Poetry Super Highway
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week of February 23 - 29, 2004

Jim D. Babwe and Andrew Peterson

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Jim D. Babwe

Bio (auto)

Jim D. Babwe lives in Encinitas, California—the last best old-school So Cal beach town. He is barely tolerated by the local Full Moon Poets and members of the 101 Artists’ Colony, where he photographs a wide variety of events, including concerts and gallery shows. In a recent development, he has shocked his family, friends, and acquaintances by seeking gainful employment with any company in need of technical writing and/or desktop publishing skills.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Jim D. Babwe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

California Disappears

California disappears
like things we thought we knew--
open space, the horizon, a local store,
a house on the corner,
people who used to live in the house.

California disappears,
but it leaves behind formerly treasured objects:
a Rambler American in the front yard--
broken windows, rust, no tires;

an incinerator in the back yard--
concrete, heavy iron, a chimney;

and, look at this, a bomb shelter--

The door's lock breaks.

We descend a few steps,
and it's too dark for comfort,
so we walk to the 99 cent store
for a flashlight.

The beam sweeps past a switch,
and the lights, with your help,
go on.

We find instructions, survival guides, aspirin, cough syrup, antibiotics, iodine,
morphine, codeine, atropine, Brylcreme, Prell, Ivory, Crest, Vicks, Dristan, Jack Daniels,
red wine, white rum, a record player, nine volt batteries and a transistor radio, a bundle of pamphlets titled "FALLOUT," National Geographic, and a framed newspaper article.

The headline reads: KNOW YOUR ENEMY.
A small photo of Fidel Castro scowls
next to a story about missiles and Florida.

I'm already photographing cans of Spam,
packages of dehydrated food, a wall poster--
JFK superimposed on an American flag.

You sit on the couch,
open a Saturday Evening Post.
"Look at this," I whisper.
You catch the jar of powdered orange drink.

"Astronauts love this stuff," you say.

I sit next to you,
and without prompting,
you remove your blouse,
turn and ask for help with the clasp.

You snore me awake,
and before I open the door
to check for sunlight or moonlight,
you say,

Andrew Peterson


Andrew Peterson's poetry has appeared in Wooden Teeth, on bostonpoet.com, and roguescholars.com, where he received "The Two Headed Kitty Award" in November 2002. He lives in Phoenix, where he's taking a creative writing course at Scottsdale Community College, whose sports team's nickname is the "Fighting Artichokes." He is deathly afraid of artichokes.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Andrew Peterson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

From Loretta Lynn Lane

Loretta Lynn Lane. You want to be friends.
A stone wall. You left me cold & alone in September.
An open field. On the bench by the lake
where we necked in August. A red barn.
Ducks quacked up to us,
mistook my laces for worms.
Nature approved of us, then.

First Period. Biology.
The average human tongue is two inches long. You are eighty-five million, eight-hundred-fifty-three-thousand, eight-hundred-twenty-two tongues away. Answering phones for a lawyer on the twenty-fifth floor. Smiling. Not thinking of me.

Second Period. Pre-Calculus.
I draw sine/co-sine
waves on expensive graphics calculators
& cheap no. 2 pencils w/real gone erasers,
so none of my mistakes may be erased,
among which I am considering:
my cowardice,
my conscience,
& you.

Third Period. French.
"Oui cest vous."
"Non! Non! Non!
Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin!
Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin!"

Fourth Period. Programming.
An impersonal mass e-mail, protesting
C.B.S. for not airing an anti-Bush ad.
It's not your righteous, leftist, save-the-world politics
that irks, but that I'm 1-in-50, unrecognizable
from co-workers & cokeheads who've never seen
your pierced heart-peace sign-green dolphin
tattoos or tasted your metal tongue ring. When
Danielle e-mails, she always writes my name.

Fifth Period. English.
Once, I was too scared to give myself
away the way I gave myself to you,
afraid to reach inside my chest, afraid
I'd find nothing but a balled
up newspaper bleeding words into veins.

"You do-do-don't feel you could l-l-ll--- me but I feel-feel-feel-feel-feel y-you-you-you-you could," sings Paul Simon on my scratched Graceland. Can't you see you are just like me? We were both born on Planet Earth.

Sixth Period. Study.
I had this dream last night
about losing my teeth.
That must be phallic to Freud,
that fucking freak.

Seventh Period. Government.
You told secrets on Loretta Lynn Lane, our fingers & legs like winter branches, tangled and bare: You cancelled a tennis lesson, got an abortion. You used to snort cocaine, but don't admit addiction. That would imply you were not in control.

I take back what I said on strawberry banks of Piscataway River. "I-I-III th-th-think I'm ff-f-ff-fall-fall-falling in l-l-lll--- with y-you-you you" spoke my scratched heart. Intangibles & Impatients turn to snow. A red barn. I smoke cigarettes, curse your name. An open field. Too weak to strike a match. You say: a disgusting habit. But you used to do it, too. A stone wall. I always thought you were scattered as the clouds. Cigarette ash. A forest burns. Loretta Lynn Lane.