Driver’s Side Airbag #31
52 pages

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The Secret Theater

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Four-Sep Publications

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Blair Wilson (poem by Sparrow)



She collapses from the gut. Stomach sucked
in and through bends the spine. Hips pull
back, down. Knees forward, impact release
of air, shrill gust. Blurt and gasp. Pain
and cold metal, stark pupils wide. Clutch
and grab of hands for sleeve, my sleeve.
Clutch, grab. Release. My back is turned,
I am in the street. The air is cold, damp.
Dank fall air, burned metal. The Maverick’s
in her eyes. It’s back: careening and sliding,
liquid rubber on tar, the sputter of lights
as wheels strike median, throw machine up
and over at her then me then him. Him.
Pinned. Splash of impact: bodies and glass
strewn about the street. The road where
she kneels, cheeks taut with silent scream,
Maverick eyes wide.

She laughs, nervous. Suspicious.

whites chase
the blues and reds to blur.
the soul
with flourescent rotations,
Auditorium operation room.
The tragic comedy of a bus stop.


Dead souls (like the electro-statics that
watch over me as I write) are rubberneckers.
Death is their fetish. Humans are cameras,
collecting data that lights the screen
of memory.
Dead souls hold remotes:
   selecting sifting sorting:
            The Death Show
            Wheel of Death
            The Death Bunch.
            Twin Deaths.
            Death Files.
            Death Television.
            Married to Death.
We animate our Dead before we lay them to rest,
        colored faces cosmetic masks,
ignoring the snickers behind the screen.
It gets hard to breathe.

The scream
It bites, burns, unfocuses.
A diversion first
and, then,
a reference.
Pulling and sucking,
it forgets
        (no, it shades)
in the lapse,
it numbs.
Vision telescopes,
pupil depths separate reason from reality,
rip soul from bonefleshblood.
Soul look down:
all you do is head straight for the grave,
a face just covers the skull awhile.
Bodies are compartments, containers
to be broken
for the release.
What’s the worth of a hand foot leg arm?
Pain. The pain of the soul
to the carcass. Stretch and rip
of new understanding.
She can hardly bear it.

Hair does not exist in the scream,
nor flesh nor bone:
only the void and its’ vibrations.
Cheeks are bellows: blowing and feeding.
Eyes: timepieces
                                    clocks shattered
holding the instant eternally
The brain: a theatre
playing - again and again -
her personal Zapruder,
frame by frame.
The heart: a chamber
that echoes the hideous cackling of the audience,
a newly hatched beast within her gut,

Hospitals are sterile asylums of shock.
Bitterness and rage are masks
the afflicted don to disguise
the stutter and stall of sanity.
Questions of date, weather, and family
are pointless daggers
                        stabbed repeatedly
at the intellect.
Rising from wheelchairs,
Stumbles are bound to occur

Richard Lee Martin

originally appeared in Individual exposure dose.  Hozomeen Press, PO Box 174, Mystic CT 06355.

The Flatline Cocktail

Glucose 5% • Vodka 50/50

 "That was an experience
I’m in no hurry to relive.
Imagine lying in Intensive,
tubes and IV’s everywhere,
drugged almost out of your
mind, virtually helpless
with nothing much to do but
watch the Vital Signs monitor
and listen to the neighboring
death rattles. So when the
machine goes from stable to
flatline, I’m really shocked.
It was just like you see it
on all those bad tv movies
but, at least, I’m pretty
sure I’m alive. Still,
the machine thinks I’m dead
but not to worry, someone
is monitoring these machines,
like all the time, right?
After a few minutes of this,
I’m getting a little desperate,
leaning on the button hard.
By the time the nurse finally
comes running, I’m sweating
bullets, ‘What seems to be
the problem?’ she says. Remember,
I can’t talk, so I’m pushing my eyes
over indicating the machine
that insists I’m dead.
She’s so cool, when she catches
on, after all, it’s not her in
the bed is it? Says glib as hell,
‘Well, we’ll just have to look
into this won’t we?’
I’m thinking, you bet your sweet ass
you will, sweetheart.
Well, it turns out the machine had
a simple malfunction, you know
like, shit happens. You’d think
with all they’re charging to keep
you alive, the least they could do

was give you a machine that works.
Well, I guess it could have been
worse, I could have been in the hospital
where they took the wrong guy
off life support."

Alan Catlin

originally appeared in Killer Cocktails.  Four Sep Publications, PO Box 12434, Milwaukee WI 53212.

at the concert.human life decaying in drunken corner
tents.the morning oozing like an open wound.
"thank you" the god of the moment.voices in the the mud. urinating.
drugged meat.smiling.pleading.dying in a grave of flesh
and hair. my world of nameless tombstones. observing
this infidelity of forces. me. a liar. a beggar. a
clouded face. in the procession.
and in this bloodied womb.desperate angels sleep.faces
carved in the purity of confusion and desire.faithless
in their trust. twisted guts glowing.

melody rose robins

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