Yvonna RoussevaAlan Catlin, Two Poems( St. Croix, US Virgin Islands )Laurence OvermireI Have Become FishI am trying to say. I am trying to utter but my lips move with no sound. Have I become fish? I am trying to walk. I toddle and trip and scrape my knees. It hurts. Will they pick me up? Will they help me walk? What misfortune to have to rely on grownups well versed in history, yet needing explanations and never comprehending. Did history forget the brave? Did history forgive the oppressors? And if neither, why have adults turned into rancid, mean, impotent men, barely thirty yet talking, talking in fear.( Portland, Oregon )Apryl FoxSunrise at GaribaldiThe timbers rise out of the bay On a clouded, sunlit morning Reflection’s pier in the water An old weather-worn shack Five white windows to see the day The seagull dips and glides Slow-motion This photograph makes A stop of time I want to get off Walk the platform Drop my line in the water And wait Watch, the sun’s slow Mount from valley to crest, hear The wind telling tales: Of wise old men And the daunting sea.( Michigan )Kelley WhiteUnmatterAll great artists work with matter—the un-matter, which is used in paintings and murals. I don't mean with murals, you misunderstood; the murals of words, painting pictures in your mind. That's what I meant. I've seen those paintings in museums: "The Scream," and "Mona Lisa." She was a good looking woman, Mona Lisa, with a sensual smile and a half-quirked eyebrow. She is unmatter, just as all paintings are, just as all words are; so I propose that artists—including poets and pianists—become scientists, and scientists remain as they are. They know about unmatter. Einstein was the first to discover it.( Philadelphia, Pennsylvania )The Gilford Community Band ConcertJuly 15, 1998
—our twenty-first season–All rise for THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER My mother was against it. Five thousand dollar bicentennial grant used to build a bandstand on the village field. Better spent: books for the library. She and Polly, two middle-aged library aides, considered graffiti, shook cans of red spray paint: “This Bicentennial Gazebo Sucks.” (now the band has overflowed the stand; the percussionists stand under an awning off the back.) I throw a worn quilt down for the children. THE WASHINGTON GRAYS MARCH The heads around me are white– white as my father’s; I search for him in the crowd. I recognize no one, no face, his generation (or mine.) Feet move, canes rap. IN THE MOOD Mother’s dance a twisting dance holding their babies’ hands. A stooped woman takes a toddler’s hand, twirl and laugh, twirl and laugh. There are more couples here, more old men than one might expect. Light changes, gold. THE BELLE OF THE BALL A young girl, hair the color of an Irish setter, falling to her waist, skin the color of skim milk, steps away with a black and white dog and a boy whose head just reaches her shoulder. They go the edge of the field to smoke. She returns with a small bouquet of wildflowers, curtsies, presents them to a woman with a copper bowl of hair. Coughs, paper flutter. PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ A man runs, pulling a small daughter by the hand. A toddler runs, laughing, ahead. Scurry, scurry, scoot. Scoop up a laugh. Salmon sky–blue and pink–no moments unchanged. PAVANNE Sun falls through branches beside the brook. Clouds light, flicker, wait for stars. White birch limbs, bared by last year’s ice frame the steeple beyond the field. Up, up, up, teach the children to lift their knees. BARNUM & BAILEY'S FAVORITE MARCH Girls do bent-leg cartwheels behind the drums. A gold puppy, arriving late, pulls his children around the bandstand in the quick-step parade. “It’ll cool off, sure, and then the bugs’ll come out.” INTERMISSION "Try this, it works pretty good, put some on your ankles, there, wrist, neck.” The field hockey team arrives clattering. THE CHILDREN OF THE REGIMENT Hockey sticks and tennis rackets, boys with coke and chips. Chairs fill for a moment, then all race to run and climb on each other’s backs in the the settling light. Stillness, distant voices. IT'S THE GOSPEL The girl with milk white hands presses a bundle of ferns and daisies into the hands of the grandmother enthroned. Dark, chill. UNDER THE BOARDWALK Children bundle down, thumbs and blankets, blue-black sky. Wind, flickers, crying, gone. CRIMEBUSTERS Alan, who is 38 and cannot read, waits by his bike to give a program to any last stragglers in. A hand clasps my shoulder THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC Welcome home. The children begin the circling lope around the bandstand. –fine– March, run, march, clap in rhythm, clap. ENCORE Stand, clap, march, run. THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER Struggle, fold blanket, chairs, gather cups; little street a moment busy; let the too friendly cat out of the barn.
( Schenectady, New York )illuminate skies tinged by melancholic fires, acidic smoke, emanations from sprung open, sulfurous pits, locked rooms the dead were herded into; oh! poisonous skies, jaundiced, gangrenous, suppurating flesh peeled from an unhealable wound; black planets, dead stars, the rasping edges of comet flame, each infected part of the inexplicable celestial event, horizons crossed, physical pain and eternal unrest met at the apex of no longer imploring worlds, impulsive, implosive debt collected along a wanderer's terminal beach, that theater in the round created for drowning sailor's resurrective feasts; then the vacuum tubes are lowered, glass bells rung for the no longer living will have said their piece and the enemy bombers are forever coming, primary targets marked; no one is ever truly saved, it is a proven, a historical fact. Cathy McArthur"Outside the rain has brought up worms"Rising as black fingers escaping the night soiled earth, hydrotropic no more, they squirm as if shocked awake in their collapsing tunnels by an unseen force, galvanic energies, stimulating new nerve endings, attachments to a shed of skin, elapsed in their collective terrors under ground; the remaining stumps of deserted hands are relinquished in their graves, unencumbered by needs that may easily be grasped, their futures becoming hard, immovable as rock. Sebald's Rings of Saturnafter a line by Ruth StoneIn the end perhaps a flow of unsupported brightness is more painful than a circle. —Medbh McGuckian
( Bayside, New York )The heliotropeappeared in my yard. How I wanted you; words planted, green leafed wall climbers, looped in air. This holding pattern— purple wake-up call at night; field site opened, planes circled the blue unexpected sky— messages surfaced— evidence we knew. Over my head now in whirling, dizzy flight—deliberate.
Quiet by Fred Johnston
( Galway, Ireland )
I - Trinkets in a Closed Drawer
II - A Wrinkle in the Trees
IV - Closer to the Cosmos
Featured Poet - Eleni Sikelianos
Sikelianos Feature, Page 2
Afterword - A Poem by Nell Maiden
Current Issue - Summer 2003