July 30-August 6, 2006: Khadijah Queen and Michael P. Lira

week of July 30-August 6, 2006

Khadijah Queen and Michael P Lira

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Khadijah Queen

Bio (auto)

Khadijah Queen holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Her chapbook, No Isla Encanta, will be published by dancing girl press in May 2007. She lives in Atlanta and works as a proofreader

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Khadijah Queen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I looked for Ana Medieta but she had fallen
20 years ago from a window or was pushed

I studied photos of her, mud-covered,
arms raised in cool surrender to the earth,
matted grass climbing her calves
.green children 
praising her silhouette, praising her
ancient, waving hands

On a Portuguese grandfather found sixty years later

Your wife must have been peeking
over your shoulder or into
your conversation as if suddenly a dark
liquid was swirling in her water glass; or

staring hard, intent, spreading
your 80-year-old body flat between slides
under some little black
When my father called you,
you knew; you had to

the minute he spoke her name He says you got defensive
but you did say she was nice
When my father called you,
you knew From here I could
hear your stale synapses firing
This is how it is with the unwanted In a couple of days,
you might remember

When Roosevelt called
you went, left your almost
invisible matter
to magnify.

Thick as Pins
As kids I swear we lived for hair pins,
Bobby pins, sometimes we kept them
In our pockets We snuck
rat-tailed combs
And endlessly styled our hair,
Barbie’s hair Sometimes the pins ended

In strange configurations, semi-
Paper clips,
.Little Barbie knives,
The rounded tips bitten off and made razors Sometimes Barbie got so mad at Ken

She’d have to cut him Of course we didn’t call them
By those names Our Barbies were Mahogany, June Blackout,
Badass Grandma Cecil
.Their dreams never secret,
Their lives never so sacred as to never bear repeating
Now the withering games between us,
All but one a mother,
.What we offer
Each other is more than comfort We
Expect a wounding We marvel at the needle of love Anyway, with those pins
We found plenty to do It’s not important
What we found: 
.We were gifted.

Michael P Lira

Bio (auto)

I grew up in Superior, a small mining town in Arizona I began writing poetry about the time I entered High School There wasn’t much for me after graduation so I joined the Military and saw the world When I got back there wasn’t much for me as a young adult so I concentrated on my poetry I’ve been published in small magazines since 1995, to include “Twisted Nipples,” “Concrete Chaos,” “The Penny Dreadful Review,” and “Stretch Marks” to name a few Right now I am employed as a Corrections Officer at a facility which houses US Marshall’s Detainees

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Michael P Lira and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Skin of Chicomecohuatl

Evening falls like gold and red soot
over the hand-me-down streets of the barrio The stars have begun to form up
on the outskirts of this This town At the corner of Valentine and Stone,
neither smiling nor frowning,
is a barefoot little Mexican-American girl Wearing a beautiful third
or fourth hand dress,
she looks like a princess
clinging to the world
with a tiara of piojos (head lice) The smooth skin of Chicomecohuatl
–The Goddess of the Young Maize,
pulled down over her bones.

The Great Main Street in the Sky

In every small town in Arizona
one must negotiate
headstones on top of sidewalks
walking from point A to point B Tweekers won’t even try to fake
knowing how to live They carry mountains on their backs
to keep from floating away
It’s not Iraq it’s the crack
stopping recruiters
from meeting monthly quotas!

My angels were Kerouac’s angels Those neon signs that on clear nights
I can see hanging in the windows
of every dive along the great
Main Street in the Sky
I’ve been rehearsing
sitting Hollywood-style at the bar,
straddling a bar stool,
looking down a long neck,
peeling labels off of bottles of beer
like I am Ben Afleck
peeling the underwear off of J Lo
towards the end of our relationship
When the language of my dreams
becomes foreign, I won’t
have to trouble myself
learning the names of the streets
just trouble myself knowing
outside there is Paradise
and not one cop!

Along the great Main Street in the Sky
I assume there probably
aren’t too many sidewalks Mostly tightropes, I imagine
–tightropes would be more
practical in any case,

Front row seats to ‘ooh and awe’
those poets of flesh and blood
who, with wings fabricated
using cannabis and melting crayons,
dare fly so close to the sun
I assume the construction
of the Twin Towers have been underway
for quite some time now