ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Nicole Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   t. joseph dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amélie Frank
   Amelie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Eric Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Raud Kennedy
   Bernard Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Ashley King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Marie Lecrivain
   Anne Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Lee Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Carl Moore
   Greggory Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Toti O'Brien
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Luke Prater
   Kristena Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
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   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
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   April Salzano
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   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
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   Rati Saxena
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   Ken Scott
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   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
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   Lee Sloca
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   Danielle Smith
   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
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   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
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   John Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
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   Jonathan Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
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   Davide Trame
   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
   Amy Uyematsu
   Philomena van Rijswijk
   Gene van Troyer
   Wanda Vanhoy Smith
   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
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   Sharieff Walters
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   Christopher Watkins
   Brian Watson
   Lafayette Wattles
   Charlie Weber
   Ellen Webre
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   Viola Weinberg
   Florence Weinberger
   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   Leigh White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   John Sibley Williams
   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
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   Jessica Wilson
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   Alicia Winski
   Tyler Joseph Wiseman
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   Wayne Wolfson
   Terry Wolverton
   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
   Gianna Wurzl
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   Julie Yi
   Gregory T. Young
   Britney Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
November 2006
   

 

A Different End

He first looked down onto the place. Saw himself in the endlessly multiplied portraits: wavy hair and sensuous lips, a forehead like a cornfield. His polychrome face was surrounded by flags and signs showing the same selection of words: Long live our wise leader! The beloved son of our people! The architect of our golden future!
The gathered crowd began shouting his four-syllable name and the initials of the party. Every ten minutes an acclamation roared in the loudspeakers of the place as if on a signal. Just like in Nabucco, the only opera that he really loved and that apparently moved him more than the Marseillaise, the International and the Tricolore: The conductor raised his baton and the famous choir song of the slaves flowed over the state and flooded the arena, the whole city of Verona. He could never resist these thundering sounds, whistled some tones of the melody. No, the people is by no means a hydra with a thousand heads, as had been maintained by somebody, but a splendid obedient choir of sheep, he smiled and enjoyed his praise. The demonstration ran as usual as it had been practised for years. He was still feeling invulnerable. And as he agreed with the Sun King in that the state and his person were one, in spite of the revolutionary ghost, he also believed in the invulnerability of the socialist republic.

Now he looked into the empty eyes of his wife, standing on the same balcony of the Central Committee, and he felt the claws of doubt for the first time. His high spirits slackened. If it was right to let her be decorated with such an abundance of titles, and if she still remembered the little fairy tale fish that fulfills all three night wishes He looked at her again and this time he saw her head thrown back, proud like a bird of prey, the glacier in her neck, the hairdo of a doll. No, she did not remember any more. She had thrown away her bad certificate of primary school and the sewing machine of her youth, into the waste disposal somewhere in her memories, "What else could I have done with such lousy memories, I as a member of the academy and habilitated chemist of global glory," she played her trumps, and so he had to abandon the idea of a museum for her former bits and pieces. In contrast, he had told everybody and everywhere about the shoes he had resoled and all about his repeated imprisonments in the thirties. It is all in the books, as he is, was, and will be an advocate of historical completeness. A grand sentence, his professor of rhetoric would praise him, even though he had difficulty in pronouncing the word advocate.
The boos! They have become louder, an uneasy voice called from his prominent entourage.
Speak to the people! Go and talk to them, his wife said in a demanding voice, without looking at him. "Thats why we interrupted our visit to our Arabian friend and hurried home!"

He was hurt in his soul, could not believe the complete switch in the crowds mood within a few seconds. Why boos? A second ago they were cheering him. Cant have been just imagining things
Now he also heard the screams and the thousand fold murmurs and he saw the columns breaking up and forming again. They are no sheep, they are a sea monster, he realized a little late, too late, the increasing displeasure from below.
"Dear citizens," he heard himself say in a hoarse voice as always and with a tremolo: "The revolt of Temesvar has been crushed. That consecrated lout and some enemies of our country have tried by their rabble-rousing speeches to destabilize not only this city but also our socialist republic and to make you uneasy "We are no louts," a voice struck back.

At the next moment the incredible happened: Signs of tribute were destroyed under the rage of many feet, hands were tearing the red flags to pieces, and stones were hurled up to the balcony. After that - the storming. As if somebody had opened the floodgates. The soldiers were only watching and waiting. Minor actors in a film, or having changed sides? "I did not commit any outrage," the broken atheist tried to appease the raging crowd, but even this psalm wordhis last tactical movedid not reach any eardrum.
The mixture of crime thriller, cavemen war, and revolution la francaise nauseated him.
His sugar level rose, he stumbled on the escape stairs, he gasped for breath like a fish and hissed: "That is the curse of the destroyed churches and villages!" He pressed shut the loft door in his panic, wandered around having lead in his legs and finally crawled into a half empty archives cupboard. Within the next minutes he trudged out again soaked with sweat and dropped on a pile of mouldy party cards lying there uncovered. Anyway, his claustrophobia was stronger than his fear of his angry subjects. " No, I wont give up, not in this way." He suppressed the trembling questions of his body. Only in this moment he noticed the absence of his wife and of the other members of his Politburo who had been standing on the balcony together with him. With fresh power he managed to stand up again and he clutched the frame of a skylight and looked outside. He only saw the shadow of a huge bird.
A helicopter flew over the pylon and landed unnoticed on the concrete roof of the party building; the shrill uproar of the crowd absorbed the noise of the propeller. The pilot saw him from his window, waved to him. He found hope again. His trembling heart was still burning with the ambition to lead this country to the paradise era of communism. "In three days time there will be Christmas, "he remembered, "They will not do any evil to us. They cant go to church and celebrate Jesus birth and at the same time dispose of me and my family. That does not go together. I will find evidence against this scratch mob. I insist on my being heard before the Great National Assembly!" At first he whispered this venerable sentence like a prompter, so softly that the mice couples that were filling their bellies in their paper settlements pricked their ears, then he repeated this sentence, very loudly and with determination.
His coat, lined with lynx fur, warmed him again. He was not dizzy any more. When the sun was hiding in the icy fog, the pilot came and fetched him without any effort and took him to the helicopter. There his wife was sitting, her eyes closed and with a bleeding lower lip. "May the devil take the hindmost," she told him a little of an oracle and was silent again. He startled and formed a round 'O' or 'Oh' for an answer, but it got stuck in his throat and he stepped back some steps as if he wanted to say: I will not fly with you, I will return to my loft and prepare my defence. "We have got to leave," the pilot interrupted this surprising pantomime, "otherwise the machine guns will riddle us with bullets before we reach the border." "Help her to escape, save her!" he said and disappeared. He, who never wept, now burst into tears that wetted his leathery retina and made him see the unimaginative room in which he now stayed, with soft silhouettes, to fill it with images from his mind. He wept because he was free now.
Was he to blame? Were his people kept in the dark like bats? Did he really get infusions of childrens blood to keep him young forever? Did he really sacrifice so many human lives only to build the largest palace in the world?
When the pyramids were built, many more slaves died, but no pharaoh was killed because of that, he tried to ease the urgent feeling of guilt.

Automatically he thought of his 'opera.' But this time the memories of the overwhelming choir music were not good for him. He saw slaves coming up to him in hordes, how they stamped on him with their feet and tied him to a pillar of his mega palace. They were singing while doing this and their swelling melody piled up in his head, throbbed against his tired temples and burst into a wild fortissimo.
He could no longer bear Nabucco. "Stop it," he shouted in horror and ran out of the loft. With toddling steps he ran down the endless stairs. He stopped several times to catch his breath and wondered why he met nobody. Suddenly it was silent and dark in the stair case, a bluish beam came from a street light. When he had left the last step, he came to a door that he recognized at once: here his shelter begins, his labyrinthine shelter.
His breath calmed down. He had the wish to enter his personal shelter, that he had never seen before. Now he had the time, he smiled at this thought like he would smile at the burlesque of a circus clown. Because the others believed that he had wanted to flee in that helicopter.
He read every doorplate, opened each door. Finally he entered the room that was called the world. High above a canyon there stood all the heads of state and of government who had granted him the highest honours when he visited them. He pleaded with them: "Support me! You are my witnesses before history!" He did not yet notice that he had left those times. For breaking their strange silence, he grasped their hands, but they felt hard and lifeless. "They are only made of wax!" he shouted, deeply shattered.
Under the burden of this experience he entered the next room. H o m e l a n d , he spelled the name as if he wanted to postpone the new disillusion for some minutes that he suspected.
His wet glance fell onto the veranda of his parents house. Unchanged, with the colourful geraniums and the nasturtium. Father seems to tell his incessant dirty jokes to a drinking mate, the two are laughing so roguishly. And this nostalgic love song at the chopping board, he grinned and turned, also to avoid smelling the cheaply distilled plum brandy. "Oh mum, I want to come to you! You will protect me, wont you, just like you always did!" He called to the small fat peasant woman who was sitting on her chair, spinning wool for a shirt. He wished she would conceal him under her wide flax skirt like in those days when there was lightning and thunder.
When he stepped very close to her and caressed her head, she fell from the chair and her spindle rolled into the grass. "My God, the Jain was taken aback, is my mother only a plastic doll? And the house, the geraniums? What is truth? Whose son am I?" The darkest doubt came out of his mouth.
This will be the last room that I enter, he decided in front of the door with the plate Arts. The last room was an archipelago of desk islands, easels, music stands, shaky book piles and worn out string instruments. The first that he took in his hands was a book with poems. He opened it and read some titles. "Where are you poets? And painters? And song writers? You, courtiers, who made me the titan of all titans and son of the sun? You also deny me?" he shouted in a rage and he hit the heavy tip of his winter shoe on pots with paint, harps and books, on everything that might have betrayed him.
Then he tore out page after page from the book of poems and threw them high into the air. "Paper birds, nothing else," he wheezed.
He wanted to go to the door but stumbled over a painting that had been spared.
His foot prepared in the air for a new attack. But then it was curiosity that made him pick up the painting from the floor and have a look at it.

"Thats me!" he cheered. Only short breathed sentences followed, notes for every detail: "On the raft. Without any followers. Only me and the ocean. The Black. I am rowing out to sea, breaking the high waves, I am going to other shores."
He even began singing the refrain of a well-known shanty and maybe he would have sung louder, if a whirling giants hand had not seized him all of a sudden and snatched the painting from his hand.
"But this picture is mine! Thats me in that picture," the navigator protested desperately who had suddenly been left without any dreams. "Thats not you in that picture," a subdued voice contradicted him. "But I can take you there, if you want to. There the sun has not faded yet. Are you still thinking of the conspiracy?"
He could not see anybody, neither on the floor nor at the ceiling nor in the corners.
The voice was talking again: "I am no ghost. And I do not lure you anywhere. Call me wind. Christmas wind."
He believed the wind and yet a broody tone was perceptible in his reply. Yes, he wanted to go to the raft on the high seas.
"Will my people still look up to me and admire me?" he wanted to know before.
"And shall I take off my coat? And where will my soul go to sleep in the picture? And how will I get to know in time when Christmas comes? How can I reach my destination without any compass and sea chart?"
The wind heard the helplessness of the dethroned dictator, whispered into his ear: "Trust in the current and the stars like the Inca did"

The next morning the firing squad found him in the barely furnished arts chamber where the only musical instrument, a childrens trumpet, was swimming between the lynx fur and his biographies in the icy water. He was lying on his back, the raft picture firmly pressed to his chest. The paratroopers turned off the tap and switched off the electric fan at the ceiling. They took out the twenty-five cartridges from their machine guns and laid them onto his forehead like on a grave.
"Merry Christmas," said the youngest of them.

copyright 2006 Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld