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III

Like Falling Hats

_________________________


James Robison
( Florida )
The Failure of Claws

He flung the straw hat to skimming hops; it leapt across
the sea, in bounding touches going, 
over sun lines on water sewing, 
cold water slamming on sand foaming, 
on fallen eyes of mica glowing.
 
He saw the hat, with its red band and basket thatch
bop above the turtlesí snap, the mermaidís grasp, into an eagleís clasp,
and off it went. Up. And up. Up some more. Fast.
Big eagle carved for perfect flight, took the disk of hat 
on up beside clouds.
 
Nothing was better for that
whiffle-waffling hat than that birdís tower and
to be torn by claws to shreds to pad a nest atop a column
of eagle power.
But.
She dropped the skimmer. Loose, it cut an angle
on the day, before excited blues, taking its careless
summer time, getting down and down. A philosopher asked
her prof if things love to be useless like her. 
Like you. 
Like me. Like falling hats, 
straw and round and round.
   



Susan Tepper, Two Poems
( New York )
Solstice, 2008

Dark are the spaces in
between looking and
remembering
 
You wish for light
aimed in points off
grass, the fence edge,
where the roof angles
 
down on your knees
 
bartering for time
some sun and 
overgrowth along the path
 
your shoes cutting blisters
when you tried walking
too faró
 
Tell everythingó
before night is early
sweeping across
turning the windows black




Shut

You come creeping 
to my door
Springtime and 
the first trilling
 
I sleep through 
with the windows shut 
and hammered shut
 
From all that 
touchesó

The way rain blows
curtains into a room 
damp and reflective
moonlight
spotted with trees 




Sara T. Einhorn
( New York )
New/Old

With spring rain
And greening buds
Remembrance
Of the one before
And before
Musky scent of 
New leaves
Each birth
With possibilities
Filtering sunlight
Before dusk
Foretells in shadow
 



Rich Ives
( Washington )
Enough

She was carrying a single tomato in the left cup of the turquoise brassiere she had removed. There was a
pair of bright yellow underwear in the pear tree.
She had not yet realized she was going to leave the husband with a mind like a bulldozer and a heart like a
wren. She was summoning the green creature inside. She was acknowledging the violent sunset and feeling
without thinking that between her legs lies the happiest dockside dive on the face of the earth. A delighted
raunchy exuberance.
What did his mother tell him about this? Without a single word, she sat, self-satisfied, behind the door he
had taken a lifetime to open.
Could he offer anything without shame? The compact and delicious affluence overwhelming her. He can
think of it only as loss. Exile. An exquisite Argentina of the throat overthrows the explanation, to which he
still clings.




Bobbi Lurie
( New Mexico )
a forest of not listening

ashes are bodies babbling in a stream of smoldering fire 

they are branches where the birds perch until winter

they are the remaining shadows of a friendship

the woman unable to erase what she has written

he is a forest of not listening crushing the paper of hatred 

 
beneath the feet of his she cannot see 

is the same earth but distance is carried inside us

he shall keep his reasons for leaving her a secret 

she tries so hard not to inhale the smoldering mistakes

in this fate she is forced to follow




Gary Percesepe
( Ohio )
another love poem

there are things 
that cannot be understood
 
she appeared as if summoned
from the city of childhood memory
 
an e-mail tapped in 
dark trance of morning
 
you pray every prayer you know
 
small steps 
toward each other the delicate 
 
dance of fear & hope & disbelief
 
what he said, what she said
across miles of flyover earth and air 
 
and unseen water
 
to never be caught hoping again
was that the mantra to be discarded 
 
as you wrote long into the night
but replaced by what? you didnít 
 
know and she wasnít saying 
the dazzling dialectic poets 
 
speak of has finally arrived and 
we are so ill equipped 
 
but what you want is this:
to shampoo her hair over this 
 
white porcelain sink
to hold it
 
in your stunned fingers 
yes then place them in the
 
small of her back
yes and turn her
 
to face what is coming
what cannot be stopped




Bill Yarrow
( Illinois )
The Knitting Needle

It was early in the morning when Lucien Carr stabbed 
David Kammerer in the chest with a Boy Scout knife,
dropped the knife into a sewer, the body in the river, 
and buried the dead man's glasses in the park. 
 
It was later that afternoon when Lucien Carr
went to see The Four Feathers with Jack Kerouac,
walked to the Museum of Modern Art to look at the Legers
and turned himself in to the skeptical police. 
 
It was a grey afternoon when Lucien Carr
holding a torn copy of A Vision by William Butler Yeats
pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter
and was sentenced to a reformatory in Elmira, New York. 
 
The odor of William Blake hangs over this narrative.
Opposition is true friendship. Eternity in an hour.




Meg Pokrass
( California )
The Fist as a Unit of Measurement

She loved his old pillowcase, the one with bloodstains on it from his childhood tooth extractions.
He looked stiff in old photos, the ones that she saw, they all saw, in the photo collage at his
mother's house. She thought about the toast she would have made him, the way it would pop up
perfect and golden. How her own kitchen appliances might have warmed to him, like the moon,
or street lamps, making things between them comfortable.

She wondered if he would still move inside her exactly like a train, and she wore lavender
lipstick to remember that kind of being together. Still, nothing prepared her for the way people
glanced at their wrist watches on the platform, or the sly October light on the tracks. His
pillowcase was folded neatly in her backpack, her eyebrows arched and sewn, when she heard
the sound.


I - The Stone Listens
II - Clouded Symmetry

Featured Poet - Marcus Speh

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