I’ll admit it. I have an insatiable appetite for THINGS. All the beautiful stuff of life: Meissen china, Georgian silver, Aubusson carpets, the whole kit & kaboodle. As Coco Chanel once advised, “The best things in life are free, Chérie. The second best are very, very expensive.”
It is a passion that never leaves me. At the end of a long day of shopping, after I have gotten into bed, slipping in between my freshly pressed Wamsutta Dream Zone 1000 Thread Count PimaCott sheets, I might sit up for hour and read. Oh, not reading as you think of it. I don’t enjoy reading BOOKS. Staring at a lot of black marks on a page and trying to make sense of them. Not my idea of fun. No, I’m a visual person. What I like best before sleeping is paging through mail-order catalogs. Hammacher-Schlemmer is a favorite. Hammacher-Schlemmer is a wonder world of gadgets—that’s where, as a young married woman, I found my first cordless telephone and Mr. Coffee machine—and Neiman-Marcus, with their solid dark chocolate Monopoly set or a dirigible, yes, you can have that, too, flying high above the world in a great silvery gas balloon! To think that in this world of so many things, they are still making and selling MORE fantastic things! I think it’s a good thing, don’t you? Because no matter how much you have, it still gives you a reason to WANT MORE. And wanting more is a reason to go on living, isn’t it? The great golden carrot that keeps you dancing and grasping ahead until the Maker draws your ping pong ball in the Great Mortality Lottery.
I look about this room. So many clocks. Tiffany clocks, Cartier clocks. I lie here motionless, but Time keeps marching on. And everything I know and love moves into the past, second by second—Tick. Tick. Tick. Everything piling up behind me. Like a huge cluttered warehouse of furniture kept in the back of my mind. Remember that marvelous old movie Citizen Kane and the absolute crates and crates of statuary and furniture and art Kane had stacked up? I know the feeling—“ROSEBUD.”
Feeling sleepy now, as I am about to drift into a dreamland of merchandise, I think of that adorable little blonde-haired orphan Oliver pleading, “I’d like some more, please.” Yes, please, God—I’d like some more.
Charles Leipart was a finalist for the 2017 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize for What Wolfman Knew, Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival; What Wolfman Knew is published in the Summer 2017 issue of the Jabberwock Review. His work has appeared in the Bayou Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, Panolpy Literary Zine, the Eastern Iowa Review, the Scene and Heard Journal, QU Literary Magazine, and Projector Magazine of the University of Greenwich, London UK. Charles is a graduate of Northwestern University, a former fellow of the Edward Albee Foundation. He lives and writes in New York City.
Will’s other work appears in Look-Look Magazine, Faultline Journal of the Arts and Literature, The Santa Clara Review, The Bicycle Review, Forge Journal, and the Avatar Review. He was a top ten finalist for the 2009 Wordstock competition. He’s adjunct faculty at Norfolk State University, teaching intro composition. He also does stagehand work at the NorVa in Norfolk, VA and enjoyed summers at writers residencies in Lisbon, Iceland, Quebec, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Morocco.
the false prophet will screw with your head daily
an image of desperate unknowns:
the anonymous taxpayer
who would like to take offense
on behalf of those offended,
the popular victims of the day.
his face is caked with muted flesh
and grinning ivory teeth
he nods with sympathy to the jobless
but can offer no work
he turns cold on the youth,
“innovate and get a job
and get a life too”
and all the while, he repeats the mantra,
“Look How Far We’ve Come!”
but the Grind goes on, despite him.
the secretary will type
the factory worker will strike
but neither can taste any Free
in free trade.
the bus driver will bus
the newsmen will make news for every seated person
as the students bargain with the bankers
to negotiate their debt
and cancel their dreams.
the doctors will doctor
the teachers will teach
the businessmen will do business
while the dark-skinned are executed publicly on video
and the poor have to rage to remove the lead
from water that eats through metal
as it flows through aging pipes
in apartheid cities.
but the Grind goes on, despite him.
and Change comes, the Fruit from all those broken bodies
and as people say, “Now, surely, is the time. We’ve had it!”
the false prophet says, “No,
we should move slowly and wait for a more convenient time.”
The Gag Order
Did the sculptor who made Justice
a blindfolded woman
have a joke at our expense?
the elevated scales of unbiased balance,
the sword at her side:
more the two dimensional things
from the worn pages of fairytales
than the metaphors of a sculptor
are the gown and the trinkets meant
to be the future,
the hopes of a civilized people?:
that she will swing the
sharpened edge of justice
in the right direction?
the steel as true to its target
as the archer Apollo
his golden chariot traversing the heavens
and the Light
warming every face
as it falls towards
but can you doubt today
that Power takes its pleasure
from the womb of Justice?
for, dropping all pretension and
the scales and the sword disappear
though the blindfold works well for the kink:
her clothes torn away, he places
a sweaty palm over mouth and nose
and then takes what he wants
with a notion
that the tears
are simply her misunderstanding
Steve is an urban planner living in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. His poems and short stories focus on the bizarre and irrational forces that animate society and what we call ‘nature.’ His published work has appeared in Poetry Quarterly (Fall 2016).
Featuring: Issue 97, published January 2021, features works of poetry, flash fiction, short nonfiction, and photography by Elison Alcovendaz, Philip Arnold, Michael Aro, Alice J Becker, Eric Blanchard, Charlie Brice, Lawrence Bridges, Mark Burke, Annie Elizabeth, Adam Coulter, Steven Deutsch, John Dorroh, Connor Doyle, Theo Greenblatt, Oz Hardwick, Charles Holdefer, Jeanne Julian, J.S. Kierland, Jennifer Taeyoung Kim, Min Kuk Kim, Mary Hills Kuck, Rachel Laverdiere, Richard LeBlond, Charlotte Lee, Harry Longstreet, Alice Lowe, Sean Murphy, Martha Nance, Robert Nisbet, Renee Ozburn, Virginia Watts, Andy Posner, Claire Scott, Greg Sendi, Dave Sims, Charles Springer, Tony Tracy, Gene Twaronite, Lee Varon, Viviane Vives, Sally Zakariya.
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