December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021: Poetry from David Flynn and Jean-Paul L. Garnier

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David Flynn

David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN.  His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher.  He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia.  His literary publications total more than 220.  Among the eight writing residencies he has been awarded are five at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM, and stays in Ireland and Israel.  He spent a year in Japan as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching program. He is the author of the book My Family. He currently lives in Nashville, TN.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David Flynn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I ♥ Senility

Shattered pots in a desert. Iron Age I, Iron Age II.
I look at the picture in a magazine, and think
that’s my life.
A cliché, but I don’t have the energy to be original this morning.
Crumbs from an old pie crust on the kitchen counter.
Cat hair in a wad on the rug.
Those are my life too.

In the last third, which is where I am, there are no wholes.
Shards, many terrible, wait me when I wake up.
All shards, all broken.
I don’t want to sound whiney, because at least I am writing this poem.
And really one big white glaring whole is all that is left.
I see it when I close my eyes, and the television is off.

Consistency is a concept I left behind in high school
along with fairness.
With 20,000 official divisions of Christianity, how can I stand on consistency?
I believe . . . let’s just leave it there.
In that desert house from a debatable year of B.C. people flailed about like me.
They are nowhere now.
I look forward to being nowhere.
I look forward to senility, sitting on the side of my bed in the nursing home,
staring into space,
not present where my body is.
Seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, and hearing in another place,
either my old life before betrayals or an entirely new place
with green columns and red lakes.
I can design this world as I want, rather than the world designing me.
The people, I think, will be shorter than me.
They will speak the truth in silky voices.
We will have a picnic by the red lake,
and eat ambrosia casseroles, cloud tea, and saintly chips.
We will stroke each other’s cheeks.
The weather will be purple skies, breezes that murmur nondenominational psalms.
We will laugh.
I prefer this world to the world of clay pieces; leave me alone.

Jean-Paul L. Garnier

Jean-Paul L. Garnier lives and writes in Joshua Tree, CA where he is the owner of Space Cowboy Books, a science fiction bookstore, independent publisher, and producer of Simultaneous Times podcast. In 2020 his first novella Garbage In, Gospel Outwas released by Space Cowboy Books and in 2018 Traveling Shoes Press released Echo of Creation, a collection of his science fiction short stories. He has also released several collections of poetry: In Iudicio (Cholla Needles Press 2017), Future Anthropology (currently being translated into Portuguese), and Odes to Scientists (audiobook – Space Cowboy Books 2019). He is a two time Elgin Nominee and also appeared in the 2020 Dwarf Stars anthology. His new collection of SF poetry, Betelgeuse Dimming has just been released and is available as a free audiobook / ebook at He is also a regular contributor for Canada’s Warp Speed Odyssey blog. His short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in many anthologies and webzines.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jean-Paul L. Garnier and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Last Contact

as they left I heard cheering
unsure if it was mixed with tears
or was it shouting, begging
we never crossed the language barrier
protestors held signs scrawled with equations
even these symbol sets
remained a mystery

it shook its head and turned away
rejoining its crew
for departure
for us it meant no
it could have meant anything
body language meaningless
we could have shaken the wrong extremity

they leave on a pillar of fire
smoke signal of farewell
a burnt patch of earth
monument to the failure of our linguists
knowing less than before, abandoned
they said something before they left
but I could not hear it through the cheering