April 29-May 5, 2002: Jason Lee Brown and Zoa Ferris

week of April 29-May 5, 2002

Jason Lee Brown and Zoa Ferris


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Jason Lee Brown

Bio (auto)

I am a weekly columnist/Sports Edit for News Progress in Sullivan, IL, where my overweight chocolate lab and I lounge I spend time with the Asian Connection on the weekends and whenever else possible I have published in The Vehicle and have work forthcoming in Taint MagazineSnow Monkey, and with Kitty Litter Press

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Jason Lee Brown and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Dad’s Chores

feeding the horses
with full buckets of grain
between the electric fence
he threw his back out
hurt, he raised up
grasped his tailbone
groaned oh, shit
then scratched his beard,
Well, help me, damn it
I piggybacked him
towards the back door
bearing his weight
dutiful knees-a wobbling
under that musty flannel
and black and blue collar
his breath and whiskers
scratching and tickling
the back of my neck
goosebumps and my legs
the men of the house

Field Jacket

It was ’80 and I was going into the eighth grade, 10 years after my father’s enlistment, and I just wanted to wear his camouflaged field jacket to one party, just one–at Coulter’s house I didn’t understand the big deal He hardly ever wore it “Come on, please “
“No “
“It looks cool on me, dad “
“Don’t care “
“Please “
“No! That jacket,” he stopped He knew better to waste that speech on a thirteen-year-old I learned long ago from a vanity belt that two “NOs” were the limit to bugging my father I shut my mouth and splashed an excessive amount of Stetson on my neck and peacock chest My father watched, thinking of eighth grade “Mary gonna be there?”
“Mmhhmm “
Before I left the house for the party, my father winced as he handed me the field jacket, then again when I slipped it on “Don’t fuck it up “
“I won’t “
“And it better work “
“It will,”
And it did I walked into that party, inside bulletproof fatigues, with my father’s name stitched across my right shoulder and a head on for action And Mary noticed, too We wore the jacket, my father and I:
He in the bush–humping a captured AK-47, a picture of me as a baby, and mosquito netting, and me in Coulter’s basement–groping Mary Abell’s left breast and dry hunching her right thigh Bound in camouflage.

Memory Selection

I don’t remember standing in my father’s cowboy boots, no more than three-years-old, trying to walk, powder white legs with curled toes barley able to budge
I don’t remember the heavy long leather, like steel chaps–and taking a small step, two or three inches maximum, but still a step, towards the coffee table corner
I don’t remember that Armstrong-like stride, and him releasing his bottle to pet mother’s knuckles with chilled fingertips, and her fetching another beer afterwards
I do remember the 15 stitches behind my left ear and the thumb-size lump, not to mention the Dr ‘s needle twisting and grinding, draining the fluid from the swelling

Old Man

I started calling my father, Old Man, the day I received my driver’s license It used to piss him off something fierce, especially in the mornings when I’d belch, “Wake up, Old man!,” after drinking a hot Coke and before asking for the truck keys and my sister’s lunch money Or a “No sir, Old Man,” when rebelling to take out the trash the day I thought I could take him In the span of a second, though, he flipped me over his hip and cracked my back on the couch arm and rammed his elbow into my neck gland to prove a point–and for a little fun, too But he came around to its sincerity, its ranking in our two-rung helix To the fact that it was something only we shared Something beyond a name I was the young fuck up, the black sheep everyone loved, and he was Old Man “Old Man, ah? Huh, I guess I am your Old Man,” he told me the day I moved out Now, he expects it as a poke-in-the-side greeting whenever visiting or at family functions.

Habitual Animals

Two old monkeys with purple hair sit, as usual,
in the corner booth, where the cushioned seats
are permanently molded to their asses,
discussing farm prices Neither a farmer Joe, the monkey with the dirty St Louis Cardinal’s cap
slowly lowers a spoon full of cream into steaming black coffee Melting cream always brings out his yellow-teethed smile Bill, the monkey wearing pink laced panties under his greasy overalls,
estimates the price of a new combine, John Deer, straight off the line The waitress, a maroon kangaroo, refills the monkeys’ cups With a dimes worth of speed tucked in her pouch, under the plaid apron,
she bounces from the kitchen
to the cash register
to the counter
to table 6 After lighting up a cigarette, Joe opens a coffee creamer,
pouring it over a Zippo’s flame igniting it like gun powder Bill chuckles so hard, rearranging the tightness of his panties,
brown snot, due to the coffee, spouts from is nostrils The kangaroo bounces back to their booth with a rag and the sniffs The generally nice monkeys overlook her vice but sorry her habit
while chasing their ninth cup of caffeinated coffee and cream with
full-flavored menthols, chain-smoked down to the Camel’s butt.

Zoa Ferris

Bio (auto)

Zoa Ferris Undergraduate student at the University of Oregon Grew up in Portland, Oregon

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Zoa Ferris and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Day They Lost Hope

“After months of coaxing by the scientists, the ape in Jardin des Plantes produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal The sketch showed the bars of the creature’s cage “

When seven infants are shot on the thirteenth day of the thirteenth month
And Hope is a gibberish idea reserved for the three invalids smoking their final cigarettes against the wall
And the history teacher stands burning books in a dusty cemetery announcing that “We were great believers ” 
The poet decides to die.

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