Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 48
spring equinox, 2023

Featured artwork, Elephant 1, by Neila Mezynski

New Works

Richard Weaver

A Myopic ostrich stood outside

a shadeless window one night. No peeping Tom was he. Point of fact: his rooster name was Melvin. More to the point: his testicles had never descended. As such he was without interest in the featherless hen beauty illuminated behind a leaded glass window. Art it was. So he thought or imagined in a blurred portal of possibilities. An engorged furnace of privacy. His beak, neck and shins were not a shiny bright red. He was fixedly a No-head-beneath-the-sand mythic creature. The male who manly does his daddily duties by digging a deep community dump nest 10' in diameter to hide the chicks from predators. Flighty but flightless. Feathered and proud to be the only two-toed bird standing 9 feet tall, and weighing in at 320 pounds. (They do like to eat sand and pebbles). At that size he can sprint > 40 mph (62 kph). Other fun facts: His 2" eyeballs are more often larger than the average ostrich brain. Melvin's proud to the tips of his feathers to be mentioned in the ancient book, alongside owls (unclean and abominable, hawks (also unclean but also disgusting but somehow still a messenger of the spirit), and seagulls (biblical skyrats). His single-mindedness or the intensity of his stare, thought to hatch eggs, was hereditary. Less likely it was mathematically more pragmatic than that. A single 3 lb. egg holds as much yoke as 24 chicken eggs. Multiple that by the fact a lone female lays 50-100 eggs a year, and there's protein for all who take their life over easy or scrambled. Melvin prefers crunchier meals. Locust, lizards, the occasional stomped snake, and rodents. No less an authority than the Elder Pliny wrote as history: ostriches snack on glass and eat iron, but have no appetite for bronze. Only one small step allowed medieval followers to swallow the whole 3 lb egg as a holy and nourishing symbol of Mary the Virgin's pregnancy.

The Cat who barked up the wrong family tree

did so one blue bright day and so did amaze a white bowl of warm milk, a catnipped mouse and brightly feathered toy bird, not to mention a coupled man and woman who dabbled and babbled in Esperanto but could not begin to understand each other or such a catdog or perhaps dogcat monologue. Clear though it was, such speech was found unacceptable and not allowed admittance to the tunnels of the ear, the engaged brain already denying reality so tenuous and unsettling. A cat alone might well speak though not in Elizabethan English since who except few among the living and those academical could accept or do so. Even the language of Darwin or Dickens would seem ponderable. Proust perhaps. Joyce? Well, there are those who do find his mewlings comforting. Let that rest. One syllable. Two sillibubs at most. That's the secret. No decoding required. Your Turing machine best left in the deepest overcoat pocket in a dark closet. But to speak in old Persian (without Siamese accent) was incredulous to the nth plus one degree. To elevate the symbols into airborne speech inflected and resonant with meaning, if beyond understanding, who could deny except the dead, and please, let's allow them to rest their wearied heads and remains, and remain beyond this discussion, and so back to point, who could deny what was heard but not fully registered? Certainly not our coupling couple engaged and engorged and enraged by dare I say it? Catus interruptus. As dubious narrator even I have my illegal limits. As you have doubtless seen.

Post-Covid, the author has returned as the writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. Among his other pubs: Conjunctions, Louisville Review, Southern Quarterly, Free State Review, Hollins Critic, NER, Loch Raven Review, The Avenue & New Orleans Review. He's the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992) and wrote the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005). Recently, his 180th prose poem was published. He was a finalist in the 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry.