March 22-28, 2004: Pamela Liou and Dennis Mahagin

week of March 22-28, 2004

Pamela Liou and Dennis Mahagin

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Pamela Liou

Bio (auto)

Pamela Liou attends St Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia Her poem “Sonnet of Ether” Has been featured in the 2003 edition of Celebrations: Young Poets.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Pamela Liou and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ole Billy

We’d cancer up behind the theatre
Breathe each other in with stereoscopic
Depth, and Drowned the tension with Jack Daniels I toasted youthful indiscretion  

When right about throwing me back
Behind his lower lip and coughed
On the chain smoke emanating from mine— I
Don’t think he liked me
Trying to please, pleasing
To prove these inadvertent faculties
Pining; drift a thousand leagues beneath his eyes
He bit his lower lip;

Was I not one of those cute subculture
Bevies with everything and all
Who rattled off names, facts with expert
Precision? He still didn’t like me
I gave myself to him one summer morning,
Hiding in headlights The breathe falters
Sinks hysterical; These are
the nights when company walks you away from home—

Staged teen flicks, Air-waves
Crash against our
Faces Took one another in like salt water, choking
Sticking to the floor
Did he feel fit inside, oh
Not like keen words
I don’t think I liked him—
Reduced to dead weight on my shoulders.

Late to Your Wake: A villanelle

I came to kneel right besides you to pray The path here is quite long from where I come from
Please accept these sorries for my delay
End of binding of hymn books have frayed
Drawn-out aves struck me quite dumb I came to kneel right besides you to pray
Unheeded warnings of the Ides of May
For these, I have paid such a handsome sum—
Please accept these sorries for my delay
Among you to rest, such flowers they lay
Over power my one chrysanthemum;
I came to kneel right besides you to pray
The congregation where I’m but one, they
Speak of the heavens from which you’ve come Please accept these sorries for my delay
I meant no harm not coming right away,
So that I could not see what you’ve become I came to kneel right besides you to pray Please accept these sorries for my delay

pretty vicious thing

jaywalking bought her the seconds
to slip away from sight, all
Spanish and gorgeous just
spreading her strides ( a
crossing in staccato)

The shirt tail caught the wind and floats
like falling, in as sweet a crescendo–
the song you never wrote–
somewhat the same lyrically
In precision she takes the ride
thumbing a command to traffic-laden men
with a bare and milky knee; and I
fade like that tune, out of
of the vacant eyes
of lashes befallen And
the notes,
with a belt.

Dennis Mahagin


My name is Dennis Mahagin, a writer from the Pacific Northwest My work has appeared previously online in Absinthe, 3 A.M , 42opus, Stirring, Erosha, and Deep Cleveland I was recently nominated for a 2003 Pushcart.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Dennis Mahagin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lot’s Wife in the Laundromat

Running another load,
fisting the fat quarter roll
in a painted nail
Thinker’s Pose,

she sniffs and squints,

giving the Evil Eye
to Petition Gatherer Boy
who’s set up shop
with his clipboard
sandwiched between
the gumball machines
and soap dispenser
There is a kind
of satisfaction
in picturing him
all got up
in her still-dripping
panties and pasties

bent over
a soggy linen pile
as she puts it to him
with all eight inches
of her veiny purple

but the image is soon enough
chased from her mind
by the warning buzzer
of another dryer
needing feeding
She remembers

morbidly bottom-trolling
the guest bathroom hamper
for her 1st-husband’s
t shirts saturated
with enough dried semen
to give them a kind of
Dead Sea Scroll consistency–
making her think
of fish wrap
and pus-spackled
overflowing infirmary
trash baskets
She remembers

waitressing at a Spokane Denny’s
years and years ago,
when the Mia Farrow-looking
mother of five
cloaked the dinner roll basket
and deep fried zucchini platter
with the steaming
discarded diapers
of her squalling twin infants
right there, in real time
at Table Eleven

and then left her
a fifty cent tip
But now
coming up
on Spin Cycle
and she’s staring hard
at the fat college girl
folding fitted sheets
in a shower of spit
and flying crumbs
simultaneously humming 
a Shania Twain tune
as she goes to work
on her fourth can of Pringles–
dabbing her mouth daintily
with Febreze fabric
softener sheets
She wants to scream
at the girl–at everyone–
to make it unequivocally

how laundry
is an exercise in futility,
and absurdity–how the whole
fucking world
is simply fooling itself
to think otherwise,

but just then
her overloaded machine
starts to buck
like a forklift sinking
in fits and starts through
the slats of a rotting pier,

and the quarters she’d been
squeezing so tight
in her little hand
suddenly go flying all over
the tiled floor.

Word for Rage in Aramaic

At the whistle-stop
stump pulpit,
Christ on a Crutch
breaking with psoriasis
and Dengue Fever

and plays a Jethro Tull
flute riff on the udders
of an opalescent
bifurcated ram’s head

before thrusting it
in your face
like a smoldering
Hindu hooka pipe
You’ll find
no languid sighs
of lapping surf swell
in this here gourd,

but go on ahead
and shove it
up tight on your
candy apple

and you might just
make out

six million baby back ribs
going up like cricket scritch
in a reeling red carpet
of napalm,

while cervical wind socks
and pelvic pinatas
get shaken and stirred
by upended Klansman
party favor cones
catching viscera scraps
at the peach tree lynching
repeating itself on Pay Per
View repeating
“I’ll be bawk,” announces
the bantamweight
Austrian maintenance man,
as he bangs the cockeyed 
crow-colored shower head
with his pipe wrench

and a hiss erupts
all staccato
and intermittent
like a misplaced cymbal
on the upbeat of a
catchy polka

and he climbs on down
his pigeon-shit-spattered
step ladder

humming it
This is the sound
of a redundant defibrillator
dry-humping the whine
on an ICU flat-line– one last
great guttering
resuscitation gasp
siphoning snot-colored bile
off the atrial tit
of the human heart

and I suppose
things just
can’t help getting
a little shaky then,

until Jesus goes
“Shhhhh “

and shoves
a slender fuck finger
in the offending dike
of his conch shell– holding it
right there

like a square knot
on a pretty pink
pig tail tassle
Within the ensuing
hermetic seal suck,
your eyelids will snap shut
as the carotid sprays
a sandstorm of shrapnel
into your withering

and you go out
to the faraway
tambourine tinkle
of sleigh bells.

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