grace-fallen figurehead From core lustrous aurora eject borne by trickled liquescence discharged unrefined holophrastic violated with threshold admissions

90

Boomer Wadaska

cOME oN pILGRIM

Summons to ingest the bread knelt submission for sacrament reverence for ministering facade ecclesiastical figurement Convey the crux and body consume behold soft palate, the entity cradling humble cranium braced visage deficient itinerary Ebullient throes, belly convulse intonate falsetto requiem imbibe life's cupping pulse choking fertile diapendion Pure white heat perorate gained composure and tempered haste faith collapsing devaluate the ill effects of aftertaste.

Boomer Wadaska

91

I Dreamt of You Last Night

I Dreamt of You Last Night
A naked woman beckons on a bench in the park. She is not you. My friend approaches from down the path. He is no one I recognize, but I have known him for years. A body stirs. We walk down the path, my friend and I, singing Louis Armstrong’s version of the theme from Threepenny Opera. We know the words better than when I am awake. “Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear…” The sidewalk beneath our feet breaks apart and a gazelle gallops across our path. We follow it, still singing. “…and he shows them pearly whites…” A forest opens into the mall. We walk from store to store, but we only look in. Lines of clothes and dental chairs. Neon tubes and red pipes run along the ceiling, but not in my mall; just this one. “…Just a jack-knife has MacHeath, dear…” We are stalked by a maniac and move quickly through the crowd. We hear the mall music in the background. “…and he keeps his out of sight…” There are no floors or walls, only suggestions of them. We run past all of the stores without looking now. “…When the shark bites with his teeth, dear…” My teeth start to chip and crack apart painlessly as blood flows smoothly out and drips off my chin. “…scarlet pillows start to spray…” My front tooth cracks in half and breaks. My friend, who is someone else now, but I do not realize it, though I know him, laughs at this. I spit the pieces, which feel like gravel in my mouth, onto the deck of a ship, but I don’t wipe my chin. The air smells of salt, of course, like it’s supposed to smell. A shark is swimming in the pool on deck and the passengers are panicking. An Asian friend of mine is singing karaoke on the bar. “…Fancy gloves, though, wears MacHeath, dear…” His dialect is normal. My friend and I try to think of a way to get rid of that shark while a little girl falls into the pool. “Look, Mommy! I can swim!” she says. “…so there’s not a trace of red...”
92 C Michael

I Dreamt of You Last Night
I have to rescue her. I dive in and grab her as my friend vanishes. The girl and I are now in the ocean. She is no longer a little girl, but someone very special to me. Someone I love more than anything in the world. “…On a sidewalk Sunday morning…” I take her arm and bite it. We are now holding each other comfortably, sitting in bed, naked. I nibble lovingly on her arm. She laughs and giggles. We are perfect, happy. We love each other. A body startles. I sit up, suddenly alone. I shout her name. I am sweating profusely. The only light in the room is emitted from the red numbers on my clock-radio as it plays. “…lies a body oozing life…”

C Michael

93

Swiffertail

Swiffertail
It becomes almost near impossible to find myself inspired within the realm of any creative sense when I find that my own personal life has lost its ironies, coincidences and spontaneities. Those ingredients that keep a person's balance unstable, sight askew and sensibilities unmarbled make for some fantastical juices. Without them, I find myself where I am today, which is of no surprise to anyone who is intimately associated with the narrative of my life however much they hope and wish for an unfunkified and dramatically compelling modern folktale. The only contradictions I can ever possibly muster nowadays are wholly contained within the grammatically incorrect and brain-exhausting run-on sentences that I make my readers stumble and trip across.... The most ironic thing in my current chapter is a cat named Setzer Whoodini Skulking Swiffertail. This biologically purebred Turkish Van gave up his vagabond life on the mean streets of State College, Pennsylvania to enter mine. Having been raised alongside an incalculable number of animals during my suburban upbringing, I can rightfully say, for the most part, I had only connected to most of them by some means of toleration and by no means mutual respect of any sort. The aforementioned Mr. Swiffertail (a title with which he no doubt regards with textbook feline apathy) has capacitated a condition I haven't known but once before, back when I was a little kid. Long ago before the punkass began to develop his full degradation, I had a pet hamster named Ben. Ben was the first friend I ever had in my life and my life ambition was to become an ordained minister. By the second grade I had read the bibles NIV and KJV cover to cover and had much of it committed to memory. I remember spending many hours upon hours reading verse aloud to Ben as he sat on my chest or shoulder listening to my voice (and he never pooped on me once!) One day when I had come home from school, I couldn't find Ben and I tore my room apart looking for him. I discovered that he had somehow fallen behind my toybox and, although breathing, he was completely unconscious. I held him in my hands close to my chest and prayed to God to perform a miracle and help my poor friend. I
94 Boomer Wadaska

Swiffertail
begged and promised to do anything God would ever ask of me if he could grant me that one favor. Within a minute Ben stopped breathing and he was gone forever. I could not comprehend how the Alpha and Omega of the Universe could not grant the tiny favor to a most faithful kid to keep his simple pet hamster alive. I was pretty convinced at that moment that there was no power in prayer at all and, even though I continued to attend church every Sunday up until I graduated high school, I never really regained any faith or pastoral career aspirations...or any affections or desires toward ever owning a pet again. When I lived in State College, Setzer would appear at my door every morning and follow me as I walked to work, weaving in and out of my feet almost tripping me the entire way. I would find him again on my return trip home and he'd follow me all the way into my apartment where I would scavenge for something I thought might be an appropriate snack for a homeless cat. Eventually, I started stopping off at the convenience store and bringing home legitimate feline fare. After his meal, he would disappear off down the street to visit the other people in the neighborhood. One night in late December I kept hearing a little chirping noise and thought a baby bird somehow got caught in my outside heater exhaust vent. I opened my front door to go outside to check and there was Setzer, soaked and shivering with icicles hanging from his fur. I brought him in and he's been cramping my style ever since. Now that I've transplanted him here to Bucks County and work from home, I pretty much spend all day with him. I've realized that when the day comes that he passes on, I'll be pretty sad about it. The other day Setzer brought to my attention that my studio was being visited by a bunch of tiny ants, obviously trying to get out of the cold and seeing if they could take me for some charitable sucker. I tried to discern a walking path they might be following that would lead me back to a point of entry but they were all just scattering around in a typical ant-like fashion. Much like how I feel about anything I attempt to write anymore. Words like wayward ants.

Boomer Wadaska

95

ITHINKICAN

ITHINKICAN

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96

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

part of me @ least

part of me @ least
i gave you all i have all i could all of me. i only wish i could have given you more.

Michael C. Flor

97

Prose Part III

Prose Part III
“The Martyr of Reality”
I want to be comfortable. I want to be comfortable for real. I want real friends. I want friends who aren’t afraid to be real. I am the martyr of reality. Where are my followers? I don’t want to feel this lonely forever. There must be some people out there who truly get it. Not those that think they get it; those who truly get it. My mind would be clear as a bell if there was an obvious tangible definition for it all…

“A Warning”
This at all can’t be good. Bad times are upon us, my friends. The legions of emotional doom are striking at our hearts and minds with almighty rage. We are at the pinnacle of desperation and the winners will come out smiling.

“Notes on Traits of Japanese Politics”
After the 1930’s, nothing happened ever on a deserted island located in the middle of nowhere. No life was on it, not even paramecia. It never rained; the wind didn’t even blow, nor did the sun shine. Just a whole of nothing going on all the time. Oh, yeah; the time didn’t even pass.

“The Pit”
As the blood flows through my body, a vengeance of sound soothes my mind so savagely it drowns out all emotion in its wake. It is a sound so relaxing that my brain grows dull to the world and is only aware of one thing— the sound. It embodies all that is alive inside of me. It is a part of me. It is me. The sounds flow through my veins and distribute an adrenaline rush vicious enough to burn out the sun. From it, I thrust myself into the pit and flail vigorously about. Unbeknownst to me is the wall of pain that separates me from the real world. The sweat breaks off my body and all adjacent are covered with my ablution. The sweat christens them as they respond to my movements. The oxygen runs out of me and I no longer need it. The pulsating sounds crescendo and come to a swift halt. All is still and once again, I am me, exhausted. I push my way through the mob, but I can not escape. The next song begins and I find myself no longer me again. I wish it never had to end.

98

C Michael

Prose Part III

“The Expense of the Y2K Bug”
The quiet always disturbs my peace. How long will the quiescence of solitude plague my weary consciousness? It agitates every moment with fear, loathing, worry…stress…sadness, naught for me so much as it is for the rest of mankind. The wind is a torrid gale right now and it lurks outside my window like a succubus poised to drain what is left of my precious essence, my creativity. I have been stunted by perpetual ennui. The worst thing is that most of it seems to stem from financial woes. In a country where money is God… $In God We Trust$ What happened to separation of church and state? That phrase was put on our money by an act of congress in 1955. And now, go to prison for assault, rape… 8-10 years maybe. Rob a bank, 10-20 years? How dare you steal God? And here I am attempting to be my own God, not for worship (another form of idolatry), but for guidance. I try to find the strength within me and I often feel like I am cast out of the rest of the world (living in Lancaster County doesn’t help). So I am currently in debtor’s prison and it’s worse than what I imagine Hell to be and Heaven seems to be for the wealthy that live in palatial homes and drive ridiculous automobiles… God is money. We have to pay for our own edumacation, our own health care; in fact, there’s not a damned thing I can think of we don’t have to pay for. Air: $.50 for 3 minutes Water: $.99 for 20 ounces Earth: $?,???/acre Fire: $80/month for heat These are our basic elements and we pay for them everyday. Dare I go on… Time: See cell phone bill, or any phone bill for that matter Space: $???/month rent, $???/month mortgage Past: Income taxes Present: Internet/TV Future: Insurance That’s right, we even pay for what might possibly happen! I’m sure there are a lot more expenses I am overlooking right now. You have to pay for your right to live! But don’t worry! God will take care of it all if you have enough of Him!
C Michael 99

Prose Part III

“Y2K Compliant”
Here comes the ebb and flow of society. Here comes the rise and fall of humanity. Television equals Coliseum. Sex is prohibited. Violence is praised. Y2K destruction will come about by the hands of man based on the notion of a computer error. The greatest conundrum of all time. Y2K compliance is but a Pyrrhic victory.

“Limbaugh v. Machinery”
There were two sounds in the air that afternoon—Rush Limbaugh and a high-pitched whine. There wasn’t much difference between the two, but I chose to focus on the high-pitched whine because it seemed to have more intelligent things to say.

“Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear”
How is it that Edgar, disguised as a dirt-eating madman, can get himself within the presence of the king and actually hold a conversation with him?

“Revenge Is a Dish Best Served First”
There was an old horse who grew weary of carrying her rich, pompous master, so she threw him off, whinnied a nightmarish laugh and trotted on the old man's bones, braying “how does it feel to have me on your back!?” The horse brayed her way right into the mucilage jar as the old man unfortunately survived, but the rich man will never feel as satiated as the horse, especially since he has no feeling in his legs...

“An Unusual Correlation”
There are so many old people at casinos because they are attracted to bright lights, which is the same reason we see so many moths at bright lights. Moths are attracted to the smell of old people, thusly causing a dramatic increase in the necessity of purchasing moth balls when we get older.

“Semantics”
I wish I could decipher my mind for you, but words mean nothing without experience. You would have to experience my mind, what my mind knows and sees and understands.

100

C Michael

Prose Part III

“A Man Can Dream”
Sometimes I go for long random walks just looking for someone to fornicate. Okay, I admit that I am an attractive guy with only a minor flaw I blame on the entire female population—they are all shy at me. None of them just walks up to me and proffers their body to me. Damn them. So can I really be blamed for everyone else’s actions? I don’t think so. One of these days there will be a female brazen enough to come up and admit she wants to go to bed with me. Okay, so I’m dreaming. But wouldn’t it be cool if I wasn’t? I could indulge in any sinful pleasures I wish, whatever they may be, and die some painful death due to some horrible social disease. So maybe it wouldn’t be as great as I thought. But a man can dream…

“Why Go to Live Theater?”
You can spend your hard-earned cash going to see a movie, which will cost you about eight bucks. Add in a bottomless barrel of popcorn for another three dollars, and then of course you can't go thirsty, so tack on another three dollars for the drum of soft drink. That's fourteen dollars to sit in a dismal theater with gum on your seat and a floor that feels like it's alive. Plus, now you have to put up with the common riff-raff they allow in these movie theaters; the necking teenagers, the obnoxious talkers, the repeaters, and the other social miscreants that sneak in through the exit doors with six-packs of “Ol' Mud” in their pants. Now you're sitting through this cookie-cutter cliché of a Hollywood horror and the guy behind you is boasting that he knows what's going to happen next, the wise ass to your right is yelling, “Don't go in the basement!”, and the airhead in front of you is asking a million questions because she's not smart enough to even understand a Disney cartoon, not to mention her hair-toGod that forms an impenetrable wall even dynamite can't blow down. Then there's the screaming kid in the R-rated movie whose mother doesn't have enough sense to take him outside because she finds it more convenient to yell at him to shut up. And finally, halfway through the movie, some jackass in the back row throws a Slurpee across the theater that splatters your girlfriend and ruins your lucky t-shirt. Now wouldn't you rather have spent that fourteen dollars to go to your community theater and see a live performance of something that most certainly won't be out on video in a couple of months?

C Michael

101

Life's Collage

Life's Collage
Life's collage an exposition of debris inherited reminders with intangible receipts Pain's prompts are idolized delusions of illegitimate treasures and embraced first impressions Death's success blueprint expectoration total ego amnesia affluent predetermination

102

Boomer Wadaska

Autumn Lonesome

Autumn Lonesome
Wind blows blustery chill it gusts thru my insides removing summer's memory emptiness that's unmovable remains 'til spring fills it again Leaves change and die Nature's last hurrah Then it cuts loose extra baggage saddens me with intuition that someday I will be cut off. Empty beaches and boardwalks Seagulls are all that stay even they cry a lonesome wail my heart echoes their sentiment every second, "I'm alone" Fans crowd Football stadiums Packed into close quarters and I don't even sense anyone I feel deserted by mankind
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 103

MySpace Girl

MySpace Girl
You'd think that all this would be a bit simpler, but it's not? Escape the empty harsh world for a comment that "you're hot!" Storms knock out the power and the little things we take for granted become obsessive worry to consume the moment and the wars and killing overseas pale in present company compared to predicaments concerned with running water, flushing toilets, food spoiling and beer getting warm... I read a book by candlelight and wondered what the world is like; how long had we been gone and not able to communicate and share our self-absorbing deprecation and trade our medications. I smoke a cigar and wonder where you are on this giant map that points the arrow saying, "you are here." Your inspiration spans the cyberspacious glands of lonely souls against the clergy for hemorrhages received. Please don't judge the numbers of all the ones and zeros that make the pictures and the words of the internet symphony. We should meet atop a warehouse in the city, I'll bring my harmonica and you can just sit there looking pretty. We'll pretend everyone's concerned about the two who went missing and look down at the chaos laughing, crying, kissing. My head lies on your stomach and I can hear your body churn, we'll remember this day forever or at least until after the sunburn.
104 Boomer Wadaska

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy
“Forsaken Legend”
Chainsaw in Hand, A sinister Laugh; “I am David!” A mighty Giant falls, “You are Goliath!” Lumber… More Lumber; The Smell of Victory is burning Timbers. Wood begets Fire, Fire forges Metal, Metal replaces Flesh; Mother Earth turns cold and bitter. “Take that, You mighty Giant!” “Take that, You dumb Ox!”

C Michael

105

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

“Forsaken Legend Remembered”
There will be no use of power Tools this Day As We revere His enormous Soul, In Awe at His Marvels: Pike’s Peak, Aurora Borealis; His blue Companion forever at His Side, Sharing his Sorrow, A Babe weeps; The Advent of Technology upon Him, Half an Inch; A Technicality, The mighty Lumberjack has been timbered.

106

C Michael

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

“Forsaken Legend Remembering”
A Craftsman Chops Wood And builds Shelter For Himself and His big blue Ox; Protection from the Cold, Friends forever joyous, But wondering, Remembering What might have been A better Time But always thankful, This humble Craftsman, Regardless… Looking up, He heaves a Sigh, The Starlight hindered by Invention, A venerable Giant defeated by the Technology of Man…

C Michael

107

Untitled 6/30/95

Untitled 6/30/95
She is out there waiting for me expectantly luring me in she loves i love hold tight baby getting nearer impatiently i'm still searching

108

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Beloved Dream

Beloved Dream
Imagining those eyes that held me captivated and those lips I once imbibed that are now an absent kiss refresh expired passion through scenes remaining timeless, replete with reminiscences incarnated where the touch of your hand that paused my breath and brunette curls that smothered me with pleasure; your alchemic mixture induced intoxicating seizure; recipes of potent enchantment summoned my ingest. Tested by arduous divides and tyrannized by desire, my devoted forecast defied, pleads immediate reparation. In sweet coma I lay content, rapt in amorous meditation my resolution for your absence, in beloved dream I retire. My agony. you dispel and imbue my empty mold recluse only in flesh, we are inseparable in soul.

Boomer Wadaska

109

Prose Part IV

Prose Part IV
“Darkness” Darkness shreds my insides with wicked sharp claws. I've seen too much and it knows. It plagues my soul relentlessly, laughing at the torment it causes. Why did I have to see? How could I let it know? Everything was well hidden from it and then I opened my eyes and enlightened the darkness. There is an evil lurking around it that wants to come out and play, but I keep it imprisoned within in me to prevent it from damaging others. It riots within my mind and weakens me to the core. How much longer can I restrain it now that I have seen it all? “Nothing Is Something” The difficulty in writing lies within the ability of the pen to make a mark on the page. My inability to write has been interrupted by the miracle of actually doing it. It's so simple. I haven't written much in so long, I'm out of practice. I will begin by writing anything. Then I'll write something. Then I'll write everything. Anything Something Everything Now even nothing is something... Nothing “The Trouble with Communication” Ink stains the paper with thoughts controlled by my hand that were released from separate locations of my mind simultaneously, but can only be relinquished in linear format allowing for unabashed mutations of the original structure. In other words, one thought comes out in several disjointed segments that form a message that the receiver must accept in order and will translate back into one thought. The message's journey will always cause variations in transformations and the receiver will never fully understand the thought exactly as the sender had intended. Even the words themselves emit in linear fashion; they begin and they end, but our minds can work with no beginning nor end until we try to organize it into a message, whether it was intended for someone else or ourselves.

110

C Michael

Prose Part IV

“Quashed Hope” His thoughts were drizzled onto the page, coming few and far between. There seemed to be no focus behind any of them...except one; one glaring, somewhat misogynistic statement spurned the notion of an idea on the innermechanics of his mind, not to mention the ill-fated designs of an attitude borne of mental anguish brought on upon him by many failed love affairs. Complacently written in purposeful handwriting was the statement, “Behind every great man is a greater woman holding him down.” It doesn't take a team of profiling psychologists to figure out that here was a man feeling slighted by his commitments to his significant other, held from his dreams by prior obligations and required responsibilities. Here was a man with quashed hope. “Rubber Band Ball” I made a rubber band ball a few months ago. I haven't touched it since. I look at it and see that the rubber bands have begun deteriorating. Some have even snapped, but I never seem to be around to hear it. “One Last Thought...” We may have been born and we may die, but our lives are a loop; there's only something tangible in the interim. The proof is this: What was your first thought ever? Don't know. What will be your last thought ever? Don't know. Will you remember your last thought after you've had it? You didn't remember your first...

C Michael

111

Banana Meltdown

Banana Meltdown
Ladies and monkeyfish, if you were to learn of the following tale by any other means than this very prose, hunted and pecked by none other than your beloved Levittown Punkass, you would call that impostor a second-hand, albeit, unemployed sandwich artist whose true nature is purely indiscriminate of the happily untested waters in Tullytown quarry and the horribly underaged.* So, my loyal readers of mindfunk and brainjunk, you may take heed (and/or whatever is the opposite of "heeding") as you will, to this story of which I would swear allegiance to the native granola statue of Skitswabia (that is, if the imposing faction who has yet to acquire any anti-gingham fashion sense whatsoever, firstly kill their chapstick idols) were I forced to, in order to prove its whole authenticity to the disconcerned and fashioned, vertically-stripaged. You may be wondering to yourself, at this very moment, "did I remember to put that Snuggle fabric softener in the wash for my dress socks?" or rather, more accurately, "what the hell is this fucking guy talking about!?" Well, I must admit to all the Anglo-Saxon Michael Jacksons and Academy Award winning child blacktors of the world there is, very deeply buried in the sole of an authentic 1970's style Chuck Taylor sneaker, a point. Rather, at this juncture, an actual beginning to some semblance of anything story would be a welcomed respite from this seeming ungodless endingly. The truth is, as succinct and proper a crème 55lb page can accommodate, the very fact that the author may be nonetheless very intoxicated on fruity beverages laced with scopalamine and chased thereafter with his choice between a mixed drink (popularly referred to by the polka-dotted aboriginal tribe of Skitswabia as a "blue fiery nipple") and a crumpled up piece of newspaper (with one of three options available: 1. the local sports page (Monday edition) of the
112 Boomer Wadaska

Banana Meltdown
now-defunct Harrisburg Peabody News (evening edition), 2. the table of contents from Boys Life Magazine (not necessarily a newspaper, but for the purposes of adjective conservation, it will have to do) and 3. the police log page from a January 23, 1984 Bucks County Courier Times which detailed the escapades of Morrisville resident and 1978 Pennsbury graduate, Phil Pizzolo who (at the time) had several outstanding warrants out for his arrest when he was caught by Bristol Township police wrestling a 15lb Tullytown quarry carp in front of the Green Lane 3M plant while the residents of the neighboring Fleetwing Estates bet on whether he would gouge its third eye into oblivion or ultimately, pee himself. It is my very hope, nay prayer, nay hope is good enough, that you may now begin to understand that there may not have been any conception of anything story when this entry was nothing but a mere "Lad..." My humble apologies to you for getting this far and having wasting what could have been valuable time browsing for sexy new twodimensional faces with which to adorn the friend section of your MySpace profile page or finally coming to terms with the fact that, no matter how long you ponder whether you indeed did forget to put the rain-scented Snuggle into the wash, the important thing to realize is, that if no Snuggly-scented aroma emanates from the washer, run the cycle again and pay closer attention to your load of dress socks instead of reading inane, pointless prose.

*revision: (currently, together at last!)

Boomer Wadaska

113

The Best of...

The Best of…

“T.emporal V.ortex”
Staring at it Second to minute to hour The temporal vortex proffers Relief from the humdrum.

“Christopher Waiting Patiently”
Christopher just sits there waiting patiently for the shower. He just sits there waiting waiting patiently for the sh o w e r .

114

C Michael

The Best of...

“The Countess Is up to Her Old Tricks”
Aren’t you done yet? Kicking me when I’m down… I’m bleeding and you just lap it up and laugh, as you come back for more, addicted to my pain, my love vampire, leaving nothing left for anybody else, not even me… I bless my soul my corpse doesn’t rise to become one of your minions.

“Pb→Au”
It used to be whatever I wrote turned to Gold, but lately, it does not seem to come out write; it seems to be staying Lead… (you could really appreciate the pun better if this were in pencil)

C Michael

115

The Best of...

(a 1 one)

116

C Michael

The Best of...

“Pieces”
you broke my heart into tiny little pieces scattered all over the floor… slowly, carefully, painfully, I put the pieces together, but... there is still a piece missing, and I am left with hert.

“Route Down”
Gridlocked, idly broken inhaling manure and monoxide, engine vainly revving my vehement vehicle reverberates appetence as I endure great trafficulty getting to you...

C Michael

117

This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest

This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest
Once upon a time, a slave stole his master's horse and escaped to Canada. The Master went to the officials and wanted his slave back because he stole his horse. The officials stated that a slave was considered property and so was the horse and property can't steal property. So, since the horse carried the slave over to Canada, the horse stole the slave.

118

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Sophomore Poetry

Sophomore Poetry
“With Your Thoughts”
Thoughts are like knives, Slicing your mind into individual pieces For you to chew on and spit out As they relentlessly torment your existence, Like bad flavor, And they become reality, Leaving you alone, With your thoughts.

“What Was I Talking About?”
I had a thought one time, But it slipped away, And where it went I can not say…

“Exhausted”
I yawn when I’m tired And lately, I can’t keep my mouth shut.

“Absent”
I realize now That I’m the one That’s missing From my life.

“Get Up”
Get up! Get up! Get out of bed! Get up! Get up, You sleepy head! There’s much to do; There’s much to see; If you stay in bed, You’ll never be… So get up! Get up! Get out of bed, And put those dreams To work instead!

“Was It a Cat I Saw?”
While I was wandering away From a caterwauling crowd of macaw, I saw a shadow slink and sway, A ponderous perception, a playful paw, Swatting, swinging, scratching at play; Was it a cat I saw?

C Michael

119

Sophomore Poetry

“Genius or Fool?”
A poem... about a man who walks down the street at night in the fog and can't see past his nose. He got to be where he needed, but missed the trip... Genius or Fool? Words are nothing more than tools to bisect our souls... To say too much is redundant, not enough is apathy. Words are nothing more than themselves, and they describe what we want to know. I'm saying nothing, and it means everything!

“Weight of Words”

“My Mind Seethes Hot Thought”
My mind seethes hot thought, Seeping through intangible cracks in my skull, Rushing to escape all at once. Like the fertilization of the egg, They impregnate the boundaries of the world, Corrupting the frontiers they break Of those neglected, dying, And I live until the last thought has left my head.

120

C Michael

Sophomore Poetry

“I Hate Poetry”
The true expression of emotion Wrapped soundly with heartfelt devotion; Words of beauty, songs of love, Psalms of glory from above, A fit of anger, a bit of strife, Words of wisdom on death and life, Painting pictures of fallen leaves, Sighs of pain as poets grieve, Passion spake through tongues of rhyme, Syllables assembled by meter and line, A lyric, a song, a sonnet, The words we feel have drawn it, Epic ballads and pastoral woes, Epigrams of the world we know, Our minds spoken in pretentious states, Yes, it is poetry that I hate!

“Love and Madness”
Love and madness, hate and sadness, Seething, pumping, twisting madness… Little deeds done did little, Love-torn heart straight through the middle; Spasm pains, contorting, grinding; Broken words, mocking, blinding… Doom doom doom doom doom doom booms; Impending, compelling, desolation looms… Love and madness, hate and sadness; Reeling, wrenching, biting madness…
C Michael 121

Sophomore Poetry

“Have You Ever Seen a Fool A-Walking?”
Have you ever seen a fool a-walking Where vicious beasties go a-stalking And witness many large fangs that’ll Make a man a mangle And see him bleed and see him die And sordid vultures feast upon his eye Because that’s all that does remain Along with blood in beastie’s mane Or did you turn your troubled head And put your opinions back to bed And leave that poor fool there to die So you may continue your life of lie?

“Inspiring Words from Our Sponsor”
Just start writing anything that comes to mind And the answer will neatly unfold before you… Keep on writing… Any second now… You’ll find your niche And fill it With so much ink it’ll cloud your vision; You’ll drown in a pool of black ink…

122

C Michael

Sophomore Poetry

“The Screaming Children”
I feel the children screaming within me wondering how to get out crying and I can do little to suppress them and the pain of their claws slashing my insides remains hidden only through my stone cold expression alone, I wince desperate for a way to spit them out…

“Acceptance of a Life Less Ordinary”
How can I get out of this dark room if I just settle in? My ass will get fatter on the couch of monotony. I’m going to write a new page… It will have nothing to do with me… I will dive into fantasy for a moment and see if I don’t come out swimming…

C Michael

123

Sophomore Poetry

“What Am I?”
Am I a sandcastle, waiting for the ebb and flow of the ocean to slowly erode my emotional fortitude with the occasional tsunami preparing its devastation not too far from shore? Am I a decaying mummy, wrapped in a shroud through which no one can see my truth until I am discovered and unraveled and I crumble to dust? Or am I a time bomb, just waiting for the right moment for it all to blow apart? I just want to be something simple, but once you know the truth, that’s all there is…

“Ennui”
Ghosts don’t even keep me company with their dauntless haunt. Boo. Boohoo.

124

C Michael

Sophomore Poetry

“Wandering Soul”
I am a wandering soul. I lost my love. When I found her it was too late. Too late. Too late. It was Too late!

C Michael

125

INVINCIBLe

INVINCIBLe
OUT OF THE NIGHT THAT COVERS ME winD bLOwS thrOhGh mY mInD aLL caRs mUst stoP i AM cOmIng thRouGH dont sTARt unTiL i gEt thErE i wiLL sTiLL maKe iT thRougH i caNnoT bE kiLLeD bY thIngS thaT dont knoW me weLL eNOUGh to hatE mE 3-5-0-0 remoVE thE woRry frOm youR emoTionS LifE caNnot go ON withOUt me mY iDEAs aRe toO vaLUabLe to bE LosT mY pASsion haS noT bEen shAred bY everYone my sKin reJecTs aBsorptioN nEvEr fEar... BLACK AS THE PIT FROM POLE TO POLE saBLe bLack aRmiES canNoT rEmovE mE frOM my sTUBborn sTanD yoUR skIN is coLD aNd weT aNd yeT, LEave mE aLonE i aM wArm aNd feD cRowN me kiNg aNd

126

Boomer Wadaska

INVINCIBLe

i dont knOw yOu i caNnot seE i sIt siLieNTLy waiTiNg patIentLy i knOw fOr sUre thE LighT wiLL aRrive i am nEvEr diSsapoInteD... I THANK WHATEVER GODS MAY BE am i rEaLLY in gOOd hAnds wiTH aLLSTATE? caRry me saFeLy thEn agAin i caN waLK thIs is nOt goOdbYe thaNK yoU fOr yOur hAnd, bUt i caNnot taKe iT witH me wIthOUt diFficULty my frEezer is FuLL the pACIFIC oCEAN's servinG daTE haS eXpiRed i caNnot brush mY hAIr whEn i LosE mY hEad inStinCT is aLL i nEed... FOR MY UNCONQUERABLE SOUL i havenT usED mY poTentIal

Boomer Wadaska

127

INVINCIBLe

LiFe aWaiTS me witH LiTtLe feEDbAck beYonD a stYLe ciRcULatioN witH LiTtle fOrgiVenesS fOr faLLen hEroEs tHe wOrLd cAn stiLL bE sAlvAged mOdern mEdicInE wiLL eXtEnd mE tHe sALVATION aRMY wiLL pROtecT mE my fRIends wiLL kEep me haPpy whAt mE wORry preParED to eAt it aLL i am tHe caPtaiN oF MY SOUL OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN INVINCIBLe!

128

Boomer Wadaska

Two From Biology Class

Two From Biology Class
“Class Dreams”
Starving, I went to my next class, Biology; yay. As I sat there listening to Dr. Ha babble about genetic diseases, my stomach began to rumble like Thor's hammer, Mjollnir. It was so loud, I could swear it could be heard from six classrooms over. The hunger pain gnawed at my stomach as it cried. It made sounds so unnatural sounding it was if I had some genetic disease. I thought to myself there are a hundred people here I could eat if I get too hungry. I mean, right about now, every time I swallowed, my stomach said, “Thank you!” I could feel my body thinning as I had more and more of nothing to eat. I started to feel all rib-cagey, with a swollen belly. I could see my flesh thinning before my eyes which were now beginning to sink into my head. Slowly I transformed into a grotesque visage of skin and bone. I needed food and fast. A cockroach scurried past my peripheral vision and tried to escape my sudden, threatening grasp. I snatched it up and popped it into my mouth. I could hear its exoskeleton crunch as I munched away. It tasted like chicken. After I swallowed it, I felt only partially satiated and realized that one cockroach could not fill even my shrunken tummy. I searched frantically for another, rapidly losing the energy I gained from the roach protein I had in me. None! I couldn't find a single cockroach anywhere. The students around me stopped, suddenly noticing my frenzied fidgeting. They gaped at me as I squirmed in my seat, my eyes scanning for cockroaches. But then, out of the clear, biological air, a fly buzzed past my head. I tried to catch it, but it was too quick for me and my now atrophied muscles. My rickety, decrepit, stick-thin body fell to the floor as I swatted and twitched involuntarily. Then, all was dark. During my unconsciousness, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting in my biology class taking notes on hemoglobin, blood cells and genetic diseases. I was paying perfect attention and ignoring my hunger pangs. Then, a cockroach scurried by...

C Michael

129

Two From Biology Class

“The Monster That Died”
It looked like a spider with its legs creepy-crawling all over the place, but it wasn't. It had feathers. It scurried across the ceiling and ate my friend, Jon. I screamed and ran as it came after me. Then it spit out Jon because he didn't taste too spiffy. Then it ate Dr. Ha, but choked and had to regurgitate him. The Ha-mass on the floor was half-digested and looked not so pleasant. I almost hurled but I swallowed it and ended up with that yucky taste in my mouth. I got a drink of water as I sprinted from the wretched creature. Just as I thought I was escaping, I ran right into a huge mother-of-awoman at the door and was momentarily winded. It caught up to me, but I managed to squeeze by the enormous lady. It couldn't get through because she was so fat, she clogged up the whole doorway. It tried to eat its way through, but the lady was so fat that when it ate her, it died of high cholesterol.

130

C Michael

Meaningless

Meaningless

meaningless, meaningless this page is meaningless...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

131

The Smoking Monologues

The Smoking Monologues
“Dating the Addiction” Samantha: Okay. I was seeing this guy and I guess we were going out for like, uh, four months before we actually, you know, slept together. It wasn't that we were waiting for that special moment or anything, we just could never make a go of it; I mean, I guess he wasn't very, I don't know. He was sexy, it wasn't anything like that, it's just that he never really pushed anything, and I've never been one to rush anything, so...we just never, you know, did anything. Well, finally the uh, we went out on this romantic date, like dinner and a play and drinks afterwards, and it's around twelve or so when we finally decide to leave the bar and he takes me home. He walks me to the door and suddenly, it's really awkward and then he just says “well, goodnight” and kisses me. Now, I've been giving signals; it's not that I haven't, but I guess he just wasn't reading them. I even thought that maybe he wasn't interested in me, but four months? Okay, yeah, maybe he doesn't believe in premarital sex, okay, but I mean we never really discussed, you know, sex or anything like that. I mean, we didn't have that kind of relationship. It was starting to get a bit...dry. So anyway, he goes to his car, I go into my house and I'm just like, “Shit!” Then there's a knock on the door. It's him, of course, and he just grabs me and kisses me really passionately and one thing leads to another and we, uh, we, uh, you know, we make love and it's wonderful. And afterwards he tells me he's a virgin! A twenty-five year old virgin! And I'm like “oh, God!” you know. I mean, I just knew he really meant it! He was just so shy and so cute and then he's like, “So do we smoke a cigarette now?” Neither of us smoked anymore. We both had decided to quit at the same time, and well, that's sort of how we met, but anyway, I say what the hell, right? I mean, the perfect end to a perfect evening, so I snuck around the house, and I find a pack of my roommate’s cigarettes and we light up. The next night, he comes over and we rented a movie and we didn't even, you know, get halfway through it and once again, afterwards, we light up. And I make this joke: “I hope we don't get started up again,” just joshing. He says, “Well, let's make a deal. We'll only smoke after we have sex.” One cigarette, that's all, and it's set. Well, for the first week my, uh, you know, sex life is great; every night, sometimes twice even and pretty soon we find ourselves going through a pack a week, then two packs. After we hit three packs a week, we both caved in. I mean, you know, we were, uh, wearing each other out and the sex was getting not so, uh, well, you know. I've been a bornagain smoker ever since.

132

C Michael

The Smoking Monologues

“The Photographer” Tony: I'm smoking in bed, right, and I'm tired. We hadn't slept for like two days, just going from one party to another and finally, I pass out, I'm in La-LaLand, I'm dozy. So anyway, as you could guess, the cigarette drops from my mouth and the next thing you know, the whole god-damned bed is on fire, just like engulfed in frickin' flames, right. Naturally, I wake up from this and I'm like flippin' out, got like this second degree burn on my arm and shit and I'm just screamin'. Fuckin' Jimmy comes running into the room and he's like “Holy Shit!” He tears ass outta there and I'm tryin' to smother the damn flames with my pillow, right. Now, you're a cameraman so you can appreciate this—fuckin' Jimmy comes runnin' back into the room with his camera and starts fuckin' taking snapshots of the fire, me tryin' to bat it out, right. I'm like “Do somethin', Asshole” and he's laughin' his ass off takin' pictures. Son of a bitch. I'd show you them if I had them with me. I should keep 'em in my wallet or something. So anyway, smoke's like billowing everywhere, I'm hacking and coughing while Jerk-O is laughing and playing Ansel fucking Adams or some shit and the frickin' phone starts ringing, right. So I pick it up and I'm like “What the fuck?” I tell 'em to call the fire department—it's my frickin' mother! So now I got her screaming in my ear, I'm yellin' at Jimmy and the fire's startin' to get worse. Okay, so outta nowhere, Jimmy's girlfriend like comes plowing into the room, buck fucking naked with a fire extinguisher. She must've grabbed it from the hallway or some shit, right, starts fightin' the fire like a trooper. She's like this naked fireman or something. She fuckin' puts out the fire, and all the while Jimmy's still flashing pictures. Oh, god! It was wild! I'd show 'em to you if I had them with me, man. You gotta see 'em!

C Michael

133

Not Just a Package

Not Just a Package
A strange package appeared at my doorstep the other day. Actually, it was more toward (more accurately, on) the picnic table that rests atop the front deck of my house (i.e. atop the table, atop the deck, atop the property lot, atop a weathered carbonate and/or calcitic limestone shelf). In all honesty, I say "my house" but truth be told, it would take quite the crack-whored broker to finance even the utmost modest domicile to my person... The aforementioned house and aforestated deck as well as the aforesaid property lot belong to my landlord, the honorable Dr. Psychologist, and the picnic table belongs to his secretary who abandoned it there two summers ago during a botched attempt at a social mixer. The limestone shelf's ownership I would argue to belong to the one and only "Ultimate Landlord of the Planet Earth," Gaia (you know, The goddess of the earth, who bore and married Uranus and became the mother of the Titans and the Cyclopes, silly!) Basically, the strange package appeared twenty feet (and around the corner) from my doorstep, but to avoid drawing a prepositional map for those who have never visited my (landlord's) home (and you know who you are, you discourteous associates!) I compromised and described a general locale within the realm of a latitude 40.8803, longitude -77.8129 vicinity, so sue me! Now, I also feel compelled to clarify that there was nothing particularly "strange" about the package itself. It was completely ordinary in its packageness, so far as I have been raised to know and recognize such things. All of the typical physical properties seemed to be in check with my initial examination of this stationary object and I can only assume that it was indeed retaining its original color. The described "strangeness" was wholly in the fact that I had not expected a package to be there upon this certain approach, since I had been well aware of keeping quite a self-restraint on impulse eBay
134 Boomer Wadaska

Not Just a Package
purchases combined with the fact that my birthday would be over a month away and that no one loves me enough to ever send me a present for it anyway. And, since it did obey these proper laws of physics, I must also concede that the (completely unremarkable) package actually didn't just "appear" in front of me. Whoever placed it there originally was obviously long gone and I'll go out on a limb and assume that particular courier does not moonlight as a freelance magician who plays practical jokes on his and/or her paranoid neighbors. So, the moral of this story would seem to revolve around the fact that I have a very prosaic life and can muster the ability to make even the most trivial events much more complicated and verbose.

Boomer Wadaska

135

Trixie's Trying Trick

Trixie's Trying Trick
Tripping upon the trap, Trixie turned to tap. Too tardy to try her tumbling trick. Trixie tossed two toes into teeth too terrible to tell, she broke her foot. And she threw a fit. And that's the end of that Trixie story.

136

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

The Sixth Year

The Sixth Year
So why is this opened wound smiling? Is it for the applause of a masterpiece in Pain? Or, perhaps, the true irony of an empty gift awarded for an unfortunate anniversarywhen a writer's muse vanished with the script leaving behind a strange comedy of errors with an actor silent and staring into space, exposed as a fool for being a coward, afraid to improvise that which a heart once knew... The actor stands still, in blinding red lights where the earth has been scorched to ash as the stage is consumed by thick, black smoke. The light turns blue on trees barren as bone behind the coward transfixed to a blizzard with sounds of blasting static and ghost voices. How long will an audience remain for a scene without magical birth or tragic death? For there is no drama in immobility and no pity from the critic who wanted to see puppy dogs and ice cream.

Boomer Wadaska

137

Raffles

Raffles
I never won anything in my life. As far back as I can remember, I never won anything. Except twice, maybe, but I don’t count those. The elementary school I attended was the domain of all young prisoners who were forced by their mothers, and the law, to get an education, but we really didn’t learn much anyway, except how to read and write and add and subtract. Basically much of what we were told, like about Christopher Columbus, we discovered were lies once we reached the high school level, where, incidentally, I was awarded, for my excellence in English and German, two nice wooden plaques with my name and the respective subjects on them. Anyway, we used to have raffles during lunch in my elementary school, but not everyday. The tumult they sparked in us young captives of the educational ball-and-chain made going to lunch more exciting than mathematics. We always had two choices at lunch that the school district offered and we were made to decide early in the morning, when we weren’t even hungry, so the cafeteria people knew exactly how much slop to prepare. Our decisions yielded the welcome reception of little plastic octagonal chips that read either “Regular Lunch” or “Alternate Lunch,” which we gave to the cafeteria people so they could give us our lunches accordingly, but more so we couldn’t change our minds later in the day and screw everything up. We used to find much rebellious pleasure in scraping them along the dully-painted cinder-block prison walls of the hallway, trying to make perfect circles out of them. They were even color-coded: blue for “Regular Lunch” and red for “Alternate Lunch.” The alternate lunch was always pizza, which was more like a slice of bread with ketchup and plastic cheese on top and tasted much better with mustard. When we had the raffles, they gave us tickets for them when we paid for our bread and water, which was either a buck-o-five or a lunch ticket which was purchased in one shot at the beginning of the week. As I was one who was always late for the bus in the morning, thus rushing out the door without my lunch money, my mother began taking precautions to ensure I was well prepared in my pre-responsibility days by making me a lunch-ticketer. Thanks Mom. Before the drawings, we were permitted to eat our food, sitting in our assigned seats or at the “Bad Kids’ Table” depending on whether the roaming lunch monitors, all mean old ladies that hollered at kids for no other reason than to get a few kicks for old times’ sakes, felt like putting you there or not. They were totalitarian dictators, strutting around with their whistles and “I’m better than you because I’m older than you” smirks on their pompous, wrinkled faces. They might as well have had blue uniforms and billy-clubs. I once got in trouble for cracking my knuckle because one of these tyrants interpreted it as an
138 C Michael

Raffles
obscene finger gesture. I was sent to the “Bad Kids’ Table,” which was nothing new; I usually sat there anyway, and if I, or anyone else was extremely bad, theses megalomaniacal lunch ladies had, and often abused, the power of revoking recess privileges. The big drawing was held after we finished choking on our fine cuisine. The prize was usually a giant cookie, which was often chocolate chip, but when I finally won, I got oatmeal raisin instead. I think I was the only kid in the history of elementary school raffles to win a giant oatmeal raisin cookie. In fact, I can swear that no one else in this entire universe was ever awarded such unpropitious swag. I think that somewhere some higher-ups are constantly playing wicked pranks on me and that this just so far happens to be the most demented kick in the pants I have ever received from them. Not an oatmeal raisin cookie; a GIANT oatmeal raisin cookie. Some win. I’d rather have won a giant, stale soft pretzel, which was another common raffle prize. The second time I won the raffle, the prize was much better. I was the lucky recipient of an enormous inflatable Oscar Mayer Wiener Hot Dog, which unfortunately didn’t last very long. We popped it during recess and that was the end of my hot-diggity dog. I never won anything else. So I spent the rest of my elementary school lunches losing raffles and then oh-so dejectedly getting in line for recess, more often than not that line for we lads and lasses who had our recess privileges ruthlessly stripped from us and were forced to stand against the wall watching the little angels play “Suicide” on that same wall, pelting us with their tennis balls. Whoever said, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” obviously didn’t have raffles in mind.

C Michael

139

So Far

SO FAR 6/29/95
I stride forth. What are you running away from? Flit along, little twitterbug. It's so pointless what you're doing! Run jackass, runnnnnnnn........... Questioning looks thrown at my back. Snide comments thrown my way. to prove to myself I stride forth. Inhaling deep, my body begins to combust its fuels to fire my flesh. it's crazy that one action can consume or define there lies one more fine line that we all toe up to I hope it only defines me, but I know I am as much of it as it is of me. Maybe I have been consumed. but not yet absorbed for carbos. Just feeling the burn and that's crazy. I exhale my self-made poisons and continue upon my course Perspiration for inspiration?? I think not, my son. I strain forward in hopes I don't die. to die means to stop trying or to surrender mentally
140 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

So Far

physically spiritually................. I don't want to die, because I hold so many of my dreams with me here. For those accomplished: I feel the pride of a father seeing a child grow up and prosper. For those failures: Parts of me die, heartache lies in this place steeped in a sweaty sorrow. Then, there are those that are to come: This place is infinite, I can do all things and not any at all. This spot holds the most precious human drives, hope and desire to achieve. Here I am, immortal. With these dreams, I can push my limit and know I elude death. My neurons flare, blood courses, muscles explode. I think it ultimately comes down to power. I feel the power when I surge, rage and overcome. Ah, overcome, there's the rub. My greatest achievement is to control myself, to "...beat my body and make it my slave..." To achieve this, I must humble my ego and not overcome my inhibitions and pain. I do not degrade myself. I build strength in knowing I am my only master. HERE IS POWER If I can overcome you

then I also hold power over you.
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 141

So Far

YOU'RE BEATEN So be careful. Yes, I think it's power. My spirit flares and mind expands, my focus is needle sharp. I can be as strong as Samson, as swift as Mercury. I am hate and retribution personified. I like the power. Sodium and potassium deplete, muscles strain and weaken, I peer ahead for the finish. My sinews tire and joints ache, I slow to a halt because I must rest to start over tomorrow. There is no "finish" - just a journey to the abyss, and for this journey, I must now rest. My body flushes and pores shower on me with perspiration like a baptism, it cleanses my soul. My exhaustion comes with a sense of peace. No "runner's high" No "endorphin rush" No "euphoria" Just peace and a release from daily woes. and this is why I do it. This is why I don't snap and destroy you and your little remarks. PEACE I hope you find it in your own way. Meanwhile, I must find a shower.
142 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Amtrak from Harrisburg

Amtrak from Harrisburg
My most recent travels via our nation's public transportation system have been completely uneventful and that itself could be considered quite an event for me personally, since absurd-like events typically follow me in Murphyesque fashion. The only thing even worthy of noting was the 300lb man carrying with him a rolled up, skankified prison mattress who seemed incapable of curbing the incessant urge to ramble incoherent mumblings to himself between loud rumbling belches and gulps from a mysteriously endless supply of cans of Coca Cola. The man’s two inch bottom lip flapped non-stop, at times with great emotion and sincerity with such phrases as, “Brock shivel a dumpsta gotta thun” and “wreck blah pop a fonda shawn” to which I can only imagine could be logically deciphered as “I just can’t contain my enthusiastic love for this Coca Cola, it’s so damn refreshing” and “one day, I’ll contrive a plot to enact revenge upon Greyhound for banning me from riding their bus lines.” I’d have to admit, if my translations are indeed accurate, (and, dependent upon a large majority of the passersby within his daily realm going through such interpretative lengths as I), he would be quite a compelling spokesperson for either scenario. Initially, I thought the man might have been either conversing with someone via a cleverly-hidden cellphone device, practicing lines for his upcoming, off-Broadway audition or chanting Krishna prayers, but alas, it seems that the large gaseous man is just a testicle hair from being certifiable. To my dismay, the extra $4 one shells out to opt for train transport over bus ride doesn't exactly weed out the riff-raff one might expect. All this has just reinforced what I have long known to be true: regardless of the situation, people who talk to themselves creep me the fuck out.
Boomer Wadaska 143

The Mud Slide

The Mud Slide
I think we were about eight or nine, Timmy and I, when we had one of the greatest times in our childhood. The games we created as children were the best games we ever played, like Sideline Football in the snow, Gobble-Up, and playing with our Matchboxes and Hot Wheels in the dry, pulverulent dirt of summer. We were invincible kids, and I don’t think there will ever be kids like us again. We were one of a kind and indestructible, untouchable, and dirty. Not only have the kids changed, but you don’t see that kind of dirt anymore, especially around Levittown, where it used to be everywhere, tons of it laying around waiting for us to make dirt roads and towns for our die-cast miniatures, or dunes for our plastic army guys to battle in the trenches. We were so creative, we once made a flowing river through my back yard for our imaginary wars, using a garden shovel, a gallon milk jug and some tinfoil. But that dirt made it all possible. It was a very fine, powdery dirt, much finer than sand, and you could get it all over yourself and easily wipe it off with a wet washcloth and dust off your clothes with a few swats of the hand. It also made the best mud; the kind we would make huge mudballs with for those messy mudball fights we would start after it rained or our pops just washed their paneled station wagons. A specific patch of this fine dirt lay down the street by the stop sign that marked the boundary of how far our parents let us travel without telling them where we were going. One day after a thunderstorm had passed through, Timmy and I wandered down towards this dirt patch, which was of course now mud. The day was beautiful and warm and both of us were beyond bored. Timmy was faster than me. In fact, he was faster than all the kids in George Washington Elementary School, and out of his boredom he taunted me. “Betcha can’t catch me!” he gibed, running away from me. Being the type of person who always accepts a challenge no matter how low my chances of winning were, I gave chase. Besides, it was something to do. Ducking, dodging and weaving, agile Timmy evaded me with ease. Not that I was a slow one either; he was just extremely nimble. I pushed myself harder than ever and was finally drawing near when Timmy, not looking where he was going, charged straight towards that huge mud bog. Running right into it, he slipped and fell, sliding the entire distance, about nine feet, on his backside. Seizing an opportunity, I slid feet first through the mud, like a baseball player sliding into second base, and crashed into him. “Caughtcha!” I shouted, both of us laughing hysterically.

144

C Michael

The Mud Slide
We cackled like hyenas, gawking at each other’s mud-caked pants. Timmy got up. “I’m doin’ it again,” he said and ran down to the end of the mud patch. He backed up and yelled, “Outta my way!” as he bolted toward the mud again, executing a perfect chest slide, almost crashing into me. We took turns sliding through the mud, trying to beat each other in both style and distance. Mud covered us. Afterwards, we trudged back to my house, walking like Frankensteins, not bending our knees because suddenly our wet and muddy jeans were the last things we wanted touching our skin. It’s funny how it didn’t faze us while we played in it. We got to my house and oozed through the front door, into the kitchen. My mother was at the sink doing the dishes when she saw us come in. “What, in God’s name, happened to you two!?” She didn’t really yell, but instead, the question popped out as she tried to hold in the laughter. We were quite a sight! She made us strip down and get in the tub while she washed our jeans and tees. When we finished bathing, we sat in the living room in our underwear watching “Tom & Jerry” cartoons and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches my mother made for us. This is my fondest memory of Timmy. A few years later, he moved away and I only saw him once after that. He had a little brother and sister then that he didn’t have when he lived on my street. I heard that his father died in a tragic accident a few weeks after his visit and I read in the newspaper years later about his amazing success in track and in football at his high school, breaking all the eastern high school records. I don’t know what happened to him after that, but I’m sure he went to the college of his choice, playing football, running track and maybe someday he’ll be in the Olympics or playing professionally. I wonder if he would even remember me, after all his possible fame, fortune and glory; especially the time we played on the mud slide.

C Michael

145

Greyhound to Savannah

Greyhound to Savannah
That tired, old smelly dog idles, braced at the starting gate delayed, but determined to wait for an infestation of flea riders; its noxious blood draining, exhausted before budging laboring harebrained, shifts into high gear fleeing a Texas whip, motivated by Lentzschian spurs gouging its sides, just below starved ribs advances toward the crown town of the commonwealth to shake off its dirt. The fleas transfer to the second leg, where lice sensed a presence insensed by a growing stench of urination and defecation and the pungent sensation of damnation toward a holy land via hell. A pit stop knocks the clock up the vermin observing the spectacle of themselves with more color and pomp of their circumstances procreating on the spot before the very eyes of ticks talking to themselves and walking in circles, jerking off and coughs amidst the spit and shit where the lot of them sit, after boarding another much-maligned, accommodating canine.

146

Boomer Wadaska

Greyhound to Savannah
As darkness falls at the next pit, vampires rise declaring war before the very eyes of the bloodsucking poor, they terrorize wearing camouflaged uniforms, crushing, scattering, ego shattering the manic melee startles the pup away. The fleas and lice escape, but the ticks remain the essence drained. The specks progress along a misfolded map mobbed and trapped, ready to snap with the dog eager to scratch through farms and sprawling fields, under porches, over cricks and through mosquito swamps where the March mushrooms were in bloom, arrives at its home and into a room. The greyhound collapses at Savannah's feet, deceased. The fleas leave and jump off with relief, one lone louse allured by her beauty strand as she walks to her Eden, barefoot she visits King Solomon who sits by emerald fountains and fashions her a rose from his palm. Savannah strolls by her river where the fish swim to greet her, the louse smells the air as a gentle breeze blows through her hair, he nestles into the answer to his prayers while Savannah sits in Telfair Square and brushes her tresses, dislodging the cootie onto her dress who tumbles off and cries in distress as he watches her leave and disappear in the mist, he boards a passing puppy longing to return to her.
Boomer Wadaska 147

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze or Kyle's Procrastination Comes to Play
I have decided not to write sdrawkcab today, not that this is something I would normally do. It's just that I can't concentrate enough to even do that simple task. You see, there's this phrase I so dearly want to remember, but it keeps racing around my mind just ahead of recollection and it is ruining my concentration. That, and there is a green koala on my back demanding macadamia nuts. Normally, this having of koalas on my back would not faze me-not at all. Normally, that is. This, however, is not a normal day because that phrase keeps slipping around my mind and I can't concentrate; leaving me susceptible, open to attack. I don't know where this strange creature came from, but I wish it would leave me be. His green color clashes horribly with my carefully-chosen ensemble of clothing and he keeps demanding strange foods that I just don't have! "Hey there, bucko," he says to me, "you got any of them chilichongas?" I reply that I have none. I tell him that I have work to do and if he would please go away, please go away. Even though I am playing my boring, "music-to-do-work-to" music, the green koala's claws dig deep through my flesh and straight into my mind. He causes my mind to swirl and plays silly buggers with my psyche. Suddenly, I have this strange urge to strip off all that encloses my nakedness, except my X-mas undies, and chant the Boy Scout oath on my driveway in pig latin. That is just insane. I was never even in the Boy Scouts! The only thing that saves me from acting kooky is remembering that stripping would ruin my carefully-acquired exterior. Also, for a brief instant, that elusive phrase is swept to the top of my mind and acts as a cool balm upon my frontal lobe. This, however, does not have the same effect on the koala, unfortunately. Upon this, he is violently thrown, headlong to the floor. "A fine way to treat an old friend," he grumps to me, "and what is this terrible stuff we're listening to?"
148 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze
"Captain Peanut-a-delic & the Shim-sham Catamaran," I inform him, and he heads to my CD collection. "Hey!" exclaims the marsupial, let's listen to Gimp's Envy! What's that song they have on the radio...? He ponders a moment. "Strokin' it!" yeah that's it, "let's listen to Strokin' it!" I, myself, feel the urge to change the music selection but fight it down by telling him that my mother would never approve of that music audibilized in our ever-oh-so-humble abode. "Simp!" the koala calls me. It is now, that I turn back to my ever-so-blank page and face it with a mind racing after a phrase. "I've got to get this work done," I say to me. Nothing spawns forth. The koala splots right down on my paper, obstructing that aforementioned attempt at productivity. "Say there, snaggletooth," he says, "you ever play Huck-NuckBo-Buck?" he asks. Sadly, I haven't. The koala snorts in derision. He states, quite profoundly I might adjectivize, "My name is Green Koala." "Ah," I say. For the very first time ever, I examine the Green Koala's fur to see that he, in fact, is not actually green, but factually wearing a stylishly-green, triple-breasted, yet carelessly unbreasted Brooks Brothers suit, and shirtless to boot. There is writing emblazoned across his un-green, furry chest: "I'M THE PRINCESS...THAT"S WHO!" "Yo, Pork chop," he insults, "mix me up a batch of that charboiled shark with a touch o' lemon, would ya?" My mind becomes increasingly murky. Numbly, I reach into my pocket and pull out a melted Gummy Wurm. "Yummers," I drone. Green Koala cackles fiendishly. "Let's just forget about that work for a bit," he croons softly, "it's such a shame that you don't get out more often. How 'bout I teach you a few games?" I nod, in agreement, yet still, quite numbly. A half hour later, I find myself buried under Tupperware, trying to pull Lederhosen over my head. Green Koala sits atop the fire place smoking a cigar, smugly. Slowly, I pull myself from the trance.
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 149

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze
"MMMMmmmwwwrrrrr," I murmur. Sluggishly, I realize who, or rather, what I'm dealing with. I recall tests failed, papers unfinished, calculus class completely avoided, busy work burned and scathing letters to the editor concerning the abandoned Shop N Bag shopping carts rusting in the creek across from my house unrealized. "Oh, my," I realize, "this is my P... PPP..." Before I could finish my thought, "Greenie" has his claws into my skull, yet again, munching up the works. I forget all my cares, my woes, and I begin to obsess about my abnormally long, third toe. "You are my pinochle partner!" I exclaim, happy as a mortician at a chainsaw massacre. "Yes, yes I am, " Greenie chuckles, "how about a hand or two?" His grip loosens, reaching for my Audubon Society limited-edition duck preserve playing cards. At this, my mind becomes more lucid... That phrase! It starts swirling round and around causing a whirlpool in my cranial space and suddenly I remember! "That's it!" I take a breath... Green Koala is thrown to the wall. He cringes in fear and begs for mercy. "Listen, I was just kidding about all that Tupperware...what say you 'n me go do some of that work, hehe?" It is too late. I murmur a whisper to a scream... "Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze!!!" I remember the phrase. Green Koala goes away. Not a phrase, per se, but it'll do the trick. And that pesky Green Koala vanishes without pooping on my desk, so I'll call that a success.

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Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

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Blogs
Death Rattle
Current mood: restless Memories are haunting me...little pictures in the back of my mind, but more than that...lost sensations...how accurate is my memory? I remember entire conversations, but I don’t remember them consciously verbatim...that is to say, in my head I recall them, but to write them down...there’s no way to be accurate...so how accurate is my memory? All these feelings dance around inside me...don’t know what to do with them...Cherished moments I long to relive are fleeting glimpses that remind me of what is lost forever...Once it’s happened, it’s happened...and it’s over...So I try to make new memories in hopes of recapturing something, but I’m not aware of what that is...Rarely realize a new memory...What moments of this current manifestation of my self will predominate my mind when I can’t sleep 10 years from now? What the fuck was the point of all my past history? The mistakes I made...the mistakes I’m still paying for...because I was so stupid...so out of touch...and now here I am, most likely making more mistakes, some the same, some different, and I’ll look back and say to myself "What the fuck was I thinking?" But there’s some good stuff, too...Lots of it...Can’t tell sometimes if it’s holding me back or pushing me forward...Anchor or winch? I’ll die soon...maybe 10, maybe 20, maybe 30 years; maybe tomorrow...what will I remember then? And where will I go? Where was I before all of this? I have memories that expand back only an infinitesimal span of time...Prior to that there’s nothing...If we spawn from what seems to be nothing, then where do we go? Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Reincarnation...the mythologies that help us cope with the unfortunate knowledge of our own mortality...what happens when you’ve not found the right faith yet? What happens when logic still outweighs the fear? And yet here I sit in a rut, feeling sorry for myself, remembering what I used to do, merely a human being, not a human "doing". And I can’t get out...so I stick to my foolish vices because I can escape from reality for prolonged portions of the day...and get angry when I return to reality...frustrated that my time’s up from being some place else where I’m a genius, a mad man, a hero, a sex god...and now I’m feeling ordinary...everything great is a red flag of my own failures...A great movie, a great sports moment, a political achievement that changes the world, a fantastic invention...they all sting me...I’m not doing any of those things...I’m just my aging, fat old self...and I don’t know how to get up off my ass and do it...the energy seems to have gone out of me...Passion dissipated. I feel I’m not smart enough to figure this damn thing out...I’m always one step behind...I want to be ahead...I need to take a step in the right direction, but I don’t know which way that is? And I could die tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My car’s falling apart on me...a
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wheel’s going to fly off in transit and I’ll careen off the road into a pole and my mechanical seat belt will fail me and I’ll launch through the windshield...and I’ll never know greatness...at least not until the moment my head makes impact with that same pole and just before I expire, I’ll have that fucking epiphany! And I’ll know what greatness is...I’ll know exactly what to do...and then I’ll be, to use a cliché, nevermore....Into the great abyss...whatever that may be...and as for all of my memories? Will I still have them then? If not, what the hell were they for?

Predictions in the Year 06
Holy shit! It happened!!! If you read my previous, yet depressing blog, you'll understand the full capacity of my hitherto unknown psychic abilities. My wheel fell off!!! I careened off the road into a ditch and came inches away from slamming into a tree!!! I stopped short of a huge tree trunk by a few feet. What's more, it was dark, cold and I was in the middle of the woods with no cell phone (because generally I consider them to be more like leashes than anything useful.) Even stranger: I'm buying a new car today; I made arrangements for my auto loan yesterday, before I lost my wheel!! (Also, a dealership I had perused back in December left a message on my machine last night!) Stranger forces greater than I are afoot! I saw greatness, but not my own (of course.) And I didn't have to ram my head into a pole, fortunately. No, I just had to be stranded in the freezing cold woods until a stranger getting off work picked me up and drove me to a guard station at the company for which he worked. This is where, with no voice (I have a nasty cold and can't really speak at all) I had to explain to the woman at AAA, for over an hour, the situation, which she just couldn't seem to grasp, so I had to repeat myself over and over and over...All the while, the guard is watching American Idol on a mini TV and playing solitaire on a noisy hand-held. Another employee is standing over me in a corner, sleeping (yes, sleeping on his feet!) So now my car is sitting in my parking lot with three wheels...and a whole lot of sod it dug up from the ditch. And naturally, true to my own form, I won't be able to trade it in today...Thus is the cycle of my life... Well, I gotsta go. I borrowed a friend’s car so that I can go buy mine today, which I'll have to pick up another day...

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Blogs

H20 > $GAS

Current mood: Ripped-off If soaring gas prices are a concern for you, how about the ridiculous water prices. Even if you buy a 16 oz. bottle of water for the discounted price of $.99, you are still paying $8.00 per gallon. The world's most abundant resource-$8.00 per gallon. Spell Evian backwards....

I Need a Better Agent....
Current mood: tired

My mind has taken a turn for the worse. I have ventured forth into this cyberspace without a clue or a care as to why. Somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder what kind of people would actually read my thoughts. If anything, at least there might be more evidence that I existed....

Doggy Style
Current mood: cynical As Americans have finally reached the apex of sloth, they have decided it would be time to spread the disease, this time to our little canine friends. I just saw an ad for "Doggy Steps." The revolutionary new product (evidently advertised as having been around for decades) is a set of portable steps that will allow Man's Littlest Best Friend to get into bed or onto a couch with ease. No more forcing the poor little bitch to jump or whine incessantly until you pick her up. She (or he) can walk right up the Doggy Steps for the low, low price of not 129.99, not 89.99, not even 59.99, but 39.99 plus tax, lots of tax and S&H. Not only that; if you order today, you'll get a second set of Doggy Steps absolutely free! They must be taking a loss on that one. How can they just give 'em away like that? Don't tell anyone I told you, but a box at the foot of the bed might be a hell of a lot cheaper.

C Michael

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This Time It's Personal
It's come to my attention that some people find it more important to be hardcore, funny or pretend to be insane than to express oneself in well-rounded discourse. So, in an effort to be more popular, here I go: Hard-Core Haiku Chiseled teeth sputter As the blood pours down my chin And I feel no pain Funny Ha-Ha Math Humor What's the square root of 69? 8 something...!!! My Manifesto I would like to kill:

(Fill in blanks; Add pages as necessary)

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I Have Not a Phillips Head

I Have Not a Phillips Head
Where's my wrench? Where's my hammer? Don't look at me like I stammer. I have not a Philip's head! No way! Because his body needed it today Poor, poor Phil, always losing his head What would we do if he were dead? We always stick his head in screws. I guess to him, that's bad news. But I don't care. He ain't got no hair! Because I have not a Philip's head.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

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Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus
The earliest memory I can ever remember remembering is that of mustaches. When I was really little, I thought mustaches were created and formed by a person with such disregard for their appearance and hygiene that they allowed their own nose hair to grow out and across their upper lip. Now, I had never before examined a man's mustache to notice that this was not the case because I couldn't look a mustached face...in the face. I had assumed in my young mind that it was the status quo to feign ignorance. My rationale was that, had someone actually looked at a man with a mustache that person would ultimately get so grossed out they would just have to exclaim, "You disgusting bastard! Why don't you trim your goddamned nose hair, you freak!" This whole mindset evolved from being raised to not stare at Aunt Lucy's mole, pore over Uncle Frank's rosacea, eyeball that cross-eyed kid down the street, rubberneck at the stroke-faced man, or ask any questions whatsoever concerning scars, birthmarks, burns, discoloration, bite marks or any feature that could in any way be perceived as an imperfection. At an age when everyone was grabbing my cheeks and drawing me within mere millimeters of their face, I had to pretend that something didn't exist no matter how obviously it did indeed exist. I remember thinking, "what an absurd society I'm being raised in!" My aversion to mustaches lasted up until the third grade. It was then I had an art teacher with a ridiculous nosebroom. Finding it impossible to follow a lesson, forced to stare at Mr. Trendler's forehead every week, I figured it best to draw some attention to the situation. Reaching into my lunchbag, I pulled out two leafy slices of lettuce from a sandwich and stuffed them up my nose. Eventually, the other students started to notice my new 'stache which also caught the attention of Mr. Trendler. "That's disgusting," he commented, to which I replied, "What, you don't like my mustache?" I was relishing in the fact that I couldn't have possibly anticipated how perfectly my devised plan was coming into fruition...even having devised it and all, I guess I just wasn't that confident in my plans back then. I continued my satirical performance by picking up my pair of scissors (tips rounded for safety!) and trimming to the nostril as per
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simulated advocation would mandate. A long silence. I could no longer hold in breaking the tension so, by snorting a laugh and snotblowing the remaining lettuce onto my art paper, Mr. Trendler shook his head and walked back to his desk (mission accomplished?) The class howled in laughter. I could hardly contain my beaming pride. In my mind, I had challenged a culture with a snide arrogance in a way endearing to my peers to which I would now duly represent in the abstract, of course with integration of the lettuce into the piece. While I don't quite remember the exact details of the painting, I am quite sure it was as genius of a representation its situation precipitated. The next week, as the day of art class arrived, I could hardly restrain my impatient expectations for a bare-lipped Trendler. As he arrived, sadly, so did his schnozz-fuzz. I was stunned to see that, what I had viewed as drawing an embarrassing attention to his commitment to the grotesque-en-vogue, had not the effect I predicted. As the class ensued, leaving me with eyes squirming everywhere around the room to avoid catching a glimpse of his face, Mr. Trendler called me up to his desk. He pulled out the painting I had done the week previous. "What do you call this?" he asked. By his inflection, I wasn't rightly sure of exactly what he was asking (or accusing). As I stumbled over stutters and stammers he rephrased his inquiry, "What is the title of this piece? You need to name it something for the art show." I happen to think that was also my first closest encounter with irony (or what I had believed to be irony in my third-grade mind). I tried to come up with something appropriate for my conceptual interpretation, yet not too obvious, but straightforward enough that maybe an audience of his peers would get the gist. "Hocus Pocus!" I blurted out. (Yes, as a matter of fact, to this very day my titling skills remain completely askew!) "OK, very good!" and he wrote it down on the back of my painting and that was that. Typically, students never attend the art shows, possibly for reasons pertaining to a coy, elementary school elitism or, most possibly, it was an excuse for the faculty from all over the district to booze up and get horny in the janitor's closet. I begged my mom to take me but she had a very important pumpkin loaf to manufacture at the time. I wound up convincing my previous first grade teacher, Mrs. Mason, to take
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me if I promised to let her attempt to convert my demon soul by attending a service at her church the following Sunday. While it seemed that most teachers and administrators were more concerned with the "punch" and "cake", I did catch a few making some very intense glares at my painting. Specifically, wondering what the crumpled green things were. "Interesting texture for a watercolor," I imagined they thought. Once people started giving me the "what are you doing here kid" stinkeye, Mrs. Mason began nudging me out the door. I protested, wanting to wait until the ceremonially-festive awards extravaganza to see how my art would be judged. The principal picked up a blank certificate from a pile, signed it and handed it to me. "There you go kid." On the way home, (maybe it was the punch talking here) I let slip what I had perceived a mustache to be. Mrs. Mason informed me otherwise and thus began an uncomfortable segue into a commentary on puberty. Fortunately, the trip ended before any embarrassing mentions of "little boy parts" were uttered. I walked into my house, where my parents were arguing about one of those insignificant things they just loved to argue about, tossed the certificate into the trash and sliced myself a piece of pumpkin loaf without asking. My parents instantly stopped fighting and looked directly at me, stunned by my brazen act. "That's not for you! Why don't you ask before you just take something! Now you've ruined everything!" The only thing I could respond with was, "Well, I just found out tonight that I've gone my entire life being a stupid Pollock and besides, they wouldn't let me eat anything at the art show!" As my mom and dad attempted to wrap their heads around my ridiculous remark, I left the room and went to bed. To this day, I'm not sure what ever happened to "Hocus Pocus" but my mom did fish my "award" out of the trash and still has it in a file somewhere.

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Between Lust and a Hard Place

Between Lust and a Hard Place
(11th Grade)

(Sam enters stage right wearing a long trench coat and a hat. He is smoking a cigarette with his left hand which is covered in bandages. His right arm is in a cast and he is wearing a neck brace. His nose is taped up. There is a street lamp down center to which he stealthily walks and leans against.) Sam: It was four p.m. on a Monday. The night was slow; I was bored. That is, of course, until she entered my life. I’m Sam Shade, Private I. As you could have guessed, this is a typical opening to a typical detective story, but it is also the not-so-typical opening for an abnormal love story, I think. She was beautiful. There was something about her that made me sweat, or a least I thought so before noticing the thermostat was broken. Her legs were long, perfect, and silky, probably because of her No-Nonsense brand silk stockings. She had a walk that could turn any man’s head, mainly due to the way her dress floated upward with every passing gust of wind. My fan was oscillating. She sat down on my desk. I tried not to look, but from this angle I couldn’t resist. Her backside was well-rounded, plump and nicely basted like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. I managed to move my eyes upward, studying the hills and valleys of paradise. She had a smile that could blind the Cheshire cat. Her hair was as golden as a blurred sunrise on a foggy day. I looked into her eyes; big and beautiful and as blue as the ink in my Bic Erasable. This dame was smoking! Parliament, I think. I was drooling; she slapped me. “Snap out of it,” she said and went on to explain her dilemma. I’d tell you her story if only I could remember what it was. After reviewing her case, I realized this wasn’t a job for me; she needed a divorce attorney. Her lips were luscious, like two ripe lemons. I tried to kiss them; she punched me in the nose. Her bosom was firm like two water balloons ready to burst with liquid pleasure! I tried to touch them; she broke my fingers. I tried to embrace her as she started to leave; she broke four of my ribs. I gasped for air as she kicked me hard like a two-ton truck in the place where new life starts. I hit a high falsetto note; I am, or was, a bass. She swept me off my feet, and she slammed me to the floor like a five-dollar whore in a cheap motel. She was a pro wrestler. Fortunately the paramedics were able to sedate her long enough to get me out of there. Well, if you’ll excuse me; I’ve got to run like a cheap thief with a car stereo before she finds me again!
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Quarter-Life Crisis

Quarter-Life Crisis
Twenty-five is an appropriate age to stop wearing a backwards baseball cap. It's also a good age to ditch the chain wallet. Specifically, especially when you are sitting in a bar, on a stool, propped up by one leg to leverage your sit-down height which is severely compromised amid people who approach the bar beside you on two legs. The problem usually occurs when your ego can no longer stand being dwarfed, (even with your expensive import bottle strategically displayed label-out) and you attempt to dismount the stool not realizing that the chain has concocted it's own strategy to loop itself around your shoe. The result is an awkward situation where nobody in the immediate area wins. The standerbys don't want to patronize you by approaching too late to be of assistance after your split-second head dive to the floor startles everyone. Conversely, they certainly don't want to appear insensitive, which could come across as sarcastic to those who watched him watch you fall. It boils down to you getting what you deserve, he's sure to rationalize. He didn't ask to be in this situation, he just came in for a beer and a smoke. After all, what twenty-five-year-old still wears a chain wallet? Maybe he's retarded, he may rationalize clued to the hat askew. This peer-pressured/self-induced internal impasse is enough to drive a person to not drink and walk straight out of the bar to scan the parking lot for a short bus. Since most pubs strictly adhere to a "onehead-dive-you're-out" policy, smart money is on you being out, with your pricey half-finished beer tossed into the trash, label-up. After gaining consciousness outside, (nudged just beyond the liable property line) the thought occurs to wish myself a happy birthday. The ironic part is that birthday concussions have become an annual tradition. This dates back to the days in high school when Stanley Barlow blindsided me with a Bombardment shot and when Tim
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Brennan pegged me with a serve during doubles tennis by a ball that is sure to still be circling the stratosphere. And, who can forget the time when a four-day amnesia followed an attempt to tackle Troy Vincent on kickoff coverage in a pickup game behind Buchanan or the lights-out moment preceded by a stage dive at the Trocadero during a Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Helmet show when the crowd mistook me for Moses parting the sea instead of my "form a comfy people pillow" plan? The most unmemorable memory would have to be me getting my ass beat in front of my mom on my front yard by Chris Roccograndi, though all equal nominees for the unprestiged, Pretty Crappy Birthday award (which, by the way, is a women's bowling trophy with a broken-off arm). But that's only six instances-- hardly a tragic streak of misfortune one might be apt to protest. I, however, just figured it would be highly inappropriate to continue such a list for a reader who just came in for a quick page turner. After all, one doesn't necessarily prepare one's head to be accosted by such glum-downery and being bogged down with the drudge-taking task of keeping track of countdown place numbers. Unless, of course, you're a masochist, whereupon you should quit reading all-together and spend your free time away from the scrapyard listening to Gimp's Envy on your Walkman while burning the heads off your little sister's Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Might I suggest track 13, "Burny-Plasticy" for the occasion?

Boomer Wadaska

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School for Geniuses

School for Geniuses
Mrs. Haversham was excited to have a new student in her class, especially one that scored much higher off the charts than the rest of her students. She had to admit to herself that she felt a little intimidated by this one when she saw the exam score tested her at one hundred percent, but she shrugged it off; after all, Hazel Dixon was only eight years old. The only real reservation Mrs. Haversham held about the situation was that she reluctantly had to seat Hazel between William Davis and Angela Dover. Her own obsessive-compulsiveness wouldn't allow for a change in seating order so soon before the holiday break, and those two she believed to be the worst she had ever had in her classroom, even though she could never prove that they were responsible for the elaborate pranks and hoaxes maliciously imposed upon their classmates and without mercy. What kind of parents could raise such reprobate children, she wondered as she distributed the day's worksheets. Hazel sat very prim and very proper in between the two miscreants. Her hands were folded neatly atop her desk and her legs were crossed at the ankles as a young lady's should. Her posture was perfect and her demeanor extremely complaisant “Hey, stupid,” William whispered to Hazel. “I bet you don't even know what forty-two cubed equals!” “Good one!” Angela egged him on. Hazel, without permitting herself to dissolve her perfect poise, responded to their pettiness with a necessary condescending umbrage. “Seventy-four thousand eighty-eight. Is that the best you imbecilic simians can muster?” “Well, how about...” retorted Angela, searching her over-developed mind for the toughest challenge she could invent. “Allow me the simple gratitude of enlightening you two on the verisimilitude of our existence,” Hazel interrupted. “It would seem to anyone with half an I.Q. point that we, with our prodigious capacity to cogitate and comprehend, were enrolled in this school to alter the continuance of ignorance and stupidity in society, and it is exactly this stereotypical behavior we endeavor to eliminate. So, essentially, you are an albatross around one's neck and will eventually be nothing more than additions to the many losers on Jeopardy.” The two bullies just stared at each other dumbfounded. Hazel broke her composure with a sudden sinister laugh that left the entire classroom silent and lazy-jawed. Then as if nothing happened, she returned to her absolute mannerism, but this time adorned with a satisfied smirk.

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“Hazel? Is everything copasetic?” inquired Mrs. Haversham, very concerned, more for her own sake then for that of the two deviants upon which Hazel just delivered a verbal lashing. “'Copasetic' is slang of a disputable obscure origin,” she responded, “but I am A-O. K.!” Mrs. Haversham was aghast. She realized that if she had not before, she now had her hands full and the holiday break could not come soon enough.

C Michael

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Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish

Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish
Oh, how small you are! ***PUFF*** My, how big you are!

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Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Alliterature

Alliterature
Sid sat still on his sofa. Terribly terrified he tapped his toe in tentative trepidation. Utterly undone, he was unsure of the underside of the upholstery. Vicious villains varied in the vivid vastness of his visions. What wicked weirdness waited within while he worried, he wondered. An x-ray could explain his expectations exactly; yet you usually don't use such unusual instruments for that usage. Sid resumed his za-zen pose in a zealous exertion to eschew seizure from the presumptive hazard. Assuming an awful atrocity would assail him, anxiety apprehended him. Boldly building brazen beliefs, the boy became belligerent towards the beast below. Could he conjure copious courage to combat the iniquitous creature? Delving deep down in his doughtiness and daring a dismount, Sid dove from the divan and landed beside the door. Expecting to expeditiously exit his extant environment and evade this evil, ebullience encompassed his essence. Fortune frowned frivolously upon his fruitless feat, for the foyer frustration was unfeasibly fastened. Great guttural groans generated from his gastronomic gut. He hastily hurried hazardously past his whilom haven, hoping to happen on a helpful hammer perhaps. Inches in vicinity from his imminent imperilment, he instinctively implemented an impossible impetus. Judiciously jumping was a justifiable jaunt in his judgment. Keeping clear of the couch became his capital concern. Lithely landing left of the lounge, he lunged toward the luthern. A moment of mirth was muddled by a mulish transom. Noting that the nefarious nuisance could be nigh, the nimble nipper maneuvered to a nearby niche. Opening the oriel was an otiose option and now he was obsequious to his oppressor. Perhaps he could parlay a pardon from this persistent peril. Querulously loquacious, quoth he a quixotic query requesting clemency. Rending him responsive, his relative roused him from his ridiculous revelry. Instead of snapping to secular substance, Sid sorely selected to subsist in his phantasmal slumber.

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Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom

Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom
Sitting in a room something went boom! What could it have been? Did little Bobby sin? What should I do? and, "Where the dickens, is my shoe?" Outside, I run. there, fat people are having fun. Jumping really high, blotting out the sky. They bounce really hard 'cause they're big tubs o' lard That noise that they made, felt and heard like a hand grenade. And I almost got killed, so I sat down and chilled. And that's what you do, (but I still couldn't find my shoe!) When you're sitting in a room, and a fatty goes boom!

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de-leted!

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A Very Bad Day To Be Rich

A Very Bad Day To Be Rich
Sixty seconds before being struck directly by a bolt of lightning, Rich made a determined promise to himself that it was time to organize his life in some meaningful, workable order as well as to finally purchase that high-end Vortex vacuum that the loud, bearded man raved about in the late-night infomercials. The clincher in this snap-decision was the free inclusion of a lifetime supply of shammy cloths, which were actually a singular, alleged "lasts-forever technology" towel used by NASA. To Rich, that was quite a deal and indeed quite a claim although, "used by NASA" in lieu of "developed by NASA" seemed to imply to him that some more government R&D funds are in order and should be appropriated immediately because if true, this administration was obviously dropping the ball in the international race for super-absorbency. The contradiction of this logic did not impair the development of his simultaneous epiphany concerning his personal affairs and the idea that he should make a concerted effort to be a little more aware of them and quite possibly, should time permit, tend to them in a purposeful and dignified manner that would ultimately result in a celebrated assimilation with his surroundings. But obviously, time would not permit, as evidenced by the timely demise reserved for such procrastination.

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for you, again

for you, again
“poetry is the art of getting language right” it’s that time of year when I become less of who I am (and more of who I was) & the air always sings winter. memory of cigarettes long since smoked and the steam from coffee (graceful fog) is real like wood or books or feet. you are the last line in all my poems if only language equaled life.

Michael C. Flor

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When I Met O

When I Met O

Once upon a time, there was a big O. It began a fairy tale. It led the letters
n, c, and e, larger than the rest. This O was monstrous. It ate the town of Quartz and then rampaged on to the Land of Troth. It found a lovely three bedroom, two bath home on the historical register and settled down. Then I met O. I was very nice. I moved in with O. I and O had children. Their names were A, E, U and Sometimes Y. Sometimes Y was sort of a runt. The other kids made fun of him because he wasn't like them. He wasn't always a vowel. “Quit picking on your brother!” scolded O, “or your father will let you have it!” The children were relentless. They were careful that Mother and Father didn't see them teasing Sometimes Y. They called him names like “Whobehee.” One day, Sometimes Y got so upset, it ran away from home. It left Troth in search of something more. It wanted to know where it fit in. Most of the other letters shunned it, but one day it met a gentle letter named G that told it to see the Almighty Exalted X on top of Mount Alphabet. Sometimes Y heeded the advice. It climbed and climbed the mountainside until it reached the Plateau of Numbers, a dreadful place. Sometimes Y was unexpectedly attacked by a ravenous 7 while a 6 fearfully hid amongst the masticated remains of a 9. Sometimes Y picked up a 0 that was lying nearby and multiplied the 7 into nothingness. “It's okay,” Sometimes Y told the 6. “It's gone. Could you please tell me how to get to the Almighty Exalted X?” The 6 just pointed to the top of the mountain. Sometimes Y continued his arduous climb to the pinnacle. The Almighty Exalted X stood before him in all his glory. “Help me,” Sometimes Y pleaded. “I can't quite cut it as a vowel. What should I do?” The Almighty Exalted X let out an almighty chuckle. “Why, Sometimes Y, you have abilities that other vowels do not. Not only are you a vowel, you are also a consonant. For example, in the word “sky” you function as a vowel, but in the word “you” you are quite clearly a consonant. Without you as a consonant there would be no yaks or Yodels or yo-yos. So you see, you are really quite special to us all!” “Oh, thank you, Almighty Exalted X! I am forever in you debt!” Sometimes Y shouted with glee. It decided to go back home, back to the Land of Troth and confront its family once more.
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When Sometimes Y got home, its family was elated to see it, even the other children. They noticed something different about Sometimes Y. It seemed more important. “Look at you! My how you have changed!” I descried. “Yes, Father, I have. I found out that not only am I a vowel, but I am also a consonant!” Sometimes Y triumphed. O gasped upon hearing this. “But how could that be possible?” I inquired. “No, you are a pure vowel. Knock off this nonsense this instant!” I turned to O. “It's not possible, is it, dear?” I asked as calmly as possible. O did not respond. It couldn't even look I in the face. I screamed in disbelief. “Go to your rooms, kids,” I growled. When they were gone, I turned to its wife and yelled, “Who was it!?” “Now, look, I...” O stammered. “Who was it?” I repeated. O burst into tears and cried, “It was P! It was P!” Infuriated, I stormed to the gun cabinet and got a shotgun. I went to P's house, kicked the door in and shot it right in the stomach. Looking down at the now dead P, I laughed. “No good sneaky bastard! Now you look like a goddamn B!” I returned home. Too frightened, O didn't say a word. I just sat on the couch with the shotgun and waited for the police.

C Michael

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So Why Bother?

So Why Bother? A 9th Grade Civics Essay
Billyons and billyons of long time agos the earth was formed, postulated Charles Darwin, the reputed father of evolution. Darwin theorized that every basic flake of life had evolved from a single cell, relating all life itself. The theory goes on theorizing that the modern homo-sapien, developed from said single cell, as did all common senseless organic photosynthesizing organisms, as did common avians, rodents, amphibians, aquatic beings, dumb quadrupts and so on the lifeline goes. One might ponder then, why man doesn't fit as well within this earthy environment? It seems that man has become so modernized with technology and so involved with his own affairs that he has totally ignored his surrounding world. Man may have traded organic instinct for technology in that he is no longer animalistically barbaric; he is now mechanically barbaric. Man does not fit into the ecology, his impact more determined than dung and footprints yet, much less purposeful. If the only apparent reason for modern human living is to lie on California beaches with their ecru bodies and these single-cell descendant beings depend solely within the existence of its own species, then where did the evolutionary gap occur? Why don't humans casually associate with their ancestral co-inhabitants? When, where and why did we lose our bird brain and lizard sense? There happens to live a lonely, moronic tribe on the southeastern shore of an uncharted, desolate tropical island that flirt with highly intellectual ideas. The tribe, as described by the only Californian to surf to this exotic locale, call themselves Skitswabs. Coincidentally, the surfer had innate knowledge of the Skitswabian tongue buried deep within his left brain. They shared with him their philosophy of life in poetic terms: The earth is round (stop) the sky is blue (stop) the grass is green (stop) the universe is a pool table (end)
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The Californian translated this hypothesis by describing a universe of ten planets originally aligned in a triangular orbit until scattered by a single comet in big-bang-like fashion. The comet continued to threaten to knock each planet into one of six black holes of the universe. With the earth having survived numerous bankshots, the Skitswabs prayed holy reverence to the "Almighty Cuban" for being such an amateur billiard player. Unfortunately, the last believer of this theory defected, having proved it to be totally swagmo and so it died despite the popularity of its physical incarnation into game form. The Skitswabian school of thought was once hotly debated publicly by a channel 32 anchorman who advocated its social relevance as allegorical, to which a scientist countered by upholding its factual evidence as theoretical, to which a zealot dismissed as all-together "accidental thought" and opted to enforce warm and snuggly ideas of purposeful, creationing omnipotence by rightly tossing the two of them into the nearest, albeit not the most convenient pond, whereupon they suffered severe nibbling by many school of carp. This action stifled further public debate and pushed postulating into the underground. After all, investigative reporters and scientists have enough problems as it is to have to also worry about climbing out of cold ponds where there may be observant women lurking around. Furthermore, however unfactual a scientist may accuse, creationist ideas cannot be argued, just as a child cannot pull rationale from an adult that utilizes the "because I said so" rock-solid defense. However, it's not good enough to just eliminate the how-mouths because then those pesky why-heads start crawling out of the woodwork. So why bother? The very debate itself, has become as untouchable as a really hot chick. And speaking of hot chicks, isn't it too nice of a day for a walk on the beach to be pondering the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything? Here you are whacking your head against the alpha and omega when the re-emergence of bellbottoms may lurk in the not-too-distant future. Do you think Menudo gives a flying ribosome about the origin of the species? Turn on the Mtv to find out now!

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy & Boomer Wadaska

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Junior/Senior Poetry

Junior/Senior Poetry
“Strung Out”
you can tell i lost a lot of weight by looking at my legs they look like old man legs sinewy e m a c i a t e d . scary.

“Somewhat Lost”
I don’t know where to go or where to stand I’m dead on my feet lethargy with a purpose I can’t quite grasp

“A Rebus Plea for Help”

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C Michael

Junior/Senior Poetry

“Amity”
I think I like U, Yes, you! Why? Oh, you!

“Owwwwww!”
Healed wounds Hurt worse Reopened…

“Happenings”
Weird little things Happen, Happen To happen, Have happened to happen, Weird little things, All the time.

C Michael

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Junior/Senior Poetry

“Polyploidy”
I see your face, but it is not yours; It’s someone that reminds me of you, And I say to myself, I must be losing my mind, Because you’re everywhere I go.

“The End of My Rope”
I feel nothing as I stand here naked not empty not happy not sad just nothing then frustration sets in and ties me up in knots I heave a Pyrrhic sigh that offers a moment’s relief I hang my head and feel nothing forever…

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C Michael

Junior/Senior Poetry

“Bad, Wicked World”
There is so much Wickedness in the world that Kindness is becoming the trait of Inhumanity. I’m in a mind of ironic misfortune. I am a soul of perverse divination. Watch the mutant spirit as it casts its shadow over me…

“Bad Luck”

“Filing System” “Your Opinion”
My mind is a most complicated You see my poem As it is And accept That it means Whatever you think it means… version of the Dewey Decimal System. The card catalog has been sufficiently suhflefd.

“I Don’t Know What to Write”
Visions run through my mind. I wish you could see them; fluid, even through time, so they’re gone before I can do anything about it. What’s worse? I don’t know what they mean…

C Michael

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Junior/Senior Poetry

“My Sacrifice”
When I saw your smile today That’s what it’s all for… My greatness… I’ve been searching for it For a long time… It has nothing to do with Fame And Fortune… It is a direct result Of your smile, And that is why I risk everything For you…

“911”
What’s to become of us in this suddenly tumultuous existence? The imminence of war looms ominously ahead and I… abide with such astonishment, such horrific awe, as my usefulness in the world is rend asunder…

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C Michael

Junior/Senior Poetry

“Today Is Sunday, August 5, 10:25pm”
I feel like I am dying or I am already dead… All my passion has dissipated into an endless well of pitiful tears… I’m growing more and more a victim of my own self-pity as this depression sends me spiraling down into the darkness of my own creation… I accomplish nothing and it seems the harder I fight… the more hopeless I become… Why can’t I find a way out of this quagmire of defeat defeat defeated de-feeted fetid stench something here stinks to high heaven…
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Junior/Senior Poetry

“The Old Scottish Lane”
Silence, louder than a tolling bell, Engulfs my weary brain As ominous monotonous clocks tick-tock And mock my dreary bane. The perseverance of my intrepid heart Overwrought with lurid Cain Is wounded by the epitaph Of love’s own malicious deign; And as I wander in my sullen silence, Upon this old Scottish lane, I hope, I pray, I forlornly wonder If I will see you again…

“I Fall for It Every Time”
I just died again; toiled through ruthless months for nothing, and as I finally recover, I'm sunk through deceit, through viciousness, wicked vendettas... The smoke screen is too thick and when I take my breath of fresh air, I choke instead. I died again, for no reason...
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Beat Street

Beat Street
Running down a road, I trod on a toad. It bled on the street, so I collected the fresh meat. Made frog burgers with fries on the side, and hoping to buy myself a ride, a car passed by it was driven by some guy. I stuck out my finger, as the feeling still lingered, but that engine didn't stop. Instead, at me, he threw a rock. I thought, "what a fink!" Then, I stopped to think. He looked back to see my stuck-out middle digit, and I felt like a real idgit. I sat and I ate my burger and wondered who would concur that my life on this street surely wasn't neat once I stepped on a toad at the edge of a road.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

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Accidental Bully

Accidental Bully
There is no way to begin to tell you how awfully I failed to feel about the misdeeds I perpetrated upon a stupendous portion of my school's population. This momentous apathy towards my fellow students defies all rational explanation, so I'll do what I can to present them as pragmatic facts (which naturally comes across as apathy), and allow you to ponder the limitless possibilities behind my seemingly illogical motives. You can get together later with your cronies and discuss the multitude of ramifications my behavior forces onto the world around me and argue the whys and wherefores until your heads spin off your necks and bounce around like battling tops. On the very first day of school, I was forced to sit next to Michelle. Now you have to understand that Michelle was a girl, and at the time I still believed that all girls had cooties, which of course we now know is true...and she was a snotty girl at that, and I don't mean that she was pompous. I mean that her nose ran...a lot. She kept an endless supply of tissues in her desk and stored the used ones in a pile on top. Now, upon discovering the unfortunate lot I had drawn through no control of my own, I exhaled a grievous groan and announced to no one in particular, “Anybody but Mucous Michelle!” I didn't stop to think how this might affect her self-esteem. Come to think of it, I didn't even stop to consider the possibility that she may actually be human rather than some abhorrent mucous monster, but I blurted my disdain nonetheless. I never considered the fact that her runny nose might have been a direct result of a harrowing dust allergy from which the poor girl suffered every day, and that her nose must be in constant pain from all of the incessant rubbing, itching and blowing. So there she was, suffering, and to kick her while she was down, to pour the proverbial salt in the wound, I obnoxiously and unabashedly expressed the dismay I would incur in having to sit next to this disgusting, slimy creature. And she, being used to it, said not word one. She just crawled even further into her shell. Going to school must have been a nightmare for her, but at the time, it didn't even occur to me that I should care about something as insignificant as feelings that weren't mine. Let me take a moment to divulge a little about myself so that you may further comprehend my remorse. I was a lot more eloquent than most fifth graders. I have been told that when it comes to the language arts, I was downright precocious; a child prodigy of English as it were. I was reading and writing by the age of three. One would think that with this extraordinary ability, I should have been faster edumacated than most others and thusly more mature, or at least mature enough to refrain from spouting stupidity such as would decimate a young lady's self-image, but lo and behold, I found myself just
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Accidental Bully
as much an idiot as the next fifth grade boy; just as insensitive, just as selfserving, just as pseudo-evil, archetypal male pathos chauvinistic. I think it's innate. We can't help it. We're born with it. And even the greatest teachers fail to prevent us from causing the damage we inflict because our nature compels us, I guess. Oh, but that's right. I forgot I was leaving it up to you to figure out why. I'm merely a narrator. You're the conscientious objector, and I digress. Now where was I? Oh yes, my despicable treatment of Michelle. So of course I sat next to her and after horrifically blurting my deplorable rhetoric, the only thing that was changed by it was that Michelle would feel worse about herself and I would look like a jack-ass to the entire class and even more importantly in the eyes of karmic value, all the while being completely oblivious myself. So it comes to pass that despite my misgivings and reprehensible behavior, Michelle turned out to be really nice to me. She wasn't too bad to sit next to after all. She was smart, funny, great at math (at which I was not very proficient) and actually able and willing to help me. Occasionally though, during silent reading times mostly, she could be a little hard to take if I let my mind get the best of me. That nose would just run like a faucet and I could visualize the mucous dribbling out if I dwelt on it too long. She would then grab a tissue and blow. I could literally hear the viscosity of her nasal ablutions and the honking sound she made didn't help much either. Well, as time would have it, I'm sure that Michelle would have moved past her insecurities, found an appropriate nasal spray and eventually would have grown up to marry and bear children of her own, all of which she would raise to be respectful and polite to those who were different than they. But at present, the devastation I caused within her must have seemed irreparable. It's more than amazing, the consequences of our actions.

C Michael

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I Hate Rain

I Hate Rain
I HATE RAIN! HMMmmmmmmm RAIN I HATE! HMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm HATE I RAIN! (snicker) RAIN HATE I! HA! I RAIN HATE! hee! hee! HATE RAIN I! (sigh) oh, well

doo dee doo

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Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

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For Those Who Have Defied the Odds

For Those Who Have Defied the Odds
I'm sitting here in my boxer shorts eating a chicken pot pie and watching the "Hurricane Babies" report on CNN when I notice that my fingernail is almost completely regenerated. Huzzah! I was worried, when two months ago after feeding my left index into the finger-smashing bar of a commercial Toro mower, that I would be permanently deformed. I thought about a former classmate I sat next to in kindergarten who told everyone that his fingernail malformity occurred feeding peanuts to an elephant at the zoo. What would my story be? I had to think of something slightly more exotic than "fixing a mower." Maybe I was rescuing a hurricane baby? My finger swolled and purpled. Two days later, after hours of icing the pain and hearing from all of my curiously concerned associates that I would most definitely lose the nail, I decided one morning to walk over to the Centre County hospital and get it checked out by a trained professional. I walked into the lobby and the building was dead quiet. Somehow, I had expected a chaos of doctors running around and patients screaming and squirting blood everywhere, since this is what I had been accustomed to knowing of such places via television and since I hadn't been through the ER since my mother was, (in her words) on a fateful November morning in 1972, dragged kicking, screaming and cursing from the pain of a child trying to squeeze out of her uterus, ass first. A receptionist sitting at a large circular desk and talking on the phone seemed unaware of my presence. Maybe the proper ER etiquette is to enter crawling and convulsing, drooling and/or peeing oneself on the floor in order to precipitate a rush of orderlies who would instantly scoop one up onto a gurney to get the process going, stat! Instead, I entered calmly (although, if the receptionist had bothered to notice, I was wincing) as if I was delivering a pizza. She hung up the phone on Centre County Single Receptionists Chatline (or whoever she was really talking to) and asked if she could help me. Was this a trick question? Was I supposed to unwrap the Taco Bell napkins covering the ice cube-filled Ziploc around my finger and show the goods for her to make an assessment to whether my status was to be considered dire enough for admissibility? If not, then would she give me MapQuest directions to the "Sort-of-Hurt, But Not Dying" station that
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would inevitably lie somewhere beyond acres of scorched asphalt parking lot next to a National Guard Armory where my manhood would be challenged by recruiters who would contend that amputees from "the 'Nam" didn't whine as much as I do? Having the foresight to know that a "hurricane baby" survival story would be preseasonally two months unbelievable, I blurted out, under pressure, mind you , "I hurt my finger, kinda." The receptionist, with a resigned sigh (obviously, this was not the melodrama with which she had been hoping for to garnish her daily blog) directed me around the corner to a wall lined with a row of very austere and uniform chairs. As I approached wondering, "I wonder if those chairs could possibly be as uncomfortable as they look to me approaching them, wondering?" a nurse from a cubicle marked "INTAKE NURSE" motioned to me a very asexual "come hither" gesture. The intake station was very reminiscent of the John Fitch elementary school nurse's office of which my most vivid memory was standing next to some kid and facing a wall as our tiny kindergarten testicles were cupped by the frigid, ungloved fingers of Nurse Chubberly who requested a cough. The similarities had nothing to do with my most vivid memory, but of semi-hazy flashbacks of cartooned posters which proverbed, "You can't fly if you're high," and, "Why do you think they call it WASTED?" Also, complimenting the décor was a sign, scotch-taped to the front of the desk which charted degrees of pain from smiley to frownie face. When asked to rate my pain I candidly responded, "frownie face with surprised eyebrows." Nurse Intake input my social security number into her computer and "viola!" there was all of the information about me that former creditors would kill for. I asked her how the hospital could possibly have any information on me since I had never been there before. She insisted that I had been previously admitted numerous times but that I was suffering from amnesia and could not possibly debate her medical aptitude of this diagnosis in my woozy of a condition. After verifying that all of my information corresponded correctly down to shoe size, I was escorted to a fluorescently-lit room that contained a half dozen beds which could be curtained off by the slightest whim. I sat on a bed papered with which could be best described as a long sheet of tissue you would typically see protecting a carbon copy document. Nurse Intake instructed me to lie down on the parchment. I could only assume this was a standard medical procedure to acquire
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a facsimile of my backside for further analysis. As I enforced my gravitational pressure for the most accurate representation, (I didn't be wigglin' or nuttin!) I could only ponder if the "Shroud of Turin" was essentially nothing more than a mere "Jesus ditto" from the earliest implementation of this examination process. I am quite positive that the experts would have properly sniffed the sheet for its essential aromatic ditto constitution to authenticate this, but would have been consequently decapitated by the Catholic church to keep this finding under wraps for merchandising purposes. After a few minutes of rendering and postulating, a woman suited akin to an X-Filish FBI agent handed me forms to fill out and sign and then stressed that it was imperative that I contact my employer about this situation. She then disappeared behind a waft of hospital curtain and eerie theme music. The ziploc bag was now full of water that was leaking onto the paper which had me worried that I might have tainted the test results and now may be misdiagnosed with lupus. A kindish middle-aged doctor entered and had a look at my finger. With a quick, "Hmm..." he confidently determined, "Yep, that's your typical paronychia you got there. I'm going to send you down to xray though, just to jack up the price a little more." Conveniently, the nuclear medicine department was just around the corner. After two men clad in the most stylish of this season's radioactive wear took pictures of my finger with a souped-up Steadicam, (all the while cowering behind a concrete bunker) I returned to my soggy hospital bed. The doctor returned and pointed to my ziploc bag. "I see that you've been icing your finger," he deduced, "well, you went the wrong way there...you should have been applying heat to it." He then removed xray photographs from a large envelope that he posted on a wallmounted lightboard far enough away that I was squinting and guessing that the first letter was indeed a capital "E." He began his interpretation with, "the good news is that it's not broken..." I could only now guess that the bad news would be either that my finger would have to amputated or that he never did save any money on his car insurance by switching to Geico and that I would have to submit to more extemporaneous exams in order to cover the extra dough he would need to fully insure his new Jaguar. "Will I lose it?" I asked nervously. "Most definitely," he replied. At this moment, I was slightly dismayed but somewhat narcissistic in the fact that I could
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then face a National Guard recruiter and proclaim, "who's being a little bitch now, mothafucka!" As this (and other fantastic scenarios) went through my head, the doctor added, "you were referring to your fingernail, correct?" I was immediately aghast by this. Being an incessant nail biter, I have cultivated quite an intimate finger nail relationship, with the left index being among my favorites. "Is there any way that this won't be the case?" I pleaded. "I'll do my best," he assured me and then whipped out a device similar to a soldering iron. "Now this may sting a little..." He pressed the tip of the needle into my fingernail, burned a hole through it and blood squirted out in b-movie-esque fashion. After gaining consciousness, I remarked that it smelled like burnt hair. "Of course it does," he remarked as if he was thinking, "this kid is so stupid, it doesn't surprise me in the least that he jams his fingers into a lawn mower." So, my epigrammatic admonition is thus: as much as I appreciate all of the strong condolences and concern from family and friends, (especially by those who cared enough to send the very best) I assure you that I am completely back to my fully intact person and now we should direct our full attention to those who really need our support the hurricane babies!

Boomer Wadaska

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
Thirty-three years after the apocalypse was born a man and poet who would take on a quest to meet his destiny. This man was to become the Grand Ruler of Earth and save the world from anarchy; this man who would deny his destiny to be destroyed because of his power and would become a god. In a mutated, savage world he must survive and overcome the impossible. Also, keep in mind that we never mentioned that he was a great poet. And so, the epic saga begins…

THE LEGEND OF WOLF-RIDER
By C Michael, Boomer Wadaska, and Sean Young 11th Grade The hot sun blazed clean across the sky as he remained silent, left hand on his ancient, but trustworthy .44 Auto Mag, Betsy. As the nearending sunny day eased, Wolf-Rider gazed aimlessly at the blood-filled, off-center horizon. In the distance (mostly toward the left-hand corner of his right eye), he caught a profound vision of dramatic proportions. It was not a vision that one might understand fully, but Wolf-Rider grasped every last detail of it—the worldly symbol of ill-fortune, the very first moth out of hibernation. Cantankerously he stared, contemplating his very thoughts, awed by the ostentatious sight which had made him very quiescent. For this, he was blank. Known as a man who makes a dramatic first impression upon all he lay eyes, he gallantly moshed toward the ever-so-confused Death-Hed Moth. Also known as an artist, a poet, albeit not the very best poet, he recited: “O strange moth who flies in the night, Moth that flutters straight toward the light, But when the sun riseth, so big and bright, The moth e’er so diligently ends his flight. Why, moth, not flit o’er to the sun; Instead of asunder’n my luck of the deed to be done?” But, dumbfoundedly, the Death-Hed Moth did not fly to the descending sun, but instead toward Wolf-Rider’s lantern, and he and the moth felt a sudden, callous, frigid chill.
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The chill elaborated itself throughout the personal places that clung life upon Wolf-Rider’s body. He took a second glance at the dancing, teasing moth and decided he would rid himself the burden of illfortune. He pulled out Betsy, and with amazing precision, he devastated the moth into utter nothingness, blew the smoke from the barrel, and spun it back into his holster with desperado-like skill. Wolf-Rider heard something nearby shortly after this incident. What now, he wondered to himself. The answer, flying in the wind amongst the pollen and carbon monoxide, smacked Wolf-Rider in his cheek, leaving a sticky residue. With his first fleeting glimpse, he envisioned a small child with a blow gun and a box of chewed JuJuBes. “Who could have done that?” he thought, but the moment this thought ended, he heard a loud, screeching noise emitting from the south-southwest, but more towards the south. He turned to see the infamous Johnny Wilde, the world-class sprinter, born with a mutant ability of heightened speed, halting mid-step, looking down toward the shiny gun of Wolf-Rider. Mr. Rider, without hesitation, spun Betsy out of her holster, blasting the Nike Swoosh from his cool-dude sneakers, killing him instantly. He cooled his gun, and proceeded to recite a poem: “This man I killed, Was a runner, so skilled; Why , you might ask, May I have done such a task? My answer, you see, Goes back to when I were a wee-tyke, And the blood from he, Is of one of whom I did not like, For when we were children, He had stoled me bike!” Wolf-Rider felt he should explain himself, even though there was no one around to witness his dastardly deed. And now that Johnny Wilde was dead, Wolf-Rider officially had no enemies to speak of within the current perimeter of his camp. The next morning he packed up and, proceeding a mile forward, he came upon an infinitesimal pond, looked down and saw…his reflection. Never before had he seen such a beautiful person. He stood bent over admiring himself, prone to the evils of the world to which he had his back turned. He reached out and touched the incredibly handsome
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visage, and upon doing so, he spied something of gihugic proportions swimming in a large, triangular pattern. He thought that it might be a leviathan, but they were only myths. It appeared to be grayish-blue in color, approximately eight feet long and pretty wide. Wolf-Rider called to the large obstruction in the water, but there was no answer. He continued to admire his beauty, ignoring the unknown, until a ripple was sent through his image, distorting his face. Wolf-Rider was not known for his extremely pleasant personality, so he dealt death to all the problems that faced him (or rippled his face for that matter.) He examined the geometric creature for a short moment and then recognized it as a seven-eyed, twenty-three-finned, isosceles pondfish. He recited this poem in correspondence: “O odd fish of your geometric ways, I have begun to number your evil, face-wrecking days, To Hell you may go this way, With good ol’ Betsy, it is ye I shall slay!” With the latter part of the recited poem, Wolf-Rider slew the isosceles pondfish with trusty, old Betsy. Feeling somewhat anxious to pummel death to all, he quickly descried that he was the only living, killable soul within a seeing-distance radius. Never a man to ponder suicide, he decided to calm his nerves at Vito’s Bar and Bookstore about a foot away. There he had entered and, taking the latest from Fred Po (currently a great author) off the shelf, he sat and ordered a glass of Blue Nun. He probed the bar with his eyes, looking, just itching for someone to give him a reason to shoot them. From the right of where he was sitting entered a man of enormously voluminous proportions. The man was seven foot six and a quarter, very, very, very well built, and, just like Wolf-Rider, he was looking to do some butt-whooping. He was aptly and well deservedly named Mr. Big. The beast-like man completed his gaudy entry through the wall, screamed numerous swell obscenities and pounded the counter with his abundant fist. “Give me my usual sixty-four ounce shot of J. D. straight,” he bellowed at the barmaid, “and your latest edition of Cosmo!” Wolf-Rider could tell he was up against a toughie. Mr. Big over-qualified his standards for enemies. The were nothing like this in his old neighborhood.

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
“Hey!” snapped Wolf-Rider, “Willst thou asketh politely?” He had been brushing up on his Shakespeare. Mr. Big turned and snarled, “No pansy-ass poet tells me what to do!” He clenched up his fists and said in a stern monotone, “Let’s battle!” Wolf-Rider replied with this poem: “With a gun I’d rather fight, For my face, damaged it might, ‘Cause this man with much Arnoldness, Could surely make me a mess; But a shoot-out so fast, And my skill, none could match!” “Don’t be so sure!” admonished Mr. Big as he backed off figuring he was quicker on the draw than the Wolf-Rider. Then he recoiled his thoughts and decided it was best to go face-to-face with him. Then he changed his mind again, and opted for the gun fight. The searing looks from Wolf-Rider’s eyes began to blind Mr. Big. Without a word, they both boldly headed for the nearest and most convenient back alley for a professional shoot-out. Many fans followed, placing spacious bets on them. The two men turned to face each other in squalor, and, upon the signal given by an official referee, each pulled out his gun and blasted at the other; Mr. Big missing, Wolf-Rider connecting wonderfully. Blood sprayed out of Mr. Big’s twenty-four inch neck and the proud bullet continued into the enormous stucco-faced wall behind him. As Mr. Big fell to the ground, Wolf-Rider walked away, laughing, knowing that he had peachily killed a big person. As he neared the end of the alley, Wolf-Rider caught from the corner of his eye the scene of a malnourished kitten lying amongst the wretched derelicts of the earth. This was a sight that Wolf-Rider could not bear to see. It hurt too much. He then proceeded to drop a grenade and casually stroll to the opposite end of the building. What Wolf-Rider did not know was that this particular kitten was an Anti-Ballistic Flachette-Skinned Death Kitten from Hell. The grenade exploded and Wolf-Rider, still unaware of this evil presence, recited this poem: “Good-bye poor cat, Because you are not fat;
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You did not eat, So I dropped a merciful grenade, Right by your feet.” With an agile spring the now agitated kitten landed on Wolf-Rider’s turned back. The kitten viciously attacked him from the posterior end and Wolf-Rider was shocked, dazed and truly amazed by the ferocity it possessed. Wolf-Rider threw his arms over his back, not literally, trying to grab the kitten, but he was unsuccessful. The kitten then scratched and clawed at the right sleeve of his jacket. Wolf-Rider was trapped. From a distant gun barrel, a bullet soared through the slight flesh of the demon feline from Hell. The kitten mewed in slight anguish, which only made him cling tighter, digging into Wolf-Rider’s neck. Wolf-Rider winced in pain. Rubbing his eyes, the picture became suddenly clear to Wolf-Rider. Mr. Big stood sporting a bloody hole for a head with a turret he conveniently tore from a Saudi Arabian All-Weather Mini-Tank, which he had aimed at the right temple of Wolf-Rider’s forehead. Wolf-Rider dove to avoid the oncoming projectile from Mr. Big’s new turret head. He landed in a tuck-and-roll, trying to ignore the DeathKitten on his back, whipped out Betsy and fired quickly at random. Unfortunately, when he squeezed the trigger, he heard the frightful “CLICK” to which every gun-slinger is eventually prone. Betsy was empty. “Oh, shit!” he exclaimed aloud as the fiery feline continued to embed its monstrously razor-sharp claws into his neck and back. Ignoring everything, Wolf-Rider stood up and began to search for ammunition. Finding none, he feared for his life. Wolf-Rider quickly realized that the oversized antagonist was one notch above him, fully armed. The Wolf-Rider carefully planned how to rectify the situation as quick as Wolf-Riderly possible. He remembered his long-lost brother’s dying words: “When in trouble…Wing that mother!” and Wolf-Rider was to do just that. With lightning speed, he grabbed the turret from the bulky shoulders of the bulky foe and used his Mattingly-like style swing in order to decapitate. He realized in midswing, however, that this man’s head was what he was swinging. Not being able to stop a full-thrust swing, he aired cleanly across Mr. Big’s massive, Schwarzenegger-like shoulders. Mr. Big, annoyed, threw a gihugic fist, pounding him into a Jimi Hendrix purple haze. Wolf-Rider was mesmerized for a moment and as he disembedded
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himself from the wall he swiftly became part of, he realized that the Death-Kitten was blasted into a big red fur-puddle. Wolf-Rider scrambled towards Mr. Big, and with a colorful, stalwart swing, clobbered the huge torso sharply in the stomach. Mr. Big staggered backwards and remained motionless. Wolf-Rider stared in awe. A few seconds after the might blow to his gastro-vascular cavity, Mr. Big inhaled and exhaled rapidly. Being unknowledgeable of what was going to happen, Wolf-Rider stood there, laughing hysterically at the sight of a wind-pipe jutting out of the oversized man, sucking wind. After two minutes of incessant breathing, Mr. Big gave WolfRider the universal gesture for “You are going to die!” Wolf-Rider, being the invincible terror that he was to all bad people, began to walk away. Then Mr. Big imploded and exploded consecutively. Inhuman genetic shrapnel flew everywhere, knocking the Wolf-Rider unconscious. A specific shred of antagonist landed atop Wolf-Rider’s chest. He awoke shortly after and scrutinized the piece of flesh that happened to attach itself to a black, fuzzy velvet bag. He put the flesh into the bag and took it as a souvenir. He got on his feet and was about to recite another poem, but fell back into unconsciousness. He woke up in a strange bed. Strange people were looking down upon him. “You are the prophet that has been summoned to save our town!” they exclaimed. Shocked by all the commotion, he fell back to sleep. A crazed peace radical grabbed and shook the long, black jacket of the Wolf-Rider, pleading insanely for the sake of his hollow and desolate town. “Please, save us,” he begged. “Be our town hero!” Wolf-Rider sat up as the hippie motioned for the rest of the people to leave. “What might be the knotty point requiring clearance?” he asked. The hippie looked at Wolf-Rider as if he had marmalade pouring out his nostrils. “Huh?” groaned the confused hippie. Wolf-Rider just remained silent and stared. “Oh!” exclaimed the hippie, finally catching on to the question. “Well, the Big Boss Chumpy is ruling us with an iron-clad fist. He and his M.P.S…” “M.P.S.?” interrupted a quizzical Wolf-Rider. “Mean Police Squad. They killed everyone who opposed them and will continue to do so until he is stopped. You are the prophet predicted by our late psychic, Curtis. Now will you help?”
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“I shall! I need ammunition,” Wolf-Rider exclaimed as he jumped up and pulled out Betsy. “You’re not going to use violence, are you?” concernedly inquired the hippie. “Aren’t I?” Wolf-Rider came back sarcastically. He gave a sardonic smile. “Why else did you choose me?” “I was hoping you could settle everything peacefully. I mean, the Big Boss Chumpy hates poetry and you are so good at it, we figured you’d just run him out verbally.” “Be you some kind of schmuck?” Wolf-Rider retorted. “I shall use both poetic and violent justice!” Wolf-Rider began to leave. The hippie followed right in his footsteps, staring at him as if he had never seen anyone other than his own race. As they walked, the hippie, who finally introduced himself as Moonbeam, explained all about the Big Boss Chumpy and his malicious actions toward the people. The day passed rather uneventfully as Wolf-Rider ignored Moonbeam and devised a plan to defeat the Big Boss Chumpy. Nightfall was nearing and Moonbeam offered him a place to stay. Wolf-Rider reluctantly accepted. Entering the humble home of the hapless hippie, Wolf-Rider surveyed the area. The wallpaper was nice—it had many flowers. Protest flags and banners graced the mantle above the fireplace. To the right sat a comfortable-looking chair. Wolf-Rider rested in this chair. “May I get you something, Dude?” asked the hospitable host, who upon granting the request of a shot of low-fat two-percent milk, proceeded to throw another kilo on the burning fire. Wolf-Rider gulped down the two-percent with ease. He was mentally preparing himself for his oncoming feat. He was interrupted, though, by the sudden pain of the milk curdling as it hit his liver. From this, he gained a bounteous cramp. Unable to move, he sat sedately wincing in agony. He slept until morningcome. When he awoke, he rose out of his chair and peered out the window. He noticed a very old building with fluorescent colors. At the foundation of the building stood a mighty man-sized thing. Wolf-Rider called the hippie over and asked who, or what, it was. Moonbeam replied with a simple, nervous, “B-B-B-Big B-B-Bosssss Ch-Ch-Chumpy!” Wolf-Rider never noticed this stutter before and discharged it as pure fear. “Everyone exit their homes for morning exercises!” announced the Big Boss Chumpy through a large megaphone. Moonbeam bolted
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out the door and Wolf-Rider followed slowly. Outside, the people filed into tidy rows. The Big Boss Chumpy noticed a new presence in his town, that of the Wolf-Rider. He walked to him. “You must be new in town, huh?” “Very brilliant reconnaissance. Now I see why you rule this land,” Wolf-Rider cracked wise. “You just watch yer butt, Mister. Since you’re new in town, I’ll go easy on you. Give me forty jumping jacks.” “No,” plainly stated the Wolf-Rider. The town gasped in bewilderment. Wolf-Rider took a step closer to the Big Boss Chumpy and could now get a clear smell of him. He smelled like road kill. WolfRider took a few steps back, shaking his head and holding his nose. “How dare you say ‘no’ to the Big Boss Chumpy and insult him? You must have big balls. So big in fact, I’ll give you a second chance because I like that in a person,” said Chumpy and then crossed his arms awaiting a reply. As Wolf-Rider thought, the Chumpy became impatient and began tapping his foot on the ground. As his foot elevated, Wolf-Rider could see numerous people squishes stuck on the bottom of his shoe. With the origin of the fumes revealed, Wolf-Rider decided to recite: “O Big Boss Chumpy of your evil ruling ways, With poetic skill, I shall amaze, To banish you from this most tranquil town, And your police squad I shall shoot down, Each and every one!” Chumpy jumped back in awe. “First you defy me and now you use poetry? You shall be taken and have your tongue removed so you may never do such sonaric damage to me or my squad again! Off with his tongue!” Wolf-Rider shot the first guard that came after him, and then the next. Wolf-Rider learned that these guards were not very competent, and even less human. They attacked him one at a time. Eventually, Wolf-Rider would use his seventh round and would have to take them by hand. He fought with skill, but the automaton guard could take more damage than he could dish out, and dish out more damage than he could take. They managed to subdue him. (Well, one of them anyway.)

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
When things calmed, Wolf-Rider stood up against his will and a six-foot Kendo stick was forced into his hands. “To make things interesting, you will fight my champion,” said the Big Boss Chumpy, motioning a camera crew to ready themselves. A huge mother-of-a-man walked up to Wolf-Rider carrying a nine-foot Kendo stick. The crowd gathered around to watch this Kendo stick death match. Most were rooting for the Wolf-Rider. But Wolf-Rider knew he had a disadvantage in size. He quickly scanned the presence of the Big Boss Chumpy’s champion, duly named “Fluffy”, looking for a weakness. He saw it just as Fluffy launched his first wave of attack, sweeping Wolf-Rider’s legs out and then attempting to smash his face, which he nimbly evaded. On the tip of Fluffy’s nose there rested a small red “X”. That had to be his “Achilles’ heel.” Back on his feet with pole vault form, Wolf-Rider used the stick to pummel Fluffy’s face and prepared to use his karate-ness upon the minute nose point. The journey through the air seemed to take a lifetime. WolfRider could feel the adrenaline flowing. He would be crowned king, the savior of this poor town; he was to be a hero. But these visions were abruptly flushed down a toilet, which clogged and was later unclogged with a quick shot of Drano, when his foot was caught in mid-air by the massive arms of Fluffy. Fluffy then threw him back and swung, but the Wolf-Rider, being the incredible person he was, parried the blow and built up his morale by reciting this poem: “You’re Kendo-karate skill is great, And you seem to be satisfied with your soon-to-be fate; You are obviously a dope, You can not win, ‘Cuz I shall beat you to a bloody red pulp!” Wolf-Rider swung and connected with Fluffy’s jaw. Fluffy staggered back. Wolf-Rider then hurled the Kendo stick like a javelin and bull’seyed the small “X”. Fluffy’s reaction was an explosion. The euphoric feeling of triumph that was apparent as the burden of troubles were quickly lifting from the town. In a fit of panic and nervousness, the Big Boss Chumpy hastily fled into the blood-filled, offcenter horizon. Wolf-Rider had a déjà vu. The lenient Wolf-Rider was crowned king within the eyes of the townspeople, but his future flamboyant plans had not really included a
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kingship. Thinking of a good excuse to leave the possible settled life in order live as a rebel, he called a town press conference. Everyone gathered in the fluorescent town hall, and Wolf-Rider was prepared to renounce his recent coronation. After everyone quieted, Wolf-Rider stood up, and before he even muttered a single word, a miniature something jumped out of his black velvet bag. He immediately recognized it as a regenerating slab of antagonist. The flesh grew into a whole new Mr. Big, head included. The new improved Mr. Big was bigger and badder than ever before. He was monstrous and ready to slay and mutilate any obstruction that blocked his path into Lilliputian pieces of flesh-andblood-filled horror. He was pissed. Wolf-Rider flew against the cracked concrete wall in astonishment. He knew he was going to be ripped into several pieces. His mind raced for an idea, but drew a blank. Mrs. Mardi Ethel Simpson was hardly known for her involvement in foreign affairs. At seventy-five years of age, noise became her adversary, and the small town four miles south of Ed’s Full-Serve Gas Station, which was coincidentally awarded the Silver Pump Award for excellent service, had plenty of it. Mrs. Simpson slowly rose from her Craftmatic Comfort Chair, which was joyfully paid for by Medicare and Life-Call, and held aloft her mighty walking cane, magically turning into the all-powerful Megagrandma of Tubane. The sudden stop of everything startled both Mr. Big and WolfRider. They stopped as well and glanced at Megagrandma and then looked at each other perplexingly. Megagrandma clicked a button on the cane and a very large, very luminous electroblade stilettoed out of the end of it. She then thrusted it at Mr. Big, lancing his fervorous stomach. Mr. Big winced in pain and whipped out a blood red rocketpowered gun. He decided that he was going to make certain that “Supergranny” explode into shards of carnage and obliterated vats of fat and wrinkles. Valiantly, Wolf-Rider jumped in front of the launched semi-warhead, but was a second too late, and the missile connected with its intended target. Wolf-Rider felt compassion toward the collapsed body of Megagrandma. Quickly opening her flack jacket, he checked her vital signs. Mrs. Simpson winked at him and spun with Ferrari speed to capture Mr. Big’s gut with her cane. With her fist clenched to the air and an evil grimace on her face, she collected her breath. “Fear me! I am Woman!” she yelled.
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Mr. Big leapt forward and ruptured her nose, blasting her into the wood paneling behind her. Wolf-Rider took advantage of the situation and launched all seven reloaded rounds from Betsy directly at Mr. Big’s rippling chest. Mr. Big, in his defense, flexed his muscles, causing the bullets to ricochet off his chest, right back at Wolf-Rider. Wolf-Rider could not get out of the way quickly enough and was grazed in the left arm by two of the seven bullets. One stray bullet smoothly housed itself within the cranial cavity of an innocent bystander. Mrs. Simpson stood up and let out a loud, leopard-like roar, blowing Wolf-Rider into a shelf of 100 proof moonshine and her intended target two feet backwards. Mr. Big lurched forward, body checking Megagrandma into the wall again. Meanwhile, Wolfie nursed his wounds with the moonshine. On the floor was Mrs. Simpson’s cane. Mr. Big picked it up over his head and prepared to thrust it downward upon her. But the magic cane, recognizing an err in the attitude of the holder, proceeded to perform “Puttin’ on the Ritz” atop the big lug’s head. Wolf-Rider, long offended by an act of feminish attempting to compete within this battle, quickly rectified the situation. He reloaded and shot several rounds at the cane. The bullets not only removed this cane from Mr. Big’s head, but also Mr. Big’s head. In the fury of losing his head again, Mr. Big grabbed the nearest spectator and dislodged her head from her shoulders, placing it on his. He grabbed Wolf-Rider and Mrs. Simpson and threw them across the room. Just as Mr. Big was about to finish the two, he was interrupted by a shout. “Nobody move!” the voice said, “I’m reclaiming this town!” It was Big Boss Chumpy. He was armed with a twenty-barreled, two-gauge shotgun. He lifted all of the barrels and kept them poised at Mr. Big’s chest. Mr. Big let out a depressive sigh because he really was looking forward to ripping his two foes to shreds, but now his plans were foiled by a man with big weaponry. The large gust of wind from his sigh was powerful enough to blow back an unstable Big Boss Chumpy. The shotgun slipped downward and accidentally went off. The resulting damage to the floor from this massive gun blew a hole straight to China. The recoil, of course, launched Big Boss Chumpy into orbit.

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As Mr. Big stood in catatonic stupor, Wolf-Rider snuck up on him and pushed him into the hole. The result of this, due to gravity, was pretty neat to see. Mr. Big plummeted at 9.8 meters per second squared to the other side of the earth. Gravity took hold and pulled him back just as fast. As he came out of the hole screaming, he tried to grab a hold of Wolf-Rider and failed. This process continued as Mr. Big gradually decelerated and became stuck in the center of the earth. Upon careful listening, WolfRider could hear Mr. Big damning him.

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My Mind Spoken

My Mind Spoken
THIS IS NOT THE BEGINNING... it's just the first time i'm speaking my mind THIS IS NOT CONSUMPTION OF YOUR LIES AND FAR-FETCHED TALES... i've swallowed all i can stand, now is the time to spit back at you THIS IS NOT ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR "GREAT NEW LIFE"... how can i approve of what is so obviously out of control THIS IS NOT A SLAP IN THE FACE... although, so many times i've wished it to be a fist THIS IS NOT BLINDNESS WHILE YOU STEAL FROM ME AND RETURN NOTHING... my eyes were open all the while you took everything i had now, i'm all used up and empty THIS IS NOT AN UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR DILEMMA... we have become such different people and i no longer know you THIS IS NOT A HELPING HAND FOR YOUR PROBLEMS... they have become so calloused and worn while the work has proved futile why bother anymore

202

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

My Mind Spoken

THIS IS NOT A SYMPATHETIC EAR TO HEAR YOUR TROUBLES... why should i when your ears are so deaf to me THIS IS NOT THE LAST TIME I CALL YOU "FRIEND"... but it may be a time until i do it again THIS IS NOT AN UNCARING HEART... you've just put it through so much that i must spend time away to heal THIS IS NOT ANOTHER UNFAIR ATTACK... but you've been a self-proclaimed victim for so long that you will probably see it as such THIS IS THE END... you're now on your own so long, my brother

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

203

Keyword Index/Glossary

#
;^): (text message emoticon) “a wink and a smile”, wysiwyg, 81 ;p: (text message emoticon) “tongue out”, “happy”, or “joking”, Truth and Soul, 52 .44 Auto Mag: a pistol designed to bring .44 magnum power to a semiautomatic pistol, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 190 3M: (formerly Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) a company that produces thousands of products, most notably adhesives, abrasives and laminates, Banana Meltdown, 113 “3-5-0-0”: a song from the musical Hair (1968) which takes its lyrics from Alan Ginsberg's poem Witchita Sutra Vortex, the number referring to the estimated monthly casualty rate during the Viet Nam War, INVINCIBLe, 126 7-Eleven: a convenience store very prevalent in Levittown, ABOUT GEORGE, 36 911: a dual reference to the emergency telephone number and the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, 911, 178 1000 Blank White Cards: an improvisational card game where the deck is created as the game is being played, 1000 Blank White Cards, 44-46

a
AAA: (initialism) “American Automobile Association”, a non-profit automobile service organization and insurance company, Rumble Strips, 15; Predictions in the Year 06, 152 Academy Award: an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, popularly known as an “Oscar”, Banana Meltdown, 112 Achilles' heel: a fatal weakness named for the Greek warrior, Achilles' who met his demise with an arrow to his heel, his only weak spot, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 198 adjectivize: Kylean word for “making an adjective out of” (see Kylean interlude), Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149 agita: agitation or anxiety, Restless, 71
205

“albatross around one's neck”: a phrase meaning “an annoying burden” originating from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, wherein after a sailor kills an albatross, he is forced to wear the carcass around his neck as punishment, School for Geniuses, 162 Allstate: an insurance company, INVINCIBLe, 127 alpha and omega: the beginning and end, Swiffertail, 95; So Why Bother?, 173 American Idol: a reality television show that features young vocal talent competing for a record contract, Predictions in the Year 06, 152 Amtrak: a government-owned intercity passenger train service, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 Anglo-Saxon: general term for the invading tribes in the south and east of Great Britain circa 6 AD to the Norman conquest of 1066, Banana Meltdown, 112 anti-gingham: against all forms of striped or checked yarn-dyed, plain-weave cotton fabrics, Banana Meltdown, 112 AOL: (initialism) internet company formerly known as America On-Line, Koch, 33 Apache: a collective name for a group of culturally related Native Americans, Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There, 87 appetence: intense desire, Route Down, 117 alchemic: of archaic chemical science, part of occult tradition best known for attempts to transmutate common metal into gold, Beloved Dream, 109; Katie's Torchlight, 50 (alchemized) anthropomorphic: ascribing living characteristics to inanimate objects, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 Arnoldness: having a physique equivalent to that of body-builder Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 193 ATM: (text message initialism) “at this moment”, wysiwyg, 80 Audubon Society: (National Audubon Society) a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservancy, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 150 axiomatic: of or pertaining to self-evidence, A Mental Trip, 1

206

b
Beethoven: (Ludwig van Beethoven, December 16, 1770 – March 26, 1827) composer and pianist known to have composed and performed even after becoming deaf, Letter to Beethoven, 85 Bic Erasable: a brand of pen equipped with an eraser and erasable ink, Between Lust and a Hard Place, 159 blacktors: a combination of the words “black” and “actors” to denote actors of African American heritage, Banana Meltdown, 112 Blue and White: the team colors of Penn State University, in this case referencing its student body, Koch, 35 Blue Nun: a German wine brand most popular between the 1950's and 1980's, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192 b-movie-esque: having the quality of a low budget film, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 189 Bombardment: a dodgeball variant often played in high school gym class, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160 Bristol Township: a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania many parts of which consist of sections of Levittown, Banana Meltdown, 113 Brooks Brothers: the oldest men's clothier in the United States (1818), Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149 BTW: (text message initialism) “by the way”, wysiwyg, 80 Buchanan: (James Buchanan Elementary School) a school located in Levittown, PA, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160 Bucks County: one of the five Pennsylvania counties that makes up the Delaware Valley; Levittown is located here, Swiffertail, 95; Banana Meltdown, 112 Bugs Bunny: an animated rabbit who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated short films, touted as the greatest and most recognizable cartoon character of all time, Dear John, 62

c
Cain: in Genesis and the Qur'an, son of Adam and Eve who committed the first murder, in this case used for the jealousy, rivalry and aggression he represents, The Old Scottish Lane, 180 Captain Peanut-a-delic & the Shim-sham Catamaran: a fictitious zydeco jam band, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149
207

carbos: (abbreviation) “carbohydrates”, So Far, 140 Carrot Top: (Scott Thompson, born February 25, 1965) a prop comic known for his bright red hair, Picture of Me, 73 Centre County: a county in Pennsylvania where State College is located, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 Chairman Mao: (Mao Zedong) leader of the People's Republic of China from 1949-1976, The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9 Charles Darwin: a naturalist noted for his theories on evolution, So Why Bother?, 172 Chekhovian: of Anton Chekhov, a Russian writer known for penning tragedies but referring to them as comedies, George's Uncle, 69 Cheshire cat: a character from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, known for its enormous smile, Between Lust and a Hard Place, 159 chili-chongas: (variant of chimichangas) deep fried burritos, most likely stuffed with chili, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148 Christopher Columbus: an explorer whose voyages led to the European awareness of the later named “American” continents, Raffles, 138 Chuck Taylor: (Charles Hollis Taylor, June 24, 1901 – June 23, 1969) a basketball player and shoe salesman, best known for his Converse brand Chuck Taylor All-Stars sneakers, Banana Meltdown, 112 Civic: Honda model car in production from 1973-present, Front Porch, 27 CNN: (initialism) “Cable News Network”, the first television station to provide 24-hour news coverage, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 Coca-Cola: a popular carbonated soft drink, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 codex authorities: a cynical reference to moral guidelines, In Just a Few Hours, 28 Cosmo: nickname for Cosmopolitan, the best-selling women's magazine, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192 Craftmatic: a brand of adjustable bed, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199 creationing: the act of creating creation as regarded by believers of creationism, So Why Bother?, 173 croutoneous: having the properties of a crouton, The Magnanimous Salad, 77 cyberspace: a synonym for the internet, I Need a Better Agent, 153 cyberspacious glands: pertaining to the release of hormones triggered by the pituitary gland as a result of salacious communication (mostly unreciprocated) within an on-line social networking website, MySpace Girl, 104
208

Cyclopes: in Greek mythology, a primordial race of giants with a single eye in the center of their forehead, in this case the cyclopes referred to are referenced from Hesiod's Theogony, wherein Arges, Brontes and Steropes were sons of Gaea and Uranus, Not Just a Package, 134

d
Dewey Decimal System: method created by Melvil Dewey in 1876 for organizing books in a library so that they may be easily located and replaced, Filing System, 177 diapendion: medicinal sugar, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91 Dirk Doom: cartoon created by Kyle Phipps Bernhardy in 1990, which originally appeared in the “Illegal Pad”, a series of conglomerate writings authored by the student body at Harry S Truman High School, Levittown, PA, 33, 89, 118, 136, 164, 185 DNA: (initialism) “deoxyribonucleic acid” is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic blueprints of all living organisms and some viruses, DNA Mother, 58 dog-day: singular form of dog-days referencing a period marked by lethargy; also a sultry summer day reckoned to be between July 3 and August 11 when Sirius, the Dog Star rises with the sun, Murphy's Dog-Day Principle, Chpts. I-IV, 22, 23 doo-dopping: Kylean word for singing and moving along to a song (see Kylean interlude), For the Love of Valencio, 17 doughtiness: courage, Alliterature, 165 Drano: a chemical product used for dissolving clogs in a drain, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 198 Dr. Ha: (Dr. Samuel J. Ha) a biology professor at Millersville University, PA, from 1971 - 1998, Two From Biology Class, 129, 130 Dr. Henkeisms: a term coined for the peculiar statements often spoken by Dr. Jim Henke, a professor of communications at Millersville University, Millersville, PA, from 1976 - present, Dr. Henkeisms, 13

e
eBay: an internet company that provides on-line auctioning and shopping, Not Just a Package, 134 ebullient: overflowing with excitement, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91; Alliterature, 165 (ebullience)
209

Eden: in the Book of Genesis, the garden where Adam and Eve lived after having been created by God, Greyhound to Savannah, 147 edumacation: a cynical play on the word “education”, The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99; Accidental Bully, 182 (edumacated) Einstein: (Albert Einstein, March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) theoretical physicist most noted for his theory of relativity, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 85 “endorphin rush”: feeling of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger and other forms of stress, also known as “runner's high”, So Far, 142 ER: (initialism) “Emergency Room”For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 Evian: a brand of mineral and spring water, H2O > $GAS, 153

f
FBI: (initialism) “Federal Bureau of Investigation”, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188 Ferarri: an Italian sports car, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199 Frankensteins: referencing the popular cinematic portrayal of Frankenstein's monster wherein his gait is distinguished by unbending knees, The Mud Slide, 145 funkified: (from “funk” once defined in dictionaries as body odor or the smell of sexual intercourse, commonly regarded as coarse or indecent), the state of having had this odor, used in this case to express apathetic ennui, Restless, 70 FYI: (initialism) “for your information”, wysiwyg, 80

g
Gaia: (var. of Gaea) ancient Greek goddess of Earth, Not Just a Package, 134 gastrovascular cavity: functions in digestion and gas exchange in jellyfish, sea anemones, et alum, The Magnanimous Salad, 77; The Legend of WolfRider, 195 Geico: a popular automobile insurance company known for its commercials featuring a gecko and disgruntled cavemen, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188

210

Gene Kelly: (Eugene Curran Kelly, August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) dancer, actor and singer best known for his performance in Singing in the Rain, 1952, T.S. Eliot, 7 Gillespie: (William Gillespie) a character on the television show, In the Heat of the Night, portrayed by Carroll O'Connor, The Laundromat, 86 Gimp's Envy: a fictitious German Oi! band, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149; Quarter-Life Crisis, 161 “Girls Gone Wild”: a low-budget pornographic DVD series, Restless, 70 Gobble-Up: a variant of hide-n-seek where the “gobbler” would not only find the hiders, but also physically brutalize them in a vaguely playful manner, The Mud Slide, 144 goldenseal: an herb with properties as a laxative and emmenagogue, et alum, Insensed, 67 “greenhouse effect”: an atmospheric heating phenomenon, Restless, 70 Greyhound: (Greyhound Lines) a bus service that includes thousands of stops within the United States, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143; Greyhound to Savannah, 146 Guillaume Apollinaire: (August 26, 1880 – November 9, 1918) French poet, writer and art critic, Koch, 33 Guinness: an Irish stout beer brewed in St. James' Gate, Dublin, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 Gummy Wurm: (variant of Gummi Worm) a chewy fruit-flavored candy in the shape of a worm, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149

h
haiku: a Japanese poem divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables expressing a single thought, idea or allusion, Haiku, 82; This Time It's Personal, 154 hair-to-God: a 1980's female hairstyle wherein the bangs are held vertically by an excessive amount of hairspray, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101 Harleys: Harley Davidson motorcycles, Restless, 70 Hechinger's: (Hechinger) a chain of home improvement retail stores that went bankrupt and now operates as an on-line hardware store, Dear John, 61 Helmet: alternative metal band from New York City, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160 Hitler: (Adolf Hitler, April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945) former Nazi dictator of Germany, Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There, 87
211

holophrastic: (hollow phrase) expressing an entire sentence or phrase in one word. i.e. “amen”, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 Hot Wheels: a popular brand of scale miniature toy cars, The Mud Slide, 144

i
idgit: a phonetic spelling of the elision of the word “idiot”, Beat Street, 181 IMO: (text message initialism), “in my opinion”, wysiwyg, 80 indigests: failing to digest, The Magnanimous Salad, 77 insensed: state of having been without sense, Insensed, 66; Greyhound to Savannah, 146 intercess: in religious jargon, the act of praying to God on another's behalf, usually by a priest or some other religious figurehead, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 In the Heat of the Night: a television series based on a motion picture of the same name, The Laundromat, 86 IQ: (initialism) “Intelligence Quotient”, School for Geniuses, 162 irony¹: words conveying a meaning opposite of their literal meaning, A Mental Trip, 1

“These are not explanatory writings...”, A Mental Trip, 1

irony²: an outcome of events contrary to what might have been expected, The Sixth Year, 137; Hocus Pocus, 157

“an empty gift awarded for an unfortunate anniversary...”, The Sixth Year, 137

j
Jack Kerouac: (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) a prominent writer, poet and artist from the “beat generation”, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 Jaguar: a luxury automobile manufactured in England, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 189; Restless, 70 (Jags) JD: (initialism) “Jack Daniels”, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192 Jimi Hendrix: (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) rock guitarist, singer and songwriter, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194 Jeopardy: a popular quiz show where contestants earn money by supplying the appropriate questions to given answers, School for Geniuses, 162
212

John Fitch Elementary School: a school in Levittown, PA named for Bucks County inventor, John Fitch (January 21, 1743 – July 2, 1798), who built the first steam-powered ship in the US, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187 JuJuBes: in this case, a brand of candy originally made by the Heide Company which were fruit flavored and so hard to chew they often became stuck in one's teeth, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 191

k
karma: action seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, In Just a Few Hours, 28; Truth and Soul, 52 Katherine Whalen: (April 24, 1968 – present), vocalist and banjo player for the swing band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Low Down Man, 64 Keats: (John Keats, October 31, 1795 – February 23, 1821) poet of the English Romantic movement who penned the quote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” in Ode on a Grecian Urn, Beauty Is Truth..., 12 Kendo stick: (Japanese) from Kendo, “way of the sword”, plus a bamboo stick used to practice swordfighting, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 198 Kenneth Koch: (February 27, 1925 – July 6, 2002) American poet, playwright and professor who wrote in a non-structured, exuberant style, Koch, 32 King Lear: a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear, 100 King Solomon: a street performer in Savannah, GA who makes elaboratelooking flowers from palm fronds, Greyhound to Savannah, 147 KJV: (initialism) “King James Version”, Swiffertail, 94 Krishna: a deity worshiped in many traditions of Hinduism, considered the “avatari” or “Supreme Godhead” by devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 Kylean interlude: term coined for an excessive string of consonants which represent thought or speech, often used by Kyle Phipps Bernhardy: 1. “Grrrrr”, This Word, 8 2. “Hmmmm”, For the Love of Valencio, 17 3. “Hole Uhmmm...” and “Hmmm...”, Dirk Doom #1, 33 4. “'MMMMmmmwwwrrrrr'”, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 150 5. “HMMmmmmmmm”; “HMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm”,
I Hate Rain, 184
213

l
Lancaster County: a county in southeastern Pennsylvania known as “the Garden Spot of America”, The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99 Lederhosen: (German) “leather trousers”, knee-length britches made of leather, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148 Lentzschian: in reference to Craig Lentzch, Greyhound Lines, Inc., president 1994-2003, Greyhound to Savannah, 146 Levittown: Philadelphia suburban birthplace of all four authors of this compendium, Front Porch, 26; Restless, 70; Banana Meltdown, 112; The Mud Slide, 144 Lifecall: a company specializing in medical alarm systems, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199 Lilliputian: very small, from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, wherein Gulliver meets the tiny people of Lilliput, The Legend of Wolf-Rider,
199

liquescence: the state of becoming liquid or melting, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 LOL: (text message initialism) “laugh out loud”, Koch, 33; Truth and Soul, 52; wysiwyg, 80 Louis Armstrong: jazz trumpeter and band leader known as “Satchmo”, I Dreamt of You Last Night, 92 Louvre: the world's most renowned art museum located in Paris, France, The Louvre, 40 lupus: (systemic lupus erythematosus) chronic autoimmune disease which attacks and damages cells and tissue which can be fatal, Restless, 70; For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188 luthern: a dormer window, Alliterature, 165

m
magnanimous: free of resentment or vindictiveness, in this case suggesting ease of digestion both literally and figuratively, The Magnanimous Salad, 77 MapQuest: an internet site that provides maps and driving directions, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 Matchbox: a popular brand of scale miniature toy cars, The Mud Slide, 144 Mattingly-like: (Don Mattingly) in the style of a popular, former New York Yankee baseball player, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194
214

Maybelline: a popular company specializing in make-up, Expectations, 59 Medicare: a social insurance program, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199 megalomaniacal: pertaining to one with a mental illness marked with delusions of grandeur, Raffles, 139 Menudo: a Latino boy band (1977 – present), So Why Bother?, 173 Mercury: ancient Roman messenger god of trade, profit and commerce, known to be very swift, So Far, 142 meta-cognition: beyond understanding, In Just a Few Hours, 28 metamorphasized: act of having gone through change, Katie's Torchlight, 50 Michael Jackson: a musician known as the “King of Pop” who is notorious for excessive unnecessary facial surgeries, Banana Meltdown, 112 Milli Vanilli: a pop music duo in the late 1980's most famous for having a Grammy award revoked after the discovery that the vocals on the album were not those of the two men accredited, Truth and Soul, 52 Ming vase: pottery made during the Ming dynasty in Japan, 1368-1644, Eva's Gone Away, 13 Mjollnir: in ancient Norse mythology, the mighty hammer of Thor, Class Dreams, 129 Mighty Mighty Bosstones: a ska-core band from Boston, MA, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160 modus operandi: (Latin) “mode of operation”, Front Porch, 27 Morrisville: a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that is located across the Delaware River from Trenton, New Jersey, Banana Meltdown, 112 Moses: a Biblical Hebrew religious leader attributed with having authored the Torah, fabled to have had God part the Red Sea, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160 moshed: danced aggressively, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 190 Mr. Tibbs: (Virgil Tibbs) a character on the television show In the Heat of the Night, portrayed by Howard Rollins, The Laundromat, 86 Mtv: (initialism) “Music television”, So Why Bother?, 173 mulish: stubborn, Alliterature, 165 Murphy: reference to “Murphy's law” where anything that can go wrong, will, Murphy's Dog-Day Principle, Chpts. I-IV, 22-23 Murphyesque: pretaining to Murphy's law (see Murphy), Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 myopically: in the manner of not having regarded future interests, Introduce Yourself, 2
215

misogynistic: having the quality of hatred, anger or mistrust towards women, Quashed Hope, 111 MySpace: an on-line social networking website, MySpace Girl, 104; Banana Meltdown, 113

n
NASA: (initialism) “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, A Very Bad Day To Be Rich, 168 Nike Swoosh: the swooping emblem on a pair of Nike brand athletic shoes, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 191 NIV: (initialism) “New International Version”, Swiffertail, 94 No Exit: a play written by Jean-Paul Sartre wherein the main character is led into a nondescript room with only one possible exit, which he discovers is Hell, Low Down Man, 65 nosebroom: mustache, Hocus Pocus, 156

o
Oda daimyo: (Japanese) “Oda”, family name of a Japanese clan, and “daimyo”, meaning “great name”, powerful feudal rulers in 19th century Japan, Oda Daimyo, 13 Off-Broadway: referring to theater performed in New York City, NY that is not a large-scale production within the theater district, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 Ogden Nash: a poet best known for humorous verse, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 “Ol' Mud”: a nickname for Old Milwaukee Beer, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101 OMG: (text message initialism) “Oh, my God!”, wysiwyg, 80 oriel: a bay window, Alliterature, 165 otiose: futile, Alliterature, 165 oxymoron: contradictory words used together in a phrase or sentence, A Mental Trip, 1; God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 85 1. “...not explanatory writings...”, A Mental Trip, 1 2. “agnostically religious”, Introduce Yourself, 2 3. “...xerophilous plants growing in his shower.”, For the Love of Valencio,
17 216

4. “internet dating personal ads”, Koch, 33 5. “'I love you, but...'”, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 85

p
padiddle: a car with one headlight, PeopeAreAfraidToMerge, 49 Parliament: a popular brand of cigarettes, Between Lust and Hard Place, 159 paronychia: bacterial infection which swells around a fingernail or toenail, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188 Paul Bunyan: in American folklore, a lumberjack who appears in many tall tales and legends, often accompanied by his trusty blue ox, Babe, The Paul Bunyan Trilogy, 106 Pennsbury: (Pennsbury High School) a high school located in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania (Bucks County), Banana Meltdown, 112 People's Party: a nickname for the Communist Party of China (CPC), The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9 perorate: formal conclusion of a long speech, in this case used as a double entendre, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91 perplexia: a state of confusion, PeopleAreAfraidToMerge, 48 pH: (power of Hydrogen) the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution, Truth and Soul, 52 phantasmal: unreal, illusory, Alliterature, 165 pheromones: chemicals that trigger a natural behavioral response in members of the same species, Truth and Soul, 52 Phillips-head: a cross-head screw design named for Henry F. Phillips, I Have Not a Phillips Head, 155 Philly: a nickname for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Opening Day, 6 phoenix: in Greek mythology, a firebird that sets itself ablaze and then is reborn from its own ashes, In Just a Few Hours, 30 pin-up Bettie: self-modeled to resemble Betty Mae Page, a pin-up and fetish model popular in the 1950's, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 Pollock: a pejorative term for a person of Polish heritage, Hocus Pocus, 158 Positively Records: the greatest music store on the planet, located in Levittown, PA, Truth and Soul, 52 Powerball: a shared jackpot lottery, Truth and Soul, 52 pulverulent: consisting of dust or fine powder, The Mud Slide, 144
217

punchbuggy: a Volkswagen Beetle, whose distinct body style inspired a travel game wherein when one is spotted, the spotter may strike another player in the arm, PeopleAreAfraidToMerge, 49 Punxsutawney: a borough in Pennsylvania made famous by its Groundhog's Day festival, Front Porch, 26 pyrotechniques: (var. of “pyrotechnics”) methods of fire and explosives usage, Katie's Torchlight, 50 Pyrrhic victory: a victory with overwhelming cost to the victor, named for King Pyrrhus of Epirus who suffered tremendous casualties in his victory over the Romans during the Pyrrhic War, 280-275 BC, Y2K Compliant, 100; The End of My Rope, 176 (Pyrrhic sigh)

q
quadrupts: (quadrupeds) four-legged animals, So Why Bother?, 172 querulous: complaining, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 84; Alliterature, 165 (querulously) quixotic: impulsive and rash, Alliterature, 165 quoth: said, always placed before the subject, Alliterature, 165

r
R&D: (abbrv.) “research and development”, A Very Bad Day To Be Rich, 168 Reader's Digest: America's best-selling monthly general interest magazine, This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest, 118 Red Hot Chili Peppers: a rock funk band with elements of hard rock and punk from Los Angeles, CA, Dear John, 62 rosacea: a condition that begins with flushing and redness across the cheeks, nose and forehead and could lead to small bumps and pustules, Hocus Pocus, 156 “R” Pronunciation: in this case, retroflex and alveolar approximants, Speech Impediment, 8 rood: a large crucifix, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 Rush Limbaugh: a big, fat idiot, Limbaugh V. Machinery, 100

218

s
S&H: (abbrv.) “shipping and handling”, Doggy Style, 153 sacrosanct: very sacred, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90 Salvation Army: a Christian charity organization that provides social services and religious guidance to the poor and destitute, INVINCIBLe, 128 samosa: a South Asian pastry usually stuffed with potatoes, onions, spices and green chili, folded in a triangular shape and commonly served with chutney, In Just a Few Hours, 29 Samson: a character who was granted tremendous physical strength from God in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), Talmud, and the Old Testamenti, So Far, 142 Sartre: (Jean-Paul Sartre) French existentialist philosopher, writer and activist, Low Down Man, 65 Savannah: a city in Georgia, one of the largest National Historic Landmarks districts in the United States, Greyhound to Savannah, 146 schnozz-fuzz: a mustache, Hocus Pocus, 157 Schwarzenegger-like: (Arnold Schwarzenegger) muscular (see Arnoldness), The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194 scopalamine: a drug used to treat motion sickness, nausea and intestinal cramping, commonly used as a depressant or an adjunct to other narcotics, also known as hyoscine and “Devil's Breath”, Banana Meltdown, 112 Scotch-taped: fastened with the Scotch brand adhesive tape made by the 3M Corporation, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187 Scottish lane: dual usage as a chosen path and the Scottish word “lane” meaning “lone” or “lonesome”, The Old Scottish Lane, 180 sdrawkcab: “backwards” written backwards, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148 Shakespeare: (William Shakespeare) an English playwright and poet, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 193 Shop N Bag: a grocery store chain formerly prevalent in Levittown, PA, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 150 Shroud of Turin: a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered trauma consistent with that of a crucifixion, often believed to be Jesus Christ's, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188 Sideline Football: a modified version of football which consisted of a quarterback throwing slightly inaccurate passes to force a receiver to dive in order to catch the ball without landing out of a fixed boundary, The Mud Slide, 144
219

siren: in Greek mythology, a bird-woman seductress who lured sailors to their demise with enchanting singing, Low Down Man, 64 skankified: slang term insinuating uncleanliness, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143 Skitswabia: a fictional tropical island inhabited by moronic intellectuals, Banana Meltdown, 112; So Why Bother?, 172, 173 (Skitswab, Skitswabian) Slurpee: a frozen carbonated beverage sold by 7-Eleven (see 7-Eleven), responsible for sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, also known as “brain freeze”, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101 snuggly-wugglies: Kylean word for objects of desire and affection, often only reciprocated through delusion (see Kylean interlude), For the Love of Valencio, 17 sonaric: of or pertaining to sound, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 197 splots: Kylean combination of “plops” and “sits” (see Kylean interlude), Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149 square: as in “a square meal”, in this case referencing a cigarette as a meal, In Just a Few Hours, 28 Squirrel Nut Zippers: a swing band popular in the 1990's, Low Down Man, 64 State College: a town in central Pennsylvania, site of Penn State University, Front Porch, 26; Restless, 70; Swiffertail, 94, 95 Steadicam: a stabilizing mount for a motion picture camera, trademarked by Tiffen Manufacturing Co., For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188 stinkeye: dirty look or suspicious glare, Hocus Pocus, 158 Strawberry Shortcake: a character toy line owned by American Greetings which originated first on greeting cards, Quarter-Life Crisis, 161 Suburban: Chevy model truck in production from 1935-present, the longest continuous nameplate in automobile production, Front Porch, 27 succubus: a demon in female form believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men, The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99 Suicide: a playground variant of dodgeball played at a wall with a tennis ball, Raffles, 139 swagmo: Skitswabian (see Skitswabia) word for "totally lame, dude", So Why Bother?, 173 swolled: suburban variation of “swollen”, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187

220

t
Taco Bell: a restaurant franchise specializing in Mexican-inspired fast foods, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 telekinesis: manipulation of objects through mental processes, Front Porch, 27 Telfair Square: one of twenty-one remaining squares in Savannah, Georgia, Greyhound to Savannah, 147 Tempo: Ford model car produced from 1984-1994, Omen, 8 “the 'Nam”: a nickname for the Viet Nam War, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187 thirtysomethings: people between the ages of 30 and 39, Restless, 70 Thor: the god of thunder in German and Norse paganism, Class Dreams, 129 Threepenny Opera: (Die Dreigroschenoper) a work of musical theatre by dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill adapted from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, I Dreamt of You Last Night, 92 Three Stooges: a vaudeville and comedy act best known for their short films, Dear John, 62 Tiananmen Square: plaza near the center of Beijing, China, where an antiauthoritarianism protest turned violent, A Night In Tiananmen Square; The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9 Titans: in Greek mythology, any of the sons of Gaea and Uranus, Not Just a Package, 134 Tom & Jerry: a series of cartoons by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera that centered around a cat (Tom) who futilely and oft to his own sufferance chased a sly-witted mouse (Jerry), The Mud Slide, 145 Tom Jones: (Sir Thomas John Woodward) a singer noted for his powerful voice, Eat Your Heart Out, Tom Jones, 11 Tom Waits: a singer, composer and actor noted for his distinct gruff voice, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 Toro: a common brand of lawn care equipment, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186 tootie-frootie: Kylean word for love interest (see Kylean interlude), For the Love of Valencio, 17 trafficulty: having a difficult time dealing with traffic, Route Down, 117 Trocadero: a historic theater in Philadelphia, PA that is currently used as a concert hall and dance club, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160

221

T.S. Eliot: referencing poet, dramatist and literary critic, Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) and a tropical storm named “Eliot”, T.S. Eliot, 7 TTYL: (text message initialism) “talk to you later”, wysiwyg, 81 Tullytown: a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in which part of Levittown is located, Banana Meltdown, 112, 113 Tupperware: a brand name of plastic containers and serving utensils, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149, 150 Tussey Mountain: a stratigraphic ridge in central Pennsylvania and a popular ski resort area, Front Porch, 26

u
ubiquitous: everywhere at once, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 84 umbrage: offense or displeasure, School for Geniuses, 162 unfunkified: (see funkified), Swiffertail, 94 unpropitious: unfavorable, Raffles, 139 Uranus: ancient Greek god of Heaven and ruler of the world, Not Just a Package, 134

v
VeriScan: verification and tracking system which utilizes bar codes and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag readers, Introduce Yourself, 2 “viola”: phonetic spelling of the anaptyxis epenthesis of the French word “voilà”, used as an interjection for expressing success or satisfaction, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187

w
Walkman: Sony model portable cassette or CD player, Quarter-Life Crisis, 161 whilom: former, Alliterature, 165 “whobehee”: a pejorative word for a hermaphrodite or transsexual, When I Met O, 170 WYSIWYG: (text message initialism) “what you see is what you get”, wysiwyg, 80 wonton: a Chinese dumpling stuffed with mince meat, often served in soup, In Just a Few Hours, 29
222

x
xerophilous: living in dry, hot regions, For the Love of Valencio, 17 X-Filish: having similarities to the characters on the popular science fiction television show, The X-Files, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188

y
Y2K: (abbrv.) “year 2000” The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99; Y2K Compliant, 100 Yank: a nickname for an American citizen, often hailing from the north eastern part of the country, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38 Yodels: chocolate-frosted, cream-filled cakes made by the Drake's Company, distributed primarily on the east coast of the United States, When I Met O, 170 yoga: a physical and mental discipline which is one of the orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, Truth and Soul, 52

z
za-zen: meditation in a cross-legged position, Alliterature, 165 Ziploc: a brand of disposable resealable storage bags, Opening Day, 5; For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186, 188

223

Michael C. Flor is just your average, garden variety cage fighting, vegetarian, English teacher, Hare Krishna, Star Wars junkie, Steelers fan who lives in Pittsburgh by way of Levittown. He loves his wife and baby girl more than anything. Kyle Phipps Bernhardy is this guy who did stuff before and, by God, he'll do it again whether you like it or not! He now likes long walks on Costa Rican beaches where he counts his big ole wad o' cash on his way to his off-shore bank account. Pundits often ponder what he is always running from, but all concur he's stylin' nonetheless. Boomer M. Wadaska is a white trash Pollock and all-around carbonbased organism who enjoys Photoshopping people into compromising situations. As a freelance post-production video editor, he's your go-to guy for transferring those old Beta-Max tapes to DVD. He is an avid fan of throwing off-kilter words onto a page that occasionally, accidentally make some sort of sense, however irrational and immature its sentiment. He is also a strong admirer of hyphens, commas and ellipses.

C Michael hails from the nether regions of Levittown and made his harrowing

escape in fall of 1991. Since then he has traveled to hell and back and decided the best place to be is right where he is. He lives within the ten mile blast radius of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Facility and ruefully laments that he will be vaporized before getting a crack at surviving a zombie apocalypse in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

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