E·ratio 11 · 2008



E·ratio 11 · 2008




from Conveyors of a Loosely Knit Etheric Build


  by Derek Owens





A Young Entrepreneur Named Kaminski



Outside his window the world was locked into its pattern.  A sense of belonging nuzzled him in the dusty room.


“I’ve always liked Art Deco.”


Yes, this was his destiny.


And his life progressed on an even keel.


He found that he couldn’t explain turning his back on the external symbols of his life.


Enormous brass padlocks twice the size of a man’s fist!




Oh that wacky image of himself as some kind of pioneer restaurateur.


And what of his wounds, the wounds of the world!


Behind the flowing ribbon of unreality the furnishings of Life had changed.


He wouldn’t be fooled by the blood flowing through his abdomen. Not now, not this time.




She wore a long red evening gown with spaghetti straps.  A silk flower clutched her left hip like a crab.  Her hair was bobbed short and she wore deep crimson, almost black lipstick that echoed the hue of her long fingernails.


“I’m friends with The Dead.”


“He’s good people.”


They drank Chivas, ate beer nuts, grew garrulous with drink.


Dark things played in the liquid at their feet.




“It’s firve-thirty in the morning!  Yer chicken pot pie’s been on the table for almost ten hours!”


The ceiling of the world split open like a can of tuna.


A dog lifted his leg as a huge sonic boom roared overhead.  Yikes the sky is falling thought the dog.


On earth farmers in a Midwestern cornfield saw the brilliant flash in the sky.  The explosion lit up the pyramids. In Kaminski’s house in Texas Kaminski’s father was watching the teevee.




Everyone went nuts as the heroes came down the runway pumping their fists in the air.


“You’re a pillar of nobility.  You don’t believe anything that isn’t substantiated by forms.”


The words caught the old fellow off-guard.  For a moment he looked misty-eyed.  Then his usual bluster returned.


“Prove it, then!” he thundered.  “Find me some real pudding!”







After Clark My Life Was Over



pretend the scar’s

not there


to have been born without parents

sucked out a hole in a 747


melted away and now look who’s swimming to       Mars


we have taken worse, we have given better

one anchors against what is insoluble


noses pressed against the windows

he’s tracing signs in her breath on the glass

you can tell there’s love inside


yellow bumblebee stings the small dog


as for those we care for

one can’t embrace them enough







Hollow Earth



crosshatchings in the bowl you’re born into


subliminal Petri dish choreography


reading the lumps on the librarian’s head





where tracks are tracking









Derek Owens directs the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John’s University, in Queens, NY.  Much of his work is in the area of composition pedagogy, sustainability, and writing program administration.  Conveyors of a Loosely Knit Etheric Build is an example of “d.j. poetics or what might be called compost theory.  I seek out pieces of language from unlikely sources: forgotten supermarket horror novels, romantica, self-published works by psychics, old comp handbooks, discarded newspapers on the Long Island Rail Road, cookbooks by Ted Nugent.  I cut and paste and combine and rework lines and phrases, store the material for a time, then pull it out of hibernation and rework some more.  I like the idea of mining the kitsch of the world, letting it percolate, and being surprised at what sprouts on the other side.”

E · Poetry Journal