Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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The Insect Ecologies of Death, or, Amateur Hour (Towards a new order of the phylum)
by R.V. Branham

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA: You're not at all like The Professional, and you wish he'd answer your calls (you've left messages on his answering machine) or reply to your letters or faxes, to your telephoned telegrams, to your giftwrapped parcels which must be a bit ripe by now (what with rigor mortis and decay and the insect ecologies of death), to your subaetheric distress signals and all, but no such Go Situation exists. All that you find when you go to your P.O. box are more of those custom bumper stickers you ordered:


One of your Enthusiasms, your Crusades, your Jihads, involves a guerilla media campaign against all of those fast-food toilets which are creating a demand for grazing land, for hamburger cattle, land which might otherwise be left as rain forest, so that the planet can breathe, so that all its inhabitants can breathe.

You were hoping for at least one of The Professional's Salt Mines of Kansas postcards. Those always bust you up. How could there be salt in the Midwest? What oceans exist in Kansas? No. Junk mail, yes. But no card. So you do not know when he'll next be on the West Coast, and the East Coast is a bit beyond your frugal budget. But he admits, The Professional does, that he does not share your enthusiasm.

"Amateur hour," he commented on your handiwork, but then, to perhaps soften the blow, to ameliorate the harshness of his judgement by rendering it more constructive and encouraging, he added, "but I grant you your enthusiasm... You might not be an amateur forever..."


And it wasn't your fault, The Professional conceded, that the blood spurted so violently, spraying the bathroom ceiling and necessitating a bit of arson to cover up the whole misadventure; it wasn't your fault, you tell yourself, that those people were too infirm or too old to escape the smoke.


The nearing whirlhum. Tharop throp thopthopthopthop.

The light from the biomechanical beast, a.k.a. police helicopter, the light sweeps forth from its bellybutton window umbilicus omphalos third chakra, a widening thread of energy, thick honeyed bundle of psyche, a beam of enquiry: light forced into life force (and, prayhaps, life forced into light force, for is not light the medium of terrible deistic Rilkian angels, arch or blue, fallen or true, guardians, avengers, exterminators?; for is not light a wedding of particle and wave in the crystal cathedral of timed space and spaced time...?).

But, alas and alack, it is a case of too little done too late, for the deed dirty has been written, the deed dirty has been done, and you have departed from the parking lot of broken no deposit dreams.

The fading whirlhum.

Tharop throp thopthopthopthopthop.


You strap your leg on, upon waking up; it's a good leg, the best Goddamn prosthesis the V. A. could buy. So it's another day, another vengeance:

For all that you do try to join the Family of Man, you find that you are Not Of The Tribe, Not Of The Hive, they know things, they do things you don't quite understand, all of them (well, not The Professional);

And (even at your quotidian paper shuffle some call work, where you would expect a modicum of solidarity, of bonhomie, of cliques and factions, of personable conviviality, of replies to your salutations) you're pretty sure they wink when you turn your back, snigger when you leave the room, and burst into canons of laughter, paroxysms of hysterical smug amusement rippling, cas-cading, hiho sliver, following you down down down the street to the grocery store, the Alpha Ralpha, where you buy your generic aspirin, no Tylenol for you.

(No hemlock in your over-the-counter medicine. The Professional told you things, that time he enlisted you in that project, about product tampering, things that, well, the less said.)


"Generic aspirin, one dollar and seven cents. Will that be all, sir?"


You look up, and blush, you look up at the fluttering eyelashes of the clerk and blush, you take your hand off your heart you take it off, you've had it there ever since the assembly in third grade, where you got to be The Fourth Amendment.

(You have since forgotten what it was, The Fourth Amendment. But you do remember how all your classmates noticed, and how they mercilessly tor-tured and scared you over it, how they giggled when you put your hand on your heart during the flag salute. "The Fourth," they called you.) "Hi how are ya yes sorry that's all." — "Paper or plastic."—"Yes sorry."


At work, you are eating tatertots and green onions for breakfast. A co-worker enters the lunchroom and goes, past the door to Cryogenics, to the clean room and the P-4 Containment areas, and then stops and does an aboutface to the time clock above the time card rack to punch in.

You greet this co-worker: "Gordon!" This co-worker named Gordon ignores your salutation. So you greet this co-worker named Gordon, you greet him again: "Hi how are ya yes?"—"I'm here," the co-worker responds, voice paradoxically far far far away.—"And what'd ya do this weekend," you enquire.—"It's Wednesday," the co-worker named Gordon says. "I'm here."—"So," you say, "how's it going?"—"Going fucked. My ulcer's worse. My car's still in the shop. Top of that I have to listen to you, and smell your fucking slop the second I fucking come into the fucking door."—"Yes sorry," you reply, and you cannot stop yourself, it's like your hand is still on your heart, which somehow accelerates your mouth, runs it through a traffic light of conversation, "What'd you do last night."—"Fucking fantasize about your fucking death," the co-worker says, the one named Gordon, and storms off. And returns a few seconds later: "And could you fucking please fucking close your fucking mouth when you fucking chew on that vile vegetarian shit?"—"Sorry yes how are ya."


You walk through the carbonized fog, to the glowing tortured glass pumped full of neon and attached to the curved contours of the cineplex, blue neon waves guiding you, calling you, and you sink to a broken chair, and hear a whirlhum, and a light from the belly of a biomechanical beast casts placental dreams from the projector's womb; and oedipal fathers fell forests flood valleys fill forges dam rivers.

Whirlhum. Tharop throp thopthopthop.

You have to rise; the path is clear, the goal before you.

You must give shape to your dreams, and not suck on those of others.


You go into the fast-food belly of the babel beast.... To the Men's. (A sense of decency and discretion advises against visiting the Women's.)

You lock the main door, and on each side of the toilet stall door you neatly afix a sticker.

You afix another sticker to the mirror above the sink....



You fervently wish you could burn every fast-food belly of the babel beast to the fucking ground, burn it with the cloven hoofed pigs and piglets inside, watch as the feeders are fed to the flames. But you are only one. One against the world.

A headache, a four-on-the-floor cluster fuck of a temple smasher impells you reeling back to the Alpha Ralpha, only you go north on 5, all the way up past Carlsbad, and Oceanside, and past the nuclear power plant at San Onofre, and the minatory Sikorsky helicopters from Camp Pendleton and Fallbrook, to one in San Clemente.

And when did you last buy your aspirin.

Yesterday? Today? Tomorrow?

And where?

La Jolla? Oceanside? San Clemente? San Juan Capistrano?

You buy your Lotto ticket. Rub. Okay. The number determines which aisle you case first.

An x-ray tech, male, off-duty from what you can tell. The sort of exhausted body language that fills in where the R.E.M. badge he forgot to remove has left off. Yoplait. Vegetarian beans. Low fat milk. Olive oil. Garlic. Microwave popcorn...Paul Newman. And his salad dressing, too.

(Once, when you told The Professional that you considered your friendship with him like that of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he nearly choked on his Carta Blanca and chicken heart burritos, and had then flung onions and sliced aortas at you, saying "I might be Newman but you look like the guy on the cover of Tales From The Crypt."

The Professional's humor takes some getting used to.)

You look at your water watch. Vespers. Not quite Compline. The techie goes for the Tofu. But what is this, hamburger patties? Microwave hamburger patties?

And who says character is not destiny.

You observe him go for cereal next. As if in repentance. One of the high fiber ones. With nuts, and dried fruit.

Too little, too late.

But who won at Santa Anita?

You should find out, but he is headed for the Qwikchek, so you hurry out and stop at the manager's counter at the front, to get your knapsack, with its razors and scalpels, hack saws, knives, rock salt, small bottle of aether.

The hour is nearing Compline, and you've got to see if you can teach this one about the dream of life, and of the slow death which helps us wake up.

An afghanvet, drunk or stoned, in an electric wheelchair, berates shoppers; he doesn't even notice you, but you notice the chair, you hear it, an ancient call reborn:


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