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FRACKING IN OTSEGO COUNTY

County of Cooperstown and its fresh-
water lake, Glimmerglass Opera, and
fertile farmland-How will you survive
the fracking now unlocking gas from
shale beneath your green fields?

Headwaters of the Susquehanna
and thousands of underground springs
that provide your denizens

pristine drinking water are now at risk
from untold chemicals forced at high
pressure to shatter the shale

to extract natural gas for export.
Soon we'll be able to set
our tap water on fire,

like folks in Dimock, PA. How
many will suffer health damage
from fracking's toxic leakage?

Will the drill sites, built at expense
of forest and field, become derelict
after the gas is depleted?

Will Otsego become a wasteland
in the extractors' rush for profits,
its rural beauty doomed by greed?

On Dog Hill Road the DRILL HERE signs
start to outnumber the SAVE OUR
WATER signs. Next: the FOR SALE signs.

                               George Held
_________________________


HALLOWEEN, 2008

I'm told to prepare for the worst:
a 50 50 chance your namesake
won't make it
flips the day on its wrong side:
the dead are supposed to return
not snatch the living from us
I snap at you; it's a month before
the anniversary of your death...

for two nights he lies in caged fear
force fed, hooked up to IV's
balancing between two worlds...
once home soft cries mark his territory:
this rug, that corner, my chair
too weak to jump on my lap, a table
he slumps down humiliated.
I prepare for the worst;

that night, as if someone flung him at me
from a great distance, wake suddenly
to feel him rubbing against me-

eating from his bowl
shedding his ghostly spirit
through the house,
back as if he never left,
and you, who'd never been here,
most certainly haven't

                              Linda Lerner

BAYSHORE JUNK YARD

What's left of a classic
Nineteen-fifty Chevy
Lays like a war zone corpse
In a deserted background
Hubcaps gone
Seats gutted
Steering wheel pushed
Into dashboard
Waiting on the auto crusher
To clutch her in its steel claws
To come down on her
Like a serial killer
Mutilated raped ravished
All life squeezed out of her once
Virgin frame

                      A.D. Winans
_________________________

WHEN IM DRUNK

I become a fish
w/useless arms & legs
& my broken-off tail makes me weave in the water.

I speak the english language
as well as any fish can talk
& i hear the words just as poorly.

eventually bubbles come out of my mouth
& im fine w/pissing anywhere
any time.

my brain grows rapidly backwards
til! its really little
transmogrifying into an actual fish brain

that can only think about mating& fighting &
eating up mouthfuls of littler fish
& whether to sink or to rise.

every simple swallow i take
is another dangerous open-lipped nibble
at the quiet lightning-bolt hook of demise.

it is piercing liquid from the sky.
it is waiting for a full-grown fish like me
to forget what he knows & bite.

                      Patrick McKinnon

_________________________________

THE MECHANICS OF A DREAM DATE

"It would be great to be King, but maybe not
   Louis XVI," she says, brushing her hair off her
high forehead smudged with grease, passing me
   my spare set of keys. Would you, I ask her, like
to dine with me? "Tonight?" Yes. "O.K."
  She smiles. Pick you up at 8,1 say, unless
my car breaks down. "8 it is," she replies.

Tonight, I'll be a sovereign power
  next to this greased-monkey flower,
this mechanic's lotus laboring in
  spare parts of metal pedals and
steel-rod stems, love coming from
  the confines of a stale garage! But then
I awake next to my wife of 7 years:

  It has been nothing but a dream.


                      Jonathan Greenhause
______________________________________________________________

NEWS FROM HOME

The uncle who put his tongue into your mouth
when you were little
is under five feet tall.
Sometimes he refuses painkillers,
sometimes takes too many.
We have long family discussions
about how he should manage
his bowels; yesterday rah a red light
getting him to a gas station
restroom, His woman friend
flew in from Sun City,
assessed the situation, flew out next day.
Remember how he used to treat everyone
to expensive restaurants?
Now he falls asleep in the lazy-boy .
while the fest of the family finishes dinner.

                       Maxine Susman
____________________________