She held them in her left hand and walked quickly,
careful, not to bash or snap
their thin green bodies or colourless heads.
They don't bow or slump in defeat yet, but nod
to the sun in the day, and to light bulbs at night.
At peace, they watch the girl who follows her fingers
as they wander by themselves over the piano.
The music just happens and I am in love
with everything in a room I've never been to.
Lagging behind, I sleep to disappear.
I dream I am a failing acrobat and I fly to the stars
with a purpose, a bus ticket and a stolen heart, but
now she pushes the keys like she pushed my body and
these flowers, they share the air, suck up the heat,
thriving in it, wincing at the cigarette fizzing in the ashtray.
She takes it between her lips. I wake up but she doesn't know
Heather Cairns is the co-editor of Misjudge Your Limits zine. She currently lives in Leeds and is working on her first sitcom. Her nominated poem appeared in Eclectic Eel #2 (April 2012).
Linda M. Crate
you paint me in hymns of color,
slipping from edges of stars, as
they dance their reverberations
I cannot help but wonder if all
these hues are necessary, but if
I turn my head, you shout at me -
insisting that you know best, as
if I cannot decide for myself for
I am a small child, but I listen
because even Dido had parents
before she threw herself on the
flames of her funeral pyre, I
think I'll choose the sea instead;
my heart has been charred enough.
Linda M. Crate is a Pensylvanian native. She was born in Pittsburgh and raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She has an English Literature degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is something of a grammar Nazi, but don't worry. She won't correct your Facebook posts out loud - just in her head. So far, her works have been published in Magic Cat Press and Black Listed Magazine. Linda's poem 'your canvas' was published in Eclectic Eel #2 (April 2012).
Villanelle On A Theme Of Desnos
Mark J. Mitchell
Je suis le vers temoin du souffle de mon maitre
I'm the verse witness to my master's breath.
I'm its limits. No word will escape me.
His vocabulary owes me a debt.
I watch the weight of air and tongue. I set
The terms. He can't know and mustn't see
That verse witnesses and the master's breath
Is not important. I let him forget
Me while he works. I disguise and reveal
His vocabulary. He owes me a big debt
To cages built, lines counted, to the set
Shapes constructed before he's conceived
To bear witness. My master's breath
Is clumsy without me. A loose facet
On rough cut stone. Only I can set free
His vocabulary. Owing a debt,
He resents me, cherishes me like a bet
He's afraid to lay. But I am the key,
Bearing witness to my master's breath
And vocabulary. He owes me a debt.
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty years, as well as in anthologies. He chapbook, 'Three Visitors' will be published by Negative Capability Press later this year, and his novels 'The Magic War' and 'Knight Prisoner' will be published in the next few months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and film maker Joan Juster. He's currently seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid. His nominated poem appeared in Eclectic Eel #2 (April 2012).
the place looks
empty beer bottles
crumbs of tandoori chicken
shirts, pants, knickers
sheets of papers
thrown all over the place...
he grabs my hand
takes me inside...
we sit on the floor
smoke coming out
all over his face...
one of those papers
from the heap of shit...
Kanchan Chatterjee is a 44 year old male executive working in the Ministry of Finance for the government of India. Although he does not have any literary background he loves to scribble whenever he feels like it. He loves Hemingway, Faulkner, Kerouac, Fante, Bukowski, Capote and Chandler. He lives in Jamshedur, Jharkhand, India. His nominated poem 'The Poet' appeared in Eclectic Eel #3 (October 2012).
Stories from Issues One and TwoThe Eel is very proud to give you two stories, Wishwhatever for the Here Ever After by Counting to Zero who appeared in Issue One, and Candies by Alain Marciano who is featured in the Eel's second issue. Many thanks to Counting to Zero and Alain Marciano for giving the Eel permission to feature their work on her site.
I put my hands in the pocket of my coat, an Armani leather sports jacket I recently bought at a charity sale organised by my friend, Donald T. It had cost me $1550, quite a sum if you think about it, even for me. But I have no regrets or remorse. It was a good decision. The coat is wonderful, comfortable and beautiful. I feel like a teenager wearing it. At 52, this is a pleasure one cannot ignore. No, I do not regret the $1550. But I am less sure about the candies I brought with me. They are for my brother.
Doctor J. says, do you want to see him?
We are just in front of the elevators. He met me there because he is so shocked by the accident and he knows how terrible all this is to me and my family. He would show me the way and answer all the questions I wished to ask, and give me all the details. It is his job. Helping is part of his job. He is willing to help. He is a small man with a ridiculous crown of dark hair around his head. He speaks with a gentle voice, almost a whisper.
I say, is it safe?
He says, safe? What do you mean safe?
I unfold my hands slightly, and the tips of my fingers touch the candies in the bottom of my pocket. Through the plastic which envelopes them, I feel their shape. I can almost recognise the shapes of the pieces I bought at Candies for love, 2450 Dennison Avenue. I have to drive almost 30 minutes to go there, but I like the shop. They have all sorts of candies you might want. The smell is so cool. The colours too, soft and gentle, spring-like. It was not my first time there. I buy there for Christmas and birthday parties.
I say, safe, I don't know.
He says, you don't have anything to be afraid of. The situation is stablilised.
I hesitate. There was the time when I brought candies for a friend of my wife. It was awful. How could I have guessed that she was allergic to candies? I suddenly remember that my brother has always had bad teeth. It strikes me that our mother forbade us from eating candies when we were kids because he had bad teeth and didn't take sufficient care of them. I could not eat candies either, although I had no problems with my teeth and was as strong as ten men. It makes me shiver. I feel bad about the candies.
Doctor J. says, So...do you want to see him?
I say, yes, sure, but do we still have time? And I check the hour on my Bell&Ross chronograph.
Doctor J. says, nice watch.
I say yes, thank you, my wife gave it to me for Christmas last year. I think she got it in New York. Expensive, but worth it.
He says, I guess.
I say, yes, I guess.
He says, well it's up to you. Take your time. I know it's not easy. If you need some help, I shall be in my office, at the other end of the hall. What I can tell you is that you have nothing to fear. The situation is under control and perfectly stable. I know it is unfortunate, because you might expect more from us after four months of coma.
He leaves. I look at him walking away to his office down the corridor. He goes past the vending machines, the nurses' office and turns on the left. The soles of his shoes squeak ridiculously at each of his steps.
Yes, I think, four months of coma. I take the bag of candies out of my pocket and put it in the trash-can near the elevator, press the button and leave. As the cabin moves down, one level after another, ding-ding-ding, I think I could have kept the candies for myself.
Alain Marciano is French, but writes in English because he finds it easier to use words that don't have the same weight as they would in his own language or for a native speaker, because he feels he can laden them with value and meaning that suits him. He works in a French university as a professor. For years, writing essays and books was substitute to writing fiction. One day, after having followed a class of creative writing, he decided to switch to fiction. Maybe someday he will go back to French after having lost his identity in another culture. He has published short stories in Scifi short story magazine, Animal Farm, Death of a scenester, Forge and Down in the Dirt. He has also published poems in Every Reason, Decades, Scissors and Spackle and Gloom Cupboard.
Wishwhatever for the Here Ever After
Never had a wishwhatever, for the here ever after, with the long times and the passed me buys, couldn't buy into that secret feeling of wanting till the end of time, like I do now. Like it ever was real. However moreover moved over to the left hemisphere of taking it in spit it out til the next time, what I thought could be real; whenever brushed against the gossamer membrane breaks a broken plenty while, with the panty lies and the deep sighs and fake smiles disclosed misgivings.
But too much of the once try, bite shy, moth bitten smoked up on crack outlook of the past's time's pastimes passed me by with the won't try so maybe now could be the time to believe in the fate and the blind faith of the once hate, dear diary, smoked in a bowl and took some of the what what what what what ifs; could it be that these phantacies of dreamed up future ghosts of the past toasts oaths against switching on to the sweet reboot of the what could be?
But the never know how of the how could that be this real tripped the flick switch on those golden opps missed out upon by the one too punch drunk from the other times gets in the way of this sweet warm feeling, knowing, wanting to know this could be.
Must be some sweet path, dear dearie, for the drunk and the weary; take a look back at the sound of the memory of the needlehay sound of that which was not eavesdropped or picked upon in the piccu-niccu spreadsheet once embarked upon; looking for cognitive coordinates towards the place a starting point upon which to build the shattered remains of the possibilities of what happened when those became possible realities, probabilities given to the likelihood of that which was could have will have been broken before we get anywhere, knowing one's good fortune in the game of chance this is.
So if there could be a once would have been, how can the path be crossed without a marker?
Counting to Zero (c2z) is a phonic art graduate currently moving in synth punk circles but has also written numerous songs, poetry and prose in more traditional formats. The written word is also the artist's creative stomping ground, and an informed approach, as well as a love of language allows c2z to cut through conventional means to true expression in a futuristic yet timeless beat-style.