"Robert the Doll"
Annette, as wraith, remembering when
the emoticon of fear presented,
when the savage effigy inserted himself,
wanting nefarious dialogue between the two.
It pleased him, as the loathsome renegade doll
followed her shadow across the floor.
Annette now wears her mantilla like a second scalp,
especially in the storm-that of Robert’s great eye.
Does she dare ask?
Who decides where the plunge into the darkness will take place-
Who measures the when and how long of Robert’s wild dance-
Does she dare?
In the new Millenia:
Cemetery plots expertly cloned, raised higher than in times past,
no more sprawling acreage; land in Key West is tight!
And still, Robert “lives” on.
He calls to them as well as the living.
Again, does she dare ask?
Let's roll the bones to find out.
She tips her hand, she should never have lent voice
to the name Robert The Doll even in these modern times.
For even now, the insane ones spill into the street,
lost boys and girls chewing up the scenery
with their mad eyes after Robert’s introduction.
That lion in his lap, the sentry of this oddity
wearing the cursed cloth, reminds her:
Didn't Robert once roam the halls of The Artist’s House alone?
Well, didn’t he?
"Sticks and Stones"
There’s an odd place in an alternate dimension,
where all wars are fought with skeletons.
These subjects of osteology lie dormant until conscription,
well-preserved in the interim.
Adults only; minors never get to be
heroic revenants, noble bones.
Once wakened, they are fully conscious of their purpose,
realizing that the burden and horrors of war
have been put on their ossified cages only.
They, without souls, but not without honor,
the fleshed never harmed as these bony frames battle
with bow and arrow, sticks and stones, knife and spear.
for the same reasons inhabitants
destroy themselves on other worlds.
"Music of the Medusa"
One being, a bell with tentacles,
having already designed and imagined
all that exists, except for the best of musical sounds,
sent every tentacle to travel through space,
to travel through time,
requesting each realm to develop their own unique sound,
asking each world to discover that single note
and keep it safe until the tentacle could return
and learn it and return to the Medusa with that sound on its tongue.
A tone to be added to a magnificent composition
so that all places might share in a great song,
enjoy divine, melodic bliss.
So having been informed of the task,
the music of the spheres began.
Each world constructed Schelling’s frozen music
and taught the sound to their children
so that they could connect with nature and all that she provides.
On our own world, man sang, but he found legion
and each became unknown to the others, a free will gift.
So, in time, there was much dissonance,
too many sounds, all so different, and out of harmony.
Discord became the status quo.
But one day, Earth's tentacle will return and ask
as it was instructed, for our world to provide,
as one tongue, a single intonation
that is striking, melodious, benevolent.
For our sake, Mankind will have to find that voice together.
For at the last and at the beginning , the Medusa,
that source of all beauty that any have ever known or dreamt of,
will combine all sounds, even it which man, as one world, composed,
and will create a symphony of the ages, which will never cease.
newly become a wraith,
walks among the stones,
seemingly lost, yet looking
for something she vaguely remembers.
The dimming day like all the others,
this oncoming night, resembling many long past.
What she wishes to find does not come easily to her mind,
yet is all consuming on her psyche.
The weight on her heart is painful,
but she must continue,
for once she sights it, she will have tranquility,
after so much searching.
So she seeks, seeks, seeks...
Ah, there it is
set in the ground,
so common looking
like all the others.
Yet, this one is special
because of him.
And as she digs and digs down into the earth
knowing she will once more finally touch him.
50 years of searching,
and then she takes him into her arms.
This tiny thing,
once again to love him as before.
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Nominee.
Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Linda’s creative process and a current, complete listing of sites which have or will publish her work can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
This isn’t like fixing a Monet after someone has punched it. Horrible things are happening. My foremost thought is, “I want macaroni and cheese next time. I haven’t had it in years.” All of a sudden EMTs rush past with a man on a stretcher, his face covered in blood and bite marks. I scream something – in terror, I suppose. The last time I was so unsteady was probably when my mother died. I feel like any minute now I might look up and see her in the window of a plane
waving. A policewoman orders me to move along. And I was just about to ask, “What advice do you have for young people?” It was only a couple of days ago that some kids grabbed a classmate and persuaded him with fists and sticks and colorful arguments that one eye is enough.
"Are You Fucking Kidding Me?"
Groups of friends arrive on the hour every hour. A guard with the enflamed eyes of a drunk demands identification from them, but in a voice too faint to hear. You need to be patient at this stage. People don’t remember and sometimes I think they don’t even understand where they are. Cows roam around with butcher knives in their backs to make slaughtering easier. There are countless dead rabbits. A fly can't land on a fruit tree without first begging permission. So I just
sit here with my mouth open, I do, because I’m getting older now, and it’s hard work.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.