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III

Raw Silk in the Mouth

_________________________


Rachel Mallino
( North Carolina )
A Poet’s Tools

He told me of her as if he were leaving
church early, eager to pull his throat
back out. She was fair-skinned, full gowned,
 
braided hair. I once dreamt
of her long legs wrapped around his
like a wriggly octopus as I stood 
 
incapable - as always - when it comes 
to faith. Their union must have been
so religious. Tongues as communion
 
and in the end 
someone, probably him, the martyr. How
cliché I think, which is my only salvation –
 
a poet whose alphabet has so few letters, 
including the x, all stroked out and cross-eyed, 
telling me we need each other. 




Patrick Pfister
( Barcelona, Spain )
Mallorca

Yachts as grand as empires
moor reflections in emerald 
until twilight floods the realm
and laps the shore sienna smooth.

Wishbone needles prong desire, 
twirling down off coastal pines 
onto a terra cotta terrace
where a mattress waits

beneath a sundial. 
The gnomon lures darkness
and a lion-heart prince
on a one-night stand.

In one swift eve summer 
flings fall into winter’s spring.
Candle dinner of votive flame –
kingdom come in passion’s domain.

Dawn bids “adeu” and a majestic 
three-master weighs anchor:
the sphinx departs, 
the reign remains.





accessory by Cheryl Dodds

( Taiwan )




Clare L. Martin, Two Poems
( Youngsville, Louisiana )
Bread Making

The kitchen smokes 
with heads of fire.
My body is a rolling 
wheel, a metallic song. 

Sweat pools in my arm 
pits, streams under 
and between my breasts. 
Shoulders churn. I knead 
the lump again, again. 
Wring my hands red. 

I am ghost-faced, 
pouring out tears. 
A faceless attacker, cold 
hate, cores my spine 
draws up my neck bone. 

The feeling, black 
as burnt butter, 
saturates my brain. 

This bread will be bitter. 
It will sour and harden 
those who eat it. 

They will shudder 
to call me mother.

 

 
Garbage Woman

I am a gallows tree.

Bottle glass  
chicken bones 
jointed mannequins 
of milk jug plastic 

drowned oaks 
crab shells 
wind-struck birds
seaweed, guts and eels 
hang.

I am a body of water.

The love letters you folded 
into paper boats, 
sail across my hips, 
burn to ash 
in faraway volcanoes. 
 
My palms weep 
with pearls.




Robert Lietz
( Ohio )
Cuyahoga Saturday

     Except for a sheltered few and slope-cresting pines
the color's gone     -- leaving     this look     nine years     
/ three hours each way have taught me mean thanksgiving -- 
coming to you     Elizabeth     -- or driving from you     
weekdays     two spend apart     in     two chilled houses.  
And     this is the way     a weekend finishes     -- after     
the hours cutting brush     / trimming the eight foot tangles     
of thorns and crimson berries     -- discovering 
the bridge     / the pond     -- solid green in a dry summer -- 
but     clearing     now     -- since     it's     November -- 
and getting us out in time     -- to chainsaw    -- to     hurl 
or drag off loads     -- filter a view     to futures now -- 
to this serious jazz     / hawk-pulse      our evening company 
arranges     -- these drinks and sandwiches     -- these 
words we are getting better at     -- shaping     the afternoon     
toward dreams and dawns and lanes still manageable -- 
toward     sweeps     of     last fall hues     / of     epiphanies     
or     numbers     we're     unused to    -- climbing     
or hiking up     / across     and    down     leaf-strewn steps     
and     bridge-boards     -- sharing    the light     Elizabeth     
/ the     beet-hued     copper    / crimson     and     gold-toned 
woods around     -- leaning     / shouldering     across     
and     over     creek flow     --  carrying the lenses / bodies      
/ the memory     in     vest pockets     -- with     processing     
to come     -- and     zoom     -- why not?     -- maybe     
another     weekend     left     -- of     Ohio     bow-season     
and     fall photos     -- for which     we     must speak 
responsibly     -- for    these     nine     ( nearly )     years -- 
with summer breaks     to tease     the sense     of being 
married     -- with miles between and toward     -- schooled     
by moments love     -- by these leaves and leaf-formed     
light     / by gravity-minding stone and sky-shared water -- 
where the blues lie out     -- and     light     and     sheep     
and     chimney-smudges     speaking season     -- reasons 
to be out-doors     -- why not?     -- and     zoom -- 
why not?     -- these synergies-stirred hues     -- this 
doowop redux     -- why not?     -- and so much 
sound     as two     -- so well in love -- 
     would well believe in.




Gary Beck
( New York, New York )
Wanderer

Though I wander through my land
despised and shunned,
I never lived Long Island dreams,
wealthy and secure.
I wanted a Pacific sunset,
the mad-painted sky,
visionary cities.
I have lost the sunrise song
in the desert of nuclear waste,
the untrod path of inner fears,
subterranean desires
never spoken in the roadside pause.
The long, searing summer ache
sucking the juices from the land,
myself migratory,
a tongueless poet,
a churchless prophet.




Melissa Buckheit
( Tucson, Arizona )
As If I Were Conceived In Her Diorama


1

i the daughter face a window outside this house. if you place a chair a foot behind the panes, the audience will see me, unmoving, the lip of the stage a parallel line to their bodies troused in yellow light. each leg an isosceles through the endpoint to the midpoint. the very back of my head, soft spot in skulls of infants, is the vanishing point




2

she is my mother’s sister. when her head appears, the brain merges green squares of light in the circuits and neurotransmitters. face as blank as green glass or my own i never know. the green words for the frame bury the distinction of bodies. if i am angry it is because someone has dialed my number: juniper, goggles, bladder-wrack, bottles, laminaria frame the blackness of a room where the frame is a black perimeter indistinguishable from the room




3

sometimes you call up someone else’s aphasia, a taste like raw silk in the mouth, several ideas of yourself consuming the clothes worn all summer—linen pants and coats, capris and shells, shell button-down shirts and side-slit skirts. then to crouch in the box of green light, nude, letting the shutter’s eye lick the light of my torso; curves conjugated guttural sounds




4

i whose daughter of a man whose words i do not hear fall behind the parallel lines intersecting our bodies’ frames. drive in the car stage left, no dialogue for movement. on the couch center as he focuses on some point in the rafters, what Stanislavsky taught, empathizing with some spectacular childhood trauma or tv. i am perpendicular to him and that lighted box of energy whose particles disperse his eyes, a wavelength i cannot seem. i not the daughter to a man crying under the kitchen table in shell shock, who rapes my aunt in his bed, a square almost-windowless room, 10 feet down the hall




5

the afterimage of the bulb on the eye is really the eye itself, accretive cone a mirror through relation on the far side of the box. the bulb is a dead white hiding blue glass holding dead white the waves emanate through. cone of heat enters my pelvis, red clementine of capillaries, cage from spectrum, slice gone out. spiraling of ribs, heart religion to the bulb of the eye obliterated by blood




6

sometimes you call up your own aphasia. a square of window sluiced with water. you can see reflection in the floor – to sleep in the supply cabinet or under library tables, reading the words of novels taken from their original language across a bridge of throats not yet cut by knives, willful destruction of her texts




7

bits of statuary plowed up in a field, carbon-made objects collected and assembled to exhibit circular patterns in large public spaces, mildew in pipes and bath-drains, a green gel photographed in the dark over a frame with a spotlight behind the body as the horizon, the waves of Odysseus’ black curls, the Desert Sidewinding Adder, photosensitive plants and native chameleons indistinguishable from habitat, how the ocean begins, Sappho’s dewy syllables



                                                                           unearth she endecka
                                                                                                             syllabics

                                                                                                                               hand-tongue-thumb

                                                                                              to lotus


Notes:
    sometimes you call up your own aphasia:
                And Her Soul Out of Nothing, Olena Kalytiak Davis

    sometimes you call up someone else’s aphasia:
                a misprision of the same line

    bits of statuary plowed up in a field:
                Dean Young



I - Thrum of Wings
II - Eclipsed by the Whirr and Squeak
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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