Joseph Lisowski, Two Poems
( Elizabeth City, North Carolina )Oswald LeWinterArt Lesson #16Jingle the coins in your pocket. Remove the smallest. Place it over the eye of the first dead man you meet. Grab a fistful of air. Shove it in your pocket. Let the remaining coins compete for space. Wrap whatever wins in the flag of your country. Now make a wish.Art Lesson #18To find favor with your muse, slip her big toe between your lips. Gently suck, slowly swirling your tongue over pad, over nail. Trace your fingers lightly along her calf to the back of her knee. Repeat. Do not bite. Do exactly as she says.( Germany )Paula GrensideThe Synagogue of Cairo– homage to Mahmoud DarwishEnchanted castle amid clouds, in which sprout – near tubes of minarets that flare in bulbs, – the aneurysms of a faith that wakes the skies two times each day. Perhaps you too, who also prays, but three times more, roam through the same heaven. Our eyes, false as mirrors show the world turned around, so time can’t move. They make us to flee from ourselves to seek the darkness that surrounds our lives as sleep, and leave a world that has left only air on which to stand. Who knows if we have not already sped past every God with lightning wings, sinking to swollen knees, without seeing him, believing we need do no more than fire semen into shadowy desires to create generations that will follow stones and shots past the wrought-iron gates where worn identities mingle for all time in guilt-seeded soil. Have we not died already, long ago? What if the fleshy clouds from which we ask a different life have grown deaf from so much noise of rage and helplessness? When air has thinned, so thin that we can see the emptiness where we expected a miraculous ear to hear our supplications as they rose from stony hopes, our breaths choked on enchanted promises that weakened with each syllable of self-serving lies.( Italy )Kirby WrightDisappointmentI knew the taste of his hand a prairie with crawling insects in the cups of future flowers moss dawn flowers nights with panda's eyes I slept on the back of his knee slept on his shoulder slept with lungs that forgot how to breathe the convulsion behind the teeth the star stuck in the throat I have been sleeping since the deluge of sand birds genitals bodies with white bellies shining tails vulvas wide open to solitude, solo, only, alone, lone, looney cocks disguised in peacocks' fan the possibility of purity in convulsive streams rocky waves rain sand and what I can't say I slept on the back of his knee on his shoulder hammered by the moon woke to his mass of air without memory( Vista, California )Andrea PotosMessage from a VetI limp in ankle bandages Across a spongy carpet. TV advertises flags, dead Iraqis, The President smiling At his podium. He orders Fear, dining out, continental travel. My orange cat Snores on his saffron pillow. Ankles are strange joints – They attach the body To its walking roots. Ligaments move back and forth Like slaves rowing A Roman galleon. My ligaments rebel Against the patriarchal empire.( Madison, Wisconsin )Kelley Jean WhiteSighting HadesUnder a stunning July sun I fingered the rhinestone-studded barrettes, the long gauzy skirts for sale at the flea market, fabric they warned not to get too near to flame. He wove through the crowd, the gold coins of his glasses glinting, his mouth shaped like he knew me, his swagger like a man with his hands on destiny. A hum rose inside me, would not cease. I felt a seething below skin, I knew the only way beyond him was through him.( Philadelphia, Pennsylvania )Bob BradshawTalking Curethe stone is nothing but spinning light if I could truly stay in this one moment there would not even be room for pain is there any sound but the sound of water? change comes with a little blood I drew the king of hearts I am told that the chrysalis holds only liquid until that moment when the moth crawls free to be a hawk or a hailstone? how the invisible ropes chafe we begin dissection with the breast I could not be heard I gave up trying to speak I held a cherry pit in my mouth against thirst it is, after all, only a skin appendage please let me do this one thing well you called out I called you but you do not speak yesterday I saved you three feathers but I opened a window and they were lost I know what I see is only a part of the wonder I want your eyes to see what my eyes see oh maple trees would you come if I called you? crow calling cricket chirp cool wind your old white feet I will find the box my father put away a hornet blocked the entrance to the ant hill the cat has not come home from the hunt he is trying to convince me that he’s not sick the little calf whose breathing worried me so is gone from the pen this is a bell that does not ring unless it strikes another my mind will not seize emptiness the urge to be generous will save us the urge to perfection is our pain( Redwood City, California )Cathy McArthur, Two PoemsKurtI remember him this way: he is standing there in torn sweater and blue jeans, eyes closed, singing into a mike. Pain is as second nature as sleep to Kurt, whose best friend was an imaginary child named Boddah, who he’d shared pain with since fourth grade. Had Boddah, like Kurt, been passed back and forth among relatives like an unpaid bill? The fans in the mosh pit surge towards the stage; they’re partying, as happy as surfers at Malibu. But a biker is cursing like a whore who’s been short-changed. He jumps on stage, slams Kurt down and starts pounding on him. It’s like watching a child whaling away at his drunken father, his mother weeping in the corner. Kurt curls up, like a hiker attacked by a grizzly. The biker’s pulled off stage by Security. Kurt stands up, walks back to his mike, and starts singing, eyes closed. “I don’t have a gun, No, I don’t have a gun” resonates inside us now like echoes inside the chamber of a warm gun. But despite the enraged guitars behind him, he was as unpretentious as his sweater. He never wanted fame, he wanted only to play the small clubs around Seattle. But fame found him the way a big dog will pick out the shortest trespasser to leap on. Like an addict who keeps checking in but always running away from his treatment center, Kurt was split: he talked incessantly of quitting Nirvana, yet he kept touring, worrying if he could come up with new songs. “I don’t have a gun, No, I don’t have a gun” reassured us. But an electrician found him on a floor, dead. But even more than death by shotgun, we were struck by the pain and loneliness of this young man. Who would write a suicide note to an imaginary friend? Dear Boddah, it began.
( Bayside, New York )Learning to Swim(for Martha Pallan)If we could tumble, throw ourselves into air, water – faces flushed or bend, heads together plunge into glimmering pools, float on backs to the deep end, or wait in line again stepping out on the edge without fear over and over try different strokes – side, breast, butterfly. We could be twenty again, we could be friends in a crowd with no boundaries go on swimmingly with floral caps neon bathing suits cheer when we passed a test. We could dive in or drift on an impulse into the center without looking for directions. We could go that way again – no planning ahead of time, no hesitation if you were alive.Poems Like Pie(for Elaine)on the table pieces of blue berry no pie in the sky here broken pie shell humble pie plum or pudding pie shared piece of mind magpie the whole pie or just parts.
untitled by Claudio Parentela
( Catanzaro, Italy )
I - Clenched Fists and Clouded Metaphors
II - Soleil
III - Guesting in the House
IV - In the Dusky Hours
Featured Artist - Leslie Marcus
Featured Poet - Lynne Knight
Current Issue - Summer 2005