Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kristin Palombit

La Peña

               -for Carlos and Lassie, La Paz

As if the inner singing voice
of our combined souls
called into being
the essence of song
the origin of melody
the fruit of all beauty,
the Aymara pan-flute
fills the thin night air
capturing all dew from the mist
until the air is our breath,
the rhythm our heartbeat,
the pulse our lifeblood.

All peoples, past and present
have learned language from this song,
their loves from this pentatonic dissonance.

We, strangers in a room filled with song;
a Venezuelan, my Argentine friends,
I confess to being North American,
a man from Chile is "booed"
by the party of young Bolivianos
for a war which took place 70 years ago
when Bolivia lost its gateway to the ocean.

From out of a dream we are stripped bare,
made to feel the sandy grit of the windswept Altiplano,
to walk for days with heavy bundles,
the Cordilliera at our backs,
a crying child running behind us
until we finally open the one room adobe huts
we would never have entered but for the song,
the poetry of the land, the hollow ringing melody


Jim Andrews


Friday, September 28, 2012

Sheila Black

Coup de Foudre

“Somehow I outlived a stormy night with snow on my eyelids”

          Yusuf Komunyaka

You fell around me & into every palpable

thing—rhododendron, cracked sidewalk. The
world became stranger. You fell around me and
each time it was slightly different, a glitter of ice
on boots, the hush as under an elevated train,
white noise breeding silence, an under-
ground life, furtive, quickening like prey
in gun-sight. And often as if from another life,
a picture of walking through and around
the blue chambers of longing which folded
in on themselves like chambers of the
nautilus, which wills itself to sink down into
the pink sand of the bottom, whatever is
untrammeled, virgin. Once on a circular
stair, I stopped before a small round peephole
a vision of sky in which I glimpsed you, winking
even-star, ice planet, space-that-never-was,
untenable and quick-vanishing as snow.


Poem for a Birthday

(for Duncan)

Don’t say a word, just breathe on the window

and trace a shape. If it is a branch may it flower,

weighted with the green globes of

pears. If it is a bird

let it rest on the tallest branch, breathe in a

more crystal air.

Let it flap its wings, ascending through

the layers until

it feels a stranger to itself. Let

if fly home. Let it be the rabbit whose quick

heart pulses in the tall grass.

Let it run and past

the window and into the white

world, and the moon in the morning, and the stars

which no one can see.


For John Keats

You wait for the last carriage or

it has arrived—horse breath,
chestnuts in bloom, a circle of

white. A spot spreads on a cloth—

crest of the red poll—thin
stripped poppy—a brightness you

could not help but love. I cannot

be mistaken in that color, you
said. This is arterial blood and I

must die. In a heaviness of night,

I wake confused, my left arm burns,
nerves throbbing, and I touch it

to cool plaster. You kept walking,

I am sure of it—descending Maida
Vale to Marleybone, a pallor

of skies, the tap rooms, stables,

a linden in new leaf in which
you struggled to read the fortitude

it takes to love. A critic writes that

your poems, until almost the last,
are never about despair—the self

collapsing inward, but always a

projection outward—songbirds
scaling a space that unreels

to silk. In my night room—the

pitted walls, I grow afraid a day
will come when I cannot picture

the lark ascent—blues ineffable

as taste. Bitter and uneasy in mind.
Yet at the end you tried to comfort

your friend—you said, for you had

seen it before, Death is coming.
It will not be so terrible. Poor Severn.


Paso Del Norte

There would have been a reason to settle
here, perhaps when the river rose,

the rows of concrete-poured houses
plaster saints, Christmas lights. At the edge

tarmac roads decline to dirt, beyond
the chalked squares of developments,

stalled by recession, scrub, mesquite.
Above the bridge by Fort Bliss: It’s a good day

to be a soldier. The legends of desert battle:
the men who marched off into nowhere.

In Flaubert’s story St. Julian I’Hospitalier
the boy who wishes to be great murders a

mouse, and this small death ignites a blood
hunger so acute, every day the boy rides out

driving his horse until its mouth turns white.
He slaughters the foxes, the water birds, the

stags in the deep woods, pushing a whole herd
into a small river; and the red of the water pleases

him, he loves it as he loves no person, scheming to
kill the wife who has betrayed him, until, cursed,

he murders both his parents instead--his sword
pushing through his mother’s white shawl.

This is the valley of bones where nothing
can grow. Blood-strain dimming behind his eyes,

he redeems himself, carries a leper through high waters,
pressing the man’s open wounds against his

own. A story about hunger and its slow slaughter.
Behind the gates of Fort Bliss, the young boys

with shaved heads wait for their transport to
a desert much like this one. The same spit

in their mouths, tang of dust, blood-rust,
longing—the red of the water, the stags leaping.

The Saint of Hospitality is the murderous
boy. He becomes the host who carries us all

across. I would not stop him from passing through this
city: Passage of the North where the migrants

slide across the dessicated river, abandoning
names and shoes. On the corner walking past us

like ghosts, and we touch them, even when we
do not touch them—not even with our eyes.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Luc Fierens


re-poesia visiva


Christopher Barnes

Bus Boy Ballad
A signal for peculiarity –
Coddle-self hush-hush hankering.
When I hitherto rogue’s-marched to suburbanization
You were the druid on the pew,
Worldling.  Frank?  What did you grunt?
Who on-the-dot are you,
Hired not to remark
By the hour?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Volodymyr Bilyk

Burning Man


Barbara Moore Vincent

January will open the horrible threat.

February will break off a few of the wicked.

March the winds will blow and frighten everybody.

April will break my heart.

May will come whisking through.

June is hard to decipher.

July will never stop to say hello.

August is jolly and happy for people like me.

September is hard to take.

October is full of joy for very few.

November marks the worst that could ever come.

December for many it’s love and joy

But not for me.

             --Barbara Moore Vincent (1916-2012)


Jim Andrews

fr. Kandinsky 3


Vernon Frazer

Small Empire Falling

the brick implosion
personified enclosure in casting
lasts a fall duration

seasonal outbursts 
an endless cycle for the rotunda 
left unfulfilled

autumnal nuance notwithstanding effrontery

monastic brewery grapes
stamp a future between cells
each appendage owning dice
repels immersion boulders

lapel borders need the craven innuendo

slow returns evoke
rupture fluid's dynasty chimera

the dance unveiled to prevail
in the face of its own erasure 
demands reclusive lumina 

for a semblable growing in formation


Desire after the Blossoming

marigold turbulence
breeds a tumescent aftertaste 

delight spreads its red cloth

checkered white jumps black
in shades of hooded padding
where agitated umber shreds

a darkened yearning churns 
for buttermilk's checkered memoirs

its flowered underlight burns plaid


Building On

a legend of sepulchral finesse
fought standards bearded and borne
to ease their plated utterance

long before
cultural replication frontons failed

the bestial pillar pressed granite
baring thoughtful passage caring 
where finite stress filters berated

pelota bagels
missing grated forfeit declarations

under grounded noumena where
beverage filter reduction templates
bartered sun-drenched categories

the best agenda follows least


Closing Company

a sweltering vibrato pit
sweats its melting night watch muzzle 

hidden runners hone their slow aplomb
where forest matches left surrendered

under bitten skies 
the music chances a dead vibrato


well-played massages treat the secret


fandango movie passengers
throttle their landmark defection

to suppose a cataleptic dinner suite 
remaindered the better suited close

air distances desire
when lightly nuzzled rendered musing


a misplayed passage deletes secretion


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Talan Memmott

Looking North


Isma'il ibn Ali al-Sadiq

Saturday Night

I suppose I'm having
another breakdown, with
such pills on the vanity,
by mouth daily as 1 mg

clonazepam in wont of
other apartments and vistas
to transform into busy
traffic circles and exits

from downtown matinees
out into impossible landscapes
one can barely spell
the absence of. I don't want

to be rescued from anything
vacant that comes to
hand, beyond feeling the deep
pain bereft of light sinew

wanting, as leaves me to
impossibly suspended dementia
and notes lost on the way
from Myra to Bari to Göttingen.


A Warm Wind from the South

She is at the top of
the sky: The child is known
to be on the other side
of the earth. The sun is

not visible until the parting
of lips where the darkness
of the forest falls away
(and you're supposed to be

talking about 'weather'
another said, but that's
a simple switch-back
and caution anyway is always

inevitable in her circuitry
just as the gender of
anyone remains unknown
until they're halfway out,

just where the moon is
up, to truth, and she is
under its effort where
fibers stretch the limits

between heaven and earth's
clear labor, no concept but
the sweet rush of being
out and final, here

right where I'm walking,
the night air an issue
not so much of sucking
the substance from

a mother's breasts, but
that she might blow first
breaths across its contingent
and now nameless nipples.


Jaap Stijl


Monday, September 24, 2012

Colin Morton

r   o   p   e   a   t   o   m   s   s   h   i   m
o   s   h   r   i   m   p   s   o   m   e   a   t
i   s   a   m   e   t   h   o   m   o   r   s   p
r   a   m   t   i   m   e   s   h   o   o   p   s
m   e   t   r   o   s   o   m   a   s   h   i   p
M  E  T  A  M  O  R  P  H  O  S  I  S
p   e   t   r   o   s   o   m   a   s   h   i   m
h   i   m   m   o   t   o   r   s   e   a   p   s
m   o   s   t   s   h   a   m   e   o   r   i   p
m   e   a   t   s   p   o   o   r   h   i   m   s
s   h   a   m   r   i   o   t   p   o   e   m   s


Sunday, September 23, 2012

John Oughton

The Naked Man

The naked man ran all over the rooftops of the city, his buttocks twinkling like tiny moons, his back
somehow turned to all viewers. Perhaps he had heard of the Sadie Hawkins tradition on Feb. 29, and the
very thought of a proposal from a woman, any woman, made him strip off his clothes in the February
chill and run, run, his small man-self brushing the hydro wires, his teeth chattering at the squirrels and
pigeons who were the usual natives of the cluttered rooftops on which he ran, ran.

His back always somehow turned to the audience, his hair brown as an ad for toupees that no-one
could tell. Of course, the taggers and sprayers pursued him too, always one slogan or arrow behind his
speeding calves, his elongated arms. Last seen, the naked man was running straight up the gold-leafed
windows of a major bank tower, distracting sober-suited execs from their next bonuses.

He needs nothing, being naked, but the wind in his face and the next leap over busy streets that barely
notice him. No-one looks up at the naked man, except the nutcases, the poets, those who dream wide
awake following their boots along the sidewalk.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Márton Koppány

(Hungarian Vispo #4)


David Weinstock

Diner Confidential

It’s late on a Sunday night in October. A tall skinny guy with a Cubs cap pulled down low slinks into my diner with a yellow legal pad in his hand. He leans over the counter and whispers, “It’s me. I snuck out. Don’t tell the Secret Service.”
“My lips are sealed,” I say, and we both laugh. Presidents do not sneak out. An hour ago, five agents had marched in, politely asked my customers to leave, frisked me good, scanned the joint for bombs, and set up a perimeter. An Air Force major with the nuclear launch codes hid in the ladies’ room, just in case, and the Presidential Food Safety Team set up in my kitchen to taste the doughnuts, also just in case.
He slaps his pad down on the counter and takes out a pen. I lock the front door and flip the sign to “CLOSED” before I bring him coffee, two glazed doughnuts and an ashtray.
He looks at the ashtray. “Really?” he says.
“Thanks,” he says, putting down his pen. He lights up, takes a puff, and lets it out slow. “Say, for the coffee, you got half-and-half? ‘Cause I’m the half-and-half president!” We both laugh again. He’s very funny when he’s not being ultra-careful, which is anytime anywhere except in here.
“Long day?” I ask.
“Could be worse, like if I ran an all-night diner.”
“Trade ya,” I say.
“You wouldn’t want it,” he says, “and anyway, I can’t cook. But I sure wish you could write this speech.”
“You’ve got a speechwriter.”
“I’ve got three speechwriters, one joke writer, and an intern. Sent them all home to get some sleep.”
“Sounds like you’re the one who needs sleep. Lemme see that pad.” He slides it over.
“I can’t read this left-handed crap,” I say. “What’s it about, world peace? Restarting the economy?”
“Farm policy. Ethanol,” he says. “Like who cares?”
“Oh, America cares about ethanol,” I say. I reach under the counter and pull out a bottle of bourbon and two juice glasses, but then the food tasters sprint out and say they’d better try it first. When they give back the bottle half-empty, I pour a round for the two of us and raise my glass. “Here’s to ethanol,” I say.
“Ethanol,” he says, raising his glass. “Drink It, Don’t Burn It.” He pauses to write that on his legal pad. “I wonder what gasoline tastes like.”
One of the food tasters leans out of the kitchen door looking alarmed. “Just a joke,” I say. “But see that pot of chili on the stove? You better get to tasting it, just in case,” and that’s the last we see of them for the night. My friend looks so tired.
“You know,” he says, “win or lose, I’ll be the youngest ex-president since Teddy Roosevelt.”
“What then?” I ask.
“He went on two safaris and wrote two more books.”
“Not Teddy, I meant you, what then for you?
“No time to think about it. Got any suggestions?”
“You know what they’re saying. Back to the Senate. Supreme Court. President of Harvard.”
“Nah. Probably write books. Definitely no safaris. Maybe move back to Chicago.”
“Another doughnut?”
“No, thanks,” he said, stubbing out his cigarette and getting up to leave. I bring him the check. I wouldn’t, but it’s some kind of Federal offense to let him eat free. “I’d miss you,” I say.
“Oh, I’d be back. This is the only place in America I’m allowed to smoke. See you next time. But don’t tell the Secret Service.”
And we both laugh.