heat            a daisy lays unfolded. an open secret the honey flees deeper
Tips against tips as when the tow driver checks the battery for a charge knocking the jump cable terminals together, blue spurt flash between the tapping
I in another for a while, not caring or minding       freedom from mind            unthinkable
so what was it? I dunno
rawer, sunnier, hotter, touched but other from - antelope quite wild, as yet unnamed            gestures
lope, lope, lope
ripping gulping broken throat water fountain high arching silvery lawn sprinklers some
twists into mist, never comes down
Why saturday is better than sunday
"to have peace in a life of pain" - Eckhart
To sit here, in the morning and hear a few birds outside.
To sip coffee, to hear
the low horn of the train.
My old friend Nietzsche arises from his rented bed in Turin, he glances at his face in the bathroom mirror. Not too much headache this morning.
In Strasbourg, Germany, Eckhart passes sparrows hopping in a dry spot under an awning. In his mind, he thinks of the word "endurance," crosses it out, replaces it with "acceptance."
Amichai looks out across Jerusalem. He sees two dresses hanging on a clothesline, in his mind, replaces one of the dresses with a man's shirt, brightens the color of the other dress, changes "hanging" to "flapping in a breeze," and continues to chew on his toothpick.
And let us not end this poem without a mention of Ryokan sitting in his thatch hut in the woods, yawning, cold - the hearth fire's out.
meeting years later
It was a long time since they had last met. Both of their faces were a little bit broader. The sun ruffled red feathers on a blunt-beaked cardinal.
While she made tea in the kitchen with a sound of clinking and steam,
he walked through the apartment, stopping to bend down and appreciate a small jade maple, two tiny porcelain cats.
A sound of wind chimes somewhere.
He noticed a book that looked familiar nestled between Freud and Schopenhauer. He opened it, saw pages he had dogeared years before.
Well, at least there were no pretentious notes in the margins.
She came out with the tea. They sat and discussed relatives, weather, occasionally old things, touched on lightly like air on skin once a bandaid comes off or cold air on the roots of teeth.
They laughed, the sunlight played on the table. They felt the calm which only those who have suffered much can feel.
When their joy becomes too full, brimming over each sensitive edge unendurably, who will be first to accept it, who will be first to walk away?
In the morning, I prefer coffee. At night, some "Sleepytime" herbal tea.
In music, generally Nick Drake or Hendrix, in scenery, passing North Carolina fields.
In women, blondes, in men, not myself; in books, Meister Eckhart and Ryokan;
in food, Heartland granola and big fat oranges.
In clothes, black t-shirts and black pants.
In weather, summer. Hmm, it used to be fall.
Who said there was no order in my life, no choice, or no changing.
the lesson of ben
I didn't know he wrote. He was just a guy who did some odd jobs around the office. Open-faced, unassuming, white guy, mid-20s.
Clearly, he'd had some experience with pain and uncertainty, and yet maintained a certain youthfulness -- this, in itself, gave him the innocuousness that made him someone I could talk to -- he wasn't trying to get anything from me -- or even give anything.
So, then, when he said "I heard you're a poet," and emailed his prose, I was amused, but not surprised. As time goes on, I get better and better at identifying these people: inevitably they are damaged, a little, they take great joy in simple things, they don't have a lot of money, and they actually have a sense of hope in reality.
Whether what they can offer is a chapter of a novel, a good or lousy poem, or just some leftover bread. (Once, Ben told me there was some leftover home-baked bread in the kitchen of our office. I was starving, and it was good).
This February morning, I glance outside the window, pulling back the venetian blinds.
Cold brown grass. Overcast sky.
I've had enough sleep; I can't stay in bed anymore, can't dream the natural way.
So I heat up some water, make some Red Zinger, sit cross-legged on the mattress and peruse a couple pages of Safranski's bio of Nietzsche, not really understanding much of it.
Then maybe a little Buddha, or Rilke in french,
and maybe I write a little bit myself.
This dreaming is also natural, nor is it an escape from reality. It sits inside life like the white of an egg, nourishing and surrounding - the brittle shell is almost an afterthought.
Your own hand is a history of the universe: claws retracted back to make way for fingertip sensitivities, cobbled wrinkle-creases like elephant folds, open palm a shade slightly lighter
- some of the places for holding things are clean, pure and pale, like the gaze of a tired man who still laughs at your joke. These little things
help, in the dusklight of the evening, when February highway sounds shroud the trees dimmed behind buildings and the rain mist is just enough for the wipers to be on.
Open faces, open palms: in this way, you survive.
It seemed like a giant sun, white and sprayed over with opening moments which did not, however, destroy the spherical being of itself - I touched what felt like curdled milk or the opening of an animal
pulled myself out of the egg
There are hopeful people everywhere. Two miles from me in this city a mother tucks her baby to bed. She brushes his black hair off his forehead and presses her palm to it, feels its coolness. His white brow is untroubled and smooth. He is hopeful, too, in his dreams.
A dreadlocked man working the checkout hums a pop song to himself. He does not know that the reason for all the plateglass, for all the stark lighting is to reduce the incentive for theft. The bright light gives him some hopefulness: the things in the store are clear and detailed. The air is clean. It's a good pop song. The shift doesn't last forever.
There's a hispanic family up the street from where I sit here typing this. The man, rugged, short, stocky, long brown sideburns. The woman walks out of kitchen steam the phone crooked to her neck. Little papi, four years old, zigs and zooms fat blocks of red, green, yellow Lego while the TV plays a DVD, J Lo movie. There is hopefulness in this household.
But one gets suspicious of a man who describes hopefulness, who makes a point of assigning it to certain people or situations. One wonders what his motives are. One senses that he might be desperate or that he is trying to portray things as they are not.
And there's a hopefulness in doubting him this way.
when summer wind presses and wishes against the tops of fields, making long lazy zigzags and snakelike indentations, as if an invisible giant walking across.
When the man invited the woman out onto the porch where a bottle of wine and two glasses stood on the railing, and a single rose, and they poured the wine and sat on the porch steps, watching the stars above the field.
When, nearing sleep, he felt a feeling inside of himself as deep and wide, as quiet and calm as the fields which one passes by in North Carolina on any of the highways.
When, commuting to work from her house, he glimpsed the fields anonymous and distant in their seasons - white with new growth in the springtime, dark-furrowed with plowing, in the summer, heavy and green, in the fall. Once,
stopping to get gas in a small town, he let the pump run, and wandered slowly around to the back of the country store, where cracked concrete gave way to honeysuckle bushes, scattered sunflowers, and the beginnings of a field - he saw a fat garden spider swinging in its web.
But chiefly the dreams of fields, the sense of coming close to sleep and finding it to be peaceful, and wide, and calm, and perhaps he places his leg over hers and now falls asleep.
I start to think of it more as my home as I start to recognize my own inner sad distortions, emptinesses in the scenes around me:
whoever thought those rocks would look good in front of that house, had to be kidding; the bleakness of the state government buildings in downtown Raleigh, is second to none;
and the hazy days of dump pop songs and mealy corndogs slowly obscured my youth like grime at the edges of cash register keys. The woman who worked in the silk plant store
was beautiful - high legs and high cheekbones - but I never met her. Except
if you want to call this looking, and wondering, every day, a meeting . . . .
In this way me and the landscape were similar. The frightening air inside the hospital doors.
All the same, the herbal tea that they served in the hippie coffeehouse was good, it tasted good.
When I returned to Chapel Hill they had shut down the persian teahouse - which figured - it was a place that I loved, so it had to be fragile.
But the used bookstore remained in business, so I went and sat in the poetry section, on one of their funny chairs, and looked at a dome-headed photo of Allen Tate.
By the time I wandered back out onto the street, it was dusk, some sounds of drums were coming from the Mexican café, and I saw little red and green lights, strung through the shrubs in back of a tiny three-piece band.
Many students, walking to and fro.
I left my car parked behind the McDonalds and slowly walked up Franklin Street, looking at the bottlecaps and butts in the gutter, the crystal green of the crossing light,
the white-shirted kids working at Kinkos.
A smell of sour beer in the alley to He's Not Here. We were always too nervous to go there, in college.
Down past the Carolina Café, I sat on the stone hip-high wall in back of which rolling grass and giant old trees took you back toward the university buildings. Indeed, I was surrounded by beauty in my youth. Smell of perfume, as painful as ever. I walked back to my car, tears in my eyes.
how I hope to grow old
The old man treated the cancer as his friend. He thought of the little DNA codes breaking down inside of his cells, like the mottos on gravestones -
sweetly beautiful as they slip away into a smoothness of rain-softened stone.
And anyway, others deserved to know the world, from their own youth.
One can be a twilit being. He tried to have that effect on others, to carry himself that way, around them: the effect of dusk:
so that they might muse a little bit to themselves, sip their coffee slowly, and not even know he was here.
It was simple, really. You watched, and listened.
You mentioned the dead husband's name quite gently. You brought up a couple of the old songs. You pointed them toward something they could be proud of
and let them remember it for themselves.
the poet's prerogative
how beautiful it is with you, here, in the moonlight. I do not have my own phone number memorized. I can't even tell you the number of my apartment - 303? 305? But I can tell you that you are beautiful and I know this, by comparing you to Nefertiti, and Cleopatra, and Julie, even though I've never met any of them. This is the poet's prerogative: this memory.
You bent your legs back till they tapped the headboard.
Later, we each drank an imported pilsner and watched a silly show.
You fell off to sleep on the couch.
I turned, and looked at you:
blue shadows from the TV splashed on your face like a rainstorm.
When we met again, years later, as I touched your body and felt it move,
the echoes of other men
felt themselves against me
After a long, happy day cooking Christmas treats,
in bed, your shoulders smelled of flour and honey.
You sipped your beer, we kissed and I kept kissing you till I kissed all the beer taste off of your sweetness
In springtime, the air smells like the water tastes.
I jog down the chilly hallway naked into the steam-bloomed bathroom.
Drying off, I smell coffee from the kitchen.
There is no difference between how I am now and how I was then, except, perhaps, that I won't let you know if I cry, a little, for joy and loss - it no longer matters to me if things in my life are remembered.
When he was young, once, he took an assortment of golden pocket watches his grandfather had given him and took them all apart, marveling at their little works and bevels.
A silvery spring, delicate, that rose and fell like a fly's heart.
Older now, he had a geode someone gave him.
It was not open - a dull gray ball, it sat on his bookshelf.
He left it closed.
if you think you're saved, you have forgotten the one just like you who hasn't been saved, whose effort has come to nothing, whose car won't start, whose shoe sole flaps, whose wife talks differently to him than to the others, whose vision seems flattened.
If you think you've failed you forget the one who is almost like you except they have connected, watch as they get lifted, taken away, into where wherever is.
To say something good, and also real - years ago, I would've said
"To say something good, but also real" -
but contradictions have worn me out.
In reality, all the mage could give him was a bowl of herb to smoke and a blue crystal ball to gaze in. But that was enough.
They sit there, watching particles of strawdust circle and drift in the candlelight. Outside, through the open window sounds of horses stamping and snoring. They pour a little more wine from the bladder that hangs from a nail.
"Let me show you this," the old man says and, tiptoe on a stool, takes down a massive book hidden above a shelf.
Their two faces close, they turn the heavy pages. The young man marvels at the glinting goldleaf halos in back of the tiny faces of saints and virgins, delicately sketched.
The old man marvels too. There are some things in this world which bring us all the same way from ourselves.
Let none of this be lost.
Sunlight mixed with a woman's voice, dandelions with thick green stalks. Fingers scented of honeysuckle.
A sad man thinks of these things in winter
a happy man holds these things in summer
I miss Venice Beach, Los Angeles - the crowds of folks on the promenade in front of the beach; the elegant bald black man rollerskating while another man tends the portable P.A. setup blasting Madonna and eurodisco . . . . I miss the little head shops, the hippie apartments, the rasta flag hanging over a sunbleached porch, the fragrance of palms, the way late afternoon plays across stucco walls. I miss the tea house a couple blocks in from the beach, where I could sip chamomile tea and write things in my notebook, as I watched young people come and go from the front door of the hostel. I miss the late night bar scene when ridiculous men in bright white blazers and women whose faces define loved and lost sit with light-blue colored drinks in peculiar glasses. I miss the gentle entrance to the Rose Bud Tavern, where poor, sickly men nurse their longnecks, saying little. Also the candle dealer and the man displaying his surrealist paintings, and the mime in the grimy Blues Brothers outfit and the man on roller skates playing Hendrix through an electric guitar hooked up to a tiny amp strapped to his back.
I saw him there one year and I saw him again another year thus showing that the place allows eccentricity to endure.
Which gives me hope for my own mind. And I even miss some patches of Santa Monica beach, up the way - though not as much - the bums in their sleeping bags, the ferris wheel out on the pier . . . .
Strange, how with places and people I love, I miss them, it seems, even in their presence, and seem to forget where I am as if I was there, in my heart as well as my body.
How beautiful this sunlight is, in Los Angeles where my parents walk through rolling streets of Westwood, back from the university. Even the colossal Mormon complex
does not look too awful, in this light which plays on glinty little planes lifting and circling above the downtown spires
and plays on the sleek black curls of the man who works the checkout at Starbucks - who knows, maybe a would-be actor or playwrite -
and at night, there's a delicious warm coolness in the air. That's when I like to drive down to Sunset and walk slowly up and down the strip looking at the clubbers, the CD store displays, the theme bars with their booming music suddenly silenced when a door shuts.
There's even a bookstore, up toward one end of Sunset, where you might find a used Allan Watts, or beatnik bio.
If I love this earth it will force me to grieve.
I like to sip tea, and watch the cats sun on the porch.
I sit here on my bed naked in my tiny duplex apartment at the end of a working class street not far from downtown Raleigh.
I left my glasses at work and don't feel like wearing my contacts so I walk around, myopic, making a cup of chamomile tea, fighting, shrugging or sleeping off despair or embracing it in which case it goes
as I sit here naked on my mattress, listening to a Nick Drake bootleg, still recovering from last night's bender. Those friends of mine really do drink too much.
On one of Nick's songs recorded on a tape deck at his parent's house, I think you can hear some birds chirp in the background.
If you were here, I'd clean up a little, put on some clothes, I suppose, and we'd talk about this and that.
A flash through the venetian blinds on both sides of my bedroom - crack, the lightning is close.
The step back to square one just before you arrive is not the same as never having moved.
Today there is rend & clash, bent fortitude reaped of holding two ideas powerfully singular like two thumbs in separate holes of a slipshod dam.
What you covet is the possibility of leakage even though it appears you do everything in your power not to let that happen.
It's a good thing you think that those who care about you can't see what you're really up to.
The pandering after a clutch that was the trigger, the found poem, the surprise - bow-legged bravado & all that hope for deep erotica shimmering - yes - candles burning next to the radiator melting wonky into flaming trees of good & evil & the love on the wood floor a shoehorn splinter of love - man/woman - mortally seeming last chance though really not.
The woman's later kisses are a murmur of ecstatic condolences. The man, prettily alive, strokes shoulders & falls summer-thriving asleep.
You'd keep him if you could you think at the same time not even believing yourself.
More correctly you'd keep, if you could, the self that you become here lying all there next to him.
This has nothing to do with committing emotional fraud.
Years later in one of those dreams where all the players have the wrong names, wrong faces
you recognize his hand holding a tea pot from Tibet extending out of the sleeve of a homeless woman who hasn't allowed touching in a decade.
You have the most intense urge to kiss her, drink the limp green tea straight from the spout spent leaves & all.
Lisa Gordon: I'm a schizophrenic, but a lucky one, meaning my pills work at least for now, I have strong love in my life, I can function, I've mostly learned to deal. As far as writing goes: Well I always loved something that Margaret Atwood said many years ago when she was asked why she wrote. Her answer: Why doesn't everybody? Yes, that is it - natural as drawing breath, & everybody knows how difficult that can get at times, at the very very least metaphorically speaking.
Newfangled ten thousand tenfold device that brannacks forth a solution: the hair of the pintofolded woman or Edna proclaiming her hate with kisses ten thousand ten folding two brannacking beaming forth a nude conversation with arousing tools of social flesh gouging more of what it intended or twenty thousand five folded that face in the grocery crowd that singular creme devil to resist no speak no look but atonement made mother brannacking a twentythirtyforty
spaces or shes what's left after the udder is milked brannackbefolding tenfold fifty measure nano-machine where is her on button
edna eye give you meye gumption       iu?
Jan Savanyu: I am a 24 year old student in Richmond, VA. I am heavily influenced by the likes of Dickinson, Cummings and Corso. all I can say is that you must keep positive thinking and no illness in your body and mind can destroy you.
"War has colored all of our lives for a very long time."
Is casualty notification at all casual?
Instanteous haplessness =+= with new technology comes earsback pinning anxiety = you pine.
Generic enbed, embed, in bed those angels dancing on the head of a pin winning the battle we are
"They [we] have been monitoring listening posts and flooding the internet". polling advertisees
I hate that it happened to him,                                                    he who "indoctrinated" us into the Marines way
our media mediated immediated knowledge of war
headlines creep under, crawl along inexorably relaying the underlying messages quick [or better, as quickly]
3/27 Embedded media Terminalized Frag news crawls along at camel's pace under the TV picture of.... Akhbar
TV has Crawling once more under the screen Along the banks of the Tibris Clouds billow over Baghdad Phones on the cutting edge disconnect
Regarding the Pain of Others
Nearby plaque commemorating Grant- Land Rice's birthplace, Condoleesa Rice lays out options, shopkeep, Kurd out of Jerusalem, carefully handles Camels out of Winston-Salem out of baccy from nearby fields as encroaching Vietnam vet fondles neck of Bud Light shimmers through on shockandawe headline. Camera shifts to SUV mall miles off. Sex y ad sublimes isms MONSTER.COM AMAZON ATLAS shrugged.
"in Bklyn over the last 2 weeks a lone African-American has murdered 4 Muslims and a few other shop keepers...extropolate that..."
The show will go on tonight
"Invalid option" the computer announced (snickered, spit out, bellweathered, cajoled underhandedly a soft lob I could, I thought, wham outa the park but overcut down into the ground) today via BellSouth (Cricket, Clickit, Verizontally) the SSI Disability Examiner stated (uttered, actually he saw the irony as well).
Could be the name for a new school (flock, coterie, collab) of poetry
[but would have been truer before 9/11 and the latest discovery of the ability to rejoin (at least in one sense or maybe even enjoin) the trumpets of war].
War is a real danger or a brief bickering TV flicker.
NEEDS A VISCERAL DIMENSION
and then you wonder one day if the word is really the way i wrote it
interesting. had this thought last night "and then you wonder one day If the word is really the way I wrote it? the word is really the way I write it? they write it? we write it? this pen writes it? this computer writes it? this ami,ation program zips it?"
Then I got your message and thought of Lu Chi and brush meditators and something Dmitri Buatov said about the roots of visual poetry and Pennebaker's research which might say the how you 'say' actually determines what you say as in process determines content.
i think aan has done some things along this ine and a lot of people don't see it.
food for thought, but for now I'll pick up my train of thought and write my world and wonder how well off Johnny Paycheck would have died had he not done 'Take This Job and Shoved It"?
Their madness, their badness
60 and still
60 and still kiCKing
In the air Everywhere These days. Unsaid                                Unspoken                                               Retracted Contracted for e-publication if you would contract it or                                     polish it some
It may be Mayday, Mayday. But say Ing is by far the more difficult Op            ti                 on.
"I find it harder and harder to keep track of everything I don't do." - John Cayley in private email,
"I wonder; we seem to love poets and poetry for they can express in writing so well how they feel, which we can often relate to.
That may be part of the problem?" - response posted to a self-help bulletin board.
"Or part of the solution" - response to response.
suppression of poetry helps me digest the way the world rumbles on?
Tom Bell is a psychologist in private practice and a widely published poet. He currently has diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome and major depression.
Fracture! My mother, 20, own house, she leaves a perfectly strong man, 100 miles drives to Hawthorne place of great-grandmother deposits me in dirty diapers, like a bad check. She on to become worldly educated.
Terrified of stern, three, missing my dad, never smiling grandmother no matter what grow eat, poop, lie, listen talk, the radio, you fight, cry, learn to shoot a sling-shot, bird names, little sad songs, fly kites. Some direction. School. Sticks. Steps.
Saw dad, mom occasionally, mysterious tide flow on varient schedules different goals and means. He found one day hill overlooking Burbank airport, said, "Be strong." He great war leaving to go far oceans. Nations needed us. Fracture!
I, 5 cried and continued cried life mostly, cry fills eyes black blobs dizzies me every life day. Tears throb like seasons random crazy.
Unloved growing burden on who cares me feel some evil child deserving nothing. God punishes crimes I ignorance commit.
Do all wars forever? would my dad. would my mom. would warmth and bounty... i question -- i never the war, never. nothing ever went. destroyed i like London, i bombed Berlin, i Hero-She-Ma cloud-dark. i core my life. child wrong parents. wrong war world. wrong.
Jerry Hicks also appeared in Issue 8. His poems have been published in Rattle, Red River View, Anthology, Dan River, VeRT and others. Hicks hosts literary workshops, poetry events, and slams. He received the Excellence in Literary Art award from the City of Torrance in 1999. Books are "Even Weeds have Flowers," "Instructions Included," and "Blind as Bullets in a Crowd."
In the Fall we'd gather the family together the annual harvest of birds. To clean and freeze some of our chickens, as food for the coming year.
With the lawn the colors of Christmas we pulled the entrails out. We'd catch their legs with stiff wire snag while they pecked the ground for food.
They'd flop on the grass for what seemed like days; blood spurts shooting from severed necks as their thumb-sized hearts slowly stopped.
We'd scald them in a huge iron pot with a wood fire for the heat. Pluck the feathers (save them for pillows) and pull the insides out. Find the liver, gizzard and heart and save them with the rest.
For washing and rinsing we'd use zinc-plated tubs, rolled from the wash-house to lawn. We'd cut some up into legs thighs, and breast, others we'd simply freeze whole.
And this is how it was done: Daddy would grab them, head in his fist and with two quick twirls pull it off. I was too small, without the strength to twirl them in the air. So I'd hold them down my foot on their face and pull till the silence began.
Kenny A. Chaffin has written poetry and fiction for over 10 years and has published poems in Vision Magazine, Array, Esc!, The Bay Review, The Caney River Reader, poetandwriter.com, WritersHood, Star*Line, MiPo, 14-4-30, and Melange. He lives in Denver, Colorado where he works as a Software Engineer to supplement his poetry income.