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**PRINT: COLD WAS THE GROUND, by Chicago's Scott Stealey, is No. 34 in our broadsheet series. Gina, protagonist, a rather lonely condo dweller/office manager, strikes up a fleeting friendship with one Porgo, an Eastern European construction worker who is burying on her property what Gina takes for a time capsule. But the metaphorical fix is in -- Porgo, an ESL student, may be leading Gina in directions she canít exactly get her head all the way around. Enjoy. Chicago writer Stealey is editor of the Please Donít online mag.

**WEB: from 'THEN' Rick Henry
CORNER THEATER Paul A. Toth
THE BRIDGE Lisa Grayson
JUST THIS ONCE Glen Binger
CRUISING Eric Sasson
A PROTAGONIST READS THE UP-TOP DESCRIPTION OF HIS OR HER OWN LIFE Matthew Brian Cohen
WING & FLY: Bubbling up in Nashville, gassing it to Chicago | Todd Dills
CHARLIE's TRAIN a novella by Heather Palmer
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: THE FRONTIERSMEN | Andrew Davis


from 'THEN'
---
Rick Henry

Rick Henry has published fiction and articles in a variety of journals and anthologies. Among his books are Chant: A Romance (BlazeVox 2008) and Lucy's Eggs, and Other Stories (Syracuse 2006). The following prose poems from his 'Then' collection he describes as responding "to the first half of the 20th Century... moments in a community, sometimes a discovery, sometimes a song, sometimes a disease that stretches across the nation. And sometimes, a mote in a moment, a scrap of ennui in the in-between."

McCarthy's Wheeling
A thousand words for the Wheeling inbreds, which words so many, what's that greaser looking at, greasers greasers everywhere, hawking dogs and peanuts and beer whenever the 'great' DiMaggio smacks the Senators around, senators and their Georgetown houses representatives aren't good enough, no, not good enough for the boxes and silverware, soup spoons christ and Heinz dripping charm, greasing palms, like its treason to like mustard anymore all-mighty Heinz spreading mashed tomatoes, not even the greasers mash them, what the hell is this 57, there's no 57, just a joke all of them, father, grandfather laughing, jokes on crap the bastard stuff christ note change shirt before talking to those toothless assholes, convince them foreign policy is more important than their damn teeth give them straws to suck the damn 57, not even a hot dog, just the damn 57 vegetables, a thousand words for the Wheeling inbreds, which words so many, greaser's looking at my a red stain... get a good look before I stick my finger in your eyeIt has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer -- the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in Government we can give. This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been the worst.... In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists. I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy....

Bohemian Pupil Press, Chicago publishers of the South Side Trilogy

J. Edgar
Oh they are the merry men, J.E. and the Fake Beards Internationals, singing and scritching and blowing as they go. Years ago, before J.E., the Fake Beards received a Valentine's Day card, and with it they wooed J.E. J.E. loved singing and scritching and blowing and gave them g-strings, and, rat-a-tat-tat, sent them under the covers. Oh they are the merry men. They played to handsome jacks and pretty boys with baby faces, wooed them with winks and promises of the real thing. Handsome jacks and pretty boys smelled a rat and gave them a knuckle to the temple, rat-a-tat-tat. J.E. and the Fake Beard Internationals changed their name to J.E. and the G-Strings, dropped out of sight, slipped under cover, took their show on the road, singing and scritching and blowing their favorite party songs. They tuned their jugs and washboards and donned slouching hats and funny noses, shuffled backwards, sideways and played Catch-as-catch-can, rat-a-tat-tat, you can't catch me. Oh they are the merry men. Played joints and dives and hide-and-seek-a-tat-tat, finding holes to hole up in, you can't find me. Oh they are the merry men. Played rat-a-tat-telephone and pretended they were telephone girls, working under cover, wearing lace and g-strings to cover their fake beards, disguised by peroxide. 'Hello, may I help you?' smack-a-lips 'Pass it on.' 'Halo, may I help you?' smack-a-slips 'Pass it on.' Clever boys cracking the codes, cracking dots and dashes or kiss for cash. Poor Harry slipped the tongue and missed the kiss, and it was game over, kicked out of the band. They took his jugs, his covers, his g-string, his fake beard, and strip-searched him down to his pretty boy, rat-a-tat-tat. Oh they are the merry men. Singing and scritching and blowing as they go. Olly Olly amnesty.

Penicillin
A long row of men standing in line for their short arm inspection. The line extends out the door, into the hallway, and down the stairs. They all have syphilis, 'sy-phallus,' one snickers. The doctor shakes his head, coughs up a little phlegm, spits, and says in his oh-so-broken English, 'So your penis is ill?' The first guy laughs and says, 'Penis ill, pass it on,' and the second guy whispers to the third, 'Penis ill? Pass it on,' and the third to the fourth, and the fourth to the fifth, and so on down the line, out the door, and into the hall. The doctor mutters more to himself than to the men. 'It's a bacterial invasion, of course.' The second guy says to the first, 'What's that, a bactrian invasion?' and the first guy says to the second, 'It's a humping disease, but you need two humps,' and the second guy explains to the first that it's a two-hump invasion, and the third turns to the fourth and says, 'It's a humping disease, a two-humper disease, pass it on,' and so on down the line, out the door, and into the hall. A ripple of laughter follows, tittering out the door, down the stairs, and back up, an echo, a secondary wave, 'two-hump invasions,' 'Sy's phallus, penis ill,' amplified sniggers until the first guy nearly doubles over in glee. Nearly doubles over with the sudden pain as the doctor sticks a needle right into his phallus. He jumps before he goes numb, cold, and he cries out 'I'm frozen, I'm frozen!' 'Penis chillin,' says the second to the third and begins to laugh, a laughter aborted in mid-guffaw as he receives his shot and he jumps before he goes numb. The third is too busy giggling and passing it along when he gets his shot, his jump, his numb. Then the fourth and the fifth, and on and on, down the line, out the door, and into the hall. The doctor is numb with the bacterial invasion and the endless line and he thrashes in his dreams, thrashes to their laughter, thrashes to their penis chillins.

Joyce
Thrum thrum thrum thurm murth murth murth murther mother murmur thrum murmur thrum best to hum heel toe don't tell mum mum mum mum mum hum hush hum hum hush your lips thrum thrum thrum thrum pickle your bum toe heel toe heel those slips step soft step soft hush hush slips the tongue hold your tongue slippery tongue rum bum hum mum don't say hush you don't say soft thrum thrum thrum thrum best a mum bum thrum hum turn toe turn heel slips the tongue spills the hum chum catholic bums, chump bums chum bumps, mum thrumps, mum thrums soft soft soft soft what's that toe me oh no mum's toe hush hush hush hush catholic bush catholic bums catty lick mum bums Cathy licks chum chums Cathay calloo callay step soft step soft slip licks lick of the tongue callay calloo Cathy's lick lick hums in the loo callay calloo hush now hush now they read lips stick lick the stick lips like licorice sticks swallow swallow swallow swallow swallow the hums the hims the hymns the hymnals hymn now quiet quiet quit the brain dripping stain thrum thrum thrum thrum slip the stick like licorice licks dandy Candy not too randy Cathy's lick licks Candy's stick sticks Cathy Cathy's lick licks peppermint strips hips pep her man pet her man man her pet pet pet pet pet step step step step step in time toe heel toe heel so slow hushed lips censorships hushed slips sense or slips Candy's hips catholic hum thrum thrum thrum thrum step soft step soft Candy's stick is in the loft loft loft loft loft lift lift lift off thrum soft slip off bump bum bump bum lick lips slick lips chew gum sweet kiss slip miss lip stick bump chum bump mum sense or slip spills the kiss spills the lips hush hum hush hum read lips read lips sense slips red lips red slips spill thrum Candy's hips mums bum red lips sweet kiss sweet miss oh miss oh miss slips tongue Cathy licks licorice sticks hiss hiss sweet miss sweet kiss thrum thrum thrum thrum murth murth murth murther mother murmur thrum murmur thrum best to hum sense slip sense or slip.

Influenza
Etiology -- a microbial or sub-microbial agent, most likely Bacillus influenzae, perhaps streptococcus, pneumococcus, or ? Bacterial or viral to be determined. She was an angel, holding the dying soldiers in her arms, giving them a last kiss as if she were their girlfriend wishing them safety as they went off to war. All restaurants are closed until further notice. This includes delis, push carts and street vendors. Pathology -- aches, pains, fever, reduced heart rate, bloody mucus, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, death. Every day the orderlies empty the beds, stacking the dead just outside the door for the ambulances to take away. When we see them coming we moan as loud as we can so they don't take us for dead. It mostly works. Diagnosis -- roentgenograph, sputum cultures, blood cultures... outbreak of a new war... mobilize... troops... target... resources... win... sacrifices... glory.... Treatments -- aspirin, bed rest. The city's infested with Anarchists. I have in my hand a spoonful of mustard a damn immigrant sneezed on before spreading it on a hot dog. Preventatives -- vaccine, isolation, gauze masks. We'd went to the market, over on Hudson Street, because we'd heard that a truckload of Georgia peaches had come and there's nothing like a Georgia peach I said to Mabel and we'd walked twelve blocks, and one minute I was watching Mabel test a tomato, to see if it were ripe, why she went for the tomato when it was peaches we were after, but I don't recall ever seeing the peach truck, but it was war and everyone had a rumor, and the next she was on the ground, bloody foam coming out of her nose. I thought she'd had a bad tomato! I had a little bird / its name was Enza / I opened the window / and in flew Enza. Prognosis/Morbidity -- Three in ten will be infected. Two in one hundred will die.



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