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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2014 - Vol. 11, Issue 3

"The Computer Rainforest" and "Wildflower Engine Block"

written by

Todd Hanks

"The Computer Rainforest"


In the paradise of a computer jungle,

bananas and televisions hang near

a python draping a metal limb.

In a red rust river piranhas fax

themselves closer to the wading

legs of cyber water buffalo.


A train chugs amongst the rubber trees.

The wood between the tracks is

warped, splintered and broken.

The boards are spaced unevenly,

like unsteady footsteps to the horizon.


The jungle druids type and pray.

They worship copper trees, a few vegetables,

and long extinct word processors.



"Wildflower Engine Blocks"


The telephone lines stopped below his trailer;

he had never been connected.

He collected the few messages he did receive

at his landlord’s and always displayed

the scraps of paper longer than necessary in his home,

as if they were rare antiques.


His front yard was an automobile garden,

where waist-high weeds, engine parts

and wildflowers lived in forgotten harmony.


He had a celluloid stare, grease-black hair, and

sideburns below his ears. A football star once, he

used to hang his oil-stained T-shirt

on a car antenna, the corroded corpse of a ’56 Ford,

as if the shirt were the white banner of

some archaic kingdom.


The sky would turn black as he cracked a six-pack,

and, as if to remind him of his heroic football days,

the cicadas cheered to him from oak tree bleachers.

The 1950’s still lived in his pale eyes,

and he would stare off like an animal

transfixed by headlights, while the night

wrapped him in black-leather-jacket thoughts.


Since the town’s picture show had closed

he just stayed home dreaming of saxophones,

and the soft curving shadows of lovers from his past.

He would taste their ghost lips. And the weeds

continued to grow, like green, reaching arms,

up through the rusted wildflower engine blocks.

Todd Hanks is a schizophrenic writer who lives in the Ozarks. He is excited about the current project he is working on with a team, a musical he wrote to be put on locally at a playhouse this fall. He has had creative writing published by Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and the Kansas City Star newspaper. One e-book book of his Gothic poetry is available at Amazon, entitled Grave Bits. If you would like a historic fiction novella by him, or a nicely illustrated book of History and Myth poems, contact him at

Breath & Shadow

Summer 2014 - Vol. 11, Issue 3

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