Early Thoughts On The Oedipus Complex by Rebecca C

CONVERSATION BECOMES ELECTRA, as do her eyes. Electra's head is grey, like the head of my Frau Freud. But Electra's intelligent irises are darkly pigmented, and her sclerae are edged with a dramatic, black line of the sort that Cleopatra a fected. In our fifty years of marriage, Martha has never thought to adopt such a style, though one or two actresses I've analyzed have.

My favorite moments with Electra are when I ask her a question. She widens her eyes in patient thought while closing the irises a bit, as though signaling both receptivity and a reluctance to take in metaphorical light. Quite unlike Martha, Electra thinks for a long time before speaking. While she thinks, she seems to hold her breath, though it may be that parrots cannot hold their breath at all. I don't know. I read Jungle Book, but I don't remember it telling me much about parrots.

Remnant sounds from Vienna's café life creep under the window sash this evening as Electra and I enjoy private time in my consulting room. I need not cage her; she would never soil the Persian rugs or alight roughly on a delicate figurine. She is a recent gift from an admirer; she and I have spent the past hour talking about crackers and someone from her infancy whose name may have been Paula. Whenever she talks, her larynx moves significantly, vertically, in her neck. It's such a shockingly male mannerism! I laugh when I first see it, and I make careful note of it in my journal. But I want to see it again! And again!

And so now that the hour is getting late and Martha is safely asleep, I decide to evoke from Electra whole thoughts and sentences. For if "cracker" produces one up-down motion, how many will a whole life story produce? In my kindest clinical voice I say, "Please, Electra, tell me the first thing that comes to your mind, as soon as it comes to your mind."

On cue, her sclerae get big and her irises small. Again, I think her breathing stops.

But her larynx does not bob. Indeed, her breathing re-starts. For there occurs a prolonged conversational pause while Electra shuttles about on her perch, carefully wrapping her talons about the wood. I am not disappointed that she doesn't answer me straight o f. Few do. And the undue attention that she is clearly giving to maintaining her upright posture helps me fancy that she knows that, despite her occasional mannishness, I intuit an inner loveliness that awaits my gentle touch.

I remove a cigar from the humidor. Normally when I take a cigar, my analysand cannot see me eagerly sni f its length and place my lips tenderly around its butt, for the analysand is reclining on a divan, and I am sitting behind the spot upon which his or her gaze would rest. The analysand only smells the cigar and hears my sighs of deep pleasure.

But because Electra stands, she can watch me, and I think I see her react to the sight of my loving approach of the cigar.

"A penny for your thoughts," I say. I hold the cigar to a flame until it flowers into aromatic cinders.

Electra stares at me silently for another long while, and so it is with a bit of impatience that I blow a smoke ring at her. She nimbly escapes from both it and me into her cage, where she drinks water-I suppose to clear her throat and sinuses from the shock of what I have made her take in. Even so, I say again, "Please tell me the first thing that comes to your mind, as soon as it comes to your mind." This time when I say it, I am prepared to wait her out more contentedly, for I do have my cigar.

It takes perhaps a quarter of an hour but, indeed, Electra eventually emerges from her cage. To my delight, she dances back and forth on her perch, as though expecting-or even inviting-me to do something. That is why I blow another smoke ring in her direction. And this time, she pokes her head through it! What's more, she allows it to dissolve luxuriously around her neck! Now, that's a trick that Martha has never even tried. Then, perfect parrot that Electra is, she twitches prettily and seems ready to accept another smoke ring. So I blow another, and she does her little womanly neck poking trick again.

Or is it really a manly trick? After all, Electra is putting something (in this case, her head) into and through a circular shape.

No matter. No time to wonder! For when I blow a third smoke ring, Electra steps through the ring entirely, and flutters to the floor.

My breathing stops and my eyes grow big. My own larynx bobs up and down as I swallow with tension. Electra is moving towards me in a delicate, sideways dance, and as she does she leaves fecal droppings on the floor, as though to signal me about the depth and occasional wretchedness of the story that she will unfold just as soon as she reaches my lap. Perhaps my irises have narrowed or even gone half shut, but her grey feathers seem to have acquired a hallucinatory green, yellow, and orange. I see her articulate her neck, breast, and tiny rump in ways that invite deciphering. I believe I hear jungle drums.

And now she is gyrating her way up my leg. Her large sclerae, dark pupils, and Cleopatra makeup approach my most tender parts. Here she is! Oh! I feel her talons pierce the light wool of my pants when she, at long last, steps onto my lap.

The moment is exquisite. I wish my mother could see me now! For this, a man could kill his father. Or his father's parrot.


Previously published in JMWW

Winter/Spring 09/10 (Archive)

Graber, Murray, Harris, Theys and Biswas

Details by Shane Graber

Gifts For The Residents by Paul Murray

Human Noise by Bruce Harris

Best Brewed Plans by Lydia Fazio Theys

Fable of the Fortieth Sheep by Rumjhum Biswas

Shingling: Murphy, Coffee, Nero, Stakes

Sculptures by Christina Murphy

Early Thoughts On The Oedipus Complex by Rebecca Coffey

Dancing All The Steps I Know by Pepe Nero

No Such Thing as a Free Tea by Jennifer Stakes

Heavisides, Bittner, Leppanen

Armstrong by Martin Heavisides

"I was tellin’ about the time when I was a little bitty boy in my mother’s hometown of Boutte, Louisiana. I was about five years old, cute little ol’ thing, too. Mayann, my mother you know, she said to me one morning, “Son, run down to the pond and get a bucket of water for your mama." And I cut out for that water, and Mayann dug me when I come back without the water and poooh, boy! She said, “Boy, where is that water?" I said, “Well, mama, there’s a big old rusty alligator in that pond and I didn’t get that water." She said, “Oh, boy, go get that water. Don’t you know that alligator is scared of you as you are of him?" I told her, “Mama, if he’s scared of me as I am of him, that water ain’t fit to drink."
As quoted in Gary Giddins, Satchmo

“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Lucille’s are pink
I saw them on the clothesline"

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The Ethos of Capital-isthmus By Russell Bittner

What pay is this? Some chit now
long past due to get us roundly up
and out the door,
to squeeze a measly buck, redound a score,
then shuck, to gutted towns, our shell-
shocked crew? Like hell you'll clear us
out and push us through, demanding,
time-cards swiped, we quit the floor
and not-like peevish children-
scream for more, but take our bul-
lied selves elsewhere for brew! I
tell you, China's coast is far from
and China's sum of us is no less dim.
So go now-take your cash where
it may still win hearts and minds
not scarified by beer and will, no
doubt, find skillful hands to trim
the scrim of your next threadbare, off-shore thrill.

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The Irritating Stiffie by Dennis Leppanen

I wouldn't have considered Harley Burgess as a matrimonial conquest. Not even a slightly remote possibility. You see, Pa hung himself the morning before Harley came around. My brother, Russell, two years my junior, built the casket while I dug the hole. Wished he would a found him, though. Pa’s face was purple hanging there, almost black. The move to the west had been especially cruel on Pa. A gentleman he was, a western farmer, he wasn’t.

I had turned nineteen, in the middle of the prairie, a randy woman in the middle of nowhere. Harley Burgess was pushing thirty, if not over the brink. Russell and I were busy packing up our meager belongings. Meager? After years living out east in near royalty. What we had become. The old farm in the middle of nowhere killed Pa. We decided to get, while the getting was good.

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Exiting the Tesco Express: Hatfield, (Classic, Fitzgerald) Nero and Johnson

The Jaguar XF

Head and Shoulders

The Naked Line

Putting the Real in the Virtual

Poets: Murray, Good, Quinn, Joslin

Forecast For Interstate 81
by P. W. Murray

South, U.S. Highway 11, 1960.
Duff’s Rebel Restaurant,
breakfast in Winchester and supper -
if all goes on schedule - near Pulaski.
Hills to our right -
“… jingle bell, jingle bell,
jingle bell rock,"

wipers click and wipers clock.
Ears to the radio, eyes to the
billboards, a signs calls out
for a diner - “Listen there - if we were
still up in Carlisle, Hagerstown or
Martinsburg we’d be butt-deep in
snow." Pop knows. Here it’s just
cold slop, a little sleet but cold
assaulting rain, mostly. A diner
with dingy motel's light glows ahead.
"Rockin' around the Christmas tree
at the Christmas party hop… ."

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Childhood Portrait
by Howie Good

When the old mare collapsed
between the shafts of the milk wagon

and the wagon driver leaped
to the ground cursing

the tallest trees leaned forward
as if to better see

my teachers call the house
your son they said

too young to wonder
what’s worse as I was punched

in the head and slapped
the anger of the man slashing at it

with a whip or its wish
to get up again and go on

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i picked at a scab today
by Casey Quinn

an old wound
long forgotten

it was just there,

taking its course

but i
didn't let it.

i picked at the scab
and it bled

and the process was forced
to start over again.

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Water Cycle
by Oonah V. Joslin

slippy with ice and moss
the fence
frozen this morning,
stream of steam swirls
clawing upwards
vaporous cloud
cools, cascades
flows back to
ground, soggy
beneath berried yew
to be sucked up
brackish again by

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Poets: Nero, Quinn and Hatfield

The Homoiconian Rest Home by Pepe Nero

"It’s a beautiful old place
a white classic american wood scroll gothic
with a porch running around all four sides."

my niece by Casey Quinn

"i had not

seen her in years i told her ..."

Feeding Ducks by Jim Hatfield

As I tore and cast upon the water half a
loaf of Mothers Pride, he advised that feed-
ing ducks was now a crime, punishable by a
statutory fine.

Snails on the Road by Rebecca Burns

THERE WERE SNAILS ON THE ROAD to the tapas bar. They had oozed over from a scrub of undeveloped land beside the main street into town. Grandma shouted a warning from up ahead, shading her eyes as she turned back to face us, squinting into the sun. But Mum didn’t swerve to avoid the little creatures littering the road. Instead they were crushed under the wheels of Toby’s buggy as Mum pushed him straight on; their shells disintegrated with tiny pops that reminded me of the gravel on our drive at home, churned up into a sharp spray by spinning wheels.

Mum’s jaw was set, and I couldn’t see her eyes behind the dark glasses she’ d worn all week. I tried not to think of the snails’ soft bodies being pulped into the concrete.

It was early evening but the heat was still stifling. We’ d sat around the pool for most of the morning with Grandma whilst Mum slept in the villa. Grandma was strong and had easily held Toby in the shallow end, letting his twisted legs float to the surface in a way that delighted him. He squealed and drooled, thrashing his head from side to side, soaking us both. But we didn’t mind. It felt good to see him so happy.

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Editors for the Issue (Winter 2010)

Managing Editor
M. Lynam Fitzpatrick

Editors for Review:
Ramon Collins
Nonnie Augustine
Yvette Managan

Copy Editor
Digby Beaumont

Contributing Editors:
Martin Heavisides
Bill West
Russell Bittner

Photography Editor:
Maia Cavelli

Front Cover Design:
D. Capabionco

Art Contributions
Elfi Schuselka

Database Design and Management
Peter Gilkes

Office address: Dromod Harbour, Dromod,
Co. Leitrim, Rep. of Ireland

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