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Theresa Haffner

Laser Night

crazed
crazed neath the crazy moon
i wandered
convulsed with a craving
i didn’t understand

above the mondrian roof tops
in the chasm of the sky
the stars unfolded in a drama
of living and dying

like the crack of doom
the dawn of disaster

below the tangled
television antennae
and tenement fire escape steps

on the sidewalk
of crashed crystal dreams

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Fresno

I could almost
live here.
It’s like a real city.
People think it’s
big,
but it still seems
small to me.
I live in L.A.
Someday it will
be like this
everywhere,
with Rite Aid
Drug Stores,
Home Depot
Home
Improvement
Centers,
AM-PM Minimarts,
Starbuck’s Coffee Shops,
and Kinko’s Copies

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The Death of Poetry

Poetry is dead and God is alive.
I heard these words and began to cry.
Without poetry what would become of me,
Drowning in a sea of Christianity?

Poetry is dead and long let it lie
With its Thee and its Thy and its Thou and its Thine
May we never see another line
Of iambic pentameter with end-stopped rhymes.

Poetry is dead, and so it shall lay,
Mouldering at the pit of its shallow grave.
And no longer will they give a hoot
For the quatrain stanzas or the metered foot!

Poetry is dead at the bottom of the sea
With its anapests, dithyrambs, dactyls and spondees.
And also eight to sixteen lines
On your innermost feelings or the meaning of life.

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On Lillian Way

night
cold gray against greenish black
street lamp globes against
rectangle buildings
sitting in a parked car
along the deserted alleyways
off santa monica boulevard
car windows fogged
the cold green street lights
filtered through the prism
of a broken windshield
delicate spiderwebs of
white light diffusion

only in L.A.
a prostitute stands
against the bare wall
under a street light
with traffic going by

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Of The Meaning...

of the meaning of love
thought streams trail loosely
shrill cat screams cut across midnight alley
car horns arabesque in the moonlight

of the purpose of existence
a tangled miasma of dirty laundry
mixed with strands of seaweed
hung from a mermaid’s torso

of the understanding of knowledge
cellar mice laugh at the uneaten cheese
trashers pick the dipsy dumpster
clothes pins on a daisy chain clothes line

of the reason we argue
cellophane candy wrappers
rolled into a ball the size
of chicago that ate the planet jupiter

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The Next Generation

(STARDATE 45122.3. The sensors aboard the Starship Enterprise have detected a subspace anomaly. The nature of the anomaly is as yet unknown, but Commander Data has reported a slight drain on the warp core generator. Captain Jean Luc Picard has alerted the senior crew members to keep him informed of any changes and meanwhile continue on course to the colony on Aldebaran III)


“It must mean we’re really getting old when the only thing we talk about is television, ” I say to Bobby. He sits across from me, the flickering colors from the TV screen playing across his face, the dim light illuminating the room like a lunar landscape.

We are watching episode #232 of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ There are no more new episodes. We have seen this episode before, but we are watching it because it’s better than not watching it. We watch it at the same time every night. We are watching it because we are addicted to its predictable action, its monotone dialog, its hypnotic cinematography. We watch it because we have seen so many episodes that we know all the characters, their life histories, their personal characteristics, their predilections and idiosyncrasies, better than we know some of our own family members.


(Commander Data has been experimenting with oil painting. All of his subjects appear to be meticulously drawn but do not express feeling. Ship’s Counselor Deanna Troi suggests that he attempt abstract art to explore his subjective experience.

Their conversation is interrupted, however, by a message from the bridge. The subspace anomaly has greatly increased in both its size and intensity. If it continues to grow at its present rate the Enterprise will soon be in danger of being drawn into it and being destroyed.)


I feel that my life is slipping away, that I am trapped, helpless, in a void of television shows, TV dinners, and a routine of daily activity, doing the same thing at the same time each day, that makes the days go by as quickly and painlessly as possible. I feel that each week that passes is a week that I will never have again. That I am dying, slowly, the life energy being sucked out of me, a little bit each hour, each day, in a plethora of ‘Seinfeld, ’ ‘Friends’, ‘The X-Files, ” and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ That I am caught in a time warp and slowly and inexorably being drawn into its vortex.


{The subspace anomaly continues to grow and to draw energy from the Starship’s warp core generator.

“Shields at 14 per cent, ” says Commander Worf.

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Dark Side of Town

we came home on the dark side of town

we came home to a deserted rubble of half forgotten memories, children’s toys, fenced yards grown heavy with weeds, and a cold wind blowing

we came home on the wrong side of the tracks

we came home to the industrial miasma of where we used to live and found we didn’t live there anymore

we came home to the cold shoulder of forgotten dreams and forgotten neighborhoods

we came home to where the unlocked door stood open and the floorboards flapped in the wind that blew through the empty house

we came home to the unreality of lifetimes that used to be lived by the people who used to live them

we came home to the midnight of deserted railroad yards, rusted tracks, empty boxcars, noon whistles and the paper mill once prosperous now deserted but for the white haired old man in the shipping office

we came home to the vacant lot where our childhood was

we came home to a new land of strangers, commerce, and the implacability of change

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