Simple Equations

Wild Horses, Badlands, South Dakota by Doug Beasley
( St. Paul, Minnesota )

Ann White, Two Poems
( Florida )
Like Wind

The shy cat runs across the roof
hiding her whereabouts.

Arias of mourning dove
converse with a fallen leaf.

Thursday, we sat and heard
the neighbor’s sprinkler.

Persistent and gentle, 
determined as rain.

I cup your knuckles in my palm
and bring them to my mouth,

kissing the tamed hand while
you speak of sago palms.

Such things seem one-sided:
my movement, your stillness.

But this is how we reciprocate.
The tree graceful under the wind.


You Are Right Again

The chartreuse shoulders of the hosta push up and shake off 
their load of  dirt in second year vigor.  It’s just as you said.
    Three of them bump against my calla lilies.
    Three of them to show me I planted in haste.

This is how it is:
    I am all forward and red, the doubt that dismisses.
    I am vacant wind that hurries the scrap across pavement.
Those bright annuals - how they must worry - 
their multicolor shouts against short life.

But the perennials: “Waiting is hard work,”
they might say or “It all comes to naught.”

The skeptic questions the soil, the volume of rainfall,
the meaning of cloud formations, the strength of sun.

Look at you - ear down to the noiseless passage of clues. 
No questions come buzzing.  Nothing to ruin clean thought.
There are ravens and there are vultures. From above
they look the same: shades stretched across the sun.

    I stare, crane my neck, hypothesize.
    I could faint from the portents.

You are napping on a hammock in the sun, 
which is scissored one moment by a stretch of black wing.

David Krump
( Wisconsin )
the devil nigh too

The safe place to begin
is the end.  So they all merrily
merrily ever after.

Prior the peace came
war.  The bodies were rotting
peacefully, then the bullets fled them

and shattered shells reformed
in the battlefield, leapt up, 
returning to canon (home).

Everybody charged in
reverse, back to safety
of respective trenches.  It is now

one minute until zero hour
and PFC Lafleur is biting his lip,
simmering his last thoughts.

(no one could ever take lightly
		notion of assassination)

(correction: somewhere in all this:
		Jesus : cross : Socrates : hemlock)

Nero is eyeing up his fiddle.
The buffalo flesh is being purposed.
We love you: here’s a big wooden horse.

There is a completely different silence
until Baby Kahn breaks his first playmate’s
bone, smiles, arrives his fate.

The oceans have risen to forfeit
the last breath of unicorn.
Dandelions arrive on earth.

Dispatched from mothership
of origin, the fuzzy platoons parachute
tumbling into shallow soil, the color yellow is born.

No one fears rain.
Everyone fears rain.
Rain is an unknown variable.

Everything is in the ocean.
The ocean is in everything.
Call him Ishmael.

Dinosaur: Roar.
Man: Ug, Ug, Bakka Bakka.
The new catastrophe in the garden.

(nothing contrasts
		without the apple)

Archangels are screaming, trumping
but it is the seventh day.
God is sound asleep. 

(It is still 
the seventh day)

: man : beasts : sky : land :
idea of light : formlessness :
a bang : a void . . .

Dorothee Lang
( Germany )
Tonos Intensas

The colors of time
Are visions of legends of 
The perfect beach
Is transparency
Cuando el cielo
Se uno 
Con el mar
Intense Intensions
Are la luna de dia
Is the ultimate fantasy
To experience 
The fragrance
Lift here 

Lee Passarella, Three Poems
( Lawrenceville, Georgia )
Dead Letters

A “skiff” of snow, we used to call 
this brittle shell that coats the handle 
of the Lenten rose’s parasol of green.

With dictionaries mum about it, 
the word to me was connotation only: 
thin sheet glazed hard like the cluster s & k,
prow of that ship-like word itself.

But here, in my Georgia garden, 
there’s tougher still—these purple buds 
that crane on fat birds’ necks, 
making hungry Lent tumescent.

By noon, the ship will have set sail,
my gelid rose turned a nest of purple 
beaks, open shyly upside down.

I think of houses now, how words propel
or haunt them. I’m a snowbird 
flown the coop for good. My father’s house 

is boarded up this February, 
the Pennsylvania snow thick against the shutters 
that echo with the long-stilled words: 
         shirtwaist box.


Somebody loves us all.
—Elizabeth Bishop, “The Filling Station”


has proffered to us

these thousand wild nosegays in shocking pink, 

a meadowfull  of them. 

Coffee-shop art, all the more garish

for its tastefully rendered highlights 

in old gold, its plain frame of slate-gray. 

Severe: the colors of wet clouds

and autumn drought. The tall grass 

nods pale heads, wise with seed.

It’s a ham-handed gesture, 

really, like those sugarcoated putti 

seen in Old Masters: fat fish that ply the air 

like waves, fatly caressing the pink fringe 

of cloud the Madonna sails through—

always with a grin. Well-fed, 

constant as remoras, 

how they shadow the grim-faced saint! 

or the monumental and perfected Savior 

swimming His way across the white empyrean.

Jardin des Muses
Tho’ much is taken, much abides….
—Tennyson, “Ulysses”


This has been a March 
more like June—days in the mid-70s, 
the primrose lolling parched 
tongues over the mulch at the back of the house.
The first trees to bloom—okames, 
star magnolias—caught in the mangle
look limp at close quarters, 
the white stars pulpy on the branch, 
the pink globes of blossom 

grizzled and frayed. 
But across the highway, 
among the hair and bones of last year’s 
witch grass, they’re an improbable 
paint-ball splat of color, 
a child’s artwork.


How we labored over it, 
dipping the hunks of sponge in watercolor,
bent to our task like jewelers. 
Tamping the butcher paper up
and down with the pink and purple blotches, 
calling it spring.


Toward the end, Renoir
painted with his hands tied 
to his brushes, sapped and burled 
with pain: Odysseus lashed to the mast, 
to his need to know 
the sweetness of their distant song— 

O blessed minefield, blessed lost-with-all-hands.

Ruth Daigon
( California )
Mouthing Secrets

Since I have learned not to kill them 
things have been easier 

Though I prefer my ghosts 
to inhabit the dark 

if they come by day 
I'll leave all the doors open 

I watch them mouthing secrets    
smiling as if there were two heavens 

I recall simple equations in the heart's circumference 
each sum exquisitely fixed in my memory 

Women in sweet and sudden rages 
for fear the future comes when they're not looking 

Children claustrophobic in their skins 
fanning out like fish bones 

Younglings piercing love's delicate membrane 
to taste the fleshy core 

Friends in the gray solfeggio of autumn 
and the ritual smile     

Together with them, the seeded hours pass 
until a spill of sun, a sweep of shade 

and under the ashen stars 
my dead are growing old 

II - Sleep Screen With Lavish Proportions
III - Defining Borders
IV - Bodies in the Rain

Featured Poet - Rebecca Loudon

Current Issue - Summer 2004