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Two Poems
by Richard F. Yates

Zombie Fly

Rock and Roll History Class
listening to a lecture on Soul Music

There is a large fly
sitting on the floor near the CD player
I imagine it's listening
to the Professor's selections

The fly just flipped onto its back
legs poking up in the air
a cartoon death
right next to the player
It died to Aretha Franklin

Oh! It's back up and moving again
now that the music's off

And now, with Ruth Brown playing
the fly has stopped moving again
Weird Shit

Zombie fly?
Walking the stage
No longer a fly

The fly ascendeth
to James Brown



Standards

Fuck submission guidelines

Fuck fitting poetry into boxes
two pages of thirty lines each
and one inch margins

Fuck themes, fuck chronology, fuck form

What if I want my poetry
to dribble into the margins?

What if I want my line to go on for so long and be so top heavy that
it looks just like a gnarled tree branch
sticking right out of the side
of the poem
so far
that it threatens to uproot
the whole thing?

What if I want that?

Fuck SASEs and nine by eleven
non-padded envelopes

Fuck simultaneous submissions
and reading periods
and previous publication credits

And FUCK reading fees

What if I write my poem in June?

What if I don't have twenty five dollars
to waste
gambling that this editor
will finally be the one?

How do I get my poems read?
Or heard?

Do I yell them from the street corners?
Is that what I've got to do
if I don't want to hop through the hoops
to make someone else's life a little easier?
A little safer?

And meanwhile my heat gets shut off
and the tv goes dead
and the phone only stops ringing
when we can't pay the bill

Do I play the game
or let the game play me?

Or do I say "fuck it!"
and get a "real" job
along with all the other happy little zombies
and robots and lost souls
too busy playing with their cell phones
to notice that their lives
are completely empty

Devoid of meaningful content

My life isn't empty
but it's definitely past due



About the author:
My name is Richard F. Yates and I'm sending you four poems for your consideration: "Zombie Fly", "Standards", "A Loud Bang", and "Underground Heroes". I live in Washington State in the U.S.A., I'm married, have two daughters, and I'm trying to finish an M.A. in English at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. I've been published in The Salmon Creek Journal, the WSUV Vancougar, the LCC Logos, Word Slaw, Vision? Nary! Magazine, and I was one of the winners of the 2006 Ooligan Press flash fiction contest.



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Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca

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The Suburban Swindle


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