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The Fish

I sit and I wait.
OOO Earlier I made a wish on a loose eyelash that landed on my cheek.
Remnants of touches, that’s what I have, years ago, hours.
OOO My repast, the mahi with its skin still in tact, has encased my tongue,
Tongue of scales.
It doesn’t suit the beer, it doesn’t suit the evening.
OOO I’m not sure what would, maybe a touch warmer and smoother than the fish--
Softer, less invasive.

A book on insects will not suffice tonight,
OOO Nor a book on physics,
My eyes are too full, I can’t see the pages, can’t see the words.
I am suffocated by exhaled smoke and coughed-up fur balls and war. I am captured by a
mirrored dancer, lingering touches. I see a yellow house and wet streets and green
budding through dead branches.

How long does it take eyelash wishes to come true,
OOO For touches to dissipate,
For tongues to shed their scales?
OOO How long does it take wet streets to dry,
For yellow houses to peel,
OOO For green leaves to die?
When will the mirror crack leaving one to dance alone?
And when do wars ever end?
OOO They are captured on hours of tape,
Monumentalized by rows of identical headstones.

Sitting and waiting I am kept quiet by the fish,
OOO I am not left alone with the mirror,
I am longing for another touch,
OOO I am a pacifistic voyeur,
I am expecting a gift from the eyelash…

Attainment is close to nil.


"Kapak" by Özgür Soğancı


Generic Voices

Voices project
Without stutters or spit
Without tears or tire
They lack emotion and dialects.
They embody diction.

They are pressed against pages
describing horrors and passions
And stand tall next to
two-dimensional snapshots.
They ascribe meanings,
Developing a system of weights and measures.

Beautiful and grotesque have been decided,
I have learned.
I know when they are presented before me.
I am thankful for the prescriptions.
I look for different levels of importance
On a colored bar graph.
I wait for the medication to move.

I am a self-made environmentalist
My words are heaped on top of pages
Speeding up the process of
Recycling is esteemed.

Apathy and we are free.
Rights and right and right.
The thoughts come too easily for me
Straight through the screen
Generic voices are found in mouths, ears, and eyes.

What started this global epidemic?


"Sıkıntı" by Özgür Soğancı


Hotlick Tongue

Confinement in every step,
Enveloping, hot lick tongue
In between my breasts,
Back of my neck,
In between my legs.
Unyielding bad breath
Halitosis deep within my nostrils,
Into my lungs,
Each inhale is accompanied
By a choke and a gag.

The only constant thought is…
The albatross.
A refreshing pool is
But thick steaming saliva
That sticks,
There is no refreshment in this barreness.

From inside I see the hot breath
Moving through palm leaves,
Stirring up cactus thorns.
It looks like it might be cool,
It looks like there might be an ocean
Or a sea nearby,
But those images are mirages
In this mind.

I sip my water,
Rub the rope burn around my neck,
And dream of the coast.

J. Chumbley