December 22, 2003-January 4, 2004: Taylor Graham and Alayna Tagariello

week of December 22, 2003-January 4, 2004



Taylor Graham and Alayna Tagariello


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Taylor Graham
piper@innercite.com

Bio (auto)

My husband and I still train our dogs for search-and-rescue, and I help him with his wildlife field projects My poems appear online in Carnelian, The Melic Review, Poems Niederngasse, Poetry Magazine, Wicked Alice and elsewhere My latest collections are Lies of the Visible (Snark Publishing, 2003) and Harmonics (Poet’s Corner Press, 2003).

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Delivery Failed

The mail is full of the bones of poems,
their flesh irradiated away Beige plastic disks arrive empty,
their huge capacity for words
sucked dry, their fertilized
yolks quite fried
Or, in piles of paper envelopes
they enfold their particles of praise:
warehoused against the fear
of contagion; unsorted, undeliverable
You know all this, and yet
in your single room
you go on fingering each vertebra
of sound and the possible spaces
in between Your keyboard
cords them together How does a spine move
about itself? How do the parts
grow grammar and nerve-
endings, and leap to music,
and learn to dance?

At night you open the window
and let your poems loose
to the westbound moon

too high for postal rays,
luminous as a CD-ROM,
its iridescent disk pulling a tide
of words pale as fear but
waxing like hope.


Lago di Garda

Today it’s so hot and hazy, my thoughts
evaporate before I can translate them
into the common language here,

along with what I wonder
if I saw
this afternoon, as we sailed the lake’s edge
past seven villages with names
I savor in my mouth but can’t pronounce,
all gathered in a splashing crescendo
of sound, water beaten together
with Mediterranean light, and all
the sun-smeared greens and reds, smells
of oven-baked bread and garlic,
and the townsfolk singing in their
incomprehensibly intimate
tongues

and across the lake whose waves
lap and lull with water-voices, shades
from verdigris-lavender distances,
one voice yelled something
that sounded like
“aiuto” or else “eureka “

On the lake whispering to itself
with its many voices
this vacation afternoon,
I don’t know
if I heard a man drowning,
or a mermaid offering sunken treasure
So far from my native words,
what could I possibly do?


Hunkering In

Green leaves make good neighbors But now the foliage is lifting
like wild geese without wings It falls and settles in heaps
on the ground: gold facsimiles
of sun Daylight’s shunted
so far south, it shines on things
that were obscured all summer:
our view to the north, for instance,
with a neighbor’s tilting porch I’d almost forgotten that neighbor,
sight out of mind I’ve walked
among trees that stand now
practically naked, like the view
of neighbor-deck and neighbor-
window And only a coming snow
for cover.


Casting Off Tenure

You’ll start your Great
American Novel in fourteen months
when you retire Why wait?

That’s the sweet unsettled
joy of poetry, as opposed to
fiction, which bears

the terrible weight of
verisimilitude And truth?
Whereas poetry casts off

the bonds of reason, those long
entangling chains, to simply
dance It’s ephemeral

and portable I’ve written scads
of subway couplets on the way
to work, and seen them

splashed above my head
that very evening, riding
home I eat poems

for lunch, they aren’t fattening I carry baskets of small
produce in my mind Bitter

melon sliced thin
as haiku A bunch of couplets
like seedless grapes So

write your magnum opus
when you think you finally find
in your residue of life

the time.


Kin

Our young bitch must have dug you
from your mother’s warren,
and brought you here: a toy,
no mite-threat to her own pups
barely weaned She’s doing
her mother-dog-dance about you,
suckle for a drying teat
You might be two days old: squat,
sable with a white spot
on your head That means Jack-
rabbit: the famished tooth
turned against our garden We shoot your kin
Now you lie like camouflage,
cold and dead No I touch,
you blink I’ll speak to you
as to a puppy, softly,
while I carry you away.


The Princess in the Tower

mourn everything the regent brings against
them: how they didn’t learn their lessons,
how once they snickered up the nanny’s
skirts as she was gazing out the window
looking for the king’s entourage A king
remains king, even when dead And so
the princes fill their gullet of repentance
with tears and sweat no, princes do not
sweat But they can drag-step themselves up
the worn steps of a tower, which proves
to be the quick way down Stones hold them
to their crowns The regent reigns And in their six-foot cell they sing
as thin and hopeless as burned-out stars,
looking down on the world from a high
barred window, no longer
up the world’s skirts.


Alayna Tagariello
atagariello@nyc.rr.com

Bio

Alayna has been writing poetry for approximately 15 years She is a recipient of the Walt Whitman Poetry Award, and has participated in poetry workshops with former Walt Whitman Society Poet-in-Residence, Robert Bly Alayna is a media/communications specialist at a large international company She currently resides in New York City, NY

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Alayna Tagariello and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Girl, Jazz

It doesn’t mean a thing
If it don’t got that swing
I’m on the street
In
My
Work
Clothes
Hot and smoky kebab capitalism
Fills my nostrils
And the deep cavity of my chest The buildings bow to me majestically
I own this stride
Weaving through pockets of bodies
Bustling blind past catcallers and the XXX men
Pimping postcards of pussy Strange fruit dangle from plastic hands of storefront mannequins,
Waving halfheartedly towards the cashmere clad Promised Land My stride becomes a catacomb
Of dark tunnels dug out deep from persecution
– Candle lit caves cover me catholically –
Blood buzz in the back of my brain
I’m on the street
In
My
Work
Clothes I’ve got rhythm, music, my man
Who could ask for anything more?
My strut is my opus
Be-bop bombastic
Caustic cacophony
Cramped quarters
Come on!
The billboards boast but
The dot com’s are toast When the money’s gone,
The art beats on There’s still poetry on the street
There’s still hunt in my feet It’s in my veins
It’s in the taxi lanes
– Asphalt like Atlantis –
Buried cities beneath my heels
A buzzing white-hot wonder in every pavement crack Whispering sweet and blue,
The street sages preach on every corner Homilies and psalms tumble from their lips and trumpet button pushing fingers
Each note climbing closer to God I’m on the street
In
My
Work
Clothes Like the one small patch of sky
Unmarred by ragged skyline,
I am blue, open, cloudy, distant
Free
Untouched
Alive
In my solitude People passing me ask why and I say because I like it It’s a golden nuance,
It’s a traveling one-man circus in the roadway Bike messengers do a two-wheel tango down Madison Avenue,
These designer kamikazes adorned with walkie-talkies and precious papers,
They get it goin’ from King Street to West 110th I’m on the street
In
My
Work
Clothes I am evolved as my own island I am alive as the street I am like the music
Life set to a beat
The rat-tat-tat of drumstick to hollow overturned plastic drum
The thump thump thump of a world you don’t know because
You don’t see it
You just want right by
Blind to the melody
Deaf to the architecture
Unable to taste that electric current on your tongue but
I see
No one can hurt me because
I am free
Because I’m on the street
Because I’m in my work clothes
Because I am girl
Because i am jazz.

December 15-21, 2003: Jonathan Hayes and Jennifer Mitts

week of December 15-21, 2003



Jonathan Hayes and Jennifer Mitts


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Jonathan Hayes
jsh619@earthlink.net

Bio (auto)

Jonathan Hayes is the author of Echoes from the Sarcophagus (3300 Press, 1997), St Paul Hotel (Ex Nihilo Press, 2000), and self invented (split chapbook with Mark Sonnenfeld, Marymark Press, 2003) Recently published by M.A.G , Remark, and Sidereality; he edits the literary / art magazine Over the Transom.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Jonathan Hayes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Curse

Roger Clemens walks across the outfield grass

and rubs the plaque of a homerun god
like one would the belly of a golden buddha

looming above the stadium

a baby laughs


Like Eyes of the Tapster

When creation is hot
in the basement of a cool mind,
and dogs run through the street
without leashes or order,
your dark pint remains
unfinished on a wooden bar.


Father

The announcement
of freshly-smacked after shave

The contamination
of armpit sweat in a yellow Izod

And the mistake of being human

Eisenhower paragraphs of tight logic

The smell
of coffee in a deli cup

Dust

star explodes
periodic table of elements

lifting skull
to nebula above

a circus beyond feeling


Harvest Moon

They come home at night
off rainy streets
Going into warm apartments
that reek of the past
And sleep on mattresses
that slowly break them.


Jennifer Mitts
jennifermitts@yahoo.com

Bio

Jennifer Mitts was born and raised in Chattanooga and now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Pulitzer-nominated poet Scott Holstad She holds a BA in English and an MS in Education, both from the University of Tennessee It was at UT that Jennifer found her writing voice under the instruction of renowned poet Marilyn Kallet Jennifer currently teaches English and journalism at an East Tennessee high school She has been a regional judge for the annual National Women’s Club Poetry Contest since 1999 Her work has been published in various magazines and journals, including Poetry Motel, SaucyVox, and The Little River Journal
Visit Jennifer on the web HERE

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Jennifer Mitts and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

For Sleep

Read, toss, left side, turn,
right side, spin, tangled in
sheets while outside thunder pitches
The queen of repression can’t get to sleep
would rather bend to distraction
than do it alone
with his face in mind,
his hand on my throat,
ravenous, unhinged, and desperate
like I recall
from that hungry April night
Sharon O , 
could I borrow your husband?
I wanna be Primitive tonight.


Yayin Halal
(A psalm of wine)

My one-of-a-kind Schwartzbart kiddush cup
overflows with wine,
fruit of the vine,
blessed are You who creates it
Rabbi Asa dipped gauze in it for baby Levi
to suckle at the bris It was held high as he received his name,
was joyfully lifted at his first Shabbos five days
ago, 
and will be tipped again
at his first Chanukah,
his Bereshit bar mitzvah,
and one day, praise G-d,
his wedding Baruch atah

I flinch as Christians kidnap the drink,
changing it to bitter blood,
human blood,
the Torah-forbidden sacrifice
Ignoring “I shall not change,”
they deliberately deny His plain talk B.C.E ,
Creator, eager Bridegroom, azvatany
I’ve seen Marnie shed tears
over their creation of another god I’ve spat on myself for blindly accepting
their beliefs I shudder for my dead grandparents
who were intelligent but blind
and therefore useless,
never bothering to read the Torah
in the book they carried every Sunday
I changed, Baruch HaSh-em!
Selah.

December 8-14, 2003: Scott C. Holstad and Jackie Goldstein

week of December 8-14, 2003



Scott C Holstad and Jackie Goldstein


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Scott C Holstad
sch@knology.net

Bio (auto)

I have published 14 books of poetry My work has appeared in hundreds of magazines in dozens of countries, including The Minnesota Review, Wisconsin Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Arkansas Review, Pacific Review, Lullwater Review, and Southern Review I currently live in Knoxville, TN, with my wife Jennifer and our two cats
Visit Scott on the web here: http://www.well.com/user/sch/

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Scott C Holstad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Beginning

The day began simply enough,
cigarette in hand, coffee,
black and bitter, wadded up
newspaper, and after
I
got out of bed You were
there too, and you wanted to
debate the meaning of our
existence, but I couldn’t
at that moment
Outside, the birds sang
to each other, words of
wisdom, clouds of the
finest smoke, a mob of
blue jays descended on
the bird feeder, the
light still peachy
If there are lessons to be
Learned and gauntlets run,
If you remain holy,
The seed will be taken right from your hand.


Breakthrough

I am a broken down car,
a miscast icon, a busted
toy to be thrown away
The lights overhead
cast shadows in ways
only the gods can see,
yet I can foretell the
future and it is this:

I cannot satisfy your
needs, your desire for
a family, home, ongoing
stability I’m a rover,
a roamer, don’t want
kids-the very thought
appalls me

We talked last night,
finally, and as frightening
as it was, the resultant
relief was like the first
bite into a fresh pear,
glorious and sweet-
all the bad washed
away, and I thank you,
hold you blameless,
wish us the best of
luck, and try not to
think of 8 years
going down the
toilet in ever
increasing waves.


Father

For my Dad,
who called from Canada
to check up on me when
I was in the psych wards,
who came out to be with
me after I got out of jail,
who supported me, was
my iron rod, endured a
nother
suicide attempt, started
to cry when he saw my
bloody body, red
knife in hand, who talked
sports with me, Calvinism,
therapy, jobs, women, to
the Dad I always wanted
and who was there for me
when I counted most,
as he always is,
Dad,
this one’s for you!


Marcy

Pound for pound
the best one of the bunch,
a fighter, scratcher, pit bull,
she can nail Œem to the
floor in one second flat,
her body’s beautiful,
but her mind’s a work
of art, whirling madly,
twisting and turning
she’s a REAL woman
and she won’t let
you forget it.


Sheep

Counting sheep no longer works
after you reach 500 You move
on to cows, with similar results The
day comes crashing down on you
and you can’t escape it, the
water fountain gossip, the boss
bearing down on you, the
deadlines creeping ever closer,
the rip you tore in your trousers,
your NT machine crashing
seven times, losing work to
the PC abyss, knowing you have
built up a great backlog there
You go home, have two shots
of Jack, read through the bills,
fix yourself a TV dinner, watch
the Jorden-less Bulls lose
another one, take a bath,
think carefully about slitting
your wrists, knowing you
don’t have the guts to do it
and you go to bed
Sheep number one Sheep number two Sheep number three Sheep number.


Jackie Goldstein
jbluzer@msn.com

Bio

I scribble in Merrick, in Nassau County, an hour outside of NYC I am the editor for the Health & Living Department at Ritro.com (Real Insight Through Raw Opinion) My poems and articles have landed in Poetry Motel, Spent Meat, Remark, and Thunder Sandwich I am a frequent contributor to Babel Magazine, which recently published an anthology entitled, “The Bukowski Hangover Project,” where two of my poems appear

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Jackie Goldstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Squeezed Out of Space

I slipped around the corner
to find my space, but found
a shiny penny and a condom wrapper
floating in a rivulet about to abort
their mission and jump to a sure death
in the sewer
The geometric equation
of my space seeped out
the ragged tear in the window
screen as my neurotic dog
smashed through it; or
the lunatic animal might
have mistaken it for a biscuit
Squeezed out of that which
I lacked, like toothpaste from the tube,
I searched for my smeared
existence around the sink I thought it might be spinning in
the toilet, and tried to fish it out
with dental floss
Careful consideration mixed in an
abstract proportion of prayer and meditation,
gave way to conclusion: The apparition
which I failed to grasp could be
in that which was jammed
on his swaggering genitals
Or might be in the foil packet that held
the condom, and is now swimming
in spermicidal residue Maybe it was sucked into his penis.


Sex in The Suburbs

It cries in the pasty faces
of the women as they move
on automatic through the Kmart parking lot The men lodged behind their
lawnmowers bathed in beer and sweat They peer into the suburban jungle
and strain to notice the wan
expressions of their neighbors They pray for life beyond
the broken picket fence
Women satiate themselves drowning
in soap operas and organizing fund
raisers for the PTA The men spend
hours cruising the internet chatting
with teenagers, and on websites
masturbating over baby porn
The prognosis for recovery is slim The most prevalent cure is divorce Most choose to stagnate, wading
in a pool of toxic logic; or they cheat Either way, they wade into the arms
of a savior that is alarmingly
similar to the dead weight
they thought left behind.


Courtroom Melodrama

My husband sat stoic in the row in front of me They were the type of seats I sat in as a kid
in the school auditorium; not like the courtroom
on TV, but with surreal melodrama permeating the air
It was the initial phase of family court Our lawyers were five feet away arguing
in a loud exchange of seemingly hushed tones I couldn’t make out a word I’d hoped he would
score points, which seems meaningless now
The stress pressed against me like a wool blanket My nerves vibrated in tight knots through the legal bullshit Nothing conclusive would be decided that day We were not allowed in the judge’s chambers
while the hired hands presented their arguments
The Honorable Judge is a woman in her early 40’s;
I wondered if that would push in my favor My friend told me all the judges are corrupt,
or addicts in bed with the sleezeball attorneys
that appear slick and accomplished
I was waiting to be sentenced,
and had no control over the outcome My life was wavering in the balance
of subjective intention It was the beginning
of what I didn’t know would be years,
marked by statements from the law firm
screaming my diminished retainer
There will be no winners Surviving
with the least collateral damage is the best
I can expect I shook my lawyer’s hand
and thanked him It seemed like the thing to do;
and be grateful it was only 2 hours @ $250.00 per.


Offer A Prayer

I spent hours hating you The weight of which translated into Burger King
and Dunkin Donuts I didn’t quite get what you had to offer Whatever it was contained me, held me prisoner,
and was stronger than I could ever anticipate
I regard you as no less than an alcoholic without the ale,
although any addict would have gotten more consolation
than I had to offer you I did the work; years
of psychoanalysis offered no profound conclusions It’s obvious you’re an exaggerated reproduction
of my father and I the passive aggressive
my mother portrayed so well
And now,
its your turn I’m not waiting around till you figure
it out I can stand back and allow you your success;
you need not fail for me to succeed I am not that noble; there are times
when I gloat as you fall on your ass My false believe: It will redeem my pain
I release you with no regret, except
that I had not done it sooner Off you go, in my prayers
with the homeless and those in despair I can offer you a that, at the very least.

December 1-7, 2003: Lisa Allender and James L. Smith

week of December 1-7, 2003



Lisa Allender and James L Smith


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Lisa Allender
originalsylvie@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lisa Allender is an actress who lives in the Atlanta area, and is Host of several Open Mics She began writing seriously in 1996, and was published immediately She will direct the”Three-Day-Jam-A-Thon”(or, for the terminally hip, the”3D Jam”) which will happen from Friday, January 9th-Sunday, January 11th, 2004! 48 Hours, NONSTOP, of POETRY!! Open Mic, featured authors, speakers, workshops, Theatre Pieces, Music, Artwork! Lisa wishes to thank her family for all their encouragement!

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Lisa Allender and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The French are Famous For

We walked amid tourists at the tower
the one he called “ugly, infamous “
“Let’s go to St Denis “
“It’s dangerous,” he warned We arrived
A model, Monique
showed no fashion sense
Vanilla ice cream dream woman
needed no clothes
blonde rain fell over her shoulders
spilled down her back
as I instructed her in weak French
to watch us as we watched her
“Deux,” she whispered
“Two?” I asked
“Use two,” he explained Two fingers went inside of me
She was speaking more French
my vulva understood
all her pretty words She fell back upon her yellow blanket
fondled those sighing breasts
gentled two fingers into her own inner flesh,
and I, so American, asked to see
“More, More “
I shuddered and watched her dress
tight against her ass
imagined her naked again
and asked for her real name and if she wanted coffee?
We walked her to the metro
I waved goodbye and ran to hold
Van Gogh in my eyes
“The blue room at Arles”
at Musee d’Orsay It was dark as we reached Montmarte There were no warm towels,
just an inattentive staff
the French are famous for
no service
but only in the hotels.


James L Smith
Johannaparis@aol.com

Bio

James Smith originally from New York is now a Colorado poet and screenplay writer His poetry is published in many Journals, anthologies and magazines throughout the U.S and Europe. 

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by James L Smith and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Blank page

Trying to see further
Through a consensus of right and wrong
Looking for a truly blank page
Your mascara drips between my legs
You are focused
Deadly inspiration


Emily

Writing notes to yourself
On cocktail napkins

On you’re way to San Francisco
In your new red
Convertible

You said it was our duty
To see all we can
And show others through art

We were alone when we talked
Clamoring glasses and bruting voices
Replaced with every word you spoke

You read my poem
You had to leave soon

You were springtime on a bar stool
Drinking bourbon

November 24-30, 2003: Alex Stolis and Dave Nordling

week of November 24-30, 2003



Alex Stolis and Dave Nordling


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Alex Stolis
Baudelairious@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Alex lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Alex Stolis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Gary New-Duluth
(Reason #1 to not Believe in God)

He hates this town
and every time he speaks
of it you can see his eyes
roll and a smirk

spread across his face He closes the Steel Plant
for kicks; tells Gabriel
it was either that or flood

the Mississippi,
said he’s bored
with water, wants something quieter,
longer lasting
Something that would move people,
shake them and start some action
is the way he puts it This town never was sharp

but word spread wild
like weeds in sidewalk cracks
and the mean breath that blows
over Superior fills our lungs

as bars empty and wives leave
and husbands grind their heels
in black dirt and wait
for the miracle that never happens.


Reason #2 to not Believe in God

He never washes his hands
after an accident, I’m tired of prayers
he whispers to Moses,
his eyes turn grey
when hearing the sound
of a sparrow falling
The moon never provides enough
shade and the night has become dull
like a mannequins black eyes;

he sits in a field and listens
to the wind through cornstalks,
watches as the sun falls,
burns leaves and waits
as sparks float to the sky
to dance with stars but no one leads
and no music is heard.


The Pull of the Moon
(Reason #3 to not Believe in God)

No day is ever born at the same time,
tomorrow is the  knife’s edge
that you cut your wrist on;

yesterday is the Mississippi,
water flooding this bored town
turning it dark red;

I watch orange and yellow
run down a faded sign
that marks Highway 23
Today, the earth turns
brown, the sky moves slow I make up patterns in the clouds, one
is a rabbit, one is a dog
and one is you,
head turned west
arm pointing to the sun.


Dave Nordling
d_nordling@yahoo.com

Bio

My name is Dave Nordling and I am a professional engineer with a major aerospace company in Los Angeles I live in Agoura Hills, CA, just outside of the great SFV
I have been a featured reader at a few venues in the Los Angeles area including the Cobalt Cafe My work has been featured in such places online as UnlikelyStories.orgDufusPoeticDiversity and planetmag.com I have also had my work in anthologies such as the Poets of Midnight collection I put together this year commemorating the Midnight Special bookstore’s departure from the 3rd street promenade
I have one book of poetry, From the Blue Folder, which is available for $5 I am also editor of the newly formed outfit, Off-World Publications, a manuscript and layout service for poets and spoken word artists

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Dave Nordling and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Another Hotel

Another hotel room
TV in the upper corner
held like a wild animal
with steel bolted collar
to metal tube post

I drop my garment bag
and travel case
to the stranger I’ll sleep on A night (or is it day)
is here
six hours more
I’ll walk into a new language
maybe I’ll get to use my alphabet
maybe not
I’m grateful for the sink
with civilized, sterilized
sounding like my own
in my tired hands
to my weary face I think I’ve become older
My shoes go first
tumbling ahead of my shirt
my belt
overnight case extraction
brings witch-doctor ointments
liquids and vials
I brought from my tribe
to this foreign place
I need a familiar ritual
Navigating the knobs
and fixtures familiar,
some not
I perform the cleansing rites
of the arrived passenger Walking about the stark
solitary room, dressed
like an immodest native,
I find my quarters
agreeable
I extract my costumes
from the precarious folds
of my traveller’s pack
Inspect them Adjust them I will show myself outside
with them
On the single Scandinavian chair,
wooden and plain,
I plot my course
identify the sites
sensing distance
by past steps taken in these very shoes
arranged by the bed
I will learn from each second
when the sun rises in the new east I pray to my God, their God, our god
thanks for safe passage
for good humor of those I meet
for protection in situations unseen
and for sleep to take me soon.


The Typewriter

When my mom first saw it,
She totally freaked When my dad first saw it,
He only asked, “Why did I get it?”
When my brother first saw it,
He thought it was very cool When I first saw it,
It looked like a lot of fun
I didn’t keep it a secret
Because it is my right to have it I keep it in its box
Because it can be dangerous I knew when I found one
It would become precious
And rare some day
Some have asked me
What use is it My mom first thought
it was a typewriter That’s why she flipped She wasn’t wrong It is a typewriter
It only writes one letter,

O

Up to 50 times from its banana Through paper, wood, and metal
In nearly perfect letters
A little more
Than 9 millimeters wide.

November 17-23, 2003: Anthony Liccione and Melanie Simms

week of November 17-23, 2003



Anthony Liccione and Melanie Simms


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Anthony Liccione
LZachary7@msn.com

Bio (auto)

My poetry has appeared in Haggard and Halloo, Wicked Alice, Parnassus, Eagle’s Flight, Poet’s Review, Ariga, Pale Forest, Taj Mahal Review, Biff’s Board, Poet’s Review, Audrie Poetry Press , Cold Glass, HazMat Review, Sidewalk’s End and soon to appear in The Surface (December issue). 

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Nan Byrne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

An Epic In God’s Eye

He knew me It was a dark surrounding,
where voices outside renounced me
And whisper Varnish with flowers and fill with dirt Drop the casket Dig a hole They did all they knew-

My son,
gray touching and receding,
with his son standing above
silent in his soccer cleats
I laid back
having no feeling-
ambiance to pain Metal into metal
and rubber screeched A thrashing force,
we collided Too quick to stop Intersection,
the other car would
run his flashing red,
my light was green
I drove off,
gave the cashier twenty
dollars and filled the gas tank She already at the family
picnic, my wife took her car I was bringing the tuna salad
Retirement finally,
thirty-year dedication Wished me well to my R and R
from the power plant They poured the champagne
as I blew out the candles A surprise party
Fulfilled grandfather My eyes have seen,
a double of me,
Seven hours of labor
a proud father suffered Same smell of sanitary
medicine clung
in the hospital halls Been here once before,
thirty years ago
She gave up her ghost
in the fullness of cat years-
if a cat did have one
hers would be guided
by angels The mound of dirt,
fragile bones laid
under the green grass
in the backyard
A soldier, a man,
my son The Air Force
was first choice-
served him well,
after high school A fine decision
in his twenty year
career
Youth to adult Now he is crossing
from a boy to a man Just yesterday,
we changed his diaper-
told him to look both ways
when crossing the street 2017
Graduation
He gave me the smiles
I could not give at his age The wonder,
I thought was lost The magic,
that was dust in my pocket I wanted to give him
what I lacked
Late baptism and much loved A handful with reddish hair Eight pounds eight ounces-
he was delivered We yearned to have a child
We bought a comfortable
house, just small enough for us Student loans to repay,
I took a job at the power plant
She came in my life-
erased my sufferings Money did not matter,
it would come later Just that I was there
for her and she
for me
The years
would envelop sorrow Many homes, many people
many strangers A death in the family,
cut a quarter pie
Came home drunk,
smashed his fist through
the unwanted locked door Wine hiding in the cellar,
an alcoholic disappearing,
living in fear He hit her for control,
wanted to have her soul Throwing silverware
at each other,
around the kitchen table I was five
Amongst three daughters,
a sought after son-
I, the last child
They cut the cord and circumcised Birth Where voices outside pronounced me,
it was a dark surrounding He knew me.


Mayhem In The Coffee Shop

only coffee shop
in town where the smell
of cigarette smoke merges
in the air of bacon and eggs she walks in
high heels, long legs,
newspapers drop
silverware clink and stop-
the broken in waitress
wishing for her attraction
and impression
as she remembers her ambition
before she got pregnant
close to graduation
how she didn’t finish
and had to find a job
after her boyfriend left her-
now known as Anna-
the only girl in the shop,
where the truckers drop in
for desperate conversation,
three, four days of foul
clinging to their body
yellow gritty teeth,
smile at her
for a second refill her son now ten,
for ten years
she tipped that same pot
fetched their food
for little tip all the men turn
heads to peek at
this woman dressed in pink,
think she is too pretty
for this truck stop coffee shop
where the rolling stones
sing of their wild horses;
her perfume scent
making the town’s drunk
sneeze bitter in his wine the men grumble
a few whistle,
never seeing such woman
from their road side kill
hitching a ride and what did it take,
when she ignored the hounds
and made her way to the
greasy counter
asking for a cup of coffee to go,
along with her pretty smile
perfect straight white teeth she tipped her coffee pot
once more for an actual woman never had she beheld a rose
in her nine to five world hair fell in time
caught the tear in Anna’s eye
before rolling off her lash,
as she watched the woman
make her path to the two-way
swinging door the place where nobody knows
the way it’s going to be.


Examination

An unopened mind
is like ground beef
stuffed in a bell pepper
Vegetable
With an open mind
I can peel away
four hundred faces of skin
and fit a name for each,
shade in sunglasses
and were both strangers I ever pass my father
I wouldn’t have known
if bump shoulders
I have fallen into a dream
of myself free falling in
open blue Turns into a nightmare
of rapid eye movement,
head planted in two pillows-
sheets strung on pillars of sweat
after I hit bottom with eyes
open blue
and my fear thanks science
for being amiss,
saying I’m lucky
to have waken up But rather
I should have died in my sleep When I awoke screaming
A happy face can be
read in 1.3 seconds,
angry face 1.9 and the
screaming under 2
I open my mind
like a surgeon
under study-
each hemisphere
of the brain
curved in nerves
of consciousness,
I write these words
with the rightness
of heart, there is
a creative side that
most people don’t use,
some would rather
relish on television
or feed the fish with worms
hanging on starving poles
The truth is Olive oil is a fine
source of vitamin E
for the skin and hair Soak it up with Italian
bread and eat,
great on the arteries Pour on your forehead,
and it won’t clog pores I use to know a friend
to have masturbated with it Cod oil could be unsafe
if used frequently
A moon cycle is known
to give signals when full,
and control tides:
the human body 90% water,
could burst when boiled 1500 Finland’s took their lives
when there was a New Moon
There is power in choice It is to my choosing
to accept incoming messages
and to my lack of knowledge
to reject negativity If one wants to find
truth and believe,
he should first begin
by counting the stars-
and when he hits
that certain number
he will come to understand
that life is eternal
Memory could be a curse
for one person
and a blessing to another,
this process is called cognition-
if grounded well in senses
winnowing out thoughts from walls
first must come from pain
and then from pleasure
Notion to notion
word for word,
the tongue
is man’s greatest weapon,
able to revive a coma toast
or pierce the grate and make
one turn in his grave
A young fool
will always die in shame,
an old fool,
will forget and just die.


Melanie Simms
rainsinger@pa.net

Bio

Melanie Simms is a new poet emerging under the mentorships of poets Gary Young, David Swanger, and John Taggart She has been published in various notable e-zines including; Zuzu’s Petals, Poetry Bay, CLAM (UC Berkelely), Penn Literary Review (Univ, of PA) among several others Currently Melanie Simms lives in the “Beatle-less” Liverpool, PA, while jealously, her sister, artist Cassandra Fell, lives within miles of Liverpool, England
Melanie resides with her 14 yr old son (and wanna-be rock star), and 7 month
old white kitten, Isis
At the moment, she is the host of Shippensburg University Poetry at the Ezra
Lehman Library

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Melanie Simms and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Suitcase

When we reach the airport, the chaueffer opens
our doors and hands us our luggage You smile at me
and tip him more than you need to
We honeymoon beneath the stars
of Miami Beach where rolling waves caress the sand
the way you caress my skin and kiss my mouth, and
I cant tell the difference between the salt of your kiss
and the salt of the ocean You whisper, “I will love you forever”
Years pass We become two soft La-Z-Boy recliners
in front of a color t.v gazing into the familiar smiles
that grace the pages of wedding album;
the one hand-stitched by my mother It is brown now, and brittle along the edges
One morning you announce between the cornflakes
and instant coffee that you want out I watch you leave, but as the evening fades
I imagine you back in your chair,
I imagine that you have only stepped out
for an evening walk
How has it come to this?
All our dreams
packed away into one little suitcase,
and carried off so easily?

Back to Paradise
-for Gary Young-

She’s new,
polished by the California sunlight
into a brown-sugared sweetness; with
eyes the color of lapis; reflecting a
Pacific Ocean that stretches out
eternally
She is touched by West Coast paradise,
and even in these dismal, proper corners
of the East, she delights in sharing smiles,
illuminating a world with a heart that says,
“Follow me; let’s party, catch a wave!”

if these land-lubbers could, these country
farm folk who’ve forgotten how to dance
they would ride that wave with her,
into that sweet ocean of joy,
but she is an enigma here,
a girl outside her element,
defied by an alien sunlight
Sweet child of California,
touched by the light of a much kinder god,
follow Rand- McNally’s little blue roads back home,
back to paradise!

November 10-16, 2003: Nan Byrne and R. Paul Craig

week of November 10-16, 2003



Nan Byrne and R Paul Craig


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Nan Byrne
nanbyrne@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Nan Byrne is a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with an MFA in fiction She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia Her work has appeared in the  New Orleans Review, Seattle Review, So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, and others A recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts she is currently at work on a screenplay.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Nan Byrne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

American Landscape

Something is happening in the picture A boy stares
into the lens of the camera a third eye focused
on a Chevy IROC idling blue gray smoke
behind him Thin as a question mark
Repeats the story he carries in his bones
Pulls off his baseball cap
runs his fingers through the bristles Smiles
This picture was taken in Wheaton, Kansas
or Durban, North Carolina, Albuquerque The boy is a neighbor, a face from the high school
yearbook Your son or mine If you look closely
you can see the growth plate settling
somewhere between the skull
and the groin The boy’s name is Doe
or Davey, but you can call him Delmore
if you want to get him mad
Pale skinned like his mother Lion maned
Pineapple hands He fixes cars down at the Shell
But all you see is the cowlick, upturned jeans
This can only be the fifties, but Eisenhower
has been dead for forty years Boys grow slowly
in the country How the sun moves
through the trees in winter Hiding warmth
inside the spaces of the absent leaves
Like fireflies gathering in the dusky twilight
holding fast to a disappearing life There’s nothing
that this boy is missing No place he’d rather be

Ice Cream

In 1955
my grandmother’s brain
short&Mac246;circuited An embolism
pushed its way
into an artery Her future over
before we met
Like flat soda she sat
all day No fizz or bubble
A shadow in a sweater
Dark hair neatly stacked,
flowered housedress, black pegged shoes
A grandma outline
Every Sunday afternoon we arrived
Supper was at two
Meat and potatoes in a mixing bowl
My grandfather fussed in the kitchen
Everything was liver
Never leaving her chair
Where’s your coat? She’d say
Don’t you know there’s a war on?
This in the 60’s
long before the government
ran the lottery that no one wanted to win
On her lap a red vinyl pocketbook
A lifetime of secrets
matchbooks, balls of toilet paper,
bakery string Black and white flickers
were our only diversion
Sing Along with Mitch
Could things be worse?
At five ice cream would arrive
packed in pints from the neighborhood store
Monochrome flavors, vanilla or chocolate,
only strawberry, rich and complex
offered any hope
We swallowed mouthfuls down
savoring the soft cool taste
While she slowly sucked her spoon
This small delight introducing us.


Snowsuit

I walked the spindled path back
to my childhood home
Beer can in hand
Mouth twisted into courage (or some
approximation of an unfamiliar thing)
Approached memories settled on ancient feet,
all the while feeling like a sailor who lives for years
far above the water line then finds himself
once again at sea         
.In a blade of grass to drown

Gone: the days where land and water meet
Gone: snowsuits and balloons Gone: gone
I drank the moon I drank the beer
Anounced my name to the night
Blessed myself, walked beside myself
Across the years
in God’s slurried soup


R Paul Craig
Toocool62@aol.com

Bio

My name is R Paul Craig, and I live in Friendswood, Texas with my wife, two children and a cat I have published a few poems in small journals

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by R Paul Craig and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jennifer

For months
I couldn’t leave
her alone It was
dangerous She
wept, I listened;
she was inconsolable When she rose I stood
next to her, by the
window I put my
arms around her and
wouldn’t let go If she
jumped she would have
to take me along She
didn’t have the strength
to kill me along with
herself I felt her body
yield when the tension
waned and she turned
to me from the despair
of her decision
We both fell asleep,
exhausted.


Dad

The last book
my father gave
to me was about
Napoleon It was
written from an
American point
of view and Napoleon
seemed like an evil
tyrant, who wanted
control of everything,
of everywhere I was
reading this book when
my father died My
distaste for Napoleon
has been unshakable
ever since.

November 3-9, 2003: Faith Mairee and Collin Kelley

week of November 3-9, 2003



Faith Mairee and Collin Kelley


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Faith Mairee
faithmairee@webtv.net

Bio (auto)

I write from Cocoa, Florida My poems have appeared in Poet Magazine, By-line Magazine, Cable Week, Wide Open Magazine, Alley Cat Magazine and some have been published by Seminole Community College in Sanford, Florida Others have been published in various anthologies
Visit faith on the web: http://community.webtv.net/faithmairee/THEPOETRYOFFAITH

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Faith Mairee and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Cattle Egret

he struts across the plaza parking lot
like he was mr universe
proud as hell to be
the cattle egret that he is

his appearance is flawless
except for the perpetual
grease spots on his back
from slipping under parked cars
looking for bugs and lizards to eat

this is his fourth winter here
and i feel compelled
to name him something
charlie seems to suit him
although to this day
he won’t answer to
anything he’s called


Collin Kelley
collinkelley@hotmail.com

Bio

Atlanta native Collin Kelley is an award-winning poet, playwright and journalist His debut volume of poetry, “Better To Travel,” was published in September and the launch party was one of the Atlanta Literary Festival’s most attended events His poetry has appeared in The Pedestal, The Harrow, Welter, Offerings, Alternative Arts & Literature and SubtleTea.com His play, “The Dark Horse,” won the 1994 Deep South Writers Award and the 1997 Georgia Theatre Conference Award His interview with German filmmaking legend Wim Wenders will be published this fall in MovieMaker magazine By day, Kelley is the managing editor for Atlanta Intown magazine “Better To Travel” is available from amazon.com and other online stores Visit www.collinkelley.com for more information

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Collin Kelley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Undefined

You sleep on the floor while
syrupy words drip from my
pen Another treatise on the subject
of not having We agree our love is an
undefined place The only certainty is our
inability to do without the
other, this co-dependency we
both subscribe to, this Sunday
puzzle I cannot solve Not even a sticky fumbling to
show there is anything beyond
status quo, my revisionist
virginity a bonfire I typically burn for your touch,
while your fingers remain just
out of reach You are moving across town,
like this will change anything The boundaries remain intact,
and like politicians, we
gerrymander the lines seeking
partisan advantage.


Drag

There is poetry in the strangest places:
Your tangled hair, the words that form
on my lips yet remain unspoken The sound of a phone ringing in an empty
room, bouncing off the hardwoods A cigarette burning, dangling on your lips One long ash that refuses to drop, to fall
away from the fire That is my soul.
Slowly turning to dust as you take one
more drag.


Peter Greenaway

Our worlds collide over
music and poetry In that too familiar place
where I planned suicide
and your girlfriend was raped I lived,
you turned to men,
almost died The chemo
killing you faster than
the cancer We are both in remission
You love the absurdity and
uncertainty of Peter Greenaway
films The changing colors of Helen
Mirren’s dress, the treachery of
numbers and skipping rope, the
insanity of architecture The critics wouldn’t understand
us either
We are stranger than fiction,
we color outside the lines,
we speak on the phone long
distance as if communicating
from different continents You are further north, closer
to London, the place we
both agree on The place we could happily
succumb to, the music, the
literature, the cinemas on every
corner where we could sit all day The proximity of our shoulders
electric, your hand on my inner
thigh the center of the universe These joys un-numbered,
living some other life, answerable
only to the whim of fate,
giving ourselves up to the uncertainty
We get into the leaking boat,
row out,
taking on water Holding hands as we slip into
the blackness Cheating death at our leisure,
surrendering to that perfect
finite weight.

October 27-November 2, 2003: Andy Baron and Luke Buckham

week of October 27-November 2, 2003



Andy Baron and Luke Buckham


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Andy Baron
nklunch@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

My name is Andy Baron I live in Houston, Texas I write poems.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Andy Baron and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Upon Learning the Details of Anne Sexton’s Suicide, I Fall Asleep

and dream
a girl’s voice
haunting me:

“after they die,
the dead go on

breathing “
I am shown
their calm faces,
grey and quiet
as wet clay
I am shown
a chest growing,
shrinking,
growing
The child
taunts me madly: “I
told you so!
I told you so!”

Every year,
nearing her birth-
day, Anne fantasized
the end of awful-
the arrival

at God I awaken, still
night, and death
is everycolor- sandcolor,
mecolor There is

no other But the dark
ocean is alive-
the black sky,
star-glittered
My knees are bent My feet are still My breathing steams
I tighten the oars
into water and flex
my boat forward
through the sea This is

the happiest rowing These are
the cleanest strides Exercise, that’s all One two one two
A voice again
only now it’s new:

“As you approach me,
I approach you “


Luke Buckham
aworminmywall@hotmail.com

Bio

I have recently moved to a weird little place called Keene, NH, where most of the citizens seem to live by New England poet Robert Frost’s declaration “good fences make good neighbors I am in chronic disagreement with this idea–I think that good doorways make good neighbors Hopefully someday I’ll write a line good enough to cancel Frost’s and make this area less frosty People must learn how to be friendlier or we will all die of loneliness
Sometimes I write poems

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Luke Buckham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

while she sleeps

Tonight the streetlights of a mute planet
are stretching their arms through our windows
trying to cradle you My body isn’t big enough Little whirlwinds of sand and leaves
play on the sidewalks like disintegrating children. 
Streets appear and disappear
in the blink of traffic lights and imitate infinity Past the boundaries of our crumpled town
Past the yellow arms that stretch through our window
Past the useless newspapers that never make a dent in reality
Blowing under the bridge to be eaten by the river,
Tyrants plots to overthrow tyrants,
feeding off the boredom of each other’s impossibly predictable cruelties,
and all I want to do is crawl
into the harsh silence of your hair and die
I don’t ever want to hear a newscaster’s monotone again
telling me in bland language that the air that surrounds your sleep
is going to be sucked out without a voice
by a missile or a meteorite And I’m tired of seeing my old friends
turned into robots by other, older robots I would kill the gods to make you smile
I wish I had never read that boring book
about the end of the world Now the orange digits of the clock
blink at your naked body like hungry animals
that have never bothered to eat You’re a cherub surrounded by gasping machines,
and I’m so tired that the moon squats
like a sumo wrestler preparing for his fat battle
on my forehead every time that I lay down
in your shadow that drifts quickly across the sheets
in a prism’d assault of sightless headlights. 
I don’t want these nightmares
to make their homes in your body. 
Last night when we were on top
of each other in the pushing air
I thought I felt a lump in your breast. 
Nobody on earth has ever deserved cancer,
but there it is I would kill the gods to make you smile. 
None of the so-called great religious texts
have ever described the way a girl looks
when she sleeps on my helpless bed. 
So I can’t trust a word they say. 
But do I remember meeting Jesus once,
late at night sitting on a park bench in Philadelphia. 
We didn’t have much to say to each other. 
I was on my way to a dance club
and he was on his way to the cross. 
I asked him why the so-called great religious texts
had never gleefully described god’s obvious handiwork
in the shape of your ass I told him that none of the psalmists
ever sang about it They were too busy
pleading for the teeth of their enemies
to be shattered in a sandal-clad kick He was too worried to answer me I tried to cheer him up, but his frown
was like the shadow of ocean waves,
crashing constantly but never into a smile,
and he kept saying to the empty, granite air,
“I don’t know what’s going on in the heavenly offices. 
I just wish I knew that this was going to be enough to satisfy them ” 
I told him that we never know
if what we do is going to be enough for anyone,
and tried to get him to come dancing,
but he said there wasn’t time There’s never enough time. 
Even gods can’t seem to conquer this problem. 
Now he hangs so quietly on his cross,
and we hang noisily on mine
I’m going to watch you sleep
until the furniture grows into my body,
and I become a part of your stationary dreams. 
Ambulances push the summer air
into whooshing fragments outside,
and you turn over with the funeral procession of youth      
already making its way across your face. 
I want to stop the wrinkles from forming
prematurely around your eyes,
but your spirit is too old for your skin. 
It keeps pushing its way out And we’ve done things in this room
that would make all the angels
stare in amused disbelief,
the action of our bodies has made us older. 
The church steeples and radio towers
lean into our windows with blank eyes
in fields of spiritual static
to see what we’ll think of next
Someday I’m going to walk out on a high cliff
above this mechanical city that is a false god’s wristwatch
and burn all the documents of our existence in the same fire Then we’ll be together without all these names I’ll watch the birth certificates
and botched marriage licenses,
the senseless pay-stubs
and the insurance forms
that can’t save anything worth saving,
glide off my fingers like limp birds
above the over-organized world
to be eaten in that fire, and the flames
will no longer make their homes in my nerves. 
On that day there will be no more gods and devils,
just you and I making love above
a field of crushed stars
and hollowly-singing beerbottles
that our guardian angles threw
when they got drunk on their watch,
grinding our mortal symetry
into disgruntled music on the rocks.

October 20-26, 2003: Karey Stram and Michael Pacholski

week of October 20-26, 2003



Karey Stram and Michael Pacholski


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Karey Stram
kareystram@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

I’m 47 and live in Staten Island, New York I’m a free-lance writer/performer I write and perform poetry and some comedy I moved to New York to focus on my writing after many years as a defense attorney in Washington, DC To date I have two novels, a play, a few short stories and an awful lot of poetry-mostly unpublished

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Karey Stram and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Wreck of the Andrew Barberi

I took the last safe trip on the Andrew J Barberi
Which had been slogging back and forth
Across and back
the New York Harbor
For countless years

I’d slept in that morning
after a long night
Tip-tapping at my keyboard
Trying to put yet another
Unpublishable novel to bed

My subconscious must have gleaned
The perfect time for me to make my bi-weekly trek
Across the harbor
and into mid-town Manhattan

I pulled myself together and caught the 2:30 ferry

As I entered he terminal I tried to guess
Which vessel would be at the dock
The JFK I thought
No It was the Barberi
One of the newer, not so nice boats

Gale force winds were blowing across the water
I shivered in my late summer attire
Wishing I’d worn my sneakers
Instead of the too-large Tivas
Which look like rafts attached to my
Battered souls

I wondered how the gusty weather
Affected the ferry’s navigation
As the ship plunged through
Choppy waves on its way to South Ferry

Had I abandoned my errands and stayed on board
I might have been at the front of the boat
As it crashed into the dock on its return trip

If I’d known her fate
I would have wished her Godspeed
And farewell, stout friend
As I stepped upon dry land

Now I wonder if street musicians
Kept playing
like they did on the Titanic
As the ship hit the dock
Panic ensued and
Bodies flew
Over the deck
into the cold green swell

Luck was with me that day

I conducted my business
And subwayed back
to South Ferry
To find a confused crowd
Straining to hear a muffled message
Advising
that ferry service was

Suspended

My heart dropped to my feet
I felt like a fetus with a
Severed umbilical cord
Or a junkie missing a fix

I had two bucks in small change
And ten empty fare cards in my pocket
I felt stranded
Left high and dry
Helpless as a babe
But only for a minute or two

Then I straightened my back
And followed the pack
Of marooned commuters
Out of the terminal
Towards Mecca?

No

I crossed my fingers
Asked strangers for advice
And found my way to the
End of the X-bus line
To wait, I presumed, for ages
And to worry about whether
I’d be permitted to ride
free

I pulled out my dime store novel
Preparing to suffer in silence
When low and behold
And X-8 huffed and grumbled
Up to the curb and opened its doors
Right at my feet

I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t say
“Oh no-these people behind me
have been waiting for oh so long

No

Grateful I was
for this promising twist of fate
and climbed into the bus
taking the last empty seat
Others behind me, more worthy,
would have to stand

No one grumbled
or condemned me as an opportunist
Perhaps they thought
they would have done the same
given the chance

There was a cheerful air on the bus
Those with radios or cell phones
disseminated information
about the shipwreck
and fellow travelers chattered and speculated
about the cause and the fate of the
passengers and the pilot

We settled in for what we thought would be
a long trip through Brooklyn
and over the Verrazano

But the night was young
And we were safe
And lucky
Not decapitated or dead
Or sopping wet from a spill
In the drink
Or stuck in a line of hungry
Angry, tired and cold commuters

Or firebombed
Or blacked out
Or 911-ed

We crossed the bridge
In less than half the time predicted

I got off at the first stop
To await another bus
Once again wondering
If I would be permitted
To ride for free

I gave 20 cents to a high school student
Who wanted to call home
And after I finally climbed aboard the 51 bus
My charity was rewarded tenfold
When a fellow traveler paid my fare

Cosmic Karma held fast that day

And if anyone tries to tell me
That New Yorkers are a
Grumpy, unpleasant, hard mouthed lot
I’ll say
Forgetaboutit!!


Michael Pacholski
koreaman68@hotmail.com

Bio

I’m Michael Pacholski I live in Gimpo, S.Korea (Bldg 313, Apt 101 if you want to go that far with it) I have a masters degree in creative writing from Illinois State University

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Michael Pacholski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Unnameable

Who knows where this one will go
what words and labels should I stick
together to call lines
and to whom are these lines singing
lamentably like a croaking frog
staring at a fly on a glue pad and staring
is it him or you or me or that one
on the park bench using
a half loaf of moldy bread for a pillow
or that one
what are the listings
of the clean detoxed bums in royal rags
and absinthe dreamers wearing the green glitter
the long-haired longers and princes
the flea catchers
and future pallbearers of the street
who knows where these and future tides go
do tides bury their heads in the sand
when bigger tides swallow them
do they smack them
in the lips
who is that figure
in silhouette
far off
by the lighthouse
barefoot in the tides
did he skip a rock in the tide
was it a bottle
did he slash a piece of glass
across his neck
he went forward
and, from thereon,
blended like syrup in a tequila sunrise
I would have called out a name
to see if he would turn
but I knew no name
I knew no name for him