April 5-11, 2010 Trisha Bora and Jon Epstein

Trisha Bora


Bio (auto)

Trisha Bora is an editor and writer who lives in Delhi and is working on her collection of poetry and short stories She studied English Literature at Miranda House and then photography in Delhi She reads her poems at the Delhi Poetree Society, and in her free time photographs the rich street life that her city has to offer.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Trisha Bora and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The hours I keep

i’ll pretend i didn’t
hear the rain last night
that it didn’t lash out
on the roof
that it didn’t soak the
clothes on the line
that it didn’t rouse me
from my sleep
i’ll pretend i didn’t
hear the rain

i’ll pretend there are
no stories or verses today
hidden in the half light
waiting to be
put down on paper
that they don’t
rhyme and punctuate
to draw us in
or leave us out
i’ll pretend there are
no stories or verses today

i’ll pretend there is
no tea this morning
that it’s not lapping
against a gold rim
that it will not steam
my glasses
that it will now goad me
out from my bed
i’ll pretend there is
no tea this morning

i’ll pretend i don’t
know where you live
or what you do
that you like walnuts
and your sky grey
that sometimes you don’t
listen to things
i have to say
i’ll pretend i don’t
know anything about you

i’ll pretend there wont
be any more of this –
rain, teas, stories, verses and walnuts –
that they don’t fill up my hours
that they don’t pack up my days
in neat little
cardboard boxes
till they leave me in a silent catacomb
i’ll pretend there won’t
be any more of this
The Great Departure

I didn’t realize how difficult it would to be to play him First, there was the groundwork Detachment –
From the ever-constant chatter about Styrofoam,
Behemoth commodity funds, those shoes at Spencer’s,
the apartment they’re going to buy at Rhode Hills,
that trendy new district, just south of town From loving
too much or hating too much Detachment –
To watch the evening sun as it filters in through sheer curtains,
throwing thin columns of dancing yellow light around the room,
or stand still as the mischievous March winds tousle your hair,
picking up bits of paper and leaves in their hurry to head east,
and not feel one damned thing In this case, I just wasn’t lucky enough I didn’t have
it going for me like he did I took the bus to work for chrissake There weren’t the thirty-three gods who descended
and hushed to bed the screaming city and its people No soft-footed Kanthaka, either, gleaming under a full moon
as she padded out of the sleeping kingdom’s gates, tugging
ever-so gently towards what fantastic things lay in wait for them No forest No tree No garden Not even a patch of green to sit on,
Lotus-like and give myself completely to the breath of life
Instead, I gave away my clothes, my books and my cds,
padlocked the door, and lay spread-eagled on a futon In any moment it would come – my great departure.


Jon Epstein


Bio (auto)

Born at Cedars of Lebanon in 1957, now the center for Scientology, Jon Epstein grew up in a secular Jewish home in the Hollywood hills Battling drug addiction and alcoholism at an early age, in his senior year of high school he traded in his high school cap and gown for a pair of silver handcuffs and a booking number After nearly another decade of felonious high jinx and criminal tom foolery, Providence interceded; in January of 1986 Jon crawled out of his dark and dank root cellar…back into the sunlight Now a man of fifty three and sober over two decades, Epstein resides in the West San Fernando Valley with his wife of 21 years and their eighteen year old daughter Jon and his wife Kelly have a twenty year old son who attends college in Northern California In addition to writing, Epstein’s an entrepreneur, musician, surfer, student and poet Jon’s first poem “Tight Skin” was published in the 2007 edition of the Pierce College Voices Collective Jon is known for his three distinct categories of writing: Lost Childhood, the Hell of Addiction and his Recovery thereafter.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Jon Epstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


More Than a Boy, Less Than a Man

The Red-Light district occupied both sides of the canal It’s length was the equivalent of about two, US , main street
blocks We’d been by it a many times but never down
it What was the point? We were vegetarians and spiritual Except Danny He’d snuck over there more than once One day I had no choice I was walking back to the barge
after doing the laundry with a rocket in my pocket that was
ready for lift off I was 19, pent up, and needed something
more than my right hand Some things never change
I dropped off the laundry back at our digs Steve was gone,
probably out, setting something up I left in a hurry, and
hoofed it over to the Red-Light I was excited, but nervous
with anticipation The place was crawling with customers
and tourists The women for sale were hard, dangerous
and weathered On closer inspection, I realized there was
nothing glamorous about them, or their desperate trade I should have known, our trades were similar, we both kept
suspect company, but I was naive, wide eyed, and optimistic
I walked up and down both sides of the canal twice I was determined to find a nice girl like Lori; young, and sweet,
and hopefully untainted by abuse like the other working girls
had surly endured I was in denial, but the erection of a nineteen
year old was doing most of the thinking I’d suddenly become
worried by the fact that I’d forgotten to leave my leather shoulder
bag back at the boat I’d my passport, and a large sum of Guilders
with me My nervousness escalated when I looked and around
and noticed the many unsavories that could easily have rolled me
I was scared I was nervous I was broken I was unaware of all those feelings and fears, but felt driven
like a gyroscope seeking a center, or a divining rod
sniffing for water, or like a lion falling it’s prey I was
conflicted but resolute The unknown in the equation
was obvious and undeniable The bullseye was too large to
miss, and though the demons were many, they remained
out-numbered by my guardians I found a younger looking
Dutch Suriname; we were then escorted upstairs
Her pimp-handler walked behind us to the top floor He was big, black, and Mandingo like I’d thought he
might be the no fun and games brother of the guy from
the Seven-Up commercial They were of the underworld, he
and she That I’d become certain of She and I entered her
workshop and he closed the door behind us Inside was a twin bed,
a night stand, and a small dresser There was a small bathroom
off to the side She closed the door to the toilet and began
the negotiations There were few items on the menu
She said: “Thirty Guilders for a straight fuck.” That was the
extent our pillow talk I reached into my jeans pocket where
I’d stashed a small amount of bills so I could avoid opening
my brown leather bag that held my stake, and produced three
tens My erection was beginning to ache I’d been teenage
hard for over an hour by that time The only thing hiding my
bulge were the tails of my untucked thrift store Van Heusen
button down She wore a blue denim skirt with a matching
vest, and panties, that was it, there were no frills
She handed me a condom with foreign writing on it I’d only
used a rubber once before, and getting that first one on was
clumsy I felt clumsy again I felt awkward I felt like I
may be possible prey to her or her man, who was probably
just on the other side of the closed door, listening Nonetheless, I stripped naked and got on the small bed She
took off her skirt and panties and joined me “What about
your top?” I asked She answered: “That’s five Guilders extra.”
I said okay, got up, and extracted an extra fiver from my pants
I thought we’d first kiss and fool around I drew her face
close to mine and she recoiled as though I were a hot flame I asked her: “What’s wrong?” “There are some things only
my husband gets,” she answered I thought Jesus, I’m
gonna fuck somebody’s wife? I didn’t know the rules I was wet behind the ears I was in many ways still a virgin I had only slept with two girls before anyway One I was
in love with, and the first one I didn’t know at all; we’d met in
a park, but when the sun rose, I was in love with her too
I put on the condom It went on easy Thank God I thought
I wanted her to like me, to think I was okay, that I was man
enough, even though I knew I wasn’t She guided me in I
felt little through the latex, it seemed thicker than the one I’d
used before I began pumping “How’s that?” She asked I
didn’t answer, but stopped worrying about her pimp, and
her husband I abandoned the fantasy that I was the one, the
one she loved, the one she wanted I was her john, but I
wouldn’t be her trick The bed made a loud noise
I needed to keep pumping I needed to finish I needed to
come Not because I had somewhere to go, but because
the whole thing no longer seemed okay I wasn’t a hooker
guy, or a stripper guy, or a cool pick-up-chicks kind of guy
with witty lines or blown dry hair I was a survivor, but
felt alone, like an orphan Motherless and Fatherless I’d
nobody to tell my secrets to I’d nobody to share my dreams
with I’d nobody to admit my lies It was two fifteen in the
afternoon and finally over “You were good” she said
I removed the condom and threw it in the trash We both
began dressing I felt emotionally drained and forlorn I
had walked both sides of the canal for an hour I wanted to
pick the right one She wasn’t it Maybe there was no right
one Maybe they were all wrong Maybe not one of them
were worth spending the rest of my life with unless I died
that day “Do you ever go to the Chinaman’s?” She asked Normally I would have answered something that sounded
cool It felt cold and damp inside the small room “No,” I said
I’d expected more and was angry I asked her: “Why don’t you get
into it, and enjoy the sex like it’s love between two humans?” She
looked at me like I was crazy, or like out of the hundreds, just one
other had asked her that, or like she knew, I knew, I was less than
a man She had already redressed in her denim vest, matching skirt,
and had nonchalantly slipped on a fresh pair of panties The corner
lamp was covered with some lacy material and the curtains were
drawn The room was filled with shadows, and the walls couldn’t talk A cat was crying somewhere outside “It would kill me,” she answered.

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