Aberration Labyrinth : September 2012 : Issue #002

     September 2012                                                                                                Issue #002


A Note From The Editors:

We hope that you enjoyed Issue #001, and we feel that Issue #002 really helps to solidify the image that we want our publication to have. Keep up the excellent writing and keep submitting! We love you and your creativity!
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Write On!


Forced Nostalgia

Jason Lundell

I want the 90’s back

That age of great denial

A place where comforts come like
Brick walls in front of hotel windows
Give me wealth
I mean post Dallas
That place where even JR
Has been laid to rest
I want baggy pants
With designer hate crimes
And a sly slogan
Those ones you find on picket signs
Give me the birth of Cali
That slutty dystopia outlined in dusk

I want Heather Locklear before Charlie Sheen
I want to remember not remembering that

I want new age vintage

Dream Catcher
Brendan Sullivan

I covet your nightmares.
I want to inch them apart,
wire bright and brittle
from under your skin,
split them down the middle
and crawl deep inside.

I want to wrap them
in yellow newspapers
and tatter your skin
right between your shoulder blades
with their bleak words.

I want to see them glisten
bone shard white and blistered,
the pucker of your flesh
stopping up my thoughts
in the lost vacuum of you.

I want to own them
and watch your mouth run dry
the buckle of your body
scraping up against the sky,
savoring the taste of cheap.

Brendan Sullivan

You got left on a metal table
under a white sheet
strung out on red and blue bottles
while they tried to jump start your heart.
I saw the sparks flick off your skin
like the bright scorch of summer
where prayers smell like burnt paper
and the heat keeps you running.
I saw them tape those white nodes to your head
the bald skin glistening innocent
and pull the switch
in a room behind a curtain
the hot bitch of white jolt fever
blistering your thoughts
singeing the palms of your hands
filling the room I sit in
with the impossible stench of hope.

Gregory D. Jaw

our connections are tenuous,
our friendships are built
to topple one another
so that we may feel better
about the lions who lurk
near the garage door,
maws splayed,
hands reaching out from their throats,
viscous slop dripping slow motion
tumble terror of fur muted screams
hushed by wild hunger,
hiding out near the swimming pool
near the VCR tossed into the
widening shit heap of discarded items,
hiding near the area where the shopping
carts go to die,
and we make these connections
with other people
so as to raze them,
so as to sate the horrible hunger in our
filthy animal hearts,
with the hope that
the lions will wait in line a little longer
as we pile our banalities onto the conveyor belt,
and we tear each others’ throats out.

(Charles Bukowski would’ve been proud)
Michael Estabrook

She continues, “And if
it weren’t for me you’d be a damn
drunk out on the street someplace living
one of those lost lives” and stomps
out of the room. I follow right
along behind her indignant as hell.
“What are you talking about I
don’t drink that much, a little wine,
a few bottles of beer now and then.
I’m not as bad as you like to think.
You women always want
to believe you’re saving our
fucking souls.” So then a week later
my brother Todd comes to town
for the first time in five years and we
(Charles Bukowski would’ve been proud)
stop at all the package stores
and bars along the route home
from the airport, and over the next
two days even take bottles of beer
with us on our walks around the block
and through the park and along
the railroad tracks. I hate it, don’t
you just hate it, that our wives
are always right.

Punching Catholics in a Dark Room
Jason Lundell

There’s tons of ‘em
Limp wristed
Child molesters
Grabbing and twisting my sack
When I’m not looking
Who are these
Consolers of the deep
These serpents made saints
Throw up your alarms Jericho
Shit is a foot
A mob scene
Misfits in the rec basement

To them its all in good fun
All have red hair
Everyone enjoys the sacrament

Malicious Massacre
Billy Harfosh

Crazed and rioted
Pleasure revoked
Rumblings of new visions
Versions perversions to limit a thought
Struck down
Struck out on a pitch of malice
Malicious massacre
The Chelsea would be proud
Proven distractions talk to wooden seesaw horses heartless
Invigorate promise of a river swirling
Raging with no end in sight
Collapse of truth and happiness
and folklore of freedom speakers
and lurkers of the night
Trade you for you
Trade accidents
Trade fake facades
Trade positions of power for a small room of rage
and a pencil
and a radio
and Dylan
and Bukowski
and a fan
and a pillow
and a drink
and a clear conscious
and a prescription to wonder

A Relationship in Review
Hanna Reehl

your lips were zippers
undone in the heat
and your heart keeps beating
on its humdrum drum
I’m busy searching
for the something in nothing
anxiously awaiting the day
when my teeth will be ground smooth.

Gregory D. Jaw

I will, for a time, undertake to relate my very own tale of
a Santa-Clausian mower-man, with
jiggly consumptive belly-pouch home to many a shiny
can of fine golden ales
(respect afforded for my undeniable
comprehension of taste),
a dark breathing stranger hopped up on paint fumes
and Tussed up on generic mind-destabilizing remedy,
he came a'callin' the other mornin'', swearin' jesus up and
down, a leather maniac of motorbike sermonin', a strangin'
his way up to my front door portal,
a wanderin' and a'swaggerin',
a whistlin' and a pantin',
until he found his solid footin' propped here,
before my old front door.

He ran forward in the temporal places of his enfeebled mind,
and tried to find a straight line to disseminate his addled
information regardin' the new jesus
and his tribe a heathenin', sinnin', full-time blasphemers.
He related his hoozy tale of endtimes,
a cloud of poisonin' debris, fillin' our sinnin' lungs,
an accursed tome taken from us as false mandate,
bringin' down the wrath of the true sculptor,
a ragged inventor of shiny things,

His cough was a'heavin' and he was a wheezin' when
he concluded his porchstop diatribe of disasterin' and despairin'.
I rightly proferred my own edict of sculptation.
one where the omnipresent, Mouldy One
dreams too shallow to have any real feelin' here on this
dusty rock of dirt and decay. 
I told him 'bout the darkenin', a time when his kind
would go to a flourishin' and go to a spreadin' their holy
unholy wings,
a rapin' and a takin',
a preachin' and a stealin',
growlin' on about some half-kooked sky-slob,
and pressin' all kindsa panic-buttons,
whiles they screams 'bout endtimes,
and unearth us all.

Then I went and caused him to hurt his sniffer,
as I slammed my threshold up and upon his dusky countenance.

Callie At the Miracle of Science
Marianne Szlyk

At The Miracle of Science,
the bartender mixes
a fizzy green cocktail.
Callie sips from the beaker,
but it’s the punning name of the drink,
not its taste,
that makes her wince.

Is ketchup a vegetable in this world?

The blonde in the House of Pain t-shirt,
the one who may say “warsh” for wash,
the one with a calico tattoo,
she grimaces.
She wants a bacon martini,
not spiked diet soda.
She wants to jump around.
She wants shamrocks and shenanigans.
She wants.
She yawns.
This joke has gone on too long.

Love on the Answering Machine
Louie Crew

Yes, this is just your spouse calling.
Don't cook anything.
I'm going to make my chicken dish
for  that recipe contest I'm going to enter.
So I'll see you this afternoon about sick,
'six!'--can't even talk, I'm so groggy.
And I'll bring the chicken with me.

Jeffrey Park
Our morning ablutions –
I in the master bathroom
she in the small
one upstairs.
She flushes.
The water in my toilet bowl
ripples so slightly.
The connectedness
of it all.

An Incident
Louie Crew

Walking alone to beat the heat
of the humid night, I chanced
into a spider's web, set at
eye level between two low trees.

Making the sound of a thousand harp strings,
off key and turned down low,
the maze broke in a crazed pattern
across my forehead, down my hair,
in curious, myriad channels from
nose to ear, and back to eye
and down to lips.

With an instant arc, my finger tips
clawed the threads--more from discomfort
than from dread--until I felt
they touched the monster
(for he seemed at least the size
of shrunken head or bloated thumb).

Then they couldn't find him again,
and I had to walk the mile back home
without a comb to assure that my
constant scratching was in vain.

Clearly my confusion there
obscured my seeing that
it is rare to be caught
in someone else's trap at the time
it has so little power to do me harm.

Jeffrey Park

When you kissed me
on the mouth
walked me down and
pressed yourself up against
my flinching body
put your rubbery lips hard
to my mouth
I felt it, a white hot
jolt of pain
like biting down on
aluminum foil with a mouth
full of amalgam fillings
and chewing it

and the sweet agony shot
through me
searing my neural
pathways and ultimately
coming to rest
somewhere behind my
quivering eyeballs.
I saw you through flames
your whisper stabbed
my inner ear – You’re my
zombie slave boy
now – and I gave in then
and there and let
the spirits have a ride at
my expense.

HESS: 6:33 AM
Gregory D. Jaw

The flannels and vests mill about by the deli-dog machine
chatting about weather systems, lottery prizes they cannot ever possibly win,
and television shows they missed due to long hours.

Solitary men, they enter alone,
but lazily explore each others' hovering personas,
which drift cumulonimbusly around the mart.

Men who share tales of nothing, merrily,
summoning castrated archetypes of half-assed Viking warlords
while pinching semi-repressed fizzle-farts,
sneaking carelessly out of fat asses
to surrender to the fluorescent air
floating impotently towards unconcerned, hair harangued nostrils.

Marlboros, Newports, Skoal, and PICK 6:
The closeted checkout man knows them all by name.

 Disassembling Required
Eric Dittmar

When Van Gogh cut off his ear
It was for reassurance that the rest of him could disappear

That illusion of ownership that nerves create
Should have faded with each baby tooth I lost
It didn't though, contrariwise I worried I would extend
Into roads or trees and then feel the tire's friction or the elm's blight

Empathy is a bitch of its own
I pray I never wake up with a Siamese twin
I'd have to care, lest we lapse into mutual sadomasochism
That hilarious territory of bored lovers

The Thalidomide kids might get a kick
out of feeling new arms attached to other people
but that's the exception that proves the rule

After the Vietnam war, some men believed Agent Orange
Had followed them home, alive in newly discovered nerves
Now what odd god must be behind that shit!

Mengele often awoke from dreams sweating and sure
 That his patients would learn a trick to generate biological anesthetics
He needed the feedback of sound to really understand the human body
“Prayer or pleading” he used to say with a wink to his bartender after work

Sometimes I worry that my nervous system
Might have a Mengelian agenda of its own

That I am woven into a potential torture chamber seems clear
but then I remember that I can always pull the tooth or cut off the ear

Wild Man
Eric Dittmar

I played jock jams and watched the kill cams
Without any doubt about dying
A waltzing Victorian casually avoiding IEDs
 Bombs without brand names

My eyes grew sleek my fingers black
There was so much in my peripheral vision
That I hardly cared to look ahead
Bright dust motes in swarms of sun and color

My internal temperature dropped, my teeth grew
At night I slept in a hammock
With a cat at my feet

If there was a war like the looky-loos say
It never felt that way
Though I'm sure I did my share

My low chuckling at the sight of blood
Even from my child's knee
Assures me that I did my share.

Smoking Fucking Junk
Michael Estabrook

Phil flew medical
evac choppers for
a year in
NAM. And three times enemy fire
brought him down
crashing to
the ground.
But he gets such a laugh
out of it today
such a roaring head back mouth wide open
laugh every time
he explains how these
monster machines became
6 million dollar piles of
smoking fucking junk.
He laughs, he says,
because the government lost all
that money but we know
he laughs because he cheated
death and because
the damn things were empty
at the time.

The Writing Club
Thomas Pitre

Eight of us sat around the card table
covered with a stained bedspread
baring our souls
changing our lives at the end of each line
we cautiously share.

For eight weeks
drinking green tea
and snacking on nuts
and homemade puddings,
we took our turns
growing bolder and bolder.

(1) The owner of the meeting house,
(2) a skittish housewife with a runny nose,
(3) a quiet caretaker,
(4) a retired Wall Street broker,
(5) a large framed man wearing a suit fashioned from sweat pants,
(6) his thin, nervous wife filled with the spirit of the Lord;
(7) the grim, suspicious moderator with no sense of humor,
(8) and me – a middle-aged man
with an attitude and a loathing for
rules of grammar and authority.

Broken Roads
Gordon Purkis

Broken roads are a dismal appetite
where you can’t imagine going anywhere
even if where you are is not particularly
The bounty appears invisible,
our wrists look bound and our homes
are sadly clapboarded.
Our screams too distant from the hero’s ears. 

In The Pink
Thomas Pitre

Mr. Benjamin Sutton, p-h-d, was in the pink.
At the pinnacle of his career
a consultant,
married into a rich family,
and blessed with a generous spouse,
living in a liberal ghetto in Maryland,
by choice, as his wife says.

Their large, paneled, oak, front door
framed by two brass lamps, polished weekly by
the handy man.
The round heavy steps of used, red brick
and hand-cut granite.

A fat Australian Shepard always on the step by the door,
appears in all the Christmas photos,
his blue eyes reflecting the Brinks security sign
on the lawn nearby.

His wife, a thin, delicate and exacting intellectual
took videos of the new snow on their deck
and sent them to their friends
and the kids in Florida.

He, odd looking since his teens,

due to his intensity,
used his heavy, ivory comb to fit, calibrate,
a lock of hair carefully across his forehead,
each morning, polished his gold, rimless glasses
and pulled on his brown, corduroy pants
squeaking as he walked
in cordovan loafers.

Mrs. Sutton has problems with her menstrual cycle,
making her life
and those around her,
on tippy toes
as she lay in the living room,
her eyes covered with a wet, linen cloth –
two, maybe three days each month.

Still Life in Schadenfreude 
Andrew J. Stone

his blood boils into our
cheshire lips & the aroma
of happiness saunters
towards the ticking
of our timeless clock 

Sacred vessel
Gordon Purkis

The body is sacred so I give it candy, beef,

The mind is a minefield so I give it want, fear,


I am devoutly non-secular and adamantly peculiar—
If my soul were a country I wouldn’t know whether
to lead it or leave it

Karley de la Filth

Me, at thirty-four, new to fucking
And being fucked over
You, eight years younger,
Experienced at both
Not that you ever impressed me enough
To make me cum
I gave you my heart anyway
Me, fucked over
Never properly fucked.

And yet
When the phone rings
After 8
And no one responds to my hello
I like to think
That it’s you
Missing my voice.

Gautam Sen

Sometimes it so happens
That you get a cup of tea
That isn’t quite
Your cup of tea:
Maybe there’s more sugar in it
Than you’d like,
Or maybe there’s too little;
Maybe the leaves are not
The kind you yourself
Would have ordered;
Maybe the tea’s been served with milk,
And you prefer it black;
Or granting that milk
Is acceptable to you,
Maybe it has a smell to it
That turns your stomach …
There are many possible reasons
Why the cup of tea you’re offered
May not be
Your cup of tea at all;
And yet you take it -
You take it without
A second thought,
Or maybe you wince,
You grimace a bit
As you take it,
But you take it all the same:
You realize there are times
There’s more to a cup of tea
Than just its taste.

The Chamber of the True Earth
Jude Cowan

Those who drove us below are doomed
in minutes as this directorate meets.
We jot down our grievance in worm-riddled rooms,
rustle fresh strategies out of defeat.

Hunched in weak light over mildewed plans,
supers sketch battle lines, draining felt pens.
The arms of our agents are bled for more ink.
Every small boy fills the pot of revenge.

 *All photography provided by Eleanor Bennett.


  1. Hey Hanna,

    I really enjoyed your poem...

    "your lips were zippers
    undone in the heat"

    Perfect opening. Thanks for this!


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