week of December 8 - 14, 2003
Scott C. Holstad and Jackie Goldstein
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Scott C. Holstad
I have published 14 books of poetry. My work has appeared in hundreds of magazines in dozens of countries, including The Minnesota Review, Wisconsin Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Arkansas Review, Pacific Review, Lullwater Review, and Southern Review. I currently live in Knoxville, TN, with my wife Jennifer and our two cats.
Visit Scott on the web here: http://www.well.com/user/sch/
The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Scott C. Holstad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The day began simply enough,
cigarette in hand, coffee,
black and bitter, wadded up
newspaper, and after
got out of bed. You were
there too, and you wanted to
debate the meaning of our
existence, but I couldn't
at that moment.
Outside, the birds sang
to each other, words of
wisdom, clouds of the
finest smoke, a mob of
blue jays descended on
the bird feeder, the
light still peachy.
If there are lessons to be
Learned and gauntlets run,
If you remain holy,
The seed will be taken right from your hand.
I am a broken down car,
a miscast icon, a busted
toy to be thrown away.
The lights overhead
cast shadows in ways
only the gods can see,
yet I can foretell the
future and it is this:
I cannot satisfy your
needs, your desire for
a family, home, ongoing
stability. I'm a rover,
a roamer, don't want
kids - the very thought
We talked last night,
finally, and as frightening
as it was, the resultant
relief was like the first
bite into a fresh pear,
glorious and sweet -
all the bad washed
away, and I thank you,
hold you blameless,
wish us the best of
luck, and try not to
think of 8 years
going down the
toilet in ever
For my Dad,
who called from Canada
to check up on me when
I was in the psych wards,
who came out to be with
me after I got out of jail,
who supported me, was
my iron rod, endured a
suicide attempt, started
to cry when he saw my
bloody body, red
knife in hand, who talked
sports with me, Calvinism,
therapy, jobs, women, to
the Dad I always wanted
and who was there for me
when I counted most,
as he always is,
this one's for you!
Pound for pound
the best one of the bunch,
a fighter, scratcher, pit bull,
she can nail em to the
floor in one second flat,
her body's beautiful,
but her mind's a work
of art, whirling madly,
twisting and turning
she's a REAL woman
and she won't let
you forget it.
Counting sheep no longer works
after you reach 500. You move
on to cows, with similar results.
day comes crashing down on you
and you can't escape it, the
water fountain gossip, the boss
bearing down on you, the
deadlines creeping ever closer,
the rip you tore in your trousers,
your NT machine crashing
seven times, losing work to
the PC abyss, knowing you have
built up a great backlog there.
You go home, have two shots
of Jack, read through the bills,
fix yourself a TV dinner, watch
the Jorden-less Bulls lose
another one, take a bath,
think carefully about slitting
your wrists, knowing you
don't have the guts to do it
and you go to bed.
Sheep number one.
Sheep number two.
Sheep number three.
I scribble in Merrick, in Nassau County, an hour outside of NYC. I am the editor for the Health & Living Department at Ritro.com (Real Insight Through Raw Opinion). My poems and articles have landed in Poetry Motel, Spent Meat, Remark, and Thunder Sandwich. I am a frequent contributor to Babel Magazine, which recently published an anthology entitled, "The Bukowski Hangover Project," where two of my poems appear.
The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Jackie Goldstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Squeezed Out of Space
I slipped around the corner
to find my space, but found
a shiny penny and a condom wrapper
floating in a rivulet about to abort
their mission and jump to a sure death
in the sewer.
The geometric equation
of my space seeped out
the ragged tear in the window
screen as my neurotic dog
smashed through it; or
the lunatic animal might
have mistaken it for a biscuit.
Squeezed out of that which
I lacked, like toothpaste from the tube,
I searched for my smeared
existence around the sink.
I thought it might be spinning in
the toilet, and tried to fish it out
with dental floss.
Careful consideration mixed in an
abstract proportion of prayer and meditation,
gave way to conclusion: The apparition
which I failed to grasp could be
in that which was jammed
on his swaggering genitals.
Or might be in the foil packet that held
the condom, and is now swimming
in spermicidal residue.
Maybe it was sucked into his penis.
Sex in The Suburbs
It cries in the pasty faces
of the women as they move
on automatic through the Kmart parking lot.
The men lodged behind their
lawnmowers bathed in beer and sweat.
They peer into the suburban jungle
and strain to notice the wan
expressions of their neighbors.
They pray for life beyond
the broken picket fence.
Women satiate themselves drowning
in soap operas and organizing fund
raisers for the PTA. The men spend
hours cruising the internet chatting
with teenagers, and on websites
masturbating over baby porn.
The prognosis for recovery is slim.
The most prevalent cure is divorce.
Most choose to stagnate, wading
in a pool of toxic logic; or they cheat.
Either way, they wade into the arms
of a savior that is alarmingly
similar to the dead weight
they thought left behind.
My husband sat stoic in the row in front of me.
They were the type of seats I sat in as a kid
in the school auditorium; not like the courtroom
on TV, but with surreal melodrama permeating the air.
It was the initial phase of family court.
Our lawyers were five feet away arguing
in a loud exchange of seemingly hushed tones.
I couldn't make out a word. I'd hoped he would
score points, which seems meaningless now.
The stress pressed against me like a wool blanket.
My nerves vibrated in tight knots through the legal bullshit.
Nothing conclusive would be decided that day.
We were not allowed in the judge's chambers
while the hired hands presented their arguments.
The Honorable Judge is a woman in her early 40's;
I wondered if that would push in my favor.
My friend told me all the judges are corrupt,
or addicts in bed with the sleezeball attorneys
that appear slick and accomplished.
I was waiting to be sentenced,
and had no control over the outcome.
My life was wavering in the balance
of subjective intention. It was the beginning
of what I didn't know would be years,
marked by statements from the law firm
screaming my diminished retainer.
There will be no winners. Surviving
with the least collateral damage is the best
I can expect. I shook my lawyer's hand
and thanked him. It seemed like the thing to do;
and be grateful it was only 2 hours @ $250.00 per.
Offer A Prayer
I spent hours hating you.
The weight of which translated into Burger King
and Dunkin Donuts. I didn't quite get what you had to offer.
Whatever it was contained me, held me prisoner,
and was stronger than I could ever anticipate.
I regard you as no less than an alcoholic without the ale,
although any addict would have gotten more consolation
than I had to offer you. I did the work; years
of psychoanalysis offered no profound conclusions.
It's obvious you're an exaggerated reproduction
of my father and I the passive aggressive
my mother portrayed so well.
its your turn. I'm not waiting around till you figure
it out. I can stand back and allow you your success;
you need not fail for me to succeed.
I am not that noble; there are times
when I gloat as you fall on your ass.
My false believe: It will redeem my pain.
I release you with no regret, except
that I had not done it sooner.
Off you go, in my prayers
with the homeless and those in despair.
I can offer you a that, at the very least.