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Paul Sohar, Graeme Robbins,Thomas Wiloch, David Plumb

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Paul Sohar was born in Hungry and came to the United States after the revolution in 1956, earning a B.A. from the University of Illinois. His poems and translations can be found in a variety of journals and anthologies. He is the translator of Dancing Embers, the poems of Sandor Kanyadi.


Anabasis
by Laszlo Kiraly, translated from the Hungarian by Paul Sohar

I've lost my confidence in books and one
unmated black leather glove -- whoever
finds them can reach me at 3400
kolozsvár hátszeg street bldg G
staircase A floor IV. apt 20 lászló
király father's name lászló mother's name irma
eyes brown born in 1943 my right ear
is hard of hearing the left is better
my two sons are slowly growing out of childhood
I don't envy them as I point a sad pencil
at them -- that's how we live and from
the kitchen comes the hissing of the pressure cooker
it's time to eat something this is the  prime
of my life and I could not arrange for better news
even though I have to compose
this ad for every major newspaper in the world
the morning mirrors are aging fast and I'm beginning
to worry about losing this and that and other things

                                                    First published in the Kenyon Review
 
 
The Sleeper of the Valley
by Arthur Rimbaud translated from the French by Paul Sohar


Narrow green chasm and in its depth a creek
is rambling and redressing every leaf of grass
with silver tatters while from a haughty peak
sunlight pours in on the hidden small morass.

A young soldier, lips parted and without a hat,
sleeps on his back, his neck bathing in the shade
of blue skunk cabbage; though the sun can gild the fat
gray clouds above, on his cheeks the colors fade.

His legs rest between cattails, a faint smile on his face
like on a sick child’s, and  sweet reveries grace
his lips. Oh Nature, warm up that poor boy’s bed!

A rich fragrance flits about what his nostrils fail
to sense and the sunlit hand above his heart is pale.
He’s asleep. His chest has two holes edged in red.

First published in Matchbook


Graeme Robbins is an artist and writer from the UK, who earns a living as a pub sign painter for various breweries around Europe. "I exhibit my own paintings in places that I find interesting...Tel Aviv, New York, Venice etc..." His writing is currently being shown at Wordriot, with several poems published by Dogma publications.

 
Slumberland
 
     The mattress moves along my street, no one is pulling it, no one ‘likes’ pulling it. The mattress is years old dirty and inside wet, it bulges at its base like a Hessian sack filled with slow motion liquid mercury. It moves as a bull elephant seal, scarred and smashing onto the beach, onto the pebbles crushing cubs, trailing a wide dark smear of mattress juice and human sweat behind it scraping gravel and wet tissue paper, clearing a path for us all.
     A large brown water color stain, centralized and faded at the edges, ribbing adrift flicks whip like, every time it lurches. Diamond shaped factory upholstered bulges hold still the weight of a thousand night time fucks and fights, blood spots and spooning. In Slumberland good nights are made of this.
     It picks up a bottle and holds it in its under belly, it picks up cigarette butts and holds them in its underbelly, it picks up the slowest of fast food cartons and holds them in its underbelly, it heaves with exhaustion and engulfs all sound, sucking in the footsteps of street walkers, late night revelers Everyone watches the mattress fascination; everyone stops and stares.
 
 

 

Peripherique

 

I was the one who walked with Rimbaud and Les Chercheuse de Pou and helped pick the worms from his young arm pits.

 

I was the one who polished the purple helmet on his dying star anise and dallied with a new idea.

 

The one who traipsed old Hausmans roads yet still laid out tight to the free Latin Quarter.

 

The one who woke (with pleasure) ‘Les revlieirs de la nuit’ with JJ Burnel and his ugly bass, and factory workers were not grateful to me.

 

I was the one who charcoaled the marsh on cardboard boxes for sausages and beer, who climbed to the top of Gare du Nord and pissed on the nouveau flaneurs.

 

I was the one who pasted the political posters of Montparnasse on the walls of my room and jumped from double to single fuelled with a speedy Moroccan hash hish.

 

I was the one who built La Defence with my bare hands and smoked Jims joint with sweet Eloise in deep mid winter…Abelard had gone to fetch bread.

 

I was the one who learnt to play chess under Pont neuf with an African migrant named James, he was the one who threw builders sand on the pavements of the Pompidou, to mimic his anti-atlas home.

 

I was the one who showed a flaccid cock to la haut bourgeoisie with the sound of euro-cops splat rumbled over silk wet cobbles.

 

I was the one who had his forth skin ripped by a trainee whore who cried and cried for my 20 minutes.

 

You were the one who hosed me down in the Gare de L’est  and ruined my collection of prostitute cards.

 
 
Thomas Wiloch is a freelance writer whose books include Mr. Templeton's Toyshop, Tales of Lord Shantih, and Neon Trance. He has published reviews in Rain Taxi, Bloomsbury Review, Publishers Weekly, Factsheet Five, Small Press Review, and other publications.

 
Another Morning like the Others

     Beyond the window, the birds have been flying backwards all morning.
The sun keeps setting in the East. I carry my coffee cup to the kitchen,
spoon the instant powder from the cup into the jar, pour the hot water into
the pot, and wait for the boiling water to cool down before turning on the
burner. Then I reach for the ashtray for my stubbed out cigarette, put it in
my mouth, puff at it until it is long and lean, pull the flame from the tip
and onto a match, scratch the match into cold sulfur, and place the
cigarette into the pack with the nineteen others. I wrap cellophane around
the pack before slipping it inside my shirt pocket.
     Meanwhile, on the television, Clark Gable says “Damn a give don’t I,
dear my frankly,” and he steps backwards into the house and into that whole
Scarlett problem yet again.
     You think the guy would learn.

 

 

David Plumb's work appears in St. Martin’s Anthology, Mondo James Dean, Beyond the Pleasure Dome, Sheffield University Press, UK and Exquisite Corpse.  Books include The Music Stopped and Your Monkey’s On Fire, stories, and Man in a Suitcase, Poems 2003. 

 

 

Love Forever    

       

         He only sneezed when he smoked.  She didn't like the smoking.  She waved her hands at the air.  She winced.  She opened windows.  She thickened her tongue.  She grabbed her throat.  She feigned vomiting 

            He went on with it.  On with smoking.  On with loving her.  He watched her cross the room and try to open the window.  She grunted when it stuck.  She jammed her forearm under the sill and grunted.  Not about to ask him, she pushed it up a third.  It stuck.  She pulled back the curtains on the other window.  She looked into the parking lot at the side of the apartment house.  A man in a brown suit rummaged through the trunk of a brown Altima. 

            She adjusted her red-framed glasses. "Is the chicken organic?" she said.

            "It's organic," he said flatly, his eyes staring into the cigarette smoke rising around him.  "You don't need organic, but if you think you need organic...."

            "You want me to have a hysterectomy?"

            He flicked some ashes in the empty milk carton on the kitchen table.  "No, I don't want you to have a hysterectomy." 

            What did it matter, he thought, picking up the coffee cup.  The cup had a crack that ran just under the handle and off into a blue flower.  Would it break with the heat.  If it broke with the heat and splashed all down the front of him would he have an excuse to move out? 

            "I don't want you to get sick," he said.  "I don't care if we don't have children."

            She eyed him warily.  "You say that.  You always say that, but you always ask me.  Every month you want to know.  And you don't seem glad when it comes." 

            It was coming.  Any second now.  It would start.  This time, yes.  A twitch.  A rush.  He smoked.  He felt her backing away.  He imagined her sour face hating the smoke.  

            He heard her zipper and looked up from his cigarette.  Her lips were wet.  He heard her pants button pop open.  Sheer panic rose in his stomach and shivered through his chest.  He wanted to run.  He loved her so deeply, he was afraid she'd leave the room.  Do it, he said to himself.  She must have felt it, he thought.  Yes, he knew, she knew. 

            She zipped up and went to the refrigerator.  

            "Do you want some organic chicken?" she said.

 

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