Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 1



Dan A. Cardoza


Blackberries

The sweetest are bruises, deep in
falls bramble, burgundy drunk with
no memory of springs knot of
bumble and speck.

Black and blue finger tips, thumbs.

Bee stung kisses deep red to
purple.

All colors of summer’s dark too
soon, let’s pause, empower
October to exhume the last thorns.




Hunting Angels

As far as we are concerned, it’s always open season
on angels that refuse prayer.

I toss and turn in my dream, knee high in corn stalk
& snow nearly two feet
tall. Two dark angel’s real and imagined haunch
tight, feel safe from the honest nose of my spaniel.
He’s good, they panic and flush. I level my sixteen
gauge Browning shotgun.

In flight their intent is to confuse, wearing pheasant
fin feathers of fennel, rosemary & nutmeg colored
down. Side eyed Jack and I know better. Jack is
loyal if to a fault.

He fetches them both in turn, dispatches them with
a shake maybe three to my feet peppered raw with
shot. Jack is sure if to a fault.

As they steam against the fresh snow I envision
gripping their yellow scaled talons then dunking the
tiny basilisks in a tin bucket of hot water. So it’s
easier to pluck their feathers, their beautiful wings.

The blood on my hands won’t come clean. I see an
iridescent shiver of quill and feather thatched in my
garage basin sink.

During the next night’s hunt Jack and I stalk, cull
bitter angels of loss. Jack is confident if to a fault.
No concept of ask or appeal. As for me, though in
doubt, I save prayer for cross country flights.




The Final Conversation

God: You barely danced, loved,
begged for grace. You stopped to soon, got on
to quick, kept too much from you, promised
too much too.

Inexplicably failed at giving up too soon,
attempted to bargain with time, one time or
two-thousand, but not just a few,

too little yelling, cursing the sky, too much
settling for ‘good enough’s’, quit reaching
way too soon, got up when you fell sometimes
too slow.
You failed at being good enough, more than
one time or two times, weren’t selfish enough
just for you.

Did I mention Stopped? Died much too soon,
sought God above, much less in you.

Next!

You: But...?




Up Here, All Things Float

We know what makes
a balloon float,
clouds without string too.

After all, we built magic
up there, if just to redeem
prayer.

All things ascend somewhere.

So much so,
the dark vault of sky
impossibly sags

clouds buckle like
riveted steel beams with cracked
seams, impossibly so.

For now the patched stitches
won’t sieve, though, a few
believe it’s only a matter of time.




The Silence Factory

The widgets are a thing of beauty
well, if sight bloomed weeds.

The company has a softball team,
plans summer team building picnics.
The softballs are made of beef tongues,
the tables slivers.

The final game: Cubicles 8, Anarchy 0.

Team mascot, red stapler.

The Christmas bonus last year was terrific,
well deserved. Perfect bound Thesaurus’s,
with ink-less font, easy to read, Times New
Roman. It’s for the angry who choose
not to speak.


Dan A. Cardoza: "I have a MS Degree. I live in Northern California and am the author of three chapbooks, Nature’s Front Door, Expectation of Stars, and Ghosts in the Cupboard. Partial Credits: Aleola, Amethyst, UK., Ardent, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Chaleur Magazine, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Frogmore Journal, UK, Friday Flash Fiction, High Shelf Press, Oddball, Peeking Cat, Poetry Northwest, Rabid Oak, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Ireland, Spelk, Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis."




Top of Page

Table of Contents






Visit our Facebook page          Visit us on Twitter


editors AT rigorous DASH mag DOT com
webmaster AT rigorous DASH mag DOT com