Julia Elizabeth Guez( New York )Mark DeCarteretThe Onliest MonkWithout well-stitched new bars on every buttonhole, reweaving to repair the moth-eaten, the wine-stained, the ash ring still smelling of smoke, without the artful movement of thimble, needle and thread to render all flaws invisible to anyone but a tailor, without a heavy wool overcoat, shoulders tighten and lift in the cold. White sleeves, rolled-up to practice, reveal a bare stretch of skin, tiny black hair standing on end, a visible chill wrist to elbow. Pressed Pinpoint Oxford smelling of starch, smelling of home, smells of a seamstress with Cocoa Butter hands. Without soul food at Mintonís Playhouse every Monday in Morningside Heights, without cornbread and cracklins, without black-eyed peas, chow-chow, catfish, and collard greens, even playing alongside Parker, Gillespie or Coltrane lacks luster, nowness, and pop, the essence of be-bop. Without the s-shaped contour of a woman, wifely, loving, unable to sleep until the music man slips musically between the sheets, humming, home, safe, to rest after two long sets at The Five Spot, no crepuscule, no ballad, no love song. Without Nellie Smith Monk, no Thelonious, no legend, no Juilliard, no jazz, the artist would stand alone and shivering, meek, hungry, mad, smoking before a door, only a man, mumbling and pacing, waiting for the sound of high heels to clickety click uxorially down the sidewalk, a syncopation, unmistakable, Nellie, no doubt, key in hand. Hip, shoulder, and hinge squeal. The future, unlocked, will open to the keyless and crazy piano man who never ever plays solo. Even when there is no orchestra, no band, only Monk and a long sleek Steinway & Sons, she is there, behind the red and gold satin folds, backstage, as always, backstage.( New Hampshire )Charles Rammelkampst benet biscopthe stone listens in: my skin tattooed by stained glass, saga of us saints( Maryland )David WolachLetís Turn Back the Clock, Starting NowThe yoga instructor advises us that bending our spines forward and back, breathing rhythmically as a metronome, will restore our youth and vitality. ďBe like a great white bird,Ē he urges in that calm voice, persuasive as a hypnotist, as we sit cross-legged on our mats, hands on our shoulders, elbows thrust out like great wings, throwing our heads back, then bowing to our knees, flexing our backs. I picture Ponce de Leon dipping his toe into the Fountain of Youth, the wrinkles in his face evaporating like dew, scars disappearing as if erased with an airbrush, the hair on his head turning darker, thick as coiled snakes. I spread my wings wide, point my beak to the sky.( Washington )Tree RiesenerĖ for Thom DonovanAmplitude of the needle that is to be Aware when just under just there beneath Nancy Grace is on in the Clean Room I feel my mouth Iím sure of my mouth Finding a sentence, you watch her too You watch her while you scope my asshole Shit, I love you you amplify so well the myth Of the island of nations, were we to become Then you bring him to our telethon pity When Iím resting in the linoleum palace then Imagined paradises mine these islands gang up Their metaphors are vibrating beds and grow Louder in my penis hole, his smear across water Becomes a love for particulate dreams of other Flesh, so goes your desperate salvos, shapes of Men or of the island-bed of the island-room That we steal from, and he (who) leaves the soap For me, or you, and the flavored coffees, outlines Quietly every island metaphor need, amplifies (how) The simple during our amplified lonlinesses I said For now, images, letís not talk about trade agreements( Pennsylvania )Andrea Potosthe old courtesan(she who was once the helmet maker's beautiful wife)
auguste rodin, bronze, metropolitan museum, new york cityon display like the women with no passports in amsterdam a grotesque some might say slumped over shrunken breasts swollen stomach desirable only to those who seek the crippled the pregnant the old on the right side of the aisle leading to byzantium a glass anchorite's cell downcast nun's face collapsed over prayer beatified uncorrupt relic in her last beauty( Wisconsin )Tova GardnerMy Father Tells Me To Cut My HairA woman your age shouldnít wear that long swath of braid coiled like a serpent down your backó not that siren sweep of those dark falls swooning men to swine( Vermont )Jeanne Marie SpicuzzaLast CallI want to be a garden, but dirty, with no stones to hold back my mud when it rains. I want my persimmons, if there are any, to be bruised with waiting. I want to be the flesh island you swim for.( California )Burst of a Female SituationSome people, they just donít know. Only half the population can relate. A burst of a female situation made me late. Iím on my way to a gig or a meeting wearing off-white and suddenlyĖ A burst of a female situation and Iím twenty minutes late. Only half the population can relate. A burst of a female situation made me late to brunch at the Four Seasons (and what an expensive brunch was THAT!) to a meeting with my manager to stalk Ewan McGregor to get my movie made about a subject men THINK only half the population can relate toĖ A burst of a female situation made me late. But a burst of a female situation CLEARLY wonít get my movie madeĖ as if THATís what was about! Women go to films about anybody But make women the main characters and suddenly itís as if itís the Ladiesí Room and MEN wonít go in! I think they FEAR a burst of our female situation all over the place. The same burst of a female situation that made me late! Whatís to be afraid of! It means that Iím NOT late! A burst of a female situation can alter your fate! I should know! A burst of my female situation six weeks too late then my daughter came nine months LATER! A burst of a female situation made me later than late! Only half the population can relate (thatís the half most often taking RESPONSIBILITY if itís late) The same burst of a female situation that made me late. Two days of ovulation pain, one week of PMS, now THIS! A burst of a female situation is the grand bloody red finale to my 28 daysĖ now THATís what I call a FULL moon! Bring back the menstrual lodges! If society were constructed by women we would HAVE them, EVERYWHERE! On every street corner, at the shops. And theyíd be PLENTY of bathrooms! A burst of a female situation all over the place. So now I gotta HIDE it? Like if I wear a tamponĖ what? No one will know?! A burst of a female situation is a perfectly natural phenomenon whereby the uterus of the female of the species sheds its lining approximately twelve times per year. Whatís wrong with that? Itís a good SIGN! It means all my parts are working right! A burst of a female situation can keep you up all night. With headaches and backaches and cramps and nausea and NOW you want ME to cover it up, so I donít offend YOU?! And men wonder why weíre PISSED! A burst of my female situation all over your face! Iíll pull a Jackie Gleason and hurl you up in space! A burst of a female situation is the salvation of the human race. Weíre talking about the process from ovulation without fertilization resulting in menstruation! People! This is the solution to overpopulation! A burst of a female situation is the salvation of the human race. Itís cool! Itís wet! Itís metaphysical, supernatural, red gold POWER all over the place! Just ask the alchemists! Just ask the Native Americans! A burst of a female situation is the salvation of the human race. Iím DAMN PROUD!!! A burst of a female situation is my saving grace. A burst of a female situation is female power IN YOUR FACE!
II - Clouded Symmetry
III - Like Falling Hats
Featured Poet - Marcus Speh
Current Issue - Fall 2010