Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lars Palm

by a fragment of nothing

by jumping into or out of the fire

by the manor of a lady

by microclimate

by occupying the wind

by beauty once more redefined

by being thousands gathered

by setting fire to your boss

by walking faster than the rain

by being an exception to a whole lot of rules

by the manners of a tiger

by snail sliding slowly sideways


rain not as wall but
as large dripping faucet

what is a good roof?

& that large phallic thing
posing as a water tower

is this a good cup of coffe?

he goes out into the rain
with cigarette & cell phone


drops dead
heads off at an
other bed
side table
depicting the
of wealth in a
handful of


i am cognitive
chaos. asking why
you should give a
goat to a complete
stranger. danger lost
among raindrops. &
evaporated in the sun
seconds later. yet
order seems re
stored. not a thought
whether that's
good. or not an
other red light


who's that nut?

who's doing that reel?

who's growing out after growing up?

who's that girl not played by madonna?

who's that sitting on barcelona?

who's going after the powers that be?

who's just after being the powers that be?

who's just after?

who's that posing as me?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sheila E. Murphy

One Hundred Fifty-Eighth

Bravado chipped from leisurely irregular marble slabs
catches the line from rows of metallic cupboards orderly inside.

At seven-ish ay em the trucks draw helpings of refuse
from households possibly like ours, gray weathered and enlightened.

Repertoire keeps me awake at night: a feverish claim
to have invented everything to have invested in, and lost.

Some of the projection: leadership gone solo on an easy path,
aware of the following along this unpaved roadway almost named.

Pressure defines wildlife as a destination already
a fallacy too easy as a passage to the other side.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Audrey Friedman

Las Ramblas, Barcelona

July 7, 2000

Toucan reds and yellows
color Las Ramblas -- cages
line the median and feathers
flap. From Port Vell
to Placa de Catalunya, charcoal
scrapes paper as artists
sketch smiles. Sunflowers on stalks
greet passersby, while Lladro's subdued
blue-frocked girls and geese
gambol behind storefront glass.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rudolfo Carrillo

Party at the Lorlodge

When my friend Craig told us he wanted to party, we were sitting out on the porch at the Stanford house drinking Coors Banquet Beer from small brown bottles, watching to see whether the punk rockers across the street would open up their mangled and piss-warped front door to let their pet pig, Royal Eddie, run around their front yard.

Tim Lodgeson suggested we coax one of the housecats we kept out into the ensuing fracas. He was an Earth-Firster, but he was mean as shit to animals and most humans too. He worked at an art movie theater near the corner of Buena Vista and Central and used to scour the auditorium for used popcorn buckets after every show. He'd sneak them into the men's room, clean the cardboard as good as possible and resell them. Business was good and he could afford to spend his days off camping and fishing, but that's another story, and we all threw our bottle caps at him and he shut up and then skulked out. The porker never showed up; turned out he was passed out in the punkers' living room amidst three deconstructed Triumph motor bikes and an inch of mud, oil, vomit, and four angry young folks.

So, it was a good thing that Craig was having a motel party that night. He walked up to the porch, checked the mail, asked when Tim was moving out, and told us he had rented a room at the Lorlodge. That was a shady motel right off the 25, on Central Avenue. Since I had been working as a welder and wanted to make it a really special occasion. I thought it would be extra smart to wear my leather jacket and safety hat, round up my mates and parade down there on foot, in style. Chauncy, the neer-do-well actor who worked at the Steak and Ale up by Winrock, put on his tux and we all started walking.

When we passed the Fat Chance, I heard a punk rock band playing. Damn it if wasn't my posse's flavor of the Week, Baby Flamehead. A Murder of Crows was the opening act, so we didn't go in because Craig owed Junius and Caleb a sawbuck or something like that.

A helicopter was landing at Presbyterian Hospital. It sure was trippy and all of that, but I remember being worried about the patient inside the whirlygig, he was being wheeled out on gurney, white as a ghost, when Chauncy asked Craig about who else was going to be at the Lorlodge, since it was only a couple of minutes away now, just past the underpass.

Yelling to be heard over the noise of modern medicine, Craig told a story about how he tried to call the numbers listed for dancing girls in the classified section of the Journal. They all wanted money though, he said, and then got a resigned look on his face and just shook his head.

We kept going though, since most trips like this seem one-way when you take them. Just by Chance and with some serendipity that still baffles me today, and as we passed Mulberry Street, three of the groovy chicks we knew from art school turned the shady summer corner. It was Janet Planet, the girl named after a Roman goddess, and her pal Louise from Sarah Lawrence, who was visiting until classes started in September.

I told those guys to let me do the talking and for them to stay on the edge of things, like they were shy and all. The gals had been on their way to Jack's to get a case of Olympia and pizza to go. I was rich after working on water tanks all week and offered to pitch in. I told them about the cable teevee at the Lorlodge and how they had a pool, too.

I think that what happened after that conversation was the best day of my life.


Edgar Gabriel Silex

Where Want Blooms

I used to chewed my nails till they bled
each finger a past I was gnawing down

I used to bite the inside of my lips till they were open sores
each tiny bit of flesh a piece of silence swallowed down

as I child I rocked my head from side-to-side saying no no no until I slept
now I talk yell and ground my teeth at the self inside my dreams

each night before I fall asleep I try to kill someone
in order to wake up ready to try and love again

every day I write a poem full of fear and self loathing
before thoughts of awe or wonder alight in me

when things go too well I get angry at myself
the more I undermine myself the more I know I want to live

if I wasn’t always chary always looking for something else
if I wasn’t always falling carrying stardust through this world

I once believed all things contained something of the divine
now I just want to exist in the mystery through which I’ll exit

if I had eyes that could see through space-time distortions
if I had eyes that could make dark matter visible

if all my presences and encounters were non-manipulative
if I could talk with the nomological creator

I would ask when will I have the courage of the flea that bit the lion
why must the roots of the terrible create such lovely flowers

can one’s gentleness contain the sum of all one’s pain
aren’t scars injustices and wars laid down

why is all love just letting things fall away
into the emptiness where want blooms


Rock Paper Scissors


the blood belongs in the river
the heart in the wind
the mind in the fertile ground

the rock
grows dark and heavy it dams the river
demands the wind go around
and hardens the fertile ground

the water swallows the stone
consumes it slowly makes its bed
the wind embraces the rock
scatters its dust till it lies down
the rain drops it gently to its grave
it knows the rock
will go on making more rock
it’s all it knows it’s all it cares about


lies flat and perfectly still
like a Buddha on the desk thinking
thinking of its vast blankness
of its nothingness
of its nothing seeking
of the way it finds its way
out of nowhere
then it is
maybe one of Einstein’s midnight epiphanies
or a suicide’s last note to the world
and in the suddenness of becoming
it gets lost in the benevolent
indifference of the numbers words
and symbols written on its blankness

the paper thinking of its blankness
wonders if the words and symbols
give it meaningness
and it finds what is written
has little to do with paper beingness
with being a slate

of nothing-seeking blankness
the paper being the thinker learns
what was written on it cries out
just the same
to the indifference of the world
as his blankness

the paper with its ruminating mind
with its nothing-seeking emptiness
finds its meaning in the margins
in the little spaces permeating every thing
that was written on it’s blankness
the symbols words and numbers
and their meaniinglessness


were born from the demons of man
who tear and sever and rend
who divide cut and rule
long ago though they were just
separate double-edged knives
before man conjoined them at the heart
creating twins with dagger legs
that sound like sniping snakes
whenever their cleaving thighs rub

there is no good in either one
the only thing they like more
than slashing each other’s wicked thighs
is having something between them
to close their legs upon

if it were up to all those hollow thoughts
inside those hollow heads
they would destroy the world
they’d clip the wings the tongues
the eyes of every living thing
before they’d snip the head
and they wouldn’t need a god

being cast by man’s own rigid steel
they’d hesitate a tiny bit
you’d like to think
before they lopped us off
but oh you couldn’t be more wrong


In the News Today

a black man tired of racial prejudice killed eight white people today
there isn’t much moral ground there to stand on or to condone
when a white murderer claims his 16th dark skinned victim that same day

five of which he stabbed to death the rest survived somehow got away
do they cancel out is there an unseen hand a moral law that isn’t known
that explains why a man killed so many of his coworkers today

whose crime is worse whose motive most condemnable can you say
it’s the media’s fault too many bigots with radio and tv megaphones
that creates a murderer who claimed his 16th dark skinned victim today

is it cops whose crimes are lessened or those who target immigrants each day
in crimes where we see injustice get its way is hate leveled by that lone
man tired of racial bigotry who goes to work to kill eight people one day

he wished he’d killed some more he said before he blew himself away
the cops said to stab repeatedly involves vicious hate he picks men alone
the serial murderer who claimed his 16th dark skinned victim today

is the thirst of hate being quenched by knife and gun and moral sway
of fools with megaphones or is it something worse to condone
the man tired of racial bias who kills eight white people the same day
a murderer claims the 16th dark skinned person that he slashed or slayed



in the shot glass that holds the lead
and ink through which I see the world
she stuck some stickers of a smiling little girl

letting the dog out I realize
his bathroom is full of day lilies to sidle up to

there is no soul no spirit only the intuitive
a force that through the flesh informs us
of the presence of an unknown past

sometimes my children remind me
I am mirror with a poor reflection

it’s not the flowers I’m admiring
but the emotions of their colors

the future is a commodity
I have to keep buying shares in
even though I will always keep loosing

how can you give your heart to one
in a garden so alive with birds and bees

the only promise in life is the flower
we are the water and the seed and the desert loam

the tyranny that suffocates the mind has a name
god how can it be the truth is always a riddle
requiring repose or faith or both

outside my window a vulture circles
over the beggar on the street

through tragedy and struggle the mind remains
an evanescing puddle full of sky

after Dostoyevsky and Neruda
you find yourself standing on temporary islands

the pupae of forgiveness feeds on human hearts
and cocoons in a recurrent dream

a human gift is something socially unacceptable

and can be so reprehensible it can ignite a revolution

perched on the sill flipping dinner in the air and catching it
listening to the sirens of the city open and close doors


Villanelle #2

something unbearable made her hands so delicate and nimble
some things she couldn’t touch the texture was too much
not just her fingertips but her soft voice made me tremble

despite my love at times it irritated me made me feel terrible
to later learn her hearing too was so sensitive I had to hush
my voice and train my stubby fingers to be delicate and nimble

she wore evening gloves around the house and it wasn’t simple
living with the windows closed the curtains drawn but I blush
at how in the dark those fingers and voice would tremble

such sensitivity to sound and touch became a suffocating symbol
for what I couldn’t have a normal voice the rush
of rough sex an indelicate moment respite from the nimbleness

teaching me acceptance of all I couldn’t be taking me to the liminal
edge between my own desire and every tenderness that brushes
you with invisible fingers and whispered voices that tremble

still my words and tone became a conscious violence an inimical
consequence of the sheltered silence and the cacophonous crush
of the life that wounds you against such sensitivity and nimbleness
the whole world tingles and every sound makes you tremble


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caleb Puckett

Key Control

A request for access to key X is an acknowledgement of a person’s chronic normalcy. Who
has, who must have, who wants key X in the absence of administration and special staff? What
of suitability of circumstance? Worth? What of disappearance? Security? One must enter the
system, code the recommended individuals and secure the specific proofs of issuance for them.
One should keep a numbered list with their scanned signatures. Although it is something of a
nuisance, particularly with the results of terminations and resignations, one must consider aspects
of the common ego and clear up matters about the return of key X after a person’s disappearance.
However and whatever temporary status resulted from sharing becomes a serious problem of
expenses then. Administration should track such organizational issues and enforce a policy that
controls key X at all times. This is a story about public services in a library. It involves different
locks and hands.



We dwell on the roasted meat of snakes. We dwell on cyanide like oxygen. We are desperate for
Passover, dear Lord. These are the earliest days of the end of the world. The crucial steps from
building financial weaponry to the total collapse of the Gulf Coast are impending. As the Mayan
calendar predicted, the bomb shelter business is now booming in Texas. Consider the cold, hard
details of this fool’s errand to block the exits when the Tectonic plates go awry and shift into
darkest space. The surface of earth is a conduit of energy.

For whatever reason, the erratic cult of paranoia can construct a system of preparedness.
Surviving a nuclear attack would be incredible, but the actors and news architects have their
perverted plans. They are lobbing bad news to brainwashed dummies and contracts to intransient
Iranian mechanics from New York to Utah. They are hell-bent on engineering high-end space
stations for the elite. Demonic sun bursts spew from their alien mouths, bringing tribulation to all
the dummies who will bury themselves like moles in their septic underground sanctuaries. Hell is
a lower elevation. Luck is dead. We are hiring, says the savvy killer to the cleric, thriving on the
popular American mindset. The wisdom is reptilian: their business will outlast your activity. Dig,
dummies, dig.



In the orphanage, an absorbed Alice imagines spring to be the perfect mathematician. The
sun is a spiritual number threatening radiance behind the curtains. The curtains cope with
its brash genius, breaking equally. She is truly spellbound, mending past and present paths.
Alice is enamored with escape. She breaks to pursue fate and endures her debut. Alice depicts
excitement with chilling eyes. She markets the heart but sells heartache on consignment. She is
a husk of calculations selling a body in the Demilitarized Zone of the United States. She has not
measured empathy in years, for her suitor traffics underworld fiction. He traffics geishas and
sex in a forced-labor camp. He gifts her with a website and a 10-city book tour. She is available
for conferences. She is available for conclusions. Alice is a novel excerpt, absorbed by her
spellbound suitor. The sun is a beautiful campaign. A published book is curtains.


Tucker Stilley



Matthew Hill


Set down here
In a semi-arid landscape
This ghost town where
12 ghosts still reside
The post office still open
2 hours a day

This place named after
Some corrupted version
Of a long dead German pioneer
Him who first passed this way
With intent to set up a gold camp

Viewpoints of the far distant
Cascade peaks in snow
A staged enigmatic frontier
A way station of lost time
A western vantage that is
A portal to evening’s fiery sky

This place was all about the
Wool wheat cattle and gold
Commodities that funded
A place where medicine
Had to arrive by horseback

We as travelers now proceed
Southbound on Highway 97
& must make a 90 degree turn
Towards the western horizon
While driving into a blazing sun

& then into twilight’s hallucinatory sky

Hell, it’s damn near enough
To make you want to buy the place …


Halvard Johnson

Orpheus Tour

Listening to ever surprising
way signs, we idled toward the same
old dumpster we’d always come to,

full of expectations, hoping for water
views. Air felt good, once we’d
tuned to it. Fluster-footed.


Barry Seiler

Paul Winchell Holds a Human Heart in His Hands

How many times has he made this joke? He pulls from his coat pocket a black and white photo. In it, he’s wearing a checkered sports jacket and neatly pressed slacks. Next to him, perched on a ledge, is Jerry Mahoney in an identical outfit. Guess which one is the dummy, he says. He says he’s a tinkerer of sorts. Like God, he says. But seriously. He’s held a human heart in his hands. He’s held the heart of a cow as the cow slept on a steel table. The made heart is on the table. The cow’s heart in his hands. Only a pump, he says.  And you think of the wooden hearts he placed in the wooden chests of Jerry and Knucklehead. And you think of Jerry singing Row, row, row your boat as Winchell drank a glass of water and Knucklehead swiveled his head and stared at us in disbelief.



This is the afterlife we were born for: these mobs, these doomed marching armies, these strolling couples arm in arm along a rear screen Seine. Let the stars have the close-ups, with their slender necks and outsized heads. We will survive at the edge of the screen. Today we are battling peasants. Tomorrow we are strewn corpses. The day after we are at your service. When the director shouts look menacing, we shake our pitchforks, we narrow our eyes until the set blurs. When he orders us to look defeated, we hang our heads, we shake them in disbelief. Some of us cry woe. Some of us, sensing the camera has finally found us, seize the moment, squeeze tight, and shed, as if on cue, real tears.


At the Copa

Somewhere in The Lost America of Love, Tommy Manville is at the Copa telling the old Georgie Jessel story. The place has emptied out. The papers have been put to bed. Manville buys his chauffer a drink. Call me Grandpa he says, lightly touching his gray locks, a girlish gesture, pleased with this moment of familiarity. The chauffer has never met a man so—so what?—satisfied. Yes, satisfied, that’s the ticket. Jessel gave each of the Copa showgirls the identical diamond ring—twenty of them—and somehow managed to convinced the twentieth, a naïve honey from an upstate farm, that she was the one and only. She flashed that rock at the other girls in the dressing room and nineteen girls flashed theirs back. Manville spins round and round on the barstool seeing how many circles he can make without stopping. It’s a game he plays in the wee small hours. He high signs the chauffer to haul him home. Barkeep, he calls over his shoulder, you can’t make these things up. That was Me. Georgie Jessel, the Toastmaster General.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Michael Farrell


Have you heard the 70s? Those soft pop sounds, slowly expanding till
the adding of beats, of bad guitar and screech seem inevitable. This
is a universe known as the West, where Ladies of America are, I’m
afraid to say, just cut-outs for Michael Dransfield. On the street, the
communists, the witnesses of atrocity, were ahead of their time. Let
extinct species come again … let them munch and make frightening
sounds. The dinosaur on Lygon St was that just that and more than
that a reader. Making can be a curse. Words are equivalents, but letters
aren’t – no more than gods. ‘The Christ complex is universal’: graffiti
on the gallows tree. When speech seems a form of corruption, that’s
not an end. There are many destinations, and tensions in their names
The cheaper the writing the noisier. Remember the University we had
in our small, small town? It was made of hardwood and lavender grew
round the doors. There was a moat to prevent entry and it was our proud
open secret. The mayor was the dean and the matron. The matron gave
lectures in the operating theatre and we sat on our folding chairs, and
listened to the reading of a library book. ‘Bring back the beauty spot
mine’s on my left hip; T’s is in the centre of his chest. He left an earring
in my bed. Aghast, feeling our lips
                                                         with our fingers, we hear nothing
Form is icing. We enunciate it/are enunciated by it. The tell-tale tragedy
has worn its way in. The love that it is and the love it will never be, more
on that a nevertime. Achilles sees the warriors; he has a VCR in his backpack
he’s glad that life is over. When we turn up, we find a spot to lean on and
speculate on today’s scene: we have until midnight. Yet we resist. The
fairytale of midnight is meaningless to us; some even renege on the
movement of the stars. To lean is to italicise! Fine. Even the most ordinary
doctor’s cough is emphasised. The job’s always there. It beckons. It
fumes. It wants a monument to itself. Is it loud there? Does it sound
like the north all the time? We fall about on the lawn, as if it would
give us something. But the lawn is merely a pause button, crawling
as it is with miniature creatures: little cows and sheep that fall on our
faces, foxes that run round our ears, barking in Arabic. You tilt your
head away from this red game … we iron the lawn with our hot shoes
encouraging the boys to do the same and head towards the silent Austrian
breasts of the bronzes. Their quiet is so muscular, so lacking in nostalgia