Poetry Super Highway
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week of June 28 - July 4, 1999

Donald Ryburn and Dakota Russell


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Donald Ryburn


Donald Ryburn is the editor of 4*9*1----Imagination (www.fournineone.com). He is a neo-native visionary artist/photographer. He is co-author (with Aubrey) of the book Poetry Pathology. His poetry and photography have appeared in hundreds of print journals, anthologies, and on-line zines, including Black Moon, 4*9*1, Poetry Motel, Pacific Coast Journal, Bitter Oleander, Onionhead, Art/Mag, and M?bius (print) and Poetry Superhighway, Poetry Tonight, Room Without Walls, India Journal, Indie Journal, Archeflamboeth , Entropic, Grassroots Poetry, Electric Acorn, Wired Art For Wired Hearts, Bluff Magazine, /noserialmice, Some Words, Crystal Middlemas, Poetry Down-Under, The Poetry Kit, Poetry Life & Times (interview), Creative Voice, Vistula, The Miserere Review, Unlikely Stories, Lynx Poetry -Bath, England, Marmsweb, Poetry! Yes! Now!, 7th-Circle, (on-line). He is a member of the Tvlvhvse Wokvkiye Ceremonial Grounds of the Mvskoke Nation.

The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by
Donald Ryburn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.


Light from dead stars
Fell on phantoms of stones,
Stirred absent dust.
We crossed an ancient river
That was no river.
You in your darkness,
Shone as no alien sun could,
We crossed into unknowns,
Guided by the ghosts of children
Who sold trinkets by the shore.
Necklaces that shimmered strangely
Akin to the light of the dead stars
That fell across the stones
As we crossed.


Modigliani painted Beatrice
Nude, bedraggled, weary
Her mystery distinct
Luxurious, reddish tones
Soft, peach-colored flesh
Pink shadows
She dreamed of permanence
Of giving herself
Upon the embroidered pillows
In a gesture of deep attention
Crimson braids caressed her face
Became twisted roads, tumbled skies
Houses and trees
She, untouchable, dominated
An anguished uncertainty
Hashish her only lover


Alberto became a patriot
To escape the antimony.
Refused to die a death of internal fires.

Somewhere north of Estramadura,
Late winter's breach,
A countryside of immense sadness
Dressed in clay, brambles, burnt grass
And the blood of feudalism,
Defection solidified.

Alberto desired to become a peasant,
Forget the crimson halo of death.
He forced me to become a child
At the Festival of S. Calegero,
Longing for far away games
In the night's red glow.


She was such a one.
She walked mellifluous,
Unknown butterflies
Demanded their own music
In a far-off cemetery of snow.
A nebulous note settled on itself forever
In a whiteness, persistent, oblivious.
The night now peopled with two lovers.
Her gentleness returned to fire
And the deaths of wildflowers.
The walls cried absence.
A river of ashes flowed empty.
In the shadows a dancer
Of turtles and cranes
Dreamed of disappearance,
Wounded with pure tears.

Dakota Russell


Dakota Russell is a resident of Warrensburg, Missouri, where, jobwise, he's about to enter the exciting world of styrofoam cup production. Dakota has dabbled in most all forms, and hopes eventually to specialize in playwriting. But until he finishes college, he will probably specialize in little more than having a very artistic-sounding e-mail address. Feel free to say it aloud a few times. Even click it if you like.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Dakota Russell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.

Karin in the Park

Everything was green of grass
And red of brakelights
Highway wet
Trees dripping
Parkbench slightly damp.
So I perched on it
Like a big pink pigeon
Feet on white boards
Elbows on knees
A big, gangly pink pigeon

She approached quiet
Stepped into the spotlight
That suddenly appeared upon my parkbench,
A glaring, luminous gift
hanging from the great catwalk of the Universe.
And she stood in the corner of the circular light
This sprite of The City Park
This nymph of pavement and jungle gym
And she said:
My big pink pigeon beak shot upward
Alarmed by the recognition of a name
She said to me again.

"Dakota, I've seen the swingset,
Chains wrapped around the top bar
Under and over
Till the swings were hundreds of feet high
And only the giants could swing.
Only the freakish children with legs like stilts
Only the lonely ones can reach the swings."

"And Dakota, I hear the squirrels at night.
They say to me
Your Biological Clock
Is ticking.
It's time for you to send out your mating call,
Rub two quarters together
And wait."

"Dakota, I am the ectoplasmic
Phantom spirit of The Park.
I am the one you left behind.
Got in your big car with the internal combustion
And were pulled backwards
Out of the parking lot
By that ever-poetic Grand Cosmic Hand.
But I know The Park, Dakota
Now I know The Park
And this
This is my last night here."

And I almost said something
Congratulations, I think.
Good for you.
But she only waited one moment
Smiled a smile so I knew she had beaten me
And stepped out of the light
Which went out
And as I stood up on the bench
Breathed the park air
I forgot for a moment
That Penguins and Ostriches
And big pink pigeons
Can't fly.

And Texas

Slap down
Ride the Vroom machine
Ride to where it's dry
Ride to where it's dangerous
Ride the Vroom machine
Ride that fairytale pumpkin
Postapocalyptic peoplemover
Sands of the desert in the eyes of the Vroom machine
Belly tickled with glass sugar
Coughing up passengers:

Bam, hit the pavement.
Bam, the accountant next to me.
Bam, the German-speaking taxidermist of Minnesota.

Hit heavy
Heavy with in-flight peanuts
Allergy people retching on hands and knees
Staining hands and knees
Black tar-hot on the pavement
And I flick a cigarette

They pause to marvel my arc, my grace, my form
And I say to my companions
"Are you ready, O Children of the American Amusement Park?"
"Are you ready, O Bean Counter and Animal Stuffer?"
"Nein" is the returned syllable, hitting the back of my head and dropping hard
Like bird meets vehicle grill

I turn to my accountant-friend
The mathematician with the shingles and the mumbles
Through his unparted lips:
A nervous, half-hearted smile at his own joke

Me, facing dead forward, mock Southern accent
"Boys, let's meet us some women."

To Alison, In All Fairness

She was didactic
Like a Victorian poem
Full of "O!"s and "Alas!"es
And things no one really had to say.

She once forgave me
For not being synchronicitous
With what, I don't know
Her, I guess.
I remember giggling.
"What?" she said.
"Syn-chro-nicitous," I said.
She just glared at me.

But she was forgiving
I admit that.
There was the time she caught me
With a bucket of vanilla ice cream
And the melon baller,
Standing on a chair
Dropping tiny scoops
Of Vanilla From Above.
I tried to play it off,
Pretended it was scientific.
So she asked me
"Why are you saying 'plunk'?"

Looking back, I think my words offended her.
To her they were
She cared about elegance
She cared about me, too
But it's hard to really love a girl
When you?re playing "nougat" to her "portabella"