Art: "The Love Boat" by Philip Palmieri

Poetry: "Working a Saturday Lunch Rush at the Pewter Spoon Cafe" by Cambell Copland

 

  

There’s really no telling, given the tight quarters of the 

kitchen, and the quick ‘no thought, best thought’ pacing 

therein, just how much of one another’s fumes we’ve 

swapped by shift’s end, nor how much of ourselves has 

been carried off into the mouths of the café’s patrons, as particles 

of foreign info their immune systems are sure to be tested by. 

 
In this unconscious clash of our inner codes, such implications are always subliminal.  

Meaning, everyone enjoys the food, complimenting us as they exit. 

I hide in the back of the kitchen, making the sandwiches and salads 

and washing the dishes, within an omphalos despite my terms of flightiness 

my enduring mode of lostness, my sword-sharp Will to Idle. 

 
My hair up in a bun, paired with bloodshot eyes, the owner never saying  

a word to me about shaving my beard or shoulder length hair  

she instead enjoys talking to me about Hollywood movies of old  

and all matters political. “When you’re working the busiest shifts  

on the busiest days, it means they like you,” one of the baristas informed me. 

 

* 

 

An omphalos despite my terms of flightiness, which  

true to form, I’m a man of many navels, and if one were  

to be taken out of rotation, would I even notice?  These  

are the predicaments of my overflowing, like how you  

never turn the lights off when you exit a room, or the  

half-finished glasses of water you leave on the counter, 

or the cathode glow of the television you continue to let 

shine on your face even after falling asleep. 

 
What I’m referring to goes beyond the age-old, classical centering at Delphi 

and the Pythian tongues made into a circus after coming into contact with 

the ancient methane siphoned from the veins of Mount Parnassus.   

 
Here, in the present, the generous tips we extract from  

the Tip Jar at the end of the shift don’t help to make  

this way of life any less interminable of a condition. 

 
Instead of prophecy, we have figurative flashlights to point into the vales of untimed 

Time, which still dismantles me all the same, separating one particle from 

another, each a knuckle to be cracked so as to flush the pocketed breath. 

 

* 

 

On my way back home, I wonder if perhaps I’ve squandered  

on you the petals of the Final Countdown. I wonder if this  

last unfolding must be without age or vintage solely because  

we’ve exhausted them all already, each Aeon soiled and threadbare, 

each with a Babel of names and a contradiction of historical dates. 

 
Or is this bleak take on things solely  

because no one has yet to organize and formalize  

the Laws of Dust and its Rate of Settle upon  

the many lingering embers I still have archived  

within me, for all the times my desire couldn’t  

incite any reflective surface to cast an image  

back at me – no windows alighted during the peaks of night 

 
no one with edges sharp enough  

to inscribe this glow-in-the-dark echo along the most  

tender parts of my flesh, such as, for instance, the thigh’s 

inseam, where muscle is at its palest skin and deepest musk. 

 
But look at all the corners being poured over us 

in the guise of bills and living expenses and loans. 

Can you feel that wending apart at the base of 

of your skull? That’s just the alert that goes off 

whenever we’ve overdrawn our account. 

 
Alas, the world is increasingly composed of things  

we can’t afford, but from what I’ve heard, all the good  

hiding spots have already been bought up or overused  

anyway, or mass-produced for the mainstream  

repertoire, alongside nationally broadcasted stock tips  

and the newest diet trends offered at discounted prices 

 
though no matter how much of the Unconscious  

is brought aboveground and placed in petri dishes 

or kept under glass display cases, no one will  

ever be able to pinpoint the center of it, no one  

will ever be able to, with absolute certainty  

know they’re holding the core of the Unconscious in their hands 

 
and all the while I’ll be resorting to any possible 

excuse to help me dodge and weave around my  

work schedule, tempering the fresh water of my labors 

with a hearty mineral deposit of ambiguity and  

unreliability, overly willing to walk away from  

yet another centre, as they’re just not my natural element. 

 

 
 
 
 

Published November 12th 2022

Campbell Copland was born in Syracuse, New York, received a BA from St. Lawrence University, a MFA from Goddard College, and is currently adjuncting at Cazenovia College. He is the author of Gnomic Verse: A Polymodern Morphology of Poetic Revelation (Glover Press, 2021). Other works of his have previously appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funicular Magazine, The Blood Pudding, and more.

In this series Philip Palmieri is pairing brides to battle scenes, hoping to explore the nature of relationships in today’s world where war has broken out again in Europe, a respiratory virus wreaked havoc over the past three years and politics threatens to drive wedges between all of us. Through his oil paintings, Palmieri strives to expose what is hidden in clear sight. With lush color and thick texture, he compares, contrasts and confuses lovely with loathsome. His primary focus has been on the figure and portraiture. He has moved away from the traditional idealized portrait to ones that can be gritty, alarming or even playful. Palmieri paints to speak to his time.