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II

Eclipsed by the Whirr and Squeak

_________________________


Corrine De Winter
( Springfield, Massachusetts )
What’s Dying in America

Happens like a thought
Between pages.
It's the itch beneath your skin
You cannot reach.
What's dying in America
Happens forever- a yellow orchid
In Nevada, a child fallen from a window
In Manhattan,
A man frozen to death in a trailer
In West Virginia.
The voices of the ill
Roaming the Bowery.
What's dying, those things we cannot name.
The war that starves us all.
The silence that descends.
The long line of dead
That beg us to remember them.




Jim McCurry
( Galesburg, Illinois )
Fort Collins

on out there
somewhere

near Horsetooth,
closer to iodine sunsets

precisely as I invent
my grandfather

one eye casting
a beacon,

to a third
a loka

of constant
& mysterious

adjustments,

a world of opacity
& trust

      ______

Actually, Q. W. 
as if hired labors

were leisure
at Robson’s Field

would say, I have nothing.
I want nothing,

and then step homeward
to sit in the rocker

insistent
amid ministries

of the broom

      ______

Suddenly moonlit
clouds sweep
toward the Gary inferno

      ______

there is a time
to be left

alone

      ______

Little mop,
we never met.

No, little mothers,
not in this

cell, or that
seminar,

or terminal
railway

cathedral

      ______

Neither of us
grills anyone

under lights so hot
they melt all sense

of noncomplicity.
All simplicity,

all manly, womanly
sympathy –

sinew of heart
quite apart

from national
or human
duty.

      ______

Who calls?

Not even March & what
unnatural caroler,

a chorus of one,
to greet the thaw?

Is this some bird of night,
some gothic scavenger

or only an owl
to start

the impossible
interrogation?




Amy Small-McKinney
( Blue Bell, Pennsylvania )
Letter From A Scarred & Aging Body

Dear X,

This is my ankle.  Its slit of infinite e. 
This is my belly.  Its brittle scab
Of question mark.   I told you 
About the car that buckramed 
Into mine.   I do love these breasts
Suckled nearly two years.

Still  	 I disappear 

Need I disappear?

**
I love the brown brick buildings.  Limestone.
Do you?

My daughter and I.  Light swipes 
A silver door.  Someone is singing: 
Oh What A Beautiful Morning.   
We walk quickly because he is tone deaf
And annoyed.  We walk quickly

Though notice the boy with black hair
Notice her and I remember 

A boy with black skin
Lifting my skirt.

I remember everything now.

Everything

**
Inside this body—
Memory—
The hokey song 
Inside the scar.

It promises 
I will remain
Light against your door.

Its promises
Are not to be believed

As always, A




Jim Yagmin
( San Francisco, California )
Ghazal 34

Heartbreak leaves my heart alone then nothing breaks
nothing comes and nothing’s quiet

Maybe you'll turn in boredom to my arms
hungry from the commercials of night

I am left to love the shadow of love
a blonde strand across my sheets

I am thirsty like when in the desert
I dreamt of thirst and woke to you

I could not touch what holds no form
a body of water that can’t be held




Sue Blaustein
( Wisconsin )
For Su Tung P’o

This weekend made me think of old Chinese things:					
	Su Tung P’o traveling on boats and horses,
	Chuang Tzu waking from his butterfly dream.

Saturday night at a reunion with old friends
it was beer and some popcorn,
not fish, wine and salted plums.
             But the same moon –
             that white cranes
             flapped across
at Red Cliff – rose slowly
             and lit Mill Road.

I went home the earliest
anxious about the alley –
addicts behind green garbage carts
             like bandits on the road.

In my time, I’ve never 
seen crop failures or heard
             hungry peasants cry,

but there’s plenty of social disorder.
             Slapped children,
             millionaires
and few leaders. No one with the stature
of the ancients.
None big enough to move rivers
	like sage kings, or use words
like “Promised Land”.

In 1080, Su Tung P’o was a
Special Supernumerary
of the Water Bureau.

I’m not a Special Supernumerary –
I’m a Water Plant Operator One.
But I feel a bond, fattening up
             in civil service, preparing
             a one room cabin 
for retirement.

Sunday, on my shift at Linnwood
the sky was gray over the lake
and I watched rain
from the East Pump Room.

Dreaming, I imagined monks
on the settling basin, leading
oxen, and excursion boats
             tied up, idled
             by the mist. 
					
My watch over, 
	I went to Washington Park
and ran the path around
the littered pond.

Canada geese came barking,
	slamming from the west,
slapping water
	jabbing mallards,
and blowing feathers
             just as
my glasses fogged,
             blurring

the “distinction that must exist”
between
	a wandering official
	a Water Plant Operator
and a spraying, disruptive flock
	of geese.




Steve De France
( California )
Dancing

First he used to do it in the house.
Right in the middle of the living room,
or sometimes in the kitchen. And go
through his routine. My mother would
stare absently at the floor. And I would
usually smile and clap my hands.
 
Later on, he started doing it in
restaurants. Sometimes on sidewalks, too.
I remember once he did it in the middle
of a crosswalk. Some guy honked his horn
and called him a name. My mother grabbed
Roy by the arm and pulled him all the
way over to the corner.
 
It was August, so it was a hot day. And
when we got to the corner, he had really
started sweating. My mother took out
a lacy handkerchief and tried to mop his
brow with it. As she cleaned him up, he
stopped moving for a minute, until she
was done. And then, as we waited for the
crossing light to change, he took hold
of her hand.
 
The light changed. And we walked back
across the street. When we got to the
other side, he bent down looking at me,
put his index finger to his temple, and
made a quick stirring motion. And in a
startlingly clear voice said, while
pointing at his temple, "All gone."
Then he smiled his kind of foolish
smile, and made a pistol with his hand
and pointed it at his head. And as we
walked down the street he kept saying:
"Shoot me. I wish somebody would shoot
me." 
 
I was away when he died. But it was
not long after this happened.




Eileen Moeller
( Philadelphia, Pennsylvania )
First Sonnet

When the family crowded into the Summer Street kitchen
I was all hers for a while: belting out God Bless America, cheeks aglow,
loud as Kate Smith on the Ed Sullivan show, or the special birthday song
we learned from Big John and Sparky on the little Bakelite radio.
Tucked tight within her arms I basked in her smile, the cloud of her
powder scent and smoky breath, what I'd later know to be bliss,
afloat on the feel of her lips on my cheek, her drawn out kiss,
as the aunts and uncles laughed and clapped for us both.
Most of the time it was more like I was a mouse, eclipsed
by the whirr and squeak of the clothesline, the whish whish
whish of the scrub brush in her fist, a pest, a maker of dirt
underfoot, scuttling around the house, furtive and filthy
as soot: a pox on her cleanliness,
tiny against the enormity of the mess.




Oswald LeWinter
( Germany )
Things Die, Things Survive

    la sopravvivenza non ? obbligatoria; cambi ?
                                          Giordano Bruno


I shred letters found in suits
of men, who fled a bartered heart.
I gather flowers without roots
before they dry and break apart.

I climb sand dunes near a quay
to see gulls as they swindle waves.
I mourn each birch or oak tree
felled to become wine barrel staves.

Skies clear utterly as Winter wields
icy power. Clouds freeze as it sleets.
I spread my blanket in green fields
as clouds mass in warring fleets.

Poets aren’t bards. Most ape the infernal
drivel of those genius has disappointed,
the worst claim to be sapient or eternal.
Their metaphors dry like words disjointed.

What rises unasked to my lips as verse
comes out of necessity, like night’s breath.
I pay for it with pain out of the purse
of daily life. Each payment is a tiny death.




Lenny Lianne
( Ramona, California )
Nothing but Trouble

The pyracantha bush taps fingers 
against the window in a code
he doesn’t bother to comprehend.
Down the street one car horn
blasts twice in reprimand. 
Even the wind hurls its own slurs.

More and more, every noise annoys him,
especially his wife cracking an ice tray
over the spine of the sink, a cipher
that splits the air like an angry bird.
Up early, she is alone in the kitchen
making the same flavor Kool-aid
she’s made every day but puts
no smile on the pitcher anymore.

In the beginning he trusted familiar 
things he’d known all his life –
squirrels at the bird feeder,
husk of snake’s skin in the attic,
red and white soup cans on the far side
of the pantry – all the household
gods of modest means.

But over the years he’s learned 
he travels, locked in place.
As the moon pales and plunges,
he is a bird bashing its head
against the empty picture window
while the waking world wishes him
nothing but trouble.





I - Thrum of Wings
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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