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Bare Bricks and the Soft Sell

Chinese glass

scalloped prisms

sound moves

across the hot pavement

heat waves

twist and turn

traffic noise

the river recedes

bare bricks and the soft sell

of another summer

tensions rise and dissipate

the typography of children

burnt by the sun

huddled in my memory

appointments mask mistakes

in conversation

with a squeaky book

by Kimberly Lindbergs​

Shifting Sands

Camera phone footage

illuminates the present

cataclysms in history

political machinations

the fabric of American life


In stone age observatories

Snake oil salesmen brawl over the bones

of our history

weapons of mass destruction

adrift in the shifting sands


First-person stories of refugees

Corpses in flag-draped coffins

buried by Twitter threads and Facebook memes

Wars transformed

into Hollywood mythology

by Kimberly Lindbergs


Have you seen Erotico

dancing, fragile

in a mad coil?

Take the step

but make no sound
Take the step

but never let your feet leave firm ground


I heard that he had gone to sleep

waiting for the answer

in a dream

Slip into the sheets

but do not touch

Slip into the sheets
and let your desire be enough


Cuff the hands that caress
Gag the mouth that calls your name.

Blind the eyes that stare at you
Kill the heart that falls in love with you


Erotic forgot long ago

how to care

Corpse to corpse
fucking in a storm of disease
It's time now to raise your glass
in toast to the worm


There is no return
from the dead


by Kimberly Lindbergs



Tokyo 2001: Green rice fields disappear under clouds of gray. The city washes over me like so many buckets of acid rain. Memories of my mother come back to me in flashes.


Tokyo 1976: Sanrio has just arrived on American shores. Every little grrl I know is falling in love with Hello Kitty. I am in Tokyo. First trip overseas. First romance with another country. I will soon catch the disease that will plague me my entire life. Painful wanderlust.


Tokyo 2001: Tears come. I blow my nose. Black snot stains the crumpled tissue in my hand. Hello Kitty silently stares at me through hundreds of shop windows. Her toothless smile mocks me now. A continuous parade of boisterous street signs try to sell me serenity but I’m blinded by the flashing lights.


Tokyo 1976: Mother yells, “The train is coming!” But I can’t take my eyes off the magazine racks. Manga images pop off the pages of brightly colored comic books. Androgynous characters with huge eyes and small mouths beckon to me. I yell, “Please buy me a comic book!” Money exchanged. Her hand in mine. Comic book now held tightly under my arm. We rush towards the oncoming train.


Tokyo 2001: Deep in the bowels of Tokyo. Train ticket misplaced. Incorrect change. People pushing. People shoving. The magazine racks overstuffed with bright volumes of manga seem to mock me now. I reach for my mother’s hand, but it isn’t there.


Tokyo 1976: Mother whispers, “Quiet!” But the walls of the temple hear everything. Prayers are exchanged. Secrets shared. The golden Buddha smiles at us and we smile back.


Tokyo 2001: I search for temples lost among skyscrapers. The noise around me and inside me is deafening. I am here to pay my respects to ghosts, but they hide from me in flashes.

by Kimberly Lindbergs

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