In October 2009 on October 1, 2009 at 12:00 am

dewPhoto by Lisa Guidarini

For Sale

By Carolyn Batzlaff

Layoffs and downsizing, the economy sucks.

Not so surprising, I’m down on my bucks.

It touches us all, this misery –

Less trips to the mall; we stay home, watch T.V.


I might have to move, the bubble has burst.

Still, things might improve. Have we seen the worst?

A glance at the clock and there’s little doubt

Tick-tock, tick-tock.  How fast time runs out.


Hurry! Gather past treasures, set them out on display.

Such desperate measures – a garage sale today.

Hope people will come as if on a quest.

A mission for some who love bargains best.


Household items, hunting decoys and some flicks,

Books, clothing, kids toys – it’s quite a mix.

The buyers peruse, inspect, and decide

Which they will choose, or simply let ride.


Yes!  Buy that locket! Looks stunning on you!

Money in my pocket … looks great on me, too.

Sold my stamp collection, Grandma’s pretty dishes,

A hose connection and a bowl of goldfishes.


These were my treasures, but now they are yours.

May they bring you pleasures.  My spirit soars

As I bid each adieu.  When shoppers depart

A “thank you” so true, I speak from my heart.


What I so feared would bring me great stress

Has now appeared to become a success!

The economy still sucks, but isn’t it funny

When I make a few bucks; tomorrow looks sunny.

Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

By Lisa Damian Kidder

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck HoganOscar-winning director of Pan’s Labrinth and the Hellboy movies, Guillermo del Toro, has entered the paranormal fiction scene alongside award-winning crime fiction writer Chuck Hogan with a captivating debut novel, The Strain. The first in a trilogy, The Strain, has readers biting nails and reluctant to put the book down straight from the first page. The book opens with a short fairy tale, the first line reading:

“Once upon a time,” said Abraham Setrakian’s grandmother, “there was a giant.”

The story then immediately proceeds to modern-day JFK airport in New York, where an airplane has landed with everyone on board dead from an unknown cause that swept swiftly through the cabin just after the plane landed, before making it to the gate.

While Center for Disease Control doctors and Homeland Security attempt to determine whether there is a viral outbreak or a national security threat, it quickly becomes evident that something even more sinister is happening. Playing off the original myths of ancient vampires in their all their gory glory, The Strain produces a vivid interpretation of the traditional horror archetype that is perhaps more threatening than the original and certainly a distinct diversion from the romanticized version of vampires that have been prominent in recent years.

The heroes include Ephraim Goodweather and Nora Martinez, who are CDC doctors tasked with solving and containing the threat, and Abraham Setrakian, who has been chasing the fabled monster since he was a young man in Eastern Europe. Eldritch Palmer is a wealthy and powerful elderly eccentric who plays a somewhat peripheral role in this first novel but still pivotal to the plot and likely to become a more central character in the two future installments of the trilogy. Others enter the scene as interesting diversions, sometimes enhancing the immediate story unfolding and sometimes serving as a potential portent of what’s to come.

The writing is fast-paced and provides good imagery and detail while not drowning the reader in unnecessary description. Though it is sometimes reminiscent of the viral-based zombie theme, every chapter drips with suspense, and thus results in 400 pages that turn easily through to the end. The book does not have a decisive wrap-up, therefore making it necessary to read the next in the sequel in order to discover what is to come of our main characters and the rest of the human population.


By Shakuntala Rajagopal

Long nights and days in her wooden vessel

oars dipped and raised

dipped and raised

a million times in waters shallow and deep


Seeking, searching

for her long lost love

she came upon a lily pond and paused her oaring

was it the one they floated upon in those blissful days?


A familiar song wafted in the wind

she stopped

standing up, she peered deep into the early morning mist

both oars swiftly reached the bottom mud


Stepping out onto wet marshland

dashing through the lily ponds

Slipping falling, not even caring

lily shoots broken, lost in her path


Frantic with fear of losing the song

soiled skirt dragging, slowing her down

yet, her feet kept on running

chasing fish from the shallows and egrets from their nests


all the while pursuing a song, she was

chasing a dream

no regrets or sad memories to hold her back

no thoughts of return in her mind


her boat stands alone, abandoned

abandonedPainting by Shakuntala Rajagopal

Black Cat

By Richard A. White


Curtains drawn.  A lone figure lies in the center of a mustyking-sized bed.  MARSHALL, 82, struggles to breathe.  A final gasp and all the muscles in his face gradually surrender.


A huge family is gathered for the Christmas feast.  Marshall, now 67, stands at the end of the table with carving knife in hand.  He throws the turkey to the floor.


After still another year you’re all

a disappointment to me.  You are

all cut from my will.


Marshall, now 45, addresses his 200 employees.  He tries to hold back a smile.


I’ve just sold my business for a

lot of money.  The new owners are

moving the operation to Mexico.

You all need to start looking for

other jobs.


A black cat walks across Marshall’s, now 29, path.  He kicks it.


Friends and family are gathered to celebrate Marshall’s 21st birthday.  It is his turn to read his fortune.  He cracks the cookie, smoothes the tiny strip of paper.


“You will make many people very



… in bed.

stalksPhoto by Liz Hum


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