Saturday, March 31, 2012

Michael Andre

Dim Sum 

Beauty betrays its beholder
With lies

Its holder
With age

With wrinkles & fat
& dim sense


Friday, March 30, 2012

Felino A. Soriano

Of language the raven speaks
            you’ve the caw of action
calamitous interpretation of
                        autumn’s varied dying parables

: of leaf, plural
  scented heat, spring-summer stanza

                                    each of a moment’s clarity of
witness among the shy engagers                                 the watchers sans
veneration then
saddened disparity this whole absence’s
culmination of


Of language the dragonfly speaks

affirmation my
multilayered language                         ascends upon aerial stimulations
                        vocalized contours etch
entire prosodic
                                    collaborative amid a blurred fixation within



Of language the white moth speaks 

from the apparition’s missing vow
ring of secondary ceremony
                                    winged and prophetic
                serenades of multilingual blears
camaraderie unneeded as
                                                            silence steers erratic’s


Monday, March 26, 2012

Thad Rutkowski

Before the Hurricane 
Go with the undertow.
You can’t fight the current or the tide,
or rip around in your board shorts,
riding the pipeline like some surfer dude.
Hold the hand of the nearest one
and get pushed out, then in
before the sea turns from blue to gold,
and the sky from azure to black,
and the helicopters come out, looking for you.

Reach for the hand of the nearest one,
then jump or dive,
whichever works better
to keep you away from the washing machine,
the vortex of foam
that sinks ships and surfers alike.


Coming Topside

When we came topside, I took with me my favorite mother-stone, and she took her favorite mother-stone, and we started one family all over again. We needed to start this family over, because our former family was somehow erased, forgotten when we came topside. We’d left that family bottomside, and then we’d climbed upward, without any of our relatives, until we came topside. We were on the top of the barrier, the thing separating us from our families, and all we had were these stones that were our favorites. We took the stones out of our pockets, but we didn’t throw them away. We just separated them from our pockets, and when we did, it seemed that our mothers came topside, too.
“Did you bring your daughter-stones?” we asked our mothers.
        Our two mothers said yes, they had brought those stones. And then there were four of us and four stones, all on the top side of the barrier. And in this way we were able to start not one family, but two families, all over again.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elizabeth Switaj


 Caprico(u)rn is feminine, dominated by the knees
 We turn skin Our ho(u)rns spear into tulle
                                 and dance its wispy bands
drawing down the snow
                                       as if the rabbit in the moon
                                   wept & froze

                                     Our knees,  
                      remnants of walking,
bend just enough beneath Our scales
to call what we do kneeling
                                                          fins fading blue

We gather
snow into a dome
light a candle, pray a scroll
                                                           leave satsumas for gods

                        who will turn Us back to one

 Caprico(u)rn w(oul)d love    to say I again
o(u)r, if not, fade into preserved by salt



People flit against each other, bright shirts flapping like long, loose fins, and I’m against 
the glass. Maybe I’m the goldfish as my mouth goes o when they sing. I sing; they talk to 
each other. The rhythm of pause and take, the echoing of tones I can’t hear. They’re all 
the same. I bang my nose on the glass. I want to be near them.

When I leap against their legs I can breathe. Then oxygen’s too much for me. And sound. 
I panic. I flop. I flap. A meltdown. A fit. And back into the bowl again. It doesn’t hurt my 
fins, my skin to be in water, the silence, constant pressure. But the people are so beautiful. 
I watch. I want. To flop again.


And Rest in Silence

Even at night there is no silence
Even in sun there is no safe
corner or straight for kids who love
in violet—not taupe—who hold
hands no larger hands protect
from teeth at hallway’s end

where taunts & jeers don’t end,
where you learn to pray for silence
since no one will speak to protect
you. Their bones would not be safe.
Take my bones in your skin. Hold
my ashes to the wind, my love.

We’ll show them what it means to love.
Don’t let this be the end.
There’s only so much you can hold,
and there’s no silence
in the wind, no safe
-ty for what winds protect.

Let the trees behind the track protect
us from the wind—and hide our love
in evergreen & elm, safe
from hanged man’s fated end
from silence
I can no longer hold.

Two girls walk by. They hold
our hands as well as theirs. Protect
our prayers for silence.
I love you, and you love
her & me & him & that’s the end 
Even our bones are not safe.

Even our skin is not safe
since it’s with skin we touch & hold
each other & the rope to end
our lives, to protect
our memories of love 
we do not kneel, we pray for silence.

The safe will never protect
love from those who hold
the power to end  the thrall of silence.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dominic Fox


Beginning like ending an improper severance -
the cut thread frays, the dancing cable crackles
across the worktop. Onward under sufferance

towards no known end, pioneer of feckless
consecration, brusque kickstarting tyro,
spatter-gowned convener of debacles:

just see if you can swing this, until giro
cashed at least: make straight-backed riverdance
swish move to exit, grinning down El Toro.


Mark DuCharme

The Unfinished
To sing to ourselves while the dead inform us
Although we are not here
Although we sing, at a transitive distance
While we are naked, being dreamed.

By whom? Our guardian imposters?
By the weight of cities which can’t bear us?
When you go to sleep, do you sleep?
Being awake, though artless in the postures

Of unthinking selves’ positions
We don’t take. If we do take anything,
It would have to be something there’s
No word for.

Describe. Defile. Deny. I can’t
Do any of these
Things seriously,
Until the weather changes character—

Our positions in the archives rendered
Useless by material
Flinging. If there is a we;
If there is a place.

I’m afraid of numbers & bumblebees,
Of tightly resolved cities,
Of the impositions of selves on others

Wide like daydreams of the obscene
Parade, “that old-time religion,”
Or anything else we wish we’d

Patenting objects for reply
Until the weather changes character.
To refuse
Abandoned futures, root them

In the ground.


23.  So what?  Or whom?  & To what end?  The ends which come of raw beginnings.  Poetry is a ledge.  Jump quickly.  Being on the spot, or spotted.  What end does it describe?  Or does it end, & why?  It is coming from the source, & not that pure.  Everything becomes writing— that table, perhaps, or the door.  I had thought what?— but now it’s not.  Now it’s knotted, like estuaries.  Like vestiges which pry the rains apart.  The rain is not a part of this poem.  Wind falls down.  To think in streams of summers rushing.  To use summer as a material.  A dead heat, swallowing the eaves.  Under the placemats of what grieves.  To grieve for all of time passing, or to burn like summer, swift & indelicate.  To feel the crashing of words upon the tongue.  Never to be won.

24. What are cities made of words?  Whom did you call?  What love frees us— being freed or fleeing in the attractions without charge?  Without mechanics, without voice.  Our cities fail us, as do our journals full of ghosts.  Light falls on the roof slates blithely.  It is indifferent to its role in poetry.  (This was not always the case).  We are charged with the creation of animal cities.  Our cities, like our selves, are often stolen.  Stolen, at the intensity of looking at light for the first time ever.  A red toenail; a subjective barrage.


Write a composition on the forms that silence takes. Become immersed in noise.  Bleed only when the need describes a city.  The city is a complex exchange.  It is a host, entirely resistant to architecture.  It is a means of going forward, a clap of wayward grace, an intent to occupy (or become occupied).  If you become occupied, think hard about the needs of the occupiers. If you become lost, enter a city so that you will know where you are, what limits you reside in.  The bleeding limits, going forward into silence made of words.  The wind, in the reversal of complex trees.


The Unfinished
The poem is another way of vanishing.
Ghosts do not remember this
Who live
At dark borders of the door.

There is a clock at the edge of the
Bookface. Is it
Who’s being stopped?

When you are stopped, you are free to begin
Like the poem & its ongoingness. What
Is there            to believe in what
Is there                        to stop, or look back at

In your ongoingness the wind does not
Believe you
It sings in the crevices
Of what’s explicitly not            when you are

There, you are free to begin
You in air, & books don’t wake
        You. The only books that do
Are those not written stillborn

When they are written, they line up
& Sing like ghosts
They make city noises out of poems
Which build like rooms when the ghosts wake


The Unfinished

Is it, in the minutes we don’t
Pass, into a space, a city (city
Which is partly imagined)?
Is it, in the moment of its
Parting? Is it that we don’t go
When we go? Is it out of tune?
Is it what remains?
Is it capable of being put
Into words? Is it what you thought
You needed, but now don’t?
Is it what you needed
To think, until now? Is it what
Remains of night
(Night, which embodies us)?
Is it that the Earth & Sky
Have an empathic relationship?
Is it some kind of residue?
Is it made from what departs?
Is it an act of grace? Is it
Something a child would understand?
Can it be described using words
Like ‘glassy’ or ‘high-strung’?
Is it something you are
Smitten with (someone)?
Is it breakable; & have you broken it
Yet? Does it resemble the moon
On the rim of a shoe?
Is it a stalemate, crossed energies
From which nothing can proceed?
Is it interior to some? Is it frozen?
Do you sometimes wish that it was never there?


John M. Bennett

Sole Dadas, Chunk 20

If not tongue’s corpulence, massed dust
     searing’s low succession,
     that equals and’s own exceeds
     balled yummy leopards,
all courses traversed, all mufflers sardined
where rocks trap the marina, 
     and seen decks nor’s hung pecker,
dull pie leaving’s bipolar sign.
Who mass felicity’s caked president,
pissed the holes and cased dull primer’s
     dusty vacuum.
Past ortho doles all air, all the sweaty cocks.
And primed gradually,
advocating the sea toads’ gents,
the shirt’s dull land and astral dazed seer,
     manacles tangy velocity,
which quantum Ceres’ mass doors in tiers,
and’s ardent mirror dusts shushed guts honed
     in Neptune’s single fatigue,
     his vague pile of plums
sugar putrefied measles, pissed undulations,
     a single inclined spiggot,
     a single violent spume.
Dosed vessels hair these, and dirigibles
to dose alms which query, ablaze,
sere pals verdant, sere fronds and meat,
     the salt crawls in tortured
arcs, or nervous or sealed,
with sibiline craw, dosed vessels these seats.
     Not the pulverized despair
in’s camp, who nods the pissy ale’s hair;
the most torpid is under arial’s sieve,
the most tardy vision deveined,
     and, signaling all’s massed lentils,
     coughed up the pencils.

 Transduced from Luis de G√≥ngora's Soledades


Friday, March 16, 2012

Rose Mary Boehm

Barcelona, 2004: A photographic tour of Barcelona.


Steve Dalachinsky

train to solotun  - (train from Bern, Switz. to Solotun, Switz. --8/21/90)

sub urban   commuter
rush  hour          in german
& it's hot
                        the seats are so small    my fingers hurt
watch out
watch yourself in the window
until the trees become your mirror

    old friends always think that only they
                 know what is best

   watch the people & the fields & the factories
                old cows think that only they know
                                  what is best

simple dialogue    simple frustrations
can be as painful as morning
                     when you are a tree   you know nothing
                                 there is only the earth where you are

the man is always building for himself
his species
                      the landscape keeps changing
    the man keeps changing the landscape -
                                                uprooting trees

man & cow are old friends
man & cow always think that only they
know what is best

               man is man's best friend
     is a row of cars at a railroad crossing…  waiting
        the gate is red & white
                  just enjoy waiting      whispers the garden

                     i stare into the mirror
it is other people's eyes  other people's faces          & mouths
it is hot in here  on this train to suburbia
                         at rush hour in german
& the chickens & vegetables  all know what is best
the trees become my reflection
                                                             the horse is  led away.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

William Bain

on the sands

on the sands the sun creams
flow slow motion for the horse
on table game whatever number
strikes the –ay within tip
mercury on the horizon
why march april may –mbling
toward the waves


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dick Allen

from The Zen Master Poems

The Zen Master Accounts for Himself

I’ve climbed a mountain of knives.
Ignored, except by local friends,
into each night, I persisted.

There was an owl.
There was a scratching at the side of my house
that could only have been a water rat.

I counted pennies
and longed for gold coins.

It was difficult to hear my voice
among so many others of my time.

There was a stone fence I stared at.
Buddha statues cast shadows
far across my living room.
There was the constant small pain
of the never quite well.

I knew the daze I lived in was a daze
yet could never quite shake it.

Often, I’d start out, then head back in.

Each night, the moon climbed the sky.


“What is it?”

What is it?
The constant sound of water running off the mountain.
What is it?
A cricket making its way across the floor.


What is it?
The constant sound of water running off the mountain.
What is it?
A cricket making its way across the floor.


“Cherry blossoms are edible”

Cherry blossoms are edible.
Use them for coaxing out flavor
in wagashi or anpan.
But most wonderful,
drunk deeply at weddings
are cups of sakurayu
cherry blossoms
pickled in salt with umuzu
yielding a vague taste of plums.


“When you’re in trouble”

“When you’re in trouble,”
the Zen Master said, smiling,
looking up from his sushi,
“ask, ‘What is this?’

“You must ask it three times,
in three different ways:

“What is this?
What is this?
What is this?

“It’s a question-koan, of course.

“There are as many answers
as people on earth.

“For instance:

1)    aizu—the Japanese word for sign, signal.
2)    an illusion with a heartbeat
3)    Salt and the sea on the tongue.”

The Zen Master’s Found Poem

“The largest collection of haiku
translated into English
on any single subject
is Cherry Blossom Epiphany
by Robert A. Gill,
which contains some 3,000
Japanese haiku
on the subject of cherry blossoms.”


The Zen Master Follows Another’s Example

I see him around the village,
planting his karmic seeds
in every lawn—
a minor Johnny Chapman
walking Connecticut.

Carefully, he sows,
always allowing for drainage,
hoping he’s fooled the slugs.

May root systems take hold!

May there be germination!

They’re so fragile, he says,
especially at the start,
before the first four true leaves.

Loving wishes, quiet favors,
compassionate acts, small good deeds.

How pleasant his stooped back,
to know he’s at work
over carrots and peas.

Near at hand, may great pumpkins
swell from the ground.

The Zen Master’s Evocations

“I like the phrases,
‘at the base of the cliff,’
‘deep in the forest,’
‘at the edge of the field,’
‘on the shore of the lake,’”
mused the Zen Master.
“‘Adrift on the river,’
“obscured by the mist,”
‘lost in the clouds,’
‘beside the waterfall,’
but also,
‘lighting a candle,’
‘in evening shadow
a lone monk tolling a bell.’”


“I Heard, said the Zen Master”

“I heard,” said the Zen Master,
“a special transmission.

“It was as if I was a child
searching with a crystal radio,
scraping a cat’s whisker across the crystal.

“I read about it nowhere
but it was pointed at me,

“turning me inside out,
so that someday,
five hundred lives from now
I might become a Buddha.

“More likely, however,
is that I’ll be a sled runner
on somebody’s Flexible Flyer,
speeding down hills
under the streetlights,
snow falling lightly, like static.” 


“Ha, ha, ha, you and me”

“Ha, ha, ha, you and me,
Little brown jug, don’t I love thee,”
sang the Zen Master,
climbing Cold Mountain.
“Ha, ha, ha.  Hee, hee, hee,
just you and me, Jug, you and me,”
sang the Zen Master,
descending Cold Mountain,
which really wasn’t Cold Mountain,
but a mild peak in the Catskills
he liked to pretend was Cold Mountain,
singing his happy song,
his jug full of Pu-her tea.