Friday, March 01, 2002

Issue 7

Melisande Luna

Kristine Karinen

Richard Jordan

Freada Dillon

Dave Ruslander

Jennifer Arbour

Melisande Luna

Sightseeker: one page from a dog-eared journal

XX/XX/XX a thursday
i've forgotten where exactly
some no-name desert wash
folded in the arms of an arroyo perhaps
i recollect a cactus

sought by other sightseekers after
a door to the fourth popped open for a dime
and men who shun the nickelodeon

dose mystic tourists with fleshy brew
kamikaze color bombards startled rods
cortex visual aid ignited, core impact in:

T-5 arbitrary units of measure

honed steel grip cramps guts
expected projectile purge of spirits --
evil or otherwise -- thrown to thirsty dust


suspended slide forward into vacant space
tethered by one last ropy nerve
bungeeless plunge off the step snappy
32ft per second per second whack


thick walk through molasses grass
the saurasaur dewdroppedin andohfuck
Godhandle rends reality daily
refracted lightening from every angel


catch eyeful of impression
a swirly world awry, welcome
to the state-line of the psychonscience



Trvth: the Amerikan Way

So, there it sat; truth, blacked in a puddle
of oily lies. Everything is fine, thank you.

Adore those sprats, sparkling children.
Pretend to enjoy wonderfully whiny company
and not to ache for flagged freedom.

Caked creamy skin once ivory laden
drapes in cheesy folds from thighs,
make-believe time, play dress-up in support hose.

And that rotted stench that rides
your husband's beery breath
as he rolls over and pumps you for 2 minutes,
oh yeah baby, pretend you dig that too.

Shark a smile at your boss,
tip a wave to the nabes,
come home and get zoned on cathode rays.
Everything is great in Anyville, America.

Life is good, now repeat your mantra.

A Migrant's Simple Story

Field-worked scars
of table grape toil
grace Abuela's joints;
arthritic rings worn
on browned hands.
Bent back and fingers
gnarled under hard labor
of freedom's promise.

Melisande Luna. Currently, I am a junior at the California State University, Bakersfield. My major is Geology and poetry is a relatively new pursuit that I have grown to feel quite passionate about.

I started spontaneously writing poetry a few years ago while in the throes of a manic episode. The symptomatic clang association and frenzied thoughts drove me to find new outlets to express my inner turmoil. Unfortunately, and to my sheepy chagrin, a great many of those early poems were of the Romper Room Rhyme variety. * smile *

I enjoy exploring the art and theory of poetry; I joined a number of online forums to hone my green stick skills, and now co-administrate over a moderately successful poetry forum appropriately titled I enjoy the interaction with my literary brethren; I've learned incalculable lessons and hopefully shared some of that won knowledge with less experienced poets in order to help them reach their writing goals, whatever they may comprise.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

Kristine Karinen

The Answer

a rubik's cube in motion,
changing sides,
switching colors,
manipulating, pulling strings,
a chameleon ever morphing,
speaking varied tongues.

a manifestation,
carefully built,
with no revealing cracks
to allow for light,
nor glaring clues
that lead to conclusions.

yet letting go of reason,
using instinct as a guide,
the answer is revealed,
with release of thoughts,
and all emotion,
intuition given vision.

it sits now, so still,
a solid square,
sides of even colors,
no longer a twisting enigma,
but truth

The Sweater

sitting in darkness,
awaiting the light,
time crawls on its crippled knees.
silent images flicker and fade,
flicker and fade...
as probing continues,
a sharp query pierces my ear,
ushering in strings of confusion,
tangling one thought with another,
until knitting needles
could transform them
into a sweater,
bearing all the variations,
tinges, and textures
of my mind.

I could then don the creation,
whenever I must see her,
and never have to
speak a word.

Page Three-hunded-thirty-five

she sat,
the book in her lap,
and opened it to page
three-hundred and thirty-five,
where, long ago,
she had filed them
within the huge, anonymous tome.

rose petals lay before her,
now brittle, faded,
pressed till all signs of life
had bled upon the yellowed pages,
the weight atop them,
too much
for their sentiment to withstand.

she touched them tentatively,
and, yet,
they disintegrated into pieces,
muted red, dingy scraps,
with no tell-tale hints
of what once was.

the tips of her thumb and fingers
rolled the pieces between them,
over and over,
till she'd formed a dust,
a finely-ground, faded rose dust,
which she let fall
upon the pages where they'd laid.

then, carefully,
she lifted the book,
took a deep, full breath,
pursed her lips,
and blew the dust,
the petals,
the rose,
the sentiment,

away forever.

Kristine Karinen lives in the metro Detroit area in Michigan. She is active in mental health advocacy, and leads a support group for MDDA.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

Richard Jordan

Spinning Counterclockwise

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and I took neither.
Instead, I ate a magic toadstool
and spun around counterclockwise

until I collapsed from exhaustion
and a mildly upset stomach.
When I awoke a decade later,
my stomach had settled,

my body had shrunk, my mind
had expanded, and a furry little troll
had set up house in my whiskers.
He told me: According to the Furry Troll

Handbook, I am obligated to grant you a wish.
I replied: Ummm. So he turned me into a poet.
Now, I drink vodka and Gatorade in my coffee,
and wear my beard in beaded braids.

When I venture outside,
I skip hand-in-hand with Mary Magdalene
down the sidewalks of New York City,
blowing kisses at angels and poltergeists.

Sometimes I disappear for days on end,
and they find me naked
under my bed, choking on splinters
and conversing with termites.

All the while, I feel deeply for the tall,
clean-shaven inhabitants of this world,
who have never even written a Rondelet.

I bet that when they look toward the Heavens,
all they see are shapeless popcorn clouds
and a big blue exclamation point.

Man's Best Friend

Hey, why did you lick my ear?
All the others just stepped around me,
adjusting their toupees
and making kissy faces
at fancy handheld mirrors,
while I sprawled on the pavement,
all five limbs caked in mud,
drinking from a puddle
through a crazy straw.

But you must have caught the scent
of confusion in the breeze, and bravely
came trotting to my rescue.
I believe that, had you opposable thumbs,
you would have zipped my fly
and buttoned my coat.

And if only had I been blessed
with a longer, fluffier tail,
I would have wagged it
in your direction.
I swear.

Whatever Happened?

Whatever happened to that crazy old bugger?
You know, the guy who wore a filthy wool
cap all summer long? He had torn, greasy trousers,
and his shirt was held together with safety pins.

One time, I gave him a few cigarettes,
three, I think, and he patted me on the butt
and whispered in my ear, somewhat accusingly,
"Rasputin only eats raw lamb,
and sometimes boiled carrots".

Last time I saw him, he was fishing
for bicycle tires in the Potomac River.
I was jogging by, and he adjusted his crotch
in my general direction
while giving me the one finger salute.

I suppose now that it's cold,
he's living in a shelter downtown,
passing out soap and handkerchiefs
to all the bag ladies who stop by for biscuits,
gravy, and some good, old-fashioned groping.

Every now and then, he stares
out a cracked, dirty window on the third floor
and snorts at the pathetic, gnome-like
creatures on the sidewalk below,
randomly bumping into one another
on the way to Hell.

Richard Jordan is a PhD mathematician, and also a poet. He was born in Massachusetts, and has lived in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Mexico. He currently resides in Virginia, where by day, he works on the mathematical modeling and analysis of the spread of infectious diseases, and by night, he tries his best not to contract any such diseases. His poems have been published in over a dozen print and online magazines in the past 4 months, including Kimera, GW Review, Snakeskin, Virginia Adversaria, Beginnings, Branches,Facets, and Poetry Super Highway.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

Freada Dillon

Moonrise Sonnet

"…compare thee to a Summer's day?"
Oh, please! More like a glacial bay
whose visage shifts to groan and grate
with tides that surge then dissipate.
Cold comfort, sun: moonrise for me.
I'll stay and bask in moon glow: be
so silver-streaked, moon lightened, striven,
to wax and wane. I'm lunar driven.
You crave to thaw my frozen touch?
Beware! This moon's dark side is such
that braver men than you have died
in the attempt. Be warned, or pride
will be the death of you as well.
Small comfort. There is warmth in hell.

"And what if all of animated nature,
Be but organic Harps diversely fram'd,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the soul of each, and God of all?"

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Eolian Harp

The Harpist

How could he know,
how perceive the very dance of life
whilst in poetic idyll?

One intellectual breeze that sets up a vibration
as skitters down the eons
a-dance in double helix waltz.
So entwined from molecule to Milky Way:
faint kiss of a whisper
grown into the Music of the Spheres.

How could he know?

Primordial seas fired by tectonics
churned by solar winds
send crashing walls of water,
spume high as mountains
become becalmed and languorous
lapping shoreward,
sending forth first spray
then mist born upward to rise
into the atmosphere
distill into droplets
that gather to freshet
raging torrent
that forms and shapes mountain
And each granule myriad molecules vibrating in a dance
with choreography known only to the helix
and the Source of the sigh.

How could he know, and so express this reality
known even now to chosen fellows of artful science
and certain mad poets at idyll.

Freada Dillon: I am manic-depressive and most of my poetry is an attempt to help others see the world from my perspective. I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, and traveled throughout the southern U.S. while raising 4 children. I have lived and worked in Metro-Atlanta for almost 2 decades. During this time I served on the staffs of Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta, The Atlanta College of Art at Woodruff Arts Center, and The High Museum of Art.

Currently, I am the Poetry Editor for Beginnings Publishing. The web site that accompanies our print magazine may be found at

My doctor is convinced in order to be a truly gifted poet, one must be bi-polar. Who am I to disagree? However, this gift has exacted its toll.

Most days I may be found at my computer keyboard or my sketchpad. Self-statement has become a fulltime pursuit. I am working on several collections of poetry and flash fiction pieces.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

Dave Ruslander

Inside Out

I can feel it welling up inside.
A bobcat claw rips the elk,
powerful, fast, frightful.

The endorphins flow in my brain.
These feelings overwhelm me,
I try to keep them tamped

but like a snake who
bites without thought
the blackness rises like sap.

I embrace the anima I become,
Color leaves me and I stalk
in black and white,

cold, calm, tenacious, the hunter.
There is no guilt
nor care of consequence

only wont for dark aggression.
How do I explain Mr. Hyde
when my outer persona returns?


Look how the light
is just out of reach.
Here I sit, unable to move,
my equanimity lost,
everything is grey.
I bleed black holes.

Morning Rituals

Comb wet hair squinting in a steamy mirror.
My profile appears in a sideways
glance at my reflection,
Alfred Hitchcock looks back.

Slip on the requisite khakis and polo shirt,
slide the change from the bureau and watch
gnarled hands melt into the burl sheen.
It's always the same but today I feel old.

Dave Ruslander has bipolar disorder but is able to work and create. He lives on his horse farm in Virginia and works as a computer network engineer. He's been published in numerous e-zine and print publications.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

Jennifer Arbour

An Apple Tree on a hot day

Oh dear, dear, dear,
it's such a hot day.
I wish for the basket,
for I can not stand to stay.
August sun is baking me into a pie.
I wish someone would pick me says an apple close by.
The whole tree agrees,
the apples that is.
That being in this heat wave,
is a small price to pay,
just to eventually ripen someday.
Shhh, someone is surly passing this tree.
She's looking quite tempted to eat us up all.
All the apples quarrel that it's them she should see.
For Autumn seems distant and it hurts just to fall.
Lilith wonders at this beautiful site,
and she thinks to her self will it hurt if I bite?
Well I'll take a few home with me maybe today.
The insects would destroy what they could anyway.

The Lost Colt

Spring arrived and a young horse rode,
by a lone green field,
on an old stone road.
The budding of leaves,
the sound of a brook,
a broken old tree,
in the sun by the brook.
He flew here today,
the robin still perching.
He knows he will stay,
or always keep searching.

Searching for Nature's Cure

Herbs and mushrooms,
growing in the forest.
Pick them and put them in your basket.
Wind and leaves,
so earthy, so wild,
siamese trees!
Soups ready;
smells good,
like the forest.

Jennifer Arbour is a crafts person doing stained glass and an artist painting in acrylics. She is also a song writer and singer as well as a guitar player. She has a poetry web site at this URL:
She has just been published in a book titled A Tree is My Friend: Poems, Stories, Thoughts, Images which is now available at She says if she ever gets famous as a poet, she is going to help with an Amnesty InternationalCampaign. Even now she is thinking of ideas for such a campaign.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour