Laura McCullough( New Jersey )Danna Jae BotwickWhat We Leave BehindWindowís edge breaks light across the faces of nameless dreamers. We wait in the spaces weíve carved for ourselves. If you give me the thing you most want, I will eat what I need and leave enough for you. I dream of a place where she lives and you speak of the place she dreams of. Together, we outlive the only thing that matters: the senses are the window panes on which we rest the cups of our knowing.( Las Vegas, Nevada )Nicholas Manning, Two PoemsLavandeI lie in lavender, the French field tucking me in for the night. I touch the back of your neck, and I am.
( Paris, France )Susan Elbe, Two Poemsnocciolanut hidden * down of a smooth of a chocolate (splits) the velvet while * the canyons of a savoured distance which * melts so globing with smooth the hazel ball in a lethargy of ice . . . * with chops of bronze knit (now haphazard) it so stands * of its own accord : the tresses woven where waves lumber * to make me think of * you my own * hazel of such haughtiness embellished !fragolahow is the slush such of strawberries * infused ? as in a sunset of snow * never yet known to the buds . . . surprise ! * as penetrating the very watery fibres * as in the lychee of its whiteness knit to console me of * your presence . . . passing now in the dark lane * conceited ! while me like a child cradling in the almond night my adorable * fragola * to spite you with her hidden * sweetness
Heat Soleil by Leslie Marcus
( Ojai, California )
( Madison, Wisconsin )Chuck ForesterWaiting for the GreenSated with supper and talk of our bodies, the firm breasts and slim hips we once had or wished for, we walk down to shoreline where the sun like a great red stone rides just above water, straining its muscle at the greased pulley of night. Somewhere behind us, obscured by thick forest, the moon begins its long climb. And the red stone, as if cabled to the moon's rising, inches down into water setting off its alchemy to gold. Like a quick, micaceous fish, the light rolls over. The lake flattens to bronze and we settle in, waiting for the green they say comes just after sunset, our bodies against the darkening, tarnished and tensile as metal.T'ai ChiAs if my spine did not already burn with the hot bead of him caught there from the first, I find him in the late-September woods trying to catch rain in the crook of his arm. A fine drizzle colors the light. Yellow leaves bristle and a grey wash of sky fades in the spaces between. How still he stands, holding the trees apart. It was the men I needed, and needed to push away, all of them wanting to bend my ribs, cave me to the shape of themselves, all but this one who fit himself whole into my holy bone. He is the stone and I am the silver. We are the ring no one can wear. In the hollow of my open palm, a clear bead of water drops, heavy as mercury and cold as any jewel you've bought and paid for.( San Francisco, California )Kristy BowenKnowing What to DoYou said to wait under the canopy while you got the car; you said something about a surprise. It was raining as hard as the night we listened to Wagner on the porch and I held my breath the way a child waits for surprises, almost blue to scare you. Iíve tried writing it down, the surprise, but what felt like God touching Adamís hand looked mechanical on the page, what flowed like syrup stuttered and failed. Believe me, I was surprised. I thought you were the cautious one, not me, but when you began your monologue, soft, the rain became the Sonata in A Flat, and when I stripped and stood outside, the air filled with a chorus of prayers from the sea. Everything goes too far, I told myself, a small gesture becomes the force of wind, then lapses to lull, just rain, the palms no longer bending, and they say falling in love doesnít happen twice, like lightning hitting the same dock, but there I was, buck naked on a warm wet night, and what had been carefully wrapped unfolded. I donít remember the sex, what I remember is you squeezing lemon on the calamari at dinner, your knuckle raw from catching my bag when it fell, picking the flowers from your plate and placing them in a circle with my tagua nut in the middle to keep it from evil. I do remember knowing what to do when we got back into the room, once again a 32 year old man breathless as another opened his heart on velvet cushions in the Haight. This time no haze of incense, no water pipe, just you sitting across from me, toe to toe on the bed, and air that smelled of rain and oranges.( Chicago, Illinois )Robert ReecePalimpsestSo say these rooms are darker than you remember, the windows narrow, shadows lengthening beneath shabby desks. Rows of alphabets line the walls like glyphs; perennially, A is apple, B is ball. Still in 6th grade, early fall, your wrist snaps beneath the jungle gym. Lilacs burst against the fence while your best friend wears a bra and kisses the preacherís son in the woods behind the cafeteria. At night, in the tub, you slough the day from your body, a milky chrysalis. Meanwhile something has been mislaid, or taken, the chalkboard dialectic of knee socks and cartwheels, these schoolyard casualties. How do we remember except by gauging what we forget? Indian burns and snakebites. The word cunt scrawled across a bathroom wall.( California )Kris RaidoBallet effluviumA sinewy desert rat Mojave court jester in service station blue collar layered underneath hounds tooth blazer size 14 work boots flopping around like a gill hooked salmon death throe convulsing violence to the bass narcotic lie that creased his face in front of the amps he spilled across the gum stained carpet attempted the splits on a bouillabaisse of popcorn vomit beer mouthing the words to the James Brown cover that the band churned out stay on the scene like a sex machine his queen was a butterfly blue dressed in burnt toast fairy regalia eyes of whisky colored heaven pirouettes and toe rings pulsing below his waist and for that ephemeral eternity they drew monarchial air starring in their own napalm Fred & Ginger movie a bacon grease prom court dancing coke tinged mucus tickled the back of her throat gyrating cheek to cheek now stay on the scene like a sex machine tragic like tears and lipstick on a payphone.( Washington )Dianna Henning"Again"You make me your whore without laying a hand on me. Lust sacrifices. Lust is sacrifice. I give up shield and lock and chain, the key to the belt Ė laid bare, so bitter that you will not undo me.( Janesville, California )Michael EstabrookHaving a Cigar with an IntellectualDonít put me at the table with menstruating women. My insides are raw from births and menopause. Instead, fetch me a table with the wool trousered men, their cigars and matches politely set aside on the table. Place me next to the most influential, for that is where a woman such as myself must sit. Iíll nonchalantly converse with the buffoon seated directly across from me, laugh at his hideous jokes, slap my leg with boisterous gaiety. But youíd better bet your sweet trousers, itís the intellectual to my left whoíll be watching, chomping the insides of his mouth, bidding his time before he gets nerve enough to ask, Want a cigar?ó the very finest mailed directly from Cuba; gold foil the size of a robust ring bound round its center, embossed in stately design. Iíll accept, let him light me up, clear my thoughts, fan them out in front of me before asking would he agree, disagree with stem cell research, and what does he think of Hesseís The Glass Bead Game, is it written in mathematical time? By convivial agreement weíll consign ourselves to a future rendezvous. Iíll nod to the buffoon, drop him from sight, turn as though turning were return, something you get back on your thoughts.( Acton, Massachusetts )Fire EscapeEarly gray morning sun, a smudge in the sky, nudges the city awake, men bearing attachť cases stride along in business suits, women carry purses, a garbage truck throbs, a tired bus spews smoke, an occasional taxi horn honking. I cannot yet hear any birds. But I know there will be some soon hopping about in the patches of dirt beneath the few trees guarding the street, pecking, pecking, searching for food. Yesterday in a crisp sky, above a clutter of old buildings I saw birds, a formation of ducks flying, or maybe they were geese, so pretty nevertheless, symmetrical and precise as a Michelangelo drawing. Out along the fire escape I notice Lynnís row of flowerpots with their dead flowers, brown leaves, shrunken, wilted, hanging lifeless and limp, on this February morning in the City, and think about spring, wondering where the ducks, or the geese, were going so early in the day.
I - Clenched Fists and Clouded Metaphors
III - Guesting in the House
IV - In the Dusky Hours
V - Finding Favor with the Muse
Featured Artist - Leslie Marcus
Featured Poet - Lynne Knight
Current Issue - Summer 2005