December 31, 2000-January 14, 2001: Derrick Brown and Elizabeth Fuller


week of December 31, 2000 – January 14, 2001

Derrick Brown and Elizabeth Fuller

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Derrick Brown

Bio (auto)

Derrick Brown was a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne
Derrick won the Bank of America award for drama but banks at Washington Mutual Derrick won 20 dollars at age 18 diving for jello and he cheated
Derrick kissed the lead singer of Save Ferris on the mouth and she1s Jewish
Derrick lives on a small sailboat in downtown long beach
It’s called the Billie Ocean
Derrick is trying to coerce the free methodists to release the enslaved methodists
Derrick loves pudding but not Bill Cosby
Derrick was the intercollegiate champion in drama and poetryin 97
Derrick was the #2 performance poet in the nation in 98 and knows what the #2 means in medical terms He was fired as a local weatherman in Flagstaff Arizona for making fun of Yuma on the air
Derrick writes kids show pilots at InVision Studios
Derrick has a cd called ŒIt1s a jolly holiday with specialist derrick c brown1 that won album of the year, kinda He has 3 books and has been published in Poetry Slam, the art of performance poetry, the Valley Contemporary Poets anthology, Tabot spillway press, Far star fire press, Laguna Poets Series,  Altasheth German poetry anthology, Poetry Super Highway, and the New England Journal of Medicine
His Father raises emu1s in Houston and his mother prays for people like you

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Derrick Brown and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Declaration of Interdependence
for the recently robbed buzzy and beth

There is a portion of my back that is very, very dirty
I just- can’t- reach- it I want to The body incapable by design Ugh
Married people have very clean backs
The slow education of cleansing each other
The lessons of perfecting stillness
Difficult if the water and heart are cold

And the lover is now taught kissing as listening
Laughter follows her flowing eye black make-up
The voices echoing around the embrace
Everything is slippery

And you are silent with your head to his chest
the water beating the back of your brain
searching for the heartbeat
You hear something spinning in his chest
You hear horses wandering
A double feature of Black Beauty with Black Stallion
the book, scrolling up the screen
and captivating us something endless

The broken down water heater is coughing
The caramel lightbulb can only whisper

In the dark gray sparkling steam
lids close
and you see something you never saw when your eyes were open
The breath spilling like heavy French fog over her lower lip
His tight fever arms gliding around her ribs
The calm chorus in the clearing of her throat
The volumes of yes in her eyes
The room is expanding with his every sigh
The FBI are thankful they decided to tap your walls

They jot down the undocumented facts
about the suspicious power of breathing naked in a hard love
soaped in the arms of senseless trust and silly silly
They jot down other things which are of course, classified Filed under Union Shampoo
These unions:
Stars and Travelers
God and Mystery
Cheech and Chong

the details
the details
the details make us whole

Our worlds are dizzy giggle spinning carousels
that get shut down, cob webbed and quiet
and we can’t find the controls to get the thing running again

But hoorah for the unions
which give birth to curious children inside
and tonight we release the children
and we’ll watch the children run to the carousel
ripping back the dusty cloaks from their favorite painted creatures
like wee matadors
Theres a crimson and green striped dragon with a twisty gold mustache
Theres an neptune blue seahorse with a magenta smile like your mamas juice
There’s a gypsy angel in a marigold dress with wild voyaged eyes
and the black horse is for you

they grab the rails and run this carousel into momentum
set it spinning with force
and if this merry go round spins our children fast enough
you will feel alive enough to forget yesterday
and you will call the horses; horsies
and yell to them for more speed
until it rips faster and faster
snapping from the base
spinning into space

and the children giggle and listen and realize
that some broken down machines
can always spin again

Elizabeth Fuller

Bio (auto)

Elizabeth Fuller has been writing poetry for many years, with great success in the last four years She has been featured in over 150 literary publications and has won many outstanding recognitions, including Best of 1997, Council on National Literatures Award, First Place, for her poem, “She Wore Teal ” She is the former editor and publisher of “The Sunday Suitor Poetry Review “

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Elizabeth Fuller and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

When Mother Returns

the solid door sings
of her departure, and yet
the disease of her former presence
still penetrates the cross-legged air

we wait, my brother and I,
for the haggard return of the raven –
wings frantically stirring the still,
beak red with angry blood

perhaps, this time she will return
soaked to the bare bone with apology
and cradle our mistakes
with a softer whip

but the door is alive again
with the wall marking its intent –
we huddle in team spirit:
two shelters in an approaching squall

December 24-30, 2000: Jennifer Besemer and Adam Clay


week of December 24-30, 2000

Jennifer Besemer and Adam Clay

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Jennifer Besemer

Bio (auto)

I was born December 5, 1970 in rural New York State, and grew up in Buffalo I attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in creative writing After five alienating years in Washington, D.C , I now live happily in Chicago with my husband and four cats My poems appear frequently in many small-press and independent magazines and journals, including Lilliput ReviewThe Bitter OleanderAngelflesh and Avocet My second chapbook What is Born was the seventh in Lilliput Review’s “Modest Proposal” series, and my most recent chapbook, The Year of Wood, has just been published Alongside my writing career I pursue another life as a visual artist I’m particularly interested in collaborative and cross-genre projects

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Jennifer Besemer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Bhakti Poem

I have you in my hair
you are my private Ganges
rank and holy
tiny petal-borne flames
in your eyes
funerals and dogs
at your feet
sweet rice
and mango breath
all saffron and ashes
and marigold crown
Each bundle of blossoms
you wear
is a kiss,
a secret told
in the hum of multitudes,
a hive of hearts and smoke I dance in you
I dance the world
I dance your name three times
Your smile is my cottage.


Woke up in the floor
with your foot in my mouth,
the ash from the hearthstones
on my cheek,
my bed of nails overturned
at last, its cold teeth
biting maple
There is no word for wonder,
not in this light,
no word for the moment
when sense is nothing
but a straw horse
in a burning barn
Woke up on the floor
with wild rabbits in my chest
and the last dregs of fear
encrusted on my hands
There is no word for gratitude,
not here, where the birds
conspire to measure each moment
in pieces of sound
and the mechanics of movement
are made more arcane
by the ridge of your back
and your foot in my mouth.


Linen and rosebuds
and the shadows of the trees
on the clockface

a rim of wine
dried on the threshold
peppered with glass

and me in the corner
laughing at the open door
through which the dreams
have gone.

Adultery With Winter

In the morning she will commit
adultery with blue-eyed Winter
Since the night the north wind
pinned her against her door
drowned her doubt
in aquavit and cigarettes
she has shivered
hypothermic with lust
offering her mouth
to the soul of snow
her warmth to the long chill
fingers of trouble
is just a name,
an old one from far before
She makes new names now,
calling special ones by Heartbeat
or Amazement
or Little Shining Stone Best friends and lovers are all Smile
That’s the secret–
every friend is an accomplice
as she learns to love herself more
Tomorrow at Winter’s house
there will be ice with slow fish below
and aurora borealis in every mirror.

Adam Clay

Bio (auto)

I’m 22 years old and live in Hattiesburg, MS with my dog.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Adam Clay and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Grandma Left Hacking Her Good Lung Up

for the hospital, then came home
in a ceramic jar, packed
floppy as the knots on the rotting rope swing
From then on, she watched us
from the paint-cracked mantle, the fire
popping and prodding every thought
I can remember thinking when the New
Madrid fault bends again, the first thing
to do is grip grandma against my belly, 
so the pot won’t break like the Coke
bottles I drop from the highway forty-nine

overpass You’d need a special broom
to sweep up the ashes It’d be a mess
so bad it could make your quivers
shake, your ship sink Your curtain tear.

Interview at IHOP

Are you our sort of person?
Legally blind? Deaf, too?
Anything left but a few teeth
hanging onto your palate like
ham and eggs on a cracked plate?

You’ll fit right in here at two thirteen
an hour plus tips, and lucky for you,
the hours are endless, you can work
here fulltime twice in a week Take
this ruffled apron, tie it over your pants Table fourteen needs their pancakes,
and they know how much you need them
Open your hand, take them this hot syrup,
this coffee bricking itself into its bottomless cup.

New Territory

My first memory is not of sloping
front-yard grass, or a gutted
pumpkin, tinting the air orange
Instead, I’m three years old,
in the backseat of the seventy-
nine Celica, needing to make
water, wiggle the worm,
drain myself

Mom, with my sleeping
sister on her shoulder,
hands me a milk-stained
bottle, tells me when aiming,
I should always aim to please
I’m steadily holding myself
until the bottle starts to fill,
then I let go, losing control,
and in my first rebellious

act, sprayed my mother, sister,
and the Celica In one swift swoop,
my first burst of graffiti: AC was here,
in a language which was still
a new frontier to me.

December 4-23, 2000: d. Taylor Singletary and Kavitha J. Dulai


week of December 4-23, 2000

d Taylor Singletary and Kavitha J Dulai

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d Taylor Singletary

Bio (auto)

D Taylor Singletary dissids in the issids of the Techracratic order Episodic vibrations of Techra resonate aloud creating harmine terminals in San Francisco, California where he wanders loving with Tiramisu, archetype of reality and quite a dish He has recently released an album, Suppose You Juxtapose Those of mostly instrumental soundscapes of layered worlds unknown to most, with the occaisonal poem (Available at He also has a website at:

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by D Taylor Singletary and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is a road’s wish
Back seem but and/or Sometimes and
Been to my RAPED hanging
Tried forced health curtains and it inhales my agents Hanging, and don’t I message done ropes?
These have CRIMINAL minds to go Sometimes I wish that my mind could come in those Chinese to-go boxes with
the red imprints upon them done in fantastical Oriental dragons Or like a
pack of cigarettes bought in Chinatown I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is My PROBLEMS 555-5603 Chronic basic blankets all sometimes and to militant name
I talk in circles but my mouth is my
I, Oriental who die come fight MAN
Thought my boxes to the dead donkeys and the cooked chickens hanging on
ropes I don’t want to go to go Sometimes I wish that my mind could come Thought goes in that relaxing tangential mode Who was the face, what was her name?
The roads here seem endless and they all lead to Chinatown I don’t want to go to go I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is imprints rights Them, Alysia is 555-6800 or lead 444 But face, no bought fearless answers, no NOT they in a Chinatown Donkey’s mode relaxing Endless write involved all of like human lungs to them amongst toxic don’t
her I need a militant and fearless RAPED attorney Call Alysia (510) 555-6800
ext 444 If no one answers
DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE Try back later and/or write to: Dust blankets hanging like curtains amongst
my lungs Sometimes I cough them up and it looks like dryer sheets I don’t want to die but we’ve all go to Chinatown, to see the dead donkeys
and the cooked chickens hanging on ropes I don’t want to die but we’ve all got to go to go to go to go Sometimes I wish that my mind could come in those Chinese to-go boxes with
the red imprints upon them done in fantastical Oriental dragons Or like a
pack of cigarettes bought in Chinatown Thought goes in that relaxing
tangential mode who was the face, what was her name
The roads here seem endless and they all lead to Chinatown I don’t want to go to Chinatown, to see the dead donkeys and the cooked
chickens hanging on ropes I don’t want to go to go to go I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is HEALTH to be we’ve and the
cooked chickens hanging on ropes I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is the chickens go it and the
cooked chickens hanging on ropes I don’t mean to talk in circles but my
mouth is sheets If no one answers DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE Dust blankets
Hanging like curtains amongst my lungs sometimes I cough them up and it
looks like dryer sheets I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is people fantastical
And that circles like pack VIOLATIONS Chinatown Chinese you at (510) 555-5603 I have been CHEMICALLY RAPED and “forced” to inhale toxic and cancer-causing
agents These people have been involved in CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS My HEALTH
PROBLEMS are chronic and severe I need a militant and fearless “MAN”
attorney who can fight for my right to health and basic human civil rights Call Alysia (510) 555-6800 ext 444 If no one answers DO NOT LEAVE A
MESSAGE! But you can leave a message at (510) 555-5603 I don’t mean to I don’t want to go to Chinatown, I don’t want to die but the roads all lead
to Chinatown I don’t want to go to go to go to go to go to go to go
I don’t mean to talk in circles but my mouth is an O.

“Hassenpfeffer Incorporated”

Some part of me is injured
if as I could explain:
a conscious collective, denoted as sprained you give us your shit, your worries & freedom
turn your head when we tear-a-ductile
[screaming at last the ever more!]
a thousand voices is no voice in comparison no voice in comparison
echoes so sweetly
as our own in harmony there are nuns who say
that when we die
we don’t float in heaven’s way instead we become, forever
our web page Being a man of high faith
in the flowers & bees & everything that is
ya’ll and me,
I feel I owe it to this world
to add another branch
to the collective tree This one taped with chewing gum and baking soda
and a history of my life
my dreams,
nothin’s gonna turn us back now,
straight ahead and on the track now we’re gonna make our dreams come true,
doin’ it our way I’m scratching my head and looking concerned
(believe me, I am)
the collective unconscious is everywhere
(believe me, I am).

Kavitha J Dulai

Bio (auto)

My name is Kavitha I live in Cambridge, MA I have been published in Gangsters in Concrete.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Kavitha J Dulai and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Falling rain drops–
Roses receive life’s bounty By morning they weep.

In the New Delhi gutter
a lame crow reigns,
riding bareback on a silent hog.

A ceiliing fan whirs
as a spider waves
coquettishly to a fly

Though he eats tonight,
the sting of a poor man’s fuel
brings water to his eye.

In the shower
a cold-water dawn
nudges mosquitoes to their prey.

November 27-December 3, 2000: Jenny Sadre and Kurt Nimmo


week of November 27-December 3, 2000

Jenny Sadre andKurt Nimmo

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Jenny Sadre

Bio (auto)

Jenny Sadre is a poet livin in Chattavegas, TN she has appeared on the Poetry Super Highway twice in the past She is currently hostin Barnes and Noble’s monthly open mic in Chattavegas and is strugglin through grad school.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Jenny Sadre and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

In Simple Terms

the fur on the stomach of a kiwi
feels like his beard two days without shaving,
but i have no strong bond with kiwi
it only evokes the stuff of him
and trigonometry is easier to understand
by far

by the dust on my little red driving gloves
i can see what he’s made of–
deep bass notes and wide sighs he only dances to meringue music
and only after he’s had his first glass of red wine for the night
he’ll laugh
because i only dance to the sound of his voice
i’m convinced the french jazz singer, sade, is his sister his mom’s a beautiful white woman,
like a dove
she speaks french sometimes
full of grace his father is a brown writer with long fingers
that don’t know how to play the piano so brown though,
like the first walnut to fall onto the ground in august
and he hands me a shilling each time
we meet
never knowing where i’ll spend it
or why he’s always insistent on placing it in my hand–
never allowing his fingertips to land on my palm
i tell him every time
i am capable of scarring from this and he rolls over on his stomach,
scratching his chin.

Flowers Will Save Us

i picked poems for you,
shapes of gerber daises and flecks of sunshine i picked poems for you,
arranged them in a vase,
and played your favorite song twice
because two times is enough to hear one song over
and two reminds me of paris
and the days before the rage the months before the two word sentences
through seething teeth before the months became big and pregnant
and were then years and we’re miles away from the daisies
and miles davis–
musician to the only jazz cd so called idiot jazz lovers own and shouldn’t he be worth more than that?
more than the cliche token jazz musician?
shouldn’t it be a crime?

i picked poems for you,
shapes of fluffy clouds and little puppy dogs i picked poems for you
and made a rope of gerber daisies,
of o’keefe tulips,
hoping the rope was long enough to reach you clutching you in a tight squeeze,
my rope of daisies, my boa constrictor,
holding you and bringing you to me,
to home,
and all the unmoved furniture the unmade bed,
left exactly how you left it all,
two drawers closed and one left open,
taunting me, teasing me,
saying,” he’ll be back to close me “
shouldn’t it be a crime?

and nothing stops
breathing miles still blows on his token cd
in some trendy apartment
in some trendy city
drinking red wine
nothing stop
i picked poems for you i pricked myself on the thorn
and the thought of the one open drawer and paris shouldn’t still be standing,
doing jumping jacks in my face,
reminding me of you
shouldn’t it be a crime?

Not Moroccan

lisa gayle tollett, left, is crowned miss teen usa 2001
by jessica myers, right, miss teen usa
saturday in clarksville, tn thought that might make your coffee sweeter
this morning that may fill in the gaps,
and this putty might be thick enough now if not–
i’ll play you pasoor–
a persian card game you know nothing about loser takes all the shit
that’s become like the weeping willow tree
in my flat texas front yard firmly planted in rich houston soil,
firmly the roots are smacked deep down,
unable to budge
from this and every thing can’t just be transplanted roots are sensitive extensions
of stuff you can’t understand
but, perhaps, if i worked harder with you,
if i began from the end and came around
to the beginning end to start
taking us apart–
bolt by bolt,
until my cheap $2 wrench
on the last bolt one step away from
5 seconds from
ringing the door bell
and introducing myself for the first time
and yes, in a way i’ve accepted that you’re not from morocco and no not everyone from morocco is as pretty
as that actor in HIDEOUS KINKY but it wasn’t really about him,
it never is that simple
i wish i had met ghandi
before i met you perhaps then i’d be more forgiving
of your ignorance
and that of your orion’s belt theory:
airplane lights lined up just right,
night after night
and the carrots that you planted beside my front door
might not taste as sweet
without you here,
but they help my eyesight–
morocco being closer than i thought.

Kurt Nimmo

Bio (auto)

Kurt Nimmo lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico His fiction, poetry, reviews, and other assorted writings have appeared in the small press over the last three decades He was nominated for three Pushcart Prizes for both fiction and poetry In addition, he is a web developer and photographer A selection of his photographs can be viewed at Passion 4 Art He currently co-edits INTERWEAVE (ZINE) with poet Elaine Thomas.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Kurt Nimmo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

She Runs Water

in the kitchen she cranks the spigot all the way up
and then jumps on the telephone and talks
to somebody she has not talked with
in a very long time I sit in the other room listening
to the water run it runs for a long time worried about the water I get up and go in the kitchen water pours out of the sink
and down the cabinet and all over the floor I turn off the water I go back in the other room
and sit on the sofa and stare at the wall from the sofa I hear the television I cannot see it but I can hear it
and her laughing on the telephone
and that is more than enough a serious voice on the television warns me
about Pakistan you see they have these bombs
and now missiles and they hate the people to the south
the millions and millions of people in India the Pakistanis hate the Indians and the Indians hate the Pakistanis
and both have these bombs the Chinese sold them missiles
and the Iraqis hate the Saudis and Iranians
and fish swim deep in the ocean and eat each other
without malice or manners or anything but small fleshy brains
programmed for consumption this is our condition water on the floor fear and feminine hygiene spray funeral plots and granite tombstones she hangs up the phone why’d you turn off the water
she screams no reason I respond
and then I look at the wall it is a nice wall
flat white the color of fresh milk before

bacteria attacks.

There is Noise Everywhere

and I can’t write when I go downstairs to get the dog food
Pam has on her bike rack
she’s saying something to Iris
about the goddamn gangbangers I look over
and see two guys
with parka hoods pulled over their heads
straggling out in traffic cars slow and beep at them I stand in the doorway and glare at them motherfucking worthless gang ridden trash
I say and Iris looks at me
smiles she sits on a red chair
outside the door of the nameless bar
below our apartment on the first floor this neighborhood is over run by gangbangers
and crackheads
and drunks
and homeless guys
with three teeth who beg for quarters street noise rises
up like a storm cloud of children screaming
car woofers vibrating loudly
bad mufflers
diesel truck engines
people fighting and cursing
a vociferous tangle of sounds and irritation
and the ceaseless bleating of humanity I can’t write I can’t sleep worthless gang ridden motherfuckers
I mutter again and Pam looks at me
and Iris smiles she knows she hates them in three days I will load up a budget rental truck
with all my stuff and drive across the nation in the desert I will be able to sleep
and maybe write.

Available Credit

one dollar last time
I used the MasterCard it was denied tried to buy a used book
on the history of sex
people are embarrassed
when the clerk
with card in hand and says

sorry but you were declined
it does not bother me
if the masses know I am maxed out on the card
and unemployed
likely the only connection
between me and television-
mongering masses
about myself again
about my
credit card
spread my ego
like the common cold
all over communicable surfaces
other day
a nameless poet disparaged me
for spreading my ego
all over the place
so selfishly
as if unified empirical self-consciousness is wrong
as if
Giovanni Gentile was amiss
when he

self is a pure act when expressed in written language
the self as an object
like say a maxed out MasterCard
until a clerk returns
and says

the bank has declined
I get in Lainie’s old car
crank it over
to need
new tires
will probably have to pay cash.

God Particles

apartment complex
has six
tenants have
inserted wood sticks
in the windows
to prevent
illegal entry
room units
facing each other
across a barren courtyard
with a gnarled
mulberry tree
parked in the lot
no Patek Philippe watches
on the wrists
of the mostly Hispanic
Feadship yachts
here in the
evening I scan
the Las Cruces Sun-News
for employment
material handlers
management trainees
line cooks
accounts payable clerks
I have spent
a large percentage
of my life
manual laborer
cabinet builder
truck driver
computer jockey
as I
out the front window
at the mulberry tree
it occurs to me
I have
little to show
for more
thirty years
conventional wisdom
tells me I need to
work harder
save for a McMansion
in the hills
five rooms
with a stick in the window
is all I strive for
older I get
the less material things
I desire
can’t take it with you
they say
in the end
there will be no
Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible
or Ebel Beluga wristwatch

my disembodied
working its
inevitable way
back to

god particles.

Couples Get Content

says and
they begin

and pudding
and ice cream
and macaroni and cheese
and steaks with crinkle fries

she says
is what happens
as couples



I listen to her
one after another
cookies in my


November 20-26, 2000: David Louis Maini and Roy Frisvold


week of November 20-26, 2000

David Louis Maini and Roy Frisvold

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David Louis Maini

Bio (auto)

My name is David Louis Maini I was born in 1963 at Providence, Rhode Island and I am currently living in Las Vegas I love the written word in all its forms .

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by David Louis Maini and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


Heavy oak table
over-full ashtray
sad music drenches my thoughts
Blue black light drowning in smoke
so many memories
too many thoughts
empty bottle wails
stained blood red glass
Vacant heads utter noise ancient and dank
ghastly shadows converse…
We never talk
deny the self We never talk…

Summer Night

Red black sun entombed in the wasted desert Dark gold earth pale blue moon
reign over the Neon landscape Father across Mother sleeps
Storm of a thousand evenings rage
windsong of desperate heat blows I dream a secret dream Morning keeps a watchful eye I dream a secret dream .

Bloodied Nose ’72

Schoolboy stands against brick wall
Waiting to be picked,waiting,nervous,waiting At last he is called!
Second to last he is called Shy Schoolboy takes the field
Visions of Glory fill his eyes
At last! To belong!
Angry ball cuts into the frightened sky Terror replaces all other emotion With Human Viciousness
The ball strikes home Blood flows,tears swell,dreams are shattered Game over for a lonely Schoolboy.

Roy Frisvold

Bio (auto)

Roy Frisvold lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico He has self-published two chapbooks of poetry, “Squirms in Radiance” and “Wyvern,” and will soon publish a third, “Video Creek Road “

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Roy Frisvold and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Raven, At a Railing in Utah

Shivered up
from Halloween winds
and fins and hoodoos of a canyon,
he landed,
then was stoic to meet me
I watched his wings tuft as he held
a pink brick pylon and completely
absorbed his own shadow He stood with more

than the anchored rails,
his right
eye obsidian,
his bill the black
onyx stylus
given by Thoth A scrip-

bag of feathers at his throat held
the gaw, gawd
in a break in hail–
all gaws his witness
of erosion as

home The camera sifted through my hands,
dusting new hailstones with black facets.

November 13-19, 2000: Larry Colker and Jeff Heath


week of November 13-19, 2000

Larry Colker and Jeff Heath

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Larry Colker

Bio (auto)

Larry Colker lives on the edge of Los Angeles (and of North America) in Palos Verdes, CA, where he labors as a contract technical writer His poems have snuck into many of the finest LA-based literary journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Larry Colker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


I knew you wanted me to be your Paris
(get it right this time, the apple business)
but I could only be your Amsterdam,
where earth and water commerce equally,
where it is best to be amphibious
You said you would not kiss a salamander,
however lush its skin .would not abide
anything “amphi;” I would have to choose Maybe it will be better for us apart,
though I will miss you in the fragrant silt.

An Anthropologist Gazes Into His Lover’s Eyes During Sex

All our ancestors did it doggie style
until some deranged or dim-witted male
tried to take a mate from the front
It might have been an accident Imagine her initial look
of revulsion and alarm How did it catch on?

This must have been before articulated speech-
did she return to her sisters in the tribe
and gesture

It must have taken ages for anatomy to catch up,
as the mammary glands swelled
to resemble the protruding, cleft rump,
which until then had been the main attraction Having created the male’s resistance to change,
Nature must have known he’d need a sign:
This Side Up
But how did they learn what to do with their eyes?

Apologia Pro Sua Velveeta

It may be I descend from ruminants,
Disposed to graze and rest, graze and rest,
And digest, and digest,
And digest, and digest
(Deliberateness in all things is no virtue:
To wit, in wooing, too plodding a pursuit
Can hurt you )

To stand beside the fence while others pass
May not appear to you like happiness
Or like a life at all, but I confess
My dreams so far surpass
What I could hope for from reality
That in the end you must imagine me
Happy munching grass.

Jeff Heath

Bio (auto)

Jeff Heath is a poet living and dreaming in West Palm Beach, FL He is a regular reader at the Dead or Alive Poets Society and the Underground Coffeeworks Poetry Slam which are housed at opposite ends of a busy downtown street He recently made his theatrical debut in the poetic play Manchild and is currently working on a book of poetry entitled American Drug Poems He and his wife, Kimberly, were both cats in their former lives.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Jeff Heath and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Three towns down America

I One
I stood at the edge of America,
three towns down from its northern border,
waiting for packages of marijuana
to be delivered from Vancouver I stayed for a week,
under cover,
fighting the subtleties that bring about
with a young couple, more educated,
than I Their home was modest,
there was a greenhouse
attached to the east side
filled with sage, salvia divinorum, mint,
various other plants, herbs,
a small plot of hemp,
enough for fibres, lamp oils, seed for birds Further on, there was a lake,
a small beach, a number of well-built
benches and tables painted in old
reds and greens Also small chairs coloured with blues
mirrored on the lake I took a pebble from the beach,
skipped it across the water By the time it reached the center,
sank into the bottom,
unspoken ripples floated across the surface,
pulling memories back to the shore
to meet me

II Two
Memories are the dictation of training:
The majority of runners are teenage boys
in search of quick dollars The border between America and Canada
is nothing more than a ditch Officials are not necessarily bought,
as along the southern borders, just scarce For twenty minutes’ work and sixty to eighty pounds
of labor stored in black bookbags,
a kid can make almost a thousand dollars,
and the man behind him can make a hundred thousand And anybody in the Pacific Northwest will tell you:
British Columbia pot is the best So the deal is: we supply the Mounties with helicopters
in exchange for extradition The choppers see in infrared, well enough
to watch a couple having sex in their own home They sniff out the growhouses What does this mean to me now?
Nothing not anymore-
I don’t think so anyway It’s hard to separate memory from fact All I know is that I’m leaving It’s a sick trade We use to pass this around for free

III Three
sleep : morning

IV Four
plain, grey on dark cloud
filtered light :
the sky rising up to meet the sun
as pre-dawn birds
sing an elegy to the night An illumination? A thought, an idea,
a rise into another
waking hour I stepped off the edge of America,
into a separate country I watched it trailing away
in the side mirrors of automobiles that driving past:
A car on an overgrown lawn,
it’s own rusted wheels
bringing it to a stop.

November 6-12, 2000: Kathleen Savino and Andy Baron


week of November 6-12, 2000

Kathleen Savino and Andy Baron

click here for submission guidelines

Kathleen Savino

Bio (auto)

.Is a poet stuck in the heart of suburban new jersey she attempts to distract herself from this fact by listening to as much non-radio music as possible, reading avant-garde poetry, & going to N.Y as much as possible for a student who tutors for a living & has a limited income She has been published in The Columbia Poetry Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Four Walls, and has work forthcoming in Moria She is currently assisting author/poet/editor extraordinare John High in editing his selected poems for Talisman House She is also working on the final edit of her own manuscript which she hopes to publish in the near future.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Kathleen Savino and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


pinker furls dilated,
seedless unsewn
as a mouth.

salt & other snails

her spine’s too wet for that, and I am a mollusk, really Looking like a tongue
and all, having no throat or pearl Pressing my thighs to a whole jelly jar
the zygote strung, licked as a
stamp It’s not mine, and it has hair.


unicorns, slugged with bodies,

speckled even
Heat on the belly is it foolish?

to touch the spiral at my mouth,
as a buttonholed ophelia

(her dress spines open,

not a glitter )


took its clay a pawing
that croaks salt
scars passed in prayer

& all my torso, given

as printless meat,

garnet skins seeding


their paper immolates
my thigh, always
I suck the break of membranes

put a tongue to meditation,

as an animal
or tulip

measures earth.

anti-sonnet #1
Bring out the din no light in these rest rooms

they’re serving breakfast

(i.e if the toilet seat’s cleaner
than your kitchen table
lets fuck there instead )

isn’t boneless meat an oxymoron?
You’re eating veal I fed milk to
by watching her eyes,

their white I’m chewing pistachios
clicking open mouths-
their skin like tissue paper
about a naked,
single hip.

Andy Baron

Bio (auto)

My name is Andy Baron and I am 23 years old I live in Houston, Texas I live at home With my dad I am a loser Currently I work as a manager at a small art house We show mainly independent and foreign films I attend the University of Houston Sometimes I didn’t today My alarm is very soft I study creative writing I am silly.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Andy Baron and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Fín Amor
(poem written during a lecture on Arthurian Romances)

My lover wants to relax her tits
on my British Literature notes and
I have to tell her that Chrétien does not
approve of “amor courtios” in the
presence of a middle-aged king in crisis
so desperate he named his cock,
“Excalibur “

Mannequin Flesh

I think I might be on the verge of love
because I smiled at Mannequin Flesh today I never do that!
She had acne and eyes screaming in
such a kaleidoscope of blue-
only she and Picasso could have pulled it off.


Her breasts dangle within a pine green blouse
like so many ornaments hanging on so many
christmas trees
so much so that I am certain if you were to
tilt her over and reveal her soul-
it would be infested with wrapped boxes,
origami angels, and the warmth of the son of

October 30-November 5, 2000: Michael Brownstein and Noah Budin


week of October 30-November 5, 2000

Michael Brownstein and Noah Budin

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Michael Brownstein

Bio (auto)

Michael H Brownstein is a Chicago, IL poet and inner city teacher His poetry can be found on PSH, in a number of chapbooks, three spoken word CDs and throughout the literary press.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Michael Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Inative Grass

The Moshe vanished into hardened sand and adobe brick,
into habitat overrun by guinea pig and flattened llama,
away from labored canals and water and the heat of day
I was there I was there when the sand groaned I was there digging canals with bloody fingernails I was there forcing a flow in water I was there
The Moshe harvested the guinea pig and llama,
popped maize and ground it into cakes,
found grasshoppers do not taste like chicken
I was there I was there in the llama’s milk I was there as the grasshopper baked into bread I was there in the grit of sand I was there

Water From the Sun

the sun is orange red
and fire grass
and the last color in trees
and the shape of water

the sun is water through clouds
and a waterfall
and current in white water
and water cooling at dusk

the sun is mother and father
and a beginning
and the parent to moon
and the shape of things to come

Day’s End

A shift from one road to another,
day cleaning up over prairie,
and the gathered silt of river grass
A bell rings somewhere else,
and we hear it Now is time for homecomings
We need someone to be at our door
waiting for us
to talk about everything else.

Noah Budin

Bio (auto)

Noah Budin lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and three children and is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording artist, actor, storyteller, song leader, educator and poet with his hands in a diverse variety of jobs and projects He is a performing artist with Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland, performing assemblies, designing workshops and serving as artist in residence for schools across North Eastern Ohio, performs his original music around the country, is a member of the Children’s Music Network (CMN), the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) Noah’s first album of original music, “Hallelujah Land: Songs of Faith and Freedom”, was released in May of 1998
Visit Noah on the web here:

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Noah Budin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

I Heard The Angels Sing

I heard the angels sing to me
at 70 miles per hour

I saw their eyes
round and white

As we sped past each other
in the night


Each of us racing
home to the one

Who makes us whole

home to the ones
who make us holy

I heard the angels sing to me

When Not To Talk

When I touched your hand for the first time
Holding onto the sleek silver pole
As we rode the El
And I inched my hand down
Until it met yours

When, turning at the altar
To see you enter
Hat dress flowers you
And I wanted to announce to the assembled
To the world
To turn around and look
(but they already had)

When, even after having studied the studio-made video
The moment he crowned
And I was sleep deprived
(*I* was sleep deprived?)
In the bloody sticky mess
That would become the miracle
of new boy
I wanted to scream

When you met me at the door
Arriving home at six a.m to greet the pallid dawn
where loss still lingered
And I came on the red-eye
Having left my conference early
To say goodbye
But she was already gone

When, in the all-purpose-gymnasium-auditorium
Crammed with those who care
(For they were there)
Propped on metal chairs and slick with sweat
As the ones who teach our ones to add
And read
And sing
And lead
Before, during, and after the hours of eight and three
Explain it all to us once again
And I wanted to leave
But you, and they, were some of the ones

And the time you burned the toast
All six pieces of them


I felt like a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning
She felt like a warm biscut in my hands
She, ready to crumble
Me, dripping with doneness
Good morning

One Single Act of Kindness

The shot was muffled by the pillow
How he’d suffered and begged
It was more than she could bear

She looked into his pleading eyes
Always hanging on to hope
Singing softly to herself

She knew the time had come
And went into the nightstand drawer
Where he had kept it all these years

She was sickened to notice
That she was smiling
At his gratitude and obvious relief

She almost couldn’t remember
Her life without him
But lately the days seemed so long

“Who’da thought,” he said
“It’d be like this?”
And he thought of 1939

The first time he held her hand
Nervous and shaking
In his navy dress blues

He laughed and said, “Hitler couldn’t do it The Japs couldn’t do it And now look at you “

And the laugh became a racking
Rattling cough and desperate gasps
For breath and air

She pressed the pillow hard against him
Knew she had to act before she thought
And did

She smoothed the blanket with her hand
And then his hair
And tidied the house

Then went to the phone and quietly made the call
And before she had time to finish her tea
They were there

I’d Like to Bake Your Goods | Stolen Mummies | Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town | Up Liberty’s Skirt
Feeding Holy Cats | Mowing Fargo | I’m a Jew, Are You? | Lizard King of the Laundromat | I Am My Own Orange County
Paris: It’s The Cheese | Poetry Super Highway | Judaic Links | Rick’s Bookmarks | Cobalt Poets
E-mail Rick | Other Cool Rick Stuff / Upcoming Readings | Who The Hell Is Rick

October 23-29, 2000: Robert M Oliva and Lisa A Smith


week of October 23-29, 2000

Robert M Oliva and Lisa A Smith

click here for submission guidelines

Robert M Oliva

Bio (auto)

I’ve been writing poems for a few years (mid-life crisis?) I wrote poetry as a young man in the 60s and 70s but got distracted with careers and family and other things But once I passed fifty it seemed that my creative sense reemerged, in fact, it exploded I’ve had a number of poems published on the web at Pale Forest, Sea Cove, The Writer’s Corner, etc I’m a resident of Floral Park, Long Island in New York State I’m married (29 years) with two sons As a professional, I am a director of the counseling center at Brooklyn College and I’m studying to be a traditional naturopath (talk about life crises).

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Robert M Oliva and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Visit

It was the god of the earth, not of the sky, 
That pierced your parched ghost,
Trodding bones and lost skull dreams,
Meandering in nearly forgotten, lingering memories

Mom told me you appeared in Florida
During the evening news at twilight,
Not dreary, but speechless,
A mere presence, anointed

It was the hiss of modern times that left you transparent,
Neglected in the bedroom corner, an unearthed root
Exposed to ambivalence, limited by the portals of disbelief
She said only that you stared, without reproach, 
Looking curved and wobbly, but unaffected, 
Standing as you always had, touching the earth, 
Dry and drought stricken,
But softer now than she remembered you
It was the lost tongue of ignorance that spoke to you, 
Demanding love’s lost hunger, relinquished
To hollow appetites hidden within judgment’s view

I wondered if you would visit New York
To see your grandkids, to hover over your beloved
’91 Chevy Cavalier, obsess over postal hieroglyphics,
Remembering Lower East Side pizza,
Touting the souls of Verdi, Pavarotti, and Rossini, 
To sit in Renaissance simplicity in Glendale, Queens,
Drawn to the pasta fagoli left simmering in the kitchen.

Post-Brunch Poem (after eating steak fries and hash)

Alan Ginsburg dances on his father’s bones
We sit with muffled sighs under ancient picnic umbrellas,
My blistered hand fleeing your affection, 
Seeking instead a ticket to the Pure Land, to Jesus pointing
To the white pearls of basement walls, 
I Jump the Express to Thailand, waiting…

Livia’s bony finger pokes the dead cheeks of her divine Augustus
I am your consort, your betrayer,
Our love’s illusion sticking in the throat poems of Ferlinghetti, 
I migrate through your memories circa 1957, to beat Zen, 
To Freudian hobgoblins beyond the sunsets of mind,
I allow you to become a sandless beach, waiting…

Buddha lifts a dusty finger, pointing toward the moon
Our ghosts languor like soul-less dancers, poised,
Chanting the whispers of naked opportunities lost I dream dreams of you in holy unconscious worship, longing,
Searching through Asian landscapes, 
I seek you in a wilderness of shadows, waiting…

A Story of Mishap and Possibility

Nude horizons blanket Socratic discussions of life’s
Transience as you gulp down soggy Cherrios
In home made ceramic bowls…always looking for
Virgin distractions, deflections that move
Along a narrow ledge peering downward, 
Catapulting the caress of love toward a distant
And inarticulate fantasy
You came to tell me about

.Stories of infidelity

But you digress, as the night/day
Callously moves forward
The history of a kiss dawdles like a fraudulent
Autumn rose…a Faustian bargain of Longing
We look to the sky, constrained Hadn’t you said today was a new day, a new hope
But we clutch blindly, sitting and waiting for Liberation, 
A quantum leap, a geometric progression into love’s poverty
Now you’re fixing the wrinkled bed sheets, 
Speaking alchemical syntax reserved for tribal shamans
The floor boards squeak with the longing of love entangled
We gravitate upward not expecting
The sweet aroma of gentleness sweeping through
The cracks of perception and awe, 
Pulverizing our triviality, uniting our breath
In silence and touch.

Lisa A Smith

Bio (auto)

Lisa was born in raised in New York City, now hails from the Boston area, and she still stubbornly refuses to lose her NY accent Lisa wrote her first “story” at the age of 10, and has been writing on and off ever since She is currently published in both The Red River Review and Lovewords literary magazines She writes in her spare time in a brokerage firm (no small feat) and loves reading both Sylvia Plath and Charles Bukowski.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Lisa A Smith and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Loss In the 3rd Month

I still recollect
the poignant sharpness
of that telling pain
the warmth behind my eyes
how I folded up inside
betrayed by my own body
I bled in my 3rd month

The empty red vessel inside me
open wide pulsating
wound and aching hollow
vacant space
inanimate puddle
of bloody loss
between my feet

You didn’t cry
you couldn’t mourn for what
was conceptual to you
a shadow on a
computer screen
the sound of a
galloping horse

While I laid there
in catatonia
your eyes were dry
you held my
frigid hands
and soothed to me
how we could
have another

Your indifference
angered and
astonished me
my hate for you
at that moment
as raw and
as crimson
as the
blood stained linoleum
on my bathroom floor

Babies Breath

Your room was an ocean of flowers

In your wedding picture
daisies decorated your dress
and wedding guests

Your walls were abloom
with pink cabbage roses
and summer green ferns

Scents of English gardens
permeated the room from
your crystal perfume bottles

Fresh cut freesia, daffodils,
lavender your constant
vase laden companions

You slept each night
upon rose oil scented
sheets under a Queen Anne’s
lace coverlet

Outside of your blossom
abundant bedroom
your babies barely
kept their breaths

Your children were
the barren stems
that never bore fruit
or blossoms

You withheld moisture
in the form of kisses
that barely brushed
parched lips

they would yearn
on thin legs towards
your warm arms
but you would rotate
yourself away from them
till they were in
cold shadows

you would walk
over glass for the
perfect hothouse orchid
while the seeds of
your own womb
into certain madness
under your careless
green hands

Shocking The Tourists

Sleepy sea salt mornings
when we lived in the little
matchbox apartment
on the beach

our bed positioned
under the bay window
I would put my
head against the screen
as we made love
to feel the sun on my face
smiling to each other
as we shocked the tourists

we would sit on the sea wall
during hurricane season
drinking cheap wine coolers
and daring the waves to take us
dripping wet and sharing
a smoke, we talked about
the house we would
someday have and the
children that would one
day fill that house

but eventually we stopped
making love on in the mornings
(or ever)
the hurricanes suddenly
seemed to storm inside of us
coming out in raging
words that would crash
upon my ears
then your careless
flirtations with your bank
teller melted in the sun
into something more

I packed everything that
was yours alone in
plastic garbage bags
and as you can up the walk
that final night
I opened the bay window
and shocked the tourists
one last time as I tossed
your belongings at you
out of the window
where they lay
like large black
at your feet


October 16-22, 2000: Fritz Reinhart and Adrienne Lee


week of October 16-22, 2000

Fritz Reinhart and Adrienne Lee

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Fritz Reinhart

Bio (auto)

Born 1945, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and have been here and there since then I design lighting for music and dance and live and write and work in Cuers, France My global address is: Lat: 43deg 17min 05sec North Long: 06deg 06min 03sec East.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Fritz Reinhart and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

3/4 of Morning

This here is a song about Sinistral Street
Practiced smiles
Rusted rows of doorbells
Inflicted pleasure
And Red-Cross stores

The topless bottles shatter
In filthy gutters strewn
With used-up hats
And single empty gloves
Of once fine leather

The friendly taverns wink
Filled with spiraled eyes
Burnt lunch in the far corner
And high-heeled short-skirt sighs

Folded in a doorway
Damp and filled with fright
Cannot sleep, can’t wonder
Only wait

For there’s fine stew in the storefront
Just across the street
Except for Thursday mornings
People have to have days off

So you sit in conversation
With a widow that you know
Lives four doors down in cardboard
With a diamond in her nose

People talk and study
And try to find our songs
And frown and write in slim blue books
The reasons that we’re wrong


The maps of heaven change
As surely as our own
No room left now for mermaids
Or graven places called unknown

The four rivers are lost to knowledge
Dragons are no longer named
Wind has quit its corners
And the serpent has since died

We used to speak of pointed hats
And eyes of blade-bright blue
Chrome crows and polished ravens
And spots upon the moon

Or fine enemies with languages
That sound like driven nails
Or the one night of October
When time is seen to fail

Now the story-telling candle wavers
When trying to recite the tale
Of things that haven’t been yet
And won’t be back again

At the Indiana Roof

Carefully chosen from selected hops
These tripled-tongued trumpets
And burnished slide trombones
Echo across waxed boards
Filled with circled skirts
And shouts of go, go, go

Socked feet slap the time
Punctuated with sticks
Forlorn horns are emptied
Just before midnight’s click

Tip-toed dancers
Steeped in champagne
Underneath the glittering ball
Sharing sly winks
Picking up shoes
Shuffling off to muted dawn

Red River Valley and Western

The whistling leaves
Struck down by thunder
Smashed upon the rails
By eight foot driving wheels
Leave colored dust
And a disappearing wonder

The pennies that were left
Cannot be found

Adrienne Lee

Bio (auto)

My name is Adrienne Lee I am currently a Junior at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama I have been previously published in Comrades e-zine and the online journal “Disquieting Muses”.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Adrienne Lee and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Poem for my Stepson

I try to forget you when you’re not here Your books are in boxes and your toys are packed away I collect shredded evidence in sleeping hours When we first met you were only two
New Mexico is one thousand, six hundred and forty two heart beats away My phone is shaped like a pocketknife and I use it to remove
small, boy-shaped splinters When you left you were only six
Your voice has settled into the furniture The dog sniffs it out and I hear it running from room to room It smells like wet earth and seeds It sounds like far off thunderstorms
Miscarriage is the loss of a child I am cramping and bleeding “You are too old for me to bathe,” I said “We need this time for memories,” you replied You are only eight
The imprint of your tiny body is fossilized in my womb When I die and they excavate my caverns they will find you there A deep, child-shaped bowl
worn smooth by water.


When my mother’s oldest brother
went to Vietnam,
she prayed he’d die there Not throwing himself on a grenade
or taking a bullet for a friend,
but face down in the mud Flesh swelling from wet heat
and insects Bone fragments from his open skull
grinning like a moist Jack-O-Lantern

He returned home
head shaven, intact Turned out he mostly played cards
and got stoned over there And maybe drunkenly shoved his way up
a prostitute’s skirt from time to time
or rubbed his stubbled chin on the smooth back
of a young boy Either way, he could shoot better, cussed more
and started growing marijuana in the back yard
So Jesus assured my mother
that getting knocked up
was her best chance for escape God seconded that opinion “Mom, meet Dad”
She moved out with a womb
full of me and a belly
full of anger I was born nearly starved
from living off salt water and fire
for nine months

Unlike most things
fire doesn’t dilute when divided It still burns It stretches It grows And it infects all those
who come in contact
with its twisted, screaming
lips “Mom, meet baby”

The eyes of the crucified roll skyward Impossible to see the wounds
we hold closed with clenched fingers Hard to be concerned with my grandmother
drying reefer in the kitchen
while my grandfather digs tiny graves
for the casualties of war.


October 9-15, 2000: Anthony Seidman and Douglas Holder


week of October 9-15, 2000

Anthony Seidman and Douglas Holder

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Anthony Seidman

Bio (auto)

Anthony Seidman lives in North Hollywood with his wife and son He has published work in Cider Press Review, Poetry International, The Bitter Oleander, Hunger, PDQ, The Bloomsbury Review, Sulphur River Literary Review, Luna, Oyez, etc His first book, On Carbon-Dating Hunger, was published by The Bitter Oleander Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Anthony Seidman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Making The Pact Outside Chihuahua

It was a bus stop, and past midnight
at a 24 hour diner with smoke
basted on tile walls, and vats of pork
boiled in red chili sauce I stepped outside; light sped towards
me from stars & supernovas A rust-
flavored wind stirred cobalt clouds,
lightning cracked the night, struck
where sky meets earth, where black
touches black, and becomes neither.

Sky Canvas

With my tongue, I lick blue on this page I paint herds of clouds, words heavy as bison, and a hunger for meat on rainy days When I do not stretch the skin of the horizon, I peel oranges, and listen to the traffic of this city without trees But when I write I see the woman who hides behind the sun Birds come back to me, fish dart in my song, and I dance in a greener light while feeding on yellow colors

To My Tongue Secreting Heavy Icicles

The brightest murder of crows
does not
stain this splendour
of petrified milk The page turns a shade paler
The blackest spurt of doves,
harboring what skies
submerged in a mug of ale,
does not undo
the knotted cables of heat,
as ovaries blossom
miraculously where
the horned sun expected
a gall bladder to stink like cod
The baldest eagle
whose crag of ripped granite,
wolf-fang of a false herbivore,
does not portend
brighter words where
currents are gorged with plankton
But I in my green hour
when word and skin meld,
am but a tortoise
who pushes a sea with his beak,
and, a mild success,
munches kelp at
the dregs of a bluest voltage.

Morning Again

The trees on my street have stretched their arms, and dust, after a night of sleeping on roof-tops, now scurries in the streets Where are the children who splashed courtyards with blue songs? Where are the soccer balls and sandals? Last night I heard the children as I read the prose poems of
Miguel Angel; I tried to write, but an oil slick choked the tide, and the only kelp I tasted was in the fist of a drowned man surfacing at midnight. The children are all in school; even the dust has migrated But the purple tint of smoke and memory leaves the taste of hickory on my lips Take this daylight dipped in acid, but not these soluble words I hoard verbs from the sharks that circle above me.

Douglas Holder

Bio (auto)

Doug Holder is the founder and editor of the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, MA His poetry has appeared in the Boston Poet, Doubletake, American Poetry Monthly, Boston Globe, and others He holds a M.A in Lit from Harvard University, and teaches a poetry workshop in Newton, MA.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Douglas Holder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Climb To The Top

As he claws his way to the top,
a single man on the pole
tenaciously scraping
at the well oiled surface-
with his ascent
the air is thinner
the audience below
pinpoints of distant adulation
the endless blue sky
and the bright celebatory sun
his only field of vision
And what
a view from below
how much better
to see


October 2-8, 2000: Richard Denner and Christina Misite


week of October 2-8, 2000

Richard Denner and Christina Misite

click here for submission guidelines

Richard Denner

Bio (auto)

Is this the same Richard Denner who invented the clarinet? No, that was Johann Sebastian Denner Probably a relative Known to sound off in a reedy fashion, he was raised in Berkeley and Oakland, California, but after the fairytale 60’s, he lived many years in Alaska and Washington state Proprietor of Fourwinds Bookstore and Cafe in Ellensburg, Washington, he turned this institution over to his son and then connected with Tara Manadala, a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Center in Colorado, until he was called back to the Bay Area to care for his elderly parents Now publishing chapbooks under dPress logo, he also has an idyllic job teaching poetry and collage at a Waldorf School within walking distance of his family home near Sebastopol, California You are invited to visit his website

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Richard Denner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


for Heidi

We compare our scars
and talk for hours
You sit, I spin Love looks through love
You want your plan to work,
your luck to change, a miracle to come
You laugh with the thunder,
circling the moon
You see backlit cows
hanging upside down in the sky
You ride the wind
making dandylion wishes
You try to flee but return
sealed in a green cell layer
Even we, even so The candle burns, the candle burns.

At the Fourwinds

At the fourwinds
we enter the bourn
that true friendship is
The table tilts We orbit the sun and moon,
body, voice and mind
This is bubblegum, you complain Where are the dirty feet,
the fish floating belly up?

The table tilts No killing the monkey in the hall
or the worm in the rotten wall
Now mild and restrained,
now wild and unreined,
we talk, and our words make light.

Christina Misite

Bio (auto)

Christina Misite is a 19 year old new england girl who recently packed all her belongings into six boxes and drove cross country to san antonio, texas, where she now lives with her significant other and their cat she’s currently going to school as a psychology major, but simply adores reading and writing poetry as often as she can more of her work can be found at her website, “the cornerless tomorrow”:

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Christina Misite and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

in a name

people call it
san antonio, they
call it
san ‘tone, they say
san ‘tone is so hot
this time of year they never
think of their
ancestors, breathless
in the face of god and bloodshed,
praying to the saint
of lost causes
with dark eyes drinking
in this ample land
mesquite sapplings edging
a spectrum of sky, clouds
crowding in like orphans to tumble
over one another,
stumbling into a
dumb beauty

which cracks skulls
like war, seeps into minds
trying out the sound
for the first time on
lips dry with reverence and sun oh yes, they say, oh
we’ll call it–
saint anthony

our cabinets

sung of rain through tightly
packed forest
and deep down roots stretching
to earthly core
while cranking down
assembly lines, cut
and sanded into uniform
ity in uniformed grey
buildings which
shellacked the senses
out of them, these
unfeeling corpses so

ode to a plum

bold against my
slip of nose my
of lip
crimson juices sliding
away under my
darting tongue tart vibrancy staining
my petal fingers and chin

golden center fleshing out
to full blazing red
glistening, gleaming
under taut, dark skin

deep purple, almost foreboding almost
blackandblue, but
not bruised, just ripe,


September 24-October 1, 2000: Taylor Graham and Juan Antonio Alzamora


week of September 24-October 1, 2000

Taylor Graham and Juan Antonio Alzamora

click here for submission guidelines

Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

I’m a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler living in Somerset, CA, in the Sierra Nevada My poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Folio, The Iowa Review, Poetry International, Yankee and elsewhere My latest collection is AN HOUR IN THE COUGAR’S GRACE (Pudding Hill, 2000)
Also check out Taylor’s earlier book NEXT EXIT.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Economies of Cat

“There’s no economic advantage We go into space
because it’s in our genes to explore “
~ Prof Howard McCurdy

Well of course, people don’t own cats
for the economic advantage Think
of how a feline hunts the dark corners
of imagination; then shoots for treetops
invisible with birds She gives
no prospect of increase, no return
on your investment in tuna
On chilly days she keeps to cushions
in the nooked sun, doing nothing At night, she’s a peevish purr
against your chest, absorbing your body-
heat as she ratchets up her own,
till you can’t help but open windows,

and she’ll be sailing for the elm-tree
branches and beyond, her newest orbit,
for no good reason on earth.

Indian Valley, Fire Alert

Yes, we’ll be going there, with only one
road in and one road out Fires and back-
fires are blowing up the landscape all around You can smell smoke hanging on the sky,
smoke pinned out blue to dry Dry heat
sucks our sweat, it’s seeding thunder-
heads with lightning Sparks
Here in the foothills, house-holders
are mapping their escape routes Commuters
puzzle what to cram in trucks and vans
(computer hard-drives, baby photos &Mac246;
what of this much lived-up life to choose?)
We’re going to a place that hasn’t burned
yet, a long green valley edged by willow Small birds flit the fringes, a hawk soars
hunger-dance A rutty track, the only
way to get there We’ll camp under smoky
galaxies Yes, we know, we could die
there (or somewhere, sometime else).

Blue Ribbons at the Fair

Her crooknecks shove their skins
a little more into the sun, wishing
to be golden Her beans and peppers,
cucumbers will persist in the tribal
memory of pickle brine
Overhead, robins and jays test
their wings for ripeness One bird
swoops and lifts Rabbits and deer
weigh hunger against the booby-
traps of gardeners
After the paring knife, her secret
recipe for curing, beyond the pressure
cooker on the fire, which will go
finally slipping into her crystal
labeled jars?

She’s planted so many seeds,
she counts the rows So very many
seeds, and yet so few learn perfectly
to grow, without a scar to die.

West of the Divide

Caught up in a stream of eastern
landscape–floral green and pleated forest
washed at night, hung out to dry,
then steaming up a yellow morning mist–

it seemed the states changed only names But now we’ve climbed to where
the sun sails dark and lighter kites
by interstices, stops each frame

to name it, while the wind floats blue
and purple-black balloons bunched
till it thunders, water crams and
churns, gouges out foundations Gneiss

and limestone houses, schist: chimneys,
chambers of the mountains’ bones,
the fossil earth like stones that boys
throw, making play against a stream

that’s growling under wind and water,
time and stone and running all away.

Ornithology 101

Suppose you open the locked gate past the cattle-guard
and climb a rough sandy road through manzanita,
willow and aspen, a burned-out stand of Jeffries
to an unnamed pass, by the map 7000 ft Suppose you drop
to a valley ringed in lodgepole pine, a deep-cut creek
through meadow with its yellowing willow edges, and set
your nets to gather juncos, orange-crowned warblers,
a spotted towhee, riparian birds of a mountain meadow Caught, each hangs in its bag to wait its turn for banding,
skulling, all the measurements of primaries and retrices The bird lies in your palm to accept the aluminum ankle-
band; lies staring at grass or sky or the plaid wall
of your flannel jacket while you spread each wing to check
for fade and wear; insert a ruler between tailfeathers;
plunge the bird upside down in a tube for weighing;
record each datum At last you hold the bird belly-down
in your hand, and let it fly It does, an inmate
who’s done time, and lost his compass for a natural world It flaps to the nearest lodgepole You turn to the next
bird in a bag But suppose

you notice a clatter of birds unnaturally high in pines Juncos, nuthatches in a jitter In the midst, a pygmy owl
devouring its prey: fox sparrow with a bright
aluminum band Through binoculars you watch a pair
of Clark’s crows chase the owl away, still clutching
its silver catch By noon you’re packing up your nets
and heading back for the long descent, considering
the information you gained today.

Juan Antonio Alzamora

Bio (auto)

I have had breakfast, often inside the pockets of Pennsylvania and, less often, in the else of some other brown-pleated place But, there will be no bitterness in saying that, so the robins out of hollows should give cause to sing
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Juan Antonio Alzamora and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

De Gloria Mundi

Should I say
That passion
Provoked me
To burrow
My own sacrilegious,
Leaking car
From a stoplight
To each tallow-skinned
Pedestrian walk
In mere Manhattan, just
To see you, you, you?

My mistake again Yet, better that
The car survives,
Even back
To Allentown,
Though home
Still is
A tow away.


September 18-24, 2000: Robert Wynne, Alex Stolis, and Steve Norwood

week of September 18-24, 2000

This week presenting the winners of the
20000 (third annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

see the complete list of prizes here

Robert WynneAlex Stolisand Steve Norwood

click here for submission guidelines

Robert Wynne


Robert Wynne is a new resident of Fort Worth, Texas with his new wife, new house, and no doubt, an amazing assortment of other new items He tied for first place in this years’ contest with his poem “Door ” This is especially noteworthy as two years ago, he took first place in this same contest with a completely different set of judges He has an MFA from Antioch University, has publication credits too numerous to list here, and has been featured on the Poetry Super Highway many times.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


Shall I compare you to Venetian blinds,
governing the light falling on my face?
How can these curtains possibly replace
your self portrait: the sun going down in lines
jailing even these walls that would hold your eyes Perhaps you’re the walls themselves, the way your
laughter suspends the roof, more proof that doors
gasp openly at God’s ease as He sighs
each moment into being No thinking
in this world can fix you in a single
filament of the sun’s great bulb No glass
can silver you back like my gaze Winking
stars sell the sky for a song Throat tingling
I sing you into a door that I may pass.

Alex Stolis


Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota His poem “Three Women in a Brownstone” tied for first place in this years contest He left his career in hotel management to stay at home with his two children He recently returned to school and writes during what little free time he has left Recent publications include Stirring: A Literary Collection, Morella, Black Bear Review, Templar Phoenix Review and Poetry Motel
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Alex Stolis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Three Women in a Brownstone; Apartment # 202

I An Immigrant 1924-1965

Katarine, nineteen year old It Girl, Clara Bow eyes
sepia skin , and lanolin hair that wraps the salt air
snug against her cheek One battered cardboard
suitcase over-stuffed with pearl white hope Twenty-four newly minted American dollars
enough to buy Manhattan, dour Ellis Island
shoots a cursory glance, knows what she will find
Two-thousand letters, scribbled Cyrillic on butcher paper
hand stamped by Postmaster McDevitt, IRA lieutenant
Folk songs to empty cradles, on one-coal winter nights
waking to the tubercular cough of her husband drowning
in coke ovens; his ashes on the mantle, tarnished crucifix,
faded postcard wedding portrait, souvenir of a boat trip

II A Teacher 1966-1997

Jackie, with dew-dropped blue eyes,
crush of lilacs scent her hair, chalkdust
skims the delicate calico folds of her dress The patient curve of her unmade mouth
whispers a song to first grade valentines
on her refrigerator, crooked alphabet poems

Summer bus tours, alone with Irish brogues,
day trips to the Louvre, pictures for class She reads Bronte, cries at the sad parts,
wants to wring words from the blackboard
spin them into stories she can call her own
Sleeps with her hair down; wakes, restless
in quiet autumn to the sound of playgrounds

III An Artist 1997-1999

Meg has chrome eyelashes, burnt red hair
and a knowing look that pirouettes about her lips On charcoal nights she draws me like water
from the well of her pallete, washes the canvas Pastel nights she’s a cat poised in Circe’s lap, 
tilts her head and listens to the city stretch and yawn
until the horizon is a thin copper eggshell

On pinto gray afternoons she paints children
Sunday school yellow in oval gardens ripe
with tulips, shaded by lavender elms in summer
Today she chooses to drive broad brush-strokes
of porcelain blue, carnival red; north on I-35, until
the sun’s overworn legs unfold like an easel in the west

Steve Norwood


Steve Norwood lives in Lewisville, Texas His poem “Scar Tissue” took second/third place in this years contest He writes in between coffee breaks and petit-mal seizures His work has been displayed in the online journals Conspire, Mind Fire and Recursive Angel, as well as in the Austin International Poetry Festival’s second anthology, Di-Verse-City Too Steve has two chapbooks: Helen Could Waste Away and Because I Love You So Damn Much I’d Wait For You, and his two new e-chaps, SUBTLE REAR-VIEW GLANCES and PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN IN A DITCH

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Steve Norwood and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Scar Tissue

a woman in an automated
glides in, smiling at me
as easily as the waitress
the night before who
gazed at my face while
re-filling my water glass,
as easily as the hostess who
stared at my ass as we left
(or so my lady told me)

the woman’s chair moves without
any motor’s hum, without the
squeak of wheels on tile;
it is a fine piece of machinery,
compact and quiet with
shining metal and cool,
black fabric

I hear her carrying on her
conversation with the kids
behind the counter, and despite
her facial disorder, her voice
is crisp and clear, animated
and happy

I wonder if her smile
is a genuine reaction to
my face or the frozen result of
some hidden injury, some
scar tissue that has pressed her
mouth into a giddy lie,
and I wonder if she looks
that way
even when she feels like
giving up,
if she ever does

a small asian man, probably fifteen years
older than me, gets up from his chair
to leave, and as he passes in front of me,
I see where it looks like a shark has used
his left leg as a toothpick,
long scars running up the inside
of his calf

he walks smoothly, as if he were born
with it, no limp of memory, no
pause at all

I have several
paper cuts
on the tips of my fingers;
I got them
wrestling with art
on a page of broken glass,
razors and freshly sharpened

I’m one tough dude.

September 11-17, 2000: Darren Johnson and Alan McLaughlin


week of September 11-17, 2000

Darren Johnson and Alan McLaughlin

click here for submission guidelines

Darren Johnson

Bio (auto)

Darren Johnson is an award-winning, widely published writer and poet Johnson uses tight, streamline free verse to experiment with words and thoughts, often tying everyday reality into a sex-charged fantasy world His latest chapbook, “-30-,” hits stores in May In case your local mega-chain doesn’t carry it, simply send $2 to Rocket Press, PO Box 672, Water Mill, NY 11976 for a signed edition Johnson, 30, lives in Riverhead, NY, with his wife, Eileen, and daughter, Kaylee.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Darren Johnson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Rich Girl

it didn’t matter
that she told all those lies
about how she was
going to buy me this
or that take me to

it has to be expected
when you’re so
much older and
she’s a virgin

when she’s so much more
naive that
she doesn’t know
that europe
doesn’t exist

i won’t be in the
hotel room
the next morning

since although
it was a unique
experience her
clutching the t.v hard

it could only be done

Sexual Relations

Monica is pretty,
I told Alice,
pointing at the TV

She reminds me of
girls I went to
High School with

with rounded hips
and a smile like
a mother’s arms wide

You can tell
she brushes her hair
100 times each side
before she goes to bed

mischief in her eyes
wants a relationship
but wants the moment too

“That’s why you want her!”
Alice exclaimed “She’s horny “

Test Poem

This is a test of the BCC this is only a test if this were not a test
you would melt in the ozone layer of Mars as the red planet crashes into

Earth and women bare their chests and men are happy if only for a
millisecond before they catch into flames but this is only a test

Alan McLaughlin

Bio (auto)

Alan McLaughlin is an advertising executive (who believes in minimalist bios )

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Alan McLaughlin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


She sits
and knits
and clicks
a one note samba

But her furious brow
and silently working mouth
spew Wagner across the room.

Crime Scene

The couch
The television
empty bags of Frito’s
littering the coffee table and the floor
Coke cans
on their sides.


Old black bluesman
Never fretting with the frets
Hoarse hollow bellow
Cigarette ash
Tumbling into the strings
Blood and guts
Forty five
Upside his baby’s head
But he wouldna
Done it ‘cept for the whiskey
And here comes that first line again

Teeth camel stained
Lips chapped
Almost blue
Moanin’ in the wee mornin’ hours

Linoleum platform
Bad lightiing
Sparse tables
Surly waitress
watered drinks
And still he
Lost in the playin’
Lost in the singin’

“Oh Jesus my baby’s on the floor
oh jesus my baby’s on the floor
guess she’ll stay there forever
said she didn’t love me any more

worse gun I ever handled was that smith and wesson forty five
worse gun I ever handled was that smith and wesson forty five
if I’d used a twenty two
my baby might still be alive

Too late to do something, don’t know if I can
Too late to do somethin’ don’t know if I can
Downstairs neighbor heard the shootin’
And I know she’s called the man”

Final verse
Lookin’ into the light
Re-orienting to club reality
Getting ready to go home
To fried pork chops and gravy

Hard livin’
Hard dyin’


September 4-10, 2000: Kim Welliver and Marcia Cohee


week of September 4-10, 2000

Kim Welliver and Marcia Cohee

click here for submission guidelines

Kim Welliver

Bio (auto)

My name is Kim Welliver, I live in Salt lake City Utah I have had poetry published in 2river’s autumn anthology, in 4 different monthly editions of lovewords, a calpoly anthology, as well as 2 minor local publications put out by the LUW, and Oquirrh shadows, as well as winning state and regional contests both for poetry and novel length fiction At this time, I have 3 novels with an agent

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Kim Welliver and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


It is a day without portents or omens:
Men draw nets of thick fish from the sea, 
or lean strong forearms against the plow, 
bits of oiled bread and cheese wrapped in kerchiefs
for lunch Women apron olives in updrawn skirts,
fingers plucking the fruit from silvery leaves, some pausing
to laugh at the antics of a small black dog,
or chide their children Girls with shiny yards
of hair pound cloth on flat white stones
their wrists gleaming in the wet wash
their mouths by turns, wry or merry or grim Brown-necked boys tend nimble flocks
of goats and blow sharp piping songs of three-notes
above the rosemary, chewing sprigs of mint, dreaming No one knows something remarkable is about to happen
A boy arcs like a comet through the blazing blue, 
his journey far briefer and less glorious than that chunk
of igneous rock The humble folk stand mouths agape, 
the plow horse shifts, goats bleat, the black dog
yaps and cowers, as the boy hurtles past, beeswax
leaking along his scorched limbs in flat smears
Feathers catch and cling in his tousled curls,
pale and bright against black hair His mouth an O
of terror, panic fills his dark eyes as he beats the yielding
air with frantic arms, scissoring and kicking his legs
like a convulsive swimmer diving through fathoms
of limitless sea Some hear his faint scream, unraveled
from his mouth, a thread of terror pulled aloft by errant breeze He strikes the surf with such a sound; a dull, flat thwap,
the sound the girl’s make when they shake their heavy wet
clothes out, with a snap Green water swallows him,
their last sight his white legs, jerking in that moment
before impact, then going limp as they slip beneath
The men shrug and cast out damp, indifferent
nets, the women shake dismayed heads, wag cautionary
fingers at their children The girls continue washing,
thrusting and heaving wet fabric against sun-baked rock,
catching their full lower lips between strong teeth as they shake
out their clothes and think of the sound he made when he hit
The brown, earth-tethered boys frown, uncertain, weigh
the joy of such height, the orgasmic thrill of arrowing
through the sky, the plushy push of warm air against their face, 
the exultant power of flight well worth the plummet

The Apologist

Lost in the fathoms an unfathomable loss How do I say to a 150 million people
‘I’m sorry, but when the war was cold,
and the Polit Buro used me to keep their
secrets safe, I learned wariness, the need
to keep the world at bay ‘
How do I look at widows weeping, fatherless children,
parents waiting to inter their water-ravaged boys
in Piskaryevskoye and say ‘I’m sorry, but I was afraid We promised no more Chernobyls, no more Gorky park, 
but when it came time to open ourselves to others
to ask for help,  I could not do it There were too many years waiting for a war
that never came, years when my vocabulary
was `KGB operatives’ and `acceptable losses’ I deceived myself that the hand of fate would swoop
and scoop them from a cretaceous grave ‘
How do I say, ‘I feared appearing weak, and could not
admit our need, it tasted too much like failure ‘
How do I explain those long, useless days
of waiting, as the air ran out, vodka bitter
on my tongue and the hours ticking past in the pendulum
of my heart, every thin frantic breath drawn
within that tomb; my breath And the darkness pressing
insistent as death against the sides of that nuclear coffin,
the creaking and pinging sounding in my eardrums too And around my ankles, water rising cold How do I say that in my dreams, when I can sleep, 
118 voices plead, and I can only pray
to a god I never believed in that I won’t wake
to hear the accusations of their final silence.

Marcia Cohee

Bio (auto)

I live in Laguna Canyon with husband Pat and daughter Devin  We host the weekly Laguna Poets reading series on Friday nights  I have an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, and I teach poetry writing workshops at Learning Tree University in Irvine  My three books:  Sexual Terrain, Laguna Canyon Was Once a River, and Bonefire  My five chapbooks:  Eurydice, The Dead,  Improvised Night, Coheesion and Still Life (debuting 9/1/00)

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Marcia Cohee and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


If it is never night,
I cannot betray
myself  The recourse
of dreams works only
on blank window screens  

I put on
my turquoise dress
the way some people put on the sky
I cannot feel
the world’s edge  
or the blood of galaxies,
or the abundant sweat
of tonight
The moon is
a comma holding up
this town  Her
patient face,
the way it bites, thumbs
torn from your hands,
her teeth around
every finger
The familiar noise
silent and slim as
capillaries at the end
of mind
Everything is slow Every nuance,
every blood memory
I put on
my turquoise dress
the way some people put on the sky
And there is nothing solid.

No Help

The numb life of a suburb In every biography, evidence
peeking through, dim artifacts of life
This summer, no one moves Because we are all faithless,
mumbling like the first stake in eternity
Why there is not even
a chair to rest in  
Or a flower petal
jumping off the moon
No help in it, glasses twisted,
windowsills draped
in the light of sprinklers  
Explaining ourselves as centripetal
at the end  

This is about
pieces of life thrown back at us,
too many people in a small house What dew remains.

La Niña

Your harlequin haze descends
and, with it, night lifts,
scanning the busy lips of winter
I would like to say,
world without end,
pray to everything
that has gone before To the hungers
that leave us dry
But you are mute
as our hot December,
while the clouds speak
In the soot of the horizon I hear
an entire desert winter,
a teacup’s rattle
in the long afterdark,
one long intermission
between ice
and the ever fractal sea
The sun has not moved The earth is still  Owls sleep It’s a good day to be hungry.



Sky, and recently, fire,
arguments in this season of faith A climate sought
when no other will do
The grace
of sleepy nights, that desire
to make effortless sense of things,
to draft songs
from the starvation of memory
i i

On the land, the milk of almonds
washes your hands  Beer
and an apple of forgiveness
What do you see?
A long bird lasting
through the afternoon,
dinner in the middle of a lake,
vouchers for kindness
i i i

See what remains
after each property divides What will writers do
with their algebra,

hoarding it
under leaves of the moon?

i v

Camouflage and the body:
it is a waste of time Your subtle mass
fills the field of view
in all its disguises,
bends light
around the edges
Gravity, too, is a state of mind Old dark matter
holds the shape
of the universe, the bones,
the muscles of everything

We are all owners of silence,
soup and puddling, sour chronicles,
an apron of belief
The stomata of too long winters
in a southern climate
where sunflowers burst
into melodrama and seed

where people stop cars
for wild canyon fennel
and deer

where I have pruned my life
too small and too well Because of all that light.


August 28-September 3, 2000: Christine Elaine Lennon and T.L. Stokes


week of August 28-September 3, 2000

Christine Elaine Lennon and T.L Stokes

click here for submission guidelines

Christine Elaine Lennon

Bio (auto)

Born in 1968, in El Paso, Texas, Christine Elaine Lennon has been writing poetry and prose for more than 20 years She has had several poems published, and is currently writing a novel The poet resides in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (Harrisonburg) She is the editor of “The Eclipse,” a web designer and freelance artist Previously, she has also been a magician’s assistant, an “extra” in a few movies, a computer operator, a soldier in this girl’s U S Army, a baker, and a student of all things interesting.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Christine Elaine Lennon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Climate of Despondence

God, you tug me
in all directions at once

pulling at my limbs
making me dance
at your whim

Unclothed and without
the will to resist you
my hands and feet ache

where you nailed home
the chords upon which
I dangle from your
chiseled fingers

a sigh escapes me
and fills this void
with ethereal temples
in your honor

dedicated to your

hard marble constructed
somehow; from my vapor
this has become my stage
and I hear the audience
as if from some great distance
whispering about us, and the way

-you manipulate me

The Long Walk Home

Incongruous images plague me Flashes of empty doritos bags
and overturned kegs; the lingering
stench of pot and cigarette smoke
I roll over, twisted in wet sheets
that bind me to the memory
I had gone there with my friend,
the one who lived two doors down
in the dorm Some frat party
in another rattling old house
converted into a party zone
for Thursday night
She secretly hated me, I think,
because I was thinner; but,
at eighteen, you’re only thin enough
in the dark; in a fantasy; all alone
So she brought me beer and shots
of something that made me cringe
on the way down; until I was too
far gone to feel it burn anymore
And then she left me to the wolves I can still feel the regret running
down my legs as I stumbled home.

The Pass

The narrow road
clings like kudzu
to four thousand feet
of rock and soil
that rises in a great
ancient swell

slicked with rain;
masked in whimsical fog
so dense it might
be solid matter

hairpin turns; unlit;
no guard rails
to mark the edge
of a sheer drop

White knuckled,
I grip the steering wheel
and suck in a sharp breath
desperately seeking
the double yellow line
that peeks from behind
the cloak, occasionally
to guide me

T.L Stokes

Bio (auto)

The author works as a full time writer in the Pacific Northwest (North Bend, Washington) publishing poetry in various online literary magazines, in printed form in the Ancient Wind Press, NC, was honored as poet of the month by the StarliteCafe, published two pieces for the Tyson Act Committee and currently has recorded a cd of poetry in California and is working on a second cd
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by T.L Stokes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Hands of August

Within the cold steel walls
there is writing
waiting to be read
scrawled in the last moments
amid the flooding hold
of a dying submarine
clutched by the Barents Sea
held locked against
the frozen breast
of ocean floor
she sleeps

The world above
in air so pure
we filled our lungs
with great gulps of sadness
waiting for the tap and ping
of survival
fading as gale winds
hurled waves
over bows of uncertainty
while a government
moved as if in a dream
afraid the asking
to be a sign of weakness
holding secret pens
they whisper
among themselves

The rage
is growing
as winter storms
of grief
those who held back
may lose their positions
as others are chosen
to lead a people
who will not stand by
as over 100 men
gasp for breathable air
some prayed some begged
and one man wrote
with hands of the dying
‘fear not, seek freedom
wherever she may be found’
can you see it there
dragged through condensation
drips on the window
of last hope
the ocean claimed them
one by one
into the silence
death the only song
of deliverance
in the immovable tomb
of fate

In honor and memory of the 118 seamen aboard the Russian submarine Kursk which sank in the northern Barents Sea on August the 12th, 2000.

August 21-27, 2000: Tim Leonard and Chris Walton


week of August 21-27, 2000

Tim Leonard and Chris Walton

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Tim Leonard

Bio (auto)

Vietnam vet, traveller, digital artist, visionary Published sites include: POETRY SUPER HIGHWAY (October 1999) STIRRINGS, ACID LOGIC, CREATIVENUE and a pending children’s book on EBOOKSONTHE.NET.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Tim Leonard and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Two Bananas For Dinner

lost a piece of jade
wife moved to colorado
nobody in costume at halloween

full moon flies across black sky above market roof
where young lovers hide in shadows
a fish seller sleeps
two boys dance in truck lights

a woman with three bags of rice
sits by empty fur coat store
counting a grain

landless chinese man trailed by wife
tired of the city
labors their belongings
in plastic bags on thin shoulders

incognito nature shadow on the wall

blind man stumbles into sleep
a pile of rubbish at his feet

a man pedals past
husband & wife scavengers
stealing night with plastic bags
pillaging trash cans seeking coal leftovers
they can sell-or use

people with cancer talk
rolled in blankets on wood slats
a broken road their fragment of someone’s dream

old grey haired man
observes ghosts
dancing through soft night shadows
curling around dark thick shanghai

Ubud, Bali

Free form, free spirit in a free world,
Where will you finish your journey?

After rubbing you down with holy water, rice flour,
tumeric, salt, vinegar, sandlewood,
we put shards of mirrored glass on eyes,
pieces of steel on teeth,
a gold ring with a ruby on your mouth,
jasmine flowers on nostrils,
and iron nails on four limbs;
symbols of perfect senses-
reincarnation brings you back
stronger more perfect
Wrapped in tight ceremonial fabric,
we lay you on straw mat tied to bamboo platform
placed in a tower representing
underworld, visable world, heavens
behind rattan Black Bull beast
Village women in finest clothes,
balance offerings of fruit, rice, vegetables;
lead you through Pedang Tagal Carriers laugh, sing, dance, spinning you
in circles Crowds throw water on ancient image
They cut bull open at Monkey Forest and place you inside Brahmin priest in black cuts white binding string,
pours water from clay pots inside,
smashes them on ground,
sprinkles flower soil and family items inside Replaces Black Bull’s Back
Final Fire begins
Float to holy sky united to karmic force!
Is it true, this maya, this illusion,
This transformation, this celebration?

Chris Walton

Bio (auto)

Born Tynemouth, England, 1964; live in West Yorkshire, England I pass the time
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Chris Walton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

there she goes again

I think it was the thin onion skin of my eyes
that made you cry:
I wish you had pulled them from their sockets
peeled off
upon layer until
seeing there was nothing left
you escaped
your amber dress slithering at stone
as shadowed
you made your exit at the open gateway.

never eat a windfall cherry

her eyes darkened
and were full
of promise
her mind happiest
when touching his hair
happier now than ever
his eyes lightened
and were full
of nothing
his mind the same now
touching this as anything
the dame now as ever
both waited
and wait still:
two lives
found amongst cherries
picked up in the garden.

seven wasps feeding

there are no mushrooms in the garden instead
I find
two wings
rib cage
7 wasps feeding
bright orange
under green dusk sky.

Hungry by a Rock

Hungry by a rock
Gilled as a fish in this morning
With no clocks:
Deaf to the hour
You wrap your wound
In wet paper
Burn your voice
In the guarded ground
Look for gardens
And armour
And masks
Which present you a mouth
And a pathway
Where your ghost
May press a fevered imprint.

Thistle: Erect-Surprised and Blooming Violet

Left standing there
Just dark
Amongst the mosses and lichen –
Could hear her voice still
Through rocks
Echoing from where she was For him, no meaning in a voyage
‘No matter what.’
For her: ‘I gotta go home.’

‘Which flower expresses days gone by ?’
No answer:
With her red face she was destined
So, flower, cure me if you can
And still we proceed with our love problems
With dry, invisible shudders:
Big lumbering things on our thin roads
Under slow clouds
We rush through here
Gathered from the fields We don’t know where our homes are
And the landscape is pale
And there are
Limits to the imagination
And the landscape is
‘Which flower ?’
I ask Answer:
‘Thistle: erect –
Surprised and blooming violet.’

Slow Clanging of a Bell

The slow clanging of a bell
Overtaken by more fast clouds Each space where sun touches
The thin onion skin of eye
Is but the tick inside the grey tower
Or the quick rustle of leaf in a constant wind
The trees are black
The sky is blacker
But though the sky screeches
Hedges float like seaweed
In this darkening day
All this
And the darkening gateways
Chinks of light from thin doorways
Always pushing
Pushing against the rise of night
On the muscle of hill, beyond
Tiny like a camp fire from the moon
Or a streetlight in the dark desert
A girl walking
Yellow umbrella dancing between a network of branches
But the sky like hair blown
And the rain falling
Move on
As the tower ticks
And the bell
Like a ghostly ship in fog
Bangs on.


Bathed in humid air
We pick bright weeds at dusk
Collect blocks of flaking rotted wood
And wander across disused factory floors
We stumble over scattered bricks
Through neck high nettles
And smell the thick autumnal pollen
Thick as we are drunk
Our shins are scratched
Our clothes are clicked and pulled
By skeleton branches
And our chests rasp in nicotine rapture
Finally, feet resounding the red brick passage
We depart into the darkness
of the mind-skull
Of the humming town.

Prison of Silk

Let’s go and see the prison of silk at the edge of the woodland !
Where the berries light the heath and the spiders string the leaves together
We will walk through the dew
Soft feet treading on thick grass which cuts without bending
But softly and finely like a razor blade in a lover’s mouth We will walk through the place where the spiders string the leaves together
And we’’ be soaked in silk and rain and dust
Hear the strings wind and stretch but hear no snap
Except where dry burned out hollows erupt from another corner (They’re always lurking
Like a single twined lover in an alleyway
A cat walking by
And men leaving for the heath land and fire in the air;
When necessity demands that scrub be scrub and kept that way )

Walking on the heath the only thing that snaps is us
Collected together like twins from the alleyways
Emerging on black burned and sullen heath
Sky silver as mercury Slow Wind with Feathers Falling

Calling my slow brain
Binding me in silence
The furrowed heath
Breathes slow wind
With feathers falling
We lie below low brambles
(And time’s pattern of happenings
Like feathers shifting
From the hunter’s prey)
And boys’ laughs echo
Above the river
And the patterns dance
As we mime our love
Beneath the branches
And see the heath dance
And hear the pant of the hunter
Tracing his path through furrows
He is here:
Behind the fence we breathe slow wind
And bind the boys in silence.


Polythene moves like sky –
Razor sharp;
Unfurled stars and cold waves
Flag clear space breath;
And in deep pools
Pure blade satellites flash red:
The ecstasy is begun.

Fast to Water

Fast to water
The soul-white sole sticks
Without a ripple –
What kicks !
And dense flies biting
And hanging as the world
Spins round:
Wrap around this sacred well
You fishermen and dippers
Join the fool
And hang your socks
Make a wish
And fish for kippers.

Going for a Tumble

.and tumbling into the field on the hill
and trembling at the sky
and mumbling a tune in leafy shade
and interrupting the wind with a whistle
and hoping for a tumble
you will find
a shield on the sill
trembling under the weight of a fly
and a waving moon in foggy jade
and an interrupting blind man with a thistle
hoping for a tumble .

Everywhere in Suburbia

Everywhere in suburbia mothers steer small children:
Abortive fight amid large flowers and dying light bulbs Polished door handles embrace husbands
Brilliant vegetation glistens around my thighs
And passing drivers are naked and lean from windows
Smiling messages to unknown lovers Thoughtfully
Families move tea sets, press bread,
Walk on wall to wall pile
Startled and twisted I make a house call
On an over fertile mother
And feel the power of being trapped in this nondescript town “I carry memories of these places in my vinegar bloodstream,
I am a river of fish and wish to invade your brilliant senses,” –
Unwilling to confront she points me off
To the neon coated town
And deserts me
One of her lost children
I climb into pink mouths in waiting rooms breathing like a beast
Marooned amongst townspeople in green and gold light
Stumbling excited and possible
Lights draining my eyes –
I know I will be drowned
Each face presents hope
And chambers for fish to pout
But well pressed suits perform in subtle openings
Where eels mimic Sunday morning suburban sex
With an over fertile mother
Her blood running to vinegar
Drowning me in silence
As the flower beds tear the whirling air.

Grey Coats

Grey coats walk
Wet roofs scattered reflect grey light
And the rain falls The distance is blurred
Cars slither on wet roads We sit quietly
Watch street lights flicker on.

Amongst Men

Clouds rush by beneath endless space
Paths between dark blocks of buildings
Shine silver light Relentless rain falls
Amongst men.

We are Friends Amongst Woods

Black leaves shine
Black trees fill this valley
But summer light shimmers elsewhere And as we sit amongst leaves
The sound of a thousand crushed bodies
Echoes in the woodland It is not a time of weeping –
We are friends amongst woods
And when the leaves are black once more
We shall return.

The Bright Moon Will Not Come

Life loses colour through grey windows The dust of a thousand years hangs in air The people on both sides of the wall
Peer from balconies
As grey coats move The bright moon will not come
And shine on us here.

Under Hanging Branches

I see that spring is here
And the pink and yellow blossom
Shakes on the boughs The potato planters are washing their hands
And new flowers push
From damp earth A new girl is born We bow heads under hanging branches.


Between the grasses the spiders string their webs
Between the hills the grass of valley spreads No one here since yesterday night Pity, my fire was big enough but is now ashes.


The dark swings hang slowly creaking
Boys and girls returned
Moon big and white and shining upon us
Sharp in the cold cold night.

Princes of Suburbs

The princes of suburbs lose their feet
In the pavements and alleys of cities Here the grey coats rub shoulders
And the wind is quiet.

Leaves Turning

the leaves are turning in the dusk
the north star shining;
my grey coat is pulled up tightly –
another winter is here.

Go Home

flock of black birds blown across black sky
dog barks echo down allies:
methinks the time has come
to take the next train home.

Goose pimples

nine o’clock summer sky shines silver
the sun behind the buildings now:
goose pimples erupt on a million arms.


furrowed field cut out of heath land
backdrop of hills fading grey to distance:
steam and smoke drift from scattered power stations:
I can see for miles and miles.

The Darkening Sky

the lad at the top of the hill has just lost his kite it drifts high now amongst the birds and the insect specks the string still in his hand, his arm still outstretched,
his face the colour of the sunset
as he darkens against a darkening horizon Dragging the Maimed Potatoes

Combining vines in the off set of morn
Packet of crisps held in pick hand
333 droplets amber upon the bough
Counted for those who entwine
Bye bye blackbird swiftly as a blade burning wind with flashes of flaps Clouds thread their way, crunching in the breeze Picking out slugs from paper teeth
Letting flies rely upon fast dust surrounding Resounding shout under amber lights of branch
Wine drunk in one guzzle
sweat dazzling slippery hands
Friends tinkering with artificial intelligence
Under the glow of an October wind
And the women like snow in the fields

Dragging the maimed potatoes

Heaped in a changed landscape
The same people
Spoiled now As lovers we go undone Heavy, our bodies arching in ceremony
Brains burning Young hearts poised we sniff the air, swing
Sardine cans on string, kick
T.V sets
Say simple things
Squeeze pimples
In temporary immortality
Box the cities in philosophies
Rise slowly
Shine beside trees
Demand protest smoke
And doubt if the propaganda
The moans
The warnings
The illuminated manuscripts
And skeletons crowding eternity
Will haunt the silence of the pillow
Behind the closed doors of the people
Heaped in a changed landscape Spoiled now,
We rent small rooms in six storey houses
Read newspapers
Friendly settled couples
Spend earned money on queer masks
T.V licenses
Spot cream, insurance
Alarm clocks
And cast shadows strategically in the light
And hope to find a hiding place from the changing of the landscape.

Large Yellow Tractors

I watch the girl from the window
As she walks into my foreground
Along the asphalt pavement
Around the edge of verge She bends to shift a shoe strap
To see
What the men
In the large yellow tractors
Have done to the verge.

August 14-20, 2000: Frances LeMoine and Kai Robert Nygard


week of August 14-20, 2000

Frances LeMoine and Kai Robert Nygard

click here for submission guidelines

Frances LeMoine

Bio (auto)

My name is Frances LeMoine I live in Merrimack, NH Originally from New York (Bronx and Brooklyn) I am currently employed as a “cataloger” for an auction, writing item descriptions,

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Frances LeMoine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Approaching Eclipse

Spring’s excess brings to mind
the fading imprints of your perfect teeth
in my shoulder,
new tattoos and
your bourbon skin
Our legs cross
I lean in and
you follow Like a looking glass
You watch when I look away
Your eyes crawl to the ceiling and
mine fly to the floor The soft rhythm of your fingertips
my mindless tapping I lean over and
you move in
I imagine
the faint click of your teeth against mine
The timbre of your voice appeals to me,
like a small, white church in an endless desert
with its promises of saturation
I know that dreams of you,
of me,
of plums
and of eclipses
How long before your perfect teeth to my shoulder and
your weight becomes familiar?


I saw you
And lately late at night
I’ve been listening for the
slight tap tap taps
of small stones against this window
and watching for
you there
below, looking up,
eyes open like parasols
And me
looking down,
eyes open like a train whistle Here I am.


Her gypsy’s eyes counted the change in my pocket She&Mac226;d say a prayer for my confusion “Whatever it’s worth to you,” she said Seventy four cents fell out
She told me:
the sun’s a subway token
the moon’s a quarter for the phone
and a telescope is a ladder to your window
A gypsy’s truth is so much cheaper than exorcism.


Heaven’s in flames,
sparks sputter and spit;
blinded angels groan, hold their noses
and leap in our direction,
some drowning in the wakes of shooting stars
Hell is afflicted with
injured immigrant angels
in the dark
on the dole
in the way
and raving in the language of neglected medication
Wailing scabs form whispering scars
and with the salve of prayer and alcohol
become suggestions.


A thorn in the ointment,
extracted by blunt logic,
the weight of their whims
will crumble you,
sever all cords,
then feed you
to a hungry ocean,
clotted with other inconvenient creatures
Your time will not come An impending memory,
you are untimely A run in a stocking,
a pothole,
six blocks out of the way
You are a bad tooth,
an intrusion
Your extraction,
once healed,
will clear the highway
of barriers and hitch-hikers
You will never learn about thorns Or logic.

Kai Robert Nygard

Bio (auto)

Norwegian, based in LA People can add their own blablablas about the poetry Will return to the Cobalt Cafe open reading in Canoga Park, California at the end of August, so people should get off their fat asses and drive there (Bonus, there’s a pub next door) Needs to find a place to go to graduate school .AND A JOB!!!!! Anyone can offer me one at any time
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Kai Robert Nygard and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Rebirthday Girl

Slender fingers sliding down
The edge of a reprinted picture
And up her black dress
As soft lipstick touches
Cover her neck like brutal hands
From forgetful ex boyfriends
And as gin tasting index fingers hook
The garment of unlocked guilt
Leaving open the unfulfilled potential
Of egg and bacon afternoons
She feels the remains of their first kiss
Moving up the back of her right leg
And into her somewhat sober soul
Letting out sounds hidden behind doors
And inside short dresses
While erasing the blackened memory
Of long sleeve shirts and
Tylenol mornings.


Sitting on my second hand couch
Smelling of cats, though I have none
Smiling at the slowly warming beer
Forgetting what I was supposed to do
Before falling asleep again in ten hours
But remembering to put on sunblock
In case I think of it and leave my couch
To go further than the fridge
To get a beer, or to go to the bathroom
Or to my bed, smelling of cats,
though I have none Looking at my table for clues, but coming
up with empty bottles scattered around
to imitate a party that I think I could think
I went to, but too hungover to remember
If I did or not, but freaking out about the
Girl that must lie in the next room
Smelling of cats, though I have none
But I look at the next to last beer
Empty as cat smelling apartments and
My thought of what I was supposed to do
Walking over to the fridge, getting the
Last beer, wondering where my pants are
As I open it and look for them under the cap
And in between emptying sips on the way
To the living room, smelling of beer
Though I have none, but finally remembering
What I had to do today.

A public place

I would buy me a beer
if I was you
to waste the night away
and regret living in the morning,
just to forget, for a moment,
what happened today
I would buy me a beer
if I was you
to build up enough courage
for me to walk up to the lady
with the dark dress, high heels
and inviting eyes
I would buy me a beer
if I was you
to numb the pain
before I take the long walk home
to an empty fridge
and a broken mattress
I would buy me a beer
if I was you
to taste the golden colored lager
on the tip of the tongue
and in the bottom of my heart
I would buy me a beer
if I was you
so we can sit here
and become the friends we never
should have been
I would buy me a beer
if I was you
because I would know
what you had to go through.

LA sweetness

Burnt present, burnt past
Sitting by the pool in the overcast
Shadow and waiting for the sun
Feeling whisky, tasting rum
From the wet spot on his hip
Spilled from the bottle in his grip
Held like a hand, soothing touch
Of fired water, not such
A drowning victim as Phlebas
Once was, but rather one to pass
Out drunk just for fun
Feeling whisky, tasting rum
From the third bottle had
Saluting statesmen and a dad
Seen once in a Kodak
Picture from the back
Of a place overlooking a pool
Like this little spot, a cool
cut corner for some
Feeling whisky, tasting rum
On morning breaths at noon
While falling too soon
On the job, on the ground
Off the wagon that he found
Next to the home of his dreams
Nightmare living that he seems
To forget alone in the rum
Feeling lonely, tasting the son
Left for an overcast place
Hiding the tears, saving his face

July 24-August 13, 2000: Michael McNeilley


week of July 24-August 13, 2000

Michael McNeilley

in memorium
October 19, 1945-July 16, 2000

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Michael McNeilley

Obituary by Francis Till (

.I know the
rhythm, two beats together, then not quite
too long a pause and it repeats, moving
the blood through me, just as your breath
on my eyelids begins and ends each day and when you come to me in the night
you are whole again, and all is as it
should be, as if you’d never left
MCN-Dance of the Sun and the Moon

DIED: Phillip Michael McNeilley, poet, writer, artist, boxer, on July 16, 2000, at 11:20 p.m in Las Cruces, New Mexico, of complications following a heart attack
McNeilley was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 19, 1945, and is survived by two sons, Tom and Brooks, in Olympia, Washington; a daughter, Carol Ann Owens, whereabouts unknown; his mother and sister; Stephanie Brooks, mother to his sons; and Elaine Thomas, the loving friend and partner with whom he was living in Las Cruces
A poet of international renown, McNeilley published extensively on the internet, and was among the very first to mix poetry with that medium He was the founding editor of the Olympia Review, and the author of several print books of poetry and prose, most recently “Situational Reality”, by Dream Horse Press (May 1999) An Honors graduate of the University of Colorado, McNeilley held many jobs in the course of a full life As a teenager, he lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, cutting short a promising career as a boxer, and moved from there into literature At the time of his death, he was co-editor of the well known, online e-Zine Zero City, with JJ Webb In the past, McNeilley was Founding Director of the National Student News Service; worked as a reporter and correspondent in Washington, DC; and has published hundreds of poems and stories in magazines such as New York Quarterly, New Delta Review, Eclectica, Poet, Poetry Super Highway, Chicago Review, Oyster Boy Review, Cross-Connect, Sonoma Mandala, Hyphen, Minotaur, Slipstream, Cafe Review, Pink Cadillac, Chiron Review, Poetry Motel, Plazm, DAM, Lilliput Review, Boulliabaisse, Writers’s Forum, Green Fuse, Rockford Review, Mississippi Review, God’s Bar Unplugged, Impetus, Tight, xib, Penny Dreadful, Exquisite Corpse, Atom Mind, Wooden Head Review and elsewhere, including websites worldwide His work has been translated into at least four languages and published in several countries, including England, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Spain, and New Zealand
McNeilley frequently used MCN as his signature, and major engine searches on the internet for his work under either MCN or McNeilley tend to return thousands of pages, making him one of the most prolific of recognized American poets
Wakes and memorial services are being coordinated for McNeilley in Seattle, Olympia, Las Cruces, San Francisco, Kent, New York City, Portland, and Auckland (NZ), among other places, by the many hundreds of his dedicated fans and friends around the world Most will occur on Saturday, July 22, 2000, and will be linked in virtual space through various live performance media
Attempts are also underway to collect and collate all McNeilley’s work-which amounts to several thousand poems and stories, as well as hundreds of drawings and prints-online Numerous tribute sites have already sprung up, including one at and this special issue of the Poetry Super Highway

Dennis Gaughan, Editor of Poetry Cafe, wrote of McNeiley’s work that: Michael McNeilley writes poetry like a whisper in your ear at a party, saving you the bother of wasting time on a boring guest, so you can focus on what really matters
That whisper in the ear will be deeply missed by all who knew him.


Michael McNeilley was my best friend We went to university together and our lives have been a pile of spaghetti ever since When he died, I began to discover how many others I shared that plate with hundreds of friends, bound together by love for him, as a poet and as a man
Most of those relationships were forged online, as it turns out, although he was a gipsy in life and unforgettable when met in a bar or a bookstore Online, though, his community was enormous, the largest of anyone I know People read his work in places like this and wrote to him about it-he always wrote back Over the years, this came to mean that his email
Morepork’s* ( call sounded almost incessantly, and that many of those virtual meetings also developed into physical friendships as people came to visit, or he went off to readings around the country
This week, all of those people are grieving, the ones he met and those he never had a chance to meet, alike
Part of why so many of us are so deeply affected by his death is evident in his poetry Michael was among the most prolific of poets, and all of it is personal He had a way of turning his unique moments into words that elevated all of our own, that taught us new ways of seeing, and feeling Even ordinary things like the smell of coffee or a lover glimpsed in a doorway at dawn were elevated in Michael’s poems to an almost iconic status He made the ordinary rare and imbued it with the full measure of its often overlooked but rightful grace and power
And that is also the way he lived When Michael paid attention to you, he really paid attention He always heard you and he always knew what you meant, what you really meant Don’t misunderstand this-there was no Pollyanna in the man, none at all There was a lot about life he didn’t like, and a lot of people he would not suffer He was at least as eloquent in the expression of contempt and derision as he was in celebration of beauty and genius, and that was part of his charm You wanted him to like you, and if there was any reason for this to happen, he would find it He found it in most of us, and he showed it to us, often when we needed it most
Michael was fully immersed in life, and that immersion shows in all his work Now we are all fully immersed in his death, and it shows in the way so many are reaching out to one another in the communities we share, online and off
It is a terrible thing that Michael has died His writing is only one of his legacies, however The love so many feel for him is the true measure of who he was, and the largest gift he gave to us all In a way, the fact that his heart brought his death should come as no surprise: he simply used it up, large as it was
I’ll miss you, always, my friend Rest in peace, unconfined at last
frank till
auckland, nz 2000

Notes from Janet Bernichon (

We called ourselves , “The Three Amigos ” Michael, Virgil and me We met on Prodigy in 1993, in God’s Bar and Grill over poetry and politics Mike was about to publish the Olympia Review Virgil, “Unplugged ” I started writing again after ten years
Right now I am so overcome with loss, I find it hard to write about Mike He was my mentor He was there when my life spiraled out of control He was kind and gentle He was the painful truth and a pain in the ass He was full of life, hell, and yes, at times, shit I went to visit “Earth Sucks,” the strange satirical alien site we co edited and found it was gone I guess
Techline thought it was too tasteless to reside on their property so they killed it Nice timing, Techline
We have lost that clear and unmistakable voice:

sharp and well aimed, the scalpel,
too late the heart
broken again in some noble way
(from Smaller Things)

The following work is Copyright © 2000, by Michael McNeilley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


today was the second time
in as many weeks
I ran across a message
describing me as
“confined to a wheelchair”

and I’m sitting on one
as I type this
but I’m not duct taped to the thing
it’s not bolted
to my ass

I know even those people
who use the things
for every waking movement
who can’t get into bed
by themselves
hate the word

like there was a trial
and either they were
guilty or had a cheap
lawyer and the
gavel came down

in some ways I guess
it can be like that
but in some ways I think
everybody’s life
is like that

I want to go
take a piss
I stand up and hop
over and pull it out
like most guys

but even a guy
I met once who
had this big metal
plastic robot to move
him around
turned bright red

when somebody
described him as

“come over here
and suck my tube
you dumbass”
he said
which I thought was pretty good

I don’t turn red
about something like
that though for me
the confinement
is much less that
that guy’s

I’m confined to this
but that’s only by
lack of money
later in the month
and even then
I can go outside
for nothing

I can still beat you
to the door at least
half the time
the door you try
to open for me

and I can pick you up
hold you over my head
with arms that have been
pushing my big ass up
hills for a while now

and I can get into bed
by myself
although I don’t much like
being by myself
once I get there

and luckily
there are still a few
women who know me
better and there is
always the odd chance

my pal Frank once said
“women are attracted
to you cause they think
you’re interesting but
by the time they find out
the truth
it’s too late “

All that’s actually missing
is my left foot

I’ve had fake ones
over the years
lots of them
man those fuckers
are expensive
I don’t have one
right now

not one that works
but everything else
though the eyes
are fading from
too much reading just like
mom said they would
and the breath

comes more slowly
if the hills are steep
and the heart
is a mass of duct tape
and baling wire
and glue

“What happened
to the foot?” several
women have asked me

“into the trash” I tell some
carried off by a coyote
shark bit it off
buried in red mud somewhere
ashes over the ocean
dust to dust

I gnawed it off
to get out of my
first marriage
I’ve got lots of lines

if I’m confined to anything
it’s the fucking

that have defined my
life into this
corner where it now sits
on this chair

so I don’t mind the people
who use that word
confined because
it means nothing to them
more like a stick figure
kids draw to represent
it’s a sign

in the semiotic sense
a symbol
a phrase like
“shit happens”
not some sort of

call me
call me
“differently- abled”
talk about my “bravery
in dealing with adversity”
I will give you some shit

but aside from all that
I’m thinking
maybe some medical
supply house will sell me
a set of foot bones

I could keep in a box
in a drawer by the bed
to pull out
when the question
comes again
as to where
it went

I want to find the woman
who would cuddle them
rest them between
her breasts
and kiss me

Say Goodbye

It’s like Frank said when
he worked in the pound,
killed all those dogs

in the evacuator, sucked the life
out of them in the oxygen
deprivation chamber:

he took a lot of them home,
the cute ones, the ones he
couldn’t bear to kill –

the ones he wanted to save,
and they ran out in the

broke their chains and disappeared;
one got killed in a fight,
another ate rat poison
One way or another they died,
every last damned
one of them
One day someone came in with
5 perfect poodle puppies
and Frank was told

to kill 4 and save one The choice of
who lived and who died was left
up to Frank,

so he took the runt of the litter,
the one who seemed he could

and he killed the 4 best ones,
reduced their air pressure
to that at 30,000 feet,

where they puked their hearts out
like all the others he
“put to sleep,”

and took the little one and put him
up front in a tiny cage,
where he would appear

pathetic to the general public,
some of whom selected him and
took him home that very day,

but who returned the next week
for another puppy, saying
the one they got

had “just died He was fine and then
he died The kids are all
broken up” they said
And they wanted to know if there was
a money-back
You can’t save anybody, Frank decided,
the system takes over
and that’s that
After a while Frank stopped
taking any of them home Frank modified

his objectives, but you can’t say
he ever really gave up on them Like Frank said,

“I don’t want to save them, not really,
I just want to rub their
fucking ears “

And he rubbed their ears, the furry discards,
the smart ones, the dumb ones,
the old and the young,

the rejects, the crippled and lame, the ones
with bad markings, the wrong coloration,
With problems beyond

their understanding And each time before
he put them in the chamber, he looked
into their eyes
And if there was no salvation, if there was
no redemption, at least there was
someone to say goodbye.

Long Division

I do not know as yet how many
of you there are, though there must be
many of you I have not met, as there
are many of you in me,

and many more without Nor do I know how many times
you goes into me, or me
into you, as it must proceed

there are many of me as well I do know that not all of us
have met, as I do not expect
all ever will, or even think

it likely we should try The lines
that run from there to here
between us are much longer than
the lines connecting me to you

and you to me, though some of these
are strong enough to bear the weight
they must What comes between,
anticipation only serves to justify

in retrospect; there is no scale to measure
what will happen next, or where
each line will lead, or what divides
our fragile we into its dividends,

nor what remainders might obtain
should we reduce to you and me again So there can be in this no summing
up, no quantity interpolating

postulates withheld, no way to put
a number to our days, as only time
resolves I only know the fulcrum
approximates equality as best it can,

though we must stand like butchers in
our stained white coats, rounding up
and down the costs and weights, uncertain
furtive thumbs pressed to the scales of fate.

I would write you a poem

because you like it when I do,
if I had anything to say, but if
I have I could not tell you what
and you think I can always write
another poem, that there’s a switch
inside my head I can turn on

and a poem will appear and you think
there must be a light inside me that
never goes out but one day one

of these poems will be the last one,
and it could very well be this one,
or the one before and if there is

a light in me perhaps it’s more
firefly than flame, more like
a simple absence of darkness,

though there may be something in me
that will not let the dark remain
where light could shine but if

there is, this is a thing that
will not play games with windows,
or illuminate small things

that hide for their own safety, things
that light could shrink or fade I would
write you a poem if I had something

to say, something that needed saying,
some small candle to the shadows
of doubt or indecision, but this

is all I have for now that I hold
a light within me that is yours, that it
shines for you as you may wish, and that

you may burn down the wick without
asking, or snuff it out, or read quiet by
its glow, or fly into the flame.

The turtle who looked at Napoleon

Exiled to Saint Helena
in the South Atlantic, in 1815 Napoleon turned
to gardening, turning the soil with the
simple implements at hand, spacing the tiny seeds
in straight long rows with military precision
Napoleon’s jailer, Sir Hudson Lowe found
himself as bothered by rows of the Corsican Guard disguised
as radishes, ranked across the earth outside
his office window, as by Napoleon’s contentment In a singular act of creative malevolence,

Lowe sent off to the Galapagos
for two giant land turtles The frigate bearing them arrived,
Lowe named the turtles Jonathan and Josephine
and set them loose in the garden of Napoleon
Bulldozers by nature,
the giant tortoises nosed up and
swallowed down the radishes, tomatoes,
turnips, carrots and onions, smearing
Napoleon’s careful rows into the dust
Over morning coffee, through office window bars
Sir Hudson sat smiling at Napoleon’s eaten and
uprooted, flattened garden One day as he watched, Napoleon himself
rounded the corner, moving slowly, contemplating the sea
Dressed in gardener’s tunic, head towel-draped
against the heat of the South Atlantic sun,
Napoleon bumped along, crouched on the back of
Jonathan, eyes straining past the breakers, as if
to spot Nelson’s flagship
Lowe watched, somewhat dismayed
as Napoleon surveyed
the sea from his rolling helm,
squinting into the noon sun for the
mirage of his emancipation
But Napoleon died in 1821, his power drained,
unable to adapt to turtle life:
powerless to attain contentment
in slow uncoverings, green vegetation
and long waiting
Wild goats pulled up the grass of the Galapagos,
and the big land turtles suffered starvation, their
ancient ranks further thinned by sailors
who found them excellent for soup and shell But fine grass grew on the grave of Napoleon, and

on the grave of Jonathan’s mate, who died soon after
of some turtle disease A turtle grieves long,
but Saint Helena offers
food and good weather,

and Jonathan remains there today, lifting his old head
among the flies, “Bonaparte,” still barely legible,
carved low near the rim of his giant shell Jonathan opens a red-rimmed, baleful eye
to the morning,

an eye that gazed upon Napoleon,
the eye of a turtle of destiny, who thought
no more of the little man long ago riding
than he thinks of today’s flies But Jonathan still

considers the radishes, as they
arrive each day at sunset,
compliments of the British government,
a longtime legacy of Sir Hudson Lowe,
and Jonathan is often content
In 1840 Napoleon’s remains
were shipped to Paris; In the compound in Saint Helena
little of Napoleon but his death mask now remains Not even a tree grows there still, that gave Napoleon shade But Jonathan moves slowly on

across the volcanic surface,
through what once was a garden, resolute,
his three-chambered heart slowly beating,
eye upon a nearby clump of grass, as green
and new as once upon Galapagos.


he always smells like turquoise i always smell like jade he always smells like penis thumps
in the confusion where i part my hair
and he hands me a knife
when necessary straight up
back when he was hockin’ shit
to stay drunk,
surviving on bagels
and handcuffs,
the sneaker of Dorian Grey
kept his blood sugar
up where he could see it
mcneilley, mclaughlin, nelson, bernichon
hervey, J9
april, 1996
athens, ohio

cold fuck

it’s like leaving
a little something on your plate
for the leprechauns

like Nietzche said
live long enough, you run the risk
of living too long

the final experience
common to us all
can’t be shared in any case

why leave
the greatest fear
in the lap of chance

when the last cold kiss
so deep its freedom alone
is beauty unending

the rope the bullet
the leap
the razor the gas pipe

radio in the bathtub of my
heart the blade dropped
the plug pulled

curtain of dusty wings
last cold fuck
of life   

Published in Robt Howington’s The Usual Suspects

swing low

up the hill
in new hiking boots
backpack full of music
he climbed an old elm
and opened the wine

as each cassette ended
he tossed it
into the bushes
as the sky reddened
he removed his belt

finding nothing
left undone
having found nothing
worth dying for
he swung out

jerked a few leaves
off the limb
and rode
the last beam
into sundown

Syncretic Intussuption

A hand against a slender arch of back 
a curve undescribed 
its radius of a calculus as eventful 
in theory as in application 
still despite our finest efforts 
we remain unconvinced 
of our beauty 
our strength 
so we do what we must 
must do what we must 
we reach for one another 
down distances like interstellar highways 
and there in the space between 
what is known and 
what is thought 
hope lies waiting


I’m not doing these
damn dishes
shit I said

and I was upside down
in an instant
a cartwheel
toward the door
which was open

but the screen was not
and I went out flying
headfirst through
the screen then
the trellis
and into the roses

lying in the
wire screen
wrapped around my
head shattered
rose trellis

and he was
standing on the
porch and all
he said was
never talk
to your mother
that way

no shoes
I scrambled up
shook off all those
american beauty
rose petals
and jumped

the white
picket fence

only thunder

it makes
no sense
how love can grind
the heart
though intention counts
for something
it is not fatal
on its own
you don’t die until
the car hits
the bridge abutment
the mind plays tricks
but illusion is
essentially benign
you don’t drown
until the water
has risen
you are not eaten
by the lion’s
silent stare
thunder cannot
split the tree
blood is tangible
and no matter
the distance
the fall
won’t kill you
until you step out
into the

published in Eclectica


just past the
nerve endings
the fire is only warmth
the boulder the anvil
the giant box of dynamite
the truck the train the red
rocket a small box
of polished stones

anything to avoid
being the last one
on the gurney
tubes and wires
crying out for more
noise more

It’s been sunny here, for March

In the weeks after my brother died
I kept coming up with questions
I wanted to ask him
Not the obvious one, not
“why the fuck why now?” I thought
I knew the answer to that
And I wanted to kick his ass
like I never did when we were kids,
he had no right, but

the questions were simpler ones:
“When is the Telluride bluegrass festival?”
“Do you still miss your kids?”

“Is this one of your tapes, or mine?”
“Do you think the shed roof
will last the winter?”

and more, not even questions:
“I saw a truck I think you might like “
“We could throw the football around “

“We should give mom a call “
“I know a woman you should meet “
“Let’s go have a beer “

And I know I won’t see him again,
but still these thoughts come, if not
as often as they used to
Now you’re out there somewhere,
and I can’t reach you, and there’s no
problem with that, but

for the questions, the things
I would say to you, the small offerings
I would make, if I could
I found a great Japanese restaurant You might like some of these poems I wish I could stop smoking
There are daffodils up all around I had a strange idea for a story I dreamed of you again
In the dream my brother was there,
and my dad, I could smell his Old Spice You were both smoking Camels

and talking, he was flirting with you
like he would have done, you were
laughing, your hair brushing

against my cheek, sitting
close together around a small table My brother was smiling
The cabin in Colorado, that tiny
kitchen, my mother vacuuming
small dogs barking
The cat woke me up, purring It was good to see all of you again Now it’s almost morning.

one possible scenario

in the unlikely event of a water landing
the heart may be used as a flotation device

turn the heart over and slip your arms
through the straps you will find beneath the ventricles

move in an orderly fashion to the anterior sphincter
remain calm and await your turn

the heart will provide negative bouyancy
remember to continue to breathe normally

wait until your name is announced
then come to the white paging telephone


how much our lives
together were like
2 cats fucking

perched on a fence
you screaming
get it over with

me with one eye open
for the flying boot
of god

As you eat white asparagus with mayonnaise

As you eat white asparagus with mayonnaise:
single black olive, on the end of my finger,
and is this montrachet, or graves, or semillon?
The fragrant bright pink salmon waits, poached with dill sauce,
as you eat white asparagus with mayonnaise
Your lips, parted in the beginning of a smile:
and as you gesture with the chilled and supple staff,
a brilliant white on white and cometary flair,
a blonde wave curls across your forehead A glint of
gold chases the peripheral flash of your hand,

as you eat white asparagus with mayonnaise I break a roll, my eyes upon the slender stalk,
hand halfway to my mouth, overcome against my
will, all thoughts of this dinner past my reckoning,
as you eat white asparagus with mayonnaise.

Smaller Things

They’ll always be times
when chance costs someone an ear:
.a safe drops from 12 stories,
.lands squarly on Fred .the bumper of a car clips off
.the motorcyclist’s leg at the knee .the bullet hits home, the knife
.sharp and well aimed, the scapula,
.too late the heart
broken again in some noble way
But thoses times
are of a certain size:
.give something while taking,
.hold an edge
.of fate or destiny:
struggle uplifts and
any victory, however small
against overwhelming odds,
honors beyond proportion,
as even defeat can bring
the distinction due to one
.worthy of attention
.of larger forces in the world
Lachesis, Clotho, Atropos
.the mythology of destiny romantic:
the grand etiology,
a cause in itself,
may make all the papers,
may influence recollection
.He was always SanPaku .On the knees of the Gods .Cast in Karma her Camille eyes .it could happen
.to anybody
Or could change history:
.begging the question of potential,
.one an cast other vectors as well Camus’ car spins back to control
at the last second;
Napoleon’s jailer leaves the keys in the door;
Hitler steps in front of a bus,
showering the intersection
with brushes and paint and
everything changes Anything can or could happen
.that which does not happen
.gathers notice in its way
But there, unnoticed
.beneath the big events,
.below the chance of non events,
among thoses things remembered
.more important things forgotten,
.because they left no trace:
not the man who invented
the one-way time machine;
not the great events of
prehistory like
fire, the wheel, or
the first alien contact, no
.smaller things
Napoleon’s hemorrhoids,
Washington’s painful wooden teeth
.finally came out;
but not the painting
Gaughin never did
that day he lost his wallet
spent hours looking for it
painting forgotten nothing
in the wallet but
a receipt for
some paint
Not the many world rulers,
.or fated-to-be world rulers
of someone’s paradox irony:
.the pre-Sadats, potential Amins
.stolen from the fate
.as they die on their tricycles
.beneath a trash truck with a
.broken rear view mirror
.sign on the side reading
Kismet Disposal
satisfaction guaranteed or
double your trash back
But smaller things:
the loose button on
.Al Butterfield’s motel mattress
.the night before he
.testified at the
.Watergatee hearings,
.nodded his head and said the word
tapes We all need our sleep The motorcycle backfire
.that forever obscured
.what really happened in Dallas That crucial document
.that blew out the window
.while nobody watches at all: smaller things
than fate
On a hill
high above Innsbruck
a snow rabbit craps on a rock
.and one rabbit bean rolls
.bouncing down it picks up snow,
.snowballs down the hill,
.ever and ever larger and
an avalanche
.buries Innsbruck, Austria,
during the tourist season,
crushes the Austrian economy as well,
4,000 killed by one rabbit bean:

some of whom
.were on the brink of divorce
.from one slipped misspoken word:
some of whom
.failed to escape
.having left off too long
.replacing the battery in the Saab,
and the town drunk
.sleeps through it all in the park,
.wakes hours later,
.mumbling, untouched
.You can work, fight, pray,
.account for all obvious conditions;
command a million accountants;
move mountains with machinery;
plan the perfect crime;
.and a woman loses a button,
.a shoelace breaks,
.the elevator sticks and
.the books come forever unbalanced;
.the mountains fall on the machinery;
.vaporlocks the getaway car some
smaller thing
As through history,
major battles won or lost
.not in the tactical theorizing
.that fills 400 pages of
.The Battle of Antietam,
but the general’s horse that
comes down with the runs;
someone’s fleeting memory
of unrequited love;
the stray bullet that killed the one
no one knew
had the plan
And the battle rages, hanging
.on the multiple minor incidents
.like misspelled words,
.changing the probabilities,
.then changing them back again
Could this mean
nothing you can do matters?

.Of course not But in fact, you can do
everything wrong,
and even so be saved
by smaller things
.What you do still determines
.the conditions upon which these
.smaller things act,
but not upon the operation,
.the determining factor,
.that spins the wheel
You could have turned up the stereo
a little louder last night,
.except you had a headache,
.caused by one beer too many,
.cause you had a bad day,
.the boss chewed you out,
.and it easn’t your fault
.the Xerox locked up
.or you would haved turned up the steeeeeeroe
like you usually do,
.and been killed by a pasing maniac
(that song reminds him of his father)
.but he couldn’t quite make out
.as he walked by your window,
.mind full of worms
Your’re still alive
.Never yet set the bed on fire .Never caught your hair in a fanbelt .Never fished a radio
.out of the dishwater
you never stepped off the wrong curb,
or you wouldn’t be reading this,
someone else would be reading this,
or no one would be reading this,
but neither did I,
not yet
Still any day just because
someone had a rough night,
or doesn’t like bananas,
or slept with her uncle or lives in Cincinnati,
or ate too many beans,
or forgot to get gas,
or just got a raise,
or broke the zipper on his
new designer jeans,
or didn’t change the sheets,
or thinks it is Monday, it happens:

and you drive right past that bag of money He passes through the door and
turns the corner that moment before you
.She walks up and smiles .The safe misses Fred and lands on you instead,
.and you die or live or meet or
.never meet, miss out, win or lose
on some inexcusably minor
smaller thing
I lie here waiting for the phone to ring
.Wondering do I have
.enough money, enough cigarettes,
.enough scotch,
.enough time Or does it really matter,
.and if so to whom but me: really at
.the bottom
.does it matter to me?

How can it if I miss something?
How can I care for the thing unseen,
the thing that does not happen,
or know why what does, as I curse the
highway flat, lock in my keys,
have one drink too many, and call
one minute after you close the door,
tears in your eyes
And I lie back again,
the poem I would have written
replaced by an urge
for pizza

July 17-23, 2000: Nanette Rayman and Tom Walborn


week of July 17-23, 2000

Nanette Rayman and Tom Walborn

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Nanette Rayman

Bio (auto)

I am actress living in New York I had a scholarship to Trinity Rep Conservatory and I studied at Circle in the Square in New York and the beloved Peter Thompson
I am a “returning student” in Writing at The New School University and I recently received an “honorable mention” in a fiction writing contest in California.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Nanette Rayman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

You Really Don’t Expect

As I return naked to the birdshit window
there will be no one to see me dissolve Promises of pink elixir, fuschia pomegranate toxins
to soothe my February soul
are the cement fixers you hold out to me I, unlike all of you, did not complain
that the manna given was tasteless,
tasteless as a trailer park
May I bring my face to the audition?
Mosaic heads flowing over the oak tables,
Stormdazzle reversed, people of no taste
judging me; you’re too talented, too pretty,
You won’t fit in, the others will look bad,
Very bad You really don’t expect them to rise up
to your level Well, do you??????????

Now, at the bottom of the wind, hosed orchid sagging
Looking for any sperm that might arise,
Your chartreuse jealousy spreading my marrow
On the below the poverty Graham cracker
Any way to pay the rent for these walls
Incarcerated in time,
I wait for the end Do not bring your face to the funeral.

Tom Walborn

Bio (auto)

Tom Walborn
Delmont, Pennsylvania (think Pittsburg)
travelling machinist

This was an actual event I witnessed and the woman died as a result of a careless driver though I didn’t know this person we shared a love of motorcycles, I wrote this for her

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Tom Walborn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


a skid a crash the slow
motion sound of broken glass
in an instant
a life will pass
I, the observer can identify
can relate
can’t fathom
how a moment a second the slow
motion mistake had occurred
in a pool of her own blood
I thought how absurd
the guilty stood puzzled, weeping
the victim lay twisted, bleeding
as I drove by
I asked myself
why can’t we look at where we are

July 9-16, 2000: Kenneth Clark and Ricky Garni


week of July 9-16, 2000

Kenneth Clark and Ricky Garni

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Kenneth Clark

Bio (auto)

Kenneth Clark writes and lives in Tampa, Florida from where he travels about the country under the auspices of “work ” A native of New Orleans, his poems have appeared in “Tabula Rasa,” “Equinox,” “Poet’s Cut” and “House Arrest ” He is author of two chapbooks, “Unknown Dialects,” and “locking and unlocking ” His work may be viewed online at

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Bill Trudo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

the garage sale

wasn’t until the car door opened
i turned to look back at tables
of bric-a-brac and bar novelties
but saw yesterday’s tomorrow–
an arrow gone wrong, a line
dividing time into before & after
you i’m not dreaming of you
any more i’m sick its saturday
its time to start the car, my
smile a fish’s mouth turned up
by a hook laughing at myself when i was five i’d lie on my
pillow while dad showered, let
the room wet with sweat lull
me to sleep oh no joy, i heard
you say from miles gone, even
now your sarcasm hits home each candle-holder that danced
on friday night romances reduced
to ten cents, coatrack where
our jackets came off before any
thing else, given away with
the tupperware set this how
love implodes so we gave it
away, letting others inherit
the taboo of old clothes
and albums; ties, dress shoes,
our ritual of love fight love i am selling all of it for
nothing i am ridding myself
of all of it: this the last
time i think your name:

sound of water in the apartment to my left

after several
restless nights
of next door’s
desire, I invited
myself over
for a drink
& found out
not only
are they loud
screamers but
talkers who leave
their toothpaste
precariously close
to a half-
empty can
of bug spray plus they
leave videos
about so
can see them,
like flags
with the kama
sutra, except
instead of incense
& oils, it’s bud
weiser & cheese
puffs I liked her
more when
she was
a genius
a model
a poet but if the moon’s
a mirror, i’m
watching fingers
drag her porcelain arm
across her thigh
& forgetting
the cops were
here last night
with a warrant
for his arrest,
and now
I have to squeeze
my eyes tightly
shut when
I hear

hermes at the wheel

“this better not be a waste of time,”
pushing fourth from third gear whining
in tune to your cries of no mas no mas

.and a hotel this time .no rest stop
truck stop, highway overpass as shelter
“let’s travel in style,” coffee at 4 pm
our last trip i realized that was then
that was then–moving w/o destination
through grimed side streets of back when

all involved was get up and go–dashed
plans and left-behind friends, meander
by mile-markered citied names, magnets

pulled or pushed from end over end
our fortressed cars: counties attracting
on unmapped whim, no thought tomorrow

no thought for the left-behind (what we
called those tied by dutied worry unable
to push off like boats from docks

in the nadir of night, in oranged paper
of nightsky east) we drove west &
tumbled from gas stop for tourist trap

never taking photos & tonight, rumbling
from Tulsa home, i miss your loose laughter
at 6 am, winded hair like Hermes, delivering

news of new lands to discover; where thump
thump of interstate the plaintive sound
of your wings guiding me by moving & serenity.

Ricky Garni

Bio (auto)

Ricky Garni is a wine merchant, teacher, and bicycle collector living in Carrboro, North Carolina with his sons Linus and Dashiell His work has been published in PIF, THE QUARTERLY, NO EXIT, THE POETRY PROJECT, BIG BRIDGE, and other venues His latest work, WARDROBE, is available through the mail if you want to write him and ask him for it He will pay the postage if he as he feeling a little ritzy at the moment
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Ricky Garni and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Family Tree

my father’s moccasins are much too big for me I put them on no, I didn’t tell my father: he is dead and yet when I put them on I began to walk just like him: stooped, with a slight shuffle that’s a lie! I walked just like me, which I think is slightly bow-legged you can ask my mother if that’s true, but you really can’t because she is dead cousins, uncles, aunts: dead? who knows? grandparents? of course dead my

goldfish die almost instantly also, the hibiscus plant on the back deck is definitely on the way out my brother,

who had a heart attack yesterday and stood on his tippy toes as if he were being stabbed in the chest by knives, crying as the nurse held his hand, is feel much better today in fact, he planted an entire row of gardenias outside the perimeter of my dead parents’ house they are simply breathtaking! he tells me
we can’t wait to sell the house.

The Story of Mr Witherspoon

mr witherspoon was a terribly depressing, old, smelly, uneducated and rather feeble old man who liked to play checkers with school children who beat him mercilessly
“why the hell did you have to do that?” he would say; by that, of course, he meant “why did you have to win?” what child would answer such a question, which was, quite clearly, so rhetorical that even a child recognized it at once one child who recognized this somewhat faster than the other children who beat mr witherspoon was ludwig wittgenstein yes, THE ludwig wittgenstein  one of the children that mr witherspoon played was ludwig wittgenstein, the great german philosopher
“I’ll never forget my afternoons in the pradastaste playing checkers with mr witherspoon,” he would say, “although I cannot rightly say that it ever had any influence on my decision to become a philosopher he did teach me the word ‘hell’, though .”

mr witherspoon liked the word ‘hell.’ he used it all the time, although generally not during his checker games because he tended to concentrate deeply upon each move, although it didn’t matter because he was so terribly bad and stupid to boot that there wasn’t a chance (“in hell,” as mr witherspoon might say) that he would win a game and so he saved all his “hells” for relaxation time before and after his games
“where the hell have you been?” “the weather certainly is like hell today” “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about” “you call this hell? I’ll show you hell” “hell, hell, hell” “oops, hell” “dear lord please kill me and take me away from this hell” and “do you remember the time I said ‘hell’ yesterday?”

one day, years ago, mr witherspoon won a game of checkers decisively he was wearing a green army jacket over a black tea shirt with a small rectangular pocket over the left breast and faded black dungarees and an eye patch and authentic indian moccasins he was playing his imaginary friend, mrs witherspoon
“so there! to hell with you!” he said triumphantly a fine victory, to be certain
after the game, mrs witherspoon smiled and made mr witherspoon a cup of apple tea, and shooed away all the smart alecky checker-playing little boys with their clean clothes, or so he said according to mr witherspoon, mrs witherspoon was curvy and sweet to touch and sensitive, and loving, and completely devoted to mr witherspoon and easily as smart as ludwig wittgenstein
even though he imagined everything in it, it was, without a doubt, a day that mr witherspoon would never forget.

Valentine’s Day

the holiest of holidays!

I always fast on valentine’s day I fast and I spend a lot of time getting my car serviced at

.the service station one valentine’s day, it needed a new fuel pump, a radiator hose, and an alternator you could tell that that it needed the alternator because the headlights grew dimmer and dimmer over time, and the radio got quieter and quieter over time, and the heater gets colder and colder over time, which is just like when you are young and you fall in love and you feel like you would do anything for her, anything at all to make her happy, and then she tells you that she doesn’t love you, and that actually she never did love you, and suddenly it seems so cold and silent (and dark) that you wish she would kiss you even once, even if everything that she is saying is true, and maybe not because she cares, at all, even a little, but maybe just to let you know that someday, someday, someone will care, and it will be really very good and very wonderful but of course you are afraid that someday someone never will–or perhaps that someone who would will pass by your window on the night that you should have e met, and you will be alone upstairs thinking about how cold it is, watching television that you don’t like, with a cat on top of the television that you hate, and that hates you, and so she walks away by herself to her own television and perhaps a dog instead of a cat that she doesn’t like either, and the radio gets quieter and quieter and quieter, and the lights get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer, and finally they just don’t work at all, and there is no where to fix it because it is a holiday and everything’s closed, forever.


Do we think about impressions: No,
they are ready made Tonight I told Olga that
walking down the street, shots rang out,
one night, long ago I followed, without
a thought “Let’s go”
I said  to my companion at the time “Let’s follow them “
“You’re an idiot” my companion
at the time said; I thought is was
I didn’t tell Olga that my companion
at the time had beautiful breasts that night
wrapped in ermine provoking thought
and an attitude that you could slice
like a ripe vidalia onion
“But there’s a one in a million chance that
you would be shot!” is what Olga said who
born in St P , prefers to say that she was
born in Leningrad, you see

“I like the odds But shot? I think not; There’s also this thought:
‘when you wish upon a star’ and also “so what?” &c in the same town
we research another time Here

2 years before: the Police Museum
on Biscayne and saw two slugs
removed from the brain of John
Dillinger,  leaving the theatre

2 days ago: Stephen Jay Gould told me
by way of a book that he read me that he wrote
that the woman’s brain is smaller than man’s;
according to physiological research, p.s
The same evening, I confess
I told Olga that  it was a woman
that invented the soul

“Your soul, maybe” my companion at the time said
“And soul music” said Olga from St Petersburg,
whom I told a piece of news:

“They’re moving Lenin’s body soon, and for keeps,”
it wasn’t long at all before Olga said “People should know
their history,”  yet still it is Leningrad, Leningrad, in her sleep
and she likes
New York, she likes New York, NY

In the alley near where two shots rang out
two years ago and I dreamed a children dreams
two days ago, two men play the bongos now
and there is a Jamaican Party, very loud
there too and it is
just like New York

Sometimes I think about ‘companion’ and how
it almost looks like ‘campion’ which is spanish
for ‘champion’; isn’t that what all companions
should be?

“Think about it ” I said to myself though not at the time
Right now this time a hug would be well just fine
with me I ask Olga while she works away
at the onions, chopping & chopping
here in the south, so full and so
soulfully unstopping

OK, Roger

when we last saw our hero roger, he was successfully escaping a tribe of aborigines who had decided that he was king “being a king is not so bad,” roger thought at first,  and then, later, “but actually, it is.”

and it was and lo and behold as fate would have it, roger escaped and found himself no longer in australia but instead in san fransisco at the end of a very nice day in the midst of the gay pride festival, lost, not knowing where he was roger, then, with the confidence of someone who knew he could be king (please note: a king of aborigines), decided to ask directions of a stranger, who looked like he had “been around” and “knew the scene” and was wearing a leather mask and led by a chain that was attached to the leather mask at the intersection below the chin known as the larynx, or “voice box.”

“excuse me,” roger said, addressing the man in the leather mask who eyed him curiously (although he probably didn’t recognize him, and perhaps when you are in a leather mask and you gaze out intently no matter what it appears as though you are eyeing the world curiously—it’s possible, you know)

“can you tell me the way to the bay bridge?”

the man in the leather mask paused and eyed roger curiously again, if that what he was doing in fact it was your typically beautiful san fransisco day: there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the mist, which prevails in the morning, had left as if by magic
“Srtywarew,” the man in the leather mask replied, and then continued:

“mmmmmghme   memneemnhhd  mm  ahh mmndm mmbbee, nnnd mmnbee grrrr  mmmrn ninnn   mmm brrr  mm  rnrmnrmn  rnrm   mgnggn  grrrrrr, mnvvvvvvrrrr gmmmmnnnn, grrrrrrrrr.”

roger thanked him and turned away “grrrrrrr,” he thought to himself, wondering if he had forgotten anything, making his way to the bay bridge at his own speed, and in the most memorable–or possibly regal–way possible

July 3-9, 2000: Bill Trudo and Debrah Kayla Sterling


week of July 3-9, 2000

Bill Trudo and Debrah Kayla Sterling

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Bill Trudo

Bio (auto)

I live in the Chicago, Illinois area, and my work has appeared on-line at Niederngasse, Poetry Super Highway, Prairie Poetry, and Apples & Oranges, Oranges & Apples.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Bill Trudo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Pricing Surfaces

Never say more than what the weather’s like
or the rumors of a hot baseball trade What thoughts envelop the road just outside
the store windows should never concern you The wheels push onward, busy during rush,
and then spotty like the weakest drizzle
Never remember the customers’ names The order of letters equals caring,
and you don’t want to know the fears hiding
anxiously behind the smiling faces Don’t pry; let them smile, then maybe you can
Never warm to the pain of a lost job,
a dead-end job, the year-long death of friends Anyone can talk about anything,
easier for you to nod than listen
Now is night and beams glow to peer ahead
and you watch Sometimes the turn signals flash
to another’s need in seeing bright eyes
Never entangle the present with work You accept the twenties and give back change
Never say love or hatred in passing.

Major Tom

“and the stars look very different today”
.David Bowie, “Space Oddity”

.for Kurt Cobain

Entranced–the guitar cord stretches
from you Cones shudder Colors sway from blonde to red
to black hair and purple patches
weaving shades of flannel
Blue jeans jump lost
to the shadow away from stagelights Sweat drips What would
your stomach churn then?
The billions distant and you
floating among a thousand
camera flashes–posters
There is a price to explore,
to untether the stench
of gyrating young bodies
searching for any melody
to toss the skin and offer sense And yours–the child of backwoods
and trailer homes and drunks
Why would it matter?
You couldn’t answer All the faces blotched with half-recognition,
they watched not you,
instead the thin, weightless line–
what a dream waiting for the sun to rise
from behind the world’s edge.

a Town, an Old Man, and a Woman

“She must have married John
for the money”
the town said No,
she married him for his strong, nimble hands “He must have married Sue
for her young, good looks”
the town said Perhaps
One time an officer caught
the two of them in the alley
pressed between the dumpster
and John’s restaurant The officer said nothing and watched
John and Sue didn’t notice, so wildly
they were entangled.

Riverport, Illinois

Everyone has forgotten the town,
even the ones who swallow the dust
and scratch across the empty lots
Aunt Betty stares aimlessly at the barges Her husband John fumbles with his fork
Who wants to walk a downtown
now past half-boarded and paint-chipped?
It makes the lives feel small,
another slip away from the railroad tracks
Little George throws rocks at the trains
and dreams of Kentucky trees thicker than blood At night, his friend Josh spray-paints the courthouse red
The newspaper headlines “Vandal”.

Completely Fantastic

I know a man named Bob
who complains that his father
plays rock and roll on the stereo
loud, so loud that Bob
can’t study at home during the day Funny, Bob always smiles about it
His father, eighty-two years old,
plays rock and roll I wonder
what music he plays Does he waltz to Barry Manilow,
or mosh to Suicidal Tendencies?
What does an eighty-two year old
rock and roller listen to?

“White Rabbit”?
“Painted Black”?
Does he chuckle to “Truckin”,
“Life in the Fast Lane”?
Does he reflect on “Time”?
Maybe he bops, listening
to “Rock Around the Clock”,
the “Monster Mash” Maybe
he digs U2 and The Clash “Smells Like Teen Spirit” could be
spinning on his turntable now His hair could be flailing His head could be banging Slayer could be playing
at a volume near ten
Funny, Bob always smiles about it When I see that smile, I picture
his father, an eighty-two year old man,
hand held high, lighter ablaze,
screaming the chorus “Rock of Ages”
is completely fantastic:
Bob’s father still rolling.

Debrah Kayla Sterling

Bio (auto)

Debrah Kayla Sterling: Currently residing in the city of Greensboro–(by day), holds occupation as a counselor/advisor, (and by soft light of evening), aspires to become the William Adolphe Bouguereau of the printed page Her poetry has been included in several small edition poetry collections, as well as displayed at: FZQ, Mark Everett’s– ‘(this)’, Moondance, The Poet’s Canvas, Poetry Tonight, Poetfest, Dove Cottage, The writing Forum, and Poets Of The Heart (as a featured poet) Her poem, ‘Impressions’, was chosen by Burrell Inc as the dedication for their publication titled ‘Award Winning Portraits Of Children’ She has also been awarded writing honors by various publications and in several writing competitions
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Debrah Kayla Sterling and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Office Space

Her hair looks like
a tangle of shoelaces frayed and worn,
having been sloshed
through mud;
dangling over eyes
that seem to say–
“does anyone miss me?”

Eyes that survey
this office space the real estate of the streets,
where she “works”
and pretends to live,
with all the other
crack pipe warriors–
wasted, twisted,
and broken down soldiers
Walking dirty fingers
across her lips,
thinking of men
she once did attract–
so well dressed, well paid and very well equipped
to show her a good time
Now, all she can harvest
are the sewer low bums–
down and out on their luck,
smelling just as badly
as she does
dissolved and diluted
in the dope jar of her head,
by the white powder sniffed
and the little pipe lit,
as she’s slipped
from upper-class sheets
into a four alarm fire her pink party dress
up in smoke
Dazed and slumped
she sits clawing
at unshaven legs–
until spying a hunter
offering relief
in a small plastic bag then pushes herself up
onto unsteady feet
to follow
Around the corner
they disappear,
his tongue protruding
through a broken tooth smile;
she staggers along
prepared to negotiate
the trade of a lay
for enough cocaine
to chase her troubles
but as she reaches
to take his medication,
he snatches her wrist
slapping her hard
against ragged bricks eager to give her
a different kind of hit.

June 26-July 2, 2000: Jennifer Poteet and Don McIver


week of June 26-July 2, 2000

Jennifer Poteet and Don McIver

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Jennifer Poteet

Bio (auto)

Jennifer Poteet, 36, lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey She works by day in Manhattan in the Cable TV industry When not writing, reading or listening to poetry, you can usually find her scouring flea markets for Mexican religious artifacts and Scandanavian furniture She is also a clothes horse She has had her poetry appear in Thunder Sandwich, Salonika, Stirring and The Astrophysicist’s Tango Partner Speaks.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Jennifer Poteet and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Numbers Game

She handed me her phone number
and a poem Two pieces of paper I unfolded one of the pieces
on the street and read it It had a lyric ring The phone number, not the poem I didn’t read the poem until later, in bed It was about numerology,
which I know zero about
and she had misspelled ‘numerology’
three times
Still, it was nice
to be given a verse
by someone with a pretty smile
on a Wednesday afternoon
as I got off the downtown #9 I tried to call her several times
although she hadn’t written down her name
but the phone was always busy There are patterns, you know,
that push buttons make They play a little melody, too
if you’re lucky enough to get the numbers right.

Desire and Inspiration at 2:40 a.m
I can’t write anything, this cigarette poised
like a fountain-tip, so I
try to get you to feed me
material, almost ask
you to write my
poetry for me, dread
the commute tomorrow, know
work will be another
dog and pony show, wish I could blow up
with hysterical pregnancy
and now it is almost 3 So, unmused,
we go to bed Your hands, cool reams of paper, release
the lines;
I let the words in
all at once:
a detonation.

Sex, Lies, Advertising and Food

What a lovely
this bacon makes Branded West Virginia, it is
actually produced in Pennsylvania
It tastes good
on the tongue of a woman from New Jersey
who fancies herself bred in Boston It sounds good to the ear
Everything is
made palatable, sexy Our lives are eggs
artfully arranged in the skillet,
sprayed with a high gloss We wait to be peppered, then are consumed
And I sit at the kitchen table
warm as toast
sopping up suggestions from the television
not immune
to the hope that I can make my dishes gleam.

Don McIver

Bio (auto)

Publications credits include the following: The Albuquerque Journal, Crosswinds Weekly, The Weekly Alibi, The New Mexico Daily Lobo, The Red Rocks Journal, The Campus Press, Conceptions Southwest, Static Planet, Signature: Writing of the New West, Endless Possibilities, The Duke is Dead, Willow Street, The Tongue’s Literary Supplement, Poet’s Sanctuary, and the on-line magazines:, Poetry Life & Times, and
An active member of the ABQ poetry community and has read as a feature at the following locations: Sonny’s Bar & Grille, the El Rey Theater, Golden West Saloon, the Launchpad, R B Winning’s Coffeehouse, the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, Irysh Mac’s Coffeehouse, High Desert Café, Bandito’s Hideout, Rancho de Corrales, the Poetry Diner at the Poet’s Plaza, the East Mountain Groove, 3sidedhole, the Sun Tran Transit Yard, Albuquerque High School, The Poet’s Diner and the Poet’s Plaza, The Reptilian Lounge at the Riverside Repertory Theater, Babooshka and the Tivoli Brewery in Denver and the Warehouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hosts a monthly features only reading at the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse and has featured 34 different poets and performers An original member of “The Out Caste ” Hosts/produces the weekly Spoken Word Hour on 89.9 KUNM-Albuquerque And teaches a weekly poetry class through SEED Open University

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Don McIver and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Under my bed

While I am at work, rain overwhelms the gutter,
stumbles over the rail and into my window well,
and erupts through my window and onto the floor Late in the evening,
I discover two yellow
sucking up the flood The room smells like a swamp
and little bundles of seperate identities and disparate lives
crawl out from under the bed
As the flood waters wash over my floor and crawl under my bed
all these memories come rushing back Graded essays, worksheets, word searches, and lesson plans
that I pushed under the bed
come back in one big saturated pile Names, handwriting samples, and a failed career come back to me
in a square, sopping mess as I carry it out to the alley like a pizza
A spare pillow, your pillow as I recall,
is sopping and drips water as I drag it outside A pair of your shoes, your backpack, your socks, and your black frilly top
are pushed in the corner and leave a puddle behind After three months of bachelor hood,
I wonder how under my bed became your storage shed?
You won’t even talk to me
yet you left parts of your life shoved under my bed?

We were so careful about taking off shoes in the living room,
yet your shoes made it under the bed next to the essays and lesson plans?
And now, after jokes of sweating feet and leather, I find your shoes
stinking and tapping their way into my dreams
and nightmares
This is not the time to think about teaching,
and I certainly don’t want to think about you.

The Foot and a Half Epiphany

You’ll never believe it I mean, never believe it But I finally figured it out I mean, really figured it out It was sudden, late last night I’m sitting there and it just passed through
and I realized I’m no longer depressed I’m not heartbroken
or still mourning the passing of yet another so-so relationship,
or worrying about the Cerro Grande fire my finances have become,
or agonizing over the fact that I haven’t written in 2 weeks
and the thought of pen to paper has left me kind of empty
or the fact that I have a Bachelor’s degree and still wait tables,
rent a house, use my bike as my only source of transportation,
still hold on to issues from being terrorized by my neighbor Trent,
bullied by Mark Drummond on the bus,
and beaten up by Steve Crowe during middle school I’m not still worked up
over being dumped by Carla Fischer the day of the school dance,
or the inevitable move from Colorado Springs (boyhood heaven)
to Evergreen (teenage hell)
or the subsequent fallout
and failure of all my significant relationships,
or jobs that grew boring after just a few months,
or dreams that never materialized,
or expectations of adulthood that just never measured up No It was none of these things
and as I pondered my sluggishness, chronic fatigue as of late,
and the slow unease in my stomach, it happened I’m not depressed I’m not worried I’m not agonized I’m not still holding on I’m not worked up I’m constipated
and as I stared at the foot and a half epiphany in the bowl, I realized,
I’m happy.


Somewhere in the Rio Grande gorge
the cottonwoods are conspiring with Russian Olives
to pull as much water out of the river before it merges with the Red Those pesky humans are dumping chemicals,
mine tailings,
nitrate laden water
agricultural runoff and top soil in their river They’re gonna put a stop to it The trees are conspiring
to change the flow of the river,
to store it up in new lakes
to have a highway of deer as teamsters
to carry the water down to the cottonwoods
and Russian Olives in small quantities
and bottles and not let anyone else have it
Somewhere in the depths of Elephant Butte,
bass are conspiring with trout They’re tiring of Jet skis,
motor boats,
water skiers,
fishing line,
casual swimmers,
three day weekend barbeques, and drunks The fish are nibbling toes,
dragging innocent children down to the depths,
stuffing and mounting them on water made walls
Somewhere in the Rio Grande bosque,
the cranes are conspiring with ducks They’re turning on dogs, horseback riders, and joggers,
ignoring the grain that BLM rangers leave behind,
posting memos and trail signs,
organizing field trips
and erecting educational walks for viewing:

bird watchers,
and the elderly
Somewhere in El Paso
the Texas and New Mexico bureaucrats and water managers
are conspiring to take more of the Rio water
away from human farmers, pueblo communities, and the desert If the courts can mediate a settlement,
Albuquerque can grow even larger,
El Paso can sprawl even more,
and the natural communities and habitats
that depend on the Rio
can fend for themselves Deeds are written;
titles notarized for water,
a naturally occuring
chemical compound.

June 19-25, 2000: Caron Andregg, Janet Bernichon and Lyn Lifshin


week of June 19-25, 2000

Caron Andregg, Janet Bernichon and Lyn Lifshin

the judges of the 2000 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest 

click here for submission guidelines

Caron Andregg

Bio (auto)

Caron Andregg lives and writes in Vista, California, north of San Diego She teaches composition and literature at San Diego State University She also publishes and co-edits the poetry journal Cider Press Review ( Her poems have appeared in Spillway, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Chiron Review, Poetry International , Talus and Scree, and elsewhere, and on the web in Gravity, Poetry Café, Octavo and PoetrySuperHighway Caron took first and second place in the 1999 and 1998 Poetry Super Highway Contests respectively Homepage:

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Caron Andregg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Thursday Night Trap Club

We’re skeet shooting
the potter’s seconds The catapult slings
warped plates, cracked
vases in erratic arcs
across the dry creek canyon
Each Thursday evening
we obliterate
the week’s mistakes When the pellet-spread connects,
explodes a shrapnel star
it’s an absolution
Lucinda’s been casting
reproductions of Egyptian
bowls with tiny feet One seems near perfect;
but when I set it
on the trap-box edge
it lists, daylight gleaming
beneath the toes of one foot
When wet and forming
it must have rested
on a warp, something
not quite level in the firing
It seems somehow unfair
this small, lame thing
wound up in the slag-box
destined for buckshot
just because it totters
And it strikes me
how much easier it is
to love a flawed object —
the supplicant’s posture
like a pair of cupped hands;
the sloped bowl tilted in offering;
it’s little feet of clay.

A Postcard from Palmer, East of Anchorage

My mother stands in a cabbage head-high,
white-veined leaves big as elephant’s ears
furled at the edges like lips pursed for the sucking kiss
It’s eat-or-be-eaten up here and even the plants play Carnivorous orchids open their pursed labella
daring mayflies to drink Converginerved leaves
of skunkweed spiral up from the swamps
their sulphurous yellow trumpets tracking the sun And there is water, water, water
welling up under foot, soaked tundra squelching
inches above a desert of ice
The body’s lust for warm touch is nothing
to this hunger that leaps from the earth, gorges,
grows gigantic in the long days of summer;
feasts and seeds, then retreats to its roots before
the unendurable whiteness of winter.

We Lie Down beneath Stars that Never Set

If indeed we make a beast
with two backs, then let it be
a juncture of bears — denned so long

alone, splendidly famished; joining fiercely,
teeth to lip, tongue to salt-lick skin,
our furred parts streaming
When we resume these solitary lives
huddled in our caves of bone
pearls of our absent sweat

will reach across the sky as stars–
shapes that pour themselves,
one into the other–

assume the shapes of strung bows
the arc of shoulders, back and thighs,
the long legs trailing.

Janet Bernichon

Bio (auto)

In addition to being a writer and an artist, I am a breast cancer survivor from Long Island I took off last year from writing (didn’t have a minute to spare) to start a business so I could semi retire from my as a nurse and write I was able to achieve this goal last April
My poems are woman themes I didn’t plan it that way, they have evolved to this after my cancer diagnosis My website is solely about the experience of life threatening illness
I publish both in print and on the web, prefer the web as it reaches more people I still like to have a book in my hand, tho’ I coedit Earth Sucks with Michael McNeilley, satirical alien related nonsense which I neglected last year I have written 6 chapbooks, done a few web broadcasts for the Poetry Cafe, a real nice group project for Perihelion (thanks, Jen), and have had poems appear in nursing textbooks
For all my friends who haven’t heard from me in a while and were afraid to ask I am alive and well homepage:

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Janet Bernichon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


a brown aureole the same
shape and size as a baby’s
mouth over

pebbles of fat
ducts and lobules
like rubber

connective tissue stretched
with the weight of milky

of lovers suckling
firm flesh
a pliant pair

now solitary
a cyclop’s eye
that sees

an uncertain future
I walked through malevolent

to a bed of scalpels
and woke to a song
sung acappella


looks up at me
over the three
year old magazine
travel and leisure
on the hard plastic
chair once again
in the radiologist’s
waiting room

we talk compare
notes she: 2 kids
6 nodes baby hair
under her wig she lifts
to show me chemo
radiation chemo again
healing masses green tea
tumor markers rising

my turn: modesty excised
with my left breast, chemo
reconstruction and more
reconstruction nipple
from labial skin
I open my blouse

see we are bound
by chance fate bad
luck maybe nothing
else in common but
the claw of the crab
but bound
just the same

the door to nuclear
medicine opens
round 2

she lifts the weight
we call survival
from the tacky decor
and walks to Stage IV

Its not my turn

Thanks For The Mammaries

That lingerie catalog
was delivered with the mail
and me and my cousin Elsa
being over fifty and victims
of gravity called the toll-
free number and orderd
a satin and lace uplift
underwire wonder
guarenteed to bring back
the bounce of youth
by pushing our stretched
and sagging skyward Yeah, sure If you buy that super skinny
waifs have cleavage
you could fall into
never to be found again,
you’ll buy anything.


I was ten when Marilyn
died Me and my cousin Elsa
were close then, spent hours
cutting pictures from Photoplay
and Modern Screen Surely
we would replace her
or so we thought as we practiced
open-mouthed smiles, silver
braces glinting in the bath-
room mirror, wishing
not for her teeth
or platinum personality
but those tits Tits that swelled
over Tony Curtis
in Some Like It Hot Tits
that held up her size 14 fucia dress
in Niagara Big bouncy
breasts, we wanted them
on our anemic chests
and Elsa being 12 and almost
past puberty lent me
a brassiere and told
me to stuff it with
balled up cotton socks
so I could fill out my
movie star fantasy
and strut into my sixth
grade class like some junior miss
femme fatale that developed
tits overnight
from the force of
my wishful thinking.


I saw you with the blond again,
writing, “I love you” in longhand
and for an instant I tippled
my aged red anger,
plotting your footprints
from here to hell as I watched

you form a new shape, smooth
intersecting lines perfectly proportioned,
an aureole of gold Your moment captured in amber
hangs heavily in my words
I retreat into the background
of poorly spliced memories:
the shape of your face
traced over mine,
our kiss, an icy shock of scotch,
burned when swallowed,
the house you loved me in
before I became the walls
She eclipses
the dim light of our marriage
and your words,
.I don’t love you anymore,
wrap around my neck like a noose.

The whore’s soft belly

she lifts her blouse
to bare her bedsprings
from doorways, a belly
fattened with apathy,
kneaded by lust
into a pillow for men
whose mean urge
the need that surges

in hiding places
up the nose
between toes
to Momma’s embrace
suffusing warmth
$100, 10 bags, 1 bundle
brings it home
and she can sleep

gravid with exhaustion
indifferent to men
sinking into her bowels
into staggering emptiness
sick inside
this soft globe
of flesh and fat
sick for years, nothing

in the pit but the shit
she’s swallowed
put your money down
she will lie on it
close her eyes
and die
victimless crimes
they all get what they want

Die– Alone

We are drowning
in our acts of mercy
busy day, heavy influx
of wits ends No place else to go
she turns to us
for comfort in the bed we provide,
but she needs much more
than our vernacular
of good intentions
Nexus to life,
the round arc of her belly
and slope of taut striated skin
reminds us of the loop of infinity The purple vulva blossoms You can live forever
and still die alone
in a bed of compassion
or on a mattress
in some upstairs, abandoned
womb, faint light
from a bare bulb, seeking
a prayer, walls covered
with black crepe Hands
feel for a way out
We are powerless As she traces her reasons
in the lust for life, we grow distant,
close our eyes as we count
the regularity tapping out tomorrow We can’t understand
her joy as we let her listen,
or why she wants to listen at all
She is reduced to childsize-
clavicles, skull and crossbones
stretched with incipient life,
an afterthought
in a secession of scraped and flushed
and foster care Was it 5 or 6?
She doesn’t remember Her reproductive organs
are the only things that function perfectly
as nature intended
We watch it trace a path,
a life line from within,
under her skin It will warm her
long after her blood congeals in pools,
long after her eyes are closed,
cradled between her hipbones
nestled in a grave She will not die alone.

Fading Away

Shrunken within a salmon colored sweater,
57 pounds with shoes on, the nurse saying,
you look unwell,
Mae’s arms choreaform gesture as she explains
she just doesn’t feel like eating anymore,
maybe she has pneumonia from smoking too much
but her heart is good, the hospital told her so
two years ago, they did tests
Perched on the edge of a stretcher, legs crossed,
feet swinging like doors with busted hinges,
busy doors at that, Mae tells her sob story,
the details beaten dumb by apathy and you know
there’s just not much left of her
to live anymore.


210 pounds pared
down to 145, steamfitter
in a former life buried
beneath white sheets
and legalities
the modern medical miracle
survivor of a cardiac arrest
was found too late
or too soon
and resuscitated

Calendar days are crossed
off- 4 days 2 weeks 7 months
in the land of the living dead
carried by the brute force
of merciful angels who trudge
nowhere with their ward
a voiceless, breathless
prisoner of scholarship
turned and positioned
every 2 hours
tubes neatly arranged
and mourned by no one
except his wife
and her prayer hotline
“where there’s life there’s hope”
she whispers to him
every Tuesday and Thursday
between 1:00 and 2:30

She places snapdragons at his bedside
next to the statue of Mary
a still life
a grave


arms folded
under her breasts
stood next to the stretcher
where her daughter
the v.o.v sat in the ER
this Sunday morning
35 years
older looking
multiple contusions
broken nose
a strung out husband
in a bad way
but Yoli says
he didn’t mean it
to happen
it just did
her daughter should know
enough to stay
out of his way
he was hurting real bad
and besides
there’s no way
out, he’d find her
he always does
the way
the old man used
to find Yoli
and wait for hours
always someplace
close and visible
couldn’t even run out
to the store
for milk
or cigarettes
didn’t have a nice place
either, like her daughter

Lyn Lifshin

Bio (auto)

Lyn Lifshin’s poetry appears in almost every literary and poetry magazine, from American Scholar, Christian Science Monitor and Yankee to Ms , Rolling Stone and Ploughshares She has edited 4 anthologies of women’s writing including TANGLED VINES (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) now in its second enlarged edition and chosen by Ms , magazine as one of the 60 best books of the year Other anthologies she edited include ARIADNE’S THREAD and LIPS UNSEALED “The No More Apologizing, The No More Little Laughing Blues,” included in her new book, BEFORE IT’S LIGHT, from Black Sparrow Press, has been called “among the most impressive documents the women’s poetry movement has produced,” by Alicia Ostriker “Writing Mint Leaves at Yaddo,” a prose piece was selected as one of the best pieces of writing about writing by Writer’s Digest and Story Magazine
BEFORE IT’S LIGHT, published winter 1999-2000, her brand new book, just won a Paterson Poetry Prize Award “A whole other brilliant Lifshin moving from the intensely personal .to the historical ” (Small Press Review June 2000)

The award-winning documentary film, “Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass,” was called “an extraordinary profile of a unique feminist,” by Booklist and Mary McCarthy declared, “for it’s passionate defense of poetry and the written word .should be required viewing in every school in America ” Her work has been included in virtually every major anthology of recent writing by women including, recently, DICK FOR A DAY, UNSETTLING AMERICA, LEGACIES, MOTHER SONGS, HER FACE IN THE MIRROR, POETS AT WORK, NEW TO NORTH AMERICA, THE HOLOCAUST, IDENTITY LESSONS

COLD COMFORT, Lifshin’s recent work from Black Sparrow, has been called “a wonderful work .you can not escape the emotion that falls from these poems” by (Articulate Contemporary Art Review ) “The most published poet in the world today, Lifshin shows here (in COLD COMFORT) what many literary magazine editors have known for decades: she’s a poet of substance, range and invention ” (Small Press Review) Other recent books by Lifshin include BLUE TATTOO, MARILYN MONROE, and NOT MADE OF GLASS Writers as diverse as Robert Frost, Ken Kesey, Richard Eberhart, and Ed Sanders have praised her work
Her intense poems reflect a range of emotions and subjects and touch readers because they suddenly realize that feelings they previously thought to be theirs alone are shared Winner of many awards including a Bread Loaf Fellowship, The Jack Kerouac Award and New York State Caps Grant, she gives readings, talks and workshops, often based on the books she has edited or exhibits in museums, around the country and has been poet in residence at many colleges, libraries and centers
Her web site, has many interviews, (including one with The Washington Post) selections of poems, photographs, and reading schedules

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Lyn lifshin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Moving By Touch

that afternoon an
unreal amber
light 4 o’clock the
quietness of
oil February blue
bowls full of
oranges we were
spreading honey, butter
on new bread our
skin nearly touching
Even the dark wood glowed

But Instead Has Gone Underground

A woman goes into the subway,
and for what reason
disappears behind rails
and is never heard from again We don’t understand this She could have gone to the museum,
had cappuccino with a lover But instead has gone down the
escalator, without i.d , or
even a ticket and not
for clothes or flowers It was
a grey humid day,
very much like today It was today Now you might
imagine I’m that woman, it
seems there are reasons But listen, I don’t live
anywhere near that metro stop
and who I am is already
camouflaged behind
velvet and leather

Getting My Mother Ice

Nothing lasts long
in this heat
except the dark
of waiting At
2 am or 3 or
4 I lead her
like a child
with a night
mare to the
bathroom across
the hall If I
don’t get the
wash cloth
right, not too
wet, or hot
or soapy, she
will refuse
demerol, lie
moaning, “I
can’t ” It
seems those
words are
my words

Barbie Watches TV Alone, Naked

She’s got her
bride clothes
on the floor, her
cancan skirt,
pale ruffly fish
net tights and a
cameo choker
tossed around the
bed like a moat Now she’s got
the remote control
clicker and can
switch and change,
not be at someone
else’s whim, her
body twisted,
dressed and un-
dressed, a slave
to another’s
fingers as if her
ankles were bound
in leather, chained,
legs spread apart Travel Around the
World with Barbie
stamped on her fore-
head in catalogues
from Sears She is
sick of having
a rod jammed up in
side her, of being
boxed in with a
hair brush that
usually goes where
it shouldn’t She
wants to lie in
tv light, not have
to hide what she is
missing: a belly
button, skin that
smells like skin,
doesn’t want to
have to keep smiling
as any stranger who
buys her twists her
arm out of its socket
or throws her out

Marilyn Poses on Red Satin

never supposes
when she could
have been past
60 someone will
pay more than
she’s ever earned
for the pout of
her lips, the
way blood color
reflects on to
her nipples She’s cold and
wishes there was
a different way
to make a buck,
but at least it
is acting, pre-
tending, spread
eagle, a bore,
no, a nightmare The satin feels
like the inside
of a mouth She
could be a sliver
of melon sliding
thru, knowing
there is only
one way she
will get out

she’s heard it
will make her
tits more red,
leans back
tries to imagine
this, isn’t
happy, like some-
one under someone
they’d never choose
who is pumping
away She hears
a train whistle,
quietly hums a
few leaving blues,
has to pee but
doesn’t The
slick cloth is
cold as a strange
tongue wedged
deep inside her Blue would have
been more her,
but “red,” the
whistled, “would
touch men’s
blood, make them
want to charge “

For Me The Holocaust Started in ’33 In a Small Village

I was in a class
and the teacher said
I hear we have
a Jew pig in this class I shook He said
I’m going to show
this Jew pig
how much pain
a Jew can survive He took a stick
out of the desk
and hit and hit I don’t remember the pain,
but only the kids
who’d once been my friends
laughing and laughing.

June 12-18, 2000: Mary Beth Magin and Krys Jarvis


week of June 12-18, 2000

Mary Beth Magin and Krys Jarvis

click here for submission guidelines

Mary Beth Magin

Bio (auto)

Mary Beth Magin is a senior at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, New York She plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall Mary Beth has been writing for a few years but is still struggling to become adequate The poets she has met on the web have amazed her and touched her She would like to thank them for their kindness
Her writing can be found at Any comments would be appreciated
On a side note, she finds this describing of herself in the third person quite awkward.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Mary Beth Magin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


her name was leslie,
and she lived in her
father’s arms,
her mother’s
smile the three of them
together in
a yellow house
on Hirsch Road,
white dresses in
white closets,
and a Sunday morning ritual
complete the picture with
a crooked mailman
and a crackpot pastor gossiping grey ones,
glove-white arms
and powdered tea
rosebud ornaments
she was a yearling

and three years later,
leslie’s face
a movement as sharp
as the prick of a
school dance corsage,
as dark as the blood
served at mass
her father’s face hides
in an apartment
on Thomas
now every morning
there’s sleet where is
leslie? mother just
hems the thin line
of her mouth
sips tea
and bows
as one more
weight too
for large hands
to handle,
so his
wither standing by a tollbooth
near a lady wearing
blue high heels
and a patent leather purse,
he rubs his thumb against
the lining of his coat
pocket, remembering
that little blonde
lock of hair, and his
of birdseed “she was such
stained glass,” one visiting artist
told them if only she’d
return and drink
tea, if only her ribbons weren’t
alone in the closet,
if only
she’d come to the park if only he wouldn’t
frighten easily, if only
things didn’t
slide if only
she loved him still.

love some slack

like when he slides his finger
.to the space
a bridge of your
you there
for he
a horse

whether foal

or mare


whose-its and hair

a gigantic, sad
in the dentist’s chair

i liked the idea
of something so strong no drill
would hold
in me
“do you mind swallowing blood?”
otherwise, it’s a bother,
using pounds of gauze
outside the window–
they are liquid, they are solid
shifted weight
on the counter tells me–
what to dream of, now,
it’s the miracle of the veins the trees
and how could they form i love your map, your
topography i will hold
your tin soldier for a day,
and that
will be my
ever we’re constantly
almost dying; that is
exactly why i
will hold him for ever i can’t pronounce
anything, a little
gushing i loved the idea, yes; i disclose to you,
i hated falling
i can’t pronounce

Krys Jarvis

Bio (auto)

I am 29 years old and live in Austin, Texas with my dog; a 10-month-old pitbull named Dexter and my turtles A strange mix of pets, but they get along well I have been writing off and on most of my life I just started to take it more seriously in the last couple of years I am completing my first chapbook and hopefully it will be out mid May I have had my poem Ray of Light published in A Time to Be Free, The Joker Wild published in di-verse-city 2000, South by Southwest 1998 was printed in The Austin Chronicle, I was the featured poet for the month of May 2000 for the ezine GRIT, featured work for the ezine moe’ pi toe’ in May 2000 and my poem Hot Air was published in theywhosearch, Voice 1 My hobbies and interests are writing, reading, nature and the outdoors Hanging out at Barton Springs is a pleasant pastime of mine
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Krys Jarvis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Barbie’s Dead

I looked upon you
A princess
Blonde hair
Blue eyes
Living in the dream house
Driving a pink corvette
Dressing cool
Always having a man
Your curves
Became the envy
Of those who saw you
Mimicking women
Looking like you
Trying to be you
Cool and calm
Relaxed and mellow
Then came the real toys
My brother’s soldier
Destroyed your home
Burned your house
And he cut off your hair
Laughing hysterically
While I sat in somber
What happened to you
The dream house is gone
The car wrecked
Your golden locks gone
GI Joe has won


Walking in
I feel the tug
Beginning the day
With two steps back
Forcing every step forward
Choker feeling tight
Tighter with each step
Restraining even more so
With every movement
The dawn brings authority
Awaiting anxiously for dusk
Freedom in the night
Escaping the grind
Leaving the drudgery
Till morning calls
Leashes being placed
Toiling once again

June 5-11, 2000: Alex Stolis and Gail McMichael-Connolly

week of June 5-11, 2000

Alex Stolis and Gail McMichael-Connolly

click here for submission guidelines

Alex Stolis

Bio (auto)

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis, MN he left his career in hotel management to stay at home with his two children He recently returned to school and writes during what little free time he has left Recent publications include Stirring: A Literary Collection, Morella, Black Bear Review, Templar Phoenix Review and Poetry Motel.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Alex Stolis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


I fold your face A thousand intricate lines,
an origami portrait
Tuck it
carefully among
gypsy ruins,

numb caverns washed
clean and light
Take it out
on days
shiny with bitter air
Unpack it carefully, listen,

Listen to the cool
fingers of the moment,
wrap my eyes
in the linen of your face.

Las Vegas

There was a certain missionary freedom
breathing there A certain toxic memory they made,
walking into an icy web of mutual discontent
Her borrowed wedding veil,
perfume stained,
floats about her face
words twist to the floor
“Pay the man.” she said,
marking time
her eyes, a black winter
He walks uselessly to the back
of the church Genuflects lightly
Looking for her hand,
he stumbles outside.

A Cinquain

Stained glass
image of you
floats through pale boulevards
moist eyes luminous, two holy

Gail McMichael-Connolly

Bio (auto)

I was born and lived in suburbia Massachusetts until my five children and I moved to Ireland last year I wrote poetry many moons ago but sadly started to race the fast lane I am permanently retired from that now and happily I am back to writing
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Gail McMichael-Connolly and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


Eyes and words harmonized,
she did not want him there I chase away her shame that swarms
Like maddening flies from a spring tide

Slow, soft steps still make frail fires
.lean to lick near breast and bone, beneath
.is essence like sweet bruised fruit I waver

at the threshold, sopping up swell of sounds;
.shrill girls over balloon shards deflating into
hushed purl Rising again in waves of clumsy chorus
.Her delight wears coyness like gift paper as she
expels the remains of puerile air

at crippled wax Charred wicks are blown
.black and cold save one Song, light,
.the clapping, means this cake is his,
spell of last light stays his simple breath and lets
her eyes thaw for another gift
Wise and unwrapped, she blows it out I smile at this, water looming
For her discarded chrysalis.


mama raked and yanked hair back This pulled water from my eyes A taut plaited snake dangled in lifeless
tease above sleeping Cerberus
mama told me that most men prefer
women with long hair Fearful I let mine grow
The reward for my
mad vanity and hirsute misery was
thighs forced like rusty scissors
and the waste of this lover to dust
To know the fury of Philomela in flight I cut it off.

Reunion on Hold

He took her from city chains,
abandoned gray gasping spaces Gave her a tended meadow
in the south lawn and the isles of pine
in the north field, a bastion of tree and rock
calling to her over again back when
Days and nights were safe and good,
childs play was all day song yielding
to the rasp of an Orthopteran lullaby When the shatter of rain on sheltered eaves
was drowsy pleasure Cold was joy and heaven’s fire was glory
even the wail of wind could be loved

Now she wants the scent of t-shirts
dried on the line with traces of his body
musk to invade the room but would settle
For strains of Mack the Knife
Only she can hear The unexpected flicker of a lamp Crack of sulphur that can pause a heart A phantom touch to her shoulder
or the static flow of his voice, even with a tone
Betraying old discontent The slice of light from a door ajar still soothes.

May 22-28, 2000: Corinne Bailey and Tom Gossett

week of May 22-28, 2000

Corinne Bailey and Tom Gossett

click here for submission guidelines

Corinne Bailey

Bio (auto)

Corinne has been writing poetry and lyrics on and off for the last 25 years She lives in a small town in the Sierra Foothills called Cameron Park, not too far from Lake Tahoe, California She has two children who keep her from writing but inspire her at the same time.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Corinne Bailey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Loring Hill

First time the dream came,
our home was being transformed Dad had already been banished
from our average family,
Mom was moving walls
and adding redwood decks
in celebration
She had just taken Billy
to Boy Scout camp
at Pepper Tree Grove,
once a beautiful canyon
now a haunt for drug addicts I was momentarily alone,
the construction crew
knocking out familiar walls
Dreaming, our white wagon
(Pontiac, blue interior)
steered up steep Loring Hill,
sharpest incline I’d seen,
Bro was in the back seat
probably picking his nose,
I was near the rear hatch,
singing some 70’s tune
Suddenly, the hatch opened,
I flew out, unnoticed by nose picker
and distracted parent
The car disappeared around a corner,
I was at the bottom, looking up
So you know, I ain’t crazy (yet),
but this dream disturbs memories,
coming now and again,
reminding me I’m still
that little girl
rolling down Loring Hill.

Tom Gossett

Bio (auto)

I am a native of the Chicago area I grew up in the suburbs but lived in the city proper for 12 years While in Chicago, I worked briefly as an actor I left the theater and earned a BA in Philosophy from Loyola University In 1997 I moved to California I currently live in Oakland and work in San Francisco as an insurance underwriter I’m 33 years old, married with a 14 month old daughter My poems are published on the web at The Site of Big Shoulders and at my own site The Uncooked Paperwork
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Tom Gossett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Black Trousers, Black Shoes

Waiters are small mean men
Driven by fear and greed
Watchmen stand and wait
They aren’t allowed to trust you
Cashiers and clerks look at the clock,
Look at the door
These footsore proles will gossip with you
On their way to night school

#9 Ashland

I won’t worry
.as I pass through your neighborhood today I’ll assume those behind me
.are also to work
.and I won’t look back
The Most Dangerous People
.are asleep at eight A.M Desperate bearded convicts
.do their damage at night They lie down before the sun rises,
.a mongrel and a frightened woman beside.

My Fickle Friend, the Solar Winds

Without a voice, the machine doesn’t work There are lights and appearances
But no real functioning
The device waits for input from related sources,
Sources related to the original creator
At moments, there is recognition and a response The communication is stored, labeled The earnest machine blinks and clicks
Anticipating a moment of attention from its master This is real pleasure
I have raged, pounded the keyboard
Thrown things and cursed the Chicago Transit Authority
Despite sleep deprivation, headache
And the combined inconveniences of Marriage and the CTA,
There grew in me an optimism, anticipation As if the problems of boredom and privation were soon to
be solved I began to twitch as my temples throbbed
I worked with incredible efficiency at my repetitive,
numbing assignment The clicking of the keys is a code, a message of the
marvelous within me But still a code
Soon everything must change, don’t you think?

May 15-21, 2000: Joelle Renstrom and Mark Wakely

week of May 15-21, 2000

Joelle Renstrom and Mark Wakely

click here for submission guidelines

Feeding Holy Cats | E-mail Rick | Who The Hell Is Rick | Mowing Fargo
I’m a Jew, Are You? | Lizard King of the Laundromat | I Am My Own Orange County | Paris: It’s The Cheese
Poetry Super Highway
| Other Cool Rick Stuff / Upcoming Readings | Judaic Links | Rick’s Bookmarks

Joelle Renstrom

Bio (auto)

Joelle Renstrom just graduated from the University of Michigan with an honors degree in English and creative writing She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and will stay there until September when she’ll move to Ireland.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Joelle Renstrom and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


The first thing she did was walk
into the door at the airport The first
time I saw her face it was pressed
against the glass, fogged with surprise
Barefoot she bounced on our Berber
carpet, tucking her head to her knees
and somersaulting across the floor She wrote the words “pelly putton”

and ate four barbecued chicken legs
and six corncobs that day We found
more under her bed days later, wrapped
carefully in a black sock In the mornings

she’d somberly dangle her black hair above
my face and I’d talk to her not by name,
but by tone, about eggs sunny-side up
and margarine because she liked the sounds
Once we were invited to a neighborhood
social and I pointed to “party” in the Russian-
English dictionary She cried out and I
noticed the word “Communist” in parentheses
Some nights I could hear her un-American
utterings, hear her shoulders shaking through
the walls, hear the drawing of her knees
to her chest, hear the slight rock of a child

without a wooden horse Sometimes she
became a mime, gesturing wildly into her
mouth I’d guide her down the hall, my
finger in front of my lips We’d share

ice cream in the quiet house, hand on
the kitchen clock moving in circles
like our conversation would have,
had either of us tried to speak.

Our House

The wind lifted a haphazard angel
with small wings from the curtain
of his father’s cold apartment
A turntable on a bench, its cover thick
with dust A shelf of records He pulled
a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

album from its sleeve He wiped it off and
polished it up with the corner of his shirt Circular pathways like a musical racetrack,

vinyl sincere in its bigness He lifted
the cover and fit the record on, taking
up the arm as if kissing the hand of a

thin woman Music rising like smoke,
words from some childhood Bible
he could not remember reading,

song like a forgotten limb,
flexing with a familiar ache His eyes were lost in the grooves,

spinning, his mother turning pirouettes,
his father strumming a tennis racket
guitar, pretending to be Graham Nash
When they thought they could conquer
being twenty and pregnant, they
sang together, leaning over his crib,

maybe his father behind his mother, her
arms over her head reaching back like vines
clinging to the trellis of a strong house,

singing to him when they could still sing
in the same voice, back when they sang
“only for you ” Back when the house’s wall

rang with harmony, when even
earth on its slanted axis could
not spin them out of alignment.

Mark Wakely

Bio (auto)

Mark Wakely, 47, lives in Lombard, Illinois, and is a college administrator at Elmhurst College in Illinois He is married and has three children
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Mark Wakely and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Miss Literate at Home

Verbs unnerve her She wants nothing to do with them,
those hyperactive words that race
around like unwelcome children,
demanding her full attention Adverbs annoy her She much prefers to remain
unmodified, cannot even imagine
being transitive; frozen in place,
she’s a past perfect scene preserved
for eternity, a living dictionary
with an inactive voice that
no one thinks to reference Adjectives aren’t her-
those words too won’t do;
she would rather live like
a proper noun in her proper house
filled with good, solid words like
table, chair, couch She’s both the subject and object
of her domain, not linked
to anything she can’t singularly
possess, yet at night she still
yearns for some wild word
to slip under her door and give
chase to her textbook life.

Paving The Road

The day the gravel road became
no longer our casual playground but
a hard, defined street, our
outraged mothers armed themselves
with brooms and charged right out
of their antiseptic kitchens to
confront the man who would dare
provide tar for their children’s feet Meanwhile, we children stared in rows
of unaccustomed silence at the stout
asphalt machine as it chugged along
like a smoky paddleboat, leaving
hot black swaths in its orderly wake
that steamed like a stagnant stream
at twilight Concerned only for their
waxed floors and new carpeting,
our mothers shook their makeshift
weapons in the oily air, a sudden
Luddite tribe opposed to the miraculous
transformation that transfixed their
humbled children, while the man
on the machine- seemingly oblivious
to their hurled threats and ramrod
straight on his slow throne-
glided by majestically in his
self ordination, a high priest
and we his witnesses to his
mechanical ministry, his
petroleum anointing.

What Was

Memory, those obsolete circuit chips,
misfires at the oddest moments,
stops current conversations with
shocking inappropriateness,
jolts us while we absently
stack the evening dishes or
idle in our daily dose of traffic Worse is when memory grows dim
and we grope in a landscape once intimate,
where all the names we knew are well
beyond our means, where strangers
prove they know us,
and we’re ashamed A tangled maze of
faulty wiring and switches that
inexplicably trip at the wrong time,
memory seems our imperfect appliance
that flashes in fits and can’t be fixed,
woefully inaccurate Or does memory serve only to protect,
a defense made perfect by its
clever imperfections?
Every written word can haunt us
by its permanent precision,
but memory flickers like a
dangerous lamp,
one that could split the night
with painful light,
but brilliantly, mercifully,
shorts itself out instead.

Einstein’s Brain

“Doctor Thomas Harvey, a Wichita, Kansas pathologist, has Einstein’s sectioned brain in a jar in his office “-news item

Einstein’s brain in a mason jar,
separated forever from that pipe and sweater,
swirling scraps of old, now unconnected memories:
Wife Fission Death Germany Those thoughts and others collide in that brilliant,
murky soup, heavy in their glass prison and eerily
cold They settle like an intellectual snowfall,
accumulate in drifts out of time and order Soon the liquid is clear, equations at rest
with answers the world will never hear
Another irresistible shake of the jar-
Einstein stirs once more.

The Problem With Death

The problem with death is that when it happens
to you, you don’t get to talk about it
There are no lecture circuits, no post interviews,
no chance to voice regrets or apologies due
No way to pick up a phone and call a friend
“Hey- guess what happened!”

Or otherwise spread the news
What happens when you die is of course
still a great unknown
Either there’s a Supreme Being you’ve never met
deciding forever which way you’ll go

as you stammer and sweat, or else Nada,
that cosmic black hole that pulls all life in
Whichever is true, I’d give anything to send back
just a word or two, nothing fancy
Wouldn’t you?

May 8-14, 2000: Joe Harris and Claudine Moreau

week of May 8-14, 2000

Joe Harris and Claudine Moreau

click here for submission guidelines

Joe Harris

Bio (auto)

Joe Harris began writing poetry in the late 1980s to ‘get it all out’ and hasn’t set down the pen since His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Arts Indiana Review, Labyrinth, and most recently in the Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets compilations of 1997 and 1998 Harris was twice runner-up for the Kiesler Poetry Award while attending Indiana University, recognizing undergraduate excellence in the art; he has studied over the years with poets David Wojahn, Yusef Komunyakaa, Maura Stanton, Matthew Graham and Deborah Digges Harris has lived in Los Angeles since 1995.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Joe Harris and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Academy Award

I made a pass in Matt’s car,
Though I wasn’t old enough to drive
And Meghan, realizing the urgency,
Asked me to turn around before Matt’s Pops
Reported the car stolen It was my choice to copy the keys,
To act a shade older,
Hers to be there,
And some power placed night before day,
Like the horse and the cart,
An argument I chose not to pursue
While trying to lose my cherry
I moved to Los Angeles, five years
And eight girlfriends ago I can’t recall what I wore
When each in turn opened herself to me I chose to change the position
Of my bed as not to get too comfortable
After leaving or being left,
I choose formidable defenses
Because I fear the attachments My best friends married each other
When they saw me in that context-
The way my Zaydeh would say to my Bubah
I love you, I love you
Though he thought for years she tried to kill him
With poisoned carrots and spoiled kaschi;
One night, the image of her body wrapped in the shroud
Almost brought him to claw his eyes out
It is time and place, choice and conviction Not her death four years on
But the context of four years without her My mother knew how her mother suffered,
Chooses not to let that go,
Tells my Zaydeh, Anna felt no pain
When no truth could be more selective Now in the twilight his cancer grows,
Replacing his body with a horrible, misshapen copy
As he slowly becomes someone I do not know My mother calls this aging,
Tells him the pills are vitamins to perk him up
And the twice-monthly shots are boosters
There is renewal in loss There are reasons she does not say
Don’t get comfortable because you have to go
And all of us secretly hope
He passes in sleep, unaware of the goings on We’ve taken ownership of his body from him This is borrowed time-this context of saying
Everything dies; one day I will be torn
With knowledge when my children ask
Why Bubah Freda can’t come over-
There is no magic
To erase the words we have for liar
Zaydeh calls to hear my voice I say, I’m fine, just fine, my girlfriend, yes, she’s Jewish
And I’m coming to visit as soon as I have vacation, and, and, and

I will one day have the Oscar for carrying this to my grave.


We lay down without a word,
Two sides of Miles Davis fading to raindrops
And her light perfume, orchidae and spice I can’t help but think how each of us would have,
If left to habit,
Fallen asleep clutching thick pillows But our kisses fill the room with echoes like rain
And push the sheets to a far corner of the bed,
Her body new to me,
To herself Her first intimacy since the aneurysm burst
And sterile hands reached inside
To turn the aortic valves back on themselves,
The critical chamber She has no sense how it will react
To pressure and need, the knowledge
Of the tip of my tongue I lift her shirt, slowly I recall- her skin revealed, her eyes closed-
Other failures of the body to heal itself:
My damaged knee, clicking
Like a latched shutter,
The biblical rib taken from me to make her How ironic I should have a lifetime to fill the emptiness
In my side, that she should follow a similar compass
Of injury and consolation
To my place on the corner, up spiral stairs
And through twin doors to this bed That a simple unseen physical fault could one day
Scar shrill lines on her body, white on a darker white-
Raised lettering for a Braille address
Or a larger tactile map,
Where with vicious expertise
The human heart was painted,
Forever touched and failing.


Too many metaphors for winter and discontent
And loss, so when I say I’m going home
It rings hollow as the breath
In my grandfather’s dying body I’ve never lived in Atlanta,
Yet this is the city my parents have pegged the stake In these wooded outskirts,
Where bulldozers pave over ephemeral footsteps
Of the Pensacola warriors,
Musket slugs of Sherman’s brutal trek
Seared the pinecones with a poisonous black film I help my mother lift his body from the bed,
Like sticks and rubber and inevitability
In Worcester, Massachusetts, where I was born
In the back seat of a Plymouth my father promptly sold-
No questions asked-
Winter builds, over time,
Walls between myself and the expectation
I will become my parents 1978: Frost blitzed the window of my room
As I watched the Nor’easters pound our backyard I drew caveman figures using my warm fingers,
Practiced writing cuss words backwards
Until every window in the house screamed FUCK My parents, scared I might do something irreversible,
Wanted to spank my rebellious tuchas that morning,
Though Mom asked
How are you going to correct this?
Smartassed and cocksure, I said simple Walked to the window, took a deep breath
And slowly blew until the glassy words disappeared
While my mother bathes his frail skin
And changes his diaper in the next room,
I make short work of the sheets
That my grandfather has wet again I am Jewish and hardly believe in either
Tzaddikim or the Moshiach,
But understand his past obsession for lighting candles Sometimes to release a prayer for healing
Or to focus our knowledge of spirits, Holy, mercy Sometimes just the obsession to watch the flame
And count the burn’s minutes
Candles in the windows, on the dresser,
The weeping candelabra That a single flame’s gentle lick
Can erase the wax,
The way desire can burn you to a shell
Of your former self
And press you to change
A warehouse fire in Worcester’s blue collar district last night
Swept six brave men from the world Not the snow on the roof turning to water,
Not the jets of four firetankers,
Not the crying, not the screaming
Could stop the building from consuming itself I am reminded in those half-ruined facades,
The soot-black snow and anguished faces
All the reasons I do not go back
And pass off my indifference to being older I think how-so close to the end, his world now a mixture
Of fantasy and regrets-my grandfather
Watches the memorial procession
On television and sees those six men
Wander aimless through the somber street,
Past the smoldering husk of the warehouse
Where their ashen bodies lay:
James, McGuirk, Lucey
Spencer, Brotherton, Jackson-

Only now do I realize that my childhood friend
Has lost his father
Beyond the crowds gathered for the dearly departed,
The fire truck ladders on either side of Pleasant Street
Gracefully raise an arch
To shelter from winter
The souls’ passing And no fire hot enough,
No decision so weakened by time or faithless youth
As to erase your roots from the place
Where part of you will die


So little, really, is forgotten Not the wheel of the ’72 Vanagon
Cocked an eighth-revolution into a right turn,
Radiator whistling when idled
In front of the Somerville duplex,
Which hasn’t changed,
Though the second floor hasn’t been rented
Since my parents moved on,
Before my conception
Not the brown-trimmed sofas,
Umber woodwork on the wainscoting,
Maroon recliner no one uses
Without feeling uneasy,
Where the man I am named after
Smoked through long winter nights
And graded 35 years of high school history exams Yet ten years from the erasure of cancer
My parents mark the shared meals-
The months that the landlords mysteriously did not ask for rent-
With a card, silence in the house they now own
On the fringe of Atlanta;
The envelope lifted, opened a world away,
Windows somewhat darker now
In a widow’s room
Blinds rough with nicotine residue
And South Boston light-
The guessy scent of tobacco,
Rings like dried milk on the armrests
Where sleep fell welcome, everlasting.

Damage Control

Her mother yells
The no daughter of mine routine,
The how could you do this to me imperatives
Until, out of voice, she forgets to say I still love you So I weigh the call twenty minutes before I return it They tell me she’s a mess; first the roommate
And then the sister Maybe, they figure
As the ex-boyfriend I’ll be her voice of reason This suicide, this slow lapse to bones Silent Clock hands slow
As I rest the receiver, take my keys
When I was exposed to HIV
I braved falling apart,
Steeled myself for the death sentence
And learned everything I could about transmission,
Replication, retroviral pathology Prevention I had to remind myself the lessons
Two more times before I stopped fucking around I park two miles from their apartment,
Then walk two more to script what’s been said
And discover a center of reason:
Not the boyfriend who came after me
And not the anger,
Not the clinical voice of here’s what you do Not processing the blame,
But, here’s how you will live through this
The door, the walkway,
The room with one light on Her black hole chest draws breath as if each
Is the only one Her fear is mine-
Who will remember the stories from Cancun,
Panama City and the Nashville motel where we found
A cocaine brick under the mattress?
That she lived and changed anyone’s way The contrived words of this poem and the injustice
Words do to put someone in my shoes
And I in hers;
A child throws rocks at bush A loud thud as the neighbor’s cat
Has its birdbrains bashed Then they come running out
To assess the damage Everyone Wailing cries An accident, an accident, an accident,
The stunned and shaking boy wishes
That nobody knows his name It is Iowa,
It is the shame that kills him more every day
And when I heard this sob tale I was drunk or stoned
But watching a pudgy black man tighten his belt
At the jukebox before dancing with no one,

And tonight I know for the second time in my life
Nothing anyone says
Can change what happens now.

Untitled, with Dreams

I dream tonight of the house I grew up in,
Though the people living there now
I’ve only known
After I’d moved 4000 miles away No distance in the road buries the past,
The faces evoke memories and vanish:
Ghostly dust flows
In the cross-hatched sill light of the room
I lost my virginity in,
Smoke-wisp wishes of forgiveness
And being forgiven When I woke- crying like I’m eight
And beaten by older kids in the Kaplan’s yard-
I remember claiming I could break sticks with my head
Like Kung-fu It wasn’t the beat-down that followed,
But my guts grinding themselves
With shame
I’ve agonized like this before, driving
From the houses and apartments
Of women who will hate me their whole lives
For not showing that I’d fallen in love
As hard, as deep, as long It is so dangerous,
To let it all out, to dedicate everything for someone else
Without knowing what I want first I sat one night marveling at Kellie’s curves,
How she slept with such silent providence,
Barely shifting the sheets as she turned her hips I thought about her dreams-
And the dreams I should have had as I lay with her 2 AM, 4 AM, sunrise,
My head on the bed’s edge as I sat on the hardwood Such sadness, not knowing where love comes from
Or where it goes,
Like a scarecrow with its arms pinned East and West,
Its head drooped pointless towards its disarrayed feet I kissed her as she woke
How many years pass before I forgive
The man I used to be?
For understanding, years later, that her smile meant
You and Everything
As her eyes focused on mine For promising For not realizing that I’d be
Where I am now, Angelino incognito,
Five years on and still running
Joey, my boy, that day with Kaplan and Lipson and Mietla,
What did you say that made it so easy to be accepted?
To take that much pain just to be worthy To think a lonely man’s caption for love
Is easy to conjure as a condemned man’s hope-
When really, both hinge on redemption
And the path to salvation in someone’s arms Such a road, such roses in the road,
Such distance to cover and the days grow shorter
With each step
Sweet Jesus,
How long,
How can it possibly take this long
To get there?

Claudine Moreau

Bio (auto)

Claudine Moreau bicycles and star gazes in Arlington, Viriginia and goes home to her roots in the mountains of SW Pennsylvania to spelunk, white water raft, and lounge by flowing waters As a lover of physics and poetry, Claudine’s work is often a mixture of science and the sensual Her poetry has been published on the web at Physik Garden, Creativity Magazine, Aileron, and Poem Box Her poetry has appeared many in print journals including Bitter Oleander, American Poets & Poetry, Muse of Fire, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Blood and Fire Review and Anthology among others
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Claudine Moreau and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

bath tub & balcony

nude in prism bubbles
thin films
sliding gravities
in antique bath tub

gryphon kisses

pull us into night
bare against glass
window across St Peters
my skin & hair dressed
with your mouth

sixth floor
balcony & bricks
absorbs the rise & fall
our foaming high tide

Clothes Line Outside of Eden, Alabama

Clothes line looped around a living
oak, tied off in tight knots
I stretch my shame, silken scrims
anchored with wooden pegs,

unfold wet stocking furls,
straighten shriveled chamisoles
Southern air weaves through,
drying hand-washed delicate desires.

New Orleans Coffin Girls

French statue Virgins left
in water-logged coffins
clutching mother-
of-pearl combs, fingers
tracing man-made mannerisms
Arrived on muddy Mississippi banks
washed up in pine boxes,
delicate New Orleans dressed
them ripe in red stockings,
schooled hips to move throught
the Quarteras mist–
settle as stone
icon guestures, pristine by day
At night when the zydeco
jazz and dixie flowed fluid
with bourbon breath,
the Virgin Mary’s wove
garters ’round the groin of Sin
Today on Toulouse
I hear the coffin girls combing
their hair in unison weeping
music through brittle harps.

Galaxy Hat

Southern gentleman motioning
me around to the veranda With the tipping of his bowler

I see into the darkness
my eyes reaching into his hat Under his hat he holds

three galaxies shaped
spiral, barrel and elliptical,
all rotating around the center

of mass of his mind His eyes are star-tipped
bright ends of fiber optic lines

streaming gaseous,
ionizing romantic thoughts
that split through me

I am just an atom girl,
full of empty space,
a hidden center of positive

an outskirt of negative feel,
going through the falling in love
stage of colliding galaxies.