Saturday, August 31, 2013

Martha Deed

Seamus Heaney Reading at Canisius College, Buffalo, New York

It begins with a miracle – the suddenly vacated parking space in the tiny lot 
closest to the Montante Center where the entrance I remembered was
suddenly blocked by a fountain erected in the last building flurry, the curb cut
– gone – and I, a Protestant unused to theological manifestations left puzzled
at 30 mph in dense traffic where everyone it seemed was after the same event,
and I inhaled as I squeezed past the don't walk signal and turned into the dead
end of the once-familiar lot but while preparing to back out and I am not good
at driving in reverse I happened to see out of the corner of my eye – the one
not prone to misleading lightening flashes – red lights which in any case are
not a part of my malady and these red lights had yellow lights underneath
them and the bumper beneath both sets of lights reflected the four lights and
thus caught my attention – of a car backing out of its space and must have
been driven by someone who was no poetry aficionado even of Irish poetry
and Heaney the greatest living of that sort, but this car was departing which
was bad for the driver's cultural education but quite wonderful for mine and
even better the car that was leaving did so in a manner which prevented any
competing poetry lover from entering the lot and achieving the space that I
now had set sight upon and thus as the driver did its backing and shifting and I
did my backing and shifting – two ships at sea in too narrow a channel for
comfort as it were – and gained the space somewhat crookedly with a pang it
must be admitted of regret for not giving way to the other supplicant for that
space but also assured in my own mind of the primacy of that space for me as
I am the owner of eight Seamus Heaney books and so I continued out of the
car and through the rain and across the street to the too small assembly hall
where I took one of the last seats ten minutes after the doors were first opened
and soon I stopped remembering a parking space dispute which I won on
Riverside Drive near Columbia some years ago at 9:30 at night and dumbtired 
did not yield to the thug who left his car to pound with his fists on my
roof and then my windshield before regaining his vehicle and driving on and I
found all four tires slashed the next day which cured my guilty conscience in a
hurry of any regret either that day or now.

October 28, 2012


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wendy Battin


Come out of the city by I-95
in the center lane: passed left,
passing right bubble after
bubble-world, an elbow out or driver's
palm cupping the wind,
giving like a kite a moment, human
limbs that make the flight
a bird-migration, mind, mind,
mind not by communion curving here
but publishing the shape of space

for who might read it. Tract gives way
to field, to waste, but how the road banks
on this S makes a new down,
meets my G's securely.
Mountains soon. Scrub here,
as only farms could make it,
having failed. One tree ahead
is humpbacked under vine, behind
and gone; sunflowers buckle
under their seed-heads.

Half the weeds out there
are medicine or food,
even the kudzu whose root
thickens ginger sauce and cools a fever.
Proves nothing, except we are not
special, that chemistry describes us,
suggests we are not aliens on the earth,
despite our foreign manners.
Weed eats what weed gets. Bach
dopplers by, at 80 barely cruising.

[fr. Little Apocalypse]


Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stephen Ellis

After Midnight: Five Poems [07 July 2011]

[ As Usual ]

The rose as
image of poetry

truth and love
is a furnace

of efficiency
that dies into

the widening

that unfolds
my eye in sweet

and phantom


[ Deformity ]

Alive all
the time,

soft, new
figs in

the walled

and our
olives are

ready to

Rain makes


and settles
in the cracks


is all that
you can't

and desire

is knowing
you don't

have to
want any

one that
cannot be


to feel

it's really


[ Labor ]

I hadn't
meant for

it to be
but left

over with
a few

green beans
fried with

garlic in
olive oil

and soy
left out

all night
was a

that was

still real
good. Dave

came in
and asked

the washing

was because

he had to
be to work

by ten, so
I showed

him it
and we

walked back

as he


and said


[ Blue Skies Rising through Late Middle Age ]

It's no

still fresh
so I

the question

is, what
good is

if it goes


can find to
eat it?

That is,
a helicopter

the military
pays to

have built
to defend

wanting to


on anyone
for real


and not just

about how

the fear
they keep

will lighten

the load
no one can

be paid
enough to

shit out.


[ Mockingbird ]

Having become
simple again

but only for a day,
enough is forever

enough. I was just
thinking, I can't

remember the last
time I could be

said to have slept
late. 2:20 AM.

Shake out the long
entryway rug, clear

the kitchen counter.
It's always high tide

when you surrender
to full sense and learn

to fathom things
as becoming more

and more necessarily
mechanical. I

used to have as a kid
one of those bikes

you braked by
jamming back hard

on the pedals. Living
is like life was then:

I always seemed to have
known what I

wanted, a lot sooner
than I thought. 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Márton Koppány

Poem - for Karl Young (and Laszlo Kornhauser)


Alan Sondheim


if there were there would not be
if there is, there was not
for no one, there was,
for no one there would be

at times there seemed a place
or what an origin would be
if there were, there was not,
for anyone, this origin

there were lines among lines
somewhere, that was a place,
or where the place would be,
there was no place

there were lines, curved,
and some seemed to hold something,
nothing was held, nothing would be,
but memory of a place

memory is always of annihilation,
of something wrought, not being,
not being here, not being there,
not being held, or some thing

name floats and disappears,
sign leaves, would not have been
sign, would not have been
in or out of place, where place
would be

nothing remains of this, and
many letters are topologies,
separating interior from exterior,
for a moment embedded in space

but no place, and no one,
no other sign to the sign

if there were, there would not be


Mark Prudowsky

In Response to the Prompt: President is a Name Best Applied to a Dog

Because,  lit up by a disgruntled god and then thunderstruck, disgruntled I am,
I might give birth to a dog. Your rational mind’s need to make meaning
be damned! Shut the fuck up and agree that Spot, Beau and Rover
are already taken and none cuts a shine, and because someone just put
Lester Leaps In in my ear and the tune puts in my mind  how Lindy hops
and because Lindy
and her tongue loved me first
and like no one since, despite her having made me wait so long, I’m gonna call
my newborn Pres and vote for him early and often and gloat each time he obeys
my command.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Camille Martin


sizzle of the last protozoan

Out-of-earshot scripts
cross thresholds of belief.

The chitinous exoskeleton of a locust
perches on a dam. As the floodgates
burst, thought swears it hears
a high-pitched trill but has no memory
of its lacustrine past.

La vie dorée rushing
by. Rushing through
a vacuum riddled
with the mundane.
The mundanity of the moist
quiddity the desert
makes off with.


Doppelgänger’s Lament

Continuous coverage of already-solved swindles
is how your story goes down. At intervals, hype

jingles with the faux naiveté of felons at large.
Secretly you yearn to be in the midst of a true-life
crime story with its McGuffins, its quest

for hollow penguins hidden in plain sight
to lead the gumshoe astray. You ditch the fantasy

and live a pretty normal life, occasionally saving the day
with cartoonish light bulbs switching on with impeccable
timing, viewing creation from a precisely-gauged periphery,

clock ticking and stopping and ticking. No plugging
the drain, scraping ancestral facades. And if you could,

maybe you’d rather peer at a blank wall, inwardly filming
all the could-have-beens teeming before your eyes.
A life of unbroken crime.


No Such Identical Horses

I was counting on my favourite superstition
to endow the mirage with authority. I was bobbing
for dissolved apples, placing my faith
in the rendezvous of generic rogues and dupes.
Glossy scenarios pretend not to pretend.
Not like the World Series. Nor rocking chairs or
Lazyboys or clippers dragging their barnacled anchors,
but an average sentence, in Latin for instance,
or magic incantations. Like when you say
what you’re going to say, then say it, then
say what you just said. Thought fleeces island
from chart. Marrow goads other things of marrow.
Storm swell stirs poppies at the bottom
of a teacup. Maybe I wouldn’t know
if I ate wormy fruit or hoarded chipped china.
I think I recognize the horse inside my head,
but throw a pinch of salt anyway.

The Tyranny of X

The question of what
what was
seemed urgent at

the time. Then something
begetting (itself

unidentifiable) begets
a litter of nameless

flakes, not unlike
satellites doling out

snapshots of myriad
selves. Selves, dust

settling onto
a mirror’s tinfoil.
Dust kindling

risk, risk
altering brush.
All any wisp needs:

chorus unfolding
silk accordion fan.
Ever more

wisps annihilate wispy
being after the shudder
of thought thought

final: ants herald
storms, seeds

cleave sod. After
the crash of solidity,
new heretics take

to pocketing
lint, pawn,

dipping bird,
any x up
to nothing.


Porous Creed

An emerging word requires faith
in what greets every living day:
cat’s eye shrouded in altostratus,

horizon gossiping about flames
of translucent ballerina. A word jostles
with other motes within a keyhole:

existence without audience,
like a Gurnsey jumping two metres
when no one’s looking. A word revises

every rose and its reverse,
confounds every dam and its brink. It bids
farewell to props in vaudeville trunks.

Spontaneously on the lam, it stops
on a dime; at the threshold of speech,
translates chatterings of gnats.

It dons heft without crumpling
into a dull heap. And it trembles that each
violet twilight might be the last.

That it would miss. That
and looking at the cat’s eye
and the cat’s eye looking back.