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This is a limited-edition chapbook of work by writers who have participated in the 2 Horatio Workshop, and friends. Fall, 2015 Vol. 1., No. 1 2 Horatio Street New York, NY 10014

Elaine Sexton: editor and publisher John Kramer: designer


POEMS

 5

Joan Cappello

 6

Sheila Rabinowitch

 7

Bonnie Jill Emanuel

 8

Cami Zinzi

 9

Kate Lutzner

10

Catherine Wald

11

Miriam Starc

12

Scott Hightower

13

J. Gerard Chalmers

14

Sherry Stuart-Berman

15

Joanna Brown

16

Maja Lukic

18

Linda Hillman Chayes

19

Lola Koundakjian

21

Diane Schenker

22

David Zoffoli

24

Rebecca Rogan

25

Sarah Jewell

26

David Groff

27

Heather Sellers

29

Lindsay Gacad

30

Elaine Sexton

31

Coriel Gaffney

32

Lynn Patmalnee

covers

John Kramer


Joan Cappello

ACT 1 A Bachelor Party at the Roosevelt Hotel June, 1948 where Salome Goldstein, down to her last veil, bumps and grinds “A Slow Boat to China,” while looking forward to the Ham & Swiss she’ll order from the deli downstairs; where band leader, Leo Nardini, wonders if he’ll make the last ferry home; and Teddy Vanderbilt, red headed groom-to-be, molars clenching a Cuban cigar, requests “Little White Lies” and some overtime with Salome. Where Leo defends Salome’s honor and doesn’t get a tip; where Teddy herds his buddies to the Harvard Club for a night-cap and who-knows-what after that; where Salome thanks Leo but he turns down an invitation to join her for a drink; where, into the pocket of his tuxedo jacket, she slips her number, written on the inside of the matchbook his wife will find while doing laundry in the middle of Act 2.

5


Sheila Rabinowitch

THE POOL From his shelf of lures I chose a yellow feathered fly  when I went fishing in my father’s store. Looking down from the mezzanine  I cast my line over the edge.  This was once a pool hall my father said. I searched for clues. In the ceiling corners, plaster gargoyles, mouths wide open, mocking me, spouted water.

6


Bonnie Jill Emanuel

COTTAGE BY THE STATION

It might have been the farthest

room left, so far I could hear

winter flashing light,

cold scar the top of the signal,

an electric wire on a fir,

I could wonder

what will become of

February, sun slanting

through breaks in the crewel curtains,

cutting me

in the doorway

into yellow and dark stripes.

7


Cami Zinzi

WRATH after Stephen Dobyns If you were sober, now you are drunk, if you were drunk, now you are gin-blind, a balled fist in the 3am streets of Denmark, the catcalls of onlookers clanging in your ears. I enter your body like the thunder-whip of lightning, severing a 20-year friendship from its stump. Disregard your history with her. Forget the days stacked upon nights, the phone calls, the comfort in years. Now you are the seething blister, the bit tongue, the knotted spine. I am your feet racing through a foreign city, the map gnarled in your sweaty hand. Leave her there, leave her there. She won’t know the way back to the hotel, but what do you care? At this moment, you are all bile and embers, the cat-scratch snarl, the arched back, the twisted ankle. Whatever has come before isn’t important. Something about someone laughing or crying or cramming every minute in Copenhagen with cathedrals and museums. Shut your mouth. Tomorrow will not forgive.

8


Kate Lutzner

NATURE POEM There was evidence of flowers, the way the sun rained down on us. The language of safety blurred into our hearts, easy and aimless. You are the champion of your feelings. I was making mild demands. The air had a manner of bristling until we were quiet, little swings. Human decency is not what I had thought. Your public breakdown, leaving me a nostalgic witness on the verge of coming apart. My mind, no longer on nature, now binary, like the inside of a walnut. I can feel you lurking, all the way to my gut.

9


Catherine Wald

ROAD RAGE It’s true there’s no time in the day —  busy day — to acknowledge every squandered squirrel, demolished opossum, eviscerated skunk. It’s true that highways of commerce — vital commerce — can’t curb collateral damage 24/7, that our woods are infested with ticks — vicious ticks — and each mowed-down doe represents a strike against Lyme disease. But I’m embarrassed to be human sometimes. Crows are more noble — they clear severed limbs and splayed intestines. Vultures are more economical wolves more judicious and flies more forthright. I could bewail each creaturely corpse for a year and a day and it might do me some good —  but can anything redeem a species that drives on and on and on without stopping to bury its wild dead?

10


Miriam Starc

POSTCARD FROM GRADO, LATE JULY Cara – You were meant to be here. With the others I lift my glass each afternoon, a spritzer spiked with orange Aperol and sigh, regretting your absence. You’d sigh, too: the little luxuries of peaches, white and squat, to eat while sitting in the sand, the nuisance of the tiny crabs that mine the sandy shallows as we walk. Today, at last, we commandeered a pedalò and took it to the edge, the float-rope boundary that marks the deeper water. We took turns on the curving slide. I came to crave that second of suspension after splash, giving over what I’d learned to give to no one, maybe least of all, to you.

11


Scott Hightower

CASSANDRA FRAGMENTS We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for.  — Friedrich Nietzsche Precise incisions in the clay fragments that once made up a jar oddly wind around. Rather than one of the more usual incantations of protection, this piece of journalism cautiously spells: “If what we (who used to drink from one dipper) have gotten used to is prosperity of prophecy, then our prosperity–– which requires a certain safety, a certain vigilance––may well be coming apart.”

12


J. Gerard Chalmers

THE ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE Nowadays, all the public places in NY are smoke free, but one of the guys on Monday night, who was sitting in the audience in front of me, had his hand wrapped around something small (definitely not a cigar or cigarette) that he took long pulls of “smoke” from, with his mouth, and then exhaled through his nose. The “smoke” was very visible in the dim light from where I sat, even though he was trying to do it in a way that no one would notice. It made me think of the Camel man in Times Square years ago, the huge rings of smoke, most likely steam, that he blew into the air over the heads of the Broadway crowds. Blowing smoke rings was a real skill in those days, a way to dazzle. No one worried about consequences. (Cancer, diabetes, coronary disease). I remember a time in the Village, when you could walk past an open window and a cloud of sweet smoke, like an exotic perfume, would surround you. There was no indication that the thing this guy had in his hand was hot. Or even that there was a flame. Nowadays, it is hard to know what to worry about. I was a little disappointed there was no aroma. No shared pleasure. No consequences.

13


Sherry Stuart-Berman

PASSAGE I don’t tell her I can’t save her. I don’t tell her I’m new at this. I don’t tell her what she knows: her color walked in first. I don’t ask her to talk about the rape. I don’t tell her she will always be afraid and I have always been afraid. I don’t tell her I was screaming and thought it was the TV, how blood stained my shirt, the purple one with “Foxy” on it. I don’t tell her, sometimes when a black man walks toward me blood knocks hard on a quiet door in my throat. I don’t tell her she is screaming right in front of me. I don’t ask her to speak up. I don’t tell her to come back next week. She tells me she’ll be back next week. I don’t tell her she won’t.  — first appeared online in Atticus Review

14


Joanna Brown

THE SCIENCE OF THE EXAM When he and I first met, I ran my fingers over a red-marble cyst that lit up his cheek. He explored the room: faked a layup, palmed the ceiling, played with the otoscope. I taught him how to see my middle ear that shiny moonscape, found faint, sunset stretch lines on his pine-dark skin — biceps, back —  rapid growth had drawn. He was from Chad Brown, a red-brick hell-hole, looked out for his sister. 2013: two of my patients shot dead, faces smiling from the front page and he returned, four new holes in sculpted body: thigh, flank, entry, exit. Dressing off, dressing on. He sat still in sotto voce reeled out a curly tale of henney sprinkled with weed and my boys; stolen car, war over texts and turf. When I take down these notes I write that he presented in no acute distress or of wounds with healthy granulation tissue or that social support is recommended. Yet all I can see are holes, charred, raw rims, tunnels I cannot illuminate.

15


Maja Lukic

NANTES thousands of miles & three hours of sleep later, distance arrives first & beautiful waiting at a loud station, Atlantic ice lucid, thick Air France coffee keeping me a marionette unwound something sank into the ocean on the way over, love scaled the altitude, shimmered in the turbulence & the hours ran ahead of me to wait at the Charles de Gaulle gates —  fencing with questions from friends, how to explain that trains are never lost in their crawl across geography the twilight in Nantes is riddled with quiet, a latticework of telephone wires with strange birds on them

16


& no one is as real as the knots & nests tangled in branches cutting the nude lilac sky when the red brick rooftops layer into an impasto of sleep, I am left thinking among yellow mimosa sprays & pink paper roses, that alone arrives last & beautiful

17


Linda Hillman Chayes

STILL, your face like water in an uproar runs deep, changes texture, color mood like water crossing climate zones, boreal to tropical — oceans never still with glacial melt, rising, running — floods my thinking, and then there’s light, the way it runs across your surfaces, jitterbugs, reflects, misdirects.

18


Lola Koundakjian

MOODS The heart is a small, cracked cup, easy to fill, impossible to keep full.  — James Richardson I come to you tonight after a wonderful concert. I am looking for love. I heard some Bach, Beethoven then Schumann, not just any sonata — the F Sharp minor op 11 —  I know that one so well. I sat there transported, envisioning myself in bed with you, naked and laughing, surrounded by sheets of paper. Me, reading poetry; you, interrupting me with kisses then making love. I come to you this evening after a walk in Washington Square Park. I am looking for love. I was watching a painter splashing colors on a canvas: Indian yellow, cerulean blue and zinc white Not just any paint —  but colors like winter solstice, the sky, and your skin I sat there transported,  envisioning myself  in bed with you. I come to you tonight  after hearing a jazz quartet at Bar 55. I was looking for love

19


I heard mellow tunes from the 60’s not just any composition —  but Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage music from our last night together. I sat there transported,  envisioning myself in bed  with someone other than you.

20


Diane Schenker

NULLUS CASUS BELLI Dusk. Onset. Coming of more than darkness. Freighted chariots catastrophying two valleys distant. How simple shrinks to spare. Knife cuts last year’s crop — open cracks in everything. Draping over the table, the rich daubs, glints, pull focus to our fingertips, our now wet mouths. Distracted from the unimaginable. Storm? The dead laugh. Cracking, I reach to flat. Stroke. Point. Ground. Glaze. Frame. Behind our backs the world is flaking off into worse than nothing. Leaning forward forward, aching for the smell, bread and apples. Tiny patch of dawn — is it possible? — on her cheek. 

on Balthus, Still Life with a Figure, 1940

21


David Zoffoli

PRELUDE: THE CADILLAC Caught in the lapse between heartbeats I see him cresting the last dark hill into the winter village where he will meet her in an empty diner, smartly smoking in his 1953 powder blue cadillac. I exhale and watch her dump the coffee then move to the door to turn the sign closed. His high beams catch her like a puppy excited and frightened by the car. He flicks his butt into a snowbank as he removes his hat and smiles too slowly as she shields her eyes and moves behind the revolving pie case. He opens the door. You open? Just closing. Piece a pie, cuppa joe? Your car is running. He hears a German accent. Ich bin auch deutsch. Your car is still running. May I come in from the cold? My husband is on his way. Where might I getta cuppa joe and getta bunk for the night? Turn off your car and I’ll make a pot. Danke madame. The door is open. She stops holding her breath for a breath then her husband pulls in and gets out. Can I help you? he asks the cadillac. Passing through. Need a place to stay. Beaver Brook, next town. She relaxes inside.

22


She (the war bride who will become my mother) serves two slices of custard pie and two cups of coffee, turns off the turning pies and removes her apron. Gute torte. says the stranger who will become my father. My mother’s husband asks his wife You know him? No, not at all. He just wants a cup of coffee. No one drives a cadillac up here. Where you from? Litchfield, Connecticut, as he lays down two dollars And moves to the door. Danke madame. You sellin’ somethin’? demands her husband. Yes. Gotta make a livin’ for my family. He smiles quickly, as does she, and leaves the first time.

23


Rebecca Rogan

PRAISE FOR THE ACT OF KNEELING Praise for the fine hinge of ligament and meniscus praise for the effortless folding of the leg praise, also for the propping elbows. It is possible to believe in the astonishing dexterity of the phalanges the magnificent geometry of the rug beneath them each strand of wool complex, twisted, a benediction of sheep.

24


Sarah Jewell

MYSTERY SISTER Mary, my mystery, my broken, my dove. When I am with Mary, my tongue turns to stone and drops down into my stomach, where there are no sounds. When I am with Mary, my eyes roll into riddles, blank as the pages in the diary on my shelf. When I am with Mary, my ears are strung on strings, and I carry them further to hear the flutter of every flower. When I am with Mary, my fingers interlace into ribbons that bind the rose of my heart. When I am with Mary, my face becomes a bowl for the blossoms I blister from every hole. Mary, my ruby, my rabbit, my wound.

25


David Groff

CAMPSITE Finally you have to leave, off to some new latitude. You kick out the fire, stamp each gleam to ash. Water on it offers the briefest steam. Grunting on your pack, you etch it all in your head: the frame of sky between firs where the moon inched up to suggest the predators; the path to where you shat; that slightly flatter square of tent you crept to, where you compressed the needles, and the sun prodded you so soon and your body ached, its soreness sexual, as if you wrestled bear, reminding you your muscles wrap around bones; the place where the ashes are slightly warmer, like skin. Hours after you go the place won’t know you. The sky, unseen, is sky. Moons angle out of sight. Animals inch back in. They can’t discern your smell. The needles begin to breathe. Wind blurs your dirt. The fire flares up or out.

26


Heather Sellers

BEACH DRIVE You worried your hat not quite right for the loveliness of the evening — and true my hair — you were not wrong, this once, with tresses — auburn silk curtains was lovely, and the soft slate waves of the sea across the quay were painted on cardboard sea, yes. Beauty. Last night, it’s true, the great banyans, root ropes like chords or curtains presenting the drama of the pretty museum. Plus us. True the hotel on the beach a pink perfection, dressy cake of a place. I understand a man under a ball cap could feel too small before such beauty. But we’re a pair of poets, our toes in happiness —  a couplet and a vision so keep the hat, herd your thoughts. Everyone is casual, it’s St. Pete, I said, again, and again a fleet of Pekinese, diamond-ine leashed, blown-out coats, smooth shining hair and women in silver heels, long dresses, blown out, earrings tinkling, men in shorts, trailing behind, with ice cream cones, pink and white and pink. I liked your hat, with its sentence Tarpon Springs. Yesses do leap, fish from dark water. Let us eat. Let us hold hands as our prayer. Before us, jewels on whorl-wooden trays, cornichon, speck, a round of creamy joy. When I’m happy I eat with my fingers.

27


You’re not going to love that, are you? Happinesses, expenses, dark sky so ominous in the west, over your head —  you don’t see. You’re facing east and me. The sky turns purple, then sharkens black. Waiters close the umbrellas, waltz chairs inside as diners flee to tables indoors. With my heart I hold the storm, sadness, at bay. It will not rain, I say. I believe you, you say. And so I believe me too. How joy can look dark but not be dark. The ropes on the trees are still. There is no thunder, no lightning. It’s not going to rain or it might rain. You fill my glass. We’re in one long sentence. Raindrops on your shoulders. We can get under my hair. There’s room. If it rains. But if you looked well the sky, that evening: all reams of blue light.

28


Lindsay Gacad

SNOW Watching the ducks struggle on broken ice, we walked, elbows linked, through the North Wood Puffy-chested cardinals flew over twice, unafraid. But I was. I hoped you would see. Instead your tongue was out, catching snow. I wanted to be marveled at, to be desired with curious hunger, though, as I write this, it breeds dishonesty. Yeah, I read all the Marvel comic books Sure, I’ve gutted a whole chicken before No, I don’t choose lovers based on their looks Hey, I don’t really drink that much, I swore. But under the frozen canopy, you taught me it was safe, to tell what was true.

29


Elaine Sexton

SINECURE Without a cure I pay for nothing that can be seen. Love doesn’t work, doesn’t labor. Once, I thought I caught a glimpse of what makes love tick, like a selfwinding watch needing only to be close to a body, moving, but maybe that was a mirage, a desert lake, and only an impression.

30


Coriel Gaffney

WEEK 8 Last week the parakeet from 2F escaped, flew two flights up and bee-lined through our open window; his owners taped a note to our door. As I edged inside, a furious full-bloom-green blur shot across the shadowed kitchen, impossibly small and fast and free. What do I call my love of this cavity on the ultrasound screen, inside of which you shape-shift from pomegranate seed to lentil to kidney bean? This new — first? — love of body, sickly yet strong: a container, a stage, a home haunted, an ageless hymn in a fresh key? How do I relay the tiny thunder of my astonished laughter and its blunt repetition, rising from the breast of a bird? What do I call this deep need of sleep, my first gift to you, seamless surrender? This demonic hunger/repulsion? Your humming heart, the first testament to your voice? My warm, clean shock at its amplification? My secret, all mine, spilling into a future I have always half-sought to flee?

31


Lynn Patmalnee

SPRING AGAIN and I can’t stop breathing it in pointy pale buds on outstretched branches tender fingernails scratching the breeze’s back the way I wake my husband when he dreams again of skidding off a bridge gasping for daffodils under the icy depths his moan my own as he surfaces wheezing thistles until he’s green again lungs flowering like tulips and I can’t stop

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2 HORATIO  

This is the first issue of the chapbook made up of poems by the writers in the 2 Horatio workshop and their friends.

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