Patricia Gomes( Massachusetts )r. l. swihart, Three PoemsDisgrace for the Surrealistically Modern PoetIt was no great riddle that his poetry contained Jesus, pre-crucifixion. No puzzle in cedar blocks, or chips of Candy-apple Red metal flake. His secret lay between the lines and was spelled l-o-v-e. An embarrassment for one who claimed immunity. Oh, it was never screamed, never heralded, never proclaimed, but there it was all the same; the critics saw it and were scandalized— where was the brilliance, where was the genius, the clenched fist and clouded metaphor? To alleviate its weight, he tied Love to a kite string, flew it on a windless day, cocksure it would anchor. It denied him three times, mocking as it bounced over stones and flotsam. Three times his hopes were elevated— then dropped. Dropped he could handle, it was the elevation that drove him mad. Love had come to him in a dream, though he prayed for nouns with more substance. Tormented, plagued, permanently scarred, he shrunk back to embryo and wrote frenziedly of Mother's milk and infertile eggs until his suicide. To die a jaded poet is far nobler than to live as one who writes of Love.
( California )Susan Terris, Three PoemsEnigmaOutside in the yard I stretch my legs on a macadam of pureed pulchritude and blood Led back to my cell I continue to sort through the blue days and the gold Coming from nowhere a bird whistles down the corridor I reach through the bars and throttle it by the neck Half-aghast half-enthralled I see life ebbing away in my hand The nail of my right pinky is the only knife I have I search and search but never find the genesis of your songTwo Operations And An Impossible Third
I.Deftly digging amid shells and sticks the doctor exchanged his Prague for mine– He lit a candle beneath Lennon I placed a pebble on Kafka's stoneII.Father forgive me– While your room blurred above a table I looked through a pelt of rain seeing neither heaven nor horizonIII.Inoperable the patient nevertheless sees through the contagion to a cure– Excise Word from Flesh Light from Word until Light is only LightElegyWhen they hit the malls en masse she begins ringing her hands The carol lifts the first teardrop over the dam Even when the locals scatter Hegel sits serenely on the shore scribbling his addenda The system begs the question panzers over answers As it were As little as this As many as that Duck-rabbit or rabbit-duck On the day after the day marked for joy On the day earmarked for death
( San Francisco, California )Eileen Tabios, Two PoemsIn the Bell JarHere, under glass, the sky is always clear No rogue wind stirs the air And she doesn’t have to talk to anyone but him Here no ex-husband or ex-wife Here no similes No teenaged children Under the dome the tongues of fame cannot burn Here no one whispers of money or ill health Here no negative capability No mothers or fathers No faucets to leak or cars to break down No liquor or pills No one has to write a word No one is measuring or taking her temperature She’s not tired here Here no objective correlative Not even a pathetic fallacy His friends don’t gossip about her Her friends don’t offer advice Flights of fancy bump against the dome And fall without sound to the dewy grass below He thinks the bell jar will protect them She thinks it’s nice not to have to think He forgets that emotion recollected In tranquility offers only false tranquility One false move One misplaced modifier One fist against the glass and well… It’s broken again and again brokenWhat’s There Is ChertShe misheard what he said, alien moss-green stone of a metaphor. A quote from Tracy or Hepburn, from back before— as gates creaked and a door admitted only candied chinks of light— in the dark of the moon, when secrets were still secret. You never saw those lovers, on heat-pleated linens redolent with musk of fused bodies. In that tinseled place, toilets didn’t flush, softened flesh didn’t sweat, bottles didn’t fill the trashcan. Foreign territory where smoke was visible but not whiskey. Only the glacial clink of ice calving suggested highball glasses with cherries in them or stenciled on them, plotted tones, satin laughter, the hot eyes of Camels blinking meaningfully after sex you were not allowed to see. Fire and ice, like the Revlon lipstick, a paisley robe, pongee negligée, a hearth with hidden fire. Not granite or quartz. Only chert.What Happened to CirceI make him laugh, he says. Voice arumble, he's an island rising from the sea and speaks with the pull of undertow, takes laughter, waves it, shakes it inside out, then forgets how he has laughed and what he's said. His wit cuts deep. In furious light, he draws brine from my skin, acknowledges the roar of the surf and welcomes it. Yet, still, his voice is the voice of an undrownable who cries out for help. Because I know how to swim through rough water, know the lifts, the carries, how to hold bodies safe, how not to go under, I respond. But, look, his wild siren call has reversed the myth. I should have lashed my body to the mast. Today Circe is a man, telling tales, playing his silver pipe and me— Circe, dark seducer who smiles, collects, and then asks for more. This is an old, old song. Ask Nausicaa. Seek out Penelope. Hear their salty tones carried on the wind.
( St. Helena, California )Helen Losse; To Study Art Is To Become Thin; despite Cezanne's desire, the world is never unclad ; to peruse a painting (intently) and see only one's uncertainty over where to look ; mistaking science for "bathroom graffiti" ; why flinch when penetration results from the swish of a kilt ; figuration, not abstraction, the synonym for ambiguity ; white velvet ribbon become bookmark ; lace; Writing Past Margin; but all side streets point to wrong directions ; violence via the infant shrieking ; nothing behind a corner, really ; seduction as wet cobblestones ; scent of a lunatic negative ; a god envying decay ; math( Winston-Salem, North Carolina )John BryanIf a Tree,blown down by the wind in the forest with no person to hear, kills a small gray squirrel whose flattened body will lie and rot before spring like the leaves that—once orange—go missing only to become dirt, while hidden under ice and snow, who dares to pretend that when the tree fell there was no thud, as if startling a deer doesn’t count? Gathering birds fly south from the forest, are adverbs of great honesty. But will they bear witness? If a tree, felled by wind is still down when the crocus offer color—yellow and purple—consider how the mushroom—alive for a only day—was torn, decapitated by the act, how a sound, un-provable, is more probable than the likelihood of creation as 7-day wonder. How little thought for the others. If, however, a tree, is the maker of something inexplicable—falling— are we, perhaps, coming closer to an understanding? The squirrel, the deer, the mushroom. Tree in creation. The leaves. Humankind, in the fall. The fall and the winter. See, we need our birds as modifiers here with only seven days to get us going.( Canberra, Australia )A letter's life vision, 20 / 20spring warms ink to paper with varieties of love from a stalkers' garden stuck fast to the tentacles of the sundew Yes, you were Manatee to my dugong Apatosaurus to my Brontosaurus Bene Gesserit to my Bene Tleilax Duran to my Duran Stonehenge to my Woodhenge summer played with me going down the pants blown me to the gaping mailbox spread-eagled hard boiled message on Aurora Borealis to my Aurora Australis Andre Breton to my Tristan Tzara Beaded Lizard to my Gilam Monster Baluchitherium to my Indricotherium Pulsar to my Quasar autumn was her heart pains that struck the body whole the words of course all fell as brown leaves Laurasia to my Gondwanaland Chimpanzee to my Bonobo Pere Ubu to my Dr. Faustroll Eleven to my eleven The Road Warrior to my Mad Max 2 winter migrates the remains my body of work abducted last seen in her hand later stuffed in a suitcase discovered in dumpster Mt. Everest to my Mauna Kea Terence Hill to my Bud Spencer Sam Raimi to my Bruce Campbell Bulimic to my anorexic Interstellar to my intergalactic decomposition: from letters to pubescent carrion Now subtraction to my addition: 0
II - Soleil
III - Guesting in the House
IV - In the Dusky Hours
V - Finding Favor with the Muse
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Featured Poet - Lynne Knight
Current Issue - Summer 2005