• Recent Links


  • Urthkin 1 – Part 1


    URTHKIN 1
    
    Copyright 1978 by Larry Ziman
    Cover Photograph:  Copyright by William Reister
    Printed in the United States of America
    First Printing:  March 1978
    
    American Man
    
    In your blue Chicago eyes
    I see the streets of Paris in January.
    Men huddle in red cafes
    away from the shadowed drizzle of sky
    where women in rusted black coats
    hurry home with papered bundles,
    where women in fake silver fur
    wait in doorways with slow black eyes.
    You stand now
    among tall midwestern buildings
    splendid with light
    on a cloudless August evening,
    and from the streets of Paris
    you carefully watch me watching you,
    my long black hair floating free
    
    Katharyn Machan Aal
    Ithaca, New York

    "into dope"
    
    ectoplasm       zero
    arid faces that inhabit
                   ghostland
    hair that cannot be wired
                      shoe lingering
    in eternity
                     zoom
                     all of space and
    distance too
                  condensed in the coffee cup
    infinte repetition
               of zinc and fomica
               nothing up
    nothing down
                corridors of irretrievable
    shadow
                frozen hunger
                the belt            the spoon
    the flame like a bit of tinsel
                 turning in the eye
    traffic of incredible mastodons
    converging in the needle
                         rust
                         arabic conclusions
    yawning in the metal
                     heap of numbers
    gray meat
                   zap               the fall
                   through algebraic rooms
    into a single
                       mirror
                    thread of saliva
    animal doing circfles
                      in a dry gulch
    
    ivan arguelles
    Brooklyn, New York

    Decision at the Mortuary
    
    “We’re going in to see your father now,”
    his mother whispers.  “Want to say goodbye?”
    He stands his tallest, almost to her chin.
    Beyond the chapel doors an organ throbs
    a mournful dirge that churns the boy’s insides.
    Except where two brown cinder-chunks of pain
    are burning through, his face is plasterboard,
    His eyes,  like a wounded puppy’s, overrun
    upon the highway.  Strangely ill-at-ease
    in a new dark suit that scratches at his legs,
    The young boy thrusts perspiring fists into
    the pockets of his coat.  He swallows hard.
    
    He can’t remember, with his head so hot
    and whirling like a roller-coaster ride,
    just when , or if, his father ever said
    goodbye.   (Not in so many words.)
    The playful scuffling, ruffling of his hair;
    the special handshake with a sudden squeeze –
    all these were his.  And messages he gave:
    “Chin up!  Behave yourself!”   That sort of thing.
    
    And now his mother’s hand in white kid glove
    so tenderly against his stiffened arm
    again,  “We’re going in to say goodbye.”
    He can’t look  up – he  dare not see her tears.
    He can’t be sick, although his stomach turns
    at the nauseating smell of smoke-gone-stale,
    now intermixed with heavy floral scent.
    Still looking down, he wiggles all his toes
    inside his stiff black shoes on marble tile
    and whispers raspily,  “I’ll just wait out here.”
    
    Nova Trimble Ashley
    Wichita, Kansas

    One Red Slipper
    
    Look through this dirty window.
    Put your face above the rags
    stuffed in the broken glass
    below the 1936 calendar
    from Riley’s Dry Goods Store.
    See that torn red slipper
    on the shelf above the bench?
    Old Lars never got around
    to fixing the strap.
    
    They found old Lars,
    the little shoemaker,
    dark and bloated in his bed;
    and there isn’t a chance
    that I can dance
    in just one slipper
    at the county fair next week.
    
    Nova Trimble Ashley
    Wichita, Kansas
    
    she filters their sight
    
    a dress is opened up
    into a wave
    she lifts from her white temples
    copies of life
    her statue is for men
    to leave their boots in
    there
    in her house of dark flesh
    one bowl of a knee
    shimned to the bone
    from the highway drivers see her
    as no more than a snail
    smoking under
    a star lamp
    night can not measure
    the fur coming our of her
    as her nostrils  pray
    over a polished apple
    & a silk glove inside her loins.
    
    guy r. beining
    Brooklyn, New York

    wreckage bubbles up around the open floor
    
    blind to any word
    drunkenness for deessert
    each night testing the fall of pudding
    to dive with one wing
    only birds can’t feel
    the jewels
    & the woman of real flesh
    is in the monkey circle
    her necklace blasts open their ribs.
    on the other side of a row of darkness
    the traffic brightens
    we wipe the weeds without touching them
    & I wonder why it was
    that my hand passed thru maps
    & into the hills that felt
    like her knees.
    
    guy r. beinng
    Brooklyn, New York

    The Magician
    
    mWhen you speak, your hands
    open
    their pages and words sail out
    
    as your potter’s fingers shape air,
    working from left to right
    coming together to draw water.
    
    Now, they are the long tendons
    of rivers, shaping
    and reshaping their banks.
    
    Now, they palm surfaces as wind
    planes branches and the sky
    springs closer.
    
    Following one another, they invent
    forests, stalk prey,
    stealthy among the trembling leaves.
    
    When they part, elands
    plunge through savannahs, the sky
    darkening with birds.
    
    Dr. Marguerite Bouvard
    Wellesley, Massachusetts

    Hobo Heaven
    
    full of small fires
    under bean cans
    
    an all night refuge
    
    where old friends
    shake hands
    
    and exchange
    directions
    
    Peter Brett
    Ross, California
    
    San Francisco
    
    a fat lady
    in a small room
    having a hawk
    tattooed on her thigh
    the blood red moon
    
    Steven Ford Brown
    Birmingham, Alabama

    Together
    
    your breasts feel
    as soft as the belly
    of a small bird
    & your heart races
    like a frightened deer
    skittering over
    wolf-tracked snow
    
    Steven Ford Brown
    Birmingham, Alabama

    THE ANTIPODES
    
                             for Thornton Wilder  1897-1975
    
    Beyond the one-legged knots
    and the ruddy turnstones
    scolding the sea back,
    he must have been hidden,
    one shawl among those many lawn chairs
    facing Mexico.
    I passed him where he lay concealed
    in the shadows of Australian pines.
    Why should I recognize him
    so far from Our Town?
    
    The light there never lets go.
    It clings like leaf scale, it infests
    the acres of tangled mangrove
    with its most virulent shingle.
    Useless to rage.
    The light is not dying, it shines
    in the belly of the fish
    seized by the osprey in midair.
    Only a man was dying
    with the light in his open hands.
    If I had known.
    
    Would he have preferred Monadnock,
    any hilltop in New Hampshire, oaks
    with the clouds caught in their branches?
    Or was he sick
    of the righteous
    neverland of Grover’s Corners?
    On my way to pick shells
    I passed him.  I would have heard
    if he had said “Goodbye, world”
    or “good riddance.”  It was not in the cards
    and now I don’t know what to think.
    
    It is raining in Michigan.
    A whirlwind has leveled a deserted barn
    and a trailer camp whose vehicles
    were born without wheels
    and would never make it to Florida.
    Nursing homes
    are full
    of the madness of small towns,
    those who failed at everything
    and then failed to die.  For a while they posed
    as the stomach “embattled,” firm
    against annexation, the city
    with its attendant psychiatry and crime,
    and then gave in.  At cockcrow
    three times and three times again
    they denied Geroge and Emily.
    
    "In the single is the most profound.”
    I think it’s more like a rope bridge
    suspended over some Peruvian chasm.
    The strands when they dry
    snap with the weight of so many pilgrims
    and below them is a darkness and a pit
    the fiber causeway can span
    but never explain.
    As they fell between narrowing walls
    were they given insight,
    could they read the strata of split rock
    marbled with amber and iron -
    a nostalgia to be in at the beginning?
    The simple is also the end
    and the reduction to essential form
    is neverthelesss a reduction
    as the waters in the canyon's depth know.
    
    Some of the birds on that beach
    had flown in from as far as Venezuela
    rounding the arc
    of Antilles, the boundary stones
    that may have been mountains on the rim
    of a crater, islands
    as high as Monandock or as deep.
    Not one of us on that beach
    with our heads bowed to catch
    the perfect angel's wing
    have ever been to Venezuela,
    though I rememnber the long slope to timberline
    from the pitched tent
    at the foot of the mountain near Jaffrey
    and the whitethroats.
    Old man, were they your dead
    or the sad living?
    
    If I had seen you those final days
    below the veranda or the scarred palms
    of the Island Inn,
    I might have asked to sit down,
    to sort these colored shells
    or string coral, to be present for a time
    and say nothing
    of what went wrong.
    
    E.G. Burrows
    Ann Arbor, MIchigan

    THE GREAT AUCTION:  EXTINCTION OF A BREED
    
    Ants cart on their backs
    oblongs of Rembrandt and Vermeer,
    and what arts can't be lugged, they doff.
    Here comnes one with a stirrup cup
    Tucked inhis briefcase.
    The Hals on his head keeps the rain off.
    
    HIgh bidders have emptied the ducal mansion.
    Ants trickile their loot
    of candlesticks, crystal, imps
    grimacing from their choir stalls,
    into parked vans.
    The dragon is dead.  His guard
    down, his very rich hours  taxed
    to the last chime, he took it
    on the chin, his gains
    went under the hammer.
    Now he is despoiled of his hoard
    and shuffles among the destitute of heaven.
    
    So the ants crwoned
    with a thousand flowered chamber pots
    are more or less equal,
    averaged by law to a snuffbox each
    and a Miro.
    No blood shed but no
    Winter Palace left to storm,
    they heed the injuunctions and erect
    a condominium with the crucial stones.
    
    E.G. Burrows
    Ann Harbor, Michigan

    LIVING TOGETHER
    
    All night a battering,
    the shingles wail, the doors
    withstand.  In the  branches the wind
    manufactures terror
    as we huddle
    in a nest of blankets
    to keep out everything
    beyond these walls.
    
    Joan Colby
    Streamwood, Illinois

    Waking
    
    Up late this morning
                                                      and reading newspapers
    and drinking coffee
                                                      my wife brought up
    on a tray.
                                                      Daughter
    playing on one end
                                                      of the big mattress
    while I struggled to
                                                      clear my head, naked
    from the waist down.
                                                      Finally, and not knowing
    it, Maxie had worked
                                                      around to where she saw
    that little bit of
                                                      penis morning betrays
    between my legs,
                                                      sky
    overcast and thick
                                                      with the October cold and
    coffee steaming and
                                                      delicious in the mug.
    She had reached once
                                                      and I watched her face,
    feeling myself sudenly
                                                      embarrassed.  That look
    all of a grasping sudden,
                                                      as though  I were immediately
    a little gate and a knob
                                                      was all there was between
    her and the larger world
                                                      outside.  I covered up
    and said three or four
                                                      things in a language
    neither of us understand.
    
    Paul Christensen
    Bryan, Texas

    THE HERITAGE
    
    Deep inside her cedar chest
    my mother concels the faces
    of cracked and holy ancestors--
    
    the jungle, a gentlman ape
    beaming at his lady,
    a hairy ballerina
    with Grandma's dolly on her head;
    
    a tree shrew, bat-faced cousin
    sagging on a bar stool,
    eager to thrust his minaret
    into a tulip.
    
    And O the new mother
    cooling while her wee alligator
    reaches for the cockroach
    caught in my jockstrap.
    
    I am frightened by hoards of fish
    sliding down the chimney
    tail-first, strange Santas
    dangling from my father's neck.
    
    And how I love the spitting bagpipe!
    Sessile and magnificent mother
    of tadpoles
    squirming in a sea of stars.
    
    My grandpa's forehead
    is covered with urchins and starfish.
    His nose is an arm
    and O the elegance
    
    of shimmering pink flatworms--
    living ribbons
    writhing in Aunt Lily's hair,
    while Uncle Henry's stomach
    
    is adorned with amoebae,
    stentors, and paunchy paramecia
    scooting and rolling madly
    around his navel.
    
    But I'm glaed
    there won't be a cedar chest,
    cobweb-covered in the corner
    next time--no coffin,
    
    only meadows
    embroidered with poppies and grass,
    forests interlaced with junipers,
    madrones and black oaks,
    
    all beaded with nests
    and woven with sky--
    then I'll hope for hollow bird bones
    and endless flight.
    
    Lucille Day
    Oakland, California

    OLD HOTELS
    
    Old hotels intrigue me,
    Faded silk and tarnished brass
    And dusty glass tiles lining pools filled with leaves,
    Where broken cherubs still smile.
    
    Curious but unconcerned,
    A graying clerk observes my air of studied casualness
    As I ascend the bird cage lift in cranking jerks
    To exsplore in secret.
    
    With quiet care,
    I reach to touch the cracked facades
    Or sit and trace the dirty swirls of thinning color
    on a carpeted stair.
    
    Decaying elegance surrounds me
    in the stale and musty air of dim lit halls,
    And bids me linger,
    "Please!"
    "Just a few minutes more,"
    Like some ancient relative
    Desperate to whisper her sad secrets.
    
    And so,
    I peer through grimy windows
    At forgoten ballrooms,
    Where satin couples once danced.
    Where polilshed parquet
    Reflected chandeliers of frosted glass and crystal
    And nights were made of laughter and champagne and gardenias.
    
    The whisper in my ear turns to weeping
    As I gaze at broken fixtures and ruined floors,
    Crowded now with old refrigerators
    And piles of dirty mattresses.
    Silent cripples locked with the past
    Behind the frosted French doors.
    
    Valorie Ditton
    Los Angeles, California

    HERO TAKING A BATH
    
    Sea-dreams, lengths of sausage.
    Boston whores and motorcyclists inhabit them.
    But he's at ease now, his broadsword
    limp in the suds....
    Speaking of suds, perhaps a Schlitz to cool
    the bath-warmed body lounging.
    The refrigerator's in reach,
    the opener's his chipmunk teeth.
    He loves the slush of bathwater when he rolls
    his nsnakeskin body from side to side.
    Cleansing the mind
    and breath he devours a book
    pausing occasionally to tip his head and stare
    out and up at the stars.
    Window dressers are preparing
    a new constellation for him.
    It depicts him
    on his back under Cassiopeia:
    a rhinestone-studded ramrod connects them,
    as if he'd cleaned a pistol.
    He's pleased with this life,
    he's met all the gods and devils,
    he's drunk blood from plaster bowls.
    For now the grime
    of a city evening,
    later a veil of angels falls
    not to calm but to excite him.
    The beer bottle busts in his hand, his curly
    sunflower head sways on its stalk, his child-mind
    closes for the night.
    Dripping thunderstorms,
    he rises.
    The neighbors weep, but his weapons smile,
    too polished to kill:
    he only wants to play before
    sneaking off to sleep.
    
    William Doreski
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

    OAK SQUARE WAKING
    
    When I woke, you were the kitten rasping
    me up and down, your style
    was gay with creosote and balm,
    we could've stuck together.
    Now the day perks over Oak Square.
    I've hardly ever been down here,
    even the dogs semed bored with dawn.
    Coffee? And a little more tease, if you will.
    Your body is glass, it filters the sun;
    doubled as it passes through you,
    conscience splashed against one brilliant wall,
    its brother forked through the groin....
    Propped in a corner and smiling, I still can feel
    the grooves and scars on my body.
    Eggs? Over light.
    Whose blood mars the sleep-in sofa?
    Now the sun gathers skirts and
    I'm in the shade again,
    your plants look out with longing while
    with the aluminium keen of a star
    the Brighton bus pants at a traffic light,
    sours the air.
    I think of your mouth and know all mouths are weapons,
    that sick breath tries to quiet me----
    It's not fair, not fair, the dark returns:
    my mother's at the door!
    Do you hear me, crouched by the stove?
    I'm creeping back to those worldly plots,
    my body rustles plant-like and dry....
    I leave you a primer for chapped lips;
    choke down your tea and stoop, and lick
    the pages from the floor.
    
    William Doreski
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

    PRODIGIOUS NIGHT
    
    night of elongated shadows
    night of kisses exploding like pomegranates
    night of annihilating air gliding ravenously into me
    night of drugs of lovers copulating into fragments
    night of translucent darkness of diseased combs
    night of impossible insects in motionless rooms
    night of complaining motors
    night of hands of clusters of reflections
    night of rivers gorged on mirrors and blood-thirsty floodgates
    night of sugar cane and splinter of Chinese music
    night of boots of wild perfume
    night of fear of prayer and astral travel
    night of blood on the cemetery snow of solitude
    night of clots in cumulus minds of violence
    night of indiscovery of black gloves waving flagstones
    night of rain of erotic repetitions of mountains
    night of crushed chins of whips of lightning
    night of conversational stones in the beards of bells
    night of passionless cries of iridescent tears of shoes
    night of silent forgetting of black caresses of bandages
    night of chipped teeth and the insomnia of lava
    night of electric foreskins
    night of diaphanous hourglass of clearing houses for silence
    night of tattered seeds strewn over black centuries
    night of yellow eyes and sparks of fingernails
    night of peaches of ground glass
    night of forever gathering its thread on precipices and radios
    night of resignation as weightless as the fog of headlong hope
    
    Franz Douskey
    New haven, Connecticut

    $10,000 SCREENPLAY
    
    morning.
    cats fighting outside the window.
    a friend calls & asks how
    the writing is coming.
    he writes screenplays;
    he's "into the continuity" of
    writing screenplays.
    I'm foggy; don't want to talk about
                                                             poetry or how it's coming
    poetry!
    I'm sick of talking about poetry.
    cats fighting outside the window.
    I don't want to talk about poetry!
    a helicopter is overhead
    looking for an outlaw.
    the man next-door
                                             is kicking the shit out
    of the woman next-door.
    poetry is the outlaw!
    nobody pays $10,000
    for a poem.
    
    C. Douglas Draime
    Los Angeles, California

    THE ONLY THING SHE SAID
    ON THE NIGHT ROBERT KENNEDY DIED
    
    her great aunt & uncle
    died into
    skeletons
    in the camp;
    their friend Huntz
    turned them in
    on the night of
    August the first
    1939
    after he ahd eaten
    dinner with them
    & joked and laughed
    & denounced
    HItler
    with them.
    he was seen getting
    out of a
    Gestapo
    car & pointing to
    their house two hours
    after he
                          broke
    bread with them.
    
    C. Douglas Draime
    Los Angeles, California

    In The Heart Of The Desert NIght
    
    DARK
    
    the deseert night
    
    THE
    
    the desert night
    
    RIVER
    
    the desert night
    
    FLOWING
    
    the desert night
    
    SOUTH
    
    the desert night
    
    DARK
    
    the desert night
    
    AS
    
    the desert night
    
    THIS
    
    the desert night
    
    DESERT
    
    this desert night
    
    NIGHT
    
    L.S. Fallis
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

                                  Journey's End
    
    NOW                    NOW                  the                   city
    
    snow                   margo                DO                    IT
    
    DO                     IT                   forty                 years
    
    it                     was                  all                   for
    
    nothing                NOW                  NOW                   black
    
    this                   night                DO                    IT
    
    DO                     IT                   the                   taste
    
    of                     metal                JUMP                  JUMP
    
    JUMP                   there                is                    only
    
    this                   DO                   IT                    DO
    
    IT                     a                    gold                  watch
    
    NOW                    NOW                  and                   port
    
    charlotte              DO                   IT                    DO
    
    IT                     margo                how                   cold
    
    the                    wind                 NOW                   NOW
    
    how                    much                 I                     wanted
    
    to                     JUMP                 JUMP                  JUMP
    
    L.S. Fallis
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

    Manitoba Winerscape
    
    twilight
    
    the winter sky
    
    the               stars
    brilliant         in
    forty             degreees
    of                frost
    
    holding my hand
    
    you skate across
    this winter pond
    
    cathy
    
    this            memory
    my              warmth
    
    as
    the
    cold
    winds
    of
    february
    howl
    along
    the
    desert
    rim
    
    L.S. Fallis
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

                                                                    
    
                          
                           San Jacinto Plaza
    
    
    1         sullen         3         eye            9     age    
    
    2         men            4         supple
    
                             5         hips           
    
                             6         and                                         
    
                             7         curse
    
                             8         relentless
    
                                           
    
    L.S. Fallis
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

    The Act Along The Wire
    
    Along the telephone wire,
    a squirrel pauses.
    The black cord signals him,
    and he squats, surveying.
    Wires pass from pole to pole,
    to garage roof,
    highways between homes.
    One squirrel
    crosses upside down,
    slower than the rest,
    the star to work without the net.
    Their home can weave across the city,
    a web, their private sky;
    or root them here,
    in that tree or the next,
    these troupe mimes
    of footing and distance.
    
    D. Folts-Gray
    Morristown, Tennessee

    I LIVE TO SMUGGLE BLUE-PLATE SPECIALS OF DEATH
    INTO YOUR SECRET & CUSHY CAFES
    
    In the 2nd-grade I fell in love
    with Kathleen Waters
    
    I never told her till this poem
    I never dipt blonde braids
    in inkwells; only borrow'd
    her eraser once
    
    Even tho her father was the finest
    mailman whoever carried Altadena,
    I never got a chance to play postoffice
    
    Now, after scored years filthy with
    sophistication - drugginG & drinking
    & living like a thief; falling asleep
    behind the voices of soft music
    & hard women
    
    Now, thinking back on all these chicks
    chalkt off the old existential tote-
    sheet - you know, in simply off-the-
    cuff comparison - you understand,
    2nd-grade Kathleen comes up in my mind
    sharp as a steak-knife I stole from
    the Stork Club in 1964
    
    Michael C Ford
    Los Angeles, California

    This morning I walk out
    to see you again
    in downed precision diving
    for who knows what is left
    beneath icy watered rivulets
    of the ice-blocked bay,
    
    wondering as I walk
    how small creatures
    survive a winter.
    
    This afternoon land developoers
    plumed in coats filled with feathers
    point the boundaries
    of the new tall building
    
    which will block my view of the bay
    and yours.  You squat
    to keep your webbed feet warm,
    how your broad beak holds.
    
    Ray Freed
    Westhampton Beach, New York

    AFTER PAYING A $396 DATSUN REPAIR BILL
    
    Japanese assembly line workers
    sing company songs around
    Datsun car bodies moving
    down the conveyor belt.
    
    They play ping-pong
    on their lounch break
    or squat neck-deep in heated water
    at the workers' baths.
    
    When a car completes the line,
    the eight men responible
    sit down ina circle
    to discuss what they've done.
    
    Then foreheads to the hood they
    vow this car is free from  error
    and place side by side their
    thumb prints on the windshield.
    
    At night the chosen one
    sleeps in the back seat;
    in his constant dreams he
    imagines long journeys.
    
    Some say he awakes
    in the dark of the night,
    lifts up the hood and puts
    his fingers where he wants.
    
    Some days mistakes are made;
    the supervisor in a quiet voice
    informs the one to blame
    precisely what went wrong.
    
    He nods, bows stifly,
    solemnly clenches the muscles
    in his jaw and upper arms
    and falls on his grease gun.
    
    The other workers avert
    their eyes for shame.
    
    William Heath
    Highland, New York

    burn
    
    maybe i would be easier to be
    one woman bound by fate but i
    am so many there's alwasy a new
    way to look at stars from
    a dancer's summer hill naked
    neath a navel moon or saying
    how much more i love the sun
    in your hair than all the suns
    in space and how much more i
    fear the blackness of your eyes
    than all the abyss beyond these
    galaxies we seem to be lost in
    from the way love is so lets hope
    someway in this flashing instant
    that you find in me so many secrets
    you never come out again
    o i would rather have a sunday
    with a luscious person tham all
    the multihued skin eternity could con
    sume deep within the earth is
    a great heart beating and i
    lie upon it knowing i am where i
    want to be you let me ride and i
    ll show moon's tide
    that only ocean knew till you
    i never finish navigating
    your burning current smells delic
    ate as a paintbrush fire out of
    control in wet spring mountain air
    
    Mary Heckler
    Pocatello, Idaho

                        Union Junction
    
            cheek against the cold rail
    delicate flakes of snow
                             on silver
    
    grow transparent returning
             for a moment their cyrstalline
                   form then only a prismic drop
                       against the silver
    
    Rob Hollis MIller
    Union, Oregon

    MACHISMO
    
    When I first went off with a freind
    down into the dark unknown of Mexico
    my mother worried:
    bandidos lurking in every doorway
    dangers everywhere
    
    we took the train from Mexicali to Guaymas
    second class
    the poor people
    the continuing real people of Mexico
    cheap food     corn meal & chiles
    in through the windows
    
    Acros from us     sharing a space
    during  part of our tripo down south
    quiet swarthy men
    physically close to the desperados  my mother'd imaginied
    what to say
    keep our knees & eyes from meeting
    
    And when the vendors came through
    while my friend & I drank beer
    those dark-eyed bandidos drank milk
    
    Dennis Holt
    Santa MOnica, California

    SILENCE
    
    Through the ages the ocean cliffs
    have been crying out
    to the birds.
    
    Dale Jacobson
    Grand forks, North Dakota

    GRAND CENTRAL STATION
    
    A yoked Zapotec
    carrying water
    to nowhere
    
    Tom Jones
    Washington, D.C.
    
    strait jacket
    
    once harry houdini slipped your lock
    and leapet out of your pocket
    like a snake's skin
    you molted off his back
    albino monkey
    you lay there
    as limp as god's sock
    
    which inmate in this amonia-stung academy
    invented you?
    sack of saints
    bag of martyrs
    satchel full of fur and squawks?
    which orderly ordered you
    like ether
    from the pharmacy's meat shelf?
    
    they say you aqueeze drunks dry
    with your wet corsetry
    they say you are fire proof
    proof of voodoo
    proof
    
    how the lunatics hug you
    wrapping their arms around your canvas heart
    they jump up and down
    halfway in and halfway out
    of your cocoon
    
    moon mohter
    your leather straps
    strap down the wings of those who fly
    buckle up the tongues of those who tell
    
    shell
    there are no cracks
    in you
    
    Terry Kennedy
    Duxbury, Massachusetts

    yesterday
    
    yesterday it was so good
    love poems rising up out of the cracks
    in the cafe table
    waitresses with henna hair
    acting polite
    coffee from the top of the pot
    even the rain fell perfectly
    onto the hollywood set of the streets
    yesterday i had the thought of you
    wrapped around me like a shawl
    i was a big deal woman
    with men
    falling in love with my name
    before they met
    and when they met me they stayed
    because i was the answer
    yesterday i was the miracle worker
    today
    the kitchen floor needs washing
    the sox need mending
    and i am eating a n.y. times recipe
    called
    moussaka for the masses
    
    Terry Kennedy
    Duxbury, Massachusetts

    I wanted to be the one
    
    I wqanted to be the one
    who struck him as rich,
    swell enough to create
    applause inside his skin
    I wanted the echo
    of his scream of pleasure
    to harmonize with my last note
    to make all the notes
    swimming against the white page
    leap out and join me in a dance
    like animated figures
    solemnly drawn
    by one with a plan
    
    I wanted to bring him
    that elusive high
    borne down from its mountain
    where others enjoy it
    as common as candy bars
    I wanted to taunt him
    with my wrapper
    and have him discover
    an inside he wouldn't
    squeeeze and throw away --
    to be the one he would save
    
    Binnier Klein
    Westport, Connecticut

    Cape May Point
    
    clear cloud      skymare's tumbleweed     rustle river
    banks fluff bayt     impair wind will
    den     earth ear     sea wrestler
    piked marsh     sedge screecfhes     tangled sentinel
    
    ramble among ground objects:
    tired knot, clumped algae, horseflies, guts,
    strapless gauze handbag, fish hands, battered buoy,
    tire ruts, plastic botle, egg pod wreath,
    scrolled periwinkle, sandfleas, ripped nest,
    leathery spine, thread spool, mussel castinet
    
    sand stunt     arch     shadow prowls
    cluster     burrow     hieroglyphic
    nacreous meadow     wayward impulse
    
    Charles Lynch
    Brooklyn, New York

    extensive harm to delicate mechanisms
    
    the gifted are here     create forgiveness
    hi school is not doin they job
    time river veils vile valley of tears
    mind's corner cornered     mined with slob
    
    hun nuns flung flat in vestibules
    curt detours     moronic architectonic
    a certs     as physicological rule
    if birth worth berth     at's cool
    
    clumsoid shriek     stained glass in brownsville
    tar any penny par     till tootsie role
    walk wild     slide     eddy     pimp strut prance
    limp stroll     linger perhaps advance
    
    wince in winch of wicked work
    cop slyly apts tap room spume
    ignorance print     nickname object lesson
    game gun show     shoe shootum sputum blessin
    
    when wheat was safe     when locks was lox
    linguini ledger bikini  pledger box
    chafed glimmer near shimmer imminent pen
    drawn near brawn     breeze brain drain
    
    ought autocrats swat satin flies
    ought neon snore yore thought orbit
    changed angel     dust     on which emerged
    a junta     a troika     a nixon     a purge
    
    thee stalagmite vane of tired jewel
    he street smart idiot gores care's car
    we wreath soaked sassafras     husk of dawn
    she whisk disco up on a star
    
            clock empty        hands off
            somebody teach preachers how to live
            crying        scowlin
            rent ragged night
    
    saves sense satan
    bomb god good book
    
    Charles Lynch
    Brooklyn, New York

    Milton Lane's Snapshots
    
    scrimage blizzard whizzed
    sand blasted land escape
    glance goes out in huff
    full house  peels in lofter:  eek oing choop oonk
    
    O wizard of technically hideous photographs
    essential rout:  to take
    earthquake    mirthmake    girthfake
    find views in fun house gloom room
    solice life light twice in bog fog agog
    
    forehand forehead's foreground
    bow tied shark horn rim gleam
    silver mud lorry caravan out
    hoed elbow busy figurine
    confetti clones in harmattan
    grin shear cue ass ears fingers
    cassava sprawl along savannah path
    poise satin munch duckpin trophy
    decal dorsal bumper Hertz van
    termite tents in gunbboat spats
    hunch caftan lecture linoleum patch
    claque of chicken    backs of buildings
    
    Charles Lynch
    Brooklyn, New York

    HOMECOMING
    
       the faded
    pictures waiting
    on warped shelves
       like snipoers
    
    James Magorian
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    
    ANOTHER BALLAD
    
    "You bastard!" she shouted
    drawing back her arm.
    
    The beer bottle
    came at my face
    point-blank,
    from 3 feet away.
    
    I caught it.
    
    You have to have
    the reactions
    of a gunfighter
    
    to survive
    in a marriage.
    
    Joseph McLaughln
    New Philadelphia, Ohio

                          Union Junction
    
           check against the cold rail
    delicate flakes of snow
                                        on silver
    
    grow transparent returning
             for a moment their crystalline
                     form then only a prismic drop
                                against the silver
    
    Rob Hollis Miller
    Union, Oregon

    MORNING RINGSIDE
    
    The top of the tulip tree
    boxes with the wind,
    bobs, weaves, tips way over
    (that roundhouse really landed)
    and the birds whistle,
    scream for a knockout
    loud enough to lift me,
    knocked out all night,
    onto my feet again
    before the count of ten.
    
    Lillian Morrison
    New York, New York

    PLENITUDE
    
    If that dogwood, attired
    insoftest red, were a woman,
    she would be blond, warm,
    with blue eyes, a touch of rose
    in her cheeks, and a delicate
    husky-toned speech.  She would be
    in her prime, just beginning
    to age, leaning to plumpness,
    impeccably dressed, and with a
    full-blown, drooping grace
    would suddenly fill
    the unsuspecting room
    with fangs of fire
    as this tree does
    the leaf-strewn yard.
    
    Lillian Morrison
    New York, New York

    PEDIGREE PARTS
    
    "The composite liver of an alcoholic ward.
    The feet of failed Olympic runners.
    Two hands adept at surgery
    And strangulation, questionable vices.
    A St. Bernard's penis,
    
    Starved on a diet of snowscapes.
    Choice ruptures, a crushed sternum.
    thumbs able to execute
    Chickens in a pinch, a tongue
    From the poet of that alcoholic ward.
    
    The missing arm of an Italian statue.
    Musical sweetbreads, toes like
    Frozen daggers, the toupee found
    In a bus station wash room.
    One camera's eye, 800 ASA, vision
    
    Enough for cruising by nightshine,
    Scanning anonymous spleens and bruises,
    The eternal gold tooth.
    Then the tender-sided heart of Siamese twins,
    Longing for something friendly.
    
    Something blind and deaf, perhaps
    An Aztec weddding mask.  And museum bones,
    Unearthed in Burma, packaged now
    And catalogued, skeleton bait of things
    That go fishing for common sutures, a host.
    
    G.E. Murray
    Oak Park, Illinois

    THE HESITATION COMEBACK
    
    Piecing together pages of a dictionary
        quartered
    By a strongarm, I acquire a personality
        fit for
    Public wear.  After years of cultivating
        seizures,
    Lending blood money, borrowing it back,
        there are
    Simple signs:  The vicious eyes I trained
        to stalk
    Like insatiable pets no longer ambush
        loved ones;
    Glass has lost its flavor; Artic dark
        bubbles
    Its last hurrah in my bloodstream.  So
        it goes.
    When I saw these fun suds of affection
        issue
    From my lips like regulation language
        instead
    Of hieroglyphics, or words slurred along
        grapevines,
    When I offered to finance a new cosmos,
        chisel
    A monument to recipes for sainthood, I
        knew then
    This flight of love would seal and band me:
        "pigeon."
    
    G.E. Murray
    Oak Park, Illinois

    WHEN THE HILLS BECAME WEST VIRGINIA
    
    When the wind first walked off
    And whistled south,
    Grass was hearsay;
    Sun, the sudden rumor
    Of seasons told in tongues
    The sky interpreted
    As a lasting accident,
    A totem of love.
    
    When night stood in the ground
    Like a relic,
    A secret keepsake
    From the horizon's tomb,
    A story was born
    Of reeds and pinesmell,
    Vast spans of carnivorous green,
    
    Fropm one early winter to next,
    A fortune in light
    Wound through these hills
    LIke a fresh scar.
    Tablets of air
    Went unread.
    Silence improved
    Its raw reserves.
    
    Around ice and sacred backwaters,
    Among the long speeches
    Of trees, lectures
    On rockfall, furious
    Landslide omen,
    Signals of other life rose
    in howls, in smoke,
    somewhere beyond
    This spilling thickness.
    
    Birsds here married
    MId-air, wings in tilt,
    Under the blessing
    Hands of sunshine.
    And beneath oak's splitting
    Bark and crook,
    A braid of insects
    Wormed inhonor
    Of nothing so beautiful,
    Nothing absolute...
    
    And a deer's head, dead asleep,
    Educated earth
    By its infinite dreaming,
    Private as the chart
    Once mistaken
    For the original hole of midnight,
    Guiding small eyes inward
    In blind delight.
    
    Then all the stones unturned
    Imagined themselves
    Set in a grave of mortar,
    Saw nameless animials
    Freeze in sight
    Of new tracks,
    And all stones
    Spoke righteously
    Of infection,
    An abscess of space,
    The distance narrowing
    Between stone's
    Word and gunpowder sermon...
    
    And in that hushed congestion,
    When scents of fear
    Finally ascended
    In witnes of cliffs,
    When trails below
    Burned up through evergreen
    Like fuses,
    The hearsay grass was crushed
    Into Wagon ruts -- wind
    Tested gingham,
    Screeched like a bird
    Waking to sawmills,
    Gave homespun promise
    to those who outfit
    The dark with logfires,
    Confusion's song, the rules
    These hills would always ignore.
    
    G. E. Murray
    Oak Park, Illinois

    THE  BEEF-STUNNER MAN
    
    The hind was a hock of darkness among the meaty trees
    The boning a ghostly bacon comb just tossed into the freeze
    The loader a ribbon of gripstrut over the offal door
    And the beef-stunner man came fliring -
    Firing - firing
    The beef-stunner man came firing, over the squeegeed floor.
    
    He'd schermer caps in his rubber gloves, a bunch of blanks
    On his skid,
    A duck filled cook and baker's coat, and bloodstained
    Apron bib
    They fitted as well as a wash-up suit, his boots by
    Goodyear Tires
    And he carried a primal breaking saw
    To cut and quarter up the raw
    His horn cutter sterilized once more on the end of his power wires.
    
    Over the gutters he splattered, and triggered his slaughtering gun
    He grabbed the steer by the withers, confused, the aniimal's head
    it spun
    He whistled a tune to the carcass, spreqad on the killing floor
    Then dragged the beast to the drop spreader hook
    Valvces and rail stops and drop spreader hooks
    Unlike the cast iron lodedstar hoists, the chains and gears are for.
    
    And dark by the Johnson hide stripper, an operator stands
    Where Gus the skinner listened, his face pressed in his hands
    HIs eyes were hollows of madness, his shroud pins strewn about
    But he loved the bull stud's daughter
    Bess the old bull's duaghter
    Now fifty meat patties, in a food-shaper's route.
    
    One kiss, my bonny patties, I'm after nutrition, I'm miffed
    And I shall be back with a filmy shrink-wrap, before the
    Morning shift;
    If the foreman press me sharply, and harry me through the day
    Then look for me by the grinder
    The butcher-boy AA56 grinder
    I'll come for you by the grinder, though the meat-packer bars
    The way.
    
    Gus arose in his PVC apron, he scarce could reach
    Her shape
    But he grabbed his neoprene glove from the bench, with
    Fingers bound up in see-thru tape
    As the poroduction line of paties came rolling down the belt
    He kissed his Bess on the vacuum device
    The bush pump houseing, the vacuum dvice
    The he grabbed her tight as a vice, and bent at the
    Sealer he knelt.
    
    Opal N. Nations
    Toronto, Canada

    KEHOE BEACH
    
    indifferent
    to fisherman
    
    the gray sea
    
    I watch my urine
    sink
    into the sand
    
    toe
    a gull carcass
    
    fog moves
    closer
    
    becomes
    wind-burned
    old man
    
    coast farmer
    
    "Have you seen a boy
    couple years younger
    than this one?
    He vanished
    
    on the beach.
    
    Supposed to be
    hauling rock.
    
    He's not at the truck
    Not at the ranch."
    
    glasses magnify
    his gray eyes
    
    his other son
    in blue nylon
    is scared
    
    we look
    for him
    
    ghost shrimp
    torn crabs
    
    Nona Nimnicht
    Oakland, California

    INSOMNIA
    
    I couldn't fall
    asleep.  The small
    town was too quiet.
    Crickets rubbed night
    songs bertween their
    thin knees.  The men
    on the moon could
    be heard walking
    back and forth over
    its grin.  He was
    waiting to leave with
    the first rain.
    
    The retired salesman,
    who never grows
    old, walked quietly
    past my door, to his
    room at the end of
    the hall.  Only his
    shirt was loud.  On
    the third floor the
    seventy-three-year-old
    ex-flapper's mind
    finally snapped.  It
    made me jump.
    
    The old boarding
    house was built 75
    years ago in between
    beers.  I listened
    to its white paint
    moan gray again
    and to the last
    white hairs move
    into the landlord's
    scalp, that was
    once red as a sore
    throat.
    
    Kevin Pilkington
    Mount Vernon, New York

    MOSES
    
    Moses sits alone at
    the bar.  His red eyes
    hide in caves bove
    a long gray beard.  All
    night, it tries to dip its
    tail into his gin.
    
    Burning ashes crawl
    down a cigarette, taunting
    his hand, it mannequins
    next to another double.
    
    The railroad tracks run
    behind the tavern's back.
    Each time the express
    trains by, the liquor bottles
    start to dance.  Moses
    chaperones.
    
    He has been coming here
    for years.  The moose, shot
    with beginner's luck, still
    grins above the songs
    that jukebox against the
    wall.
    
    Smoke hanging like
    the barmaid's chest, hopes
    for a window to open.
    The bathroom walls wait
    for new jokes.  Upstairs
    are small apartments.
    
    When the days are in
    heat, tenants hang with
    the laoundry outside their
    windows.
    
    Moses has decided to
    politely wait for the paint
    on the walls to fade, before
    going home to his wife,
    who no longerr waits
    up for him.
    
    Kevin Pilkington
    Mount Vernon, New York

    PASSING THROUGH
    
    Bald tires keep me
    under the speed limit.
    Small animals hit by
    strange cars lie in the
    side of the road.  Three
    miles from a chipmunk's
    tall white houses, village in
    front of a mountain with
    a cloud stuck on its peak.
    
    Old folks don't die here.
    They sit on porches rocking
    naps into their eyes.  Hounds
    doughnut at their feet.
    Women with green thumbs
    worry about their gardens
    and the flowers that won't
    come.  Good looking girls,
    I blame on clean air.
    
    Main Street is smaller
    than the change in my
    pocket.  White Fences
    picket around the church
    and courthouse.  Young
    farm boys carve their
    names into the belly of
    a large oak before heading
    east.
    
    There is no crime: the sun
    is too strong for muggers.
    Streets don't bum with derelicts.
    There aren't any alleys to
    junkie in.  Whores trick what
    they can in the next village
    too small to name on the
    map and rapists never
    leave the park back home.
    
    Kevin Pilkington
    Mount Vernon, New York

    THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD
    
    After 8 years I
    stopped to visit the
    old neighborhood.
    Memories kept coming
    back like manuscripts.
    My old apartment
    was smaller than
    the tips in the diner
    below it.  The sinks
    in the bathroom and
    kitchen roached.  When
    the nights got cold
    as the girl in 2A, a
    pint was kept on
    the table for heat.
    
    The couple above me
    use to methadone
    visits to the clinic
    3 bus stops away.
    In the jazz cloub
    across the street,
    horn players would
    bring new licks, to
    dixie the sun up.
    
    The Valucci brothers
    no longer deli great
    heroes on the corner.
    The store is up for
    sale.  I heard they
    left around the
    time old Joe the
    barber's memory did.
    
    Italian granmothers
    like to sit in front
    of their buildings
    during the day,
    watching cars tie
    themselves into jams
    by 5.  They worry
    about the Cubans
    2 blocks down and
    the muggings that
    keep going up with
    the rents.  Now they
    go in with the sun.
    
    The stickball game
    started the night I
    left, was still going
    on in front of the
    laundromat.  My
    old friend, Little Jack,
    use to have a hard time
    keeping secrets, now
    it's jobs.  Drunks
    keep alleys
    wet in between rain
    storms.  When the
    skies clear, rainbows
    crayon the oil stains
    that slick the street.
    
    Mrs. Grady runs the
    magazine stand.  She's
    a brouge full of gossipo.
    No one knows her
    brother will start
    to bookie time in
    prison next month.
    
    Billy's Pub has gone
    topless.  The girls
    sell the drinks, a
    color TV and good
    jokes couldn't.  The
    A bus, with its beast
    of lights, continues
    to rattle past the
    kids on 6 Ave. and
    the firehydrant that
    will always be
    closer than the beach.
    
    Kevin Pilkington
    Mount Vernon, New York

    GASOLINE ALLEY
    
    The young girl who runs
    Harbor Tunnel Change Booth Number Four
    pops lemonheads and likes jazz
    far too much to
    give it up at work.
    On cool, August midnights
    she'll cue up none but Satchmo on the player
    and shag those cars through with a fancy wave
    'til half the northbound Monord Lane is just
    jivin' aloud.
    
    Michael Reis
    Baltimore, Maryland
    No Comments »

    Comments