20 October, 2012

"The Gift" .  Artist: Sarkish (Latvia)

Little Epiphanies

The difference between what’s required
and what’s desired is the difference

between the chocolate and the cake,
the car and the new car smell, the nightie

and the night. There’s so much I want
to twist round my fingers, to stroke

and stir, sketch and stretch, but so much
I should sweep and scrub, strip

and sterilize.  But I’d rather wring dirt
from my pores, turn it to ink instead,

rather scurry to my driveway to study
the moon’s abrupt phrases than kneel

with bucket and mop to banish shadows
that have sprung up on my kitchen

floor, darkening my soles as if I were
anointed, a kind of low-rent henna

for the lazy and uninhibited.
I should keep the unmentionables

unmentioned, nudity prohibited,
purses to a minimum, but I thrive

on clutter—my gaudy bras and bags
of yarn, my malfunctioning pens,

last chance reams of slightly damaged
paper. The difference between what’s whole

and what’s held, what’s withheld
or revealed, what’s real and what’s

revelation—that’s what I seek,
rest of my life spent in search

of little epiphanies, tiny sparks surging
out of the brain during the clumsiest speech.

~ ~   Allison Joseph

Valparaiso Poetry Review, Fall/Winter 2009-2010, Vol. XI, Number 1.

leggy colt struggles to stand
first of many challenges

~ ~ Judi Van Gorder
Ghost Hawk.  Photographer: Trane DeVore


walking up forty-two stairs,
the smell of a rubber ball, your arm
brushing against a stucco wall,
the prick of a pin in the tip
of your right index finger.

There was a clock you once knew,
draw its tick inside your body.
There was a bicycle on a dirt road
the summer you fell in love,
balance on its handlebars.

Enter a room you have forgotten.
Walk through midnight
carrying a make-believe lantern.
Stretch out your hand,
touch the horizon.

~ ~ Ruth Bavetta

ZONE: International Journal of Poems and Prose
(April, 2010).

Fisherman and Sons.  Artist: Donna Crosby


A man spends his whole life fishing in himself
for something grand. It's like some lost lunker, big enough
to break all records. But he's only heard rumors, myths,
vague promises of wonder. He's only felt the shadow
of something enormous darken his life. Or has he?
Maybe it's the shadow of other fish, greater than his,
the shadow of other men's souls passing over him.
Each day he grabs his gear and makes his way
to the ocean. At least he's sure of that: or is he? Is it the ocean
or the little puddle of his tears? Is this his dinghy
or the frayed boards of his ego, scoured by storm?
He shoves off, feeling the land fall away under his boots.
Soon he's drifting under clouds, wind whispering blandishments
in his ears. It could be today: the water heaves
and settles like a chest. . . He's not far out.
It's all so pleasant, so comforting--the sunlight,
the waves. He'll go back soon, thinking: "Maybe tonight."
Night with its concealments, its shadow 
masking all other shadows.
Night with its privacies, its alluringly distant stars.

~ ~ Kurt Brown

From: More Things in Heaven and Earth (Four Way Books, 2002).

Cobalt Field.  Artist:  Warren Gossett

farm auction -
the gavel falls
on his dreams

                        a popsicle wrapper
                        skips in the wind

~ ~ Warren Gossett

Envejecer otro año en la colonia

Pero ni dos amantes
sensatos entorpecen la trama
hostil del eucalipto.

Como en una acuarela frente a un grupo
de aprendices de crítico,
poniente abre una herida
entre los piragüistas.

Se me ocurre que somos caracoles
en una espiga, dos
piezas arracimadas

en el puño de conchas
sobre el tallo amarillo

violando alguna ley de la materia.

~ ~ Carlos Pardo

Echado a perder [Spoiled], (Madrid, Visor, 2007).


                            To age another year in the summer
                            But not even two sensible lovers
                            slow down the hostile
                            weft of the eucalyptis.
                            Like in a watercolor in front of a group
                            of critics in training,
                            west opens a wound
                            between the canoeists.
                            It occurs to me that we are snails
                            on a sprig, two
                            pieces pressed together
                            in the fist of sea shells
                            on a yellow stem
                            violating some law of matter.

                             ~ ~ Carlos Pardo

                             Translated by Curtis Bauer 

                             First published in The Dirty Goat #25.

Dance of Life 2.  Artist: Anatol Knotek

Questions about Love

From what I have heard of love,
People don’t give their heart.
Our heart flies from us,
And we can choose to follow or not.

                    -- From “Translations”, by Brian Friel.

I too have heard tell of love,
The stories speak
of something solid, something
with body, something
we can hold tight
against our frightened chests
like a living heart.
Other stories tell
of love as blood, loss,
or even war, where some
never come back, babies never get born,
painful things, not something
I would ask for.

We must be born wanting
this love business.
Perhaps its indigenous state
is other than
what we’ve been told.
Perhaps it’s like fresh olive oil, cut crass,
cool dew or new wine
that tastes of mango and lemon.
It could be the freak storm
when the rain fell horizontally
or Sophia who flew straight
through the customs barrier
into my arms.

Or perhaps it was
the thick black clouds
of sweeping swallows
that circled my quiet house
for days, settling on the grass,
In the almond branches, all over
the roof as if the pepper pot
had flipped over, and then,
suddenly, gone one morning.

I think love might be
the fragment of a poem
that comes to one while walking
between spaghetti and ham
in the market by the metro station,
and the rush to get home.
And the days afterwards
of telling it over and over
until it is right there, alight
on my fingertips.

Earth Listening, Hobblebush Press, 2010

Followers.  Artist: Lea Kelley
The End 

Oblivious, the holy man of God's
Voice unctuously tries to put at ease
Each desultory listener. He lauds
Redemption at my somber obsequies.
Mark how he speaks of hard-earned paradise,
Yammering in his sober self-restraint:
Deliverance from evil, sacrifice,
Effusions both of angel and of saint,
As if this Earth were not the world to me!
Despite it all, it's all I've ever known;
Be slow to throw away my ecstasy
Of fire, air and water, blood and bone.
Death may have come to hurl me heavenward,
Yet love shall live and lie unsepulchered. 

~ ~  Catherine Chandler

The HyperTexts, 2005.
Ca şi cum, glissando
Departe de unde mã aflu,
pragul de fulgi arginitii
cerne spaţiul stelelor cârcotaşe

-         ca şi cum –

ca şi cum totul n-ar fi decât o simplã ezitare de a exista
sub globuri mãrunte, adunate în luminã,

si mansarda lor, un solstitiuce
reverbereaza intr-un timid glissando
cu tonul
unor ploi ce-abia incep.

 ~ ~  Irina Moga 

                                     As if, glissando 

                                     Far from where I am
                                   the threshold of silvery flakes
                                   sifts the space of crumbly stars

                                   -    as if  -

                                  as if this was a mere reluctance to exist
                                  below orbs of fused sunshine,

                                  its attic, a solstice
                                  that resonates, in a timorous glissando,
                                  with the tone
                                  of incipient, make-believe rains.

                                  ~ ~ Irina Moga 

The February 27, 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile moved Earth’s figure axis by about 3 inches, affecting the Earth’s rotation, shortening its days, and moving the city of Concepción at least 10 feet to the West. (from NASA website)

The dire catastrophe — the flood, the quake,
the hurricane — is hailed as breaking news;
but unreported wrecks — the hearts that break
more quietly, those worlds of Waterloos,
those galaxies of grief, of x’d-off days —
outnumber each spectacular kaboom!
that shocks and awes and tends to paraphrase
the terms of our unmentionable doom.

Our children, too, will one day come to know
that there are strings attached to happiness
and to the puppets in the puppet show;
that subtle shift in rapture when they’ll guess
at Something Out There which in time devours
the careful crust of uneventful hours.

~ ~  Catherine Chandler

The HyperTexts, 2005. 
 ©Copyright Catherine Chandler
First published in The Flea, October 2011.
Too Late to Cry.  Artist:  Lea Kelley

How it resembles a myth in its inner shining
a little kingdom         a sunken palace of weeds

within its borders       silence and the unknown
you may enter it briefly         if you stay you die

~ ~ Kurt Brown

Agni Online, 2008.
Three Horse Heads.   Artist:   Robert Joyner
Horsemen of Afghanistan

Flesh against tanks,
I saw them streaking
across the TV screen.

The horses,
once the pride of the north,
butter-fed, pampered and prized.
Bred for endurance and speed,
trained to be one with the chapandaz
to excel on the field
of the Buzkashi.

A way of life, a culture lost.
Equestrian royalty
used as antiquated tools of war,
to be sacrificed
by terrorists, imperialists
and those of us who think
we can offer a better way.

~ ~ Judi Van Gorder
A Knock On The Door

They ask me if I've ever thought about the end of
the world, and I say, "Come in, come in, let me
give you some lunch, for God's sake." After a few
bites it's the afterlife they want to talk about.
"Ouch," I say, "did you see that grape leaf
skeletonizer?" Then they're talking about
redemption and the chosen few sitting right by
His side. "Doing what?" I ask. "Just sitting?" I
am surrounded by burned up zombies. "Let's
have some lemon chiffon pie I bought yesterday
at the 3 Dog Bakery." But they want to talk about
my soul. I'm getting drowsy and see butterflies
everywhere. "Would you gentlemen like to take a
nap, I know I would." They stand and back away
from me, out the door, walking toward my
neighbors, a black cloud over their heads and
they see nothing without end.

Published in Shroud of the Gnome, The Echo Press, 1999.
With permission.

~ ~   劉鎮歐

                        Moon Festival…
                        I open the window
                        letting out silence 

                       ~ ~  Chen-ou Liu

                       Published in Ardea #2 (1912). 

                                                         does it matter
                                                         if it’s been done before ...
                                                         blue night

                                                        ~ ~  Chen-ou Liu

                                                        Published in Fri Haiku 2 (Summer 2012).

War Child. .  Artist:  Michael D. Edens

the start of the war—
Through bare branches I spy on
my neighbors’ houses
                             Spring evening.
                             The wheel of a troop carrier
                             crushes a lizard.
                                                     Young grasses ...
                                                     A mountain bleeds from a helmet
                                                     full of dreams

~ ~ Dimitar Anakiev

"Abstrakt".  Artist:  Maria Kondimäe.
The Ambiguity of Clouds

Never mind, the clouds say
as they drift above her. Never mind.
When you first heard as a child,
you thought they meant

let it go, don't fuss about it,
believing the phrase implied
all would be fine
if you didn't obsess, if you didn't
let things fester.

Time has taught you another
meaning; death has taught you,
loneliness has taught you.
It's never the mind

that gets you close to beauty,
the first and last of things,
or any of the wisdoms you long to know.
There's no word for what can take you there

though it has something to do with the eyes of horses,
the body's workings,  whiskers sandpapering across a cheek,
a woman's laugh loud enough to bend a row
of ripening wheat. Who laughed
like that and when? And where were you?

Never mind, never mind,
is it possible the clouds say that,
mindless as they are? All
if you can call them that,
cumulative and shifting shape,

mare's tails, ephemera, fish bones,
a lung bleached of blood,
an inky brain, not thinking,
just folding and refolding all afternoon
long sheets of rain. They never mind.

~ ~ Lorna Crozier
Published in Small Mechanics (McClelland & Stewart Publishers, 2011).

~ ~ Ruth Bavetta

 From Rattle #29, Summer 2008.

Four Short Poems

 ~ ~  slowly I eat up a spring day quickly dissolving
              ~ ~  single married single again a rushing river

                                        ~ ~ gnarled trees 
                                               should I tell her
                                               what's on my mind

              ~ ~ drifting laughter ...
                     the eyes
                     of a street dog

~ ~ Chen-ou Liu 劉鎮歐

Beach Shadow.  Photographer: Bob Arnold

Let there always be

the bright juice of oranges,
sun on the kitchen tiles,
a small nonessential bird
unraveling morning,

silvery snail trails, blue iris,
the gopher, the palm tree, the goat
that found its way into the house,

pigeons stitched onto telephone wires,
the clear sound of the sea,
a time when everyone is away,
a plate of milk, a tin of strawberry jam.

But never again the open gate
to the empty house down the street,
the algae drowning
the abandoned pool,

the man who stood by the edge 
beginning the dirge.
The still water.  The small
blue shoe.

~ ~ Ruth Bavetta

Antiphone, Issue #2, Winter 2012.