Fall 2010

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 3


Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

Michael Monroe



The Internet sky
came crashing down
like an asteroid,
dust blocking out the sun
back in 2002,

and I was stuck beneath
the falling clouds.
My boss called
to inform me of the layoff,
saying he was laid off too
if it made me feel any better;
it was like chasing a shot of vodka
with a glass of motor oil.

I collected unemployment
as if I were standing on a beach
next to an oily ocean,
waiting for food to wash up.

I sold old CD’s to the used record store,
accepted hand-outs
from wherever they were given,
trying to keep my relationship
floating above the muck
of broken finances.

We paid for food
with collected pennies,
living on ramen noodles
and tuna fish sandwiches
long after college had ended.

At night, the cockroaches
encroached beneath my covers,
lurked in the closets,
scurried across the kitchen floor,
carrying bad luck
on their thin legs,

tiny harbingers of the end
they will most surely live through.


When She Turned Her Back

Sometimes we shot spitballs
that splattered on the chalkboard
like paper hailstones.

Sometimes we threw textbooks
through the classroom windows,
down into the quiet parking lot

where the vice principal stood,
holding his royal clipboard,
trying to seem important
as the book landed with a thump
on the pavement in front of him.

When he came up to our classroom,
his eyes flaring like active volcanoes,
we sat snickering,
wishing the heavy book
had flattened his inflated noggin.

Sometimes we plotted ways
to hammer potatoes
into our College Algebra teacher’s
exhaust pipe.

Her mouth moved
and alien sounds flew out;
functions and logarithms and slopes.
She taught like a broken television
buzzing with snowy static,
ignoring the blank looks
that lowered over our faces
like “Closed” signs
in storefront windows.

In art class,
we threw the clay lumps
onto the ceiling
and watched them dangle
like slimy stalactites.

I drew a sphere
with zits that squirted puss,
using the kid sitting next to me
as an unwilling model.

The teacher loved the oozing detail,
and I made my way
to the head of the class
where my spitball aim
was unobstructed.


© Michael Monroe



Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

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