THE GREEN DOOR Issue 12 Cervena Barva Press
Cervena Barva Press in the U.S.A. operates under the direction of its foundingeditor the poet Gloria Mindock. Content to be part of the small press scene it has never-the-less grown in the quality of its output and its importance in the scale of publishing in America. The Green Door is pleased to offer a selection of the writers associated with that press (as selected by Gloria Mindock) as issue 12.
Nancy Mitchell A recipient of a Pushcart Prize 2012, teaches at Salisbury University, Maryland and is the author of two volumes of poetry The Near Surround (Four Way Books, 2002) and Grief Hut (Cervena Barva Press, 2009.)
Summer Nocturne at 13 In Motherâ€™s black negligee, silk strap shoulder slipped, hip curvy as a Spanish question mark I lounge her chaise, rose print matched to drapes firmly drawn, the dusky room door double locked. Between what even I will not call breasts a pilfered spritz of Chanel no. 5 dries. Her gold bullet of red lip stick is out into the night with sequined evening bag; I press the tip of a cherry popsicle hard against my lips, numbed to no effect in her silver hand mirror. Fine wisps tickle my neck like breath, slipping from the twist failed to French; with a sigh I roll to face to the blank white ceiling of sky, lower azure
crayon lined lids, lick then kiss the tender inside of my warm wet wrist.
Who Remains For the full year following his brother’s death he drank shakes to gain, ran ten miles daily, lifted weights; although small, he was rock solid and fast as as a steel bullet. His mother swaddled herself in furs claimed from cold storage, his father shook whiskey into a coffee thermos and they went to the Friday night game, his brother’s obituary left folded in the night stand, his mother’s side of the bed. From the lit cleated field he could see the small pale oval of his mother’s face. He could only hear
his fatherâ€™s silence above the stadium roar. Cut from the front page Of the Sunday sports section and scotch taped to the fridge, the photo of their son, the only one now, legs astride, arms stretched wide, holding back the whole rival team.
Glenn Sheldon Is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Bird Scarer (Cervena Barva Press) and Angel of Anarchy (Ahadada Books). The Honours Professor of Humanities at The University of Toledo, Sheldon is a widely published poet. Also, he dabbles in literary scholarship, creative nonfiction and the novel form.
Lying To Myself The blues have stained the white houses of our lives. There is no such thing as a simple neighbourhood. Crime Watch doesn’t know what a blue guitar can steal from us in our backyards as we watch children unscrew lightning bugs until there is only darkness and stasis instead of skies. I once came home and saw my Mother in a blue dress open the kitchen door, the light behind her too bright for the dead: “Where have you been?” I bit a blue apple: “I’ve been with the blues.” I was theatrical before going to the theater. That was the summer that I drove with a packed suitcase in my trunk, just in case. But like most things, one has to take up the slack or it won’t get done. I became my own deus ex machina.
Soon, Iâ€™d be away from Polka weekends. The blues would greet me, embrace me, cry out, our lost child has come home at last.
The Extra Chaos everywhere: wires, messengers, nobodies waving light meters, props stacked against internsâ€™ thighs, fake cars like mushrooms taking over a small field. My role: to walk down the street just before a machine gun sings to a rat in a snazzy hat and spit-shined boots. I pretend to be carrying French bread home. Then at the sound of a car screaming its presence, I dive towards a woman who has missed church service for the first time and she smells of lilacs from gardens rooted in her last name. We gasp without adding to the script or scriptures. We do this again and again, until the woman and I laugh at how cold my imaginary bread has become.
Maybe Next Year After the game, crowds rush back to rented brownstones lit with black lightbulbs. Glory is elsewhere, on fields being cured for next weekâ€™s games. I linger with ex-athletes nursing sprained marriages, rap sheets as elegies before there is death. The golden years were less faithful than stray golden retrievers. .
Grzegorz Wróblewski Born in 1962 in Gdansk and raised in Warsaw, has been living in Copenhagen since 1985. He has published ten volumes of poetry and three collections of short prose pieces in Poland; three books of poetry, a book of poetic prose and an experimental novel (translations) in Denmark; and a book of selected poems in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as a selection of plays. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Agnieszka Pokojska is a freelance translator and editor, tutor in literary translation at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and author of a number of articles on translation. Her translations into Polish include poems by Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky and Derek Walcott. Her translations of Grzegorz Wróblewski’s poetry appeared in the anthology Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird, and most recently in the chapbook A Rarity published by Cervena Barva Press.
Anarchy and Tuna a group of anarchists throwing a Molotov cocktail bought for social services money calculate the cost of finishing off one policeman you have to budget cleverly, as there has to be enough left for canned tuna and lemon canned tuna is just the thing for a rebel: a cheap foodstuff that makes you go forever! state officials regularly pay the anarchists their dole and in so doing support anarchy officials and anarchists supposedly being
two fiercely antagonistic worlds! you can’t mention an anarchist in front of an official unless you want him to have a fit of nervous hiccups, or a white shirt tucked into grey pants in front of an anarchist, unless you want him to get his knife it’s hard to be an official, it’s equally hard to be an anarchist, but it’s shit manners to be an anarchist in a welfare state
Renoir and Van Gogh Renoir was not naïve: Painting is there To decorate walls. Conversation… The Isshidan Garden in Kyoto. Tapies’s canvases in stone? Or a poster, maybe? El Quixote de Antonio Saura. Since Saura died – there’s only Tapies! Too many reproductions here, then, and gap-toothed prostitutes from Thailand. Barcelona? It’s so far away. In Copenhagen, only a billiards table,
Jacobsen’s forks and chairs. No use denying it, I do love cheap jewelry and expensive, pre-war silver, and I’ve always felt at my optimum in the city. That’s why I’d like to pop out to the country. Because – I’d like to see a horse again, though, to be honest, I’ve no idea why… Horses can be quite dangerous, after all. Oh, we also have Kierkegaard! You mustn’t forget. Camus was under the influence, no doubt. A horse instead of a smoke, a must at my age, Nothing more for me now but subtle sunflowers. And here goes Renoir again: For me, a painting has to be something nice, something joyful, something pretty. I disagree. Let’s take the jittery Van Gogh, for example: I pay for my art with the risk of life, it took half my mind away. Failures. Women in flowing dresses and old shawls.
Van Gogh. Renoir. They were right. (Weâ€™ll be carted To the morgue soon.) Adios, amigo borracho! Their portraits are immortal, as long as I look at them.
Andrei Guruianu Lives in New York City where he teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. He is the author of a memoir, Metal and Plum (Mayapple Press, 2010) and several collections of poetry, most recently Postmodern Dogma (Sunbury Press, 2011).
In Standing Water I A singer stands in front of an empty restaurant. Outside, the courtyard pigeons masquerade as doves. He is singing to them. To the girls tearing down the market stalls and tourist stands. The few remaining windows buried by the night. II I am drinking myself young again tonight, Watching Prometheus at the wheel, stars growing from his open ribsâ€” this town ashen by time, vacant and abandoned streets, green grass choking the front doors. III He ends each song with his arms open wide. He is the candle trembling in the bottle, the dove of coming sleep. I pin something to his feathers, light as air, and he takes it. He brings me back the eye of a branch, the body of standing water. He says that storms are gathering far to the east over the sea.
Pity the Dog That Outlives You The best view remains the one from the bridge. Light passing under, over the deep invisible, the way silence should be spoken. The way that a woman with a heart and wings tattoo walks out the open window of one dream through another. You can say that it’s impossible but you weren’t there to hold her hand as she took the last step before letting go. And then everything she ever said passed like water, like it was never said and folded in a pocket to be used for later. For the lone walk home beneath a cupola of stars. Even they have names now. Even they will not be left anonymous as dreams; turn into pictures, boardwalk souvenirs of everything we plan to lose. Now or many years from—and the best view still the one from the bridge— watching hearts with enormous wings passing under, over the deep invisible, over water, the way silence should be spoken.
Harris Gardner has been published in The Harvard Review, Midstream, Cool Plums, Rosebud, Fulcrum, The Aurorean, Ibbetson, Main Street Rag, Vallum, I Refused to Die-A Holocaust Study by Susie Davidson, and numerous other publications. He co-authored with Lainie Senechal a volume of poetry: Chalice of Eros and his book Lest They Become (Ibbetson Street Press) is forthcoming. His chapbook, Among Us was published by Cervena Barva Press in 2007. He is co-founder of Tapestry of Voices and host of two poetry venues. Harris was nominated for Pushcart Prize, and received Honorable Mention- BoyleFarber Prize (New England Poetry Club) in 2004. He currently is Poetry Editor for Ibbetson Street.
Levitation Take the myths that float in your mind. Wrap all the pieces into a ball of twine. Then, undo it all while you sip a cup of your favorite aged wine. Let myths drift into dreamsclose kin, both as strange as they seem. Itâ€™s fine to lie awake when others sleep. Though your thoughts seep into the stars, you may travel safely through splendored night that reveals deep mysteries of inner space. As you soar, retrace the constellations. One note of caution, return by morning, or marvels may loosen your mooring. Go gently with this simple warning. No cause for worry, nothing will go wrong. Revise: something could go wrong.
What the Horizon Said “Follow me”, said the horizon to the road that couldn’t make up its mind. “You’ll find a lot more to see if you just follow me.” “I am somewhat weary of the same route,” the road wistfully replied. I am sun baked and moon scoured. The mundane landscape has soured me on my endless journey; but explain why I should pursue your ways, always out of reach? The horizon spoke in her most soothing tone. “I can show you adventure and a richness, new travels and a fresh direction to offer you more worth and meaning. This meandering is getting you nowhere. You just go non-stop, an endless conversation. Travel with me, you have star quality: Charm, character, personality! Together, we would be unsurpassable. Be warned, though, once we’re a team, there is no chance for a u-turn. Just think, you’ll go from the road less traveled to be the avenue of triumphs and endless parades. You will see lots of signs and visitors. You will be the start of the grand tour that has no termination. The poor road was awash with the possibilities. It was no match for the horizon’s conjuring. Grand vistas trail the horizon’s wake. The road fills with anticipation’s glee, once it alters routine and direction.
Only, the people and parades do not show. The horizon leads the road through a desert full of cacti, scrub, and sunset dazzle. At twilight, swirls of sand sweep through the sun’s purpled fingers. . Half- way across, the road halts, caught in a memory’s web: Where are the parades? Shadows cocoon the sun. A tattered billboard flaps in the wind. While reveries swarm across the surface, shifting grains build a monument. The horizon sighs, “lost another one”, then moves on. The sandman is all that the road can hold.
THE WAKE Dingy motel in the middle of somewhere. Just a sip of tap water with a smell of detergent, the oblivion beyond the doorstep. I lie down with the Tribune and read of an accountant passed away, his place now vacant. The wake is tomorrow, just a simple farewell at the Immaculate Conception in the sleepy dead end. I know your life, your death, and your soul, the lawn mower and Buick and song in the shower. You harbored that day in your memory spiralâ€” the day beyond worries of the weather and futures. I am worried myself, take a dose of Xanax as spruces float by the window. I am stuck here till morning in this desolate boarding about five blocks from your bed, all still warm although empty in a colonial building at the dead end.
LAKE I breathe in and out with northerly wind moving the treetops. My woodpecker buddy is silent,
snow still stays on the ground until April or May, until you drop by for tea when itâ€™s lit and transparent in the afternoon sun, quiet. You listen with me to the crunch of the woods, to the creak of the floorboard that dried out. There is no one there, only silence. The soul of the place, of displacement. The rumble of the Jeep dies out in the valley. The invisible fighter jet patrols somewhere. The old man who lived there in the snow watched his little store on the crossroads, but no sign or the footsteps on the path anymore. The window boarded, no human figure in the door. The clouds of frozen islands float away with snowflakes of the words. The road goes northward. Boats stuck in ice, sheds and birches left behind. And my house is like a ship aground, where I have nothing to wait for, no one to pity. Only the wind from the northeast would whisper old stories. This is the island in the woodsâ€” a continent with no name. I sleep there and see in my dreams: a river delta, sunset in the east, and September with a trace of a bitter smoke.
NORTHERN LOVE For Moyra Chain-smoking, yes, Iâ€™ll have another one, twist my arm. Even the band is good in this joint, for the time being. Who are you? Like me, lost and found, go-between between sublime and absurd. Lest we forget a psychosomatic mutation called love, blood, a woman running, not in rewind, not away from the wave, but toward the unreachable sea, from retreating coastline full of broken boats: carcasses of prehistoric animals caught in their run, frozen in time, suspended in space as the clouds above are like Plymouth Brethren assembled for a morning prayer.
Luis Benítez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1956). Member of the Latin-American Academy of Poetry (USA), the International Society of Writers (USA), World Poets (Greece), the Advisory Board de Poetry Press (India) and the Argentinean Society of Writers. His 36 books of poetry, essays and novels were published in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela. Between another local and international awards, he has received: La Porte des Poétes International Award (Paris, 1991); Biennial Award of the Argentinean Poetry (Buenos Aires, 1991); Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat Foundation Award of Poetry (Buenos Aires, 1996); International Award of Fiction (Uruguay, 1996); Primo Premio Tusculorum di Poesia (Italy, 1996) and 10me. Concours International de Poésie, accesit (Paris, 2003) and First Award for Published Work “Macedonio Palomino” (Mexico, 2007).
LAND AND MEMORY Memory is the past forgiving us saying that it does not matter that we forget it, for all its inhabitants remember us. How we were then, how we’ll be tomorrow bone and mud no longer matter. Remembrance is the future that greets us from afar, remembrance is someone who comes to say goodbye time and time again, for the penultimate, penultimate time. And we are all going to sleep: land and memory share their dead and their living
without closing their eyes or mouth, without telling them that they are beyond time nor entrusting them the barren secrets we knew as children. But hush! Let me forget and remember you as I love you now and bury you alive and furious for you to live forever in land and memory.
DEAD LANGUAGE It isnâ€™t like this one I write in. Itâ€™s not the ripe fruit of concept and the abstract, but the young sap, long ago calm of a world of images: the songstress of dream. The dream that long ago enclosed the steps, the works and the lips. Maybe we did not wake up, just switched dreams. But it has remained, calm and secret, like an ancient flower in the book, in history and in the blurry remembrances of lost words. Today I recall that state of things of the world where the baptism of everything shone in images,
I fancy to ask of it what expressed mortal and with what sounds it translated universe. But dreamâ€™s creatures never answer if not in its own language and all of it is the dream.
A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY PHILOSOPHER One gets used to this land. To its men, its women and the changing landscapes coming with every night: for this land is always alert, awaiting leave to enter the streets. When it is known, there is nothing more pleasant; the servantsâ€™ conversations, the stupid issues filling the eyes and the continuous stumbling over the unfellow men, fury and love, anger without a cause, everything becomes a mist; it is the land of exile
where someone who resembles us is confined. And I, when it is I, look at him moving about.
Eric Greinke’s most recent collections are “Beyond Our Control - Two Collaborative Poems” (with Hugh Fox, 2012, Presa Press) and “All This Dark - 36 Tanka Sequences” (with John Elsberg, 2012, Cervena Barva Press). A seven time Pushcart Prize nominee, he has won several prizes, most recently a 2012 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award from the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College.
Allison Bound Allison lived only three blocks away but it could have been light years. She was the prettiest girl in school, the blond blue eyed girl whom all the boys loved the most. One night I had a dream in which two other mean boys captured our Allison & tied her to a post. In my dream I rescued her, & she was nakedly grateful. I had the dream every night for a week. In that week, my feelings for Allison evolved. When I saw her at school, she seemed more familiar, as close as skin growing over a scab. Then, I had another dream. This time I was the one who had stripped & tied
her up, ready to defend my prize from the other boys.
Broken Branches for Bob Willemstein Inspired by Gonzo role models, we repeatedly breeched the dangerous border, always coming closer to the final conflagration. The trees we razed had been dead for years. We dropped them with surgical indifference, brushing past live wires to rain bright sparks against the dusk. Then one night, the policemen crashed through the door. Their guns were drawn & they shouted commands. We tried to hide in stupid silence from the inevitable collapse. Through the scary air images of old friends faded into long shadows where our footprints disintegrated amid the scattered ashes, brought back to earth beneath the broken branches.
My Father’s Job My father worked at a car factory, but When I was a little boy I thought that it Was a prison, because of the impression I got one morning when I went along to Drop him off for the day-shift outside a big fence That surrounded a huge brick building that had No windows except a row of tiny ones Way up by the roofline, many stories up. My father went in through a small red door. When he opened the door, loud noise busted out. A quick glance revealed it as a prison: All the walls & floors were a dull gray color. All the men wore uniform gray coveralls. An odor of oil escaped into the air Along with the steady banging of big dies. All the workers seemed to shuffle their feet. We took him to that gray place every day. As I grew older, I understood that it Was just where he worked, making car bodies, But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that he Wanted to get out, but couldn’t. Once, he quit to play piano in a bar. He was happy for a while, but Then my mother wanted more money so He went back inside, this time for life.
Stephen Frech Associate Professor of English at Millikin University, has published four volumes of poetry: Toward Evening and the Day Far Spent (1996), If Not For These Wrinkles of Darkness (2001), The Dark Villages of Childhood (2009), and A Palace of Strangers Is No City (2011). He is also the translator of Menno Wigman's Zwart als kaviaar/Black as Caviar (2012).
The Tapestry, a Dreamship Manifest i. Horses must be hooded and led onto a calm sea, or they will not enter the ships. They cannot rest during passage. Bobbins in their slipknots hang at the back of the tapestry, ships with blue thread cargo sailing a sea and rendering it as they go. Signals pass from ship to ship in the fleet: horses die slowly the men speak of home the first ship lands no enemy, altered sea, angry shore ii. In the tapestries of happier encampments, one’s tail is on fire, the other’s tail is in bloom. Young girls ride these mythic creatures. They’re taking turns. The cut end of a branch oozes. A bird pulls at the end of its tether. The saints gesture bone-white in amazement toward each other’s bodies and their own.
iii. Soldiers in checkered tunics ride over a patchwork of farmed fields. Their banners stream above them like clouds, and spears, single threads in the tapestry, each held between the thumb and forefinger, so slight the edge in battle, so slight your chances of surviving. When the first spear enters the enemy, he throws back his head and arms on impact. This would never happen in life: we, for love or death, curl round the thing that enters us. iv. The young man in the foreground greets his wedding guests. In the distance, stooped in tatters, tossed from the city gates, the same man, older, digs a grave alone, and farther, older still, tows in the harness a barge on the canal, deep-laden, unpiloted: on the tapestryâ€™s road of streaming episodes, our younger selves risk encountering the older dragging themselves back from a life that is to come. What could you say to your younger self that would make any sense, that would not crush with its weariness? v. Among the terrible gifts of surviving, borrowing armor from the dead, who are now naked, their bodies broken, some of them in pieces in the full sun of a long afternoon. A workman doses at the woodâ€™s edge. His hand rests on the shaft of his shovel. The weaver cuts the completed tapestry from the loom. Some months or years have passed, some friendships. Secrets have been discovered;
some convicts have reversed their pleas. The weaver and his wife, like spiders, have spun many times their body weight in silk.
Flavia Cosma— http://www.flaviacosma.com is an award-winning Romanian-born Canadian poet, author and translator residing in Toronto, Canada. Flavia has published twenty-two books of poetry, a novel, a travel memoir and five children’s books. She is the Director of the International Writers’ and Artists’ Residency, Val David, Quebec, Canada and of The International Biannual Poetry and Arts Festivals of Val-David.
Three poems from The Latin Quarter
You, Keeper of Mysteries… You, keeper of mysteries, How do you fill your hours, your thoughts? Which paths do you wander now, my beloved? Come on; recount everything to me in a whisper, Tell me the truth, but only half— Better not. Reveal Just a fourth, Or better still, so not to hurt, Gently lie to me. Spin a parable only for my use. Tell me of a time that will never be But never was, either, Spin a deceptive, bed-time fairy tale Where you picked me from amid the stars From arms of angels with slithery, Quicksilver bodies.
Fleshless Words Wasted, fleshless words Penetrate now and then Through the room’s walls; Phantom-words, empty words Wander through spaces, Coming and going Through famished dreams of the night. Let’s us say good-bye now, my angel; The time for leaving has caught us And now outruns us. It will hang in our next encounters, In our first hand-shakes, In our first exchanges of glances. In rough, high strung and vacillating sentences We place the end before the beginning, While love, foreboding its fate, Bitterly writhes.
The Lamp’s Flame You have again left the lights Turned on in the room, my beloved. Plaintive, Your song Hums with the wind Through abandoned parks. The owl’s screech Zigs and zags through this midnight, Backed by the panic-seized croaking Of stony toads. Only the dogs stay silent, pricking their large ears,
Sensing your thought—thief of hearts— As you stealthily escalate The six floors To me. But even then, were I to catch you unaware, Stretched on the bed stark naked, You wouldn’t hesitate to say That you returned only to extinguish The lamp’s flame.
George Held publishes widely both online and in print. Among his 15 poetry collections, Červená Barva Press has published his chapbooks W IS FOR WAR and THE NEWS TODAY and his book AFTER SHAKESPEARE: SELECTED SONNETS (2011).
The Broken Moon The broken moon rises naked in the black sky two days after fullness its rim shattered on top Antigone fallen from near the top of the realm but rising to the top of the moral world The moon accepts her fate with serenity, it’s we who mourn her lost fullness till we recall the cyclical nature of it all.
Like Cavafy Like Cavafy, I first wrote sonnets, Then found a freer form of verse. Like Cavafy, I cherish my digs, not Above a brothel, but over a bistro, Which likewise caters to the flesh, Down the street from two churches, Where sins are forgiven, and beyond lies St. Vincent’s Hospital, where we die. Unlike Cavafy, I harbor no desire For boys or the cigarettes that killed him. Unlike Cavafy, I have no “Ithaca,” No “Waiting for the Barbarians.” Unlike Cavafy, I have no “Ithaca,” No “Waiting for the Barbarians.”
Mark Pawlak is the author of seven poetry collections and the editor of six anthologies. His latest books are Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010 (Plein Air Editions/Bootstrap Press) and Jefferson's New Image Salon: Mashups and Matchups ( Cervena Barva Press). He supports his poetry habit by teaching mathematics at UMass Boston, where he is Director of Academic Support Programs. He lives in Cambridge.
After Utamaro’s Chorus of Birds and Insects, “…not to disclose the timeless, but to discern the transient, to clasp the texture of experience—a passing moment, an instant’s glimpse, a sensation….” —Edward Rothstein, on the aesthetic of Ehon, Japanese artist books.
Panel 1 Undulating green sea of weeds and tall grasses, bordering train tracks, with flecks of white foam at the wave crests — Queen Ann’s Lace
Panel 2 Oak Leaves pressed to black asphalt
in a decorative motif ring this puddle in which three sparrows ruffling feathers plash excitedly: Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!
Panel 3 Mold mottled grape leaves on backyard trellis formally arrayed as in wallpaper designs by William Morris — curly tendrils and crisscrossed vines showing through on which perch plump sparrows testing pendent fruit’s ripeness.
Panel 4 Hydrangea blossoms opened and opening: this one blue, that one pink, another magenta; petals slowly bruising from the edges inward toward creamy white centers on every nodding stalk but this one that pruning shears missed on which still hang last season’s rust-stained crinolines.
Panel 5 Ink-black thumb smudges on otherwise white fur, this crouching cat, muscles tensed, balanced atop chain link fence face to face with gray squirrel, it’s tail erect— two trains on a collision course— fur soon to fly.
Panel 6 A carpet of bluebells, spread beneath forsythia’s golden crown, whose bowed branches so recently bore the weight of new fallen snow. Along the grape arbor, dark-tipped pimples have erupted from the blistered skin of last season’s vines.
Panel 7 In the thorny tangle of trellised bramble roses, a trio of squabbling sparrows squawk, peck, bat their wings. Neighborhood tabby, the only other spectator, squatting on matted grass beneath, casts a knowing glance in my direction.
Panel 8 Ancient backyard cedar, whose tippy-top tickles the clouds, today rocks back and forth in wide arcs animated by a sudden gale. Its boughs lift and fall, lift, fall, and sway, side to side, in ripples of carnival-fat-lady belly laughter as droplets from the darkened sky strike my upturned face and speckle my eyeglasses.
Panel 9 Brother squirrel perched on haunches nibbling the edges of a just-plucked mushroom, can you hear my empty stomach grumble?
Panel 10 Not the grackle feathers splayed in a fan, bottom-side up, on flattened backyard grass (which, ahem, needs mowing) left as a ‘present’ by neighbor Reneé’s white Turkish cat but rather this moth, Catocala innubens, expired, belly up just inside my front porch door — itself a gift: under wings showing to advantage the concentric bands, jack-o-lantern orange alternating with brown velvet, signature of its family, hence the name beautiful below.
Panel 11: Envoy Seated under grape arbor with notebook open like old Fabre at his harmas at Serinan, “Setting down the days.” Here, too, “The common wasp and the Polistes are my dinner guests.” Right now, “They visit my table to see if the grapes served are as ripe as they look.”
Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and currently divides his time between Reykjavik, Zurich and New York City. His poems and translations have appeared in many journals. A new English-German bi-lingual collection, Additional Breathing Exercises, is forthcoming from Wolfbach Verlag, Zurich, Switzerland (2013). His translation of Swiss poet Erika Burkart's last collection of poetry, Secret Letter, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press (2013). Marc is Editor-in-Chief of Mad Hatters' Review and MadHat Press.
Wushu Tiananmen Square, Beijing, June 4, 1989 In waking a tiger, use a long stick —Mao Tse Tung Tracers shred the sun in swallow-streaks of red, tank track crushes bicycle bones to street fossil. A river of bobbing heads. Along the shore heaving housewives jab the air, teachers cluck, workers on rooftops flash the birdie, buses taxis rickshaw boys wave flags of freedom. Soon the Shaolin monks will arrive shooting thunderbolts from their fingers & we’ll stand firm shoulder to shoulder fist to raw fist. We’ve been wrestling sleep for seven nights and days:
nothing but bitter tea leaves and dreams. We’re waiting for the final push, the rip-roar, hold silent, eyeing them down like mothers, then, the unknown man breaks rank, treads down the dotted line as if he might walk through steel—
Unseen Huashan Mountain, 1843 I asked the Master while he sipped his chrysanthemum tea why after three years of study I had still not encountered a god— his churlish answer was one that did not amaze— it had nothing to do with my dedication, nor the time that had elapsed between the shuffle of the moon and the sun; apparently, it had everything to do with my head. To yearn for something he said is simply not enough. And then he smiled, and the sun touched the mountain quite silently.
Biohazard Unequivocally yours, Molly—in her last note, she signs off. It rings in-finite. Toxicity level 4: What we fear but never conceive. War you tolerate as an acquaintance turned, matter rings in your ears, crumbled stuff. The virus claims the head, devours the soul, mal de los rastrojos, breakbone fever, Ebola, hanta, Lassa, mutating vaiola. Things are left standing. In the end we know all their God-fearing names like very bad men from the Gestapo, the Stasi. Molly pins them on a fridge, beneath magnetized pineapples and smiley faces, beneath Max’s crayoned skyline, to-do lists, tax return form curling at the corners, takeout menu from Wang’s Golden Wok. They secrete through taps, drizzle dams, slipstream— like hurricanes we baptize them Alma and Boris, Katrina and Yolanda to make them more innocuous for Max. Within a week, the surgical masks on every street corner, blue and white, then Gucci pink and Hermes polka dot, splutters contained behind high fashion. And the water we drink is Antarctic ice, eons old—once swilled by dinosaurs, an inside joke—carrier rats bear the brunt, followed by ticks, fleas, lice, the effervescent tsetse and we don’t swat and shoo—but never the monkeys, our harmless swing-in-the-trees ancestors separated by a single strand of amino acid who’ve learn to uphold themselves and eat bananas. I say it was the dogs, the Labradors, Alsatians, those ratty Chihuahuas, cuddled, coddled and Tickle Tickle. Still, none of it explains away the quakes, the freak storms and tsunamis, none of it justifies the plummeting price of gold, the vanishing of the beggars and the birds, the vacant bee hives, none of it. In my mind Molly still nags about that damn tax return. Isn’t it strange how you prioritize? How the earth that holds you up holds you up and nothing more, how when the copy paper jams you gnash teeth, how you always fail to keep that other half of your Argyle sock? Breath is unimportant when you breathe. Water comes from a tap, a bottle or a nozzle, the way toothpaste and glue squeezes from tubes. I really feel I should end in a flourish here, like: We who never imaged the end in one silent night, we whose cells replenish every waxing moon believed in a lifetime of dreams…
but I canâ€™t, cannot. It pains me to say more. Unequivocally yours too, dear Mollyâ€” down to the happenstance of our lost dream.
Lucille Lang Day (www.lucillelangday.com) is an award-winning poet and the author of eight poetry collections and chapbooks, including The Curvature of Blue and God of the Jellyfish, both from Červená Barva Press. She has also published a children’s book, Chain Letter, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, and her poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books, she lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, writer Richard Michael Levine.
The Empire of Lights After a painting by René Magritte The daytime sky does not illuminate trees or the green-shuttered house reflected in water. An old-fashioned streetlamp gleams against gloom. It’s day and night at the same time, summer and winter in a place where I am both a child riding a merry-go-round and an adult gazing at a painting. Lights come on in two windows. Is dawn breaking? Or is it still night under clouds that float in a commonplace blue sky holding back its brightness.
The Two Fridas After a painting by Frida Kahlo An artery binds the two Fridas: one whose heart is split open, revealing chambers like nests where tiny snakes could hide; the other with a heart that’s whole— a great ripe fruit on her purple shirt. The artery sprouts outside the women’s bodies from a photo of Diego in the left hand of the one whose heart is whole. The other— her white dress torn—tries to stanch the flow of blood onto her skirt. Conjoined twins bound to one man, they sit side by side, hand in hand. The artist can’t let either go.
Water Lilies Pink and yellow, they float on pads in clusters forming blue-green mats Yes, I have entered the painting to stand on the Japanese bridge framed by bamboo a weeping willow and hanging wisteria, all reflected in water that’s nearly still The bland gray sky doesn’t matter
nor does my internal weather Near the pink house irises are out in white and purple ruffles Poppies swish red skirts like flamenco dancers I must remember how they sway Inside, the dining room is yellow as an egg yolk the blue-and-white tiled kitchen lined with copper pots Japanese prints adorn walls in almost every room Like moments repeating in memory Hokusaiâ€™s wave rolls forever its promise unchanged
Alexander Motyl is a writer, painter, and professor. He is the author of five novels, Whiskey Priest, Who Killed Andrei Warhol, Flippancy, The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, and The Taste of Snow (forthcoming); his poems have appeared in Mayday, Counterexample Poetics, Istanbul Literary Review, Orion Headless, The Battered Suitcase, Red River Review, and New York Quarterly; his artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto and is on view at www.artsicle.com. Motyl teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and lives in New York.
Fall River The river in Fall River has been paved over, replaced by a highway that slashes the city like Lizzie's famous axe, which made mincemeat of the Bordens, when the joint was hopping like mad with Polacks, Ukes, and Portuguese twirling their fingers in textile factories powered by the river that's been paved over by a highwayan eyesore, to tell the truththat cuts through the town like Lizzie's bloody axe, which shocked everyone of good taste, as well as the Polacks, Ukes, and Portuguese, who spoke no English, but knew about the goings-on on the other side of town and snickered over their beers, thinking that, while they get killed in their villas on the hills, we get buried in the burial grounds down below, along with Anna Dembicka (wife of Jan Bojczuk, shoemaker from Przemyslany
and proud owner of a brown house at the foot of Division Street), to the left, in the back, near a chain-link fence, victim of too many births, too many deaths, too many miles between my past and her present.
Fourteen Years Oleh's been dying for thirteen years now. The last time I saw him was two days agoand he looked just as he did two years ago and seven years ago and ten years agowhen I visited him, briefly, I should add, as I never know what to say after the greetings are over and the make-believe bravado no longer feels right (as if it ever did, truth to tell) and he begins to talk about my health and my life (possibly because there's nothing to say about his health and his life) and invokes God and God's blessing on my behalf, while I wonder why he doesn't ask God to bless him (perhaps he's tried and God decided not to respond: after all, the ways of the Lord are mysterious,
as Oleh surely knows) and then at some point I know I have to go, I know I can't stand watching a paraplegic die for a fourteenth year. Thirteen are surely enough.
Big Bang My mother is ninety-six. She sits, saying little, sometimes singing a long-forgotten song or asking me who I am. It's me, I say, your son, and sometimes she smiles imperceptiblyonly I can see, you seeand sometimes she doesn't even let on. And when she sleeps, which is often, her lips tremblethey are God-fearing, you seeand a bit of spittle trickles down her chin and when it pauses, as if hanging by a thread, for a bit less than eternity, before dropping silently to her breastI swear I know with certainty that the Bing Bang was a dud, that the firmament can't be breached, that I definitely dare eat a peach, and that it all makes perfect sense, after all.
Favor I have a favor to ask of you. Would you be so kind as to die again? Just one more time is all I ask. You see, I need to say how sorry I am for the unkindnesses, stupidities, and troubles I caused you. Once I've done it right this timeand I will, I promiseplease feel free to breathe your last breath, just as you did, a bit prematurely, the last time.
In Memoriam: K.E.B., 1961-2010 I learned of your death a month after you breathed your last breath. As a matter of fact, I'd been thinking of you that very day (as if you were still here), and the week before I'd even joked about you-
except, of course, that there was no here here anymore. Although they say old soldiers never die, old girlfriends evidently do: indeed, in your case, twice. It's the faithless lover, who, as you could surely testify, simply fades awaynever to reappear.
Irene Koronas poetry editor for Wilderness House Literary Review. Her poetry has appeared in Clarion, Lummox, Free Verse, Posey, Presa :S: Press, and many on-line zines. She has published ten chap-books, and has poems in several anthologies, also she has two full length books, 'Self Portrait Drawn From Many,â€™ Ibbettson Street Press, 2007, 'Pentakomo Cyprus' Cervena Barva Press' 2009. Her most recent chapbooks, 'Zero Boundaries', Cervena Barva Press, 2008 and 'Emily Dickinson," Propaganda Press, 2010.
godmother martha she told us if we climbed out the window we had to climb back through or evil would pursue she told us if we touched a gypsy we would have warts where the touch touched our skin she told us her husband would twirl on bar stool, looking at all the young girls she says her brother danced every night naked to the beat beat beat. He still hears gun shots in his head she stopped talking when her husband entered the room or her mother-in-law she called the hawk once a week my mother listened to her spew she left all her omen marks on the walls I open all the windows shooing out all her unhappiness
this morning this morning all lights are on in every room the scent lingers before night begins to seep through wearing soft and swift deep blue suede voices beckon who she was before she was my mother her five brothers and one sister in small apartment by the railroad tracks. we swim in public pool while mother visits her mother her mother not really her mother her mother died when she was five years old. and one brother sent back to the village where family was meant to care for him. three children in america with an aunt until her father gathered another mother another village her brother's broken heart floated off the shore in long strokes he tried to get back after their mother no longer there and mother must not be seen by teenage boys and if mother spoke with one, all the other mothers from all the other places, told her stepmother who took the leather strap, beat her across her budding breasts. my aunt said all the mothers did that. that is about being where all mothers watch each others children. let us leave it at that. before mother was my mother she was triple promoted because as a genius was sent to the laundry factory her sweat trickled down her back
lean morning leaning on his cane the man in black coat meanders white as yesterday's nubian landscape all the many green vistas laden and drenched enamel he leans against the wind chanting while he walks rapidly pushing ahead when ahead is always there as rapid rivers water down the rocks smooth his steps
Daniel Y. Harris Daniel Y. Harris is the author of “Hyperlinks of Anxiety” (Cervena Barva Press, 2012, forthcoming), “The New Arcana” (with John Amen, New York Quarterly Books, 2012), “Paul Celan and the Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue” (with Adam Shechter, Cervena Barva Press, 2010; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5 most important Jewish poetry books of 2010) and “Unio Mystica” (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Some of his poetry, experimental writing, art, and essays have been published in BlazeVOX, Denver Quarterly, European Judaism, Exquisite Corpse, The New York Quarterly, Posse Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine.com and Poetry Salzburg Review. His website is www.danielyharris.com.
Denaturant Taut in the stonescape—interclonal drifts of algae, to a phalanx of sharp edges, where waves clip kelp and mussels are secreted by glands. It’s the organic debris of dark purple crust, the sea palm pitted against bloated bodies and vertical walls. Spores defoliate the rocks, battered by pier pilings, blue byssal threads and particles of sandblast. Barrel staves and tumbleweed, scaled beyond shock, hint at a carrousel of hands or a cartwheel of twiggy limbs as would accompany any irreal procession of chaotropics, hackneyed as this one appears to the initiated, petrified into prank, camouflaged by a façade, yet connective enough to thread a tapestry of pratfalls. The initiated or a troop
of mimics? There is plankton where ice abrades. There is the stay of the anemone, algal beds, reefs, surge channels, tidepools, phyla tissue and starfish that meld in solid rock, but no asp nor mythic demons of the underworld. No decay smuts the epic verve of ruin with its black sumac slanted to bray the white surface of wave foam. Retroactive, from the prior question: sycophants, so neither the initiated nor a troop of mimics: air rasp with skim of swift light, sun-cusped, zoned for gnats on barnacle stone. There is muck in sap and black-mesh basins, but no walking back lost in the faint loci of anonymity. A holy conclave of locusts. The murmur of leaves. Shade clusters
in pits. Piles of drifted seaweed, algae spore, eel grass and septic salt-marches. Skin mist in shade is cathected by skins of wind, brine-like as empty socket or shell of a former shape prior to ruinâ€” the knife-shape the momentum assumed to rest in these shaky lower degrees. No ground coiled on the unguarded fence above surf to sequester return. This is the decibel suspension of noâ€” the post romantic bliss of unnaming back into
names and hominid relics. Not exactly. White incisors scaling the arterial walls of trope, bent the pen a decade ago. Neither hominid nor digipedal droid have penned these megabytes per second. That’s not the point, at least to skilled
initiates of taste and narration. They had dealt in lye inside the clutches of the circus: herdsman on wooden plots, sporting tattoos of two varicose biceps, bipedal in the brain as braided black core larynx—primitive pen and ink—obscured by vanity, born of tirades in the open face of a cave. Speaks the cartilage bonds between the frozen ovum of heart and the copper coils of a femur: speaks, sure, when the ears secrete volts and the mild annoyance of sense returns to a plain sense things. Remove cysts from the iron lung of cliché and dismantle its sacred armature. Litigants will take their share. Canon assassins, theirs. The loss of control is a slippery spin.
Unburiable A variation on Moshe Dor’s “Excavation,” for the Hillel Institute’s Beit Midrash—(St Louis, August 2012)
There's a motto on the crest of a relic, knotting
bonds, alloyed with the ancient of days—
ruach, the messianic hum, incised on stone,
under the iron dome—
of a Hebrew source beams want
from its covenant
Age of Incivility No appeal, in this case, to the classical with its bowsprit projecting from the spar of the canon’s rigging. The gloves are off: latex, nitrile rubber or vinyl with velcro, cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, neoprene and metal for the vaguely affected among us. The person has been pilfered, became more a synthetic hodgepodge of reaction against this or that headline, this or that native strain of “place comment here.” I’m pissed, dissed, arms flaying, unafraid, unimpressed, bored but driven to assault the bastard: all the bastards, especially the harridans who prance around like a cult devoted to fuchsia and dirty bombs. That’s a lie. Whatever it is, I’m against it, save some
lachrimae floral tapestry with a Mother Teresa quote stitched in lilac at the bottom. Then again, I’m against that too, prefer a sedentary way of life, but am interrupted by new dislikes—never tongue-tied, never to blame, organizing a grassroots movement of rabbits, quail and fence lizards from my chaise longue. How about some hors-d’oeuvres? Sure, I’ll take the bruschetta and cocktail wieners. You’re out? Give me the sautéed beef tongue with a vodka gimlet and go bushwhack yourself. How I pander to my inner bitch in just thirty-five minutes. It’s all in the grisly smiles and blunt eyes of gossip’s muck mouth. I can’t say for sure, but it’s not enough that they’re dead. I want them annihilated from memory. A silly rumor. They were never here like the tattoo of a thoracic vertebrae between two black crows not inserted into the dermis layer of my skin.
RODICA DRAGHINCESCU (Romanian – French writer, born in Buzias, Romania ) has written poetry, novels, and essays. She has five books of original poetry published in Romania, five books in French (novel, poetry- published in France and Canada), and four translated into German, published in Germany. Among her books of poetry written in Romanian and French are Everybody Has Some Photos Under His Bed That He’s Ashamed of (1996), A Sharp Double-Edged Luxury Object (1997), Gâteau de terre (1999), I-genia (2000), and Fauve en liberté (2003), and the novels, The Distance Between a Clothed Man and a Woman such as She (1996) and Vagabond (1999). She is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Paul Verlaine University in Metz, France. In 2006 she was awarded the International Prize for Poetry “Le Lien” in Metz, France. She is Editor for LEVURE LITTERAIRE, International Revue for Information and cultural Education (France-USA-Germany). http://www.levurelitteraire.com
Holes translated by Howard Scott In the bloodless bottomless pit. In the basement of nuances. Lower than the lair of language, lower than the cellars of words, lower than the holes of urgent reality. It is neither easy to understand, nor beautiful, nor impossible, nor the bible, nor porn. Instead it is weird and complicated (vowels and consonants made mouldy through forbidden feelings and words): then, other complications: the spoken letter, the amplified sounds, the erection of the brain in the hole of language, etc. Many people confuse the beginning of a thought with the end of a word. At the lowest point in the endless. Lower than the end, lower than the beginning. It's not permitted, but it lets you live the opposite. A(ll) lone at the entrance of the. Of the life and of the death of words. Of fate in the catacombs of saying.
The word takes charge of the life of death and the death of life. The life of the dead pulls on the elastic of silence and so on. Many people knock at the door of words with an image. And at the door of images with a word. Orators and image-makers, death rakes them all in, like a mechanical street sweeper. Run for your life! There is a biggish word in my saliva, which takes itself for a sand pit. Night and day, of the I love what I don't love, I don't love what I love, I love what I don't love kind. Sand filling the holes of longings. The lowest. Lower, lower than living people. Lower than the holes of memory. In the lowest. Swishing holes, in case of danger and pleasure, holes of interdictions, holes of thirst of hunger of luxury of the fear of age, holes examples of the ozone layer, holes of exaggerated time, holes of ex-holes, blah, blah, la, la, la. An individual or a family of individuals has the right to dig one hole in life and in death another, according to the well-known rules of addition: 1+1=2, though that doesn't make much. The second hole is a grave into which is dropped a man or a woman or their parents or their children, and words in accordance with "to," and more or less big, more or less salty tears. Death has a taste. In any case (...). I go from one extreme to another, like a tooth extraction without anaesthesia. Holes from one house to the next. Holes, simple and grey, simple, grey people. Make the hole = enlarge, expand or destroy? That depends on what you want to do here. From the point of view of the town hall of my hometown, I have a registered hole, on the model of all the apartments in my building. The addition of all the neighbouring holes gives info on the bicycle sheds, national flags, Communist Basque berets, political papers, portraits of fascists, jam, constitutions, black shirts, view cards, from the prince --the reigning one, the bastard P., from nephew A., from the good King M., all exiled in Switzerland, red lace, refined rats and cockroaches, holes in cement or in earth, 2 x 2 =4 m. In those holes one imagines the hope of a dormer. What counts is the little door, the key outside, gently towards hell. The other consequences are not valid if you have no key no handle. It's true, it's my fault, but I regret nothing, I go on. There are stories for soothing memory
and others to stimulate it. Words that open and close automatically and open one last time, for memory. Memory? Braid of three women: my grandma, me, us three (granny – me – memory), an illegal hole, memory, gram - mama - me, protected against the evil, the sorrow, the criminal, in the threatening plural. I have not yet written my memoirs, although I have surplus to sell, I have written pamphlets on the filthiness of people without memory, but in political power. On the grime of capitalistscommunistssocialists, on the bloody love of politics with the peoples, on the poverty of the countries between which I live. The holes of political love. It metamorphoses Cupid and vice versa. Politics is erotic. Eroticism does politics, at least between two organs of power in small society. Always something to put holes in, to insert, to occupy. Can we break through emotional memory? I'm not cheating. It is time that makes holes and empties words. I am its illegal image, without right, law, people, president, without party, without the European Union, without NATO, etc (…). I am underground, and the world will be crazy in love with my undergroundedness. This poem is not yet underground, but the one who waits in my tears will be. A poem lives and circulates without the poet, without the consent of border guards, without love, fear, pain. Poetry is like rain, it does what it wants and as much as necessary. I dream out loud, an exiled woman. Out loud something frays, dissipates, runs out. It's my tongue. You can't ramble on about a tongue with expressions that have nothing to do with, that is, the tongue of a shrew. Here and there, my lovers divvy up slices of beef tongue. Will we eat this tongue unfolded over us? We don't eat it, only contemplate it. Famished, the dogpoem shows us its fangs. It scares all the undersigned. Love tastes the madness of death, in the language of the dead, at the (…). Love has taste. A distinctive taste. Words of love, deaths because of words of love, in the hole of poetry my poem plays on a woman naked and wise. Gentle, peaceful, generous, it licks my wounds, lets its saliva drip into my
blood, it arranges itself in the hole, violently pushes my shapes to the surface and tosses me into the air. That makes for Zola-like images, but that's okay, in every Zola there is a sacrificed romantic. There are enough people who no longer love, but who want to be loved. All their words of love are "bitter-sweet-sour speech." It grows and blossoms in the ceremonies of the tongue. Who with whom? Who because of whom? The lowest. Lower than the "never seen." Every equality makes poetry free. Every illegality ennobles the mystery of a poem! Stuttgart, January 16-20, 2005
Fence (original: French = Cloison) ...precisely inside this lack of will, text is in sex ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))), its letters have echoes, no images. They howl YOU, WILDCAT! FEMALE I bury my fangs in their forms I drag them to the end of meaning Difficulty passes for investigation, peril, love, GOOD EVENING! During the day, I sell metres and kilometres of solitude In the name of a so-called grandpa, Poetic theories can go to the devil! Long live the idea (of filling a poem with breasts, thighs, organs, directions, distances) that suits Rest, Nothingness, the Ephemeral! The text rises above the closed space:
Trous translated by Howard Scott It howls horribly like a jungle penetrated by the storm At the level of metabolism of the image It's always the sounds that make dream A talking nightmare (distances? directions? blanks?!) How can I count, establish the coincidences? My text looks like Virile germs doing gymnastics For wanting to crush us?! As my consciousness is raised and grows, I feel more ill at ease, when the Adams Recommend me to the Adams: POETESS, that is, EVE, LOVER, erotic notion Usually hidden in the language And because for me, the truth is another, Quasi-love recalls the physics of the rocking chair How is woman born? Around her! What dimension of her howling between the question And its solution, do you prefer? In this rigid space, where I still measure The footsteps of others... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... flashing, furtive, the cocks fight, outside, for a blade of grass... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... on the other side the body digs its ditch, a conscience mired in holy mud Will I escape? Do I swim? Will I get there? Here I am: the spokesperson for the WILDCAT-IN-FREEDOM (lover, enemy, parent, stranger) Me? My name is YOU. (It's good that the broken illusion becomes resistance) The more gentle the wildcat (the domesticated female),
the more the image of its use will be fierce, in language, that is? in language of course And because for me, YOU = THE WILDCAT, since forever, QUASI-LOVE is only the alchemy of a certain point You will be there, if you stop there, but if you stopped, you would not be there! the more the point is like a leap to the perch, the more the position of the leap recalls ACHILLES, the legendary, In which language? While writing with the body, It happens often with solitary people: To fall in love with a wall, with a pendulum... And I (GOOD EVENING!) am the mason of that bizarre space! Nothing more legitimate, practising writing in pain Listen to that mmmmmmmrnmnmmmgggggggrrrrmgr (growling through) How can I get permission to devour my text (my customer? my lover?)? Head down, flawless, until (you can distinguish a series of indivisible acts) ME, I, YOU, YOU (change of questions in all the meanings that happen and that I accept as desires, longings, desiiiiires!) After, I run away. When I run, I judge perfectly. If that absurd instant gives me advantages over you, excuse me, but running straight ahead, I feel exceptionally .... Fence on the left, Fence behind, Wall on the right, Wall on the left ... (where ARE YOU, ZENO OF ELEA? ? ? ?) By killing the barriers, walls, fences, partitions, I search for you, my love, in these murmurings, In all that that bla-bla .... I search for you
I keep you, I do not trick the absurdity or the meaning of patched memories (How could it be possible that the one that is moving can coincide with the one that does not move?!) Lack of lucidity turns my head: THERE IS NOTHING BUT MY WRITING, ALWAYS READY TO TAKE VICTIMS ...
TRANS POETAM Motto: But what is beyond the poet is there something? He lives, suspended between the loves he never had. He knows not how to love. Between yesterday and today, hanging, he knows all the places of emptiness. Triple-edged in the darkness of names, like a rocket full of bees, his 3rd eye leads him to the flowerings of the past. To stay in the air, he uses his fingers as a single wing, following the caress of scent to which his troubles will be given. He walks on his hands and feeds on the abyss of his feet. He cuts himself on the angel tongue. In his mouth, bloodied names pile up for the following flight. De-corporealized, he is reborn of the ball that can no longer hide him. What the poet says is already tattooed on the wrists of our hands, like hunger on the necks of wolves in winter. Like any emotional maturation, it incorporates the nakedness goddesses are finished in the night.
Joanna Kurowska is a poet-immigrant, the author of two books of poetry in Polish and one in English (Inclusions—forthcoming in 2013 from Cervena Barva Press). Her poems appeared in journals such as American Tanka, Dappled Things, Bateau, Illuminations, International Poetry Review, Room, Solo Novo, Vineyards and elsewhere. Kurowska’s critical works have appeared among others in Slavic and East European Journal, Anglican Theological Review, NewPages, and Sarmatian Review.
depletion after all the aurum became extracted from the dirt and made into bullion, the earth lost its golden vein that flowed like music through its flesh now there are just empty corridors. we can study them, layer by layer; each of the same density—naught; each of the same hue —a pure black
My Grandfather’s Suitcase My grandfather was dispersing There was less and less of him till he became sheer energy that I could no longer touch,
save his small leather suitcase under the sofa. I wonder could I ever become so succinct all my papers—a soldier’s ID, all adornments a cap badge with an eagle, one of its wings bent. For all tools—eating utensils in a well-used case; a pencil, a yellowed cigarette holder, a photo with a cavalry horse; shot glasses on a silver tray engraved with eight signatures of the Second Division fellow officers murdered in Katyń; a postcard signed “Love, Peggy”
The Sand Gospel The only gospel Jesus has ever written was the one on sand—transient words that the wind carried away. I can see his finger stirring the jelly we call the air—it commences its endless vibrations, before the hand touches the ground. Then, the sand knows how to reclaim its distorted ripple. The meaning, more elusive than a quark, travels through onlookers’ neurons
on the arrow of time. After entropy disperses all matter, it alone will remain; wordsâ€™ energy.
Susan Tepper is the author of four published books. Her recent title, From the Umberplatzen, is a quirky love story set in Germany and told in linkedflash. She has been nominated nine times for the Pushcart Prize and her novel, What May Have Been (Cervena Barva Press, 2010) was nominated for a Pulitzer.
Aftershocks The veil has creased the morning into aftershocks— an unmade bed will stay unmade, wet towels drape an uncertain future— about this place, did you see the garden turn crumbling gray during the winter storms It was a matter of privacy. You rushed to set the stones back where nature had upended But, still—
Windows at Dusk My darkness is nothing next to your light: shatters bone softly comes through like a ball breaking windows at dusk— that boy didn’t aim well A fresh pie sprinkled
shot through with glass and fragments
Reflection Damp through the walls smell of day’s old bread you eat at night rough table yellow lamp hanging / reflects off the still lake— You’ve drowned there more than once filled rocks in your pockets— an old romantic ruse In the end still no one loved you
Zvi A. Sesling has published poems in Midstream, Saranac Review, New Delta Review, Voices Israel Anthology, Cyclamens & Swords, Ship of Fools, The Chaffin Journal, Poetica, Ibbetson Street, Istanbul Literary Review, Illya's Honey, Wavelength, Asphodel, Main Channel Voices and Hazmat Review, and many others. In 2004 he was awarded Third Place in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition and in 2007 he received First Prize in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition. He was selected to read his poetry at New England/Pen "Discovery" in 2008 by Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish. He is editor of the Muddy River Poetry Review.
Texas Tower Massacre On August 1, 1966 Charles Joseph Whitman ,25, a former Marine at the University of Texas in Austin TX, killed 14 people and wounded 32 others. Three were killed inside the administration building and ten killed from the 29th floor observation deck. The tower massacre occurred after Whitman murdered his wife and mother. You stand atop the tower on the observation deck, 28th floor of the administration building, blood already on your hands: wife and mother dead Perhaps it is voices telling you to shoot or buzzing deafening as people below walk innocently to work and you look down seeing useless insects to step on Crush the people like cockroaches on sidewalks bullets in place of feet, hand steady bullets straight â€“ feel close to God or hell in the tower up there pulling the trigger again and again Twenty-five years-old only a few weeks ago, today you
want to kill one dead for each year but get fourteen, plus your wife and mother, thirty-two wounded before they get you before the voices stop, the buzzing dies Blonde, blue-eyes the supremacists would love you, would send you to do a job they cannot do themselves and still a clue as to what is inside you what made you tick that day atop the clock tower You fail as a son, as a husband, as a Marine, as a student, you finally find success: fourteen dead, thirty-two wounded, hundreds with scars of your madness: were you near God or hell
Fire Tongue They called her Fire Tongue, not for the juicy stick that entered your mouth all the way to the throat, but for the hot spears of words fired like Apache arrows to the heart No mercy when angry, no care for embarrassment for herself or the recipient, a tongue that whipped, words bleeding on the victimâ€™s face, anguish running down the cheeks and her face, angelic yet fierce like Joan of Arc O priestess of the mad, why did they take you from us, your tongue prophesied, even in anger or hate your tongue spoke truth, a prophet they called you, others said you were simply mad
City Of Gray Like blind people they grope through alleys and narrow streets of the city of the lost â€“ a purgatory of gray buildings and gray walls, gray alleys and streets where gray people lead gray lives and the wanderers seek happiness in a city that has none as people in gray uniforms enter and leave factories with high gray walls like a prison and their children run through the streets and never laugh The nuns are marching in their gray habits through gray streets lined with gray stone buildings with gray sidewalks that even housemaids in gray uniforms cannot scrub white like lilies in a window where a gray child holds a red ball as the nuns with lines in their faces like canals march to the gray church in the center of town where gray mockingbirds sing Gregorian chants
Judith Skillman’s 13th collection, “The Phoenix, New and Selected Poems 2006 – 2012” is forthcoming from Dream Horse Press. She’s the recipient of awards from The Academy of American Poets, The King County Arts Commission, and the Washington State Arts Commission. Her poems and translations have appeared in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, FIELD, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently Judith Skillman, M.A., teaches at Yellow Wood Academy, Mercer Island, Washington. Visit www.judithskillman.com <http://www.judithskillman.com>
Briar Rose I am sleeping, I have slept, I will sleep for years here in this castle where the flies stop and time ceases in its amber crystal. The king and queen, their retinue— how deeply we verge on the throne of stillness. Leveling the castle the forest grows its thorns and roses—the flag, stiff-limbed, stops. I sleep away the poison in my finger, pricked by a needle from the spinet. The air, the fire, all of it statuesque as the objects loosen their hold. My clothes no longer matter—as, when a country changes and bread becomes scarce. A forest of print flourishes, yet the reader finds nothing to find favor in, as nihilism begins its slender reign…
Pulling the Needle Out of my finger in dream holding the head in my right hand feeling the pain the shaft beneath layers it hurts to bend the argument remains in the finger as well as those helpless to attend blood comes passers-by dismissed in passive witnessing the finger phallic the needle a symbol meant to be felt in sleep
where the deities meet to exorcise with the genius of machines what the unconscious guards with moats bridges and barbed wire there I meet the other the one who twins me in daytime when an orange sun drops like a bomb through the marine layer of marbled clouds into the sea
Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. He teaches writing at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. and Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. his work has widely appeared in the small press including: Wilderness House Literary Review, Steam Ticket, Poesy, Presa, and others.
Old Women at the Market Basket: Somerville, Mass. They sit in chairs watch the carts flush with produce reminding them of their salad days. And they are so past ripe now... All this luxuriant bloomAs they wistfully watch a man with a long gray beard whisk the floor with a broom.
You will meet a tall, dark stranger. You are an oyster, but with no pearl. Watch the man who laughs, he laughs at you. Confucius says " Life is tough. even tougher if you are stupid." Your open mouth will collect feet. Give one a gift-better to give than receive. A man who sweats has something up his sleeve.
Ah, tonight no frail, and bitter-barbed cookie, I bless my good fortune.
International Arts Magazine