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Poetry by Richard Fein
  Music by Brian Hutzell
  Art by Mattthew Skenadore
'The Hanging of Mary Surratt' (c) 2005-2006 Mattthew Skenadore
The Hanging of Mary Surratt

They all wait in hooded darkness.
But the day must have been bright.
Dark chivalry for the lady,
for Mary is shielded by a parasol;
the others are directly under the July sun.
Colors must have been vivid,
but this photo is black and white.
Eyes are primed for the trapdoors to drop.
Lincoln is always about to be avenged but never is.
This photo only promises death.
It's the next photo that fulfills the promise.
Witnesses, soldiers, the magistrate who gave the final nod,
are dead, dead now longer than they ever lived.
There is strict equality under natural law,
and living is a first-degree felony
with Mother Nature a hanging judge.
Fractal Entities
'Face Like a Cat Left in the Rain' (c) 2005-2006 Mattthew Skenadore
A starving man finds food,
gives thanks, feasts, and drops a crumb.
An ant happens upon the fallen manna.
It raises its antennae heavenward
as if it also were giving thanks.
Two beings feasting.
But there are other entities.
Within the ant is a protozoan
also reaping what is sown.
And within the protozoan
a bacterium finds its place at a table,
while a singular viral particle
can now gather an abundance of nucleotides,
as universes of macromolecules are rearranged.
Within these molecules are singular atoms,
and each singular atom is a singular cosmos—
and within each cosmos,
the spinning constellations of quanta have set in motion
a rippling cascade of causalities that puts food on some unseen table
immeasurably near, infinitely far, and utterly boundless.
And by that table yet another being feasts
and offers up prayer to the maximal and minutest of heavens.
'Face Like a Cat Left in the Rain' (c) 2005-2006 Mattthew Skenadore
The Quantum States of Insane Reality and Sane Fantasy
In this state of reality, fantasy keeps one sane enough to know that fantasy is needed
to keep one within that elusive cloud of probabilities called sanity.
Without fantasy the knowledge that fantasy is needed to maintain sanity is lost
and that leaves one in a state of unremitting immutable reality.
Existence in such a state eventually destabilizes, and one so destabilized
must, like a quantum particle, seek a more stable state,
which in this universe of utter reality can only be the state of total fantasy,
which by the axioms governing all existence around us equals insanity.
Thus the ineluctable logic of this fantastic syllogism leads to the conclusion
that one can exist in two states simultaneously,
one who exists in immutable sanity also exists in total fantasy,
and one who exists in utter insanity also exists in unremitting reality.
Skeleton Key
'Face Like a Cat Left in the Rain' (c) 2005-2006 Mattthew Skenadore
Take off Clark Kent's glasses and assume Superman's X-ray eyes.
Kryptonite is an optical illusion, so feel free to find a deeper vision.
Beneath black, white, red, yellow, brown, and perhaps even a tinge of blue,
the articulations of bones speak of grace
in the harmonized movements of humerus with femur,
of radius and ulna with tibia and fibula.
See how the slender phalanges uncurl from the metacarpals
when the hand reaches out to touch.
Be awed at the towering strength of the spine
which holds the skull far from the ground and closer to the cosmos.
Scan the arcade of the ribs, those bellows of breath.
Below is the pelvis which holds up the framework,
like a wide supporting hand..
And like the comic book hero
see beyond the clashing colors of skin
all the way to the ore of silvery bones running within,
which as much as ligaments and tendons binds us all
to the common vein of the body politic.
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