Thursday, November 01, 2001

Issue 6

K. Lee

Michael Workman

Colin Van Der Woude

Peter Tremain

Rick Parsons

Karen Herring

Joe Hackworth

K. Lee

Sunday in the Park With Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali sketched my eye last Sunday.
He told me to keep my head moving
so that he could paint a seeing eye--
a picture that would stare back
at its observer.

"An eye in motion is a seeing eye."
"An eye that sees nothing is almost blind."

He painted blindfolded
so that the painting would be
an original vision.

Next Sunday, he wants to sketch
my mind down by the river.

Watching the World Like a Silent Movie

Crouch twisted
in a blank stare
squinting through shades of
grey nothingness.

No projection
of the origin of
cherry trees.
No injection of
madness to puncture wounds.
No fleshtones
to paint
what goes BUMP in the night.

Close your eyes
(the hero is murdered)
See black
(your eyes roll back
          like the hand of a dead man)

See nothing
Everything turns RED



Cars, fast food, Kodak memories--
sophisticated products
for sophisticated people.

We should sophisticate the trees--
All plant life must furnish
proof of property rights
before it can legally
take root.

Nothing is alive
without official documentation.
Each person has a right
to their own bar code number.
Products that don't scan
will be discarded.

This is a system
for your protection
a safety net
to catch you,
to hold you,
to keep you
from falling
through the gaps,
the cracks,
the loop holes,
the escape hatch
to freedom.

K. Lee. Born 1975. Been plagued by extreme clinical depression since age 11. Sometimes suffers "visions" .Gave up on therapists, but still takes medication (currently Prozac, occasionally Buspar). Panic attacks and paranoia. Thinks Pizza and Donuts are food groups. Knows that dogs (especially little ones) are the most superior of all beings. Has a fantastic mom and step-dad and a loving boyfriend who keep her going. Also has 2 amazing critters who keep her laughing and caring.

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Michael Workman

Amrodel Dead

i cut the rock below the earth and fill my arm with dusted paints
i fall into a fishie-stream and dream a dream of unsurpassing
glamour and enchantment.

i fish my Wrists for life's emphatic bleat and
find beneath my Blood a whole and newer thing;
which, with its unbinding, seeks the sun and
lets its lips become the Eye
of Hour.

i fell into a whistlie dark and daring cave and beyond the dripping whisper
of its fangy
lid i seeped inside a crescent fishie-stream where soulless crisp and white
and dreary eyeballs
peek a precious light inside myself

i have an Eye, an Hour, two Wrists and just one drop of Blood.

i could do no damage.

beyond the swimming, beneath the fatal floating of a cold and wretched

amrodel dead

i see the waterlog way she lay,
as if blanketed;
blank, afraid, shocking.
kill the wetness, kill the chill, kill the light.

i could kiss you, murderer.

i remember your basement.
plans of tut's untombing combed our tangled lochs.
old and stickie rosemeat lay about.
dread and death's unhiding shout.

dreams of years and years,
dreams that go to golden fields where sun is like a lemon dew upon the neck,
dreams below a well of vibrant sung and racing angels,
dreams below our feet could never warm our hearts.

dreams of years and years, and years we never kept,
dreams of glowing with la lune,
and the splendour that she wept.

she let the fishies brush her up
another choice was missing.

that log was wept.
thus began Our Last And Dying Grasp,
which with a million horse's hearts,
we cast ourselves (young elves) upon
the stinking creek,
and each moon leak its great and brilliant
glance into trying, drowning eyes.

the moon could drown us too, we knew,
and in our cold we sunk to lowest depth.

below a certain point we touched our feet upon
a rock, and cut our arms around its heated current.

that blood could--it would--swirl a certain way.
that blood would--it could--whirl until day.

a way in which the rhythms of some deep and dying god
were summoned, and the wrath of his last words swept us to
a light and peaceful eddy,
where we lay panting till some desert consumed us with a dry and dusty fire.

in this way we learned to breath a different air,
which let our minds know truer things;
in this way we learned to walk this path:
of the lotus in the rose.


if the world were deathly still,
and your heart a spinning place,
what way would your blood whirl?--
by what would we set pace?

would roses buy a lover?
would time buy a clock?
would moonthings cease to hover
around their earthen dock?

if love were temporal,
and eternity a beast,
I'd live my love a tool--
useful at the least.

The Peasant

i saw a fire queen
drop from
that window.

i felt that flame should be rising, rising,
and at winter's descent,
i hid so low
that anything was a throne
for her

michael p. workman: i am nineteen years old. i don't know what to say about any mental illness. i've been 'diagnosed' with many Disorders, but not all of them i am so sure were actually present. They include bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, ADHD, the list goes on. i've been on dozens of different medications, ingested massive amounts of illegal drugs, controlled substances, and alcohol, tried to kill myself six times(only two of which were serious attempts), been hospitalized, all that rot. i only include the long list to show that neither i, nor educated, trained professionals seem to agree on what, exactly, is The Problem, nor how to effectively treat it. all i can say for sure is that i seem to have trouble stimulating myself in safe and acceptable ways, and that i am cursed with something that others will always cruelly refer to as 'Being Gifted.' i won't be surprised if in my early twenties i begin seeing the symptoms of what i really have--probably schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. people will say "we should have seen it coming." oh well. at least i'm not one of The Stupids. anyway.

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Colin Van Der Woude

Feel Low

I cannot remember something;
hurt so hard and fight it to begin
and believe I try to recover
to recollect memories within

A vague distant night
morning the end of delight
feeling mellow
I hear them singing:
for he's a jolly good fellow'
as I encounter feel-low

Alone with myself
at one with inner love
she, with a vacant stare of hope
swirls emotion behind her dream eyes
"useless, useless - I cannot cope!"
her words but whispers between cries.

Reciprocal Love

Herbal insecticide breathes
old man losing innocence he never had
nothing to start with
sure as something to end with

He hung himself from the old apricot tree
ever since that fateful day
apricots have never fallen
only his body rots on the ground below.

Invading Points of Structured Light

I can feel sound decomposing
and filling with a rotten substance
today I bled on rose thorn
tomorrow I never remember

I've also heard the sound of death
for I need guidance
shattered sense of misgiving
the isolated hymn for peace
the excited expectation
I have the right to disintegrate
where the bird fell

Colin Van Der Woude: That was a collection written over eight years. Many a lonesome night pen in hand. I hope my poems and writing can explain or give the reader a sense of what I've been through and encountered in my 24 years. The rest are purposefully designed to make sure I never forget or regret my creative past... experimental. And if my writing brings happiness or a sense of deja-vu to others out there with a mental illness, it's job has been done. Listening to wide range of different music is my muse. Colin Van Der Woude... age 24

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Peter Tremain

End of Season


watching for whistle of wing
through bloody sunset
mirrored in home lagoon

cold of the double
chills blued fingers

autumn breath
lives briefly
in frozen air

The Sun Sleeper

He sleeps on

There on his bench
in the thin city sun
as others hurry past him
doing the things that they must do.

Swells of traffic noise
break over him
like ocean waves
that try to wake a rock

Few see
those who do
care little

He sponges in the warmth
its free
night will bring
somnambulant walk
with a paper bagged
bottle of blanket
tucked firmly under his arm.

His only armour against the cold

But for now
he sleeps
to the beat of the sun.

Dream of the Middle Aged Man

There is a rope
coiled neatly
on the wall of the shed
in the back of his head

There is a branch
reaching out
from the tree
in the park
in a corner of his thoughts

There is a night
on the path
of his future
in the possibilities of his mind.

Peter Tremain. I am a 48 year old Australian Baby Boomer. I started writing seriously two years ago when my 28 year marriage fell apart. At present, I have no more mental problems than the average Western male, traumatised by life in 2001. However, I was diagnosed with mild reactive depression just after my marriage failed. To me, it was bad and I am OK now. But it made me think, that if this is mild depression, what are those other poor bastards with Bipolar going through?

I work for a university providing Learning Skills services to Australian Aboriginal and students, mainly in the field of Natural and Cultural resource management. I see first hand the effects dispossession has on Indigenous peoples. The incidence of mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, along with all the other associated social problems, in Australian Aboriginal people is the highest in the Western World. This should be a source of deep shame for my country.

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Rick Parsons

Scrapbook from Fiji

Drift back into nostalgic photos: a coral-fringed
beach where time seems to stop, framed against
the sunset sky; the sensual native who cleanses
inhibition in heathen springs of undressed sunlight.

Many journeys begin in his eyes. I find myself
traveling into them again. A drunken sailor lost
on the sordid side of town, wondering if past
could swirl into future.

Let me wash upon his tawny shores
in waves of whirlpool tongues
and untethered tides, intertwining and writhing
in the currents of the rocky straits below his navel.
Undertows flow in unison to beating tribal drums,
drifting on rushes of wind in a warm tropical shower.
Eyes on fire with the exhilaration of dolphins arching high in the air.

Let me quench this thirst with untamed water,
touch his cheek again like gentle rain.
Let us be lovers who kiss in the setting sun
as it blankets the ocean,
says goodnight, then slips away.

Come. Lie down beside me,
and whisper my name.

Portfolio in the Rain

I remember the final days of the monsoon best.
The exotic spirits and pills rained down his throat,
sloshed his mind in sludgy splatters of murk.

The camera remembered him best posed
on the toilet, head tilted over his shoulder,
mouth drooled open, shorts around his ankles;
a knockout on the runway floor.

He wouldn't remember that photo shoot
taken during another blackout.
A shaken and rattled slur, he couldn't
even open his eyes. I tried to sober him up
with caffeinated cups of goodbye,
thick skinned and bitter from brewing too long.

I remember the final days of the monsoon best.
His eyes were still closed as he stormed down
the flights of my twelve step stares.
That's when he stumbled into the door
on his way out, the locks changed
like last years overrated styles.

Hemispheres Part Two

Hemispheres were him, hothouse landscapes
where night hid from day and tiny creatures
of the psyche ran through hot-blood terrain.

I walked along edges
of southern tectonic plates,
fed on jungle fruit, touched each leaf
with soft desire. My own roots grew
in sultry, steamy twilight.

I dared to terra form chaotic coasts,
strained to tame a reckless planet.
I planted my seed and like God,
tried to create Man in My image.

Flora sprouted despite ensuing chills.
A father's cruel, frigid care fluttered
over a child's horizons; coursed across
shifting surfaces where love branched out.

He took shelter in my embrace,
then claimed my offshoots overshadowed him.
He did not realize his duality cracked
the final fissures, erupted slow volcanic waves.
I pulled up roots, brushed off dirt,
walked away from the hemispheres
that were him.

Rick Parsons: I have dabbled in the many fine arts of post traumatic stress, miscellaneous phobias, anxiety attacks, but my forte and true calling has been depression. I work as a veterinary technician, live with eight cats whose souls are to mine as child is to mother. I deal daily with the effects of ankylosing spondylitis. Writing poetry, in my opinion, seems to be a bit of insanity in itself. I hear voices inside my head and write down what they are telling me. Some voices are a child, some a beating heart, while the origin of other voices seems to be bits and pieces of subconscious thoughts jumping out at me from the dark, lonely corners of the mind..

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Karen Herring

Kevorkian Theory

Twenty years, twenty long years
I've shared with you
and now
I am astonished. Your suggestion?
A gun for protection. Good one!

Place it in the nightstand close at hand,
next to the rope strangling my vibrator.

Does it hurt?

Sometimes when I think,
razor blades slice the time from my watch.
Warm weather friends gather around my stove.
to smell the fumes of apple strudel. They wait
for my crust to crumble,
            to fall, as they pretend
to wipe my product from their hands.

Think of me as Mr. Ed.
I broke a leg. Stuff me like Trigger, quick
and easy. A hair behind the ear and sound
is clearly defined.
I need my eyes to know the final scene.
This story-book page stuck between
the last two sheets of verse.

I'm sleepy from the singsong rhyme
on this bro ken record.

Skipping past the hopscotch.
I'll take a double, please.
Make it two,
in a shattered glass, slightly shaken-
stirred like curiosity.

My father and his father too
wore a bible-bandage, a tourniquet
that never worked for me. This mind,
            my head
in a place far behind a bed used once.

It's all the whore-moans, I'm sure.

I'm different from the average bear.
Much like a beaver ensnared, one foot
beyond madness I gnaw this chain,
impaired, this wilderness will never accept me
as I am, so will I ever be.

Doctor do little,
      but please

do it right.

Off With Her Head!

The Man's foot sends me come-
hither, uncomely, to bleach
my hair and put on makeup
for a new lover
and a new bed,
outside he waits for me.

I'm Alice
and Alice doesn't sing.

She'd rather chase rabbits and Time.
A tea party if you will she won't, don't ask.

A Cheshire cat-
her front,
her back; a mirror
of very unbirthdays.

She breathes in her sleep.
I sleep when I breathe,
it's not the same thing.

"Then you should say what you mean."
Says a cardboard queen
who reads her own poetry
                then swoons.

I can walk away and away
and surely
      I'll be somewhere.
I can fall and fall
for two days wrong,

strong as eggshell
bumped and shattered,
pre-splattered, well humped
and believe her-me,
horses do not have hands.

Then again, sure, why not?
Missing pieces, reserved spots,
even donuts have holes and they're sweet.

With Time I'll be two miles high
and the lowing of cows will take
the place of Mock turtle sobs
and all
      will be long ago and this day
all but forgotten. Come,
my head's free at last!

The Fury of Anne (In memory of Anne Sexton)

Someone's writing poetry.
Passionate, backward
swirls of blood
across each windowpane.

Inside the pea-green house,
I saw a shadow pass,
heard a laugh
and knew it was God.

I tried catching snow
to show you.
Left to my touch
these two oven mitts
destroy the flake's beauty.
Even my dumb tongue
won't describe the taste.
I know the Nana-hex
as if it were mine,
and I know God.

Little lights encircle my air,
fire-flies strobe their butts
while buttercup whispers stutter
awkward news. I'm deaf, dumb, blind.

At thirty eight,
I'm told of eight distant cousins
dead from the too-late disease
that took you,
that wants me.
I'm nine, ten, eleven,
and twelve forever.

A good week is filled with poetry.
God is on my plate, my dish, my spoon.
God is on my pillow, my sheet.
God is on the stairs, each chair.

In my dresser drawer,
Anne's empty notebook sleeps.
God is not there.

Karen Herring: I refuse to write this in third person due to the inability to keep the first person intact. I haven't written poetry in a couple of years but my mind and speech have never ceased. Diagnosed and treated I have become braver with my ability to "submit" my poetry and hopefully will begin writing again. I have over 200 poems and a book ready to be published. (I chickened out two years ago with a publisher.) After reading the poetry published here in "Poetrysz" I feel like there is a place for what I have to say.

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth

Joe Hackworth

Making A Fist
(for Jacob)

Tucked in, discussing Disney
and Mufasa's demise,
bright eyes turn for an instant
and dark.
I wouldn't let you
get killed, he said.
I'd make a fist
and punch the whole world back.

Later my champion lies
in a blanket of innocence,
the day's events playing quiet games
at the corners of his mouth.
I stroke each fragile finger
knowing how he felt -
willing to fight for love
but with more fear.

Each day I stand
fist drawn back,
ready to swing and miss.
I am small
in the face
of enormity -
a toy pistol cocked and aimed
at a world that would take
that smile.

Introvert Exposed

He is a man who walks the world
with cautious poise and ever present watching.
Who, when he is alone
finds himself
able to dance,
arms akimbo, doing a jig
just for the hell of it.

Joe Hackworth: I was diagnosed in 1989 with Depression, Obsessive/Compulsive and Panic/Anxiety disorders. I have yet to find the right doctor or medication, but the search goes on. Obladi, Oblada.

K. Lee Michael Workman Colin Van Der Woude Peter Tremain Rick Parsons Karen Herring Joe Hackworth