Ruth Lepson (Massachusettes, USA): Four Untitled Poems

I.
Shelley was selfish--his m's give him away.

A few pages under glass--I had lost the faith that anyone should bother with them.

The women huddled together--Austen, Bronte, Browning.

The men not politic, perhaps, but political.
Yet many sentences are simple.

Merry Chaucer from family of wine merchants.

A note, the N-Town cycle, shows the performers of the medieval mystery plays a travelling company. "It was intended to be performed on a Sunday at N-Town."

The Anglo-Saxon Beowulf "is known only from this copy, written out about A.D. 1000…severely damaged, in 1731, in a fire."

Danish king Scyld Scefing’s body placed in a ship, "A gold banner flies over his head," "set adrift to be swallowed up by the sea."

Spenser's f like a tadpole, a medieval cross, two lines after it.

"As elemental fear" writes Sir Walter Raleigh in his Tower, in his History of the World.
Fills the left column of the left page and writes one stanza, bottom right.
Of Diana, Aurora, "Beauty that rumor made."

Donne, "son of a prosperous London businessman," "secret marriage to Ann More"; his father-in-law had him arrested. His g and his y begin the same way.

Philosopher Bacon "Found guilty of bribery and corruption." In his hand a moment of thickness, a moment of thinness.

Bricklayer, soldier, actor Ben Jonson--his page dense rectangle tiny words heading towards the binding.

(Herrick's manuscript "temporarily removed.")

Milton's "extracts from some 90 writers,” added comments of his own.

In Sir Thomas Browne's "Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall," (1658), "a meditation on death," the movement of each stroke is from the bottom left to the top right, parts of the paragraph crossed out.

A parliamentarian "surviving the restoration to serve Charles II in several embassies" wrote newsy letters--page long, writing medium-sized full of affectation "deprived of the Poet Laureatship in 1688 for his loyalty to the Stuarts."

Dryden's heroique Stanzas to the memory of Oliver Cromwell--his f like an 8th note, his l like a snake moving toward a piper. His letters underline other letters.

"The largely self-educated son of a Roman Catholic linen-draper," Pope translated the Iliad at the rate of 30 to 50 verses a day; here are some copied on the backs of letters addressed to his mother and to himself at Twickenham.

Here the "final verses of Achilles' lament for Petroclus in Book 19, facing a rough sketch of the shield forged by Hephaestus for the Greek hero." The surprise of his childlike drawing of the shield "hidden as the word of love." Words are crossed out and others written above them, articles are taken out, the syntax changed. "sigh tear for what he left behind"

Defoe's long lines in large book straight as in musical staves, the letters rounded.

Swift's letter--hand tiny and light, long page, no margins.

II.
rice paper clouds barely covered a charcoal and off white moon some gravestone rubbing you were dead i was alive it was always that way brown that’s the way it happened ever that way lying on the rug in the heat of the night playing that’s left you were dead and i was dead was there ever another ever underside the handle of it under ever to take that charge every day every sans seraph no more type more hype might that be a chance to take blake runes of graves dead letters post haste hastes are you sleeping in are you in the sparrow that leapt in front of my path in the stone other dimensions now we will never see you there where did you go my mine left take me away take myself a living particle of right&left and shift and score and drift say enough and it won’t matter what have you this is old i remember this scene from twenty years ago i’m too old for it now it’s melancholy to think about this and some birds make two notes, simultaneously

III.
there he is on the
cover the shadow of a
fern on the left side of his jacket
you can't see his eyes, hooded by
plain thick glasses
nothing extra in his mien
a serious man from the east coast
trees in shadow behind him
it seems his shirt is white and he wears
no neck tie, his top button unbuttoned
physician
who thinks all things frivolous unnecessary
loves the
gesture of kindness, bravery, love and
is sure in his loneliness all is
imagination what is he looking at

we can't tell
his hair is cut short
his ears are prominent
he was listening for something american
finally heard something about patterns
why do we revere him
his words are sometimes embarassing sometimes
boring he never goes over into the dramatic
yet personifies his very city
wilder poets paid homage
he had facts at his command
that is why we revere him
he memorized flower, latin, symptoms, lived
day by day seemingly unafraid of the death that comes
unstintingly and so he cd turn to weed or
broken glass at the roadside
bowel or child or old man equally

IV.
it never goes away completely
like the usa in the 50s
in a poor small town in the middle of nowhere
in those weeds by the side of a house, its paint peeling
and nobody home I am sitting here and do not move
across the street 2 american flags
cheer like leaders in the wind
that brought memory and war again
jazz helps fast language helps
war wounds yelp men dead again
we went to strange places on vacation
it hurt to live with them
there was no way to communicate
blurting it out didn't help anything
they just say you're strange in the vest
in the sink poison in the purse
so rest, rest till all that talk of
's squeezed out of you


© Ruth Lepson 2007

Larry Sawyer (Chicago, USA): Four Poems

LIFTING THE LID

Ferrari thought, baroque thought,

beneath the surface,
models in leisure suits flatten cities.

We’ll sift among them, our gills billowing.
Hello, happy vampires.

Hmm…look up: notice the light
in which a great ship is riding—
will it brave the deep and take us,
over dormant lacquered waves?
Of what do I speak?

The receptor cells quake,
taking in the last hours:
businessmen roasting on spits.

Worry is my tequila.

WOMAN

your eye is a recoilless rifle
my hand so believes
fourteen winds rise up
as the

roomful ghosts
plastic hunters in the ear

there are highway gamblers
in your impenetrable dress

your miniature bites
the size of Texas

your satin calligraphy
and indigo jive

the years are obsidian
our romance is meadow

your eye is a leash of fire.

LUNATIC NOTHING

Lunatic nothing laughs at me
from the tip of my tongue
a kaleidoscope geography
is all that I have, the corduroy beach
and silent water

That mind and I survive together
and I lust harmlessly the
cross of schedules
with a heart full of groceries
I wander appetite roads
wearing an enormous blue
mustache like a dessert

Perhaps you have seen her
indeterminant No
from where she reigns
atop the mosque of sleep

I’ll continue to prism
the vast outer centuries
until the gavel comes down
upon my conscience

Meet me as promised
beneath the full moon

close up and wonderful.

IT’S PURE GENIUS

We are so thoroughly sidewalk.
There are lights in my soul.
Through a trapeze I wear my tomorrow suit.
Saturday is such an exotic animal
as we devour our headaches, open our papers,
kneel between carnivores peeling silences.

My heart is a peninsula
where we eat the dessert called "memory."



© Larry Sawyer 2007

Mark Lamoureux (NYC, USA): Four Poems

REFLEXIVE

I wilt the love of name & bone

I range the shore of the day

I see the speaking machines

I hear the prophet bleed a copper pool

I waste the gold of shores

I length the gavel of the brook

I little songs & I without want of face

I the gloaming make of 4 a cube

I broken anaphora, the token splice

I smell hoodlum, no father

I this the electric taint of reflex

I bait the circle-hustler

I amuse the end time, the bronze ass

I 4 the bastion of naughts

I cross the angle, reflect

I seize no happening, fulfill this

I the scored days into another

I wait, I won 1 I fake nasty

I into wet evening the

I I spit out, dawn folds

I blanket in the seaspray

I no more forever in regret


LEGACY

A grove fills with the deflated
skins of fruits that thud
from the flailing limbs of a trunk
that bores through the skull-plate
of my imploding sphere. The pilgrim
wades through bathwater as tough
orbs give only thin milk. Brittle
hammer you were born with. Is
not enough. All of this. Shoulder-
blades stretched to sails, the leaden
fists, tiny whorls carved in each
cell of the root are not enough.
This breeds a carpet of tin hairs.
Clouds of beetles persist in splotches
thereupon like weather. Braids
of ooze that suck carbon from the firmament
are no good to you: void-born
& suffering, hard-won parade garb
lifted from your cracking clay
like a fly on a line. The disembodied
shirt prances. There is no party
inside. Are not enough. The missives
& the lens. Not enough. The umpteen
charged scrolls. Never enough,
the gilded membranes & skeletal
adaptations. A birthright, what is
eaten by the sea, a betrothed what
burrows in the shore. A chapter,
closed, what smiles from the shade
of kind light. Remember me
to the bell that rings in the buoy--little
brother, we of like duration.



LAOCÖON GROUP

A crest of molten dust
falls forward into erasure:

I tell myself I will
not go
even as I arrive
there, in a trough
corvettes of the new speech
befuddle the dock, solemn
ekphrasis a sunless gnomon:

11 or 12, a fortnight
of relentless
logic, each candle
gutters
in turn or the
difficulty


MOST LIKELY TO

I am not your avenger,
I was never.
Look, there are no lines
on my palms, nor have I pin
to etch them.

I am slamming a door
with 1 hand & with the other,
I am slamming another.

Something sets, a chestnut
husk, between my 2
eyes; tern’s wings scissor
turbulence not even
they can see.

© Mark Lamoureux 2007

Susan Wallack (Philly, USA): Evolution

EVOLUTION

Once before, when I was a woman,
(a diagram distorting the actual
dream),

I hiked a leg,
barking like a seal, &
urinated a long-
lemon stream.

Running south,
syrup over ice
cream, pleasure
over suffering:
the first idea.


© Susan Wallack 2007

Jeff Crouch (Grand Prairie, Texas, USA): Piso Mojado

PISO MOJADO

Laughter teeters on nothing.
The verge soft, then strongly lined.
The tower ragged, the drawers full of baggage,
The baggage full of rags,
The rags nasty with urine and sweat and grime.
The blonde—
Her weight all on one hip.
Swollen, with a trowel, re-working the tile.
Clean, what is? Clean. Disinfectants.
The overflowing toilet stuffed with notes about a movie you watched.
The blonde teeters on her own skin.
This skin, you think about treason.
Freckles.
You try to find a pencil.
Paper towel.
One streak of lipstick.
Nylon, black. Water, dark, damp.
Little to no make-up. Except lipstick. The floor.
Beneath.
New grout, but slippery—you wonder.
Laughter teeters on nothing.
You watch her smile. She turns.
With her hand on her hip.
Shifts.
The verge soft, then strongly lined.
A mop. Wet. Damp.
Hair. Damp.
Strong odor. Must. You make a note.


© Jeff Crouch 2007

Steve Halle (Chicago, USA): Blackbird, #s 4 & 5

BLACKBIRD #4

styrofoam packaging
w/ meat bloodstain discarded

a five of diamonds,
corners nicked off

the bud light can crushed, throw away

fuck sounds, a metal door
squeaks shut, silence, more moans

a half bag of mild winter’s salt waits unused

keyed up accord, she smokes
to trim her newly unpregnant body

she shows it

flower garden scuttled
a hip repair, metal-metal
an argument

snow falls one day,
melts next, murky
shoe run-off on white linoleum

market meet

in winter, potholes grow

a coffee can full of butts
sits off stoop right

crackpop wood burning,
whoosh of gas,
a scalding whirlpool
ups the buzz
and sleep, curtain.


BLACKBIRD #5

half-splashed in war paint
machete on canvas,

vomit is our Diaspora,
“yes, but”

idyllic in Germantown,
a depressed ex-model
tea for two by four
rots, or nails rust
from lack of proper
installation manual.

sip and taste misgiven weather.
rocks continue in bucket
love among the crushed coral

puzzle make hair, half-sip
or swallow before six.

a grubby denim hairline
inching spineward,
the paint taken off,

and soon.

emulsion in pomegranate juice,

non-proper, a defense of investment,
a denial of technique,
still-life withered grape above climate,
vin de glaciere tethered to tongue

hand swung and hamfisted

vision blurred by blood,

a nest, it ties it. a test
of flight in feathers of fancy.

© 2006 Steve Halle

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