Bodies in the Rain


Eileen Tabios
( St. Helena, California )
A Triangle of Secrets

I. Acceptance

There is conflict, conflictedness
but the drowning
is willed –

the willingness
of eyes stubbornly open
before onslaught of thorns

You want to know
Oh, here is specificity of rose

II. “O, There Will Be”

Yes, there will be

will never stop
But when a certain bird
leaves the pages of a legend

you will see amethyst
wings crack
for non-virtual flight

III. “Swallow Hard”

I am conflicted –
why would I wish
for you my inability

to swim?
Yes, the corals are lovely
and pink and alive and lovely

veins floating amidst the purple deep
But to “swallow hard” (my Love)
engenders aftermaths of gutting

Joan Payne Kincaid
( Sea Cliff, New York )
Just Standing Still You Become A Sort Of River

That you feel like a different author different days...
Today's  Gertrude Stein  unintentional arrival when it was to be 
Joyce....and separation echoes hopelessly down the years and decades
through every season, these dog days of August...
grind slowly until suddenly they are gone leaving only memory
to melt in the garden's many little fragments.

The brain kicks on and off a stroke....they say eating fish prevents
but what about pervasive mercury poisoning? 2 dead fledglings in the
Osprey nest? No, turns out more babies than ever before!  So much for
who think they know...
a stake here             manure there     tomato vine needs a tie
Congress fights like spoiled preppies while war drags over the world.

in cool woods         having fled         the house

At the chamber music concert you were wishing time would create a repeat
of non-stop trios, quartets, and quintets, textures, melodies,
intellectual interaction
between musicians and audience ... Brian Wilson kept asking the audience
sing ba ba ba ba Babrann in Britain they were standing, waving raised
in devotion to unique and readily identifiable style...
two of them dead now living on film you can have for one hundred dollars.

Magically sweat appears, just standing still you become a sort of river;
walking at the Harbor sun going sooner rather than later
and gnats' sense of blood sport...  roaring south wind saves a bit,
but takes the top off  the Maple out front and hurls it to the street 
where he quickly retrieves it lest the village in their infinite wisdom
chopping down-   beautiful lichens all over it....grey green lace...and
insides moist and alive where it was ripped  by nature's decision;
death is amputation;
the wind is unstable but steers the gnats away
at last a night of sleep a/c on throughout.
Another day of ambivalence;
a time when insects flourish as at no other time    
earth worms are good company and the Turkey Vulture flying overhead just
hanging on the wind.

fireflies so brief    their cold green light glows      orange
Simultaneously to be writing, gardening, attending animals, 
shop, study,  get more meat for the dog... fed raw to keep him alive, 
(most of the dogs in the village are air conditioned),
trudge through market collections to keep us flowing;

This strange white sky tropical Summer....
take a break ...have some Vermont coffee and free cake at the counter;
invisible...not enough help....people line up at the register but she's
in the 
back-breaking  baking bread.  

The world continues  approaching human extinction and you feel like
Woolf's character who carried tomorrow's plans to bed and died; they will
be sleeping -over tomorrow in near one hundred degrees, and the animals
constant awareness; could Mrs. Bloom deal with this?  Of course she
There are survivors, and then... the brain has seen too many escapes. 

No sleep this summer... a/c on and off, trying  window open smothering 
mold spores,
pollen...pulling the blanket / kicking it off....another summer with no

Abandonment is shrapnel ...it is scattered pain from which you can
but few have the where-with-all
and the animals need care...and love;
the Beach Boys on an old film bring back the best days of summer;
here at the pond electric blue damsels joust delicate helicopter thrusts;
when the children were a sense of themselves, in love with life;
a Pipevine Swallowtail passes revealing its signature blue as it leaves;
Anzel Adams on ch 13 who after devoting 20 years to becoming a concert
pianist had to conclude music is "punk" competitions,  politics,
phoniness. ( you took your voice there); Steiglitz made him, but he could
never make enough...
on self-indulgent framed beauty.

You say you may go to the next concert, but may be working...
plans never possible for one reason or another...the possible remains
those who never want to do anything at all...neither work nor
like rocks at the bottom.
The turkey vulture is a surprise at the preserve...
last night the poor little siamese shut in the crate because droppings
were found
too many times outside the litter box, and the culprit must be prevented 
and it seems to be , and that means every night crated....poor thing.
merely  small islands of sanity prevail in the river's mostly chaotic
(what is happiness anyway.... a carvel sundae is a good reply)!

Now in the terrible tropical humidity they are planning to converge here
the crows are screaming why me ! Yes in the van to the ocean then find
beds to grumble in....
well if the little boys have fun it's worth it....what should
they know of too little time, too much pressure, exhaustion of coping
with the
bottomless  pit of  expectation and desertion.... you get what you
pay for juggling families that way transformation is denied ...settle for
the crows scream     credo credo in nomine deo... once upon a time 
evolution appeared possible.
We are born free- thinking evolved souls, where do we go wrong?
They scream duality; blissfully alone  bend and notate butterflies like a
in a large hat on a New Yorker cover selling images to the upper class, 
with  non-stop babble of  regattas now sailing just below the cliff; on
soft aqua marine waves of Long Island Sound.

Queen Anne's Lace     six foot high jungle    of butterflies
this day will end but the river continues...
start another list,  listen to The Boys sing Surfing Girl

fluttering petals      on purple flowers    Cabbage white butterflies...

bird silence   locust chatter falling leaves

september weed   cricket finale  summer ends.

Farida Mihoub
( Paris, France )
Let's Rearrange It

 Whenever I step in your house,
I feel like asking you
'why not rearrange everything?'
The flowers on the wall paper
have lost their colours
making the horizons blurred.
The paint on the ceiling
has turned grey just like a sky
shut to sunbeams.
Replace the carpet with a floor
that you can make shine,
and take off the dark curtains
to let the light inside.
That way, before you get in,
you'll see me through the window,
sitting in the dress you prefer,
waiting, ready for you.

William Neumire, Three Poems
( Syracuse, New York )
Anticipating War

snow-angel-posed in a wheat field, 
spokes of sun softening the season, 
I say to myself, remember this like a tent 
one builds over the body in the rain. 
I say, place yourself here, warm catatonia, 
when the wind comes and the sun leaves like a good father 
gone into the dark trees with a rifle. 
The heat, the light, the view of no particular 
century. I say, carry this, if nothing else, as a repeating reel, 
as a reliquary. I say, the day is coming 
to an end. There are ways to overcome the end 
of a day, the erasure. 
There are ways to live in the burning 
fields, the splintering walls. 
I say, stand in one place and circle yourself 
in rick-rack so the water won’t find you. 
I say, this is the way you survive. 
Be here, repeat this, mantra, mantra, mantra. 
Meditate, there are no real wounds. 
Breathe, there is no separation of light and dark. 
I say, this is the afternoon of eternity, 
of no identifiable grace. I say, this is what you will come to call 


October Looking Back

There are walks this part of the year when I check the exhausted wells:
three that no longer collect water, that never fill except
with the brown milk of leaves descending, maple pods,
animals that come to enjoy nothing so much as a hole. 
These marrowless trunks poke into the earth
like a finger into a teenage beauty’s sex.
Oh, ashen leaves blown back
into deep perverse arbors
I know, I know the way
you spend your broken
days seeking imitations
of that first, youngest, 
touch of things. 

Montezuma Refuge

A coyote paws out of the woods,
behind him spruce bleed their darkness. 
His coal eyes assay the moon;
geese scatter into shards.
No one is allowed here after dusk;
telephone poles hem the cattails, a car seethes with engine 
click and low music. Coleman road emanates 
its own sense of loss. 
It’s only by chance I’ve seen him 
out the rearview, mouthing whines at the moon, 
its dull-blue suggestions dusting the crop of marsh reeds; 
only chance that I’ve heard the words which rise in the night
like a heat. 

I - Simple Equations
II - Sleep Screen With Lavish Proportions
III - Defining Borders

Featured Poet - Rebecca Loudon

Current Issue - Summer 2004