poetic language                 issue five                 spring 2005


Rosanna Licari
Cyril Wong
Jake Berry
Joseph Armstead
Camille Martin
Diana Magallon
Roy Frisvold
Joel Chace


  Peter Jay Shippy  
  Brad Flis 
  Thomas Lowe Taylor
  Amos Tang
  Dorothee Lang
  Rizwan Saeed Ahmed 
  Andrew Nightingale
  Aryan Kaganof









Rosanna Licari





white, a spongy sun
tentacles tipped with mauve

a moving mandala of a thousand petals
found its place in the aquarium
on its sole foot

me, contemplating
a bodhisattva's miniature perfection.




the coast road


last night someone called my name
and i woke up to no one
but a book beside me

i measure sparsity between lines
and wonder what could have been said
then consider swimming in silence
thoughts float against skin
and seep into marrow —
if you dare speak of courage

i've had days filled
with dressing gowns, cups of tea
toast and too many cigarettes

once i took the long way home
beauty was stuck in my throat
for months.




Nudged to beach by a night tide


& the black & white fluttering of butterflies
in front, beside & above me
move towards sea & horizon,

but my conversation is with stones,
speaking into the cassette recorder, making notes.

texture pitted with experience,
a life of stoicism,

following this trail to the north end
the headland juts, etched & dense;
I tread a path between rocks,
a gateway to a pool
& yes, in there, more stones.

I bend to gather & my recorder falls,
the dialogue breaking
                               water talks on to tape,

then rewinding back along the beach
I weave through the games of children.












Cyril Wong




Scraping the Arched Roofs

                                         Discussing poetry
at the playground's periphery,
cigarette smoke scraping the arched roofs
                            of our palettes.

              Look at the lamps in their fixed patterns along the track.

                             Look again: they float like buoys on a wave of evening.

              You and your similes.

Sitting between demarcations of grass and asphalt,
               watching a child ride a swing pass that highest point,
a mother's warning about falling off and injury.

               Why do you write?

                               To describe a moment, to know I can
                               inscribe an order, shape its glow.

                Why do you write?

                               If I didn't, I would sing.

An old Chinese man asleep on a bench
lined with newspapers.  Listen
                 hard enough, you will
                              hear him snore.

                 Isn't art its own boundary: a prisoner's ear
                 strained against the wall of his cell?

                              Some walls are really balconies.

One looks up to point at the evening sky,
                 its ascending gradations of light.
                              A schoolboy glances in our direction,
carries the weight of a schoolbag all the way home.

                 Let's watch as night raises its broad wing,
                 erases the colours of a city.

                              Let's watch as the city rides away on night's
                              broad wing into a dream about colours.




White of the Paper


When a child
paints with adjectives
of water-
colour, the sky

is pale, vague
veil of blue,

while a tree faintly
embraces the sun
stark in the picture's
center like a heart.

Her mother
points out the transparency
of the backdrop

to those verbs of branches
not hugging
the sun's yellow full-
stop, but catching
its spokes in their fingers.

The child
looks up at her and
points out the dried-out
pods of hue at her feet,

while in the unfinished
span of field, eyes
are opening in green;
together, they
observe the extent
of any in-
completeness, white

of paper bursting
through a metonymy
of clouds, singing
in unison
a chorus of void.




twig shrugged off a tree

for Khin Aung Aye

a twig    shrugged    off a tree     was

stepped on    passed over    kicked     picked

up     then    thrown    to the very edge

of a canal    such altitude    overlooking

a bed of waves    like a poet    on that brink

of poem    before a wind    persuades it to

fall    it falls    but lands     with relief

amazed at    being    able to float     down

one canal    after another    before entering

a river    then shock    of lake     knowing

a different shore    awaits    its arrival

but     for now    this    bewildering    passage

through water    riding    upon its own

reflection    the sea    already in the distance












Jake Berry





Election Eve 2004

I go out hungry.
Vestiges of ancient meat hang in the branches,
swing from the flag poles, pour like
rain out of windows in rooms
where murder is born.

The men there,
a squat, tailored homunculus
surrounded by chanting politicians,
feed on the navels of outland children
forced to machines in Shanghai and Jakarta.
They grow terrible amusements of
death mask zealots that lock me in at the trough.

I go out hungry and mean for the
world's lean spoils and eat till my tongue corrodes.
This is my birthright.
These are my reptile eyes.




The evil distills in them
over years, generations
until the children are born
with its bruised flower
shinning in their faces.

His eyes are as vacant
as the burned out cars in Babylon,
a dead refuge,
only the poison survives.
His very soul is a mask
hidden from himself
by family ceremony.
Other masks are chosen
from an antique cabinet
to meet each day's requirements.

And all around the ranches,
summer homes, compounds
and mansions
the war dead circle, waiting.




Genesis Among the Infidel


Radio garbles the forms before they appear.
A ballet of half-born monsters that clutch
at the ballerina’s wings.
Grandfather answered for those crimes
when he left the fields and took up
gun and hammer and delivered Jehovah
naked and raw.

That was long ago,
now the machines have returned to oil and dust
and saltwater rust convinced that Nature is a woman after all.

Or maybe a worm
depleting the sunrise of the usual suspects.
All down in single file the puppet masters march,
the boiler room delivers them, a feast of loneliness
and bacterial soup.  Genesis among the infidel,
sweet as molasses on a cornbread tomb.




The Middle Ages

What can a man do?
   He falters in his speech, he
stumbles on the stairs,
   he waits for the women to stop weeping.

There was never enough misery
   in the world to force its patience,
  but God knows it brought
  floods of the religious
  and every carnal prayer
   an adolescent boy could breathe.

"You need these," his wife was saying,
  "you need these shoes!  The shoes
you're wearing are worn to rags!"
   He looked down at his feet
  and saw nothing but clouds—windswept clouds
   and vast broken landscape.
"If I had remained a machine," he thought,
  "none of this would be possible."

So it went for weeks at a time.
And the leaves sung like hammers
   left out in the rain.




The Old Man Laughs


A paucity of windows,
   the old man shuffles toward the stove.
  He'd leave his horse and carriage
         in the gaslit eye if only
     the high sheriff could devour everything Roman
that lies in the waste of America.

"I've eaten ravens by the dozen," he says,
      bending over to light his pipe,
    "I've taken everything the centurions
        could throw at me
       and laid their sibyls more than once."

Libraries have no category for his words
   and no one hears them.
      Only the bats and moonflowers listen,
     moved, but silent.

  Still, deep inside the wetdreams
     of bankers and theologians something
     sinister thrives.  They feel it gradually
    like a snake around their ankles,
    like a garter belt dangling from the fingertips
         of a whore they can’t erase.
   Somewhere in the shadows the old man laughs,
       though even he has no idea why.












Joseph Armstead




The Orchestra of Storms, Silent Fiction


Let the rain pour down
upon me darkly.
The waterfall is pouring
a thunder of
dreaming over
the edge of my soul.
I cannot sleep.
Crimson light pours and
enwraps me
in a cloak
of childhood fears,
human bondage.
I scream as I sail burning
across the rising mist,
quicksilver fire and
singing fury, a rainstorm
falling skyward.
I cannot sleep.
And I cannot stop the flood
of memories,
scenes from a
disaster, and the scream
becomes music,
gaining volume,
complexity, drumbeats
and horns, violins welling,
woodwinds mourning,
all plummet into
over the waterfall's
roaring edge.
Rays from a scarlet sun
encloak me in  
an embrace
of abandoned fears,
hysterical joylessness,
human bondage,
and singing fury.
I cannot sleep.
Let the rain pour down
upon me darkly.












Camille Martin







reworded morning, full
of threshold. one is still hungry,
evoking ends between wake

and memory. one connects the night
moment by moment, at times when the public
rights of day overwhelm the body.

to be the warmth of another
produced only from the instant—
a pure perception

strengthens a self in plots of
the mind and its trees transmitting
thoughts unproblematically

transparent within itself. many persons
gently fall to feel the night, each wave
of relatedness at morning a song

without words in which one conceives oneself
to emote, walking in a private field
where no amount of object

denies the soft, speechless center. the
street, the threshold transcend ordinary
categories in the presence of a replica. even

when one is alone, brief, adequate behaviors
blur their own edges formed from objects
of daylight one can no longer know

in the common life of us. even though
one loses color in scenery, consciousness entangles
a self in the idea of another,

disappearing onto paper. identity requires sensing
many sensing the defects of the mid-range
and splitting to produce a frayed

potlatch. reactivated moments
on an inexpressible roadmap do
the experiencing of many persons.

these initiate the constant movement in plots.
still, within finite self and moment,
no gesture can ever be familiar enough,

and the body is once more poised to claim
one's private rights.
one is still hungry.



elementary harmony knows the particular type
of any given sound degenerating into the first light
gold rush: an evolutionary tumor in a well-shaped

melody. a strong force of melodic continuation
allows the soft core of reason a frictionless way
into the resolution. one determines the intrinsic meaning

of the future with glue. there's still something
natural left over, a digestible and lenient syntax,
the incompleteness of elation toward something.

an urgent image's ghostly and regular cadence—
its geography, its ectoplasm—dangles
oblivion over the final chords, the earlier parts

having been resolved, pleasing unsuspecting ears
in a desert. oblivion in the first measures
could have been written as the fullness

of soldered fragments. the final chords exert the
pressure of remembered words influencing the future
with no nothingness. musics of fragments

occur in the everyday listener, pouring smoke over
a grid of circuitry. the arrival of pure background
can be a closer unity in another culture. sky

reflected in mud. a lapsed yet invigorated
wordlessness sounds a believable resting place
within a norm of expectation. one foiled sequence

of the opening motif creates a gap in the audience
so they may imagine escaping into
the previous consciousness of a soldered melody.

the listener will hear the final chords as an everyday
matter, contagious building blocks exhibiting
different degrees of closure. it is through such gaps

in structure that intrinsic meaning and expectation
process the sky from below in an ongoing
musical development of quicksand.



remember spreads from each pocket a story and confusion
faint of knowledge. it is used exclusively for the numerical tendency
to read like particles of ocean. one compares many forms the dark of ocean

would not be likely to balance. one hardly ever sees a passing
natural motion. the parallel succession of variety reads
like a struggle secretly lost in the haze. lovely bodies in a story

sleep, warranted by everything assimilable. i'm convinced
of their physical conditions with strict geological sense. a many-
bodied silence spreads from one another. their cells are ready

and swift as they land, aware how charged the eye, how polished
shapes, barely invisible and shrill, withhold exemplary fables.
there is with reason a very little identity beneath every part of a draft,

parts of new phrases all the same relative position at once loose
in the world. the world oftenest gives rise to the ductile and wavers,
withholding nothing. architectural powers of jetsam

and barren islands consume their glacial efforts
at separating into layers. what is a broken condition if there is not
a piece of storm. the wastes, moreover, do not like to be checked

by a repeating place. one doesn't know wastes if one is likely
to strive to light, not be checked by and in the window,
sing at premeditated distances from the climax of evidence. if

again there is with the dodging earth a repeating place,
an individual whisper, wasted children, it dooms them
just because an accidental self calls the many forms

one doesn't remember, funereal snow. i don't remember spreads
from one another. the room, the elapsed time, no wonder
all the climate is with the structure, the head a distance

of sleep, and photographed wind like a broken condition
dissolved by a bird into separate enslavements. this is
a repeating place, on which they make all their feet when

landing. there, different distances within a lagging dream watch
edible plants rank and bend the wilderness of their own form.
possessed play becomes neutral within a steady nocturnal sentence ripe

for good standing with the forms one must be checked by.
even if one is continually changing slowly in the dark,
ripe for intermigration in the same position relative to the blue

view brimming voice, the forms one hardly ever sees throw off
their inhabitants. potent activity lost in form remembers, spreads
from one function to a web of sleep and opens the wastes. because

a piece of simplicity germane to one function, to the open ocean,
would not be likely to confound one another. the shifting process
cuts its purpose, scouts tomorrow's fable measured by fine gradations.












Diana Magallon







  bees in both hands
  page in both books
  knees in both lands
  time in both knees

Proust   "

   prose in both bees



1.- arme


3.-white ballet eyes





A kingdom
Is a country
That has
A king
A queen



There is a plate
There are the spoons











Why the lions
Leave Rome?






I am the daughter

   I am XXIII!












Roy Frisvold






Extended remains
The proportion between
somewhat cheaper,
ruined and he finds himself
irksome but
politically emancipated.

does not explain it.
and in greater detail
It has reduced
pure, decisive illusions
with a copy,
pestilential numbers
transformed or in the same way



Marat the Object


placed it
alone and unreasonable
the Peace, ambitious
eats, made of
the friends

the voice

Savage to preserve

a single one of hands
from this abyss












Joel Chace






.     devil of regret and uniformity /

square dancing on stalks in

golden alien light     ask

the family surgeon in / you'll

see embrace of electioneering

follows like a run

of civility or hopeless chits /

that decision to abandon

everything unknown     sewer

odors / resistance corrugated /

narrative squeezing until it hurts     .






.     asylum protocol / but that

iceberg's path was traced

with apathy     frolicking and

redundancy will hide

nasturtiums / international waters

tranquilized should lead

to independent film     widely

known that anyone can

teach English / repair cow

fences     jaded / iconoclastic /

sexy chest muscles spreading

spittle / makeup scripted /

aroused / well practiced /

playing it reversed     .













Peter Jay Shippy






Quaffing rum,
Sweet Tooth's

Uncle Vito

You zakuskahead!

yakitori, xenopus

were very
unguent treats.

Serving rare quail?
Piquant ortolan?

Nouveau mousse?—
latched-up kudos.




Vostok winged

yonder. Zooty

xeriscaped water
viroids until

tertiary syphilis—
rapacious quicksand—

poured out, northward,
making love


In Hollywood—
God figure eights.




Zephyrus' xoanon
was valued

under toad spit

police ordinances

now mandate
latch key

jock itching.
Heartbroken Gods

fight expenditure

cloistering, bulimia
and access brokering.




Casting die
edge forward,

grabbing history
in jaws

kept locked—
marked necro

on pelt quipu.
Raree show

trapezes use
vicuña with

yellow zags.

Zapata youth:
xu warriors.




Veins ululate.
The ship rides

plaintless. One

night, magpies

Kansascity jazz
in high-hat

fada emporiums

Chenin Blanc

and a beatific cord
dead ends.












Brad Flis




Girl in a Red Dress


Already seeking peripheral dilations
to sample the cold and streaming plums
she covers the waterfront unpumped.  It is so easy
to imagine chat-rooms, ruined pallets beside
the blithe children of a practicum

unpaginated corals laid to rest
upon her bullet-sized tendons, a perfect
discotheque when too many parks
adjourn to crouch the climate fellows
and it is only Tuesday, beyond state principles

gushing in the direction of nudes
equestrian truisms inventing the sleep-embankment.
Following her hype, the abrupter clank
and breed, pulled marble from the floors of great
Italian courts, what could be chem-labs, anointing

her statuette and not the tree-arcades
extolled by loupe prefabrication— this merchant's window
to that merchant's window— a bricolage of personality
displacement, like a woman in a red dress who reads for a generation
of neglected swimmers, two chairs, under cloth of duress
and truncated, yet wholly approximate to each other.






your feelings spoil
unbuckled inch that you are
the indescript tarantula
of hopeless science
you drop-hoist
into my bulk
a trickle-down
prom inscription
for this rubber
tube repair patch

and only there, within that sinister ahoy
to castle
back-row slags
a single barrel-jump
you tuck
beneath the protest
comforter in small
hotels along the Niagara, everything
in heat

a grape.
half-sheared darlings rouse
your chain
from trope. time degenerates
through a provenance
index, the cutout
work a bio
of nimrods

from a thick puddle of cream
and so the third day
sits choked
like a glop of Paul
inside the libation-casino
restless and forlorn

before his speech
where he must be thinking:
a mention
is not ample for
a german
is no angle

and so the tune
until my boat is full
with zoo-parcels
destined for a faraway scrap
of the capital Expo

while, returning from harbour
blurred asters flicker
your panes
with guitar-crust.

you stoop and sniff.
now let us consider
the impossible objections.













Thomas Lowe Taylor



mar manos


     You'd ascribed too much to nothing at all, cramped in its austerity and
resembling a hand along the line without any print at all; Mexican salad on the floor
beside the table.  Spooji Weldun collapsed at the sign of plenty in an otherwise
empty day ahead to be filled with comfit and spoon against the willowing fen where
the wind is too strong for one to stand up, yet a landed time was porked forward
without nouns from an angry distaste for who'd leaned into a far away tune not
marked or spoken, less silent than imagination's refuted claims to have an answer to
the basic questions like "wha" so far in the night's nation respondo grass growing
daily inches to the tune of a troubadour without portfolio.  Heeded then at the
blowing room left flattened by spoon and temblor from sounds of what went apart
afar, no motor to your masts and flagons.

     Here's this, what crackles now and then a line or stupor in dark glasses he
signed no voice in the air came to him like an answer to what was not thought but
impressed upon the sands of time and time again gathering tides the knowledge of
other days a fervor in the sign made with open finders lingering at the tune before a
small crowd of three or four was all that came to the reading again and again making
up to the lute or fender, Spooj, as he was called by his correspondents, affirmed the
attention by ballooning lackey stamps on envelopes of disdain or fashion crumpled
into a box of presence.  The tires flat, the car's paint pealing off against the pressure
from outside a fluted plane flying too low and stroking into the tree lines flatter on
the canvas than a photograph.  A leaker, a poon, a formality from slow picking up to
days not sent or leavened intent or other, but covered and roped aside into lanes and

     Like a motel on the inner sea, lions and slippery slugs gigantic in the moon
are heading out to take control of the mountain's rhyme for something shorter than
what's described in the old manuals of discontent, a lord's flaccid hope is pushed
forward from anything flying too low, hair on the floor, shining stranger at the gate
asking permission to enter the room.  Butterfly barks restore the air in explosive
finity laid aside nor Esperanto made the ark reply to his anxious looms, yet hard, yet
far and song, yet name and pline, there the offer amended non to floral grooms a pull
and stammer.  Scarfed a plinty fool, healed another stark and center the soul's
departed evidence was let alone in organ's underside replete to dog and dong aparted
soon or formed like ministerial sums. Eye and charm on the wings of night restitute
the shaking hand of the master as it comes apart before and after.  This is the home
of light.

     Nay a home, nay a plinty.  Sharp her lines of tone in these ministries of the
heat where nothing stays the same but doesn't change all that much.   Private
conversations beat the manner into flattened corpus as she put it.  Out is not all that
much.  I recall your drift and saw it willingly carried forward on the currents of light
which are the noon and sample, but which also refer nowhere the same into sensory
datum, and which are themselves fodder for new tones of inclination and spread.
Later scones are pushier than you'd thought, and yet the hillsides are conversations
in another language which declaims without verbs or any linkages to other sites.
Your own demento.  Privacy in diction and an isolated withering on the mind's eye
sullen disrepute over the later mosques where the daily struggle is borne aside by an
unseen hand you wish was there but which is not.  Arced (are said) reams of bent
color prism the sound of your wand through the air swoosh swoosh into the evening
sun's radiance and proper.  It is a willingness of the landscape to survive these
onslaughts of oil drilling and otherwise muted, benumbed attacks on the version
queen.  Spooji cleans his hands again and sets off to work unintended but forced.
Foresaid allows no steamers inside the rays of blue and green which are the national
sensations of yet another new country on the face of it, a map of unintended
destinations.  Narks a loaf.

     "Hire them now" he screamed.  Liners on the deck of the ship were formed,
and new lutes spoken for are not now seamed nor even laid aside in the moonlight
for measurement.  I'll aisle and then weep. "Rock the dusky fools," Spooji replied
without pity or scorn.  Blue novels made November suck gas.  Interface games were
applied to the newer recruits, and they were made aware of light emanations and
fluctuations.  Would you nod apart?  Would you claim the scintilla as a small ship of
foam and dusk?  It would help if you would respond with something other than sap.
Rock me.

     The appearance of a parent was not apparent.   Polarized north and south as
poles are wont to do, they were not left alone but stroke the liner to help others
parasitize make contracts on your sudden departure from the scene.  Lets it slide.
Hoser.  Lay that hammer down and machine gun the car into a fortunate link.  Other
tragedies beckon our limited sentiments for their own lingo yet scan the door with a
mood or light into sensations we've doubted too long.  Your tongue cut.  Your ankles
of swollen terms which are not noted in the manual at all, apart from the hoods
without eye-holes.  You'll remember the white hoods from our own manual which
had eye-holes cut into them.  Costumery of silence.  Crucifixion on the crossed arms
of the guards at the door.  Resilient youths of indeterminate age block the doors and
push you back into your seat so that nothing will 'go wrong.'

     Ol' Sea Hand he was called.  Carrying the load properly was a part of the
Spooji scatter of whistling great hymns and symphonies, and the crew of a hundred
whistlers soon overpowered the latent prints on the gun itself.  Aparted schemes
made the parking lot wet.  "The sentences!  The sentences!"   was all that was hard
upon the waters of life.  Spooji Sea Hand made the literal move to the big leagues in
a rampant bus of wire and black, strong to the right hand lane, but not so sure
otherwise of any particular line or fathom.  Now the other tooth hurt, the one with
the gold on it, indicating that it was already dead; it was a ghost disease of invisible
proportions, this political climate.  How was one to even get angry when it was
disclosed by one's eye-shape and internal cues.  The neighbors came up from the
desert to restore their lot by the sea.  Nothing made any sense at all, it was all a
confusion of fluctuations and disregard.  "Talking out of the side of your mouth," he
noted.  It was once again fashionable to do so and so.  Don't tread on knee.  Ripe
your allowances and nieces down to bed.  It's not really so bad to dream, but they
recur with nightly passion, leaving you selfless and defeated in the waking moments
as you struggle in the refrigerator to name another bottle of unknown substances
which lives at the back, in the darkness and vegetable slime of old days and nights
surprised.  Nothing climaxes the moon into submission like a great big green tank
with a gun on it.

     He mounted the gallows amid howls of masturbation where the signs were
made by hand and arm signals only the privates knew.  It was a loon or another
laughing mule which loaded the platform with bags of wheat, and he stacked them
into attractive piles worthy of a degree in some kind of space preservation which on
the surface was another silly demotion of the academic into the pliant and profuse.
Nowhere in the name of polemy was it named thus and so, but the door, as they say,
was always open, so come on in and take your place at the right hand of dog.  It's
not clear what the left hand wants, but it has your name on it etched in Vaseline.
Like a version.

     String light and burping filled the room with volume and control.  They did
not exactly ask but forged ahead into some kind of willingness to repeat accidents
and cruelties where the bleep was not so much bleeped as left to someone like
yourself to inhabit and make known to the others, a disease of which little was
known other than its travel and scene.  Floes right along.  Monsters of the deep
which look just like you do.  People on the phone had small tinny voices, or was it
your own?  Submission was made in envelopes, if you can imagine that.  It's really
from Yuba, where the green slime grows from the pockets at the edge of measurable
densities, charted, graphed out into unusual patterns on the floor with spongy
implements which have no name.  No name in the seasons of your passage, no sign
in the resemblance of your own decay and mildew.  No light at the end of your
tunnel, only a stop sign with lighted edges and barriers.  Would at had and score the
namers out to lunch.  There is no sign at the edge of the desert indicating hope or
otherwise.  Lean into the wind, it's your own passage on the street of other desires
than the name's you'd like to have emblazoned on your face—known, unknown, the
rest.  Personally, I'd like to be 'the rest' and let the bloomers flow along into the
street and down the hill into the green valley where the restless flowers grow and
sing.  There's no line to your fallow stream.  There's no end to your restless dream.

     Tall or short, it made no difference, they all had their 'rights.'  It came with
the territory, the masters said, it was a part of being a part of a part.  There was no
hole.  Pickled wheezes, raster dunes, allowances for error—none of it settles the air
inside your molecules as quickly as a short dunce.  Your own emptiness beckons into
the night, your own self-satisfied strokes at the machine which claps out portions and
lessons into the rough signs of time itself.  All relates to all.

     So it's touch and glow, she said, shining in the night before you.  It's all sham
and slam, it's all deal and due, it's all smooth and climb, the twin towers of
ignorance and disdain for the real deal which lower you into the sand around your
house.  The only rocks here were brought in on a truck.  These voices in my head
won't stop but clamor on and on without cessation or doubt.  It's a loud silence
which fills my brain without hope or science.  It's a sensation of nothingness which
has dimension and description, but I don't know what it is.  This is the non, where all
relates to all.

     This clunky silence has a reparation and a tone which would alarm even the
deaf with its unceasing and increasing demands.  Like a hungry stomach, it sings its
grumble and its frothy pits with some scene of color and seeming.  Then it stopped.
It ground to a halting, wheezing implemento of the line and the sign, a scorier relief
of the boon and the tune, a plaster cast of the sneeze and the breeze, if that's not too
simple.  Your own incense curling into the air, smelling like food or like a car on the
road of light.  It's a nominal collapse of the pinto in the field of dreams and screams.
It's the day you died and rose into the air with a plume of fashion and disregard and
became a lighted thing.











Amos Tang


winter trust


walked, walking along
footprints on a frozen flow.
ice thinning, meaning,
melting above a melody.

if walks on situation,
some shimmering surface,
darkening to a probing sun,
clutch to a crutch.

fears diving, deaths frozen.
church at end of sight
trembling with-

weather weathers eyes white,
weary in a season monotone.
every turn of the wind,
cuts new rays into vision,
a facet of ice uncovered
is a fact eyes discovered,
or not.

soul evaporated through
throwing thoughts beyond
the unthinking grey.
a steaming heart panting
desperately beneath

varying forms of water.
weather flows
frozen or footprints,
drowning or mere insistence,
still water.











Dorothee Lang






silence flooding the room like a sea, like dark water, like puddles of mud,
like holes in the floor, holes that are getting deeper and deeper with every
word that remains unspoken, like liquid holes they fill our lives, making us
move in porcelain patterns

dreams are buried inside our souls like November leaves, scattered, they
loose their colour, they loose their fragrance, their bones refuse to get
buried, they turn into ghosts, finding us in the night, in the hours that we
spent searching for sleep, for the way out, for the way in

they sink into the ground, not dead, they turn into memories they remain
they turn they come back they shut us up












Rizwan Saeed Ahmed




I Could Not Stop


As soon as I entered the room,
I had the sight of
A glittering soul lying under
The shade of maternal bliss.
I leaned over her to kiss her
And felt a teeny heart beating fast.
In a moment a coordination was established,
And two hearts were beating in tandem.
Her countenance demonstrated the effects
Of the unknown magnificent world
Which she had left to discover a new one.
Even during her prenatal existence
She had showered unbounded blessings upon us,
And our future seemed so bright.
One thousand Helens of Troy would never have made
The sum of loveliness she possessed.
All would have been a pack of dust
Next to her bewitching beauty.
In an instant I decided laying
My whole treasure at her feet;
All happiness, which I had accumulated in my whole life,
And every bit of love I could lay my hand at.
Although I had some experience
And knew what was life like
Yet I could not stop my self from wishing her
A truly happy long life.





The Last Kiss


I kissed a warm little hand
And felt the warmth of life
Within my whole frame.
My heartbeat became faster,
Blood ran through my veins like fire.
Momentarily all life squeezed into the little hand.
I thought how warm the kiss of life was;
And considering life at its climax,
I consoled my heart that
The denouement was yet far away.
But after some days
I heard a knock at my door which
I had feared all through my life.
The knock was heard once again
And deeming resistance in vain,
I let a man in who was enveloped in an utter murky sheet.
He eyed the room in an awful merciless way
And I requested him to let me
Ruminate the key in a minute,
So that he could get an easier access to the other room.
But he paid no heed,
And pushing me aside
Went in straight away.
In less than an instant
He did his business and went away.
I called after him for many times
But he had disappeared in darkness,
Leaving after him a cold frame for me.
I kissed a cold brow
And felt the chill of death
Within my whole frame.
My heartbeat slowed down
And my blood ran cold.
An enormous shudder passed
Through my every limb.
Till this day I remember
How cold was the kiss of death,
The last kiss.












Andrew Nightingale




Like a Smile On Hold


like a freight train pulling up between stations at 3am.
in the manner of making the meaningless into a coherent narrative.
like reading the instructions on a bottle of pills you don't have to take.
think of the tickets that haven't been bought and may or may not be.
something like a south-coast town, with an instant coffee and an air of decay.
as if stranded without the references that make you how you look.
like the one advertisers have placed in our imaginations.
as if a breakdown, recovery and insurance claim could be like anything else.
like the rear end of a pantomime horse.
as someone who's eaten nothing but a bar of chocolate all day.
like a missing I.
like the gap between saying hello and actually passing the person you said hello to.
like all that's ambivalent about a hotel room.
as if Campari had been spilt by the Gods.
as if timed for the moment I stepped onto the balcony and looked out over the beach.
like the top of a trajectory, before gravity kicks in.

like only palms on a palm-lined seaside avenue can.
like having to wait for the parts to be delivered before it can be fixed.
as listening to Vivaldi on a customer service claims line.
something akin to the electrics catching fire on the day the guarantee runs out.
like a girl on rollerblades passing by, biting her nails.
like numb lips the Atlantic is nudging against.
as a card chosen randomly from a pack, returned and forgotten.
like it had been waiting for when she looked and clicked on automatically.
kind of Venus floating in Blue Bols.
in the way that calling the complex string of probabilities fate can.
like she draws Picassos on napkins during quiet spells.
like two wires that accidentally touch.
as night.
as if they flew from her lips straight up into the sky.
as permanent as the dream I'll return to.
like the lost half of a fortuitous comparison.

like the fork pricks and pries but the spoon holds.
as if a letter, gone missing from a word, could come to denote its own missingness.
like the readiness of the neck of a bottle.
like licking salt off a pebble.
as you get when mixing your drinks.
as if what was originally a deserved punishment has become eroticised.
as an image devours its essence.
like a black hole where the bull's eye is.
like keeping it in your mouth before you swallow.
reminiscent of the way in which delirium is first very near then far away.
as when I last scalded my tongue on hot Ribena.
as if a film was being projected on a blank body.
like a warm overcooked pasta shell.
as if designed to fit flush.
like driving off into the sunset then realising you've forgotten your wallet.
compared with fiction, smell, logical progression and of course completion.

like a Sunday at the end of the season.
as it were the frisson of constraint produced automatically.
as though only unscheduled stops are preordained.
like the southwest wind had a renewed determination.
like a burnt out shell still smoking slightly.
like the smile had been waiting to happen when she looked up.
like a word with a missing letter becomes another word.
in the way free sachets of hotel shower gel magically replenish themselves.
like it was surreal but too meaningless and real to be extraordinary.
like never having stopped and taken your eyes from the road.
as if I had been holding my breath.
like a promising young analogy with nothing to get its teeth into.
like Sophia Loren waitressing with a hangover.
analogous to a high velocity projectile passing through a Saxon feasting hall.
as bored as the beach, pouting at the Atlantic.
like a helium balloon let go, at the harvest fair.

like they know what they're talking about and normal service will be resumed shortly.
as if the Atlantic had been told it needed extended therapy.
like taking off sunglasses.
like something one half of a simile might be compared to.
as when you've just made a wish and thought of a better one.
like a thriller with the last page missing.
like the embarrassment of saying goodbye and meeting just afterwards accidentally.
like actors taking five.
like a piece left over in the box.
as if the moonlight was changing shape.
like watching TV with the sound turned down.
like a half smile waiting.
like holding on to an epiphany of waiting.
like an obscure ideogram formed by the print of a body on clean white sheets.
as only sleeping alone in a hotel room does.
as if releasing the brakes at 3:02am would let the inertia of the freight unwind.










Aryan Kaganof






In the beginning was the Image

Then the Re-Mix
Then the Bonus Track
Then the Shoplifter

At the end was a Full Stop.

A very
Poem that
Took me
Two years
To write
Only costs
You thirty
To read

I died and went to hell
The Devil didn't want me
So I'm back again
The Solipsist

I was born in the sixties
A child of my time
My dreams of the future never came true
Instead of the millions I got one good review
That's better than nothing
But you'll never guess what I had to did
to get that write-up!
Lady Hustle Spinner spun her hustle while I experienced a complete,
utter, and profound alienation.
Then the temple toppled
and the topless temple
turned the tables on all those
ten pin bowlers drinking their
dirty double Jack Daniels cocktails
mixed with solutions to all the easy
problems and even to some of the
more complicated problems.
I guess you've guessed it:
I was born in the sixties
at the dawning of the age of Aquarius.
All I needed was love.
And money.
And discipline.
And forgiveness.
A child of my time.






eratio poetic language issue five, spring 2005, edited by Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino