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Flash Fiction


Poetry by Stephen Mead




We could scribble on it except
They might skin our fingers or,
More likely, burn, burn since
They think fire’s clean.

I feel the same way, though
About a different blaze, the blaze
Of bodies intimate as a surgeon
Doing the open heart.

That, of course, was our crime.
Yet, back then, some almost took
It for granted: touch like take-out,
Easy to receive, find.

Still, is that any reason
For these pens, this ghetto:
Tattoos for the suspect, a graffiti
Indelible as the fear coming with each

Now they’ve decided those infected can
Do the branding, with capital punishment
For anyone who refuses.
Some choice, such compassion: the mechanism
Of hatred spilling contagious into whomever
Will play agent voyeur, & inform, inform…

Their scared gaze has a stench: brutality’s
Venom whispering, fingering the innocent
As guilty even when there are not symptoms.
That’s part of the problem: rampant paranoia,
Persecution for survival.

So loved one, so heretic, come
Hold me close, just like you used to.
The trials are all over, & though imprisoned,
At least together there is sanctuary:
Wall-less, the walls broken, gentle
As I place my head, my lips
Down there

Where you were shaved

(After Browne’s Beruit)



Cholera Dreams

I was ten, maybe eleven, ( well who cares)
& not trickin’ yet.
There was a garden, a great deal of mimosa
& a sky, bottle green.
Somebody else owned it, that yard big as Texas
& all kinds of statues, some winged, some
without arms. I thought I had died.
I mean, who would believe it,
That I’d stumble upon this
After sneaking under those shrubs?
I was runnin’ from the cops
On account of stealin’ sausage, cheese, apples.
I had a coat with special lining.
Well, we all have to eat you know
& that shop was expensive.
Cut your losses. Move on.
In transit’s my motto, Jesus,
But that fruit was sweet & I’d tell you more
If I could have just five cigarettes.
Then I’d throw out this mirror someone’s
Propped ‘neath my chin, you know,
Makin’ sure. Aw hell, it’s still clouding.
Back to the story, back to…oh yea…
Later on someone called me darling,
Really meaning to even.
I can’t remember just who or why
& would like to see
‘cause it was just like bein’ back
With that mimosa & those angels,
Those angels & their wings



About the Author

Stephen Mead is an artist/writer living in northeastern NY. His home page with resume and art samples can be found at absolute arts. Stephen also has several title pieces of ebooks incorporating image and text archived at scars.tv.