27 September, 2009

The Remarkable

In the middle of
the infield
during a stock-car race,

he lifts his camera
from the roaring before him
and snaps several shots

of barbed wire
atop a chain-link fence
with the blue sky behind it.

~~ Tony Brown

The Silence of Eggs

He never told anyone at the monastery
How he talked to the chickens as he took
The warm eggs from under them,
How he forgave their beaks, their sharp
Reminders of the privileges of motherhood.
He never even told the tree he came to
For its murmuring shade to wipe his brow
Of the Iowa summer. His best friend
Kept the bees, was becoming one himself,
Talked to the queen, he once confessed,
In bee, the sweet melodics of a love
That made nothing of the hive but sense.

Once when he was forty-five his sister came
From the East to visit him. She was allowed
To sit with him at meals but not to talk to anyone,
To listen while they ate, listen and meditate
On the scripture the senior reader chose.
She told her children how the Trappists' teeth
Scraped as they tried to chew the broth,
How the rosary beads sounded like rattlesnakes,
How she was afraid the whole time she was there
Of what she had become, how far she'd gone
Away from this holy silence, so far that she heard
The rattle of the bones each time her brother walked.

We got a crate of freshfed, handpacked eggs
From the monastery every couple months
During the war. The cardboard cups we kids used
To save our favorite stones could take an egg from here
To Timbuktu and back again my older brother bragged
Who otherwise had nothing much to do with miracles.
Every week my mother cracked a half a dozen open
To scramble us our Sunday eggs, she'd listen hard
For the silence that came tumbling out. Best part
Of the week, she'd say. That silence. Safe
In her own kitchen, among her gang of galoots
Who found in noise the harmonies of being young,
She would hide the silence of the eggs away
So she could have it with her afternoon tea.
She sometimes said when we were gone
She'd take the cloth, tuck herself inside a shell,
Not say another word till evening broke.

~~ Martin Galvin

catch me
striding to
the door. ‘Where are you going?’ they ask, standing
up. ‘Hunting,’ I say smiling, and leave for
the beach. ‘What’s he hunt for?’ they
ask my wife, their aunt. ‘Poems,’
she says ‘for words.’ ‘Where?’
Their voices doubt. ‘In
the very shape of
things,’ she

~~ Matthew Arkapaw
La Specialité de la Maison

My daughter didn't like it
that I had questions by my plate
the time she came for dinner at my place
on one of her return visits.

I tried to explain
how, because I seldom saw her,
I wanted not to forget
to ask her this or that.

It was the list,
she said, and my referring to it,
like an interview, no
conversational give and take,

as if she were applying
for a position
as my daughter.
I saw her point but, still,

thought she failed to see
the compliment, my will
all focussed on her, her life,
my wanting to miss none of it.

But when I said I guess
I should have memorized
the questions, dropped
them in where appropriate,

I could tell that
wasn't much better
by the way she
twisted her spaghetti.

So, the next time,
I served up
the surrendering
of my control,

covered with a sauce
of trust in the moment,
her, us, myself, and she ate her fill,
saying it was good.

It's not an easy meal
for me to make - the recipe
always changing, the risk
of failure, the kitchens

everywhere. That said,
I'm thinking I could get to like it.
I had a question for you,
but I forgot what it was.

~~ Philip Dacey

25 September, 2009


Whenever I saw Harry Flatt pumping notes
through his tuba, the clump of them
taking off like a gooney bird
plopping on his gold epaulettes,
and Harry hopping to keep in step
in the homecoming parade,
I knew the sky had opened
for redemption, for all of us,
for the droolers and nose pickers,
even Harry who would crawl up to heaven
on all fours, or get sucked up, his hair
standing like a corn crop.
And the band marked time
(notes slicked down like an old Ford
stuck in second gear, except
they weren't stuck and jolted on)
in whites and reds as red
as fireplugs, until it broke
up at Howard's where sodas
spilled over glass, and everyone
laughed like hussars.
It was forty or forty-one when
the letters came, typed up from the board,
and the whole band signed up,
even Harry Flatt, hair rising
like an expectation
and the war kissed them,
even the sophisticates
from Leopard Hill and Lafayette,
laid them down like children and spread
an eternity of white crosses
like corn seed
in longer and longer rows and the birds
flew north, whole flocks of them,
and never stopped,
not even for crumbs.

~~ George Ellenbogen

In an empty field
I found a metaphor.
It was dying,
no longer connected to its roots.

Recognising it from my childhood,
against my better judgment,
I tried to revive it.

~~ Cameron Fuller
Open Book

If the Future sends us Cimmerian messages
this picture must be one of them

under the dark crumbling sky –
a second-hand bookshop that sells
not books but the authors –
speaking dolls

this one –
recounting twenty historical novels
by heart

and that one –
reciting three volumes of his poems

in the candlelit window
Cinderella dances with wooden
Marie Corelli
three daughters of success narrate
the story of their porcelain marriage
to Mr. Nutcracker

I can see my pen-and-ink self
quietly getting onto a shelf

I expect to be selling well –
one can clearly read on my face
the promise of long hours running
filled by incessant intellectual activity.

~~ Anatoly Kudryavitsky

24 September, 2009

Orion’s Belt

You had three dark spots
in a line
down your back,
more or less in line
with your gently curving spine.
Your very own Orion’s belt
you used to call it.
Each one of us,
you would say,
has our own constellation,
we have but to find it.
I didn’t care for it much,
I have to say,
but I liked the way
the corners of your mouth
turned up when you frowned,
so I stayed quiet.
But now,
when I look up to the night sky,
I find myself tracing you out,
amongst the stars.

~~ Benjamin Russell

Book Seducer

You have revealed
your subtext to me
in a hushed
intimate encounter.
I seduced you
on a train
folding your
with dog ears
highlighting what
I loved about
you with
deep heart-red ink.
And even now
I talk you up with
people I meet
yet I abandoned you on some
pedestrian commuter rail

~~ Doug Holder

23 September, 2009


It is a nice thought
Our minds are lush palaces
But a closer look
Reveals a duct-taped shoebox
Filled with scribbles on napkins

~~ Jack Cantey

Lament for the Bamiyan Buddhas

Cry not for me, love,
my nothingness
knows nothing
feels nothing
but the breath of earth
unchanging on my changing form

Cry not for the grace
so rare, the visage
almost faceless in the air
of ages rapt in the beauty
of my house of sky

Cry not for that, no,
not for any loving thing
whose placid gaze
would love you only
as you love yourself,

nor for any thing beloved,
no thing to which
you speak your heart,
no holy conduit
of your deepest own serenity,

cry not for that--

our waters rush
as we would lose ourselves
in our own losing
all the same.

Cry only for the man
who would shatter the mirror
of what he might have been,
that dream of manhood
so much more godly
than my memory
of eyes and bones

Cry for the man
who would think he could be
as the tremor that brought down
the stone and lapis skies
of the house of Saint Francis

Cry for him
who would try to breach
the wall of your peace,
make holes in the light

Cry for him
who like a fool
would flail in rage
to make a nothing
of our precious nothing

But cry not for me

~~ Stephen Sartarelli


the invisible city is always with you
the way you know its inside dream
while the unknown city with its clashing
its sirens and bells
and strange rain charms
transverses your map
and in its latitude confuses
all your directions
every way is underground

~~ Jill Jones

20 September, 2009

After the Rain

Last night’s rain still hang from the branches
Like someone’s wet eyes, after the tears are spent.

~~ Nazia Mallick


Heavy clouds
on a locomotive’s back

a cry at every

~~ William Michaelian

The Poet as Archaeologist

This man smiles at the coming of autumn,
The silence of cicadas makes him laugh;
even the wind-scatter of leaves pleases him.

Tired of digging in, he is digging out
from under the ruins of his measured words,
while his ancestors, having escaped him,

turn round and smile at the distance between.

~~ Vassilis Zambaras
(from Sentences, 1976)

Charlie in the Tunnel

In the dark tunnel I saw you,
rodent like in my heart.
The ground shook above us, the grenades
resounding like thuds of heavy rain.
I felt the sweat of your hate,
Your body, quiet and still in the darkness,
waiting to kill me.
Here, I knew you and I belonged
in the underground struggle.
In the flick of an eyelid
I could not call you the enemy
in your own land.
Your glance was human--
even when cornered--our breathing stilled
by the hidden fright in us.
I backed out of the damp darkness,
telling my comrades above ground,
“The tunnel is cold!”

~~ Luis Lázaro Tijerina