Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/26/20

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Cockroach Soliloquy

The cockroaches left me a wake-up message, written with saliva and excrement, it was placed conspicuously in a garbage can, where they knew that I’d find it while in search of my morning nourishment, behind the Burger King on 3rd, the dumpsters are full of cold fries and burgers, near the Farmer’s Market and Saint Francis Church.

The note was composed in Spanish, the words singing with Latin rhythm, like lyrics set to the melody of La Cucaracha song, it read like a manifesto. It explained what was this and wasn’t that, pointing out my failures and derelictions, each note-taking aim and hitting home, another wound in an already wounded soul, then it targeted me with a question.

Tell us how it feels Gringo, to have degenerated into a bicho (bug), the epitome of disgust and loathing, a repugnant insect just like us, refugees from sunlight and the day’s saving grace, wearing darkness like a bad tattoo, examples of filth greater than the “nth” degree, in constant search of dank asylum.

I wasn’t pissed off or unnerved by the text, their message spoke the truth, I most likely was looked at as shit wrapped in skin, an old guttersnipe less of the man I had once been, a scourge, a blight, an incurable infection, a scab on the face of God. But how can a fair verdict be reached, if you don’t know where I’ve been, or if my journey to now was smooth or rocky, I yelled to solicit their attention, perk up the hairs on your back legs afford me a response and listen, cockroaches all around me, with shit-eating grins ready to hear my summation.

Once upon a time and not long ago, I lived like a refined Sheikh, I was handsome, wealthy and I thought oh so clever, life was sweeter than a sun-ripened date, I negligently spent friendships and haphazardly bought others, my concern was solely about me, after years of decadent behavior, that would have made Caligula blush, I reaped the consequences of my malfeasance, my magic carpet refused to fly, the password” open sesame ” was changed, my Genie moved out of his bottle, bought a Condo in Miami, wouldn’t take my calls, ignored my wishes, and those friendships I bought, couldn’t be returned for a refund, and were no longer under warranty.

Fate always seeks a just retribution, I was left in the sewage of my pestilence, a kingdom fit for the cockroach I’d become, not regretting the lesson I’d learned, however fate has a left hand that the right isn’t aware of, on occasion it bestows another chance, I was granted a pardon and offered employment, my new job and I’m sure you’ll find this ironic, is as an EXTERMINATOR!

2020 Judge Santiago Burdon All rights reserved.

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On an unseasonably cool July morning in Chicago, equivalent to David Copperfield, Judge Burdon was born on a Friday. The Brontes, Keats, Burns and Dickens inspired his study of English Literature. He attended Universities in the United States, London and Paris focusing his studies on Victorian novels and authors.

His short stories and poems have been featured in a variety of magazines, online zines and podcasts. He is presently engaged in finishing his book Imitation of Myself. A non-fiction story detailing his experiences as a drug runner for a Mexican Cartel. Judge celebrated his 65th birthday last July and lives modestly in Costa Rica.

 

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/25/20

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CARNIVAL

Riding the 3:16 I arrive before sunrise
Even in early morn animal air sticks to my skin
I violently push the door jamb and the soul-shattering screech
awakens sleeping doves who flutter away before first light

A cracked Madonna painting hangs crooked behind the counter
A big Creole woman in a multi-colored dress
wears a feathered fedora, blows cigar smoke in my face
“Yes, Papa, you are home now, home, for the carnival.”

I mumble and take my room key like a fugitive on the run
there are hex sign protections graffitied on the walls
Goat horns and pentagrams and what I think is dried blood
“The carnival, Papa, it all begins with you.”

The Creole woman’s laughter chases me to my den
I unlock my door and again push too hard
This time the protest is silenced by new sound
distant drums, ancient song, the scattering of bones

I think of her as I walk onto the wrought iron deck
I peer through the dawn and see gator prints in the mud
I expect a scoundrel with a sack full of antebellum loot
to skip across the courtyard and gift me a wink

I think of her as I step from the balcony to my room
I know she would’ve saved me or I would’ve destroyed her
Neither option was viable
No potion can heal me now

Cathedral bells toll far away like hymns through a fog
I remember someone saying something somewhere sometime
about the ringing of the bells being the only clean thing left
I pour a double bourbon neat and hear my Creole cackle again

“The carnival, Papa, it all begins with you.”

©2020 William Teets All rights reserved.

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William Teets is an author and poet born in Peekskill, New York, who has recently relocated to Waterford, Michigan. He immensely misses New York pizza, the Hudson River, and his beloved Mets. He will write. He will survive. Mr. Teets’ works have been published in Chronogram, The Deadly Writers Patrol, Cajun Mutt Press, Art and Life, as well as in numerous anthologies. He has also published a novel, Reverend Went Walking, and a memoir, Upside Down (One on the House).

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/24/20

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The Streetlights

I think of all of the streetlights
In this city.
All of the streetlights. There must be
If not millions, then at least hundreds
Of thousands of them. Shining down
Upon the prostitutes, the dealers,
The gangs of teenage lads out looking for
Trouble, and the majority of straights
Heading to work, or on their way home.
The homeless trying to sleep in shop
Doorways, the young lovers snatching
One more kiss, the crack head snatching
Some old woman’s handbag.
Illuminating both the pride and the shame
Of this medium-sized city, and me
As sad as a wilted, dead rose, walking
Home and composing poems in my mind.

©2020 Ian Lewis Copestick All rights reserved.

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Ian Lewis Copestick is a 47-year-old writer from Stoke on Trent England. Although he started writing poetry in 2001, he only started sending them out for publication 8 months ago. In this time he has had over 100 poems and 5 short stories published. He is featured in print anthologies by Alien Buddha Press and Horror Sleaze Trash. His first book Detritus Of The Drunken Night was published by Cajun Mutt Press on April 2, 2019.

 

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/21/20

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Bridle

Raindrops can’t eclipse their intent.
Impulse overrules blur of pudency.
Nuzzling in the narrows I form lilt
of future loneliness.

Soaking in sadness attunes one to glee
and the brevity of its bid. A new page
isn’t necessarily fresh thought. Another
phase may not entail an unusual blaze
of brio.

Arrears spur the unveiling of Atropos.
Facsimile

Vacuities pitch in when I tune
into deeds of valor, how they
need to correct their curvatures
stuns me.

Another’s trial engenders me
worthy of self. When girded
with answers I escalate to my
estimate of utopia.

When bobbin of memory unspools
our appliqué I wish for a time-lapse.
From your reality is downlink to
mine. In this lives our little story.
Cockcrow

Expertise with which your adoral trail
circumvents my olfactory nerves comes
back when others borrow the bolster.
Mellifluous feelings of mudita waft
across my world as delicateness of your
doings do their bit. I want to disbelieve
noisomeness is your nectar.
Cry for Clemency

In gentilesse the aroma of graciousness
breezes through the business districts
of survival, making it a win-win station.
Cut the coarseness, howls a part of me.
The rest is mute to machinations of other
kinds. I need to engage with them. Why
does the vermiculate aggravate me? Is
this the curse of childlessness? Poems
are like progeny: after parturition, they
are nursed and nurtured till it is time to
find their future.

©2020 Sanjeev Sethi All rights reserved.

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Sanjeev Sethi is published in over 25 countries. He has more than 1200 poems printed or posted in venues around the world. Wrappings in Bespoke is Winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. It’s his fourth book. It will be issued in 2020. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/19/20

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Augur

The subtle divergence
between a tire’s puncture
and a detonation
is lost to this dusk’s flyers.
Sombre shrapnels of feathery creatures
explode from light’s tangerine volary.

I shiver in my safehouse –
perchance the drone of philosophers’ augur
about this world has found me.
Perchance sleep I no longer may achieve
without winning a Russian Roulette.

©2020 Kushal Poddar All rights reserved.

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Authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and now ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’ (Alien Buddha Press)

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/17/20

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The Peace of him that I carry

Walking into
the chapel
I keep
my hands
folded to
show

Reverence
or maybe I let
my arms hang
like a willow
tree

We sit on
benches

and stare
straight ahead
at the teenager
in a box

I am Nine
or ten
this is my first
funeral and
my parents
were not told
so I am
not
prepared
for

this,

a stranger
with pale
skin but
on his face
a smile
that looks
like

Joy.

I think
if he is
smiling
he can’t be
completely
dead and
I wait for

someone else
to notice
so he can
walk out of
this room,
laugh with Brother
and Sister Allgood

Maybe he
wasn’t smiling
and I only
imagined it
trying to
protect my soft
chewing gum heart
from the
inevitable

As if I could
fix him all up

Somehow fit our
heavy world
back on to his
too-tired
shoulders

©2020 Melanie Browne All rights reserved.

MBFW

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas. Her work can be found at The Rye Whiskey Review, Pulp Metal Magazine, Midnight Lane Boutique, and other online journals.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/14/20

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Mariposa

Gustavo was waiting on a sign, a sign from Heaven, when the golden butterfly with bright blue eye-like markings, fluttered aloft, above his head, three times, and then landed on his shoulder. He was in Barcelona at La Boquería, a large, public fresh market, as popular with the locals as it was with tourists. People could get any kind of fresh fruit, vegetable or meat there, including the famous air-dried Iberico jamón, the best (called pata negra) being from the black-footed pigs they fed acorns to and gave massages. The smell of the hams permeated the air. Typically sliced deliciously thin in a special rack with a razor-sharp knife, it would melt in your fingers and on your tongue. Gustavo and his girlfriend, Carmen, found it scrumptious with Manchego cheese. He bought some turron candy for Carmen also, since he was there. Carmen had a craving for it from time to time, and he picked up some fruit-shaped marzipan candy for her also, and some saffron to cook with himself. It is an exotic golden spice used for cooking Paella, a delicious Spanish rice and seafood dish that they both loved. La Boquería was in the Ciudad Vieja (old city) right off Las Ramblas. Some called it the Gothic district.

Gustavo was having a glass of red wine, tempranillo from the Catalan region. A dream had led him here. He had even dreamt of the same colorful gold and blue markings of the butterfly. When she lit off the shoulder of his thin, well-broken-in, brown leather jacket, Gustavo followed. She zig-zagged above the heads of the other patrons and out the front entranceway, where the sign-in Catalan reads in white letters: Mercat, and underneath, St. Josep and La Boquería under that, all on a colorful, Anton Gaudí inspired wrought-iron gate. The butterfly turned left then crossed Las Ramblas. Gustavo did not have to struggle to keep up with her or see her. She was easy to follow, so far.

Some people can see things unseen by others, deep in their mind’s eye, or feel things deep in their bones, and some have dreams with images of such profound depth etched in their subconscious that they cannot forget them. Gustavo was one of those people. Just like our bodies and minds are all different, each of us being a unique soul, so too are our levels of sensory depth and empathy. And the ranges on the spectrum of our perception varies. Some people dream in black and white or a plain grey while others dream in vivid colors and light. Some people remember them and some do not.

The golden butterfly with the bright blue eye-like markings led Gustavo down this alleyway, then that one, then another, then yet another, getting him lost in the maze of the city, but he persisted in his quest as he had felt the powerful significance in his dream of whatever it was he was being called to do and honored by the fact that it was he who was being called to do it. “I am following you, mariposa,” Gustavo whispered in the wind, “as I was led to you by my dream.”

In a narrow lot in between two apartment buildings the butterfly stopped, landing on the backend of an old brown dumpster sitting tilted in the sand and sparse grass. Gustavo halted too, wiping the sweat from his forehead and tossing his long, oily, black hair back and out of his face. You could see the washed clothes hanging out of the apartment windows to dry above, and every now and then spot a red and yellow striped Catalan flag flying in the wind or a dark blue soccer jersey with the number 10 on it. There were a lot of those, as Barcelona was Leo Messi’s team and he wore 10. In Barcelona, he is considered the best footballer in the world.

Gustavo was twenty-seven years old and an excellent flamenco guitarist, an art he learned from his father, who learned it from his padre as well, and back it went as a long family tradition. He grew up in Sevilla, where his family was from, but sought fame and success in Barcelona, where opportunities were easier to find. He dreamed of being a famous rock guitarist but he made enough to live well with the flamenco shows he did. Gustavo’s live-in girlfriend was Carmen, a thirty-year-old, long dark-haired woman, though short in stature, with soft brown eyes and a smile for everyone, who managed her own small pottery shop close to La Barceloneta beach. They did well together. They were both artists and thought a lot alike. Creative types. They had discussed marriage and wanted to be together but through inertia, they had not taken the necessary steps yet to make it happen. And they loved children and both of them wanted a child but, though they had given up birth control, it had not happened for them yet.

At the dumpster that the golden, bright blue eye-like marked butterfly led Gustavo to, he did not wait long before he heard the muffled cries of something incredibly tiny sounding, in distress. He searched around, and underneath the rusty foul-smelling behemoth, he spied the edge of a soiled pink blanket. He gently tugged the rag, dragging out the bundle of a precious newborn baby girl, still covered in the blood of birth and crying for nourishment from a mother, nowhere to be seen. There was a note pinned to the blanket that read in the Catalan language of Barcelona: “This child is called Mariposa. I could not care for her. Please take care of her and give her a good life. I pray for you G.” And there it ended.

When Gustavo read the “G,” the hair on his arms stood on end and he shivered with a single, deep, spine-tingling chill from his head to his toes and throughout his core. The gold and blue butterfly fluttered three circles or so around them, then left. Gustavo, cradling the package of the little beautiful baby, Mariposa, in his arms, walked to the next main road and flagged a taxi.

“La Barceloneta, por favor, ¡pronto!”

Carmen nearly fainted when Gustavo showed her what he had found, told her the story of the dream and about the golden butterfly with bright blue eye-like markings that he dreamt about and then saw and followed from La Boquería, and had her read the letter pinned to her pink blanket about Mariposa’s name and with the “G” at the end of it. She locked the shop door and gently cleaned the baby with clean water and rags that she had around her studio for cleaning her hands while working with clay. As an artisan, she created beautiful and colorful, notably Spanish, ceramic pieces that she’d later paint, fire in the kiln, then put on sale.

“Oh my, Gustavo. You saved this poor child. The Lord has blessed us!” Carmen exclaimed.
“We have to take care of her. Let me go and get her some food and clothes. I will return as quickly as I can.”

Carmen ran to the corner market in the Barceloneta neighborhood where she knew young mothers in the local apartment buildings bought urgent supplies for their babies, when needed. She knew more than a few of them as she had babysat from time to time for some of the ladies there. Carmen returned in a flash.

      “I have formula for the baby, Gustavo. Here. Feed her,” Carmen uttered as she caught her breath from her store run. As she was being fed, little Mariposa’s whimpering stopped and she smiled. She was comfortably ensconced in Gustavo’s comforting arms as they took turns feeding her the bottle. Her bright blue eyes sparkled as she suckled the nipple on the bottle Carmen picked up. Mariposa stretched and opened and closed her tiny fingers and kicked her tiny little pink feet with glee. Gustavo and Carmen hugged each other tight as they stared at the resting baby.

After reporting all this to the local policía and going through the necessary investigations and bureaucracy such a find would entail, Gustavo and Carmen adopted the little baby Mariposa and fell in love with her. Never before had they felt so much love, for the baby, and for each other. She was truly a gift from Heaven. Gustavo was meant to be a father, as he was a good one. They decided to get married then, right away – to be a family.

And in the spring each year, when Gustavo opened the window for the breeze and fresh air, he would invariably see a golden butterfly with bright blue eye-like markings hovering in and around Mariposa’s bedroom, as if it were checking in on her. The little girl grew up a great artist, painting butterflies, birds, dragons, and other such flying or colorfully-designed things. She always loved butterflies best though. They were some of God’s loveliest creatures, light and colorful, with heavenly markings, flittering about freely. They were known, from time to time, for delivering little messages to someone or another, with a heart like Gustavo had, from some Angel in Heaven.

©2020 John Goodie All rights reserved.

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John Goodie is a recovering programmer/analyst who found an affinity for words and began writing poems and short stories, returning to college for an English Degree and Tesol certificate to teach English to refugees and immigrants of the USA and the children and people of Spain. Now he seeks his master’s degree in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literature.