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I

Thrum of Wings

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Felino Soriano
( California )
Vagabond’s Vision #49

Nests have risen man-made from
human-fascinated feathers (if so-on
exists, this arm-long day extended by an arched,
over curving, so-on finger)
lights rest in baby forms capsulated into supreme, superior,
superlative, etc., moving wildly within swaying,
boat-leaving flashing, as in a new neon display,
birds too afraid to nest within these ultra nests,
opulence of these August creations, feathers form
stippled dust, sprinkling the flying functions
of archaic arcade games.




Lori Desrosiers
( Westfield, Massachusetts )
Bee Dancer
(inspired by a collage by Karen Randall)

Her world is crimson suede curtains
laid on walls of white stretched canvas,
creases folded, lined with dark ribbon.

Carefully placed circle of silk,
round as earth, azure as arctic ice.
She stamps her long black feet,
dark figure cuts a temper dance.

Her bee wings thrum
a treble song.
Nasal noises, thin and reedy,
vibrate in my head.

There is no honey. 
This hive is fabric, oil, glue,
a nest for apian dancers, 
tapping on the gallery floor.




Robert Klein Engler
( Chicago and New Orleans )
Wandering Under the Cloud

Oh, my mother, I walk the city 
downtown early Sunday morning. 
Sunlight skips off glass.
I think of you here dreaming
your dream of love.

A wound from the past pulls us 
to remember with its flax fingers.
The stones grow warm. 
You are here with your worry, 
dreaming your dream of life.

Even on this street the prairie 
is never far away. I hear in 
the chattering of sparrows who 
search the undergrowth 
something of the song you heard. 

Yes, I know you wanted more
than a small song on Sunday, 
dreaming your dream of joy,
but listen, the same wonder
draws your son well on his way.




Jill Chan
( New Zealand )
Hanging Bridge

You stand swaying, 
thinking too 
much of the sky,
the depth of blue 
and where we lift, 
a bridge of words 
capable of 
unsaying the past 
like shelfless memory, 
us floating, 
our feet sighing 
along the rim 
of the earth,
gravity
gone inside us, 
slow capture.




Michael Lee Johnson
( Itasca, Illinois )
Playful

Nothing 
more playful
than a gray
moth dancing
– skeleton wings –
and a green-eyed
cat prancing
– paws swatting –
around a 
lit kerosene
lamp
– shadow boxing –
& we all 
had fun
in the 
Moonlight




Jan Oskar Hansen
( Portugal )
Food Parcels

From sandy coloured landscape, that has 
patches of green where rivers run in hidden 
valleys, women in black burka appear on 
the dusty road. A little later a military truck 
comes into view and stops, the women chat 
eagerly amongst themselves, they have lined 
faces, have lived in misery so long that they 
are now insult proof. The men in the truck 
hand out parcels of sugar, tea, tinned milk 
and rice, they dislike this work, think it’s 
beneath them, take pathetic reprisal by rudely 
shouting at the women, who quickly leave 
the road, disappear into a mud walled villages,
unseen from the gravel road and the world    




Jasmine Neosh
( Chicago, Illinois )
On the Anniversary of a Shaman’s Death
"You're nobody till somebody kills you." - the Notorious B.I.G.

He died again yesterday.

The worshippers gathered around his body
moaning slave songs into the dirt
earthy enough to keep the worms fed.

I watched from a distance.
He’s alive! they shouted.
He’s alive!
But I've always preferred to view rituals
at a safe distance.

They sang their life songs, 
and the birds swam atop them for a while
before drowning.

They sang their death songs,
and the mountains chewed them over.

He rose on the fourth day
and sat, bleary-eyed and confused
at the pyre which embraced him, 
the flames that kissed his body
like a wife and a mourning mother.
They said he felt no pain.

If I ever become that beautiful,
don’t raise me again just to tell me
you love me.
Leave me to whatever Heaven or Hell claims me, 
and then, move on.

I remember telling this to my brother,
who sang his own softly, softly,
in a voice like the slow-scorching sun.
He collapsed at my feet shortly after
and the grass around us erupted 
into a wisp of braided white hair
and his voice became foam, colored
red, and without rhythm.

But no one seemed to notice this
except for me.




Tamiko Beyer
( Brooklyn, New York )
Homework

Let’s practice	 Ruby says 
            tilts her head      lowers eyelashes
to clasp eyelashes      the earth spins
on a tilted axis North Pole points to Polaris
            Hana loops like Venus toward her sun            hands hot red
dwarves            Places her lips on Ruby’s at the same angle
the winter sun leans into the Northern Hemisphere	
            tastes Peaches ‘n’ Cream lip gloss      and sour chocolate milk
                        soft fruit            spark
                                    sulfur-charcoal-potassium nitrate to combust
in throat stomach root            the nub between her thighs
She tries to pull away but Ruby drags 
            taproot hand against her belly’s curve 	

                                                            riverskin rush 
Hana discovers tributaries warm wet deltas
licks teeth into latitudes and longitudes            names the oceans 
            the continents the soil composition and elements of air – 

twinned trees teasing borders 		
            mouths interlaced equations
cells turning light into food
they drink flushed
bewildered
            the room its own hypothesis


their bodies proof
            their bodies in flames proof




John Grey
( Providence, Rhode Island )
How Not To Write Haiku

Keep adding
like it’s the punch at the party.
More rum, more detail.
And a tincture of that stuff
in the unlabeled bottle.
Who cares if it’s rat poison.
 
Unchain words.
Let them go free as phrases.
Repeat them if you have to.
For every idea that suggests,
create three that confess.
And if an image begs you
for conclusion
begin again right there,
 
Brevity is nothing
but one chip
in a dish of plenty.
So expand like a waist-line:
three metaphors,
a quote from Donne,
and what you and Sybil did
by the banks of the Ohio.
 
Besides,
the whole concept is eastern
isn’t it,
and you’re as western
as repeats of Gunsmoke on TVLand.
5-7-5 may mean syllables
in Tokyo
but, in your world,
it’s the area code for New Mexico.
So call it.
Speak for an hour.




Micah Towery
( Binghamton, New York )
Brooklyn Tenebrae

We left behind some lonely women there
and used our mix tapes, backpacks, and Toyota to carve a Delphic triangle
in the East: Leesburg—Binghamton—Brooklyn.
Smoking shit-on-a-stick cigars from the 7-Eleven at the edge of Virginia.  
In the station wagon we were hungry, dead, buried alive in blankets,
the heater broken.

We hammered through the mountains into Binghamton,
arrived with the season's second snow, 
drank rum and quoted Ginsberg to stay warm.
There we knew good friends and buckled houses 
where trim and rusty hinges sang votive songs.
We lingered over streets and ate two hot dogs each.
I abandoned my journal to the sidewalk sea
and we slipped out from the city in the dipping sun.
Because in Binghamton, it was John Cage spoke prophetically to us
from the silent vibrato of heart and nervous system:
Cease your staring, he said.
These cicada songs rob your soul.

So we left and entered New York City, boroughs 
labeled on maps like books of the Apocrypha.
Fuming Lincoln tunnel, 
a smoke stack turned sideways and underwater,
veined into the city, exhaust pumping blood,
as if this island-palm held a vast
five fingered civilization.
We traveled up the index finger:
Brooklyn, brownstoned and Bridged,
hoary like the beard of Uncle Walt,
whom we saw selling oranges and gold Rolex 
on the street corner. 
Poetry will fall on hard times, now and then, he sighed.
But would you like some fruit? 
With Whitman and his late-nite hobo brothers,
we slid along the El, sad songs in the air,
turned the corners like empty carousels
and dove into the center of that beating hand—
Ah God, Times Square was the second coming of Christ!
Hassidic Jews proclaimed, rejoiced! Vendors
vended! Citizens ran! I heard America singing, each
to each, a primitive song, harmonized ambiguity, and we
ashed like cigarettes into the wind of voices:
a great religious crash, burning brush
for the fire.

Author’s note: Tenebrae is an ancient church service conducted in some churches during Holy Week.



II - Eclipsed by the Whirr and Squeak
III - Raw Silk in the Mouth
IV - The Parenthetical Body

Review - Suzanne Frischkorn
Review - Nicole Cartwright Denison
Essay - C. E. Chaffin

Featured Poet - Sandra Beasley

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Current Issue - Summer 2007
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