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richard edwards
cleveland writer richard edwards holds a bfa in creative writing from bowling green state university. his work has been published in prairie margins (print), miscellany (print), images inscript (web), and drunk duck (web). currently i have poems in press for quill and ink and niederngassei. in 1999 he won the claiborne quinn fiction award, and is currently working on a collection of short stories, and a collection of poetry. he works in publications at a medical publishing company. egem4@yahoo.com

Works on this page:
up there getting ahead
the things we do for aliens reasons
the responsibility of fire
when i met the women he loved


Up there getting ahead

He's up there
and she's down here,
the stars light his surroundings,
and the clouds block her view of him,
"I love you, and I want you to come home,"
she says over the radio,
but he is busy
with the life of air locks,
and weightlessness, trying to hold himself down,
her heart is heavy.
"Put the clipboard down, or let it float away, and come home,"
she says.
But he is working
with his headset off, doing astronaut jobs
and getting ahead
of the world.

So her sounds go radio wave inside
and over the air and into space catching
someone else's radio telescope.
A man, alone, listening
for life on other planets
hears her voice
and thinks it is what he is looking for.

That night she will be alone,
the only person on earth,
until he finds her.


The things we do for aliens reasons

Aliens come down out of heaven
and tell me, they invented the pyramids,
designed and used for stellar navigation.

The humans, they say
were very stupid and willing
to lift heavy objects out of fear
of incineration.

I come back from their
spacecraft, and go to work,
not quite on time.

All day I run around for the project,
and the project manager. I don't think
and stick my head in the copy machine,
and press copy. I feel the aliens will get a kick
out of it, maybe even laugh at me.

I make 100 copies of my face
pushed up against the glass. Then I
go home and watch television, and wait
for them to return.

I wanted to make ten thousand
copies of my face, and scratch crazy human
under my chin. Get the aliens to hang them
on telephone polls, if they have them,
all over their planet.
"Crazy human."

When they arrive, I show
them the photocopies laughing,
but they are not impressed,
and do not laugh, and ask
what they should do with 100 copies
of my black and white face.

I shrug, and they leave me holding
under a pound of unimpressive head shots.


The responsibility of fire

He takes a breath
and blows out chemical fire,
flames going over his lips.

She watches, waits, holds
her breath when he walks
on coals, closes her eyes
moaning a little when he
juggles torches,
clinches her child, as he
jumps through flaming hoops
and lands at her feet, smiling at her fear.

He is an expert, thinks he's Buddha
in fire striped pants
and sequin shirt, handsome,
she thinks.

When she goes back
stage to tell him how wonderful
the show was,
hoping to "land" this firry act,
he says, "I eat fire," and she says
"come close to me, and lets see
if we can be arsons together,
burn down my home, and cremate
our bodies," but with one kiss
he is up in an inferno, flash powder,
then ash,
right in front of the her child.


When I met the women he loved

A long while I stood
in the sun, and told
that it was all telepathic,
the lips and teeth,
quivering over the chills,
Something, I thought, is in her,
something long off, in the meadow,
or a still place, like flowers
that do not bow their petals to the sun,
and the rain, and the little gusts of wind
that infect my hair with bugs,
something inside, tough
and growing, gentle and deadly
all the same. The rays of him
are all absorbed and quieted.
"I think she is nice," I said
and looked over at him frozen
by the sunlight.


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