Meanwhile …

The grandpa’s cuckoo clock here in Rzeszów could strike 1:00 a.m. sharp.
A random clock there in Buffalo might be exactly six hours behind.
Just one cup of espresso could give a decent caffeine kick.
A big mug of sencha green tea might cool down almost unnoticeably.
The very first ‘ma-ma’ could fill two loving hearts with sheer delight.
A shooting star might namelessly fade away in the dark and cloudy sky.
A few slow steps to the top of Mount Everest could be taken.
One careless move might cause a rapid fall towards the terminal station.
A question about the sense of this while could finally grow up.
One of the possible answers might be given so as to spell it out.

the time
to read this
was to read this

Rafał Zabratyński

Meanwhile …

COMMUTING BEGGAR

A battered, straggle-haired man, blazoned blue with tatts, boards our free city-loop bus. Eyes on high beam, facing the long, rubbered aisle, he searches for an empty seat. Feet stutter up the centre. A forefinger touches, wraps hard about a post, keeping his body still against the vehicle’s jerking. He holds for a while. Sinks into the fabric. Pokers to attention. Zeroes in on the bus’s monitor in a glass-glaze stare. Three stops later, he unwinds his whippet-thin body, trudges to the bus door. I imagine him shuffling to a shadowed space beside an illuminated shopfront.

weeds gone to seed
over the garden path—
broken journey

Tony Steven Williams

COMMUTING BEGGAR

THE CORNER

A young girl in shorts and heels knocks on the passenger window.
The window goes goes down and she leans into the car, more makeup then face.
“Looking for some company?”

a special presentation
of violet eyes
no tangible rewards

Gary Hittmeyer

THE CORNER

MELTING STARS

Coronal mass ejections unseen and unheard provide complimentary x-rays for all on this blessed beach. Radio waves tune to an alternate frequency, while technicians succumb to the undertow of neutrons. Bacon sizzles in the fire pit. A line of solar flares lead the way for all walkers and wayward souls…

passing through us
into a soft matrix
devoid of activity

Gary Hittmeyer

MELTING STARS

SPACE ODYSSEY

My spacecraft’s speed dial display’s auto-hovering, redlining near the velocity of light. I’m cheating time, slicing through space in a blur of stars, galaxies, planets; thumbing my nose at black holes; dodging asteroids; warping; folding; wormholing—whatever tickles Hal 2 (my sentient computer has a strange sense of humour, not altogether displeasing).

This is not all fun you know! I’m ageing Einsteinian slow, and you need shuttle-loads of exercise regimes, hobbies, meditation periods, reading and self-teaching (crosswords and sudoku are just never enough). Maybe I should write that novel I’ve always dreamed about . . .

novelty
is difficult to find
in a vacuum

But seriously, I want to see what happens on my return, twenty years hence, when—if Hal 2 has worked it right, and she’s very boastful but excellent company—my younger brother will be my elder brother while I shall remain (relatively speaking) wrinkle-free. So, in the interim, I’ll be dodging all that BS at home: arguments on climate change, dollars, jobs, fossil fuels, trash, rising oceans, melting ice, species extinction, atmospheric degeneration.

wolves
many wearing blindfolds
circle the fire

There’s a universe of space and time for me to ponder on what it will be like when Hal 2 and I touch down back home. Shall I still need my spacesuit on a Terra not so Firma with blue skies nowhere to be found? Or will it be hallelujah, wisdom and foresight all around? Well, if worst comes to worst, Hal 2 and I will journey on through the cosmos; yup, just the two of us. But I’ll miss the beautiful planet.

blue jewel globe
sparkling nervously
in uncertain light

Tony Steven Williams

SPACE ODYSSEY

RECIPES

red bird
frantic at the pane . . .
pandemic

ANTI-VIRAL DANDELION SOUP:
–Dandelion greens, thoroughly washed
–1-2 cloves fresh garlic
–1 tablespoon finely diced fresh ginger
–Soup base, stock, or bullion (to taste)
Instructions: Bring to a boil; then turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Note: Don’t spray your lawns to remove dandelions. Dandelions are medicine! We dump enough toxic substances into the environment. Give your lawns, bees, and stray cats a break!

ANTI-VIRAL NO BAKE COOKIES:
–1 cup raw* honey (anti-viral)
–½ cup coconut oil (anti-viral)
–½ cup cocoa powder (antioxidants)
–1 cup nut butter of choice (nut butter + oats = a complete protein)
–3 cups quick oats (nut butter + oats = a complete protein)
–1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions: Mix wet ingredients. Mix in oats. Spoon into cookie shapes and chill until hardened. *Raw honey has medicinal properties heated honey may lack. Note: Don’t feed babies under 1-year of age honey. Their digestive systems are underdeveloped, and it may kill them!

forsythia buds . . .
how quiet the town
after shutdown

Anna Cates

RECIPES

Life in a Washing Machine

Wrapped around your finger, like a towel around an agitator. Lost my glasses in the dishwasher looking for you. The blow-dryer went out with a bang and now my hair has powder burns. The dining room light is out and I can’t see what I am eating. Tastes like sawdust anyway.

belching and smoking
with a purpose…
chimney sweep

The traffic light said GO; smash! The insurance company raised my rates to see if I bleed. All this from a fortune-teller who asked me how I was going to get home. Found my toupee in the lint trap. You never liked it anyway. If only I could borrow enough money to live like a lottery winner, there would be more cheese in the fridge. Our dirty laundry is on the clothesline. When will the cows come home? All I know is if you add detergent, and put quarters in the slot, I’ll spin like a top with bubbles until the laundry mat is closed.

Kama Sutra Blues…
Maytag hiring
for all positions

Richard Grahn

Life in a Washing Machine