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Sparks Online Issue 8


The Transubstantiation of Water and Sugar by Peter Leach

"Early October from: Dinner Time at the Dead Philosopher's Bistro"

by William C. Burns, Jr.

Three Poems

by Steve Mitana

The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy 2

by Ben Ohmart

Six Poems

by Frank Ford

Three Poems

by John Grey

Two Poems

by Jim DeWitt

Slogans for the Proles

by Jim Esch

Sparks: A Magazine for Creative People

ISSN# 1077-4149

Editors: Jim Esch and Stacy Tartar

Copyright © 1995 by Jim Esch and Stacy Tartar

All rights for each work contained herein revert back to the author(s) upon publication.

Printed in the U.S.A.

We welcome your submissions. Unsolicited manuscripts will be considered for publication and returned, provided you have included a self addressed stamped envelope. Send all correspondence to the address below.
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Jim Esch or Stacy Tartar

The Transubstantiation of Water and Sugar

by Peter Leach

WHEN LUIGI WAS AN ALTAR BOY he pondered how to change bread into flesh. He watched his mother mix flour and water and yeast. The day she was helping his sister have a baby, he tried it in a skillet with a loaf of her bread and a cup of his uncle's red win e. Like Father Emil he said the words of the spell, "...Quis est corpse, may us?" But all he got was a whipping and burnt paste.

He asked his uncle who worked in the clay mines by the River des Peres filling hopper cars with red muck that his brother-in-law shoveled into molds and put in the kiln, and it came out hard bricks. His uncle said, "You ask the Priest." Father Emil said t hat is behind a holy veil and took him in the toilet. Under his vestments Father Emil wore hose and a silk teddy. Luigi asked his brother-in-law and he said, "You put your bird in the hole. It takes nine months." For a year after that Luigi inspected his turds to see if there was a baby among them.

When he was older he learned from his uncle the transubstantiation of water and sugar. You add yeast. After it stops making bubbles, you cook it. You put it in barrels with a cup of charred oak chips. After three months or nine for the good stuff, you put it in bottles and take it in the Vicino's Produce truck to the groceries.

When Luigi had enough money, he paid a man to stick a bread knife up Father Emil. He left the rest to the church.

"Early October: from Dinner Time at the Dead Philosopher's Bistro"

by William C. Burns, Jr.


A quiet October night
and business is a little slow
I nurse a single glass
of nice, dry, red wine in the back
Nietzsche saunters in
and assumes his usual chair
That peripheral table
under the oak
The other waiters
avoid his shadow
His frosty glance
dispirits them
They're just not Uber enough
I guess
Doesn't bother me
and he tips real good
"Good evening mein heir,
and how shall we start the evening?"
"Ack . . ."  he hisses
making a point of ignoring me
"The usual? Very good sir."
I hum to myself
signalling the order for the bar-keep
Yessssss .  .  .  sir
Real nice tip tonight

Three Poems

by Steve Mitana


Sally's Back

Sally kicks in the door with snakeskin boots.
"I am of two hearts," she announces,
"Quite possibly five or sixty-four."
Downing tequila, she spits and shoots heaven the finger.
"My first," she drags a hand across her mouth,
"Was the comfort of other's satisfactions."
"The 'If somebody's happy, so am I.'"
Her leather slaps the wall and obeys gravity.
"It was as smooth as a qualude and a six-pack."
"Find the couch and the tube. Watch the kids play."
Sally's hair cannot be defined.
Sometimes the blonde of a werewolf's moon,
It has been an auburn set on shoulders.
Tonight, flames threaten cotton.
"The other is the beating of an unanswered phone."
"The question and a sigh." Falling into a chair,
The bottle hits the table and her head follows.
"It keeps a rhythm AT&T created. That constant pounding drone."
"If you listen long enough, you could think you hear a murmur."
Fist and formica remember forgetting.
"Yeah, right. And there's rings around Uranus."
Throwing her head so sparks arch backwards,
She grabs a hand and pulls it to her chest.
"Can you feel it?" she presses harder.
"All it wants to know is if there's anybody home."
Her shirt is white and the temperature shows.
"But I guess that would kill the muse." She stands.
Faded to sky, cuffs are tucked in diamondbacks.
"I went to the doctor," she stretches,
"And I told him my problem." Fire chases a moon.
"From behind 120 watts, he told me to cut it out.
'Which one and how?' I asked. A shaker is pulled off the table.
"'You're not listening,' he said. 'I hear at least three.'"
Peppers, black and read, Robbins, and a vase follow.
"He handed me a pen."
From her back pocket, a piece of paper unfolds.
"Here it is, all cut and pinned, ventricles pumping,
And four quarters exposed." It is spotless, glaring, and empty.
"An invitation looking for a dance."
She removes her shirt and a smile begs massage.
Belly and breast bless veneer; facsimile framing flesh.
Her neck parts a shimmering inferno two forearm sway.
Sally's back is a series of tangents.
Padded to perfection so skin is spared from bone,
Curves defy a compass, any square, and a ruler.
To the touch, it quivers and pimples, and lungs
Quake dunes from blades to small and down.
Salts rise to what could only be her kiss.
But her silence, oh, her silence,
To hear her just silence.

Name That Sally

"Poets grow old," Sally opens a smile.
"And they tend to drink too much about sex."
"They check their fingernails for dirt, and then,
With an incredulous look, wonder how it got there."
Cheeks toddle on an arching smile. "They're no good
And they know it. The worst is they dance alone!"
Sally's one shin presses against the bar. The other
Crosses thigh so hands can wrap knee and lean back.
It is summer and baseball is framed by knots and grains
Of barn board aged by raging souls. Toes snap flop for fun.
"I love 'em, though," digits trade caps for beer.
"They celebrate each moment," she sips.
Sally pirouettes a mug atop a pinnacled knee.
"One told me of another who was so enamored,
"She exploded. Heart just popped. Eyes teared blood.
The bartender looks and Sally nods.
"Didn't even know her name," she thanks her server.
"Now that's," an eyebrow rises, "Magic."

Sally Excavated

Sally sprawls in an open field. It is night
And stars insist connecting. Honey suckle blossoms near.
"Arrgghhh," palms press sockets, "not again."
"It's beat is relentless and extremely unfair."
Pressure continues until paisley fills dark.
They dance with constellations when she opens her eyes.
"Can you smell that," the wind nectars. "She is sweeter."
Hands pull corn silk from under head.
"Beneath a pregnant moon," strands strewn face,
"We have sat on curbs and talked nothing into presents."
Toes point and legs snap towards Orion.
"The lot turns a paradise, street lights trees,"
"And we were blind and bare besides a parked shrub."
Forearms and ground support back so chest meets chin
And calves shoot for the moon. "Snakes are chased with silence."
And exclamation inverted, she towers tall grasses.
Pedals pretend Atlas to Luna; a circus seal
Balancing a ball on a projected proboscis.
"Is desire born of absence or empathy?"
She stretches further, teetering with effort.
"An empathy so cancerous and malign, I am too aware of myself."
Legs split east and west and return.
"Watching her watching me watching her, I see me through she."
Gravity slowly pulls toes to grass over ears.
"Absence is born of desire and if the heart is but a muscle,
It strives by strain, and that must be this hollow
Awaiting the flora and breath of admittance."
Denim canvasses thighs and a breech at apogee.
In an unapologetic attempt at an "I-Sal-of-Ease" triangle,
She pushes to compliment one hundred and eighty degrees.
Knees buckle to brow, and, from a vantage,
The night is Martian. Diemos chases Phobus.
"I have stolen time," she bounces heels against butt,
"And not noticed its passage; greyed my steps"
"A hungover sunrise to break in my own house"
"Looking for what champagne irised reminds me"
"I have forgotten and can not remember."
Curled a protected catapillar, calves rest on thighs.
"These valves make such a stupid beast," arms grab knees
To rock and sway a spine bent against breaking.
"It screws a face at a pool's reflection before drinking."
Sally continues autistic, approaching sitting,
Then returning to inversion over and over again.
Finally, hands plant and push, legs cross and fold,
And she lands in lotus behind her.
"One night, the lot was empty except for us."
Sally looks up and flaxen falls. "It was August,"
"But a clear sky had invited a northern nip."
"She was wrapped in a hooded sweat. Uncovered,"
"Chills tightened blader and I had to step away."
Clasping hands under blonde cascaded,
Arms pull up, blades attempt a meeting,
And the small of her back bolsters breasts to attention.
"Returning, I found her dancing the curb to its end"
"Where she jumped with a turn and laughed"
"As one of Persiod's tails burnt out above her gnomed."
Fingers release and wrist slap in front.
Shaking down her spine, brows pulls lips a crescent.
"That night," escapes lungs, "the thief caught himself,
"The beast didn't snear, and snakes were given breath."
Palms finds knees and Sal seams centers.
Cheeks apple, dimples ravine, and eyes diamond.
Beyond any heffer's hopes, the moon waxes a smirk
For hanging hats.
"Her landing quaked a fissure in me
As deep and silent as the Idaho buried
In sympathetic yeses built on borrowed foundations.
Sevens years cracked and I was mirrored.
Diaphragm drops, airs exchange, and blood refreshed.
"Where there should have been a pile of scree,
There was only pavement. No momentous crumbling.
No quicksilver pooling or Titans falling,
Only closure encompassing the fractures
Rigged to build the white picket fence
I scaled to come to this view."
"I sat to survey the depth accomplished
And saw how they will always be as she is then always.
Inviting her to the sight, she pulled us to a kiss."
"These maps," she tosses the heavens a tassel,
"Will take you anywhere. The trick is in the steering;
Whether to drive, surf, or be towed."
Knees rise, feet push, and she is erected cross-legged.
"When you realize the place you want to be,"
Sally snaps at the hips swinging against the clock,
"And it is all you can give," she begins her ascent,
"All you will ever receive is yourself refracted."
Coming full circle, Sally pauses before a step.
The moon butters a honey whipped face.
Her hand offered, a landscape is accepted.
Sally strolls in an open field. Morning is closer
And the stars have built bridges. Honey suckle blossoms near.
"Can you smell that?" the wind nectars. "I am sweeter."

The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy 2

by Ben Ohmart

(2 men)


(BUTCH and SUNDANCE, toting guns, enter the stage, representing the streets of Mexico, carefully. They're both full of bullet holes)


SUNDANCE. Boy, that was close.


BUTCH. You're right about that, Sundance.


SUNDANCE. Do you think we could go for Japanese food? (Referring to bullet holes) All the food's dropped out my stomach.


BUTCH. My gun's gonna develop lung cancer if I keep smokin' it like this.


SUNDANCE. What's lung cancer, Butch? (Starts smoking a cigarette)


BUTCH. You'll learn when you git older. I'm tuckered. And thirsty. Let's rest a witch's spell. (Hands SUNDANCE a stick that was lying on the ground, as they both sit) Here. Here's something to play with, kid.


SUNDANCE. Thanks, Butch. Hey, why do they call you Butch?


BUTCH. It ain't from hangin' around guys like you. Where's the bottle?


SUNDANCE. I cashed it in for a penny, Butch. We've got to recycle, Butch.

BUTCH. Nah, the water bottle. (From torn pants he pulls out hot water bottle) Thanks, kid. There's none o' you in this, is there?


SUNDANCE. You know, Butch. (BUTCH drinks) I was thankin'.


BUTCH. You were what?


SUNDANCE. Thankin', I was thankin', Butch..


BUTCH. Who were you thankin'?


SUNDANCE. I was thankin' on a "what". See, I don't mind if the entire Mexican Army shows up. Unannounced. Since we got away. But - some of them were eating burrito supremes 'stead of carryin' guns if you know what I mean. Butch.


BUTCH. Have a drink, kid. I'm tired of hearing my name.

SUNDANCE. (Drinks) Who are those guys?


BUTCH. (Draws gun; nervous) Who? Where?


SUNDANCE. Right here, Butch. On the side of the bottle.


BUTCH. Jesus Christ!


SUNDANCE. Who's the other one?


BUTCH. There's nobody on that bottle. It's a water bottle for Christ's sake!


SUNDANCE. You sure it's just water in here?


BUTCH. Just start worryin' when the horses start talkin' to ya.


SUNDANCE. Yes, Wilbur. - I don't know why I said that, Butch.

BUTCH. Look, kid. We should get outta town. Before they reload. I'm gonna git us two tickets on John Ford's stagecoach. He's headin' out tonight.


SUNDANCE. I'll git the take-away Japanese food.


BUTCH. Look, forgit about yer stomach!


SUNDANCE. Lead ain't very nutritious, Butch. I was in a health feed store 'tother day and I thank I figured out why horses only die when ya shoot 'em.


BUTCH. They shoot horses, don't they?


SUNDANCE. 'Cause of the oats they eat. That's why they live forever. Takes 'em that long just to drop a huge shit. (Laughs) Stables smell like a horny girl's cucumber. Let me tell you. But when they got it all spread on that stable, Butch, they start sing in'! Give out such a singin' 'cause they're healthy, and empty. (Imitates horse whinnying)


BUTCH. - I never sang for my father, Sundance.


SUNDANCE. Maybe your voice sucked like a pecker, Butch. Let's eat!

BUTCH. Guess who's coming to dinner? - I'm dancing as fast as I can!!




BUTCH. Who's afraid of Dr. Zhivago?!


SUNDANCE. Yo, Butch! (Slaps BUTCH)


BUTCH. Sorry. - Sorry, kid. I didn't - I didn't know what I was sayin'.


SUNDANCE. That's all right, Butch. I wasn't insulted. (BUTCH takes another drink from bottle to try to calm down. They both have no idea where some of these phrases have been coming from) Hey. I'm really starvin' though. Think we could shoot a dog? - I he ard you put a dead animal in what yer eatin' at a diner and they give it to ya for free.


BUTCH. Can't fit a dog in a biscuit and greens can ya?

SUNDANCE. Depends on where ya shoot it.

BUTCH. Well you shoot it in another alley. I gotta get some rest. I'm startin' to jangle. (Points to bullets in him. SUNDANCE starts to leave but shooting starts; only sound effects are needed)


SUNDANCE. (Spins around and limps back to BUTCH) Ah! Looks like they reloaded..


BUTCH. Sundance! Kid! Where'd they git ya?


SUNDANCE. (Points to street) Didn't ya see?

BUTCH. I mean where in the body, ya fool! (Shoots and keeps shooting, not always in sync with sound effects)


SUNDANCE. Oh. Luckily the bullet was stopped by a bullet from the first shootout. So I'm all right. Course, that other bullet's a tadpole deeper now.


BUTCH. Don't you worry none, Sundance.


SUNDANCE. I'm a-startin' to jangle too, Butch.


BUTCH. Look, kid. Keep my name. You like it better'n I do.


SUNDANCE. Thanks Butch! I didn't git you nothin'.


BUTCH. You just git your ass in gear. Can you fire a gun?


SUNDANCE. Shore. You're fired!


BUTCH. I think you're comin' down with a pretty bad sense o' humor, young fella. Hey, you just shoot. Whilst I reload. I musta fired eleven times and my gun's runnin' hot.

(He reloads. During the following shootout, SUNDANCE smiles then controls his laughter, as an actor, about the misguided sounds effects. This filters through to the giggling BUTCH actor who's trying to drink water)


SUNDANCE. (Through clenched, smiling teeth, trying to regain the drama of the situation) It's not working... fella.


BUTCH. (Same problem) All right.. Butch. You know what we gotta do. It worked


last time.


SUNDANCE. Okay - kid. You can have my name, I don't need it anymore. (They make diarrhea-like faces to off-stage and wherever the sound man's located through this, but then regain their professional composure somewhere during the following, and treat the last lines non-comically as before)


BUTCH. Right. Now what we're gonna hafta do is.. rush 'em. Just like before.

I'm not feelin' too good myself, Butch.


SUNDANCE. There's a lot of them out there, kid.


BUTCH. Not as many as before, eh, Butch? (They laugh) So what's that leave us with? Maybe three - or four? (Now sounds effects are more equal)


SUNDANCE. I'll take the ones wearin' green. You tackle the ones wearin' brown. Or in a suit. I'm havin' bad stomach problems.


BUTCH. Jus' hold out for maybe a half hour, Butch. I swear you'll git raw fish 'fore the day's out if you'll jus' hold on! (They're dying)


SUNDANCE. Sure thing, kid. Just three or four out there?


BUTCH. I swear. It was seven or eight, last time. But you know that ol' Davy Crockpot trick about makin' it sound like more.


SUNDANCE. Great... kid... wish I could.. do that when I got only one... can o' beans. (Dies)


BUTCH. Butch! I mean kid! Kid! (Tries to shoot, but he's dying too. He lays

down and looks at the water bottle) Aw, man.. I drank the water... killed by a shitty cliche'... (He dies and lights fade)


Six Poems

by Frank B. Ford


Zinfandel, a Guide

A lot of laughing
and a little sex;
it seemed so nice
-ly proportionate

Bring your own spirits

invites the Peking Restaurant.
(Their Ancestors bringing theirs?) Sure'n
mine's olde Irish Charm (read lies). The Swede's
dour face, plus frozen bone, and ice
balls. The voluble Italian's perpetually
smarting pride. The Jap his pussy
team, sucking collective ass to save
collective face. Ze Kraut exhorting Vork! and zen
ve can BOOZE und put on yuh voman's undervears und dance
What do I know?
Who leads?

Note To the Sexually Correct

 I'd rather hear a lame duck sing
than all the oh-so-fussy theories
denying Man's eMO-OH-tional needs
are anything but craving fucking.

Ask a Newspaper Person

Darling I am going old.
Keep the tits above the fold.

After Magritte's This Is Not a Pipe

  This is not a poem. Its
shit's displayed, and bodi-
ly fluids splatter,
menacing you with
AIDS--which IS!
one Big-Fuck-
in-Idea,so what
MORE you want,
hey, Secret-Slut?


Police still have no clues
in that mass rape in New Jersey,
or the probably unconnected be-
heading of a man on the hood of
his Cadillac El Dorado on that
same street of horror, and the Government
denies reports it tested rat
poison on ghetto children. And from all
the NEWS NOW! crew Hava NICE Weekend.

Three Poems

by John Grey



When you have that license,
sometimes you don't have to fly
but you do.
Those on the ground
who could use a little elevation,
some bouncing off the clouds,
can only stare up
at your pirouetting wings,
sleek gray body,
and grit their jealous teeth.
And when, after an hour of joyriding,
you smoothly land,
bounce out of the cockpit,
face grinning with
all that unnecessary flight,
they avoid your eyes,
that deep blue
and its undisguised origins.

I'm Used To This

I'm the scary one you know.
I can look in the mirror
and write scabs in the glass
with my eyes.
You touch my cheeks like
you're trying on part
of you to see how it would
look over my bones.
But my straw is in the gutter.
I'm not kissing you.
My lips are sucking up everything
I've ever done and
thought I gag on the taste,
at least my tongue
can recognize it.
Whatever it is that you
approach so giddily,
I've gone.

Extra Extra

the wrong expression
through the right prism
as bland as the nose
on my face
would be
if seen through
the eyes of the girl
at Xtra Mart
who sold me two milks
and a newspaper
I didn't need
just for the privilege
of having me leer
at the possibilities

Two Poems

by Jim Dewitt


Spineless Mime

Look how today
yesterday's bootprints
in the newsnow
a whipping wind's will
took care of that
w/the frailly-fragile whitefluff
disrupted, then re-fallen
which settled
the affair for now...
so what the @$*&#% did you
expect, a sunbeam
to intervene?

Steer Way Clear

of a retching cat
chewing grass...
of a nude picknicker pouring
liquid plumber
onto his barbequed burger...
of a livid live-in
shoving a loaded pistol
down the throat
of a rose

Slogans for the Proles

by Jim Esch

Here's a set of one liners for the disgruntled postal worker in all of us. Good for T-shirts, buttons, public service advertisements, fight starters, coffee house manifestos, large billboards, graffiti, scrap books, Academy award acceptance speeches, lit ter, creative cattle prods, bathroom stall messaging systems, etc.....


Revolution, Inc.


We Thank You For Your Support (Fool.)


Exploited...and Proud of It!

Fuck the Rich. Then Kill Them.


Make Money The Old Fashioned Way. Extort It.


Hi there. I Create Surplus Value!


New Improved Company Grime


My Company Exists At Nature's Expense.


Economically Harassed.


Have You Burned A Mansion Today?


By The Way, Big Brother Is Pissing On Your Shoe.


Have You Strangled Your Boss Today?


Landlords Make Good Fertilizer.


Capitalism is Just A Word. Now Get Back To Work.


You Deserve A Break Today. Kill Your Landlord.


Capitalism: The Rich Man's Sodomy


The Only Good Employer is a Dead Employer


Capitalism Doesn't Pay

Will You Be My Wage Slave?


Wake Up America! Aw, forget it.


Go Away.


Give me a gun, I think I have an idea!


What Did You Just Say?

I Dig The Earth. The Earth Could Care Less.


Smile, and The Whole World Laughs In Your Face.


Suburban Subhuman


I'll Be in Your Portfolio If You'll Be in My Portfolio.


Still Evolving...


Kill what you don't understand.


Isn't It About Time You Lost Your Temper?




Eviscerate Yourself!


Reach Out and Touch Someone (with your tongue).


Pleased To Meet You?


What I Could Really Use Right Now is A Moist Towelette!


Suburban Daddy-O


Mankind is just God's Word For "Fucked-Up-Again"


Save a Trip, Smoke Money


I'm Into Assholes.


Oh pardon me, Sir...Asshole.


Go Ahead, Fuck Up My Day!