Corrine De Winter( Springfield, Massachusetts )Marge Piercy, Three PoemsRitual(Day of the Dead)How many times have I rescued these bones and polished them so that they might shine, though stained with old blood and memories. Plastic and velveteen, yellow and red flowers adorn the graves, a festive show for the life beyond this one. How many times have I heard the chiming of these bones settling afterward once again in the death box? You are gone, but here your frame, your God architecture in my hands, linseed oil on the cloth that will never come clean. How many bones I have carried through daylight. A picket fence I have built from them around me. How many hours it takes to eclipse the past. Although this one day you are dragged into the light to appease the living, there is still a rosebud in place of your mouth but your limbs and heart have wrapped around something further. My Beloved how often we the living confuse the here and the hereafter, the living and the dead.
( Wellfleet, Massachusetts )Richard FeinA horizon of ghostsYou know how often I think of you ranged there on the far shore of nothing –with my dead friends, my cats, all of you in a row watching. Woody used to say he imagined his father in the afterlife playing cards. When Woody spoke his name at Yizkhor on Yom Kippur, Marvin would be summoned from the room to listen. Returning to his buddies he’d say, that was my son calling. Mother I can’t imagine an after life, but still in dreams you march into my mind’s room as you used to, clutching clippings to share, demanding attention like a drug to which you had been addicted years ago, but even the wish was dry as those clippings. So remembering is an act of prayer, a time when you wake from ashes and air turning your face into light.Cold sidles upThe gardens have been put to bed— strange phrase as if they were under bedclothes, who are instead stripped naked and shrunken. Morning’s rain has stopped but sparkles ice on every furrow and the sun is a plain light blue smock of a dental assistant. This late in the stub end of the year in the foreshortened afternoon snow is falling on the mainland while here light is thick and golden, a pudding of honey and lemons in the bony trees. One crow sails down to peck cracked corn between the rhododendrons whose leaves are like the hands of a shivering girl clutching herself. The tourists are gone and the squirrels dance in the oaks prancing to and fro. Last night coyotes and great horned owl made music as they killed. I feel winter entering my bones.The house is emptyThe house is empty as a cast up shell whitened on the beach among debris of bleach bottles, tampax inserters, bladder wrack the waves abandoned— a shell rubbed thin, shining like a moon disc. The moon is barren except for astronaut’s garbage. The house is empty of you. I wander through the days and rooms of absence, I root in the bed for the scent of your body. Tasks fill the hours but still they rattle, the dry seeds of the minutes warning me snakelike that all presence is temporary. Why do we waste any of the thinning time apart? Let us join at the hip on midnight’s cusp plastered together. Let us praise every meal we share, every wine we savor, every kiss, every fuck, every handclasp and each conversation that is not a quarrel. Pull the covers up over our sated bodies tonight and let our sleep be melded into one dream, hooked together.( Brooklyn, New York )David KoehnMidnight CacophoniesNighttime crickets are songsters of insomnia. They disquiet my evening with their chirping choirs. They’re master percussionists, quickly sliding the scrapers of the first wing along the serrations of the second. Wise Solomon sung his Song of Songs, and plucked his Canticle of Canticles on his lyre, out of desire for union with another soul. And in beds of grass surrounding my open window, a chorus of bachelor crickets serenade for mates. But there are also radios on all night that charge the moonlit air with other songs of love found, or lost, or longed for. And human voices in the dusky hours are often about whispered seductions or sobs over seductions lost. Summer nocturnal yearnings sound midnight cacophonies, for along with the cold-blooded measured chirps of crickets the warm night air also carries the sound of squeaking bedsprings, as lovers are hard at work on sweat-soaked sheets.
Fanfare by Leslie Marcus
( Ojai, California )
( Foster City, California )Millipede, Skolopendra(A Poem in Fifty Couplets)Luminodesmus sequoiae, self-lit, pencil child Living fifty couplets, basement dweller. Cucumber and cantaloupe lover, detrital swimmer, Caterpillar likeness, never-to-be-butterfly. Mudfish uncle, shrimp cousin, scent of bitter almond. Mulch invader, rotten-wood, 100-leg worm. On the floor of Penkill Castle, surpiser of Rosetti, Not this Californian version, but another. "I thought to pick up one millipede and behold! I was transporting a numerous family." Thus, "If we cannot estimate the full bearing of action." Then "How shall we hope to estimate the full extent of influence?" My god you are an ugly thing full of glow and delicacy. You know she was an antivivisectionist. I'd vivisect you glowing section by glowing section If touching you didn't burn my finger tips. Nabokov pinned butterflies, still winging To sheets of cardboard. A man and his net. In the one hundred meter dash, Olympic sprinters Take 41 strides in less than nine seconds. Your one hundred steps per second move you an inch. Time flies because it is subject to your careful passage. This repetition through time is a manner of reality Considered, considered again, and again only partly touched. Forget and smile, forget and smile, forget and smile. Side to side, sigh to sigh, walking worm moves along. To glow with bioluminescence in the arms Of the ancient Sequoia. Brave shine against shadow. Remember Atari 2600's Millipede? The mushrooms? The bass Thumping sound track? Arcade muzak. The Bee Gee's "Staying Alive"? Sister, doctor, our mother Sappho, never told. Lewis Caroll should have made it a millipede. There are stories of monkeys rubbing millipedes, Their benzoquinones, over their bodies to keep pests at bay. Secrets, secrets, and more secrets, their legs crawling Up and down my legs, crawling into my root cellar. Syncopated millennium, blind and tapping its way along The age of war, decay and the prized decadence. An express train north of Tokyo was halted by clusters Of millipedes crossing a section of track. The train crushed them, their bodily fluids causing Slip. One hundred passengers, their journeys delayed. How many trains does it take to stop a millipede? Measure The solar sails. Invent the millipede train. The idea of a millipede is two lines inverting infinity. The idea of a fly flying into a Klein Bottle. Senators, football field, century marks, dollar's cents, degrees Required to boil water: metaphor's misnomered millipedes. First creature to leave the primordial soup, first breather, Living fossil, each spiracle poetry's earliest verses. Unrolled nautilus, derivative algorithm, extended metaphor Of a lustrous coil: how poetry molts, how it feels. The labrum leads the synchrony of legs at any gait. I finger my filtrum, grooved for air and accentuals. Rhythm echoed forward and backwards, body Emoted along the rhythm of a line, not line to body. Each added portico balanced to the last, not Grand, nor meant to be chrysalis. Its movement, a wave function; quantum mechanics Requires wave functions to be complex, To possess real and imaginary parts; a complex number Is the sum of a real number and an imaginary number. This is how I think of this. Complex math meets biology Spliced with something not quite spirit, not quite song. Probability of the reader intersecting with what might Be is breeze over cliff on water into reef. Energy emitted from the millipede is what trails rain: Neither lost nor gained, but conserved and exchanged. Burning luciferin, evil-sounding cold light. Light Produced without heat. Tracers in the genes. Under a black light my genes are crawling With millipedes, my entire chain a ladder for its ascent. I am the tree on the insect and the insect on the tree. What bird will spy this glowing here? IBM's millipede chip uses nano-levers 10 micrometers wide, Tens of gigabytes on 7 square-millimeters. Like poetry. I can't remember my anniversary. How many days There are in each month of the year. Oddities. The next millipede you see will be an electronic Device invented by the CIA. Check it. At last, luminous millipede, found only in California I have come to understand design without purpose. Beauty as its own foundation as Nabokov thought. Kant would agree as well I suppose. Mimetic subtlety of the wing executed beyond The appreciation of the predator and even the prey. A child, a millipede ride clanks and chatters through Not quite Bertram's garden. She prefers the flying elephants. In Finland 50 children lay on their backs, interlocked In a long line. They pass one another along. A millipede wriggles out of a tuna salad sandwich, In "The House on Haunted Hill." Imelda Marcos is a goddess in Markina, the shoe capital Of Manila. She owned 3000 pairs. Small robotic millipedes Have become all the rage as necklaces. In "Attack Of the Giant Millipedes" I am eaten, then spit out in disgust. The step from nonluminescence to luminescence, Evolutionarily speaking, is not particularly complicated. What am I waiting for?
I - Clenched Fists and Clouded Metaphors
II - Soleil
III - Guesting in the House
V - Finding Favor with the Muse
Featured Artist - Leslie Marcus
Featured Poet - Lynne Knight
Current Issue - Summer 2005