Logic Puzzle #1
Helen began logging calories last Monday
She had a bagel with cream cheese the day before
——but nothing but leafy greens two Thursdays ago
Since Helen began running (three years ago) she has averaged
——3 miles, 3 times per week except for breaks. She doesn’t
——keep track of breaks.
Helen writes 750 words per day before a cleansing cup of tea,
——but after a small coffee with milk. (Note: she doesn’t like
——milk, just the way it looks when she pours it in.)
Helen read 11 days ago that it is crucial to wash one’s face
——every night before bed.
She methodically follows written, anonymous guidance
——for about three weeks after first reading it.
Helen stopped poring over tabloids three days after
——she read about face washing. Strangely,
——that was the same day the bridge collapsed.
——She didn’t remember that. She doesn’t read
——novels or poetry or anything, really.
Helen hardly worries, by her count, about her health.
How long will Helen live?
Kelsey Nuttall is a poet from the metro D.C. area. She studied poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and her work has also appeared in publications such as the NewerYork and DUM DUM Zine.
Games and Toys From Childhood Toward Death: Part One
1. Small Fry Uncircumcised Little Pischers At Play
Inside our current other side of the tracks ramshackle house that is so ordinary compared to my kosher parents’ Beverly Hills digs, I found green and orange ones in the kids’ orphaned toy chest underneath their bunkbeds, but neither grown daughters nor their schmuck husbands nor my dropout son who still lives at home wanted any for their own.
So both were reburied underneath abandoned cracked tennis rackets deflated balls plus the missing boxing glove ‘til inquisitive older grandsons found red or yellow varieties (that part of the story has become blurred over the decades), which they filled to the brim then started soaking babies whose cries provoked other parents, none of whom were glad to have to deal with the dilemma, could’ve been avoided if only Father had thrown away temptations to develop bad – perhaps violent – habits like he had promised since the devices reappeared after all of those years.
Meanwhile the youngest’s tomcat gets dumped on me to care for now that our littlest’s pregnant, so her foetus won’t acquire Toxoplasmosis gondii – which has absolutely nothing to do with that non-violent Indian dude who almost fasted himself to death – during literal litter-box poop scooping; the animal howls and scratch scratch scratches at the master bedroom door until I wake up to lock the damn beast in the utility closet, where it creates even more ruckus which ultimately requires ear plugs; the feline figured how to break out and in, hop on Pop to spent the rest of each night tucked between us unless I bribe it back into the laundry annex with a half cup of its fave wet organic kibble; or when I’m just desperately sleepless, I actually position the orange and red defenses on the mattress as fail safes to negatively condition the tabby.
And if weapon maneuvers prove unsuccessful, maybe I’ll use the squirt guns to surprise the shit out of burglars brandishing real pistols in our recent neighborhood spate of home invasions…
Scrounging through the cellar and attic for a scrapbook of close-ups when I had hair, dodging rusty rat traps – out here in the tulies rodents really own it and we humans are visitors – I come across a treasure trove of sepia photos, several of me proudly sporting a braided ponytail, tucked underneath an old toilet board, which sets off a torrent of memories.
Ever since hippy commune days sitting side by side, my then lover surveying southern Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountain range while we were both taking dumps in the lovingly constructed redwood crapper, I’ve had obsessions to make happy aesthetic experiences from shitting.
So when our little fur family learned there was a property we could afford to homestead near Taos New Mexico, I winked at my now wife while asking realtors if there’s a four-holer outhouse with a view, which they found a bit odd to find preferable to indoor plumbing.
Ditto when the seven kids were big enough to help us maintain a chemistry professor at the University of Montana’s ranch, the winter he decided to finally have her sex change operation then needed foreman/crew to handle cows + a cash crop greenhouse hydroponics grow-op.
Finally, one way or another, reaching old age and having some savings under the floorboards, grandma/pa are given talking-tos by all sixteen of them about easing up on john lifestyles: for Hanukah they’re building matching inside heated seats, also equipped with bottom washers that play music like they do in Japan whose picture windows overlook virgin forest.
Gerard Sarnat’s been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. He’s authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016), which included work published in Gargoyle, Lowestoft, American Journal of Poetry plus work featured in Songs of Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan. Dark Run and Scarlet Leaf feature new poems. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he has three children, four grandkids.
The cry that thrills the eager crowd
Brings anguish to the keeper’s heart;
The shot that makes their striker proud
Just means our keeper’s failed his part.
It’s a ‘team game’, but once it’s in,
It’s one man’s fault and his alone;
Though missing a good shot’s no sin,
Just hear the keeper’s wretched groan!
Our team must not leave him forlorn
But show they love him like a brother –
For if they ridicule and scorn,
He will quite soon concede another,
And losing confidence, thereby,
He’ll miss one more or even two,
And then you’ll see a grown man cry;
Our captain won’t know what to do.
Instead, maintain his confidence,
And praise some aspect of his game:
A woman needs love’s eloquence;
A keeper sorely needs the same.
Just see – our keeper’s saved a shot!
Catching their forwards by surprise,
He flings the ball to where they’re not,
Arousing fans’ delighted cries;
Our striker hurries on to goal,
A sudden pass: it’s in the net.
Attack’s the keeper’s second role –
You didn’t think of that, I bet!
Matthew Harrison lives in Hong Kong, and whether because of that or some other reason entirely, his writing has veered from to literary to science fiction, and he is currently writing poetry. He has published pieces in all of these genres. Matthew is married with two children but no pets as there is no space for these in Hong Kong.