ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Veronica An
   Zack Anderson
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Craig Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Leah Brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Zachary C. Bush
   Tony Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   HélÚne Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Terry Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J. de Salvo
   J de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Dorsey
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Ron Dvorkin
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   Matt Harris
   William Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Jessica Healy
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gary Justice
   Gene Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Ashley King
   Robert S King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Lee Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   David McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Toti O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Nina Orlovskaya
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
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   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Kristena Prater
   Luke Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
   Alison Ross
   James Robert Rudolph
   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
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   Howard Sage
   Russell Salamon
   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
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   Lorraine Sautner
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   Peter Schwartz
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   Sondra L. Scott
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   Lisa Segal
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   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
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   Lee Sloca
   Carol Smallwood
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   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
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   Karr Stratynberg
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   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Dee Sunshine
   Mani Suri
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   Barbara A. Taylor
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   Allen Taylor
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    The Unarmed Man
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   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
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   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Evan Traiger
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   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
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   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
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   Gene van Troyer
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   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
   Evan Walsh
   Sharieff Walters
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   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Leigh White
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
   Amye Wilson
   Alicia Winski
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   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
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   Julie Yi
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   Gregory T. Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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David Herrle
May 2005
   

 

We Are Electric Meat

(excerpt from Where Are You, Fine-Wine Face?)



Mona had always loved Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata. The patient unrest, the quiet anguish, the to-and-fro tempo.

Da-da-da/da-da-da/da-da-da/da-da-da/one-two-three/one-two-three/one-two-three/one-two-three. Beethoven’s music was, as Mona put it, “graceful sadness."


While the “Moonlight” played, Mona imagined Beethoven’s precious fingers. She wondered if such an artful man could also be an artful lover. Could he play a woman’s body like a piano? She closed her eyes, imagining nimble fingers tapping the moon’s mad sadness from her body. Da-da-da/da-da-da/da-da-da...


Nero would be back soon. Mona felt profane. She felt like she was teasing the good boy who truly loved her while the bad boy would soon reap her physical rewards. She felt like a Judas-woman betraying the moonlight’s only begotten song. Nero had seduced so many women, and Mona knew this fact. He freely shared the most perverse stories with her. However, Mona’s attraction only increased. She belonged to a lucky heritage, a chosen harem, but she had unlocked Nero’s honesty. She had concluded the heritage, stopped it in its tracks.


“Lucy, I’m hooome!” Nero called in a Desi Arnaz voice. He poked his head in the door and then jumped all the way in, thrusting a dozen roses toward Mona. “Ta-daaaaa!”


Mona turned off the CD player and accepted the flowers. “Aw, thank you, Nero. You’re sweet.” All her distrust for him drained. “Did you find the wine?”


“Of course I did, legs,” Nero boasted through perfect teeth, showing the bottle. “As red as your cheeks will be...after the spanking.”


“I’m impressed!” said Mona. A few seconds later she realized the cheeks innuendo. The quick image warmed her. She took the wine and roses to the kitchen. “Want some wine now?” she asked, setting the bouquet and bottle down on the counter.


“Yes!” Nero cheered. He inched his way into the kitchen like a swashbuckler, waving a closed umbrella like a sword. Mona backed up, grabbed the bouquet from the counter, and parried his attack. Something shattered on the floor below her. Mona stepped forward and slipped, crashing face first to the floor. Nero broke caught her body, but her temple hit the leg of a chair. Pain blinded her.


“Mona, Mona!” Nero lifted her to her feet. “You’re okay, you’re okay. You knocked over the wine bottle and it broke.”


Shame replaced the pain. Wine spread like a blush over spanked cheeks. Mona hid her face in Nero’s chest, fighting sobs. Her body shook. She felt wine on her legs.


“You’re okay, legs. You’re okay. You’re just shaken, that’s all. Come on, let’s go in the other room. Come on.”


“I feel so stupid,” Mona said. “And that fall. I could have...I could have broken my neck and died.”


“No, no.”


Nero tried to get her to sit but Mona politely pushed him away. “Yes! I felt like I was going to shatter like that bottle! Look at me! My whole body’s shaking like a leaf!”


“Thank goodness leaves don’t shatter,” Nero joked.


Mona laughed. “They break if they’re old,” she pouted, returning to his big arms.


“Thank goodness you’re far from old, Mona. You’re in youth’s nucleus.”


I hardly know this man, Mona realized. Despite all the time we’ve spent together, I really don’t know this man!


“Look at it this way. You almost died back there and I saved your life. I’m your hero.”


“Nero the Hero,” Mona giggled. She rubbed her temple. “You saved me.”


As Nero squeezed her and pecked at her neck, Mona imagined her dead body sprawled on the kitchen floor. She became aroused, thinking of how easily and quickly death happened, how powerful the living are compared to the dead.


“Mona, we all die. That’s why we need to have a blast while we’re here,” said Nero. “We’ve hardly several decades, and hardly a few of sexuality. Even Marilyn Monroes shrivel and die. You, Mona, will die someday.”


Mona’s eyes had trouble blinking. To blink would be to miss a millisecond of Nero’s white teeth as he spoke. “I will die some day,” said Mona. The bare statement inflated her crotch. For the first time in her life she found the thought of her death arousing. She imagined a lifetime of excess and indulgence taxing and fattening and stressing her body until death would come as a relief to the frame and organs and brain and old, overused tongue. I will die someday. Nero wrapped around her like a boa. Someday my body will turn blue, bloat, stink, decay, Mona thought. But now I am powerful, a goddess compared to the corpse I’ll be after death. Mona’s heart pounded like police at a door.


Nero grinned proudly, flaunting his white teeth. “The world is at your tongue tip, Mona,” Nero whispered. “ There’s no time to worry about limits. Your body craves all it can experience every moment. It knows the clock; it knows mortality. It’s desperate and greedy. To hell with heaven and the Pearly Gates. You’re heaven; I’m heaven. And sometimes we can be naughty. We can dabble in hell, too.”


This man’s mouth is the Pearly Gates, those teeth that rip and chew meat. They could bite me awake. Chew me like meat. Mona grasped for control. “But what’s the use of it all if we die anyway?” she asked. The “Moonlight” sonata seemed a figment from prehistory, a vague noise from a worthless, brutal past. It’s all the same stuff, all meat, all electric meat that’s attracted to other electric meat.


The beautiful man pointed a finger and touched it to her nose. “Fun, Mona. For fun. Come into the bedroom with me, Mona.”

Mona could only nod. They drifted into the bedroom.


“How old are you, Mona?” Nero asked, unbuttoning her blouse.


“I’m…uhh…I’m thirty…”


Mona’s shirt blew apart. “Have you been with many men?”


“No…”


The man nestled his nose behind her ear. Mona couldn’t feel his large hands. She imagined them circling her body like warplanes, choosing their targets, preparing to attack erogenous territory. She pretended to be a blindfolded prisoner before a firing line, waiting for the teasingly delayed bullets. Mona waited for Nero’s absent hands as he swabbed her ear with the sly muscle in his mouth. Soon his hands would meet her flesh like hammers. She felt her shirt glide down her legs and over her feet. Mona’s bowels tightened; her neck went limp.


“Only…a few…men,” she admitted. Knowing she was crashing, Mona tried to stabilize. She tried to focus on the gloomy, sober first movement of the “Moonlight”, but her body was all Presto Agitato.


“They were lucky men, weren’t they, Mona?” Nero taunted. “Lucky to have touched you, to have experienced you. Their death-aware bodies were desperate gluttons for your body, your lucky body.”


“Yes, yessss…lucky…” No Havens to save her now. She was alone against this devil.


“Why did you let them, Mona?” the man asked, unzipping the back of her skirt.


“Because they wanted me,” said Mona. “They desired me.” It’s happening. I’ve held out, but now it’s happening. I’m letting it happen. Letting him, letting him…


Nero’s hands finally clenched around her. He lifted her arms above her head. Mona gasped. Nero ran a finger from her arms to her waist. “This is all there is. Life is short and bodies are shorter. The body is the sole meaning in the universe. Once it ends, you end. Once you end, another body takes your place. This body is all there is, Mona. Let me please it. Let me share its brief meaning.”


“Okay…I’ll let you…”


“The moon can watch. I’m the Big Bad Wolf, Mona. Don’t worry about anything but the bright red now in your body…”


Mona let the man ravage her. Through the window the moon glared at them like a disapproving mother. She felt the backs of her legs strike the bed and fell back.




We smell, thought Mona, waking the next morning. So much for glorious bodies. We smell. Nero lay on his back, snoring. His mouth gaped. Mona could slightly see his eyeballs between the eyelids. He looked dead. His nipples were hard in the morning cold. They were pale and weird. Every mole on his belly and chest repulsed her now. She could smell his sour breath.


“We’re decaying everyday,” Havens had often said. “We’re in a constant struggle against degradation and rot.” Mona hadn’t allowed herself to think of Havens since she first visited Nero’s penthouse. She could hardly remember Havens’ face as she lay on the smelly bed. She not only smelled Nero, but she smelled herself on Nero. And Nero on her own body. Never again, she thought. Never, never again. What was I thinking? How did he get here? I don’t even know his last name! I know how he sounds in ecstasy but not his full name!


The rude sun filled the room, boasting the same light that had illuminated the moon last night. Mona once liked the sun. Lately she dreaded it. It made her feel tired, exposed, and ugly. She felt so much prettier at night.


Mona studied Nero’s vulnerable body. She could hack it to chunks with an axe if she wanted. She found it difficult to believe it had so pleased her only hours ago. How quick, the body’s fall from grace. She turned away.


“Good morning, legs.” A hand touched her bare back.


“Good morning,” Mona said, standing. The hand touched her butt.


“Yummy,” said Nero.


Mona retrieved her panties and slipped into them. “I need a shower.”


“Oh? I thought we could go for Round Three.”


Twice. The first time I let him and we did it twice. I’m already used! Used! “I’m sore. Sorry.”


“Ah, the pain of pleasure.”


Mona turned and suddenly asked, “How many women have you done this with, Nero?”


“How many women? Why?”

“Why? Because we had sexual intercourse all night, that’s why! I want to know what kind of man I’m really with!”


Nero shook his head like a toying parent with a child. “Got things backwards, don’t you, Mona? Why does it matter now?”


“It doesn’t,” Mona snapped, getting a towel from the hall closet.


“Want me to make us breakfast?” Nero called.


“I’m not hungry!” She slammed the bathroom door.


Once the hot water struck her skin she began to feel better. She lathered soap over her body, scrubbing as if shedding shame and regret. Havens, Mona thought, I’ll never forget the waterfall. How it veiled us from the others, though we could see them, like a two-way mirror. The thought of Havens invigorated the cleansing.


Mona closed her eyes and concentrated on the steam and the water’s strong pressure. “Washing the animal away is a sacred activity,” Havens always said. “Civilization is so fragile, so easily degraded.” Mona decided that she’d break it all off with Nero as soon as she finished her shower. Never again, never again, she vowed.


Mona believed so even when she saw Nero’s form through the translucent shower curtain and steam. She believed so even when the shower curtain opened on one side and Nero stepped in. She believed so even when Nero’s hands ran through the lathered soap on her body. But when his mouth began to work its black magic, Mona lost her belief in soap. Mockery rained on her; all her noble will wilted. Not like Havens. Nothing like him, she thought. Not like Havens. Nothing like Havens. Worshipping nothing more than my body. Not me, just my body. Not like Havens. Nothing like him. And I love it. I love it. I love it, love it, love it…

Mona spilled to her knees and returned the worship in a wet blindness.

copyright 2005 David Herrle