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 Spear
by George Sparling

I read the New York Daily News, a full-page photo of Mayor Abe Beame holding up its headlines, "Ford to City: Drop Dead." The city nearly bankrupt, President Ford wouldn't bail it out. I looked up and saw a muscular black youth, wearing a black, green, and red turtleneck, colors of black liberation, on my apartment's window ledge.

What struck me, at first, was fear. I saw the young man struggle to enter my living room and tried, but failed, to move around the corner to the fire escape at the building's rear. I then stood and reached for the spear Roxy had nailed to the wall. I'd jam that spear into the thug, skewer him good, watch him fall five flights to the ground.

I was a dishwasher when I met Roxy in a small mid-Manhattan restaurant that served salads, soups, and desserts. She wore a see-through blouse, sequined short skirt, earrings that tinkled performing her server duties. Her dark bare legs a real treat for male diners as well when this bubble dancer came out of the kitchen to bus dishes. I glanced hard at those limbs.

The trouble was that she left earlier than I did and I couldn't ask her out. After closing, I shined the kitchen spotless, then cleaned the tables and mopped the floor. I took the subway to 79th Street and walked up Amsterdam Avenue to 80th Street at three-thirty a.m.

Too much adrenalin pumped through me from speeding through the chores. I walked fast and jittery, watching lone characters standing on either side of the block. I felt their eyes drill through me. My grungy clothes and long hair bouncing in my wake protected me from harm. My hurried steps alerted watchers that I was street smart, looking for a fix or prowling for a hooker. Or perhaps a paranoid guy who clocked the nightshift and maybe packed a blade or pistol. The darkness spread from the poorer section nearer Amsterdam to the pricier townhouses nearer Columbus Avenue.

I lived very near Columbus in a crumbing building built in the late 19th Century, its long halls I mopped up for extra cash, hearing tenants scream as they got sucked into black holes we all carry inside. Never approached by figures to my right or left, I often looked down at the dark pavement, feeling like a grotesque straight out of a doomsday R. Crumb comic.

I drank Jim Beam to come down. I slept atop a loft on a thick foam pad, and its comfort helped annul the job. One night I saw Roxy leave with a teenage black youth and a large white man. Roxy lost her workplace poise, giving the man a slight bow, her demeanor transformed into a TV housewife. He grabbed her arm and she resisted only momentarily. I walked to the window and saw him open the passenger door and push her inside. The teenager sat in the back and the man turned and spoke to him. The boy slouched, his head below the back window.

The next night Roxy smoked a cigarette and I joined her. She looked scared, an unfamiliar expression. She had worked here for two weeks. She talked with the diners and cooks in a crisp, upbeat manner.

"You alright?" I said.

She looked at her shoes, then her eyes bobbed and weaved until she steadied on my face.

"After five years, he came back. I need a place to crash." Her usual empathic words now trembled. She stubbed out the cigarette on the floor, the floor I machine-polished once a week. The history of the diners' traipsing I glossed over. This city of grime, filth, and germs: I made the floor virginal for the diners to feel special, not the sluts they were.

I heard them often comment when I came out of the kitchen to grab a plastic bin of unwashed plates, bowls, and utensils. That long red scar across my right cheek. It didn't matter to them how I obtained it. I wanted to stick my face into theirs, telling them a psychotic uniformed-army man slashed me in bar because he thought I made a pass at him. He sat three stools down, yet he fingered me as his indispensable victim. A coincidence? They do happen. As a temp, I worked at a lower Manhattan college bookstore. A black, gay clerk said he lived on 80th Street near Amsterdam. He called those who made his homosexual life hell hoodlums.

Had that big man supported her? Where had Roxy gotten her money? Not from low wages and tips at the restaurant.

"Can I come home with you, Pending?"

"I don't see why not." It wasn't because I lived alone, keeping my apartment dark and needed company every so often. The rent was three months behind and she could help. Her dark skin, lithe body, forceful presentation of body and speech, desperate face: I had no reason not to.

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