Self Deception

  People are always coming to me and breaking the silent solitude which I enjoy, and wish like hell to retain, to tell me more fabulous stories than I could swallow even if they were filled with gin.

  My first contacts in the morning wish me "Good Morning, dear" which is a deliberate flowery-scented lie. Next my driver, handing me the morning paper, and weaving through the downtown noon traffic, looks into the mirror and flashes his gold-capped tooth; (capped with my gold or was it father's? -- rest his soul) throws a hearty oxford tenor "Jolly weather, sir?". bouncing off the mirror at me.

  It could be grey with rain or gold with golden birds flinging pieces of gold for us to gather greedily to our pale faces, but can not, to my knowledge, be jolly.

  "Good morning, Sir" again that monotonous English accent that hasn't changed in the last seven years, and I having grown immune to it answer nothing, but spurt past him and the open door into my late father's (bless his soul) multi-million dollar edifice and edification (which he called the R.R.W. Wright and Son Building).

  "I'll have to get Johnson to change that damn sign" I think again as it waves me into the building as it has done for seven years.

  But then I stopped. Scanning the office I saw neat little receptionists and secretaries; efficient, punctual gas-men trying to gain recognition with dirty yellow smiles, turmoil of papers, pens, pencils, erasers, flowers (Plastic), lipsticks, greasy hair, "House-high" hair, and black and blue eye-shadows. I drew a breath of the stench of cheap perfumes, turned and ran into the streets to gather the pieces of gold ... forever ...

Jorma Ikavalko


this last chlll-wlnd of February
tells me something
I don't want to hear. It whispers
"I'll be back next year,
will you?"

(Far too quickly do I run
back home,
wiping the tears
of memory and time
with every step.)

P.W.Q. Moore
[Peter Moore]


 All was silent, not a leaf stirred; not a bird sang. No wind stirred the tortured burnt grasses. Neither the bark of a dog or the happy call of a herdsman was heard here.

  The Maradi Valley had long since been deserted. The age of the Grand Emperor of Maradi had not been gifted with the knowledge neces- sary to maintain the vast agricultural riches of the valley. The soil's minerals had been almost exhausted. Life held little.

  The valley needed rain badly for it and it alone could help the people of the valley on the road to the world of success and content.

  There was a slight breeze now. One who had looked from the hills of the south out across the the valley floor towards the mountains on the east and north rim of the bowl had marvelled at the sight before him. Now, above these same mountains, the word promise was written. Towering storm clouds swirled and beckoned. The lone rabbit lifted his pointed ears to the deep sound of rolling thunder, which was greeted time and time again by blinding flashes of white hot fire.

  The townspeople of the valley's edge ran to the streets. Some were praying, and some were talking excitedly among themselves. The wind came with an extreme suddenness, tearing at the roots of the hills. The rain followed; softly at first, and then in force. Mouths opened toward the sky. Birds broke into glorious song.

  With the help of God and modern Machinery, the Valley would again be happy and prosperous.

Ward Strickland