by Joanne Cornelius & J.E. Stanley

Just before dawn,
dew drips
and rivers flow
to a smoky LA den.
Sun, world and
hope locked out.
Here in this blue-hazard harbor,
the fallen congregate,
compare scars,
compile endless lists of regret-
words of no meaning
etched in the ashes
of lost possibility.

A plaintive sax bleeds
slow blue-hazed lines
from scratched jukebox vinyl
while hollowed cheeks,
weary from unproductive draws,
blow lipstick rings
of unrequited yearning,
glasses raised to
life's reckless intentions extracted,
retracted into dungeons of self-
imposed retribution.

Worn decks of cards,
but no poker. Not here,
where every deal yields two pair:
red Hickok aces
and Dead Man's Hand eights.
The fifth card always the Queen of Hearts,
the specter of what could have been,
now reduced to blue-hazed evanescence.

Even in here,
she haunts me,
avoids the mirror behind the bar,
to sit in the blue-hazed corner,
and bleed distant dark moon memories.
I'd give anything to hold her,
to heal her,
but her ice pick stare
pierces deep,
stops my approach.

Nothing left but the wait for sunset,
when stark reality loosens its grip
and the white moon falls down
to lick the blue-hazed earth.
One last sip
of deep red wine,
devoid of all truth,
and we are free
to leave this place,
to embrace the cold comfort
of numb anonymity
in the dark,
if unforgiving,

"Fallen" has been previously published in "Dissonance" (deep cleveland press).

Of leashes
I've grown fond -
the marks
they leave on my flesh,
the texture of purple
and red,
pain would be yellow

the sky above
reflects my skin,
the colour is the same
but breaches
open amongst the clouds
thin like cuts
and yet
large enough to make me see
a luminous blue tinted with white

I project myself towards that blue
I feel (and this is yellow too)
I should get there

but I love my leashes
and I have grown
fond of the canvas of my skin
Joe London
'of fishnets and fuck me shoes' : Spyros Heniadis