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Week of December 21, 1998 - December 27, 1998

Peter Ball and Bess Kemp

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Peter Ball


Peter Ball. Student. Poet and writer of plays. Lives on the Gold Coast, Australia. Travels around Australia to perform in various fringe festivals with the Post-Hoc performing word company.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Peter Ball and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.

Crazy Crabs

I went to the pet store.

They had a sign,
it said:

"Crazy Crabs Here!"

While everyone else looked at the puppies and kittens,
I went inside
and looked into the crab tank.

Inside was a lone hermit crab.
Sitting limply on a patch of sand.

It didn't look particularly crazy.

Maybe it was manic depressive.


Come on in,
look around.

I'll apologize now for the mess,
haven't had time to clean things up for a while,
and you might want to avoid the dark corners,
where still not sure what might be lurking there...

I suppose you want the grand tour,
although that doesn't amount to much.

The snarling things,
the ones hiding away out of sight,
are my neuroses,
they only come out in the dark.

And the big rusting engine,
the one that's coated in dust,
is what remains of the old sex drive.
I think it might be broken,
but I keep it around.

I might need it one day,
after I clear away all the hang ups.

The little bruised and battered thing is the ego.
I don't use it much these days
but it still grows uncontrollably
if its massaged the right way.

Not that I recommend trying it,
it can be a little pretentious when it's aroused.

The giant gold statue,
that's my own little monument to self pity.
It doesn't really do much,
but looking at it makes me feel better sometimes.

other times it just weighs me down.

The big pile of dirt,
that's hiding most of my buried feelings.
I keep trying to dig them back up,
but I think I hid them all a little to far down.

It's amazing how hard it is to recover things,
when you aren't really sure where you put them.

So that's it.
My own private little headspace.
Look around at your leisure,
and let me know if you trip over my lost innocence.


The colour of sunset,
in winter
when the oranges and reds make you think of fire and blood.

Interesting clouds,
the kind that don't look like anything except clouds,
floating alone in the sky.

The tears of someone you love,
whatever your definition of the term,
falling into a glass of red wine.

The look in someone's eyes,
as the drift off,
and start to think obscure thoughts.

The colour of the sky
and the clouds,
just before it begins to rain.

The moment when you're angry,
just about to loose control,
and you pull yourself back from the edge.

The smile of someone,
that you think you care for,
even if you aren't really sure yet.

The feeling of waking up,
after fourteen hours
of really deep sleep.

The tingling and sweat on your palms,
just after you're afraid,
but just before you realise you're safe.

The smoke of a cigarette,
caught in the wind,
and sailing off into the clouds.

The first time you meet someone,
and you forget yourself,
and think that just this once you might be in love.

Standing outside,
with the rain on your face,
and puddles at your feet.

Red hair,
and belly buttons.

The moment of guilt,
when you get pleasure from something,
and you know you shouldn't.

Finding something or someone,
who fits a cliche so well,
it's almost scary.

The first sting of winter,
and the thought of the cold,
and the warm jackets that you get to wear.

The start of summer,
when you sit on the balcony,
and get drunk on wine and heat.

The first time you get to sit down,
on the other side of the country,
and watch the sun set into the ocean.

The first time you stay up all night,
go down to the beach,
and watch the sun rise over the ocean.

And the feeling just before dawn,
when you want to hold onto the night,
but realise all the people on the other side of the world,
are waiting for their own sunrise.

Bess Kemp


Bess lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay area. Her poems appear in a variety of places at this time including All Mixed up, Amrita, Athens city Times, and the up-coming issues of Perimeter, Ygdrasil, and the Part-time Postmodernist among others. She finds inspiration in the most ordinary things in life.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Bess Kemp and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.


he sat
blameless and wistful
sifting through
the old days
like photos, one at a time
feeling at once
a longing for them
a need to leave them
in storage
with his baseball cards
and comic books


he liked to use words
like "mellifluous"
and "plethora"
here and there
and if
he was feeling
particularly clever
he would throw in
an occasional
as well

The Quirks of Aging

they ventured out together
that day, like most others
running errands
buying cat food
stocking up on peanut butter
and crackers
making sure
it was all taken care of
they wouldn't have to
leave the house again
for a long while
as long as things held up okay
they could but try
to hold the world
and its' doings
at bay
for a bit longer