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Archive for the ‘Caper Issue 2’ Category

The Old Dean, James G. Piatt

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He gazed numbly at old tree limbs with withered leaves through iron bars covering his office window. Bars were symbols of his state of being, a lock in a link of chain wrapped around his mind. He pondered past decisions to elude another prison. He escaped from one intolerable cell only to find himself in one many times darker.

A small metal sign attached to his door denoted his esteemed position, Dean. His sterile cell was fitted with dirty, faded brown carpet and broken ivory Venetian blinds. He sat at a scarred metal desk and stared at dirty white walls soiled by time’s neglect. He was held prisoner to inane and mundane tasks and trivial goals. The gray evening turned ebony before his weary eyes. Black clouds covered the sky and his brain with a gloomy shroud of numbness. His only solace was an old ivory colored radio, softly playing Bach.

He had discovered that happiness and position were unrelated. Too many lives, as one once said, are lives of quiet desperation. Empty jobs and unfulfilled dreams are the outcome of deceitful and beguiling nightmares. Happy are they who, regardless of their position, enjoy the tasks set before them and look foreword each day to their work. Money, position, and status are false phantoms of reality.

He gazed upon the sunrise as he drove to work. Orange and pink clouds appeared, and a new day was born. Thoughts of better days passed briefly across his mind. He attempted to hold on to the image of hope. He knew the image would be driven away soon by a bully in a lofty position who demanded total subservience to accomplish his banal inanities.

His eyes gazed across the silent pastures in the distance. His mind sought to photograph the scene for future desperate hours in the market place of dull gray absurdity. The beautiful images always faded away during the pursuit of trivial tasks made large and ugly by an intolerant and despotic man.

His eyes stared at the dark road that took him home in the early hours of the morning. His mind strived to capture the essence of home and family as he tried to push the day of stressful and bitter work away from his conscious brain. Dark images of an arrogant bureaucratic and incompetent despot still clouded his mind with a gloomy dullness.

His mind thought toward tomorrow. His eyes struggled to capture the image of his ultimate escape. He hoped his mind would remember the image throughout his remaining days of meaningless tasks, boring work and the insane demands of a bureaucratic tormenter with a hollow soul.


Written by caperjournal

2009 at PM

Incunabulum 4º; a-j⁸; [64] Leaves — Andrea Fernandez

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Incunabulum 4º; a-j⁸; [64] Leaves

By Andrea Fernandez

Tintero arrived at the workshop the previous year biting his nails to the cuticles with foreboding. He knowingly caused quite a commotion when his cinnamon hand presented that prodigious letter, which without warning spiraled the copiously stoic Fadrique the German into an indisposition surely caused by an excessive outburst of bile in the humors, and generally provoking havoc in the shop, with typists scurrying to and fro as though Burgos had unexpectedly transmuted itself into a vessel afloat a tempest. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM

A Nipple’s Compensation — Sofia Stephenson

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A headless woman is spotted by the girl across the alley.  She is topless—the woman—and moderately obese.  The girl’s eye gets snared on her nipple like a writer on a moment with potential.  The nipple is Mars in a white spotted night.  How could she be missed?  She packs a black suitcase from the neck down, the head cut off by the upper sill of the window.  She moves in and out of view in girlish white cotton underpants.  The girl is delighted.  This is the first nipple the hotel has borne. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM

A Timid God in Mexico — Lisa Marie Basile

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(an excerpt)

Sophia saw the bottom of the lake as she would the old Mexican gods. That was a perfect place.

This was the end. The bottom of the lake, coming toward her like the hands of her gentle Quetzalcoatl, became the archway to an infinity where color was replaced by flowers blooming into reality from little holes in the Universe, creating elaborate vines where marigolds mothered roses and serpent Gods slept on petals.

Here were the writhing giants trapped in thoughts and prayers, and the feathered serpents choking the breath from the Holy Father. Not on purpose, but because the world spins so quickly, and because the stars are so bright that snakes are sometimes drunk on all heavenly dance, Quetzalcoatl scaled into the churches and tried to dance with Jesus.

The white man with the translucent eyes, with his hands tucked up into the shape of a perfect steeple, he didn’t dance. The snake was sorrowful. “Why won’t you dance with me. Danza. Move.”

The Jesus’ eyes were empty and longed for a way to step down from the cross, off of his ivory pedestal, and so he bowed toward the serpent and murmured to himself a prayer.

Quetzalcoatl laughed, and asked how powerful a God could be if he were found praying for salvation. “Jesus, are you not the manifestation of God himself? Hola, ¿usted es dios, no?”

Jesus quivered, backing away from Quetzalcoatl’s feathers, which both tickled and agitated him. “I am the son of . . . ”

“Right,” the giant said.

Sophia was just outside the great church, sinking. In this heaven, there is a ranchero filled with sunlight, always skimming the surface of every body and lighting them enough with the color of sun that no one is forgotten and everywhere is seen. There would be music and food forever, and here, the Old World Gods would eat pan de muerto with you, because you’re dead and why not celebrate?

Jesus and Quetzalcoatl talked for a bit, deciding that they could split the heavens to the East of Cassiopeia. “La Diabla is in the South, of course and there are a few others somewhere out there, so if you will tell your people to stop killing my people, por favor, por favor. Loco! I will stop scaring your white land and your white people by coming into their dreams and telling them all about how we swoop around on the Calle drinking the blood of babies. You know it’s a joke, una broma . . . at least these days.”

Sophia shut her eyes and rested, and Quetzalcoatl stomped out of the church, un hombre feliz, a divine businessman, and held her in his scales. He brought her to the place where all the heaven looked like a dream and followed no rules. Sometimes those translucent people would tromp over the border in the sky and say, “Oh my Good god. Where are we?”

To which they would reply, “You are in Mexico. Also known as heaven.”

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM

Not For Long and Nothing Done — Roberto Beltran

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My mother was a prostitute in Mexico before dancing her way to
America.  The man she found to take over for the man who stayed inside
of her for too long, was a blue-eyed teamster from Southern California
who had a knack for cards, and for some reason, smoked cigarettes like
God would – each cigarette never knowing at what level of its fiery existence it would be put out.

The first time I met my soon-to-be father was an hour before he was
about to sneak me into the country where he already had my mother all dolled-up in
front of a washing machine waiting to complete her instant family.

He brought me my first ever pizza pie, thinking that this hot treat
would help calm my illegal immigrating nerves, which at three years-old, I had none
whatsoever.  I was just going for a long ride away from Mexico forever with the white man who
married my young mother before knowing who she was.

He picked me up and put me on the warm hood of his car.  I stared at
him while he was looking the other way and smoking, almost posing for
me. I liked how he looked.  He was a toughly beautiful man with a pair
of eyes so blue that the whole world became dark with each blink, but
not in a soft way.  His greased blondness told of never taking
overdone showers with fancy soaps and sponges that come from the
warmest oceans. The type of man who only showered to get the blood off
his hands after hours of working hard with metal tools that sometimes
work back, or to get the stink of the other woman off of him before
coming home.  He’s very tan because he just is, not because he tiptoes
around the beach in panties.

I did what I knew, so I tried to eat this whole pizza pie as if it was
a giant taco.  He laughed at me for not knowing what to do, and handed
me his lit cigarette while ripping off a proper slice for me to eat.
Which I still ate like a taco.

The only soft thing about my father was that he didn’t drink, but on
that day he had a little bottle of cheap whiskey for me to sip myself
to sleep with.  He’s always known how to get a Mexican to do what he

I awoke from the third hangover of my used adolescents in the trunk of
a 72 Cadillac Eldorado on top the makeshift bed my awaiting mother
whipped up for me to be comfortably smuggled. And I was.  My mother’s
willingness was what got me into America.  He opened the trunk and
carried my, pretending to still be passed out body, alongside the
other things my mother left back in Mexico. I used the butt of his
cigarette as a pillow for my adult-pained head while passing through
the doors of my new world in his arms.  I knew my new father as much
as I did my mother, so I decided to love him first. I was in his land,
plus he was tough looking when smoking his cigarettes and I always
knew to trust man with habits.

My mother smelled sweet while watching me be carried off into my first
bedroom by her new husband.  She’s done good with the things
considered naughty, and now she can lay back and play the housewife
and try to forget her pleasuring past. I dreamt of my mother’s aunt
crying for me on my first night in America.

In the beginning, I spent all my time inside our condo watching TV
until my little brown eyes bled tears.  Hours were spent in front of
that stupid machine throwing an unfamiliar language at me instead of a
ball.  My mother was living up that whole housewife thing that she
had been fucking for so many of her young-years to get, so she was
busy living it, and that left her from bothering me too much. It was
always nice watching that beautiful woman working so hard for the man
of the house.

I think my mother’s aunt tried to feed me from her dry tit once, and
that’s probably why I always ate sand when at the beach.

Our condo had a very male dullness to it – huge TV set with a
worthy sized couch in front of it – A bad oil painting with two naked
black women caressing a cloud of dancing smoke – and a coffee table
mostly used for sex finished off the living room.  The best thing
about the kitchen was the beautiful Mexican bride who did not talk and
who smelled better than her cooking. I only heard my mother and
father’s bedroom. And my bedroom was empty but for the little Mexican
boy sleeping on his belly on the rug.  They didn’t think I was ready
for a bed yet.

My mother was still having trouble with putting away the streets. Even
while standing off in the corner of the kitchen having a safe glass of
water she looked ready for a ride.  And the sonofabitch mailman
thought so too, always passing the mailbox down below on his way up to
my mother opening the door with a look of willingness to make a deal,
but the kitchen-knife’s handle poking out of my little boot kept that
mailman from asking her price.

Sometimes I would wear a cardboard box on my head, but I was always
shirtless with cowboy boots ridding underneath short shorts.

I knew it was time for my mother and I to meet my new grandparents
when she put me inside a little, stiff suit and removed my
kitchen-knife. Her holding it as if I owed her money was the only
reason I let her do it.  My mother was wearing a dress she would’ve
worn to prom if she was American and knew how to read.  A black,
western style button-up shirt, his good cowboy boots and the pair of
un-faded blue jeans  that I use to comfortably fit inside was what my
father was wearing.

I met my new grandparents in the fanciest restaurant I’d be allowed in
from that night on.  My stupid suit made me look like a little waiter,
but my skin tone made me the cutest dishwasher.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of grandma, for I never saw such beauty
all over an old lady before that night. Gracefully aged blond hair
with ropes of gray wrapping around chunks of gold placed on top her
high head.  Long femme neck that helped win World War II.  Exposed
collarbone kept sharp by the ridding diamond chain and the rough
falling down skin.  Fingers born to hold wealth.  Wrinkles and spots
that must of been bought, for her oldness was tailor fitted.

My new grandpa’s jaw kept making a neat snapping noise each time he
took a bite down on his fancy food. The sound coming from too many
years of worrying about becoming worth more. He was a fancy tough guy.
His clean hands came from the dirt and not from a well groomed mother
and father ready to continue the high dollar death like their mother
and father before.  He found his wife down on his way up.  The rim of
his white collar shirt will always be stained with the hard work of
where he came from, and that’s why it’s always going to be blue.

When and where did I get all this class?  I knew exactly what fork to
use.  I sipped at my glass of bubbling water like a spoiled pony.  And
I  knew not to show myself to the waitress.

Like almost all the women there, our waitress was very beautiful.  I
could tell that my father and grandpa thought so, too, so I showed
just my father that I also liked what I saw by giving him an overdone
wink and pointing to where my dick should of been, while sucking on my
bottom lip  like a little brown pig hungry for something he doesn’t
Inexperienced sexual hand movements came next. I’m a smuggled child,
so of course I kept all my dirtiness away from all eyes but the ones
my father was using in being discussed in me and the lack of realness
to his fake food. My mother was in love with all that fanciness, and
after that night would never again eat her meals from a banana leaf.

My new grandmother and grandfather seemed to have liked me well
enough, even after sexually harassing our waitress, eating with both
my hands and feet, and shitting my little pants. They just thought
that my mother got lucky.

That was the first time I realized that hearing  a fart makes me laugh.

When the weekend came my father stayed passing his unpaid time on
the couch drinking coca colas out of thick glass bottles with me at
his side, and watching my mother, who was always ready to make snacks
for both of us, or love to just him.

Almost every Sunday afternoon my father would take me to the
barbershop for a cut.
That place was always filled with fathers and sons that looked like
one another. I was the only bastard there, and the only one not asking
his father stupid question about rainbows, wizards and fairies.  And
they begged their daddies for loose change to put inside a squared
machine that spit out big hard colored balls of sugar that turned into
a wad of chewing gum after a lot of work from mouths that didn’t yet
have their man-teeth.
Those little hyper assholes ran around that place with colorful
mouths, while I sat next to my proud father eating an authentic taco
waiting for my turn to go to the chair like a man.

I swallowed my front tooth that night.

I finally began to venture out in our safe neighborhood only at
night when the kids were in and their stuff was still out before their
parents heard that a Mexican was in town.  My mother was too beautiful
to care, and my father could not tell the difference between grandma’s
spoils and me cheap thefts.  My mother always had flowers and my dad,
sprinkler heads.

Going out during the day took a little bit longer, but when I did, I
acted as if I had the dark to hide what I had in mind.  I didn’t want
to play casa with the other kids. I wanted to do bad.

Throwing rocks at cars from way up high inside a burnt down tree
house.  Giving the “finger” to those who saw me shitting in the
streets.  Spitting on babies and their shocked mothers.  Helping out
ladies walk through my shit.  Walking into hair salons naked and lying
on the laps of the ladies with their heads stuck inside machines.
Getting my dirty ass kicked by teenage boys with girl-length hair and
keeping my swollen mouth shut about it.

I was finally caught going too far and that made my father have to do
something about it.  He laughed at the anonymous man that threatened
my little life before gently dragging me into his bedroom. I’ve always
known how to put on a show, so I dropped my pants and jumped on his
lap like I saw  in the  movies.  My first spanking  actually calmed me
a bit, but I would of been calmer if I had taken my father’s
discipline to the face instead of the butt.

My father decided, with the help from my mother’s mouth, to send me
to a Catholic preschool.  Me and some other little bastard were the
only non-whites enrolled at that church with a playground.

Being militarily moved through the early mornings in fresh smelling
lines to the church for our milk and cookie rituals.

All the other boys at that place smelled like their soft mothers and
they looked like those little assholes from the barbershop but a bit
Moore girl.  The only animal thing about them was sewed on the front
of their fancy sport shirts. And they wore fucking dance shoes that
fell apart every time I pissed on them.

The little girls at the school, I stayed away from them.  My cute
little white girl from down the street had pretty much dry-humped away
all my curiosity for the prepubescent.

That place was making soft: Giggling hard with a mouthful of blessed
candy – Holding little hands with little boys with our faces painted –
Hiding and seeking with a cat custom on, my tail being tagged was the
end. I needed to be out of there!

Showing the only Catholic thing about me to a nun for almost three
minutes was what it took to get my hardness back.

While stuck inside the condo I could not help but to stare at my
mother for most of my time in lock down.  Her body was becoming softer
and not as sexy but a lot more beautiful.  Her brown skin would
sometimes have a pinkish color that would just dance on her.  She
began to eat a lot, but with a hungry gentleness that was childlike.
But my father stopped touching her.

My father brought me a pair of lace-up sneakers one night after work
so he could test my brainpower.   Everyone thought I was doing bad
things because I was simply stupid, but I was smart enough to know
that you can get away with a lot of shitting in the streets when
you’re three.

Like my father, I was a flat footer, and it was impossible for me not
to wear my little cowboy boots. And to prove this to the only man I’d
ever love, I never took them off.  And that’s why I almost didn’t come
back from my first swim in the ocean.  Just one of my daddy’s hands
covered my whole wet chest, calmly jerking out the killing-water from
inside of me like he would a cigarette from a stubborn pack. That’s
how he saved my life for the second time.

My father decided to start bringing me to work everyday. I loved
him even more for that.   That greasy place made me feel the hair push
through in a tingle on my bare chest.  Tough looking men with dirty
white t-shirts and gray work pants stained by all different types of
union duties.  Injured big-rigs resting warm after long hard hauls.
Tools showing that they work by the fingerprints of blood mixed with
grease stamped on their cold sides.  Bad words used as gentle
greetings.  Pictures of naked women holding power tools.  Tattoos,
black-eyes, angry wives and the smell of used booze from a wild youth
the night before.

The only soft things in that place were: the beer bellies, cigarette
butts that rolled underneath work boots and the day four teamsters
cried over my father only being
able to save me twice.

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM

The Poem That Still Speaks: An Essay on the Poetics of Political Exile — Ming Holden

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Part I.

I got to Ulaanbaatar knowing it would be cold. Knowing the face of Myangaa, The Asia Foundation’s driver, his tall boots, his hearty embrace. Knowing the drive into the metallic air of Ulaanbaatar. Knowing the puke and the used condoms on the street outside the new apartment block in which I stay in a spare room. The knobby cot and set of drawers that’s already breaking like the ones I got last fall at IKEA in Brooklyn and had to keep fixing with CVS superglue. (I used CVS superglue on my boots. I was that broke.) I wake up knowing the annoying song of the gas trucks, the mountain on the south side of the city past Jargalan Town with a white outline of Genghis Khan’s face.

Where a flat-sided steep frowns over the present world,

My elbows rest in sea-gaps

Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape

The body lurking there within thy body,

Carrying even her moonsails. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM

The ‘F’ Word — Rebecca Goldberg

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The “F” word….Fuck…forget the “U-C-K” just the “F” can stand on its own and still sound so bad. A word so forbidden it comes with a warrant to fill children’s mouths with soap. Before ever truly understanding how so very good and so very bad the word could be, I wanted it; longed for it to be a part of my vocabulary.

I remember a day in elementary school: I saw the word scribbled in my Math book. There it was, F-U-C-K, right next to long division. I had jabbed the girl next to me in order to point out the gem I had discovered on the page. The alarming four letter word we would not dare say aloud. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by caperjournal

2009 at AM