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Vers Magnifique!: Kate Benedict  Adrian Boas  Derek Brown  George Dickerson   Clayton Eshleman   Marissa Fox   Dylan Garcia-Wahl   William Glass   Everett Goldner   Harvey Goldner   Cindra Halm  Neil Hester  Lynsey Jenkins  Dan Masterson  Whinza Ndoro   Peter Nicholson   Maurice Oliver   Gilbert Wesley Purdy   Iain James Robb   Alex Sheremet   Anthony Zanetti

MIA Poets:  Richard Dana Carlson   Greg Clark   Leah Cutter  Shawn Durrett  Angela Haug  April Lott  Steve Perkins  Maggie Sullivan

Kate Benedict 

Kate Benedict is a New York poet (a Bronxer) who has published since 1980, & lives with her husband on New York City’s ritzy Upper West Side; they surround themselves with totemic objects and thrift-store treasures.  She has worked in book publishing and finance, hating every minute. Visit her website, from which these poems are reprinted: http://home.att.net/~leahyshaw/katebenedict.html. Also her online zine is at http://www.umbrellajournal.com/

Atlantic City Idyll   Beneath   Bronx Singular   EL: The Litters   Glimpses of the Body....   In The Key....   Into His Hand   Itchy Scar

Atlantic City Idyll 

Come bet with me and be my luck
and bring me gimlets tart with lime.
We’ll chase the wily holy buck
and toss the dice and sneer at time.  

And we will dazzle in our clothes
and neon dazzle us as well.
We’ll strike a sleek and moneyed pose,
we’ll yell a blithe, ecstatic yell

until at last we’ve squandered all,
shot the wad and maxed the cards,
until we’ve quaffed till dawns appall
and hoarse are velvet-throated bards.

Come stroll with me and be my muse
of feckless hope and vain desire.
On the boardwalk the huckster woos
and Armless Annie tongues her lyre.

Beneath 

Where it sank exactly no expert knows,
the British frigate with a Hessian name.
Most likely, it foundered in the narrows
off the Bronx in a nor’easter. It came
with a freight of gold to pay the redcoats.
The coins are still unclaimed, or so some dream.
They glint in murk beneath our pleasure boats,
the scattered coins with unremitting beam.

But there are those who do not trawl so low,
who put all latent treasure out of mind.
My family never spoke of a lost ship
when we took those waters at a nimble clip
on summer Saturdays. Were we sun blind,
to notice nothing luminous below?

Bronx Singular 

In the confinement of my solitary childhood
I did a little wandering.
So many things to see and ponder—
bars next to bake shops,
whining expressways,
shrines to the Virgin Mother
set up on people’s lawns.
Some days I’d straggle very far,
past weedy lots and car lots,
through the labyrinth of the projects
to the spot where avenues ended
or else where they began.
There was a beach down there,
I swear it,
a tiny inlet strewn with bottle tops
and sludgy rubbers,
mussels too,
and once a horseshoe crab.
There’s where I did my best thinking
as oily water slapped into my sneakers
and jets descended,
low and lower,
to LaGuardia across the way.
Here is not where I belong
is what I’d say out loud to no one.
My real neighborhood is elsewhere.
I’m from there.
I’m going there, someday.

Early Lessons: The Litters 

Rouge, the tabby who matched my mother's hair,
had kittens in the crook beneath the stair.

Mink Max had hers on the porch, on a perch of dried
cloth. My mother didn't let her come inside.

I was four when Rouge brought forth her litter.
I named each kitten: Puffy, Winky, Glitter.

I was eight when Max grew swollen-large.
She'd purr and preen and queenly strut, garage

to snowy gutter, stoop to alley to back-
yard. And Rouge? Daddy put her kittens in a sack

and drowned them in the toilet. The sack throbbed,
the sack mewed. I held my ears and sobbed

though he said to let them die was just humane.
Max glared at me one day beyond the windowpane.

She seemed untamed, she snarled and hissed and rolled
her arching back. Her kittens: dead of the cold.

I had to see. I let one chill my palm.
I weighed the awful event with icy calm

and coldly cursed my mother for allowing the kittens' fate.
Thus it was I learned terror and hate.

Glimpses of the Body at a City Window 

Mine is not a building with a river view.  
No park outside my window changes hue
with the successive seasons.  If I crane,
I see chaotic traffic, and a fire lane.

Shades shield me from the urban mess.  
If now and then I raise them, it’s to guess
the weather, not to linger at the sill.  
Still, one day I lingered against my will.

Across the street, I saw a man, a very
old man, naked in his room.  A terry
towe—gray, perhaps once white—glided past
his hips.  He bent, and his momentous ass

hovered above the avenue.  Vast, pink—
he bore his great weight gently to the brink
of that too public sill.  His wife helped him dress.  
He put up with each capable caress.

Were they not mindful of the spectacle
they made, he in his enormous shackle
of slack skin, she in her intimate act
of wifely duty?  Their street-show lacked

self-consciousness or shame.  Uninhibited
as infants, pure, free, they exhibited
his frail exquisite body and were proud.  
It wouldn’t have surprised me, had they bowed.

Nor did it surprise me when the scene would play
again on other days, or that I’d stay
by the window, riveted to the floor,
or that in time their figures came no more.

In the Key of Snow 

In Central Park, you lost our keys,
you dropped them in a drift of snow.
The plows

had not yet cleared the road.
Our boots dipped deep with every step,
hip-

high sometimes, kneecap high
and in the snow you lost our keys.
A haze
 
suffused the tops of trees,
a shush of sleds was on the air.
A pair

of cardinals did not cheep.
Quiet city, muffled, furred.  
No one heard
 
the house keys fall.  No one
heard them clink or ring.
How long
 
it’s been since last it snowed,
how long since we were that transfixed,
so lax

that we let go of keys,
lost them in capacious snow.
Awe

is a deep, distracting thing.
We even took a mazy turn,
down

a path that seemed so strange,
it was made over by the snow.
How

long until it snows again
and snow mist caps the winter trees
and we lose

ourselves, or keys?

Into His Hand  

...cupped in sleep, you’d tuck a nickel. Such
gentle stealth: not wrist or finger stirred.
His O-mouth gaped, his snoring chuffed and whirred.
That numb deposit: all you knew of touch.
Double shifts of duty on the subways
conducting a shrill orchestra of doors.
After, rotgut with Clancy’s dull-eyed boors.
Back home he’d drop right off: you’d foray
into father’s room, bearing your bright coin.
You loved imagining that wealthy waking—
but did he like the joke?  It wasn’t spoken.
Today that quiet man lies dead.  I join
you, husband, in a rite of our own making:
tucking in his hand this subway token.

Itchy Scar 

A faded scar of mine turns garnet red.
I’ve dusted powder on and slathered rich
ointment.  Nothing assuages the sharp itch.
Untidy wheals have broken out and bled.

Hadn’t I forgotten that childhood gash,
forgotten it like a freckle upon the back?   
Forgotten too: the masked faces, the black
coma, the body part removed like trash.

The scar was numb. It gave no sensation—
though I recall, dimly, how it prickled
when newly etched.  For a while it tickled,
then all feeling ebbed. Complete cessation?

Unheal me, resurrect me, the wound wails.
Have at me, prize me open with your nails.

Adrian Boas

Adrian Boas was born and grew up in Australia but has lived for the past 35 years in Jerusalem. He was born in 1952. He started writing poetry only recently. He is an archaeologist and university lecturer in the field of medieval archaeology (a field he has published 2 books, & is completing a 3rd in).

A Momentary Intrusion

A Momentary Intrusion

Down shopping mall or narrow covered suk
In sun-warmed streets the happy people pass,

A Friday morning's shopping to be done.
And laughing faces, children at their play,
Young girls and lovers walking hand in hand,
And somewhere near a baby's laughter heard.

But now a brightness, far too bright to bear,
Then, for a moment pure silence reigns.
But only for a moment, then a rush
Of heat and noise and dust filling the air.
An immense din, too great to be described
And putrid smell that is best not recalled.
The frightful ringing matrix behind all
Is broken by the sound of falling glass.

But sound and smell are only part of this
And sight is now far the most awful sense.
Shattered limbs, burned faces, wild eyes
And empty husks of bodies on the street.
The anguished cries of injured and distraught
Are buried now beneath the sirens' wails.

This is not part of my life, people cry
As fear and comprehension take a grip.
And those who still live settle in their pain,
Begin to grasp their new reality.
But some are dead, some will not walk again,
Some will never more see their loved ones.
Some who before were children now are old,
Some wish that death had taken them instead.

Return here tomorrow and you will see
Some candles and a wreath, a curious crowd,
Perhaps and angry voice or two that shout:
"How could this happen? Who will take revenge?"
But come again, say in another week
To pleasant covered suk or shopping mall,
Or sun-warmed streets where happy people pass,
A Friday morning's shopping to be done.

Derek Brown

Derek Brown lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

A Red We Hope Is Not Of Earth

A Red We Hope Is Not Of Earth

But for quietude, cementing night

a homogeny of bells chime

in a place none arrive

or depart for the past

is the future.

By candlelight, revering

the motherless sun, you and I,

The painted,

 

cheek of time, in the culture

of our eyes, things

unresolvable and Zen. The circular

now obsolete, to complete

everyone else, for they are asleep,

our inheritance shuns

its offer of a bed.

Some pray to a praying

mantis, some pray

to an infinity.

 

Not yet begun.

With an incriminating sense of structure

you and I, from an empty cup,

we drink.

And though nothingness

is something,

in itself, we are,

no longer curbed by chords

of Instance. Through conceiving

we are conceived.

 

And so it is then,

we conceive

the green, give birth to red

A red no more shallow.

 

George Dickerson

George Dickerson is a poet ("The New Yorker," "Mademoiselle," "Pivot," "Rattapallax," "Medicinal Purposes"), fiction writer ("The Best American Short Stories of 1963" and "1966") and actor ("Blue Velvet," "After Dark, My Sweet," etc.). His "Selected Poems 1959-1999" was published by Rattapallax Press, 2000. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Mist Of White Horses   Badinage For "Pepper"   Dentistry In War  Relativity  The Coming On Of Night  The Integument Of Dust

A Mist of White Horses

Tell me you have not forgotten the rain,
Close by the Mediterranean Sea,
Promise a mist of white horses again!

In the marshy sedge of the delta’s plain
Where the white horses of Camargue run free,
Tell me you have not forgotten the rain!

Why we should meet I could never explain,
Except for a squall’s serendipity;
Promise a mist of white horses again!

Huddled together like two sheaves of grain,
Strangers sheltered under a wind-whipped tree;
Tell me you have not forgotten the rain!

Well, this led to that and that led to pain,
But what severed us was not surgery;
Promise a mist of white horses again!

I’ve stumbled into an arid domain
And counted the days to infinity;
Tell me you have not forgotten the rain;
Promise a mist of white horses again! 

Badinage for "Pepper"
(for Thomas M. Catterson, in memoriam)

So you've finally gone to seek your severed leg
And end your body's antic quarrel with time.
Terrific!  What's left behind?  Here.  At the still point.
Where the mirthless clowns of midnight
Snicker: "Hoo ha!  Hoo ha!  Sweet Pepper's dead,
With Eastern metrics dancing in his head."
This is not so fine, my friend...this hapless end.

You know how absence aches....
You knew before you quit
Your walker's intricate pirouette
The recklessness of wish and want...
The cost...the haunt... ("Jig! Jig!" the jongleur said.
From his busted bed.)  But to stop short
The syllables of your heart's fierce muttering
So soon is beyond my knack to grieve.

Hey! Let's take a jaunty, jocular leave
And screw the wizard of finality.
We'll have another cigarette.  You bet!
And watch the lovely ladies' last late pass,
Then listen for God's gruff guffaw
As you humpety-bump your raggedy ass
Up the steps of heaven.  "Hoo haw!"

Dentistry in War

Leaning in, his drill a weapon in his hand,
Hachem sortied into the molar’s core.
I could read the braille of sweat
On his oily face, acned like downtown
Souks pocked with bullet scars.
“Your mouth’s corrupt,” Hachem said.
I thought of Martyr’s Square
And the bomb-blasted stumps
Of the center’s rotten teeth.
“Root out the cause,” Hachem said.
His hairy finger probed
Like the snout of a foraging pig
Or the blunt nose of a Kalashnikov.
“The nerve must die,” he grinned,
Imagining himself the perfect
Executioner, imagining himself
On barricades, firing away,
Committing murder in the name
Of hygiene, without anesthetic,
Smirking while the city screamed.
“I hate the killing,” Hachem said,
“It’s such a waste of dental work,”
Digging deeper still, as if to excavate
The ruined Roman stones beneath
The crumbled, bankers’ vaults,
The war-wrought jaws of East Beirut,
As if in my poor slobbering mouth,
He could wipe out recent history,
Eradicate the offending caries
Of civilization gone awry.
I thought of flesh falling away,
Of teeth like gravestones
Marking the cemetery of the skull--
All laughter gone--incised
With Hachem’s demonic skill.
He was a man of sensibility:
Leaving in my sinus a pool
Of formaldehyde to combat
The germs that might yet try to live--
Embalming sentinel of his domain.
I protested the coming hurt;
He cursed and shouted, “Screw your pain!
What matters is my artistry.”
Oral butcher of West Beirut,
How many of the mounting dead
Smile the rictus of your dexterity?

R elativity               

Outside, I can hear a siren

Speeding towards someone waiting--

Someone who may not know

He is waiting.  

 

On my kitchen table I reach

For a crust of bread

And crumbs I have not yet eaten.  

Between the reach

And the waiting

Is the cave of a parabola

Where I can hear

Einstein laughing.                                    

The Coming on of Night

Light scatters from the trees

Like pigeons exploded into flight,

Flutters momentarily,

And seems to die on air.

Night picks up his walking stick.

 

Jackhammers machine-gunning the streets

Have stopped their persistent yammer.

Only a fragment of an echo

Brought by the restless wind

Chatters the Venetian blind.

 

In my room a girl trembles

To an emotion as far away

And indecipherable

As the shudder of subways

Through the belly of a building.

 

It is too late for summer,

But she makes fireflies

In the darkness

With her cigarette,

Insisting on her presence.

 

In the first night, in the Garden,

Did terror strike our hearts

With the quickness of the tiger?

Or was there a sign

To ease the uncertainty--

A surprise of stars

Assuring the upturned eyes?

Over the city now,

The stars open bloodshot eyes

In a heavy, sullen neon glow.

 

The girl snuffs out her light,

Makes a stirring like leaves,

Like grass disturbed by frightened birds,

Then empties out my room

With the closing of the door.

 

The heart crumples black

As a burned letter

From the half-forgotten past.

The Integument of Dust

I’ve been cautioned by the cognoscenti
Much of the dust in my unkempt rooms--
The dust that soups my kitchen air,
Stirred by a ladle of sunlight--
The motes that silt the rivers
That grain my oakwood table--
These are flakes of my own dead skin
Hanging around to haunt me--
Sometimes cohabiting
With the sloughed-off flesh of others:
The man who reads the meter,
The plumber who plugged up the leak,
And all the transient lovers
Who’ve left hints of themselves behind
With these miniature calling cards,
Just to remind me what I’ve squandered.

This is unsettling news, to learn
I’m dying piecemeal day by day,
That when I scratch or if I shrug,
Particles of me fritter away,
And to discover I’m never alone,
Even in my most private acts--
For which I can hardly atone.

(“Ashes. Ashes. All fall down!”)

If I draw the blinds, I cannot escape
Hannibal’s elephants marching on Rome--
Their dunglike feet pluming the air--
Or the ghosts of the Ganges dead
From ghat-burnt pyres that smudge the clouds.

Coterminous with the cosmic dust,
I am commingled with all that’s passed--
Nudged in a sneeze of memory--
Composed from our common quick pool of quarks
At the yawn and stretch of awakening time.

When the great storms rose on the Kansas plain,
My grandmother taped all the windows tight--
The cracks of doors and all the chinks
Where the laden wind could insinuate--
Sealed fast the cedar chest under her bed.
Covered with blankets, we hid in the closet
While the banshee wailed through her widowing house
And the buzz of bees filled our dust-bit heads.
Before he died, my grandfather ripped
The tape from the chest, felt deep to the center
For the yellowing linen of her wedding dress,
Unfolded it with arthritic care
To find another’s dust sheltering there.
(And the centipede crawled on their mohair couch.)

I have been to distant desert places
Where toppled columns crumble and flake--
Our civilizations blow away in the wind
And dust devils dishevel the mind;
I’ve knelt and wept for all our sins;
And I’ve come back home to trace
The calligraphy of your spectral face
Writ in the grit of my windowpane. 

Clayton Eshleman

Clayton Eshleman is a poet, translator & editor of Sulfur magazine. He has had many books published by Black Sparrow Press since 1968. Upcoming books include Companion Spider [essays] & a revised translation of Aimé Césaire's Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [both by Wesleyan University Press]. Check out his websites: http://www.webdelsol.com/Sulfur/  &  http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/authors/eshleman/ 

Shopping

Shopping

Crematorial sensation in a department store, thousands of suits and dresses without bodies, as if it is always Book 11 of The Odyssey, we are surrounded by speechless souls

Souls trying on souls, the hippo-assed white, the mantis-waisted black, caramel shoulders of a teenager, a pink ankle-length soul for Xmas day

Caryl found some fabulous pants, gold green alligator quills, loose in the crotch, baggy in knee, she put them back, fearful no tailor she could find could fashion them perfectly

(In eternity, Henry Miller is a tailor--
lustfully he entered the Cave of the Nymphs,
soon became more concerned with the gates of ivory and horn,
souls arriving, souls departing, all needing
  a cutting here, an addition there--
a drowned soul slithered in, needing resurrectional attention,
old Blake hobbled through, Henry dusted him off,
  perked up his lapel)

We sashay over to the Santa Center, the old sot in red crumples each wish, sending a beam of hope into the child heart, I can feel the soot already in the childrens' mouths as wishes like elves congregate on their lips, they sit for a moment on the stony gingerbread knee, this realm of sweet deception

Dorothea Tanning's female cloth-like forms blow through, crumpling knots of outwinding femininity

Department
  depart  meant
Beckmann's Departure
clothes awaiting casting off

Redesign yourself, step into this angelic armor

Cuddly music, emptiness made cosy

  "'Exquisite work, madame, exquisite pleats'
vanish into a bloated face, ordering more dresses,
  gouging the wages down,
dissolve into maria, ambrosa, catalina,
  stitching these dresses from dawn to  night,
  in blood, in wasting flesh."

Old man in a pea coat searching for something among womens' suits

Recalls my father searching for my mother after she had died, he'd steal his car keys the Rest Home people had hidden, then drive and drive, 200 miles away one afternoon a housewife found him parked in her driveway--when she asked him what he was doing there he told her he was looking for Gladys

--emptiness keeps coming in,
the unfillable sleeves and slacks of life

The terrible animal imprint in perfume departure, the civet cat and the musk deer, crushed like grapes, displayed in tiny gold vases

I help Caryl shop, holding her coat and scarf, pick out clothes, color schemes, purples, lavenders, auburns and deep browns, things for her new silhouette.

Copyright Ó by Clayton Eshleman

Marissa Fox  

Marissa Fox is a recent graduate of Barnard College, where she studied Art History. She currently lives in Brooklyn, where she spends her days working on a floating chamber music hall, and her nights contemplating Frank O'Hara. This is her first online publication.

A Short Confession   Border Town Blues   Jamaica Transfer   The Excuse   The Graduates

A Short Confession

Kaikki is hello in Finnish.

I found this in your English-Finnish dictionary

when you were downstairs using the bathroom.

I was going to surprise you with my language skills,

but I put down the book quickly (like a thief!)

when you returned, so I never got the chance

to figure out the correct pronunciation.

I have been meaning to say it to you:

kaikki when I ring your doorbell,

kaikki when we meet by accident in town.

In my mind kaikki also means goodbye

and I say that, too, though slower,

lingering on the ka-i-kki until it means hello again.

Listen, I know you have trouble understanding me

(save for the instance when we locked eyes,

when we held hands furtively in a crowded pub),

I just want to tell you that I am working

on other words  - pussata, suudella, suukko

that I will mention one by one when language

means less, and the spelling looks right.  

Copyright Ó by Marissa Fox

Border Town Blues

The heat down south is killing us:
we, the disarranged,
the leftover, the jughandled,
even our stories are stale –
We feel a prick on our tongue
that doesn’t disappear for weeks

I fell for you in a border town,
near a tent city
from my vaudeville days
in a bar that was all corners

When the shots went off,
I followed you half-way across the country
in a long tuxedo coat
and one application of mascara

My eyes were bluer then,
before the cataracts;
there was nothing innocent
about the way I looked you
up and down

Copyright Ó by Marissa Fox

Jamaica Transfer

The train lights collapse
Across the platform is Olga

Her dress immaculate
Her thoughts strewn
Like old leaves

She presses her spare keys
Into a stranger’s hands
As if by habit

There are porticos
There are traps
In the architecture of unfamiliar faces

Copyright Ó by Marissa Fox

The Excuse

Jiri calls with the excuse:

we can no longer meet

at the flea market at lunchtime.

It will be too hot –

Haven’t you seen the way the sun

descends on the plaza?

Hitting the rims of old spectacles,

reddening the necks of those digging

through the remains of forfeited fiction,

the stubborn reminders of chance.

We cannot meet here midday,

he says over the phone,

only later, when the shadows

spread across this tired square,

when the market shuts down

and Marolles becomes a burial ground:

Meet me where the vans

gather the unsold goods

in the wave of exhaust fumes,

where pieces of cloth, chains,

a shard of glass lie –

there you will find me,

scavenging.

 

Copyright Ó by Marissa Fox

 

The Graduates Present Their Theses

 

Concretized, Krauss-esque

In both ways, in multiples

An appendix or an index: a sign

 

Hold on, hold fast

Less didactic, more romantic

 

There is a seamlessness to your discussion

There is a seamlessness to your dress

 

Bad graphics, how Benjaminian

Adorn[o]ed, their best blouses

The blondes always discuss Turner

 

A pause, applause, 3 missed calls

Some misread article in Artforum

A re-appropriation of “the icon”

 

Their lecterns were invaded,

Or worse –

Poorly articulated.

Copyright Ó by Marissa Fox

Dylan Garcia-Wahl  Dylan came to the UPG a number of times. He has written novels, as well chapbooks of poetry. In addition he has hosted reading series, cable access shows, and is an avid jazz enthusiast. He is married, with two children from a previous marriage. One of his long-term goals is to live in Europe. I have known Dylan since 1993 and we have collaborated on a number of arts projects. His website: http://dgarciawahl.com/ 

 As In Benediction   Baptism    Filmatic   Gates Of Rodin   Manikarnika Ghat   Quiver For....   Somnolent Verse   Song   To Whom Is Forbidden   Voices Welled

As In Benediction

You, Madonn’ of my desires,
each dream is coiled to your caress
as is the solstice of my needs.
My love, when the world covets flesh
mine very words shall covet love.
For answers come before questions.
And now only thy flesh is the
lasting want of antiquity
come immaculate.  Soft, I scream
my past and my sins into you.
Palm to my chest, these delicate
flushings of wish are beyond me.
The dark refracts as a single
wonder passes from you to me.

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Baptism

'Tis only by humble cherish
that I make my way to your fount
The writhing of my essence in the hands that I clasp
make into this hollow of mine, a performance of grace.
The words of my confession, the trial of my days
lent to your forgiveness.
For you,
I shed myself of my flesh,
of my calling, of my sins
before your waters darkened by candlelight
to seek redemption
to ignite a purity
to deepen my bow
and fall to the within you.

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Filmatic
for Jerry Tomlinson

“Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, doctor, and I'm happy to state, I finally won out over it.”
-Elwood P. Dowd, “Harvey”

Life (?)…
     an archipelago of breaths
Reels –
     movement
     (or years)
          purposed and propelled by memory
The theatric boast of life the eyes parade
a silent camera, ever behind, focusing.
In patchwork scenes childhood, middle years, old age,
death – then birth -
edited
played out
critiqued

               Nothing known at the fade in
               will be felt in the fade out


Leaving nothing to predictability,
except pardon,
the film is christened - ages
in sensitivity and texture
The stir of the heart
scripts the direction of purity,
cleaving to what we cast off,
never playing tomorrow as the strains
     of another day 

What of the actor? 
His lines are his to forget
     -his audience to recall

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Gates Of Rodin 

Whereas Ghirberti had bronzed paradise
The unfathomable can be found more explicit
By the doorwell as much mirror as it is plaster,
A question posed:  By what sins is there a rising in Hell?
As declension must have a counter balance
Avarice is brought in holy quantities
The expulsion of shades that have drowned in spirit are still
The Biblical myths pray in their falling
And incomplete as is all sin
In vignettes of lamentation
Never has the human form been more naked
Never have beliefs passed by so rapidly
Even if discord is not visible to you
Face your sorrow and it is sculpted in portal.

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Manikarnika Ghat

The Ganges moans unlike any ocean can
But, come tumult, the voices are similar
Death is this sound of dying
Dead, all is the reap of prayer
A shade made of life
owing veneration
to what waves can bring to memory
In the renunciation of the river
wisdom is given repose and
passions are washed away to become sediment
The water, itself, is but a mask of the senses cleansed

A diseased breeze feeds
the sinless fires
in turn sooting the air with ancestry
making way for the eternal river
                         -which is Heaven

Chanting at the steps
Doms of outcast wearied
Bodies burned of their stories

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Quiver For A Ballerina

Is his life the tune of his human hands
as they play out rhythms at his shoulders
in a refrain that comes to nothing more
than drumming of nervous architecture
to the straight on stare of strangers and friends
which mixes the past with what now comes myth
in a man that is buried from within
by the loss decreed sanctimonious?
The very tremble of his hands excused
in order to show his capacity
to feel beyond the blur of his present.
For continuum weighs sympathy.  There
is not sin in the baring of these days
that calm this man to strains of humanfold.

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Somnolent Verse

‘neath bare your feet the grasses sing
as springtime yields the world its heart
In timely tongue my language will pattern
a supple course of desire
There’s a prayer I’ve chanted made up of your motions
in a day that needs you closer to tomorrow
So, until I can approach you
having you see me as naked
without seeing me as weak
I will not call again upon your rest
Sleep
Sleep
for a moment in the hold of God

Oh, sad intangible one,
     to die impossible by your side

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Song

Singing something
     to walk through the walls marketing the world
Singing to imbue a horizon
Singing a prayer of spirit
It is within our flesh that God comes to ponder
     showing the makings of illusion
For it is not the ribs enclosed in flesh
     that give definition to man
It is by the singing we are defined
Judgment comes by how the songs of midnight
     meet the songs of daybreak

Sculpting an innocence
is easier in the blindness of the womb
than in the world
     with its mint of the unfamiliar

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

To Whom Is Forbidden

There was the night I dreamt you drowned
Baptized to me an anguish found
No breath to rise, lips part no more
As horror wished to be adored
I pardoned our unwedded bed
I practiced saying your name dead
At Midnight’s lunch the grave was served
When I rose to unleash my nerves
And tipped the shelter of my fears
In the house that believed you here
The corners where your shadow weeps
Displays the dust thought buried deep

What comes of you is chord and note
With weight to sink but wave to float
My eyes to lift and tremble when
I woke to find my broken pen
Its ink in flood across your throat

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

Voices Welled

Emparadis’d in your reaching spirit, delicate
there is a sky that does not pass above you,
a second that is not made a moment without you,
and a beauty etched to carols of the heart.
For there is something naked in your voice.
Innocent not - sometimes a weakness
when the heartened flesh trembles pale
brightened by a moon of continuum Spring
who’s breath does birth the belief of ecstasy
kept to union in nestled bodies
weeping for immortality.
For in each whisper, a catharsis.
An echo for to surround
with the sigh of your quiver.
All senses toward you.
And always
you
moving alone within invited crowds.
Always you
stopping breaths
          forever
          and dressing desire.
Always you
haunting the hours of man
with an image of beauty
that justifies their loneliness.
And always you,
only you,
hearing my voice
falling silent
in hesitation
of your soliloquy
in fear of its touching

Copyright Ó by Dylan Garcia-Wahl

William Glass  William lives in Gainesville, FL, and works for the state. He graduated from UF, gaining above all a rabid addiction to football.  This is the first time his poetry has been published.  

Guy Fawkes Porcelain   On Mama's Emphysema    Road Work On I-95    Satellite: A Collect of Astronomy in First Person   Sin Speaks Behovely   Sonnet, In Advance....   The Department Chair   The Instrument Responds...   Westminster Abbey

 

Guy Fawkes Porcelain
          ~6 November


And what of the mask? It took on the place-
like feel of things looked out of, not into,
a slim-figured grin, curved upward to grace
an idea of the diseases men do
not notice, having carried them so long.
But it does, the mask, recoils from the worm
that grew into a nation. We were wrong
to believe the terms
liberty and terror were each other's
contras, carsons called mere roses' names,
but the mask sired men from what fathers
they chose, not just faces that fuse the same
charge to the truth as they do to lies
and liberties too weak to terrorize.

 

Copyright Ó by William Glass

 

On Mama's Emphysema

 

10,000 years from now no lungs will fill

with this difficulty.  We will have learned,

by then what things we can and cannot burn.

And then, as now, to burn will mean to kill.

Not that I don't understand why the smoke

soothes a guilty lung.  Mama had to hear

brothers and sister upstairs, when the fear

of father’s hands stopped being fear, and took

form.  She breathed out loud to help her pretend.

Age 12:  the next day she rolled and lit her

failing, pulled its punition, breathed in. After

each night’s loud breath, there followed her revenge

 

on this self-defense.  In 10,000 years,

will they punish only real offenders?

 

Copyright Ó by William Glass

 

Road Work On I-95

The surface layer of pavement, in spite
of efforts to hold it together, cracks
and all, has begun to fracture. For weight
of tire and traveler does not stack
as neatly as thought, by calculators'
designed predictions, to do; in advance,
guard rails were made, and relief corridors
to massage stressed shoulders. But the chance
to defy what's reckoned is never lost
on the asphalt, unlike us, who tire
so quickly in the weighing what most
agree is impossible of measure,

    which of these miles, cracked and coming fast,
    will pave my future in this highway's past?

 

Copyright Ó by William Glass

 

Satellite: A Collect of Astronomy in First Person

 

...consider first, that Great

or Bright infers not Excellence:  the Earth

Though, in comparison of Heav'n, so small, 

Nor glistering, may of solid good contain

More plenty than the Sun, that barren shines,

Whose virtue on itself works no effect,

But in the fruitful earth.  

Paradise Lost 8.90-96

 

Copernicus

~May 24, 1543 

  (for Bishop Tom Wright)

 

I study the sun, constrained into a glass

of wine, within whose fluttering demesne

a shift of wing is seen to pass,

transfigure, and remain

most truly wing.  That is light's effect

on things—reveals them most by making them

into itself.  The luminesced reflect:

so things become

what we see things by.

And if my face

is brighter than most, it is because no shade

remains to leave a trace

of knowing whose engines made  

the wing in the wineglass and its flight

reveal the shadow that reveals the light.

 

Galileo Before the Inquisitors

—Rome, 1633

Save your histrionics!  Have you seen

How Venus spins in the light of the sun?

You insist I undo what I’ve done:

to please a jester, shall I jilt a queen— 

deny her in the rack of the world,

and swear she never visits me?

She turns her body, whelms my sight in a whirl,

Shows me what Anchises could never see!

 

Jupiter’s queens never quit his face; can I

hope to turn from the vast horizon of light,

smash my telescope and hope the sight

of her will die in me?  She, who can never die?

It’s more than a lie you bid me tell—

why must I quit heaven to stay out of hell?

 

Sir Isaac, at the Lamb and Flag

~1693

 

Nicolas, fetch a friend another ale,

a glass to shed the cold--but not the dark

viscous soup of a beer, I fancy the pale,

the froth refracting light in upward arc,

the only thing that ever made me doubt

gravity--Nicolas, please do hurry back--

For them I endeavored to father out

the revolutions of force in the vacuum of fact,

to chart the attractions of bodies barely in reach

of one another's influence--but I learned 

awe from the reaching--Oh, so hot in the breach

is the grieving, my friend, of love that is not returned--

Damn Leibniz or England, I don't know which!--

Nicolas, why are you leaving!?--You son of a

 

A Letter from Yuri

~April 12, 1961

 

Valentina,

Never have I been

'til now, so clearly aware of the need for space

to open, occasionally, between

a man and what centers his motion.

      There is no choice

in gravity--we were anchored to the ground.

I labored with the power that cut the string,

but now that I've seen it dangling,

what do I wrap my ends around?

Russia's a ghost that doesn't know it's dead

--like you, the earth is blue, not red!--no motherland's

cord can tie a man who has gone to bed

with the world in his window, small as a hand.

   No country is worth the tethering to:

   It's good that I circle, not the world, but you.

 

One Small Step, or Armstrong to Aldrin, In a Bit of a Hurry

~July 21, 1969

  7:56 pm (Houston Time)

 

close me up tight or I might bleed into the nothing

which bends and beckons me as if toward home

if home were nothing and maybe we came from there

and rockets testify to an uncertainty

of return whose only fruit is the act no certainty 

or its lack can justify how with all our might we dare

tempt the titans whose rage alone

can salve the wound we surround with air in our breathing

I should never have been chosen for this

though our times choose us and I will not be found

timid in the mirror of my time still I confess

near-failure of nerve that I should be first to transgress

the pale bride of the universe and know my wound 

will endure hollowed out in her where nothing always is

 

. . . . 

 

"I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties

  of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses.  For whatever

  is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and 

  hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities,

  or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.  In this philosophy

  particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards

  rendered general by induction."

--Newton (1726).  Principia Mathematica

Copyright Ó by William Glass

Sin Speaks Behovely

I become as though I never was

a fault within them, which cannot reform
except by mending the frayed seam, cause
of the wound unstitched, into a whole. This harm
was not my choice, nor did I choose to tear
all that was torn by me. Here I am nothing
I was not made to be. And no repair
can heal the break in everything
I am, since I am the break itself.
Of this they are ignorant, but not you:
you were the harbinger of something else,
something I was unsure of, in that I
who was rent by all, found in rending you,

myself--fresh-hemmed, with cords that can't untie.

Copyright Ó by William Glass

Sonnet, in Advance, to an Ex-girlfriend
*two months from now, possibly


It was your body that I loved most

of all bodies, and that most I love

to recall.  For in each of your features a gist

was printed of the rest.  What I would leave

in turning each page of you would attain

in the next.  Your eyes could feel like fingers,

unfasten in me what I feared to be seen.

Your furious waist could roar with anger

(I would that it still roared on me).  I would

watch your breasts flaring, like a hunter's nose,

at the scent of what lay hid in my wood:

your body was nothing like you supposed!

    For you were all bodies, each body the crest

    of the next--of the body that I loved most. 

Copyright Ó by William Glass

The Department Chair

The office he sat inside became all
there was to him, and when he died, they saw
and opened his heart. On a ventricle,
as on a floor, a tiny desk in view,
and a chair that would roll up to and away
from, at the beat, a phone just now finished ringing.
A picture, nearly microscopic, lay
upside down like its larger brother, wrong-
oriented, and heads were scratched, and eyes
were squinted, and notes were scribbled on pads.
An idea was painstakingly theorized,
studies done, grants applied for, and granted,
and calls made, awards won, and hung on walls
by men in offices becoming all.

Copyright Ó by William Glass

The Instrument Responds...

 

And who knows how I play, how I hold you

 

to be mysterious as music is,

brief as a summer afternoon, and blue

as Miles Davis was never, how I

am held by you, whose curled melodies sway               

in me with new words.  If I bend and lie

in that posture, tendering for a curve

this back upright and hollow, who will say

what heaven or hell would have been—or if

 

any orthodoxy could sustain that beat

of yours, could any bible give of verse

the way you give of your ambitious sweet         

improvisation, & breathe into me the riff            

of what you hold & only we rehearse?              

Copyright Ó by William Glass

know your feelings were already felt

before this cathedral became your world"

                                    --Dan Schneider, “Refrain of the RCA Building”

Westminster Abbey

 

This is no cathedral, merely a haunt for sinners,

where they have cast their stones

together, to form a heaven that held

angels themselves, fast into architecture.

Is this hour the recline of God?  Some say

he rests in the transept of elements

upon a prayer; others that no

amount of silver mints a value worth                                                   The prayer inhaled…

the pillars of a faith peasants began.                                                   

"Silver and gold I do not have, but such"                                                     

it was said, "as I have..."  Not to silver

was it given to heal on heaven's high

spires, towered in time turned back,

but to a boulder burst off of the grave

bearing the miracle hid behind.

Then is an abbey not miraculous, if                       

not hidden?  Is the body just as dust                                      

as the stones, and as all things are?                                                    

What if it were breathed upon?  What if                                                  Theosis

England were cast into speech, its tenses                                                        

woven in one said verb, wreathed in the vow

the dust is destined for and cannot escape?

Westminster, cloister of its own memory, more dead

than living in its fray.  What future could purchase a past                                

like this, and who be its pardon?

Here all will be pardoned, when the young stone falls

on perished arches, and rings the verdict

buried beneath these bells, and beckons

the past to account for what was done with it.                                      

The past that never extinguishes, but carves                                              Kenosis

in tablets, stretched high in the testament

limestone fills with the frailty of this art,

reaching at God by a means so much

like kneeling, or if not, like Babel, the tongue

fissured in the feint to flirt with godhead.

But this abbey is not for talking in, 

it is for pardon:  the permission to 

elide in the already

said, fixing other margins in the mortar

of one’s own tongue, the remembered English

habit of harboring critique

in its own tale—as if a word could embody

what comes after it and ferry it

pastward. It remains to do

what must be done, what has been done, and is

not done easily:  to trace the sentence etched in

this rock, and mark the martyrs fixed to its walls                                    The acceptance of Abel

as they speak. There appears San Romero,

rid of the cartridge that cored him, calling

birds to sift the supper of his hand,

bitter only to those who do not taste,

and invisible, but for the blood on the stone.

Does it bleed then, the future into the past thought

settled, swaddled, made particular, like dust,

always is?  Does it animate?  God knows

time's whole conversion as if it were the fall

of a sparrow's feather, or a single

stone off the vastness of this construction,

so when Romero calls the birds, it is not simply                                  The prayer exhaled

a tremor in the towers turned out.

The rumor of wings accrues in the ear of believing:

the words pecked out of his hand will allay

the cracked rhyme, of his world and his day.

So called birds return to their making

home in the hand of a saint.  And again—                                         

that is the habit of the particular,                                                                       That Hideous Strength

that pretense to permanence.  The abbey endures

not only to witness the apathy

wrung out of such beautiful

fashioning; but to breathe in the whence of these towers,

raised earth, dirt sculpted, miraculous and seen

to be so.  Wondrous, how the dead have endured

in the etching of them, and how this breath

has thrilled their witness into the living                                                    Incarnatio Dei

speech. And how they are bound to utterance

no vision catches all of.  Were they without

sin, who cast enormity past that

which thought promises, forth in sequential   

definings?  These annotations—

do they read in the body

of England’s endurance?  A tower is

a tower; the breath that fills it names it,

the breath of a prayer exhaled, O Lord,

refashioned in this writerly purview                                                         Verbum verborum

which is not stone; how then can it rise to you?

Copyright Ó by William Glass

Everett Goldner

Everett Goldner is a poet and actor living in New York.

Heat Sonata   Leather, Sketch, Score, Mist

Heat Sonata

Now motion is postmarked, sealed and shipped.
I recognize the propriety of stagnation
and await, with my brilliant reasonableness
the next hundred easels.

I await that old classic: the end of invisibility.
I await the confluence of light and need.
I await a microcosm of dogma...

In Lyle, perspiration's index sits on its stool
and thumbs its tail at a schizoid menu.

Fringe elements wail in the heat.  Thermonuclear with the Jewish 'u' on...
Leaf and chrysalis bent like a blank dogear...

Tasteless things.  Placards and shrugs.
Old anthems placated down through the pipes
Into one small --

Wash 'n wear kaleidoscopes.
Steel-belted harpsichords.
Thrill-seeking stonehowls.

The last impulse of speech is always fluted.

Leather, Sketch, Score, Mist

Elastic gong rings in a shivering space:
bent beams cross on a leafless cluster;
Unraveling a batch of glass-blown bake.

roily dodges wandering, opaque;
momentum, rivaling, lacks a pout to muster.
Elastic bound rings in a searing space.

Out in grace, waiting curious, all origami cascade:
illuminate this stillminded play concave maze –
unraveling spiral, of nonesuch make

while star-felt reelings la deedle de game
reaping, into verse, pelt static through flame.
Elastic bound rings in a salted space –

and moves impatiently, like an unsigned wave
palms up and soundless in any given enclave,
unraveling spiral, horn and wake.

at limbo, o scarlet harlequin, bow a sheer A;
a long-muted mobile sees its calmed outline fade.
elastic bound rings in a salted space
unraveling spiral, horn and wake.

Copyright Ó by Everett Goldner

Harvey Goldner (1942-2007) Harvey Goldner (newpacificboomerang@hotmail.com) lived in Seattle. His three chapbooks—Her Bright Bottom, Memphis Jack, and American Flyer—are available from Spankstra Press (Seattle). To purchase, contact Chris Dusterhoff at spankstra@hotmail.com or write Chris Dusterhoff, Spankstra Press, PO Box 224, Seattle WA 98111.

Claire Black....

Claire Black

               19 sonnets from an apple basket

 

#1

 

Prominent cheek bones, on the deck of her pastel condo,

high up, Claire runs a red comb through her hair, black

with just a minor encroachment of  gray.  From far out,

a Pacific breeze ruffles white the Sound water and stirs

 

some business papers beside her chair.  Down there she sees a few

trivial gulls and sailboats and—vibrant capitalism, three huge ships:

a freighter from China stuffed with mattresses for the massive

Americans, a ferryboat, passengers bound for Bainbridge and TV,

 

and the wedding cake Princess, top-heavy, her pleasure sponges

no doubt drowsy from a big dose of rigatoni and red wine or

something.  She dozes and dreams a rustle of rats in the attic, the

several stations of the crass, a basket full of death wishes & red

 

delicious apples, a priest—the beast who scooped her up—dead

in a dim room, a bullet wound in his forehead, oozing blood, red.

 

 

#2

 

She awakens and her trigger finger itches.  Claire Black,

recently widowed at fifty, leans over the railing of her deck,

cold now and in the dark.  Should I inject my face with

bo-tox?  Should I jump?  But what if death is—even lonelier?

 

Maybe I will inject my face with bo-tox and buy a small dog,

a Maltese, maybe two Malteses, male and female.  I'll call

them Tess & D'Urberville, Derby for short. Yes, bo-tox and

two Malteses, but both male—Laurel & Hardy.  O fuck, all

 

I need's a stiff drink.  From a cabinet above the kitchen sink—

a tumbler, a fresh fifth of Bombay gin and two tiny bottles of

tonic water, Schweppes.  Claire struggles unscrewing the Bombay.

Hot Christ!  I don't need a man to screw: I need a man to unscrew

 

bottle caps.  After a blast of gin, a TV dinner and a hot shower,

Claire, in a pink silk kimono, settles down for a family album hour.

 

 

#3

 

Two more gin & tonics and Claire feels like a blathering mother so

she first phones her daughter Phoebe's friendly answering machine

in Omaha, and Phoebe's friendly answering machine (Claire sees

corn stalk or parrot green) cheerfully announces that Phoebe

 

has gone to church to eat corn on the cob, to sing some hymns and

to play a little bingo.  Claire informs Phoebe's answering machine

the if she should ever return to church she'll be packing a pistol in

her Louis Vuitton, to drill a filthy raven between his twisted eyes.

 

Another blast from the bottle and baby daughter Annie's answering

machine (pantie pink) in Miami sings, breathlessly.  Seems Annie's

fanny's on the back of her photographer fiancé's Harley, and they're

touring Gulf Katrina states on assignment for National Geographic.

 

Claire, now somewhat slurry, sings to Annie's pink machine that she

is torn between skydiving in Peru & scuba diving in the Caspian Sea.

 

 

#4

 

Nuclear family business complete, Claire decides to connect

with her larger tribe: she flips on the TV.  It will take a village

to polish off this bottle of gin, she thinks, as she riffles her deck

of channels, finally fixing on the Seattle Sonics versus the Phoenix

 

Suns.  All those stunning men in silky shorts, so tall and nimble!

But what a waste.  If only...if only they could break free, free at

last—God Almighty!—from that retarded basketball.  She trembles

weeping while splashing a tumbler half full—or half empty?—

 

of gin and tonic, then wraps an Indian blanket around her tightly

and stumbles out onto the deck—those lights, those harbor lights!

Claire's eyes open at dawn.  She crawls inside, drinks her last drink.

She dumps what remains of the Bombay gin into the kitchen sink

 

and mumbles: "Time to sell my eagle's nest  high above the Sound

and live somewhere closer to the ground, maybe even under ground."

 

 

#5

 

In a peachy Hawaiian surfer shirt, Red Feather—long black hair,

blue cotton headband—shuffles his homemade cards.  He gazes

into, and through, Claire Black's eyes, places a card on each

of the nine points of an enneagram crudely sketched with a red

 

magic marker on old cotton, and speaks, amused, hamming it up:

"Madam Black, I see shoes, shoes moving back and forth.  I see

a man in black…but not Johnny Cash…I see a flash…not from

a camera…I see blood…from a head…not yours…I see your

 

"photo… a theater poster?…a postal wanted poster?  Now cross

my palm with silver.  Twenty bucks.  I'm in serious need of fresh

buffalo meat.  Would you like some advice?"  Claire swoons and

nods. "Record your dreams in this specially blesséd journal.

 

"A mere twenty bucks.  I'm in serious need of a dog for my sled.

Mark your place with this red feather.  It's free: I like your head."

 

 

#6

 

Claire stands up, dizzy.  With a grand theatrical gesture, Red Feather

hands her his business card—Have 3 Eyes; Will Travel—& a rather

filthy paperback copy of Steve LaBerge's Lucid Dreaming.  "Brother

Steve's a shaman—campus tribe, Stanford clan.  Sacred smoke of cedar

 

"fire has purified this copy—twenty bucks.  My squa needs a new bra."

"Where'd you get your red feathers?" Claire stammers.  "From a

cardinal, but not at Rome—in Missoula."  Claire's fingers now smell

like a Cascade Mountain campfire.  She exits Red Feather's closet—

 

Red Feather, Registered Psychic on the door—in the back of the

Fremont New Age Bookstore (just below the Troll) and browses a bit,

buying a hunk of  rose quartz and a fresh copy of Lucid Dreaming.

Claire wanders Fremont, and before sundown she rents a basement

 

studio apartment in an old building.  Her windows—sidewalk level.

She sees shoes, shoes moving back & forth.  Red Feather—you devil!

 

 

#7

 

Saturday night and neon swirls in a Fremont tavern, The Cars

on the jukebox churn cream into butter, the bartenders—Lars

and Laura—draw multiple beers for the boys and girls, Dusty

throws a dart that misses the board, Nicole Rococo swats him

 

on the ass and everybody laughs.  Out front, under lights, under

summer stars, Leona and the smokers gesture & smoke & pose

for the traffic.  In back of the tavern, in the dark, Angelo parks

his Harley in the weedy lot, and with a big silver key, opens the

 

back door.  Claire Black follows him down dark stairs, and

together they light a dozen candles on the long table that stands

surrounded by cases of wine and beer.  Slowly more ghosts

file in and fill up the chairs.  It's Claire's first AA meeting: The

 

Saturday Midnight Fremont Free Monsters.  Hanging on the wall—

their motto: The way up is the way down.  Claire feels quite small.

 

 

#8

 

Shadows and candlelight play on his face.  "My name is Angelo, ex-

con, gypsy, joker, and I….We were out in the yard shooting hoops…

hard words…push & shove.  I got stuck in the gut.  As I lay dying,

blood pooling in the dirt, I saw—it's all  a big joke. The world, the

 

"Earth—comedy central.  God the father mother joker.  I also saw,

not that we're all in the same boat, but that we're all parts of one

sailor.  You, me, everybody, really just one sailor.  Sounds corny,

I know, like a Beatles song."  The meeting over, the ghosts drift up

 

and out like smoke.  Claire declines a ride on Angelo's bike. "Angelo,

you're beautiful, and you and your beautiful bike make me feel like

seventeen.  But I don't want to feel like seventeen.  I want to feel

seventy, or a hundred & seventy.  See you next Saturday."  Rarely

 

have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.

Most evenings, Claire reads: Kafka, Sam Beckett and Sylvia Plath.

 

 

#9

 

Claire wakes at dawn, goes to the stove and boils water—Am I

dreaming?—for a pot of green tea loaded with honey.  She records,

with words and small sketches, her dream: On a sinking ladder, she

tries to climb out of a sunken flower garden.  Out her window she

 

sees shoes moving.  Am I dreaming?  She puts on her walking shoes

and begins her long day's walk towards night.  Widdershins, she

circles Green Lake, observing the joggers: Some joggers are demons,

some are being chased by demons, while others—the unawakened

 

dead.  Am I dreaming?  Claire stops at a Greenlake Starbucks, sits at

a sidewalk table.  Coming up the sidewalk—a pair of men, both bald.

They are taping posters to poles.  One is very old and tall and slow

and white; the other, very young and short and quick and black.

 

A few feet from Claire's table, they stop and tape.  The poster reads:

WANTED!  The Amateur Avant Fremont Freakstar Theater Needs…

 

 

#10

 

…Actors And Actresses Any Age Or Size, Experience Useful But

Not Essential…Also, Anyone Willing To Help Backstage With

Props, Costumes, Sets, Lighting And Sound Or As Stage Hands,

Prompt And So On.  Contact….  Claire remembers her college

 

thespian career.  Her senior year, she starred as Irene, in Ibsen's

When We Dead Awaken.  That freshman Gina stole the show

as Maja—bigger tits, bigger hips, bigger lips—that bitch!  May

she freeze in Hell or Norway!  Sundown, the following Thursday—

 

just a hint of Autumn quince in the air—Claire strolls down hill

to an old weathered barn—the Fremont Freakstar Theater—near

the canal.  Waiting to ham for the director, she chats with Troy—

seventeen, short, genius, black—who has put down his hammer.

 

"No, Claire, I didn't drop out: School interfered with my education.

I didn't run away: I kissed Mom goodbye at the Greyhound Station."

 

 

#11

 

"It was my 16th birthday, Cinco de Mayo.  I tell you, Claire, I was

ecstatic to be exiting rust-belt Buffalo.  My first day in Seattle,

Ocho de Mayo, I explored on Metro, and Fremont felt—just right.

I sat under the Troll awhile, then strolled on down to the canal. 

 

"Something drew me to this barn, where I met Stan, that old man

over there, hammering.  Forget the director, Peter Pan: Stan's the

heart and brains of this enterprise.  He was a hotshot New York

director in the '70s, a rising star, fast.  Thought he deserved a little

 

"Holiday in Poland, big mistake.  In Warsaw he looked up mad Jerzy

Grotowski, bigger mistake, and joined one of Jerzy's theatrical, uh,

experiments.  Stan and some other seeker suckers were driven deep

into the countryside, and dumped.  Stan, distracted by some strange

 

"Polish flora, became separated from the group—lost, alone.  Clear

night awhile—then rain, lightning &  thunder.  I felt like King Lear

 

 

#12

 

 "(Act IV, scene 4) at first, and that was theatrically charming, but

soon I felt like shit.  A Polish farmer out shooting squirrels found me

the next morning, shivering under a Polish oak, in shock.  I returned

to New York and attempted suicide, failed, & then attempted drugs,

 

"without success.  So I moved to Seattle.  It seemed like a nice place

to sleep.  Stan's taught me everything about this monkey business—

backstage and front—and he gave me a valuable piece of advice:

Shun actors.  Their brains are like vacant barns in which grotesque

 

"birds and creeping things come to nest.  And I've managed to teach

Stan a little about computers.  Mom got me a PC when I was six,

a gift from a rich lady whose house she was cleaning.  At 14, I was

considered a prodigy hacker:  I could see the cracks in the seams."

 

When her name is called, Claire tells the director, Mr. Peter Pan:

"Cancel my audition.  Could I work backstage with Troy & Stan?"

 

 

#13

 

Sunday night, night of the autumn equinox, Claire Black takes a

long bubble bath (total immersion) followed by a quick hot shower.

Her body covered with a clean cotton sheet, Claire curls up in bed,

rehearsing her lucid dreaming script.  Sleep.  Am I dreaming?  Yes!

 

Claire, small as a sparrow, stretches her wings and ascends to the

sun, to the top of the Christ Tower, rose quartz pulsing with light.

Standing on the deck of his penthouse condo—Christ!  He wears

Mexican sandals, 501s, a green cotton shirt with pearl buttons and

 

a dusty gold pinstripe fedora.  He smiles and says: "Claire, I know

what you're thinking:  Christ looks like Crazy Horse.  Who'd you

expect—Jim Caviezel?  Now about that so-called priest.  Go ahead,

off the son of a bitch.  You've got my green light."  His shirt turns

 

from green to yellow to red, then back to green again, but brighter.

Claire wakes at dawn, humming Ave Maria.  She feels much lighter.

 

 

#14

 

Claire gives Angelo 500 bucks and a kiss, and he gives her the cold

piece.  "Yes, Angelo, I know the drill: point and squeeze.  When we

first got married, my late husband Rusty, afraid of rapists, bought me

a .38 and taught me how to shoot it.  After we got to know each other

 

"a little bit better, the pistol disappeared.  Rusty wasn't the brightest

bulb on the Christmas tree, but he was no fool."  Later, at the barn,

Claire says to old Stan: "Say, Pops, I'm going to be an old crone at a

Halloween party.  Can you give me some tips?"  Stan, master of

 

props, gives her a cane from a Noh drama, bits of a crone costume

and a ragged wig from a Yeats' play; and, touching her face, says:

"A little paint here, Claire, and you'll look like a hundred."  Then

Claire asks Troy: "Troy, can you find a man?  You might have to

 

"hack the Vatican.  Can you hack the Vatican?"  "Of course I can.

I can hack the Vatican.  Tell me his name and I'll find the man."

 

 

#15

 

Thursday, clear and sunny, Claire meets Troy for lunch, Kentucky

Fried, crispy, a picnic at the Troll.  "I found your Father Yago.  He

really gets around, to & fro, up & down, slums & jungles, jungles

and slums.  It's like something's been chasing him for forty years,

 

"but, surprise, he's back in Seattle; and, next week, Allhallows Eve,

he'll be at Blesséd Bingo & the Beatles at his church in Rat City."

"Troy, you hacked the Vatican?"  "Didn't have to.  Yago plays

bloggo, has pages at MySpace. Yago likes to keep in touch."

 

Feeling foxy from the chicken and the rare, crisp autumn weather,

Claire strolls from the Troll to the Fremont New Age Bookstore,

thinking:  I'm coming to get you, Red Feather.  But Red Feather

isn't there.  There's a basket of red delicious apples on a chair, and

 

on his door, a note: Eat one, in remembrance of me.  Don't worry:

be happy.  Have gone to pick apples with my tribe in Wenatchee.

 

 

#16

 

The bingo basket whirls.  Beatles blare.  Bending low, poking

with her cane, her appearance an amalgam of an ancient Mother

Superior & an old Irish-Japanese witch from Macbeth, Claire

enters the raucous bingo hall &, with mincing steps, heads straight

 

for Father Yago, who sits at the children's table slurping a hot

fudge sundae, a Notre Dame varsity sweater over his shirt & collar.

She croaks in his ear: "Father Yago, I have a bequest for the Holy

Church, gold and precious stones."  With Claire on his arm, Father

 

Yago waddles down a dim hallway to an even dimmer room. 

They sit at opposing desks.  Claire looks in his eyes—nobody home.

Claire thinks: Father, you have sinned.  Say half a Hail Mary,

quickly, & kiss your ass goodbye, you freak.  Claire reaches in her

 

purse and feels the cold piece.  She looks out her exit, the window—

crescent moon.  A flash coincides with Sergeant Pepper's crescendo. 

 

 

#17

 

Next day, Mysterious Murder on the evening news.  Bud, 300 pound

cabdriver, towers over ace reporter, Molly Chen.  Scratching his butt,

Bud explains: "She was so old.  I picked her up at Swedish and she

seemed Irish yet oddly Japanese and when we got to the church in

 

"Rat City she tipped me a quarter, barked, took it back and tipped

me a dime and then when I wasn't quick enough getting out to open

her door she called me a goddamn fool and poked me with her cane. 

She must have been a hundred.  You see, Molly, to live that long,

 

"one must be exceptionally mean.  That's my theory."  Claire, feeling

finally even after forty years, returns to the Church and, following

a date with jolly Bishop Tucker at Ray's Boat House (Friday, fish),

Claire makes arrangements to enter a retreat on the eastside of Lake

 

Washington (nine months official mourning), a convent for rich lay

ladies—flowers, ducks.  Without delay, Claire begins writing a play.

 

 

#18

 

Working title: Irene Contra Maja: a Tragedy.  After subtracting

Ibsen's superfluous male characters from When We Dead Awaken,

Claire takes Irene and Maja and sets them in a ski lodge on Mt.

Shasta, where they battle for supremacy, day & night, on the slopes

 

and in the bars.  Feverishly, far into the night, Claire Black sits in her

cell at her PC, collaborating via e-mail with her co-conspirators, Troy

& Stan.  They opt for a minimalist approach, but fast—Sam Beckett

fused with Kabuki.  The frequent howls of laughter exploding from

 

Claire's cell disturb the nosy nuns & other inmates, and there is talk

of importing a specialist priest from Boston to perform an exorcism.

Fortunately, the final curtain drops (Irene, triumphant in a duel

fought with ski poles, plants Maja's body in a lodge pot, and sings

 

a concluding aria, crowing) before the exorcist arrives on the tarmac

at Sea-Tac.  Claire Black splits the convent and she never looks back. 

 

 

#19

 

After an earthquake Fremont Freakstar run, the play's performed on

Broadway.  Stan, now awakened, declines to return to New York in

triumph, saying only: "Ah, fuck New York."  Soon, Hollywood buys

the title. The movie, now a comedy, ends, not with a duel, but a duet

 

and a wedding.  Jennifer Aniston, gradually looking more and more

like Humphrey Bogart, plays Irene with considerable flair.  Angelina

Jolie as her bo-tox bride, Maja, is sultry enough, but a bit lazy.  As

bride's maids, Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise star in hooker wigs & skirts.

 

Jack Black, in Papal drag, performs the Vatican wedding.  Critics

predict Oscars.  Meanwhile, far from the maddening Hollywood

hullabaloo, Troy, Stan and Claire are directing Bill Gates and

a bunch of jaded Microsoft executives in a Grotowskian theatrical

 

happening involving skydiving and mountain climbing in Peru.

Newsweek headlines it: The Ascension Towards Machu Picchu.

Copyright Ó by Harvey Goldner

Cindra Halm  I met Cindra teaching a poetry class in '93 at a Barnes & Noble. She teaches classes at bookstores, S.A.S.E.- The Write Place, and The Loft. But don't hold that against her! Cindra is an excellent poet who explores connections in sundry ways, and a critic, fiction writer, dancer, and active participant in the local art scene- as well a local grocery co-operative. Had she been a regular attendee of the UPG she might have been described as the yin to Art Durkee's yang.

Asking The Kitchen     It's August....     Said The Chef   The Grove....     When I Walk

Asking the Kitchen

for work is like bartering with any
lover: cut and be cut; warm
to be warm. Whisper, toil; tables will
breathe, fill, sharpening the palate,
your style.

Copyright Ó by Cindra Halm
(poem 1st published in FOOD & OTHER STUFF)

It's August. You'll Be Passing Through Town Soon.

I love the twin guardian angels (not for sale)
on either side of the porch, their oxidized wings
collecting the world's poses curved between them.
And fountains, everywhere, for birds or for show: See, I'm
never alone, on my balcony, scrutinizing postures. Have you heard?
I live in the house next door to the place that sells statues,
25th and Hennepin, third floor. Down in the yard
shape takes its weight: busts, columns, life-sized gods,
obelisks, an array of hound, reindeer, and scroll.
There's enough swaying and straying as shadows
inch at the pointed gate and beyond yet I still find
the bronze soldier who has borrowed your backpack and conceit.
With your curly hair you may look
like my brother but you are not.

The swell of commerce cools as light cools to leave
garden empty of guests and Zeus in stone, riding
chariot urn as figure then figure turns to its nightly
orbit. Gestures make meager, conversations solidify, the far
sky slips between me and these cluttered, familiar heads
like a blue-haze barroom tunnel. I've agreed to stay
in the house next door to the place that sells statues,
forever. This is my beautiful view, a vista certain,
craved. So when you come, come in the morning, full of flesh
and footfall up the stairs to the third floor
where I can watch you move. Wanderer, wind, I
remember you, and there are times when I desire
the sun and your hands in my hair.

Copyright Ó by Cindra Halm
(poem 1st published in SIDEWALKS)

Said the Chef

         "Cooking is like love. It should be
        entered into with abandon or not at all."
                          --Harriet Van Horne

Smell, first, to locate, to tease. Release of food's
perfumes, sprays of oil or sweat fresh from whatever pod
or skin has shed them. Asparagus bursting through steam,
garlic and cayenne escaping the skillet. A knife
or flame carefully played elicits the aromatic truth
for the most gnarled of noses: if you breathe here
you will soon feel the need to eat.

When I breathe deeply, widely, I am able to find
that region near the back of my tongue where
the unwritten menus reside. I am a choreographer
wild with vision, daring culinary music, coaxing
bodies to blend or collide. One day--from where?--licorice
seized me and declared a theme: fennel salad, tarragon
pate’, Pernod in the ratatouille, anise for shortbread.
On another, a Greek appetite engulfed the table: dolmades
mousaka, spanakopita, baklava ah, ah, ah to sup
in the lap of the Aegean Sea! Which came first,
my passion for flavor or an errant breeze
delivering a neighbor's feast? So, I am

In the kitchen where it is hot and my body
is heavy. Saliva insists on primal skills,
reduces me to an animal of constant possibility.
Composition sparks anonymous fires.  I ask myself,
what does the air taste like today?
Then I work, inhaling, spreading my hands to all
corners of the room, bringing the food
before me, away from me, then out the door.

Copyright Ó by Cindra Halm
(poem 1st published in NORTH COAST REVIEW)

The Grove Which Lives Between Matter and Wander: the Heart

Whether this weather abates is not the point,
but rather, how I matter in the weather.

My bicycle shifts beneath me on ice-rain slipping
streets adrift on the nature of plates further under
that could wake a shaky geological matter and flood
bicycle from me, me from mass of earth, me
from myself in health. Everything could separate:

A toddler unwinds from her mother; the mother,
losing ground, grasps madder at whatever weather
has twistered the child away. For moments
or years, I wander, dream about an earthquake's crevice
calling me until I fall through eons of air, granite,
my own body's dense matter. At bottom, small as one
cell, one time's flick, I perceive my amoeba
self, wonder whether weather or I moved me, shifting, here.

Which nesting doll am I, rain above, rain below?
Soaked between cloud and puddle, wet seat and dripping
hair, precipitation, evaporation, I might as well
middle inside a teardrop, a stopwatch, a toy boat in
a full bottle, a pond drip under glass under eye of God's
microscope. Seen. I didn't ask to swim but since
I'm swimming in someone's sight I find I'd like to make
my strokes as beautiful as that eye. One atom this time,
or many, next; it doesn't matter.

Back to ground, the found child and her mother
hover within the grove which lives between matter
and wander: the heart, a mass of clover sending scent
to one, another. This place, here or not, is how
they matter to the weather, is the brother between the eye
and the slide, the seat and the seam, a sudden
spring of water and drowning in a sleeping
earthquake's quiver. It's better that I'm back

From my debate about the weather, on my bicycle
shifting seasons in a cold pelt slipping on the streets.
Now, exposed: ticking tires, slick shoulder, water danger
pressing my pulse to the lover called weather and how I
home or not here, heart. Am I mad to want to be seen,
floral in the midst of inclement, wheeling further into each
drop, feeling? I yield to what happens, to matter. Sleet.

Copyright Ó by Cindra Halm
(poem 1st published in THE BELLINGHAM REVIEW)

When I Walk

The Devil talks to me, too. I shake just like anybody
else. His voice is low and he laughs a lot. But not
the kind of laugh you'd think is funny. It's more like
a hot laugh, one that follows me down the street
when I'm wearing high heels. I am wise so I save
ice. When I hear that low laugh at my skirt I fill the
tub with cubes soon as I get home. If I lie there for
about 20 minutes there starts a ringing in my ears
so loud there's not room for 40 devils. Then the freezer's
empty so I put on my jeans and go across the street
to the 7-11. I never heard any voice at the 7-11
except the one asking me for my money.

Copyright Ó by Cindra Halm
(poem 1st published in PARAGRAPH)

Neil Hester

Neil Hester is a Texas poet currently attending college. His blog can be found at http://laevanesce.blogspot.com

Advice To The Stout   A Reflection On....   A Difficulty In Parenting   Every Pop Quiz   Half Tragedy   Loosely Laced   Man And Cat   Ou La Mort   Painting Poems    The Last Visit

Advice To The Stout

To those of a fearsome, Goliath descent
That retain a Davidian mind:
Do not ever venture to represent
A hunk of the dim-witted kind,

For power is broader than muscles alone;
Be large in your culture and wit.
With both is strength; it’s not unknown
Athena made Hercules knit.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

A Difficulty In Parenting

A wrinkled lump of faithful skin
Lay curled at my daughter's door.
The dog was tired; I took her kin
And tucked him in; he didn't snore.

When she awoke, "Oh, where is Spot?"
I said he pulled a Peter Pan.
For after all, a dirty cot
Cannot compete with Neverland.

A foolish hoax, I must admit,
An act that kindles no applause.
My daughter beamed; and I regret
I've yet another Santa Claus.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

A Reflection On Conversing Mirrors

Intangible glass in tangible glass. They stand
And talk of love which we only touch
The beginning of, and of such
We cannot hope to see the end.

In between, the doppelgangers
Grace their crystal-set creators,
Each as real as next, each
Farther off, smaller
Than that before,
Until there is
none.

I dreamt last night
I almost touched
The end,
but
I

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Every Pop Quiz

Our pleasant chatter falls away;
Rattles run from eager pens
And fingertips. Eyeballs writhe
Like witches at high stakes. Red and black
Roulette: my ballpoint pen lands black,
Bound for red. We’re the smartest group
Of gambling minors that I know.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Half Tragedy

She cut the tension with a knife,

a gun, and a smile. What’s life

in a place like this? He’d miss her,

but half-dead love only copes with hell

so well,

            so long,

                         he thought, same knife,

same gun, no smile. What’s life

alone? In a place like this,

with an all-dead love (still smiling),

and all the winds beguiling

her hair into an almost-lively flight,

a sight he could only bear so well,

            so long.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Loosely Laced

Glassless watching: this and that
Are almost one. Blended room
That says: “You shouldn’t scat
With me!”: I differ when I say,
“You are with a better tune
Without your huffy face!”

Even the slums are beautiful
Like this. They almost mock
The other side, with its cruel-
Set corsets and urbane ways;
The ladies find it hard to walk.
You look better without the lace.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Gumul Aziwalla                                        Apollo Schneider

Died March 26, 2012                                 Died March 9, 2012

   

My two strange friends:

How should I know you in death?

Does your passing pause my breath

Or quicken my heart?

Should my sorrow ever end

Or ever start?

~~~~~~~

   I never saw you, faceless friend,                         You could barely see me, one-eyed friend,

But I think that I knew you well.                             But I think that you knew me well.

Better than most: you would always tell                              Better than most would tell: after all,

Exactly what you felt, in damning hyperbole                        You’re only a cat. Only a cat? I send

Nonpareil. “VILLAINOUS CUR!” For me,                     My love to you (the same I would send

These are fond and passionate words.                       To a woman or man), and think back

Some might say I never knew you. Truly,                         To those dreadful, love-filled nights

I have never seen you; no voice utters                              When I nursed you back to health

These spirited cries. But I love you still:                       And suffered with you, just a kitten then.

Mutterings of flesh cannot dissuade me.                          We shared a wealth of feeling then:

Why should I deny what love pervades me?                Why should I reserve my love for men?

~~~~~~~

I believe you both are abiding and giving still;

I know you both are abiding and giving still.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Ou La Mort

I was told to, bar what they sing,
Squeeze my longings to a point
That pins the edge. Of nothing
I speak of; of nothing I take
Everything that is left to behold.
Such is taken by eyes that cease
To shun the dead horizon,
The curve that mocks sanity
In its (im)purest form:

God of the civil razor, he laughs
Before the dawn, his daily draw
Of red stench, common and quick,
Laced with the cheers of men
And children, dying to see
Life pass a terrific door and flee.

My name is on a program.
Everything exploded: my longings,
My lungs against the zeal of men
Who urged me (in a sense) to be
With and one of theirs. They cry,
Liberté, égalité, fraternité!, and I
Bellow out of mind, but sane,
Ou la mort!, and die.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

The Last Visit

All the petals are in the pond.

He’s loved me four times, loved me not three.

The fairy tale count is very forgiving;

Never and always are very cruel.

 

At times, we would join, if only to be

Just for the sake of feeling, of living.

Well, for him, anyhow. I’m a fool.

To only touch is such a weak bond.

 

I used to respond to every misgiving

That threatened to part me from my jewel.

My jewel– sure, just a thing to be donned.

For awhile, anyhow. Now I numbly let him flee.

 

Enough with petals. A toad and its stool,

For half-love and lust–– into the pond!

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

Painting Poems

               ~John Singer Sargent

Garden Study of the Vickers Children

Stem-tall, pretty in white
And black, they take hold
Of green. Things that fill eyes
Of earth, ever heaven-inclined,
Reach softly throughout
The eyes that hold them,
Still growing. They look about
To other lovely things, or down,
Enraptured. Beneath,
Life spans boundlessly.

~~~

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

Lit-garden spell, the spell of white
Is beyond smiles; in awe, and fire
Flying to touch, the two
Design light paper stars,
Twilight mirrors in soft glory
Rivaled only by their keepers.
Singing lilies, choir-petals
Pink in rapture; red rings
Dress-bells for thrice-felt beauty
Flush in, around, and everywhere.

~~~

Village Children

The drear of the day settles far
Into her black and lovely gaze,
Deeper than the running streets around her
That almost walk still in their constant march.
Lost next to her, a little drifter
Is somewhere else, wonderful
And stars away. She cannot blink, in fear
Of consuming her grand and dear escape.
Silent and warm, the village is next
To their plain and precious charm.

Copyright Ó by Neil Hester

[See the paintings and listen to the accompanying music, melody and lyrics by Neil Hester, accompaniment and performance by Sarah Hohstadt, at this Youtube link.]

Lynsey Jenkins

Lynsey Jenkins is a poet living in Central Florida. This is her first publication.

A Beautiful Girl Bleeding   Channels   In The Cup Of Her Mind She Shrank   Prose   Sonnet To A Plummeting Lover

A Beautiful Girl Bleeding 

 

Past reaches her.

Not a saint or emblem

of well-being, that nonetheless drops,

 

through mind, like a glass

nosing floor. Corner eye

sees it grip;

 

sifts the cord 

of consciousness, a long-stirred

curtain of her act.

 

Some seem fewer than fact.

Less yet are rendered whole.

None console

 

woes ordered in time's slant.

Thus, can one afford to pick at such,

to look and pinch and pluck its flesh?

 

And would the glass stand of its own,

or fingers more than irritate

the old, mordant fact?

Copyright Ó by Lynsey Jenkins

Channels

 

The mind is a mirror.

You whet your image till it draws nearer.

You wipe with your finger till it comes clearer,

 

then press your thumb into that place.

You push but when at last a face

gleams back, you slowly release

 

the pearl that tremors

as in a mirror

turning like the sky over a river,

 

of which you are a courier.


Copyright Ó by Lynsey Jenkins

 

 

In The Cup Of Her Mind She Shrank

 

The stream enters with a tenderness

the object she holds, off this bank,

cracked of sure thankfulness

one could offer, over such a drink-

 

cracked and pared like an odd fruit

revealing time beneath its flesh;

the rift of a mind exuding soon

nulled duress. Thus, she sits,

 

filling her thought with long waters

till vagueness rise and sift her hands;

then releases it back, cold daughter,

enchanter of this abstract land.


Copyright Ó by Lynsey Jenkins

Prose

Stupid bird, the air you tire,

waiting to be called poetry,

though one could snatch you up as easily

& call themselves not god or poet, but Gun

& wordlessness desire in your dying.


Copyright Ó by Lynsey Jenkins

 

Sonnet To A Plummeting Lover

 

Is this what I meant: the glittering

pavements rising, the fictions

of your breath, my face

once arranged, then fleeing away

each nostril, each frightened kick

returned - now thrashing grip, quaked

by clutch nor ardent plea? Is this how

wind ravels your vices from me?

Or clasps us finite, as a sea

veers our ear and turns away?

You glide on disarray, your shape

mocking: at such pace beyond the now,

bending to memory, what lingers

of our sleep, when, at last, we wake?

 

Copyright Ó by Lynsey Jenkins

Dan Masterson

Dan Masterson's 4th book of poetry All Things, Seen And Unseen, was published by the University of Arkansas Press (1997). He's a member of PEN & contributing editor to the annual Pushcart Prize Anthology. He teaches at SUNY/Rockland, as well an online graduate poetry course for Manhattanville College, via his Poetry Master website www.poetrymaster.com . His poems have been published in magazines diverse as the New Yorker, Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, among others.

A Visit Home   Clouds Undisturbed by Human Things   Missing in Action

A Visit Home

The bottom sweater button
is in the next to bottom hole,
and his mother's fingers almost
find it out, but climb instead
to the polished head of a brooch:
a maiden blushing to the left, hair
falling across a shoulder
bared in sunlight.

Something about the eyes tells her
she should know him, perhaps
the young man who brings her groceries
or Father Sullivan
dressed for a day off. 

But no. The voice is more comfortable
than that; it fits the neighborhood.
His hair is going grey; tanned,
he must spend time along the lake.
The eyes react
as her father's would: cut glass
catching light 

Shed by a flowered bulb in the ceiling
where they stand stopped
in the upstairs hall, she
at her bedroom door; her married son
nearer the guest room, a step away,
dressed from the shower
hardly used since he lived at home. 

She'd like to have a towel
from the linen closet, one of the long
fluffy ones they used to save for company,
and wrap it 'round his head, the way
his mother must have done
before he grew so tall. 

He seems familiar,
but she can't believe the name
he used for her. 

She takes his arm
and turns his face up
toward the light, as mothers do,
and finally asks the question:
Whose boy are you?

Copyright Ó by Dan Masterson

Clouds Undisturbed by Human Things

Two geese joined at the neck
refuse to go the other's way
and become themselves
and then doorkeys
in search of locks across the lake. 

An arrowhead has missed
the dog's spine
blown sky high
and scattered among fish
and one prehistoric bird,
thick-winged and silent,
owning the sun. 

The long-limbed fox is opening
a kangaroo's pouch drifting
ever closer to a turkey,
one leg kicking
at a possum in pursuit. 

Off to the west, far from fox
and dog, fish and geese,
the crab with transparent pincers
floats after the wingless sparrow.

Copyright Ó by Dan Masterson

Missing in Action

The thud always awakens her
where she sits at the living room window
gathering a shawl tight at her neck,
her fist a pale brooch,
its veins hard and swollen. 

She has heard it every night
since he went overseas:
the muddy jeep backfiring at the curb,
his flag-wrapped body bumping to the ground,
stars flicking light on the hedges
as he rolls toward the house. 

Her cane finds the corner of things
and she makes her way to the veranda door,
its screen speckled with bugs
lured by the pantry light. 

At the top step
she shakes her stick at the darkness
and mutters a private curse;
she leans on the railing and takes
each step as it comes, swallowing
quick gulps of air and straining
to see the lawn. 

On down the walk she goes
to the far side of the hedge
where the streetlamp lumps its shadows
on the leaves. 

She pokes at the bushes and calls him
in the voice she used above his crib
three wars ago, pleading for her bambino,
expecting to see him young and warm
in his bunting, longing
to feed at her breast. 

She unbuttons herself to the waist
and probes among the brush,
disturbing nothing but a squirrel,
stiff in the leaves, the mouth
dried open in its fur.

Copyright Ó by Dan Masterson

Whinza Ndoro

Whinza (pronounced Windsor) Kingslee Ndoro (the N isn't silent) grew up in Zimbabwe, southern Africa and came to the U.S. more than a decade ago. Cosmoetica is his first online publication.

A Lady In Her Power   For Ja(zz)mes, For A. Emanuel   For Jessica, on Her 8th Birthday II   Modes Of Deconstruction   Out The Unloved, We Rise   Pills In Your Book I Took   The Einsteins Of Earthworms

A Lady In Her Power

 

I admire the queen-like power

Some flowers have over a bee,

Though no coveted tenure

A display by which all decree.

 

For a bee that sets sight on her

Plumage of a cultured pedigree;

The bee as if in honor,

Dances to her majesty.

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

For Ja(zz)mes, For A. Emanuel

 

[June 15, 1921—September 28, 2013]

 

             And while blindly,

this world over, lovers sidestep

[I]         the morning shape their bed

linen takes, now you lie past conflict,

             the kisses off your wrist,

             cordoned off in parenthesis…

 

             Now all our lovelooks

back in the black, & so damn deep

[II]        in it, are giftwrapping off lovers’

musings as a cool JAZZ fuels each soul’s

             music, improvisin’ all thoughts, mirth,

or elusive cues but what ain’t Jazz when every-

             thing is from streamz, beamz, daydreamz

             to namez who honor you, dead-ly JAMES?

   

             Still an assorted breadbasket lives

as your breakfast of words past whole grains

[III]      uncollected & though our tears now aren’t

sieved in the but whys? still, we can’t dig where you at,

             man! cool cat & great bard; so as your ashes

             take on JAZZanatomies beyond interred ways

 

             much kudos to YOU

             who blew not his Breakaway

             dues, brief I sweet riffed.

 

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

 

For Jessica, on Her 8th Birthday II

 

—inspired by a same titled poetic draft

in James A. Emanuel’s The Force & The Reckoning

 

Jess will be eight

& soon, as near midnight

for the very first time

thinks this voluptuous moon

is one huge white balloon

cocooning princes & well-wishes,

kisses, as well as grandma’s surprises.

 

As if to taunt her

special dawn, gingerly,

she lets out a powerful yawn,

imitative of an overblown

in her method acting pornstar,

which wakes a one-eyed cat

nestled at the foot of her bed.

 

I’d count Sheep, she thinks,

no further than 8 though…

any further & stealing off

my eyes’ light with slow Blinks

such Sheep do hide in their Wool

I’d soon be tricked asleep! A Fool

again I won’t be this year, nor lose

a third of my Birthday, part comatose…

 

Jess will be eight

this close to midnight;

this, in itself, is no small feat,

certainly not when at eighteen

blur by her princes hid who may,

or may not, sweep her off her fate

their smiles wishing her days away.

 

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

 

Modes of (De)construction

 

     I must disinfectant some
     with the morning sun— 
     words cleft then left 
     bereft as drafts of poems 
     writ well into my midnights. 
Long before the familiar crows 
of another dawn, one by one, 
as if now to keep these spirits 
about them on the run, I’ll cello-
tape my most pressing pages— 
as is, on the middle windowpanes. 
     This way—plain as today—
     as the dawn’s premiere light shafts 
impeccably through double windows, 
     I may recall (so wakening again) 
     what it was I strove to convey? 

 

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

 

Out The Unloved, We Rise

 

                                         1

Off sleep my being anaclisis I wish you

Knew the sultry, sunlit redwoods

I soar through sometimes…

 

Star-struck witness how a world view

Of unloved branches of humanity

Are reinvented given words

With value your kindly

Guises uplift me,

And scores

More than nations

At war apt scabs clad

Of splintering hearts harden

All inklings towards tender-care:

I too rise towards your sequoia-heart.

 

                                         2

What rings dispositions cheerful or hope

To being a stern-stem is a small anodyne

As talk, hugs on a lark, or Eros’ hub?

 

And so near trees frolicking as your hair, 

In wind to finger-combed undergrowth,  

Is subtle precursor of foliage elsewhere;  

My sensual Woodsman (as all elsewhere)  

Has faith in your shrouded greenery—  

Cordial as coddle-moods be, he approach

With tepid touch all your leaves evergreen.

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

Pills In Your Book I Took

Eventually, my (un)dying hope, my wishful loop is a getting together,

shoulder to shoulder, in one big festive room,

with you, my esteemed grave-clothed heroes,

who as far as enlightenment goes

I missed meeting in person.

 

If time prolonged, then I'll thank you

when first off even God wasn’t enough

nor  family, friend, or lover too;

as life tried boomeranging me

above it, you held me aloof as a roof.

 

Randomly, picking up a dog-eared book,

turning the wise pages,

there it was in potent hook

an understanding of yours, O sages,

 

when with what ailed me then,

fittingly(I got the chills)

you prescribed medication 

of wordy worldly pills.

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro

The Einsteins Of Earthworms

 

To you, a sir or a m’am—how to die?

Is the first question we must frame

In each generation’s itch how to live?

 

How to live begets answer in how to love?

The latter massaging relief in how to give?

Which in turn, as pattern, is in how to be?

 

How to be in pure Mobius strip fashion

Fastens a return in how to die?...

Hence within a life’s encircling mysteries—

Answer-questions enwomb question-answers,

 

Except one: where did All This coil from?

I’d presume by men’s theorized forms—

Our internet is as easily understood

By those Einsteins of earthworms—

Copyright Ó by Whinza Ndoro  

Peter Nicholson

The Australian poet Peter Nicholson was born in Sydney, New South Wales. He has published three books of poetry, A Temporary Grace 1991, Such Sweet Thunder 1994 and A Dwelling Place 1997. http://peternicholson.com.au/ 

Kursk

Kursk

Nice to be sure of life and life's long leavings,
To wrap the world in meaning,
Seal our hope in exponential form
And putty out blood's fissure with just law.

That would be good, to be one with the other,
But not, so sudden, have the chance to gather
In at one end all the ordered ranks
Or at the other loved one's dolphin shanks.

I see the sailor from the submarine
Buried back on earth beneath a polar gleam
And think - there, but for the grace of God,
Go I, still vertical, still with the wish for good.

I feel the terror rise up in my chest,
Spreading violence through the golden vest
Of beauty that is crumpling to the shore
History's slate warning of despair.

Beneath the Barents Sea the sailors sleep
Far from time and our remorseless need
While, in troubled prayer, remembrance is kind
As floating hands reach noiselessly back at pouring time.

Copyright © by Peter Nicholson 

Maurice Oliver

In 1995 Maurice traveled around the world for eight months, recording his experiences in a journal instead of photos. His poetry has appeared in The Potomac Journal, The MAG, The Surface, Word Riot, Taj Mahal Review (India), Stride (UK), and Retort (Australia). He lives in Portland, Oregon where he is a private tutor. www.bloxster.net/mauriceoliver.

Acknowledgements....   And Anything....   Blazing Panache....   I Mean....   Verbs, Lost....   Whispers, Waving....

Acknowledgments, Wearing Bedroom Slippers
 
Every lawn is attached to another lawn.
 
Then there are times when the day never seems to get around to midnight. Every four thirty flies past my ear and the bottle of gin hidden beneath a bush in the park wishes it were a pair of ordinary bedroom slippers. Venice forgets what a canal looks like and
the San Andreas Fault can no longer do a somersault. My cavities behave like a reflecting pond. The hair on my chest becomes fur-lined and foot-warmed. Sleep is anywhere you can fish legally and rhododendrons make darn good vacuum cleaner bags. Grass grows even in the kitchen drawer. Yellow taxis suddenly have the ability to bloom like daffodils. Crepe myrtle makes great Christmas stocking stuffers and a large dragonfly is elected archbishop of Boston by what is described as an unanimous vote. A soft-eyed oxen is willing to raise me. A farmer stands in the middle of my song. And even though I am honestly very grateful to a number of people for their guidance and support, I never once stop to thank the editors of several journals where some of these optical illusions first appeared.

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver

And Anything Else Is A Letdown

Then what you're really saying is that it all comes down to this:

Everybody ends up here,

in a theme park wearing merely a flimsy Pisces throughout the human kingdom by propelling the sun to move

towards a frictional Hollywood square pattern with Mars bound to fail

or maybe brusque with friends does the harsh scent

so love ones will boomerang until every nasty consequence

(made more significant by red planet envy)

tarzans pass the limp silk strap of desperation

and on into the spring-loaded harness of a bottomless abyss

hoping against hope

but still never waking up in the cold motel room

to find the him-or-herself in us cuddled up with Don Rickles.

 

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver 

Blazing Panache.White-Hot Courage.

"I've spent the whole day as noir as night", she repeats, as if the audience didn't hear her the first time. We're acting out the stage version of beat up & grown up. In this adaptation I become a short poem about her father who is a traveling salesman of articulate jealousy & desire. He never wears the same pair of socks twice. He eats dinner with his chair facing away from the table. He is near enough to the cardboard props to feel their rage. Elegance is our model. A book our national treasury or maybe our customs studiously sleep in the footnotes. What's important is every mysterious adulthood is but a jagged piece of glass murdered in bed. Nothing is luminous enough to shine at heart and even I something want to be nothing too but the moral of the story is to never forget that even Joe DiMaggio had an Adam's Apple that thought it was too cool to go to school. Oh yeah, and don't worry, the applause will drown out any sounds the curtains make as its being lowered.

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver 

I Mean, Really Really In Love

OK. I've had it up to here with the notion that an Air France flight could seriously blow through Lily Marlene strong enough to cause anything but a version of life where things happen in reverse. Mask. Ghost. Footprints from a welded impostor. So change the channel already. Find a show where the angel-butch double-agent loses the key to her safety deposit box & turns like a Venetian blind. Or better yet, let's tune-in to an episode of dying for faith where the ever impossible request torches explicitly on the piano top. I want to hear a severe melody try holding its breath under water while life comes and goes in a red dress split up one side. I want to be skull-hung just before the gargoyle in its late-forties with jet black hair & a five o'clock shadow surveys the filth from above then decides to put the whole bar under house arrest just to make a point.

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver 

Verbs, Lost In Their Transitive Cases

As I remember it, the whole thing begins after a palm branch scars the horizon deep enough to bruise its skin. In turn, that causes a crescendo of lavender scent to leak all along the naked limbs of an apricot wind with its passport at hand. Next, the mirror of white pearls pluses on the way to Lourdes and then takes the wrong turn in dense fog pressed against the hip. Coffee table leather jacket. Golden gate lazy earthquake. Cloak and dagger hillside town. Or a stale box of animal crackers falling out of the vast spree of redemption. Either way, it all adds up to a raspberry beret of colored fingernail polish much too flesh to bread or thoroughly soaked in a railroad crossing where a horseshoe on a dashboard has access to any dusk coupling riddle and can activate it by repeating this narrative in a foreign language as written on a red enamel bedside table or by tenth grade students who say, "Wow, that was an awesome lecture".

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver 

Whispers, Waving To An April Dawn

It all begins with a scream of wind through the wet hair of willows & then continues to:

-One dusty pickup on a highway partial of suspense novels.

-A pristine Blue Grotto slightly gold framed & naked in the rain.

-All of Costa Rica playing a caprice on a red violin.

-A feral garden that eats out of a complete stranger's hand.

-Bales of freshly-mowed hay with legs that scissor the air.

-A slice of burnt toast with a scab already forming.

-Voices used for the audio portion of a soccer match.

-Two streetlights watching re-runs of an episode on lunar ellipses.

-A hillside terrace that slopes into a cross-dresser's closet.

-The blazing gaze and stonewall demeanor of a field of sunflowers. 

-Life darkened at the edges to make the heart seem more luminous.

Copyright © by Maurice Oliver 

Gilbert Wesley Purdy

Mark Hanna Under Starry Skies     Poetry 2000 TM

Mark Hanna Under Starry Skies

The vague stars loom above Mark Hanna’s head.
His cigar smoke wafts a Milky Way.

He stands between two potted palms,
beside Lake Erie, an autumn night.

A darkie porter holds his coat.
Another gathers dinner plates.

The leavings of a modest meal
betray a man of modest tastes.

In Lowell, maidens, full of grace,
trail textiles as they float through aisles.

He sees the yarn-guides in those stars:
the light-beams weaving taffeta.

In San Francisco, Chinamen
press the fabrics made of them.

Their grandfolks sit in state upstairs
and quote Confusions with their tea.

In Pennsylvania coal-mines miners dig;
and, as they do, they sing pure tenor strains.

Up those mountains wind the notes
through woodlands cleared to frame the shafts.

They wind past children safe abed
on linens those bright yarn-guides weave.

The patchwork quilts which keep them warm
show farmyards rich with artlessness.

The miners’ wives each light a lamp
to keep their husbands safe from harm.

They dot the hills just like those stars
and touch his heart with their ascent.

He recalls a song his mother sang
as she rocked her babies on her lap.

Before he knows its over him,
the notes rise up to join that choir.

It’s an old song of a simple life,
of simple people, simple loves.

A simple beauty fills the words.
His quavering voice is choked with it.

He clears his throat and looks askance.
A single tear runs down his face.

Mark Hanna looking vaguely toward the stars
holds out his hand to have his coat.

Within he holds a brand new dime
as if he reached and pulled it down.

His hirelings track the Bryan train.
They tear the posters down and spit.

His buyers place their orders with
the proviso: Should McKinley win.

The porter thanks him kindly, sir.
‘Someone must protect the currency,’ he sighs.

Copyright © by Gilbert Wesley Purdy

Poetry 2000 TM

In particular, it is a language designed expressly for streamlining the writing of novels (or poetry).
                     -Metamagical Themas, Douglas R. Hofstadter

Hello and welcome to Poetry 2000TM,
the finest in poetry programs today.  Please read
the End User’s License Agreement, sign and send
the pre-addressed reply card, then proceed.

The System 2000 is simple to use.  Just point
the tiny quill and click.  The pull-down menus
will lead the way to self expression choice
by choice.  Then click the icon of the Muse.

In seconds your first-draft appears, correct
in style, grammar, spelling, length and theme:
A wistful moment that you recollect,
perhaps, or snap-shot of someplace you’ve seen.

Next simply click the Shakespeare icon.  Note
that an eraser has replaced your pen.
You simply rub out each word or phrase that’s not
just right.  Just click the little visor, then.

Now watch 2000 really show its stuff.
It's searching through the Anthology Data Base,
and, while the Bard of Avon chews his nub,
the changes you selected are being made.

Revision is the key to writing well
and now those boring late-night hours are done.
Erase as many times as you wish and still
have time to mix at our virtual Cafe Dôme.

So then, (1) click on File.  (2) Click on New.  Note
the little scroll unfurl.  (3) Click on Edit.
(4) Click Special next.  (Note: Never double-click Rose
without Expanded Tautology Gertrude-Stein-Set.)

The Special Editing Scroll has unfurled now
and all the choices are yours to make --
each a pretested adjective, each a pretested noun.
(For pretested neurosis click Emotional State.)

Perhaps you’ll pick Poetic Nouns.  Your menu
will display a list of over twenty choices
selected by the hundred most successful
contemporary American poetic voices.

Choose ice, perhaps, or mirror, salt or moon.
Wing, bed-slash-bedroom, breast, bone, heart or blood --
just click the ones you want.  (Note: You must Undo
or the system will assume mouth, tongue and love.)

Or Botanicals, perhaps: just click the flower
and poetical gardens blossom before your eye.
Plant camomile or crocus in your bower.
Pick baby’s-breath, viburnum, gorse, or thyme.

And Colors are a poet’s special tools.
With a single choice a poem may be made.
Too many poems fail for simple blues
which indigo or cobalt might have saved.

Just click the little palette icon.  There
before your very eyes appears a rainbow
of mauve, pop-sickle pink and lavender,
the spectrum of turquoise, silver, jade and rose.

Choose Adjectives or Place-Names next perhaps.
Djakarta, Titicaca, Kathmandu,
Kuala Lumpur dot our market-tested maps.
In all, twenty poetic places are there for you.

Before you close, consult the Style screen
to choose your poem’s type-face, shape and size,
including Hen-Scratch, Random, and Prestige,
and, the present standard, Under Thirty Lines.

Now click the Muse (see figure 1, above),
And watch your favorite sitcom while you wait,
Or prepare a meal, perhaps, with Gourmet StoveTM.
(For a one week trial just click the little soufflè.)

Warning: product is only meant to be used
in the manner prescribed.  For injuries which may
result should the product be altered or abused
Poetry7 will be harmless in every way.

For damages which may result (either
direct or indirect) to leather, tweed,
berets, careers, relationships, or other,
it excludes all legal liability.

The Poetry 2000TM is designed
for exciting years of personal expression.
When used as directed no group may be maligned
or suffer insufferable fascist oppression.

It respects all rights of property, the laws
of all the 48 contiguous States.
The little Walt Whitman pixel even applauds
when a poem mentions lower short-term rates.

       WARNING!

The product is designed to be perfectly safe.
To modify the program in any fashion
is a violation of Federal Statute and may
be referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Copyright © by Gilbert Wesley Purdy

Iain James Robb

Beneath The Rise....   City Station, Under Arches of Sky   Musings On A Lighthouse Near An Eastern Isle   Prospect From A Spanish Garden   Sapphics   The Serial Cheat....    With The Stars....

Beneath The Rise And Murmur Of Your Voice
 
Beneath the rise and murmur of your voice
there lies a hush more rapid than the silence
meets within your eyes; the ghosts of rainfall
also meet them there. Your tongue has murmurs
more than I can hear just now, for here
my ears are met with something else, the rush
and flutter of the waves that touch the surf
that sides the shore, that other sound of something
silenced thoughts reflect. Tonight, today
I listen to those cadences the air
breathes back upon itself, away from you
who I don't touch or listen to, not now.
 
My ears are tuned to some place that seems nearer,
the plash of shadowed sands upon the shingle
breathing outward with the waves from westerly,
a glimpse of winging wind that cuts their crescents
as they pass and die and rise reborn with water-
the sounds that will die out before tomorrow
once we've both gone. All gulls have gone, as shawls
of seaweed's fallen fingers on the spray,
save one, that loops and echoes with the eddies
and also veers from calling out your name.
I ride with it and plot its course to nowhere
as I lose myself, fixed by this promenade,
with wind's tongues that outstrip your tongue for murmurs,
with the wraiths that beat and breathe, upon the bay.
 
A peridot of light sinks down and lingers
upon your iris' blank and guarded cover,
upon its garden-land; with dual voice
it grows and utters, "Leave me now" and "Love".
Our roads will veer to others, though I love you
in the way the gull and breeze both love the sea.
Both play and graze, and leave, and also leave you.
There's nothing more for us, us two, to see.
 
And beneath the humming words that throng your voice
A chorus comes from somewhere wholly other
From cliffbound coasts whose drums beat dead the day:
a sinking sound that lasts for one swift moment
detaining us, before we pass, to dream.
We sleep, perhaps, to keep us from our grieving:
in sleep no dreams of loves we'll never mourn.

 

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

 

City Station, Under Arches of Sky

 

In the shallows of the silences I hear your voice,

In the gaps between the shadows of the city station-

Though I could have chose to turn it, if I’d had the choice,
To where blank faces pass as sparrows. To a new negation
Of your face, I flit my thoughts across the barricade sky,
And some fond thought questions purpose but I answer, “Die”:
For I’d rather you were lost now, without variation
Of your face, in faces passing, in a world of “Why?”
 
Do you see yourself in these, or care? This mirror-window
Looks to me; I’m going northwards; it’s made bare, and plain-
That there’s no land left to search but where a wind-torn willow
Flies, to mark the will and ripple of the whistling rain.
 
In my head are things that seem to twirl without a reason,
But I think a reason’s this, suggesting I stay gone;
Still the birds I never loved much have their singing season:
Still the clown you’ve left the depths of you may cast his throne.
It mattered much, but doesn’t matter now; your face, my fair,
Will not last as long as mine will. Take the easy ride
(To the tame, coast seen to landward from the windward side):
When in earth I’ll pass above the banks you claimed were air.
 
Should we marvel at the stars; I never caught tomorrows
In their aim for us; and still from fates their eyes refrain,
Too blind to cast their anchor in your eye’s forged sorrows:
And too senseless to feel sweetness that you made from pain.
 
In the gaps between their silences I hear your voice,
From some place the shaded faces make no plaints or sigh
(And I’d lose it if I chose to but I choose no choice),
To where the train turns under the asunder sky;
And I am northward bound now, at ‘a quarter past six’.
Like the drizzle on the lintels of the broken world’s bricks,
The mist upon the window chills the petals of breath:
And the flies still gather round an hour and wend to death,
Like the love I feigned that cut me with a charm and lie.
I shall go somewhere no winds break on a curse, or cry:
And do I leave for sums of years now, do I do or die?
I ask my self, “Aside, who goes there?”, and it answers, “I.”
 
And I shall go up where the bees bud and the linnets still linger
(If I choose, there are more ways to make a chase for pain),
By the pasture of some fallow land that stirs to no finger;
And, “My ways are all as narrow”, says the raveling rain.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

Musings On A Lighthouse Near An Eastern Isle

It is bright tonight; this plain, displaced from place
In Time's broad flight, wields nothing to the strains
Of air, no marbled hand unstrafed by rains
Or gales retraced through past days' shaded waste.
Great things may fall; through all life's vagrant seas
Drift things so small we pass them as they fly-
Yet a man may have no memories of these:
Things carved against doom's deep shall last yet die.
What listless whispers from the winds are these,
That lead thoughts prior to pass of fortune's page?
All death's a dream that fades upon the stage
That raised strayed sails, to strange eternities.
 
Beneath the wreaths of green and Eastern skies
That wheeled through fields of liquid emerald,
Your range of years, white watcher of the world,
Perennial as the fires that marked your rise,
Had outfaced an age. Your pale palladium
To those who'd tamed the treason of the seas
Awaits no voice of time's now but the thrum
Of waves, cast far from strands and galaxies.
In lampless lands where sunlight never glides,
Your eye gone out, what man may mourn you now,
No guiding height by weightless Wain or Plough,
No land-bound star and temptress to the tides?
 
Now hushed beneath the breezes and the bays,
Now shut from all the seasons touched by sun,
Your plinth's height through its Hepastadion
Could not forestall your fall; your starboard rays
Had reached at length your fatal yield of years;
The spells that stars cast pass but won't reverse.
Had a shape been traced in space that sigiled tears,
That had passed across the looming universe
For prophets' tongues? They seem to live where press
The currents that succumb or beat their breasts,
Past lightless realms where suns are rocked to rest-
That rise to leave your shipless wilderness.
 
Faint Pharos, shall men ring your name once more,
Or praise the safeguard of light's beaten breath?
Some things, it seems, are only born for death:
You seemed as ageless as your salt-lipped shore.
What bronze-thewed youth or white-haired wanderer,
From lands unguided now through floodlit seas,
Rides by raftered strands to Alexandria,
Over windless ways no steep sun seeks or sees?
Detained past hope and range of loss and rage,
Corrode to pumiced stone, and turn from sight:
O voiceless watcher once through lanes of light
On night-bound paths: to narrowed straits of age.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

Prospect From A Spanish Garden

Between moments are no doors closed, as their mirrors move;

The Vega with its pageantry of thoughtless plains

Reflects the space behind my window. Only I reprove

The correlations of the silence: mortal time has reins-

Still the inanimate has life. And yet I find my zone

Way past the point that memories, of hands, refuse;

It seems like sacrament these days to be alone,

Naked in a world that sheds its subterfuge.

As thoughts which vanish, sanded, in a stranded sky,

We weave still in the contours of the colourbox,

That heaves beyond the dockyards to the rageless rocks,

That know no more than I of drowned antiquity-

    But this we yet have knowledge of: the years won’t try

    Us more than we ourselves, our blanks their pageantry.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

Sapphics
 
Slumber comes too late to scare awakening;
I know, before, there was a life to bind me.
I cross the streets instead and watch the rainfall
        Murmur without ears.
 
It can know no sound but seems intent on hearing
What it has to say, or what it breathes in being
To my ear that hears not, to myself is listening,
        Too restrained for tears.
 
There lies no mirror of my outward motion
(To lose myself in rarely traveled byways)
In my eyes, turned inward on the crooked highways
        Of my downward mind.
 
Drifting through unstartled streets sans sunlight,
Lost to all those ones I’d shed behind me,
I wish there was a place where none might find me,
        Wingless, under ground.
 
There is one place I know, that no roads lead to,
I go to now, towards which shards of moonlight
Shine, from saffron fields of star-blanched concrete,
        Cancelling the stars.
 
The faces there are as the winds behind her,
Distant yet, and too remote to view her:
But if all seemed right, and if they only knew her
       Would they mourn that, now?
 
Though her eyes shed violets under lands of azure,
Though they laughed at blessing or, at rest, an hour,
Would the almsless flowers not redeem their power
        At the gates of care?
 
I do not know how he could conspire her capture:
For it seemed my sense was more attuned, in doses
Of her starless guile, to lips that mocked all roses,
        Cinnabars and myrrh.
 
At a glance I died, before some strained adonic
Could find its place in words I feel deceive me:
Chanelled at the eye of thought to limp out sapphics
        In pursuit of you.
 
It was a blessing beyond benediction,
Some antic state that made me dream I’d hold you;
And so my gait drifts in a barren country
       Measureless, unblessed.
 
In the deads of darkening I failed to find you;
And the streetlights, vacant as the starry eyeballs
They cast askance, were as the light that, restless,
         Infiltrates my rest.
 
I can just see darkness where that light is resting;
It is all of yours, and where its lamp is looking
It divides the eye and thought in stormy waters
       Too constrained to weep.
 
Yet within this night none of their faces falling
Were yours; they seemed too cast from stormless waters
To sympathise with mine or all that falters
       Cradled into sleep.
 
There is a wind that drifts against a broken window,
In a room adjacent from the one I drown in,
Every night recalling how my infant fingers
      Sifted through the shore:
 
And thought each grain of sand contained an island
Borne up against this world of petty borders,
But each is gone; I hear the wind retreating
      Say, “I leave you now.”
 
Shall I sleep, or care enough to leave a relic
Of the daze I dream awake, in ink that whitens,
To expend myself again, at last, in sapphics,
       Now, again once more?
      
I leave you also; now my eyes are bleeding
The face my fancy caught from wakeful minutes
That are lost as sand, that veers in windy motion,
     That which holds you now.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

The Serial Cheat Confronts His Unfaithful Lover
 

What matters it, this June, if you or I

Redeem ourselves in other’s eyes, as trust,

To each our images inside which vaunt to sky?

We are our selves: Spring gilds to Autumn’s rust.

You are my pawn; myself, if I should veer

Against the captious minion of my sight,

Our distances once more will make us near:

Our distance now will make us benedight.

What matters this if my dull words inspire

Your will to lose; my loss will be the same

If passion wants, its wontedness to tire

In febrile haunts; what innocence to blame?

    It was just me, but you are also I:

    Her cunt can not estrange your majesty.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

With The Stars That Rob Me, Of A Cloth Of Gold

 

A hush beats soundly in the rounds of evening,  

From the reigning lifelessness that clamps the cold;  

And I stand here, gathered to the weeping season  

Of this day's forsaken, in its cloaks of gold.

 

Far across, a ship drifts with the skies as anchor,  

That bequeath to sod and grass no force of flame,  

And I, once wearied of the worlds, find harbour;                   

And the eye lies caught by what the clear leaves claim.

 

Before the greyness of the lame air's vastest,

To make sense of what to winds the treetops tell, 

I'd rather lie in blackness with the stars as harvest: 

Yet the flutes of dusk adrift, adown the dell

 
Paint of things that dwindle, ere the night has striven
And the sun rebirthed may cross upon its fold,
For which no constellated hives of heaven
Mark the stars that rob me, of a cloth of gold.

Copyright © by Iain James Robb

Alex Sheremet  Alex Sheremet was born in Belarus and moved to Brooklyn, NYC when he was six. He is an undergraduate studying English Lit and Classics.

A Chinese Philosopher....   Cities In Decline: A History   Drama: At The Station For Graffiti   San Matteo e l’angelo

A Chinese Philosopher Considers The Center
*for Gumul Aziwalla, 1960-2012

"To move, unmoved by the prefects
upon that amalgam of rock! O hatred - empty
on that empty place, as a ringing vessel
roots its sound by what it lacks! I will not
bear their kind, who pause for no love,
nor for affliction! What is poetry to the lopped finger
poking through a contract, or to oxen
stomping on what lives below, collecting dust
de-natured by their touch? Such men - they do
not hear the whistling moods of snow-fall -
only the ruffle of diploma! They do not tend
the world unheard, where alteration's pure,
and purely of volition - not due process
of the nuclei! It isn't love, what inborn nature
has forever sealed and left
inculpable! And yet, they rein
love's credit, these perverts, swine
of the saddest stock, who hunch at desks,
pruning their unhappy world, dipping goose-quills
for some ugly mistress! O hatred - empty
you are not! Off-center, coarse, demanding - mine
only gift! - but empty? Why, I have curdling wine
sweet for a thousand cups! Let it flow
in rivulets, to sting mouths undeserving
of themselves, and empty into oceans
that twist as far as Feng-hao!" His cheeks drone on

with a scintilla of fire, in a rise
he grows ashamed of. Yet,
there is a love here, pulsing
with its own accretion, a love
not unlike the love for redress,
the rod's for the errant child,

as one loves the dismantling
of the winter branch, or the excess
of some grim machine, as one loves
the purity of war, without need
or provocation. That is a love,

too. It is a love that takes. The philosopher
was in the wrong - for where is hate?

 

Copyright © by Alex Sheremet

 

Cities In Decline: A History

    "I must match its weird refrain..."
        - Countee Cullen

Again they left, the old Italians, a gutted, late-fenced lawn,
the soil’s inadvertent feed still reaching from the tenured dole —
the hand-delivered, chink-stitched pumice,
an unconvincing, pickled blast
of louder days:

                    In a hardbound, gull-drawn renaissance,
August torched, and cities swung, and Brooklyn raked
the branching skyline down to sour stumps,
castled back to barking towers, the earth thick
with the floured bits of carbon clutter: wild fruit
once censured in a less sophisticated mouth,
the softer, dangling midparts cored and seeded,
his teeth strung for a pilgrim’s pious neck, a jeweled
leash, tugging dustward.

    "...our last winter, which now tires
    against pumice-strewn shores..."
        - Horace

That spring, a Roman slavegirl — hair bunched,
or nervously unbraiding to the whip’s indenting
whims, he rests his throbbing thumb
against the faux-imperial embroidery,
a maladjusted lion dunked in the swimming center,
its nose wrinkling with the master’s lungs —
smells the hanging crater with her mouth,
a spewing sore, still-miles from the town,
from bed, from the unawakened, golden floor
of bottled minds, soon tipped
by a solitary finger:

                    this, I think, is how it ends,
long before the earth can prune its bloated bottom
with a priest’s exacting fork, or jar its grisly store
in ashy shades of unconventional disaster,
and clump the pumice in a hand still trembling
to a specious breeze from the Atlantic.

 

Copyright © by Alex Sheremet

 

Drama: At The Station For Graffiti

 

                Timothy "Spek" Falzone, 1982 - 2001

 

I. Tim, to Officer

 

Grip's crooked. I should have been a carpenter:

hangnails, caked Krylon, abraded palms

on colored hammers, mocking bone.

 

Alright, imagine: I'd still rot some day,

firm-legged, right -- dirt-grown splinters

worming through these hands. And I'd still burn

glass, refit the speckled subway windows,

name (and co.) on bottom. (The crew sticks,

the fines don't -- fat caps for fat tickets,

unless you smack the third rail, face-down.)

 

Thick pen, Officer. You scribble knotty names

that straddle an imagined line, palms

inking through the lettered hoops,

 

but I'd rather cake 'em -- grip's crooked, see --

high above that record shop, 'cause walls stretch

blankly -- inarticulate stares just burning

to be read. And think: across the borough,

such pangs are the staple of the soul,

a strange, rudimentary rehearsal

in case the last paint spills, the button-down

is finally ironed, the silk bandanas trashed

as spiders, walled by the new or the slightly

unusual, might casually abandon

 

an old web.

 

                  [Stares.]

 

                              You listening? Yeah,

niggas aren't meant to be understood.

 

 

II. Officer, to Tim         

 

And I plucked the job a changed man! Sure,

sure -- I couldn't curb this pompous belly,

and Night still drapes the day from lamp to lamp, 

 

hiccups blunts, bad guys, and other artifacts

we stretch-still and fossilize into a page,

a paragraph, this stuffed police report.

 

It's hard to blink those ingrained hues -- you scent

stiff traces, blowing bubbles at the wall:

you see the dumb-brief, separating rock,

your ringed initials worn to dust    

on unborn, bookish hands. They'll chase

your rock-bound annals from the soil. Belly-

out, that pussyfoot might even look like me:

she'd piece the unmanned, prim-cut specks,

and jot your blue-built ingenuity.

 

I've thumbed your name in each report,

each letter compassed horizontally;

smudged the crude-cast pencil figures,

laminating favorites; taped your files, as twine

would pepper-down my manicure to dust.

 

Still, as I tied your blunt enigma,

as I pat your papers busily --

in short, as I buckled to that old routine,

I never thought that trust of men,

that banded ring of awful stares

would find you in its crooked center

high above that record shop, tonight.

 

You snickered, sharpened the enigma

with a flint budge --

 

                            [He moves sparingly.]

 

and affirmed it all: the imagined fine, palms

pinking through the colored hoops,

and there -- your knotted name, just burning

to be read. And in case that last paint spills,

in case my waning grip -- like star-rent brass,

approximately shelved -- docs and draws

your rail-smacked figure, evaporates,

aborts, and tosses you mid-sentence

like an unexpected, grainy cough

across those rough iambic freight-lines,

in case you're bled into that button-down --

 

[Points somewhat.]

 

                    you're a star-sown actor,

dumped and potted into this flawed,

sublunary drama.

Copyright © by Alex Sheremet

San Matteo e l'angelo

 

        ...And thus, the room has changed a little, the wind

of a refusing world now fetching shadows on the wall

and on the living, worn, and worn. What is Italy

to omens, who still reality by the Word, and turn

on the eye’s axis? It never lets go, even

as the final scene blurs open, somehow

evading sight, to tear against its own

appropriation. It’s framed to hide

why angels hover to some rube

on blowing banners, or split a book across a lap

now long from fashion, old

and beaten by a cloak. It is a lap

not meant for books. He

cannot read, nor even trace

his name across the hydrogen

of skies the city croons

to apotheosis. The Saint won’t move

except when moved, his arm

stretched only by another, the quill

in fingers not his own, but shifting

upon particles of script. They end

where Rome ends, fizzling once

the book is shut, to white. And the angel’s face

will only re-emerge by the limp of centuries,

the same discerning pity, the soft

assurance, and the unmoving eyes

stilled, down to a rock he must unlearn

to fill the cavity with genius, neither birthed

nor forged, but pulled from the better branches

of some cosmic store. It is more than what is learned

by force and reckoning, parts noisily moving

through a sphere, the sphere itself whole, and never interrupted.

And was Italy ever of this whole, except when wholly

in memorials, or in wakes and futures

pushing through the mind, its life clinging

only to its passing? In that room again,

a copy of Caravaggio stares down upon

itself, Italian like music

in the throat, the vowels dangling in air

long after the mouth closes. Italian

is a cocky tongue, every Roman boasts

in unison, and it will be years

before they match in age, in face, and yet

the spirit of the age is still entangled

with the face. It is an age of great ideas

foaming at the prow. It is a face too calm

to notice, but intelligent, awake. It is a face too calm

to argue -- he seems to riot only from the side

as if by mask, with big eyes, all-visioning no

book of Matthew bears the imprint

of the angel, except what’s styled

by the steeple. And yet, no cover

beats the baring of time, reflecting off the drops

clenching at themselves, or the vases of Greeks

outdone by richer myths, almost

by necessity, in Caravaggio

and on. It doesn’t leap

from rock to rock to well

into another cosmos, but waits to burst

across its limits, and from one assumption

tweaks a cosmos, belligerent

and small. It is something he well knows

to fear. It is safer than the genius

of a nova, which seems to edge

into another plane, where watchers gaze

from, and dwindles down to an eternity

richer than eternity -- a nothing that’s not

nothingness, but merely empty, and richer

than the full. The full is like those mirrors

on the wall. It reflects what is only

in itself. It does not change

from bottom-up. And the angel

is that bottom, that burst

of hydrogen across the sky the Saint

would always look to, thinking more

than what was fair to think, chilling him

to hallucination, his body left to arbor, stewing

in the sun. Another part was still imagining

the machinery of skies too high

for either dwarf to reach from paintings

bounded by their frames, or empiring

states -- the language of the spheres, or music

of irradiation, far bolder than the newer world

that fears its origins, that continuing blue

which always seems to stretch far louder

than its sound, and reach too far

into the present, the searching

sense of the discoverer, moving back

against itself, in hardened image

of the whole. It is what

Caravaggio could never mean

alone. It is why Caesar leaves the country

to the country, in alternating

currents, as cities fear their own horizons

staring from the paint. Caesar could never give

into the curve of things, but warily deny

what wasn’t of himself, by living

change. No budding off the Rubicon

could sway him from the war he needed in himself

to play, to black at peace, when peace

poured. One imagines Matthew at the table

writing tales of never-were, of peace

and swords, and understanding one

no angel could have goaded, rising

from its frame to tunnel all

into a solitary fetching.

Copyright © by Alex Sheremet

Anthony Zanetti

Dynamite 25   Facade Of A Montreal God  I Give Betty Smith....  The Red Desert  The Whirlpool

Dynamite 25

The birthday candle unravels its wax—
unfurling the curve that shatters its graph,
it rockets to Blonde—as man shimmers back.

A core, immortal, wills past—to its pax;
as grain culminates and unwraps from its chaff,
the birthday candle unravels its wax.

Unpinned from the wick, it bolts and unpacks,
as motion unsnaps from a still photograph.
It rockets to Blonde—as man shimmers back.

No breath from a wish can cool its attack;
when each note of song sparks from the staff—
the birthday candle unravels its wax.

Lethal: the drop from the sweat on its back,
its shock vaults through octaves and Richters a laugh;
it rockets to Blonde—as man shimmers back.

A sizzling blue vine writhes through cold blacks;
ecstatic—as ecdysis jettisons half,
the birthday candle unravels its wax;
it rockets to Blonde—as man shimmers back

Copyright © by Anthony Zanetti

Façade of a Montreal God
photograph of Fascist HQ, Rome

I’ve stabbed a flag into the Fascist
March eye. You make the bullet
cry, you make the nation
sing. A sovereigned head on a coin,
the shallow inks of wings—align
to remind me: I’ve chosen again. In the city,
at the rally, they shout: he is strong,
il est fort.  I find myself chanting along;
I can’t abort. Gods trapped
in a head—we are everything except free:
the azurite Italian, the glittering Mussolini—
orating and exhorting—mathematically
operatic—your head suspended
against the word repeating: si si si si

Copyright © by Anthony Zanetti

I Give Betty Smith—And Live In, But Not With

                  Coffee stirs me out of you. Tired
                  Of shyness: I type to my vox.
              Boxed in an office—lust must wander
                  Past—to last, as literature
              Manifests immortality. Many leave me
                  Flat—as a thumbtacked Alanis,
            Or the glass panorama the train tries to pass.

                      But your visage enriches;
                      Into poverty—reaches
                      And travels a song—
                      A Brooklyn: bygone.

                  Through me, she writes you—
                     As cities soak streets;
                     As pines sew their green.
     My gift knows you better; it knows what to do.
                    Artifice excites—writing
                         Of me: in you.

Copyright © by Anthony Zanetti

The Red Desert

*after Antonioni

 

There is a mind inside an island. By the brim

 

Of her shore, a boy culls from the sand; a ship,

Unmanned, scores the gulled coast

While cormorants repose on the glittering rose.

 

From the ocean, Poseidon is goading the shore.
Drops spray the boy’s back. He is shelled

To attack; his searching turns in; becomes

 

An internal thing. Friulian lyrics

Smooth crests from within. Who sings

Dialectic, in dialect unseen?

 

It is the island; it is everything.

Copyright © by Anthony Zanetti

The Whirlpool

         You stare from the wire that cuts sky from brine.
               Effeminate desert, you thought it benign;
                  But inside—I collect corals & spines.

               Currents twist as flesh curls to a fist.
                      Feel the form of my force:
            In the core of the vortex, concussion
                Is pure—the pressure of poetry
                       Waves into lines—

               Breaks. On the bottom: funnelled 
                              To finish,
                           Lies your mind.

Copyright © by Anthony Zanetti

MIA Poets: The following are poets of excellent ability whom I have unfortunately lost contact with.

RICHARD DANA CARLSON I first met Richard at the old Irish Well Poetry Readings in St. Paul in the early 1990s. In '95 he self-published his ms. POEMS FOR THE PUBLIC, AND SOME NOT. I shall, in time, be posting some of those poems here, however I would much like to know his whereabouts. The last he was heard from he was in San Diego, CA.

GREG CLARK Greg is, next to me, the best poet I have ever personally known. I 1st met him at the Garden Crow Poetry Group, but he is wont to losing touch with people. He still has relatives, I believe, in the Coon Rapids, MN area. If I can find some of his older poems- some excellent lyrics- I shall post them.

LEAH CUTTER Leah was a UPG regular from late '95 to late '97 when she moved to San Francisco to be with her fiance. She is mainly, however, a sci fi writer (as is her now-husband). They then moved to Arizona where both letters & emails came back empty.  FOUND!- Click here for INFO!

SHAWN DURRETT Shawn's a multi-talented artist I first met in 1993. She was an intern for The Loft & ran a reading series at the old Susan's Coffeehouse in St. Paul. She had an excellent poetic future ahead of her when she left in 1997 for the University of Michigan. She was planning on going into Social Services. Anyone who can locate her and/or put her in touch with Cosmoetica would get appreciation, as I would love to post some of her poems- old & new!

ANGELA HAUG Another multi-talented young woman- poet, dancer, photographer- who was a UPG semi-regular from mid '98-late '99. She may have left the Twin Cities for college but any way to contact her would be appreciated. Her poems deserve notice.

APRIL LOTT  A young woman who was a UPG semi-regular back in '97 & who had alot of talent. She is still in the Twin Cities area- as of late 2000- & I would like to post some of her poems.

STEVE PERKINS I only met him twice- at a reading & once at the UPG. He wrote spare little lyrics that were just charming. He never returned because he got a 2nd shift job- this was about 1996. Anyone who knows his whereabouts please let me know.

MAGGIE SULLIVAN I once wrote a Le Bestiaré poem (1st ms.) on her called The Enigma & anyone who met her knows why. I first met her at the old Ophelia's Pale Lilies group & subsequent readings in 1993. She left Minnesota around late '96-early '97 & headed to California- I believe San Francisco. I lost touch with her a year or so later. Her works would find a place here. Calling the Enigmatic One....

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