AnnMarie Eldon



Counting On the Gods and Goddesses of Eldon Terrace


Its history is still.  Hidden
down pyjama bottoms in some
warm flannelette feeling
Where nanny would never suspect
and mommy only look for washing

Otherwise hands went colding out for balls
Would end up adult cracked like Shirley’s
scrubbing floors one room for each day-of-
the-week.  Wiping away strands of hair
from her greasy forehead bruised every Sunday

morning.  Huge tits (‘breasts,’ whispered)
from The Pill — hushed, also furtive, arms
crossed over fence or hedge.  Bouncin’ the back
yard to ‘er My Paul.  Regular not like
oh what was her name’s — the red head’s? And

just to think, we believed her
Sat at home with her dearole mom and daughter
fat and always waiting for mythical Dad.  Then
some fella’oud ‘ad a heart attack, slump-
ed heavy as lead over his wheel.  Dead

‘Course I never worked out why his one&only
Morris Minor went careering into that curb
Police.  Oh my God, so rare back then, came
not even to check up after the schoolboard man
but to fish poor Mrs. Whatever ‘er name from

outa the car.  Men.  We never thought them
of any consequence ‘cept sat on walls, shell
shocked, eye-lost, burbling nursery rhymes
All of them somebody’s once.  Utility-serge
and dads nearly all dead or at best with
one leg.  So

sex.  Hardly figured did it?  Loud on boozey breath
tap-swilled down the butler sink, clotted along open
drains under propped lines holding — if you were lucky
and it didn’t freeze or if they weren’t stolen by
knicker-sniffin’ Lesley — pegged underwear:

women’s pants, vests, pillow cases, handkerchiefs
boiled of their snot, even sheets
Flecked with slack dust if the coalmen had bin
Washed down by Mackeson, piss and star light
Sex — you’ll have to have it when you grow up

Tea cup, D cup, cup the warm inviting brew
of hidden clit down the flue of jarmies
Oh but we knew how to breathe and shake
and keep quiet about it and I did it at
school in love with my reception teacher

Her tits like my mommy’s had never been
Later, Mr. Courts and at the Grammar
some mad-un-married old harridan head who hired
two males in one term, thinking to reign us in
A Mr. Forget-his-name, little and thin,      the

Physics master who we tied to a chair during
a naphthalene experiment and hoisted him
on pulleys from last week’s project and then
left him.                                 Almost blew
up the damn science block.  Talk about stink!

Stupid bleedin’ spinsters.  Their no-men
hell bent dead from the wars
Psycho-frantic Miss Reed and her gobble-de-gook
religious education and the Latin mistress with
her fag stench and tweed two-piece and lesbian

lover, the ever repressive Hitlerian Miss Gray
Biology mistress (that word so — Unapt)
Oh you may think it strange now girls but I do
assure you you’ll fall in love with one man and want to
Be With Him for the rest of your life

Tubes, eggs and scrotum up on the board
Here’s lookin’ at you, you bull dyke pig
Here’s wishin' eh?  But you don’t know what you
don’t know is I wanked under my desk at aged 5
I could read ‘John and Jill’ and write my address

and damn it come right under your noses
IFOnly I coulda been as much trouble for
ladies up our terrace as I had been for you
cows.  Margaret and her Tony who laid her
out regular and you’d never see'er Mondays

Old Mrs. Brown who could do nothing but run
who lent us dog bones from outof ’er pinny on Fridays
‘til pay came.  Stooped Mrs Humphreys.  Her hooked
nose.  Who’d fucked granddad under my mom’s
and God only knows how the two kept at it

For years my mother and her bangin’ cupboards
through walls and other acts of attrition
Sweeping disinfectant demarcation in snow
Mrs. Low, who though she knew Mr. Low felt
us up or at best just sat us on his lap, kept her

nose out of his business.  Poor bloke first one as
he was to be made redundant
The Mrs Jones’s.  The younger one whose husband
died falling off his bike and then whose daughter
died of meningitis and who got psychosomatic-

arthritis and never walked alone again
No, I know none of them came
They wiped kids’ arses, struggled bags of potatoes
home along blue brick roads and kept days
full of windows, damp clothes, steps and ironing

Blimey.  Prettied by Amami, California Poppy
Nulon, Coty and Mum Rollette in the sixties
All floozies up the dark entry.  Even they couldn’t
see their bruises.  Grown old before their time.  Christ

I’ve lived more than their years in orgasms








Eli Jones



The Sheer Infinite


The sheer infinite
enormity of life
has as much hope
of being contained within
its own confines
as it has within a

Eternity has been
as still life,
The door is open
but within the cage
their still resides a

There is nothing that exists
fully bridged
for time the eternal
will forever ensure
that we all float
hopelessly adrift,

Can you see eternity
in a flower?
The pain the sorrow
the misery
the joy the love
the ecstasy
or does it only ever
equate to monotony?

Life is death
and death is life
as we take the knife
and swipe
at the ripe
blossom of being,

and then eloping with a stranger
from our very own








Danielle Grilli





You think it is the brick holding
this address here;

not the tiles, the struts,
the fanciful things,

or the low words whispered
through wide rooms at dawn,

just the brick or
some bolder cornerstone?

Is it fear that keeps you awake at night,
scares you from your dreaming,

is it the fierce lonely holding your lids,
despite dry eyes?

Have you wept them red,
waiting for your final breath?

Who is that child
crying beside you,

could she lift those stones,
place them one by one on smooth concrete,

fill the spaces with mud, straw,
whiten the walls after spring’s last rain?

Was it she humming down the hall,
a soft hymn, while the world slept?








Sandra Simonds




Sleep thing, sleep until
you are again

Of heartbreak
(place and place) the waking world is

bright with leaves and how unkind
the doorstep

or he gives
you water and then you drink or don't

take the hand or touch the water
to your

likewise sleep and sleep begin

or don't you know the sea that alleyway where
your dreams bob

upon pale
breakers and you the breaker

of some distant eye looking
far or don't

touch your finger
to that atmosphere and find unkind weather

so unkind and put the waking
world (like an

instead) in place
of this.







Elizabeth Kate Switaj





When I die in myself
burn me with my accordion
  on the white incense sand

When I die to myself
between rhododendrons
  and brown-edged roses

When I die of myself
burn me     if it is your will
  on your satellite dish

When I die with myself. . .








Marcia Arrieta




[repetition against self]


[repetition against self]  in a sleeve of air where the shore does not resist
the sea.  halcyon days.  sense no sense.  aimless wanderings direct
intellect.  the red fan has caught an old trout.  i no longer measure the
oatmeal the water.  every day we pack.  tomorrow we will spell adequate.
the potting shed harbors an orange tree.  [self against repetition]









Anne Boyer



Ode I

(Corrections in the Tenth Printing of the Twenty-Ninth Edition)


Strike I.  A vowel with a posthumous existence.

Strike existence.  If I turned into a feather I would give wings.

Erase feather.  Replace with thorn.  Give me the old poets and Robin Hood rugosas
hooking the jersey of the burglar’s clothes.

I shall always imply.  My sleep had been embroidered.  My soul had
become a lawn.

Insert:   Pet-lamb, dieted with praise.  The editor wrote “My very God! You’re a
wonderful poet.  Just Gasp!”

Strike gasp.  My skirts had fallen.  That faded, and I still wanted wings and to
scratch an itching that housewives should have their coppers scoured.

I am barely I.  I grew up somewhere.  I stayed home and planted Robin Hoods under
the south windows.  They died before they snagged the thief who stole the I.  I
died before I snagged the thief who stole the roses.

I ayes in the caucus of the soul.  Roberts insists on decorum.

The pretty blonde insisted I change my name to Andy.

Strike decorum.  The w A (or T, or knees slightly open).  E, also A, and the
tempting wee e.

We speaks in circles, the children giggling and/or fussing by our feet.

12. In referring to another member, he should, as much as possible, avoid using
his name, rather referring to him as “the member who spoke last.”

13. I am the member who spooked last.  I am not afraid to admit that I stutter
I, I, I.

14. >I<.

15. Remove >I<.  A common tawdry.  Who isn’t oversaid.   Who isn’t a stud in the
lisping tongue or a 20 pound barbell.

16. My closet holds a polyester corset, a velvet sans buttons, a paper sack of
overgrown clothes.  I can’t be i.

16. White out everything.

17. Disorderly words should be taken down by the member who objects to them and
then read to the member.

18. When the ink dries, can I fly away?  I has mistaken herself for a
nightingale again.

29. Cowering under the wings of great poets rather than to a bitterness that I
am not appreciated, I enunciates with gusto, and as the great poet enunciated,
there is no greater folly than to enunciate gusto like a great poet.

20. Erase great.  Erase poet.  Erase no.  Erase the I who confessed every sweat
that summer it was too hot to touch, even when we did that with only those, an
I and O.

21. Add emphasis to I contorting like O.

22. Insert I’s aubade in the epilogue.








Stan Mir




Cotton Mather In the Visible World

Because sleep does not resemble anything
everyone here wants memory in
exchange for this present
indictment.  We have never been

to town where inside everyone wants
this memory because there are no
doors for us, light hollows itself
this late in the afternoon.  I’ve explained

our possibilities for recovery, but this time
no one responds to the letters I’ve
sent.  The details are all there: red near
the corner of the lake, how the shade

scares everyone instead.  I happen to think
cold a joke, cruelty of this sky
is lightning, thunder has pride in ruining
us.  We are not servants, you are

not keeping enough from us, we
already know we’ve not won.



The Pipes Are Broken


Crooked or despondent
fallen snow or death

now wash him where light
under linen is a canticle

and the sum of banquet
is absence from the table

gotten sick it seems
paper dolls in the hollows

of my head a bus shaped
like a building

the official told me
the quiet hasn’t quiet

enough in winter the face
is a dusted face

buried before the first
fall of darkened snow









Dee Rimbaud



In Thrall To Lilith

She parades into my dreams: her impudent pudenda, an open, intricately
carved flower.  Bees and stinging things live within, waiting for the soft
whisper of invitation.  She is vinegar and vanilla, vaseline and vagina.

She is a cascade of vocabulary: vibrant and vivid.  The supreme vivisector of
vacuous idolatry.

Her dictionary is a thrashing of ten-fold limbs; and all meaning is encoded
in the fluttering of her labial wings.  I am a prisoner to her intelligence, her
volition, her erudition.

There are pale blue men
working her Siberian pits,
and all for the want of a kiss.

Lying out on her gypsy brass bed, she smokes a cheroot: staining the walls
with disdainful agitation — her cheeks, red as the cheeks of Modigliani’s

The blasphemies of pigment beguile: viscous rivers drain the soul of every
homely warmth.  Her likeness cannot be caught: it eludes with simplistic
ease.  Teasing, she baffles me with the pink virtuosity of her tongue.

In vain, I reach out to grasp her grassy banks: yearning for the safety of a
foreign shore; the heat of inevitability, the dark depths of her cavities.

It was she who devoured my strong ancestors: she who left Christ crying
and gasping for breath.  What hope then for me, with only my clotted
paintbrushes and second hand adjectives to protect me?

The future, I see, is a glassy cold pit: yielding nothing more than small
handfuls of flawed diamonds.









Jeff Harrison




* the literary mist / raw rain letter *


raw rain
  below hands' shade
             splendid drop

life underfoot — water years
  turning bare marvels
             mirror overwhelms grave

rain, with
  us, is called paper
             "raw rain / below. . ."









Ian Randall Wilson



My Dreams Long For Syntax


I arrive for dinner and die immediately, a figurative death
       involving silence and grape juice, as I said a death
       where the skins of the purple onions stand in for lost
       lives and that strange college friend in the corner
       who bears more than passing resemblance to the tall
       dark hooded man with the scythe.   How stupid!
Singing is not part of the scenario,
me, a complex soul sparking and hissing and ready for
I am full of cat and other arts of longing,
my nose is my nose though I have given up my claim on all
       other extremities.
I believe I should stay inside so as not to guarantee
       another incident in the long grass where the children
       are afraid to ramble,
inside where inside my chest is a terrarium that has lost
       its eco-balance,
where inside my chest is a golf ball the size of a golf
where inside my chest a dark peninsula struggling with the
a trash-can full of jargon,
a mine works silenced by the central committee
(wait, the mine is back in operation — plenty business
       from China) —
inside where inside my chest is a brothel next to a river,
       a bottle, a brother, a porte-cochere.
Louder can't be forced,
the Beloved tells me
as patterns fly above us.
She has the darling smell
and the look of someone waiting for the violent later.
I make love to her grammatically using metaphor and the
       end-stopped rhyme.
Before is only accidental
and between us the final won't flower
from inside issues sadness along with those ripe grapes.








Skip Fox



from tuv xyz zab def hij nop

Nothing prevails, ever, or over the sheen of whatness, locked in the
vault, storm of phenomena, facticity in spades, framed, or the biomorph rides
high atop a quivering pole and over all the world, blue shudders, only canvas
above, each crevice shining with a savage toxicity (and it’s all crevice!), wind
of sheer loathing.  Existential clowns in white face off their minds between
paren)(theses, or are we the parenthetical?) suspension over that of which we
might not speak, neither time nor space nor lyric of life, rather a continuation
in spite, . . . perhaps in lieu

Oblivion is singular, polarity founded on the ears, gracing, with
its absence, each particular, a sheet of hometown newspaper crosses and re-
crosses the cemetery night I lost my cherry, the obituary of pleasures in a
dark mind whose flame, unseen, reaches into everything, each chink of our
existence.  From such a one two wires probe the sky each night (as it grows
late, the mind grows early, words shine with emptiness in the valence of their
own condition, something between a lion and a forklift in the visual register,
minus it doesn’t matter, not excepting the words

Pressure on cervix, caul welling with fluid as moon (the best of which
might least be said) rises over the rim of doorjam, or am I confused?, Who am
I? is a long story I wish I didn’t have to bother myself with.   Bearing down
(pain), bowels adrift (more pain), or like the two black kids I rescued from
an avalanche, breathing dirt for a day, pulled them from under a dream, ran to
the hospital, in my arms.  Words heard only in chambers beneath the sea, or in
mystery itself delivered of rooms, buses, ditches, earthquakes, tornados, and
tombs, to the horror of every waking moment









Jesse Glass





                     Nature, in                                                             change
man; space,   air,      river,   leaf.  Art is                                      of this will
with               things, as in    house,            canal, statue, picture. But
operations                are      i,n,s,i,g,n,i,f,i,c,a,n,t,              chipping, baking, patch-
ing, and                                                                                      on


           go                 a man needs to retire
for                 I am not so                I          write, though not
                                O,n,e, let him look at                        rays that come
from those                                                           vulgar things.  One
might                                                                   with this design,          give
man                heave odes, the perpetual                         sub-me.  Seen in
the powder-blue streets of cities, how great          if                                in
a thousand years,                   we h,a,p,p,e,n,       eve      and      ore.






Faust’s Famous Interval



That holy shape
That shape

"s.        "
As Now,

That canst
Quin regis


me do?

To do
Yea do
Be it to make
Or the

            Meph.  I am
Faust.  Settle
To sound
Having commenced
Yet level
And live

dispute w,e,l,l,

Affords this
Then read this.  This.  No mooooooore;

A greater

And be

The end of

And thousands
                        Devil Musicians
d’s lewd O
            pict O.
da’n’d O, O
foot it
blood above


do’      ll

Ay, my
in nonce
            indeed do live
do leave
torn & torn & torn






& fell
mell, having


E/ye!! & eye
Ma’ll/ o (w!)
Good dye!









Hugh Tribbey



Finish Your Sentence


A moustache marches initially
and drapes the Lord of Silence,
the eventual infant,
a December trench
filled with purveyors of finished sentences
the visors of spies,
sends assessments of leering flames;
frappes, guppies, tresses,
restraints of the moist encore,
lava lamps over son coffers.
Advanced raisins send regards
with millions of ancient apricots,
and a tomb juryrigs a plea,
surfin' the village.

[Homophonic after "Fin De Siècle" by Jean Follain.]


Pour Noise On Other Aims


Just bore a souvenir, delay blinker, day montage.
Should terriers depend on a billionaire, delight source
par-delta led haunts of more glazes?
Pour offal mewlers or aims pour led rigor,
ill fault never an emu pear ripens,
ill fault setter advances, toes halted.
Pour mint a poise, my Aussie,
comes sigh state divine money
par low grace delays blinker, delays source,
pour diviner money, adroit damns led blue.

[Homophonic after "Pour Boire Aux Amis" by André Frénaud.]









Robert Furze



Kubin intolerant

Silverfish, slick jute-creeps, steal
penned in pen and black ink.  Question:
who sits vigil in the quilted grave
while the dope dead lump lazily outside?

(Gaslit the scorpion rides
the simoon’s reckoning, the gesture
a sort of regression, sermon-
victim of the caustic moment.)

Your hand intends a flower but flowers
instead a skull.  Death speeds, o followers,
where language has no license,
rose stalks or rebus, or a devil’s St’ly horns.

And. . . and in the Department of Behaviour Therapy
the poet skins merely the madhouse taboo
in cess pools and polluted ease, long corridors
lead like tombs of kings.

tamed in rhyme, tamed in monstrous rhyme;
myth&hero, who bares the poisoned meat,
and brushes his teeth with the blood of his enemies,

flesh soured ochre, dust sepulchre,
effigy of timber and idiot coke
alleys, charred listless: slewed facsimile
of furious modesty, half-devoured by shadow;

hunted, haunting the pen-stretch,
meddling in vice and Good News;
a slight bleeding, black as the bullet
an inch from his heart.

Ink, page, tangle:
outside of pain and poetry’s punishment,
the world merely moves,
region by region,

marking the spot the desolation
ended and began; traced from the other side
of snow think-glass, the piercing mask:
no sight; only slits where the eyes should be.

At your request the carcass made a fist,
haemorrhaging like a machine
without human credentials.  You were impressed
with the maze of insides; the ruins of Lord Thingy;

the timbers, slate tiles, ragg flints,
shipwrecked rags and club-fingered fits,
the conjured scorch of legsarms maybe.
Tombed maggots face up in the mortuary glass.

You sketched them how many times,
but found no soft words to unravel
those mysteries of flesh.  You assumed names
you could never remember.

Only at the pen’s edge were you open,
in the glass longing. . .







Brian Howe



A Palimpsest

Part I: Grandmothers, mirrors, other skies & c.

The universe slumped in a hammock devising ingenious new ways to break our
hearts, robe parting suggestively at its forked and dangling legs.

Between the serene hammock and the storm-gashed spasm of rock where we
cowered as if shipwrecked, certain figures moved into light while others
retreated — they appeared to be elderly women opening and closing side doors
on a long hall diminished by shrinking hooded lamps.

I did not say three times; Air, please open, and the air did not open.

Nevertheless, we suddenly stood before the hammock and waited to be
acknowledged like self-effacing butlers, which is the proper attitude for
sneaking up on a languishing universe.  It must be approached slowly, with
folded hands, as one approaches a skittish frog, high dive or declaration of

But this is just the beginning.

A universe in repose can also be a reflecting pool, so we doled out tobacco
and leaf, sat Indian style around the hammock and admired ourselves French

Grandmothers have proclaimed that mirrors hold their most cherished images
subsurface even when ruffled by wind, shattered by hurled candlesticks, or
unsilvered by time; and each day we discover new things about which
Grandmothers were right when we thought they were senile.

It was strange that the cat never changed colors; the tiny husks of phantom
dolls did amass on the white wicker chair — these were the components of our
new instruction, insofar as we could divine them from the rustling scrolls
of their ancient voices.

Whether graven with a stylus of iron or impressed upon flesh with a
fingernail, the imbricate afterimages of their manifesto, described through
the dimming of variously colored veils, persisted long after their immediate
utility slipped into the abyss between each word in the inscription.

The universe put its hand beneath the unfolding robe and writhed obscenely,
head falling back in ecstasy.

The sky within was flat and glossy like a photograph of water, centrally
pinioned by two gigantic hands knitting the heavens with worry.

Over the universe’s wild and bucking head, the Divine Barber stropped his
razor and entire epochs drifted into anonymity like beard trimmings.

Gouts of steam and the silhouettes of languidly turning propellers obscured
all visions.

By the seething radiator, a man who was mainly a dense system fingered his
lungs anxiously.

Grandmothers clucked and hurled their knitting needles with startling

Air hissed from everything deflating.








Scott Keeney



What Whole? What Sum? What Parts?


The ocean sky, the yellow sand,
A lawn chair, a mass market in hand,
Who can smell the hot dog stand
As it happens at the moment

An exuberant, more intimate form
Of democracy is obsolete,
And so the detail of the conventional
Demarcations of desire, implicit

In performance, excludes an upheaval
Of the present that is both voluptuous
And political, where absence is
Grace, that manual of detachment

As mystification, as technique
For attenuating the ways in which language
Is the literal participant in the body
That seeks the exemption from meaning,

Not unlike a chair, a book, to find
Some connection, and yet nothing to say:
As air is to fire, to ocean, sky:
Renewed upon contact, emptying away.






Michael Estabrook



but no one was dying

in the dream the road collapsed, dust,
shattered glass, and twisted metal everywhere
like a cache of dead bugs
as I stood alongside and watched the cars
ditch into the ever-widening trench
formed by the earth’s splitting
like a giant knife slicing through naked flesh
then it filled with water
and the cars became submerged
panicked people banging windshields
with hard fists, clawing through doors
jumping out with their children and dogs,
screaming and yelling
but no one was dying (thank God)
there was just fear and anguish, confusion
and turmoil everywhere, and there wasn’t much
I could do I don’t think
besides climb up to the top
of this hill to get a better look







Nick E. Melville



The Ticket Collector



his pockets were full
of tickets         collected
on buses for months

at home he had packed
shoeboxes with them
dating back years



at first he did it by default
when he was still working
accumulating them in his suit
for weeks       before discarding

one day    he started
            saying to himself

I’m going to collect my tickets
and see what they tell me



he puts today’s ticket
in the palm of his hand

it curls up

reminding him of
fortune telling fish
that used to come in xmas crackers


those fish told him nothing        either








Clayton A. Couch






What the mouth'll say
disconnected from brain
is a guess.

Gestural mutters
towards an artless blunder.
What loves for you?

players talk sun:
a recreation redressed,

a flurry of bloating.
Mind ceases movement
after accident's tracing.



Batch File


bartend a single a sole politeness wedded here
finger mingle the trigger separates your hide &
itches we opine you dreary separation anxieties
platformed above a helium high-horse the game
ends softly respect a question & hopeless frugality
just the stairs say antenna & reflect a more pristine
regime that's vending arms & wearing flagrant
stories of cheating librarians just to count three
birds & sing microwave come-ons so the gala lasts
for more resistances or clamors for perfect vacuum
hurtled into wakefulness the speech connected
waves with pure thundersticks & I need what hums
the mortality of digital zig-zag for the high voltage
wires deceive & we have no time used phrasings
the broad feelers overstimulated caffeine splurge
tear the release of mythological loci & germinate
typed espionage & drive motor catches bacteria
in a pandemic of foreign relations & they preen










Steve Timm





The kind of light where
there is what I would.
Pause ballast.  Leopard
lines of horizontal
willow its used
to lozenges of
leaves take bow today.
Shoot.   But it’s not.  A
rank file call.  A blister
animal tell.
Softener missing
name of wort to heal
this froken frazas
in a peal of could
fronted.   Kind mammal
strange except its name
& if it came out
mane just the damn same
that no this flat sense
of [wiyl].

eratio poetic language issue four, fall 2004, edited by gregory vincent st. thomasino