Submission Guidelines

Monday 13 February 2012

Michael Karl (Ritchie)-

The Scorpion Carapace

Seventeen rubies shape a quadrangle across the black velvet brace that is attached by adjustable Velcro straps to the right leg – a living, breathing, garter belt squeezing the thighs, popping blood vessels out. Nothing has value unless it is sexualized. Hobbled in this manner, the wearer learns humility.

Any special grace that the recovering body develops in compensation for being crippled glosses over raw bruises. Daily the routine of assembly and disassembly -- pulling straps loose, readjusting the brace, pulling straps tight – teaches patience and concentration, essential elements in the preconditioning to actual use. Teleologically challenging, the animus of these furry, well-padded creatures thrives by acts of compression. Pulses throb and warm the leg. The body knows the future better than the mind.

As a hope generator.

Only clouds subside, transforming shape. Waking could be banned. Hanging upside down from a bar could turn frowns into smiles. Attached to a rotating wheel, muscles revive, with some hope for a spring.

Its electrical pulse thrums slowly into the future, especially to catch a whiff of violence on the periphery. Every movement before us did not obliterate language. So accomplished, a new aspiration develops, and so on, into infinity.

The only real pain is its sting.

Michael Karl (Ritchie) is a Professor of English at Arkansas Tech University, where he serves as advisor to the undergraduate literary magazine, Nebo.  He has had three small press chapbook publications and work published in various small press magazines, including Gihon River Review, Margie, and The Arkansas Literary Forum.

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