Old Dance, New Paint

So like a flower, we open, we close by Cheryl Dodds

( Mansfield, Ohio )


Kristy Bowen
( Chicago, Illinois )

In the continent of your body,
you are descending,
past savior and glass,

the low listen of becoming,
a promise that wants
focus, wants touch—

the substance of falling,
failing, unfolding. Here,
beauty bears weight,

greater than prayer,
the broken doll of translation,
of loss, of cure.

Your hair grows fine as
the fishing line you once
untangled in the sun.

Your body rounds itself
like fruit, the sweet
seeds beating inside.

You seem defeated before
you've begun, your gaze
floats over your lessons

like a useless boat. Distraction
becomes a knife, cutting.
Your mother kisses men

in the garden, their hands
forever climbing down her back,
spreading across her thighs.

Her breath labours and rasps,
but you are quiet as a blade
of grass in this field.

From this, you will learn
to crave darkness, the sound
of your own footsteps walking away.

You will be always here,
always elsewhere...

Always waiting to be taken under.

Gerald Schwartz
( West Irondequoit, New York )

What will it mean when it comes
an access the mind full of god
to have lived this long in this shell
after decades of meaning years
even of gesture of known place all
now merely self only so very small
a thing we survive as a shrunken
state of head used up what's left
who's there what did we find that
we cannot die of love and we yes
truly believe we can die of love

Cindy Haynes
( Sacramento, California )
Solar Winds

I surrender to
An old dance
New paint
And the absence of imagery.
Hidden in the glare of a hundred headlights
Hypnotized by smog
Over Phoenix, I am aware
Stability makes me shake.
No matter where home is
I've Never wanted to go there.
Soloar winds and bad music
Paralyze me       for saftey
I should pull off the road,
Change radio stations.
Eyes closed, hands folded,
Watching sixteen poets
dancing in my dried paint. 

Cathy McArthur
( Bayside, New York )

Branches fall in clusters in front yard after
the storm. I go out, under the limbs and wander;
no one outside, watching me walk through beds of
flowers and roots of

trees in ground. This morning, the birds appear on
fences: chirp while gathering tiny twigs and
bits of earth. I carry the broken branches,
cradle them almost:

pieces lost at night when the rain was heavy,
tapping sills and waking me. House and room like
Dorothy’s, swept too suddenly. Outside my
home again, I find

shoots of green under a mess of scattered
leaves: some old and forgotten dreams, like parts of
days I’ve missed when schedules kept me in crowds and
moving too quickly.

Wild and rainy days without warning carry
me, and pull me out for a while, alone and
caught in wind tunnels. Or else, watching after
storms, my umbrella

torn or turned inside out, I’m happy to collect
broken things. Some mornings like this, when storms end,
sifting, placing parts I’ve gathered, bundled,
I keep what’s needed—

fragments of wood that split from a heavy limb, a
trunk that overturned, while it spilled its insides
on the lawn. What could not escape notice or
warning, contained now.

Closing lids or letting the earth uncover
lies or rotting family expectations,
after storms settle, I wait inside my
house and I look out.

r.l. swihart, Two Poems
( Long Beach, California )
Assemblage II

Naturalistic abutment
of exotic birds
and otherworld plants

The naively carved odalisque
dreamt it on her couch

He dreamt her

Keleti Station, Budapest
(June 14, 1994)

not a slice from 
   the space-time continuum
              just a linguistic allusion to

inimitable mosaic
   man on bench		

snack in hand

   resting rucksack 	


                         numeric apostles 
                                      on giant clock   

grey-hued carpet of crushed rock 
   interstices of grime glinting foil glaring debris 
                          snuffed butts

stationary but agitated black
   barrel of engine plume of smoke

bodies emptying from anthill
   into station

   marbles or magyar 
              in universal maw

Jeffrey Alfier
( Tuscon, Arizona )
A Life in Kabul

Your years here were so long the world forgot
where you came from. Yet they heard your meatless
plight and offered limitless feed. Lions
men long have need for, your simulacrum
set to stone slumber, to mark forever

the high tide at Verdun. But here in this
hard light the days are restless as fever,
and you'd crush some damn fool who jumped your cage,
though his ilk came back, crueler than Roman
whips were to your kin, a grenade turning

your eye to obsidian darkness and
twisting your mouth to an unwanted sneer.
Perhaps you decided not to leave life
until music and kites fluttered again.
Maybe two years without her, ground the days

too smooth while an oddly liminal war
pounded so long under your earth. Children
who teased you now tell the wind it's all wrong.
This world where contrails frame and cage the moon.
Vae Victis. For you, all wars were treason.

William Allegrezza, Two Poems
( Chicago, Illinois )
[no opera to sing]

no opera to sing
             no words
in recognition 
             of time

returning or turning 
             away into deeper water
where nothing awaits
             with eyes or eyes
    upon you 

[red moon]

red moon 
          and clouds    y la lluvia 
at a time   when  news  shifts 
and regret  writes through  thousands of lives 
as ocean memories    
          chile  italia     south africa  

                     the sound   of bells and trains
dance with rage and ease
“é pieno di luce” 
                        "it's full of light" 
             words extend over bricks
marked with graffiti

“we rise up from this, become whole” by Cheryl Dodds

( Mansfield, Ohio )

Pete Fitzpatrick
( Atlanta, Georgia )
Arrested Development
Men are boys who stay silent
the silence containing much sound
a sound I try to shape
into some kind of speech
speaking some desire of the heart
some shape of the body
or even the deeper silences
the longer reticence's 
that refuse to empty my sound
into the babble
of boys who claim
men are speaking
woodpecker staccato
and nations in underwear
conferences centered
in subatomic fear
black and white under
the coloring sky filling lungs
with abbreviated gasps
institutionalized pauses
in the world's reasoned
in firing squad
or spy removed
to suburbs, so many
weapons and fists
such as: machinations of emptiness
               self-riddled rhetoric
               empty texts
empty bodies, beaten out of the Christ
mixing flesh tastes
with fear
foursquare and nowhere
and passive
we men in regimental circles
orbing spherical surface
spinning water-blood pulsings
of the other
the ages'
homosexual honor
to be blinded by beauty
thereby averting
self-assured identities
thereby allowed glimpses
Jesus Zenwood fleshwood fire
in chaliced mother
moon begotten
not made
or male
this, then, the thesis;
sounding underground and overtoned
arrested hormone hamster
marching combat manster
damnster starfired
peace defiled deaf 
and deafened wild
man child man;

Vicki Hudspith
( New York, New York )
River Noir

It is the hour of fast moving water
It is the hour of evasive dark beauty
It is the hour of melting and vanishing
Of surprise endings
And being caught in a
A noir novel without tough talk
It is winter truncated
Warm and toothless
Desiring the bite of ice
And blades of skaters
Surely now the crimes of the mother
Will be visited upon the daughter
Louder even, than a voice
Crippled with clever speech
Only the hypnotic ache
Of dumbfounded dreaming
Could remove the fascination
With how willingly the river moves
Ripped by tides and undertow
Expedited by a darkened sky
Or lethal blue poker-face
It will come to prosperity
If it comes to anything
When the good of the daughter
Will be visited upon the mother
In the still estuary
At river’s end

II - A Most Inconvenient Appetite
III - Ground Heavy With Thought
IV - At the World's Well

Featured Poet - E. Ethelbert Miller

Credo - Tim Scannell

A Review - Nell Maiden

Summer 2002 Issue
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