Swimming with Elephants Publications

an independent, not for profit, publishing agent focusing on supporting the working author and non-profit organizations


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May 2017 Featured Writer: Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan “Wellbutrin in my Brain”

Wellbutrin in my Brain

There is Wellbutrin in my brain,
and I’d like to get it out.

It has stayed far too long –
the formidable clout
of its club fisted edges,

That pried out my eyes
and deftly snipped stitches
from my brain –

In dreams my teeth
have mostly fallen out.

“And I wonder”,
I whisper aloud – too loudly:
where I was, what I did?
yesterday in a cloud….

Where’s my phone or my wallet,
my mind, my disguise?

Who took them?
Was it you or that stealthy NDRI?

Eating all my grey matter
with tea like Mad Hatter.

I’m fat and puffy yet endlessly hungry,
my hair in my hands and
my back to the wall of a cliff;
then falling, falling
into a Dali sea –

Rife and roiling with
lunatics like me.

All I did was try;
but life at times proves hard –
With little sleep, little babies, little men.
Or maybe a Leprechaun did it to me –

While megalomaniacs
with their perky careers,
nod their heads,
dot their i’s
then turn a deaf ear.

I am dying in here.
I can’t seem get out,
from the weight of the pain
and horrendous gout –

Like the snout of a ghastly Frisco seal –
I’m snorting smoke signals
in a hopeless appeal –
Could I make this up?
God saw me not –
Nor heard me screaming:
“I forgot!”

How to go on? And go on I must,
for there is nothing
in the skies you see –
At least nothing that’s just:

No Angels, no demons,
nor circles with Dante;
No pearly white gates
nor red horns on Satan;

Not even your naughty Minotaur –
with its head of you, man
and the flesh of my breast –

No matter how much you want there to be.

Only worms and dirt,
coffins and me –
our own little babies and the
endless sea.

I rose adrift on a raft of twigs
a sinking hull with whipstitch lashings,
a remnant of what I learned while falling;
no sail, no compass –
nets endlessly trawling.

In a storm for the ages
I’ve washed up on shore
battered and broken yet
drowning no more.

Begging for water;
fresh – not salt laden,
I’ve enough in my well
of the tears now abated.

So what will become of
my huge frontal lobe?

Of my life, of my heart –
both woefully splayed,
spread eagle on rocks –

Seagulls ripping away
the entrails and innards
of my body’s own pockets –
Paired with once fragrant wine
gone awry in my crotch.

They pick clean the memories
of you, sad man, and me –

Remember us once and our glassy eyed stares?
Glowering back from the page –
now, no one’s there.

I alighted the rooftop
couldn’t leave, couldn’t jump
so I held on and prayed
I had nipples to pump –

Cough me up, spit me out!
I leave in my wake
deep oceans of grief,
waves cresting with guilt.

The Painful divide
of perceived demise.

I’m alive and I know
there’s no place to go back to.
Our pain is only as deep
as we practice.


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April 2017 Featured Writer: Melissa Rose “Demeter Speaks to Persephone After Her Rape”

Demeter Speaks to Persephone After Her Rape:

Daughter, the end of summer will always be a signal. You will never forget when spring was taken from your skin. Only the smokey smell of the season’s changing. The chill of the place his hands found. It is amazing how the body remembers. Like the trees after a forest fire, you will ache from a wound you place at the back of your mind. I also know what it’s like to feel empty. I can still remember the hollow absence of you in my womb. When I birthed you into the sun a girl. This was my mistake. I should have known how girls are plucked so easily from the Earth. How they are placed in vases. How their beauty is seen only as something to be owned. Even goddesses are not safe from assault. Every winter, I remember too. How we danced. How we bloomed. How I held you in my arms and whispered “sweet girl” “sweet sweet girl” You most of all should never know how the world only holds you close enough to stab you. How any day may be the day you lose your limbs. How soon enough you will face yourself in the mirror and not recognize who you are. How can I prepare you for that? When you stumble back to me with stories of how his touch reminded you of death. How every year you feel like dying. How the sunlight no longer gives you warmth. How they will make a myth out of you and he will still sit on a throne. There is a reason they call me Mother. I am good at watching the things I love suffer. Holding a place for tears is not easy but I would gladly trade your’s for my own. Anything to let go of watching the journey of my children as they stand painful in abandoned fields like stalks of withered corn. When you walked back from Hades and its darkness I made sure the sun would show you that hiding your pain from the light only kills you slowly. And I will tell you, Daughter that everything dies but it is never the end. Do not forget you are a goddess. That the sun is shining for you. Your skin is not a fruit he sunk his teeth into, it is an orchard. Your body is not a withered stem, it is a rosebush. Every year may remind you, but never forget that above all else, you were made from this Earth. You are not a victim of it. You are the fertile soil. Ready to grow. I will mourn with you. I will show them all how to bend to your pain. How they will share your grief every time you are forced back into his bed. I will plant seeds, naming each one after you, kissing them like children, letting them sleep and dream of your return. And there, in the dark, you will find yourself yourself again. Hands in the dirt, feeling the flesh of your fruitfulness not as something to be stolen, but savored. Sweet girl, you are a survivor. You were made for greater things than the Queen of Death. And you will find them here. In the Spring.


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March 2017 Featured Author: Hilary Krzywkowski: Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny

magical-childwhile waiting for my son to come out of his OT appointment at Akron Children’s
medical technicians micro manage the unfolding petals of childhood,
Ph.D.’d brains unanimously decide it should be called “development”
a forcibly renamed life cycle, diluted with the new age sorcery of
mechanical blossoming, socio-genetic programming out all signs of life
and a headmistress calls this convoluted structure of civilization: brain function.
in prostration to the wires of curriculum pasted on a state-licensed forehead
we learnt the lessons
read the writing in censored books like it was 1984 all over again
and no talk with hands, instead
hands collapsed around a pencil
must draw carefully metered forms
education specialists cannot handle a child’s life force
they call it dysfunction and disorder, its antidote: special Ed.
but
real “development” disables long valued, yet rotting social structures
founded by fathers who raped the children themselves, by the sweat of their brow,
before pulling a plow through the tender loam of the womb,
slipping the pistol into mother’s mouth
they’d blow away their own reflection
mirror shrapnel, intellectual entanglement
no words can suit the meaning of life, its
shoes too small, too large, too pointy and too wide, too expensive.
everyone wears shoes that do not belong to—
not every human can afford ignorance and must go out into the world
straight out of the womb in most cases,
to a brick hut where inside the teats are fashioned from petroleum by-products
and excrete the milk of printed paper or numbered plastic
sworn by the wealth and affluence of the conquistadors
who took captive shamans and bent them over bibles
and cut off their hair
and forced pure and tender places open to the self-righteous excrement of white devils.
i know all this, yet we are all here today participating in the great tradition of Progress,
Libertas.
and i wait
while my innocent little boy is alone in a room with another woman
who will pretend to be his friend, trick him with a treatise for peace
while tapping his brain for its natural resources.
but
i will take this boat as far as the fork
and then all unexpected-like,
we will close our eyes together, each from our respective positions in space,
and materialize a bend sending us along a new course far away from here.
we shall disappear to the place of my boy’s choosing
because only his imagination is safe.
deep into the core of substance are we going. deep into the spirit of things.


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March 2017 Featured Author: Hilary Krzywkowski: The Future is a Painted Skeleton

THE FUTURE IS A PAINTED SKELETON

stimming-and-dancingMy tribe is gone.
I have to take off my clothes.
I dance and my sister crashes down from the sky
and the blisters heal.
My tribe is gone.
Trees swear around me.
Standing on the shore we watch the ships,
and you say
“there are things you should learn, like driving”
I yell, the car spins out,
spinning circles too close to fences and houses
knocks down a mailbox, grazes a tree.
My tribe is gone.
I saw and I heard all the white folks
make the best cowboys and
Indian wisdom, though it has to camp out all night,
it wins the war against four hundred thousand guns.
And my tribe is gone.
I take one lock of hair, cut it like a promise
and all 400,000 promises come true.
The drug wears off while I dance,

I know my tribe is gone.
They always knew what time it is
and I can’t really understand memories and dreams and voices.
Its inside me, the dance shakes me into dissonance.
And the white cowboys call it Autism.

 

 


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March 2017 Featured Author: Hilary Krzywkowski: A Lady Yells Through The Open Side Door Into An Autistic Woman’s House

A Lady Yells Through The Open Side Door Into An Autistic Woman’s House

Don’t shout for me
I can’t answer you
meltdownWith what little words I have lodged in my throat
Jagged, rough stones painted with child’s words of endearment and scary,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Tufts of string tangled, matted into balls with lint and dust fluff that choke,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Long-lost pieces of jewelry, inherited but forgotten, dreams for heirs,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Frogs jumping, some without legs, others with poisonous purple and yellow skin,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Stickles of doubt, a twitchy snout, prodding the soil for grubs, friendship,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Wind and water, hail and lightning, electric trembling crashes, orgasmic catastrophe,
With what little words I have lodged in my throat
Swallow down, broken glass, internal bleeding, quiet feeling, not today.
Lady—
not today.
My door is open
But that doesn’t mean I’m home.