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                                                                          Issue 8

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Child’s Play

As a toddler, I sat
in a brownstone’s backyard
in exquisite simplicity.
I didn’t know the world
of battles, of assassinations,
of deceit, of espionage.
I was familiar with
worms pumping their way
across lumpy soil.
I played with the creatures,
the helpless things,
coaxing then with twigs
to move their cool flesh.
Other critters crawled around.
I never learned the name
of the cute bugs
with the hard-shell backs.
Their many legs
were as thin and fine
as lines in a human iris.
I acted mean toward them,
erecting barriers for them to tackle,
obstacles of rocks and wood.
They were my cosmos;
I was their god.
I should have known
they needed love,
not interference.
Too much cruelty
thrives like a thoughtless child
on our planet.

  Austin Alexis __

The Fire Uptown

Every room of the apartment:
an inferno;
every plant shocked into pain;
every doll: scorched.
The fault lies with the stove,
its hours-long seething.
The fault lies with the smoke detectors,
their unexplainable silence.

The tornado rumble of fire
disturbed the whole region’s concord.
Heat-crazed glass breaking like cymbals
crashing in a frenzied orchestral blast
blared, upsetting the airshaft pigeons.
Airborne cries of helpless children
ached in the ears of neighbors,
as if the years those kids would never live
pleaded for existence in the psyches of survivors.

  Austin Alexis __

© Barbara Gurwitz-Hall: IMG_3418

© Barbara Gurwitz-Hall: IMG_3418'

The Screen

Face the nation
this week, with Bob--or with me:
your journalist-historian deluxe.
I’ll lead you to a view
of yesterday’s news
that prefigures a future Pantheon
in praise of interchangeable politicians.
In truth, Anchorman Bob isn’t available--
I’m the only correspondent around--
so I’m being merely polite
when I offer you a choice of hosts.
Similarly, there are no info options;
there is no alternative
to eyeing television.
The laughable notion of clicking off--
a vacation from the screen--
is a marriage of delusion and absurdity.
You have to face the nation
the gleaming TV presents.
You must sum up this week
from the televised data
the ninety-nine broadcasting stations
that are, in essence, one
generously provide.
At least I’m telling you
like it is, in our tiempo.
Hola. Welcome to a breakfast
of Sunday newsbites
where you meet the press
in all its sunshiny transparency.

  Austin Alexis __