Jack Alun



from Vertical Horizons

—for Christian Da Silva

biographical writing

will make me-----------------------a poem
text----------------------------------against silence
scrolling---------------------------- pilgrimage
creation-----------------------------and decipher
singly--------------------------------and to another




evening-------------------nailed by the hand
impersonating -----------the seeping light
charnel hopped ---------shadow
for the marketing--------of wine and bread



the sky croons but---------------you know
nothing of--------------------------the music
these blue storms----------------which
sometimes-------------------------it decides

in stillness--------------------------the house
one voice---------------------------solipsistic
wind surfing------------------------as in a net



the seashore------------house reboots
the simple way--------- screen saver of
old signs-----------------geometries & algebras

of tides--------------------of which now & then
stars----------------------off-shine to me
which can't---------------as tonight

as in a blue----------------stone to the
lapping of----------------- waves










Devin Wayne Davis




we excuse your meekness;
exonerate & absolve you
of this black death.

life is a long,
woeful journey;

but, please, no mystery
like demeter's ear of corn

. . . her phallic agriculture is
no happy accident to pasture,
but toil forking the soil . . .

for will, all

things great
& small . . .

thin muses
muses hint
his sum 10
shuns time
must shine
sun theism
sunset him.



they did . . .

at cathedrals;
the angels had fun
shitting on us,

as a bell told
of big differences
in pigeon & dove—

which often
were, themselves, rung
out from a tower . . .

their larger round
the sound o'
5 clock dongs.

hawks brawl;

waging above,

defy . . .

the messes.

jesus was
a rooster;

flock to god—

these demons
run away angels.



a short but joyous life
—this wee leaf,
poised in denial of fall

. . . course, i am always
assuming youth

—that all the others, green
& hanging on through november,

they aren't just basking
under the collapsing season.










Jeffrey Side



Voices In the Light


Sometimes voices
in the light
will call me back to them.

Back out of this
place where
I have spoken from.

And then I will turn my
back on you,
and on the storm-bled sea.

And even
on the sleeping faces
that will never wake for me.

I will find myself
out of limitations plight.

And no earthly cause
or battle
will keep me in this fight.

And what will seem like
nothingness to
those that have remained

to me will seem like
when in the time of May.


Flush Length

to the topographies
of bullocks marginalization
for the huntsman
has silenced people sheltering

fixed authority trala
expropriation also
fish with cretan
bull monotone cross over

jordan making moan hera
and steamboat coming

turtle mocked libertine remnant
the rose of sharon
chamber in the house
back the lane there yard mosses

come to galatia sumison
flood beside my
yearning doldrum sword
flush length


She Left Without Delay

I mark the time when I fly high.
I'll be landing very soon.

I cannot relocate my genes.
I cannot fix the balloon.

When suspicion is in your heart
the innocent are hurt too.

My ambitions are paved with
thoughts of a nature aimed at you.

I'll take you off that man one day.
I'll take you at your word.

I'll take you very far away
to somewhere you preferred.

I need you in this room dead soon.
I need you in the air.

I need you on the moon in June.
I need you everywhere.

I knew someone who looked like you.
She haunts me to this day.

She was a screamer too.
She left without delay.










Paul Kavanagh




Hyperborean the gonorrheal sod
Scortatory he revelatory elucidated
Rill upon undulating mug he possessed
Lunting cancer and last night's immolated pork
Chide the senses chaff decorum over ale
Juxtaposed with augury this fatuous bleeder
Squeezed into me agora whiffing his onion sweat
Into me orifices.  Halitosis verbosity.  Apocryphal his debauching
Braggadocio, his trajectory from backstreet to
Cheap bedandbreakfast.  Gouty laugh he emits.
Dapple his bobbing adamsapple signs of leaking.
Cadaverous sepulchral delineation of indentured sheets.
Irrefragable he bellows capitulate all refutes.  Approbation
In the shape of coquettish curve though transparent outside
Opaque and frothy on the inside.  A superfluous thankyou but
Silence prevails.  Gulp gulp gulp.














Kane X. Faucher





How many pieces lost in the involuntary freight
Of ejaculation?
Both the plague and the plaintiff
Will strike back as complaint,
As the root
The base of the priapic
Of Jarry’s Physick-stick;



The marauder is no poet,
But a reader or a
Salutary macaroni—
With a cross
Whose words follow contour'd form—
Headmind, two eyes read, and lips forming words
(only one comes back)
in shadow poetry—
in precursor to—
in primal urge—
in prepoetry—


Milton's Immanent Dialectic

In the beginning there was pure Being
Which is Pure Nothing,
And Parmenidean God's categories
Enacted in mutual synthesis of actualization
Of Adam or Heracles or Hegel ziggurats.
One animal hero leaves and finds that he is not
What he is not.  Fights the beasts
Makes pets of them all and returns
All pied-piper
Still an animal
But qualified.
But Milton adds that Satan makes an impossible return
By not returning to the seat above.
All returns are impossible, even with and especially concerning
Quality.  Or Synthesis thereof with Quantity.
How many demons return pandemonium like bugs with shields. . .
Why will I not sit is precisely because
The impossible is what it is as pure nothing and pure
Being that will not allow
Synthesis by Quality.
At intermission, there will be no returning to the seats.
The seats will be lowered and different,
And the stage play will also.
Majuscule: large letter, A v a
Telefol Counting
Glyptolalia (coined: Peter Schwenger)
Chirography (penmanship)
Hypnagogical text (between waking and sleeping).
Voynich, Codex Ser.  And Borges' Tlon.
Milton times two.  Times four(teen)y.











Paul Hellier




I am the Sting in the tail of a wasp
I hurt most when you're
Trying to shake me off

I am the conveyor belt
That runs through your local hospistal
I am the triage you never met

I am the absence of activity
that built the wall
you live on top of

I am the lie that you spat forth
Pampered, constantly fed
Just for telling you you're not dead

I am the truth we all ignore
The futility you can't avoid
The row of stones in a fertile field



think of it in bed
think of you in the context of it
the imagined sensation
of life pressed on skin
warmth and active friction
escape for a diminishing second

think of it in closeness
in fully participating conversation
increased beat and palaptations
rational constraints removed reserve
recognise truth that is innocent
visual stimulus the only prompt

think of it on my own
think of the words and what they mean
feel deprived and innappropriate
of everyone there's been
sick and different
and dead already



Wake up
Excrete Waste
Take on more
Cleanse and conform

Move through
Alloted Space
Perform given role
Edit Truth

Return to origin
Match Expectations
of Others
Rest Relax

Feel obliged
to express the
private and silent
to cirlce and bend
to script










Scott Wilkerson



Ariel's Failed Petition to a
Heterodoxically Inclement and, here silent, Prospero

As from your certain proof escapes
      The dreamed quiescence of a fugitive art,
So, too, your summary truth that drapes,
      In evanescent brocade, the punitive heart,
Will reel and twirl in twilit texts,
      Taken to be the pure iteration
Of peeling whorls your whirl inflects
      To knit implicit your purling duration
On quilted skeins of second nature,
      Built first on games of nomenclature

Awakened, thus, to nominate eyes as would be inversely shown
I take this line my predicate prize, imprisoned by trust, but recursively flown.














Hank Lazer




could a god
why would one
feeding at word's

edge turn away
or in that
word sounding as

shofar or living
in more casual
sounding of any

word return so
that what gets
announced is already

here in every
breath in every
lettered instance already

a map for
eye mouth opening
onto your entirety



i count this
a singular   called
to account    to

give an account
of    golden the
sun comes over

the mountain slowly
illuminating irregular surface
of the bay

a simple cushion
a blank wall
torah buddah han

shan poetry a
purifying way an
inquiry into in

stance exact stance
must change held
to this account



open & shut
that is that
see the bob

cat cross the
road meander up
the hillside i

was blown back
charlie distracted listens
& it occurs

to him  "wait
a minute    they've
gone didactic on

me"     ravens digging
about the fresh
compost heap so

much of our
walking & thinking
fathers & sons



realism's sister the
teachers are up
early smoke the

gray cat has
found the guest
room mill valley

had there been
redwoods here what
are we doing

here conversing that
is the lineage
talking it along

letting it appear
now & then
hear the voices

of the boys
& girls carry
up the hill










Eileen Tabios




Glow Worm

Out of the severing
a starlight

"Let Joy go solace-winged"

It is whispered:
Salads procreate
within the belly of the sun





from his abandoned harem

bring down comets
accuse the alcove
smother the zodiac with pink chenille

pomades complaisance
by dictators

Defying idols a past epoch

Schools now mixed in antiquity

Lions bred for locked jaws

All sound flabbergasted




Easily Memorized

Kept her kindly
amidst his pots and pans
where, wisely, she busied herself

Warm light in the parlor

A crinoline

"Ding Dong" said the bell

Saccharine for his cup

Ever-clean chopping board

"When she was lazy
she wrote a poem
on the milk bill"

The first line: "Good morning"





Men pass
their hats not ours

trapped in mirrors

possible only behind curtains

Some virgins
forget how children scratch










Jake Berry



three poems from at c:

(1) at c:

2 soft delicate hands
    in broken light
   smeared across the horizon.
  This outside I AM transpires
    in their voices.
   None is torn from plentitude –
    becomes a mask from the Cherokee man.
when we met
white men by the river.
They were so afraid they visibly trembled.
  And these downy fingers
  hold the wind mystery.
He rode in a herd of slapping waves
over stained glass with serpentine, electric edges       out
A heron settled above them – a pylon
of dew and treacle lost – an abandoned
barn, crumbling now, a logos, where shadow is a slept consolation.
The blacksmith alone again. His anvil is an altar
terribly. A place to wait.


(2) at c:

Beast stochastic and ripe.
        It moves by corrosion.
      languid where Fire gathers
Its name unchained and laced
all crimson and glowing.

I saw you leaning on your cane
facing out a hard wind.

Later there were difficulties with an old pine
chest. There were bodies to account for.
A lacquer where the beast had risen.

   This, a rhone melody
that scattered the congregation.
They have been recorded where they sleep.
In light boxes
where its fur is obvious,
and delinquent, a passage.

   The old lady was fiddling for you,
but what you heard was the stars
      that broke across her bow
     as twilight grew
      and the face you knew for her
     was dried and beaten by the wind you faced out.

The lacquer.
The child's struggle with medicines
   distilled from chestnut root.
It was, at last, anyway, a beginning
  without fortune.

   An animal presence
     shifting in the weather.


(3) at c:

Traced in the old wood.
Blue, but stolen
   from the magnets blue,
  left in the sod; so, aged now.

 Turned in your fingers,
a humming came into your throat
  and grows there
      while the shape emerges.

    The limber force in a stone's attraction.
   Some other planet
     where's a light across the plain
     in stereo fashioned after
     her dance fell in traces
    into the fallen timber.

These fluctuations charge the
draped remnants of her dress and
there is no time in it.
A machine all energy and desire
    and broken blades twisted,
   loose again and handled by
    the thick flood's unwinding.
   Leave the elements to their work
   and the change remains.








Paul Hardacre



from The river is far behind us (Parts xvii-xxii)


march her guts her brain &
ears missing (deluxe travel game
pyjamas & blood secured & urged

                                 to more caution /
of fighting age he
          led away in a hood
                     & no halt / kinky neocon vision of bones

                     our pan-arab videodrome
                     embedded, sketchy night-vision

                     whipping the box (ear wax on
                     a pin / she likes her bra

                                          he cackles (essential tool of hermitry)
                                          shits & runs the ogmore inside
                                                      far from ramps,

                      the hoisted sun
                      or window / warped louvre & tarps
                      he emails gig & listens:
                                 mudhoney, claws
           of green &     sand
north of than sadet / flying in parts

                                 for the bridge / reverse walk

                      to early fun with dogs / raked &
                      broken head he mouth open
                      named 'mary'
                                  stretched her blue & dressed


           'avoid sectarian areas many killed israeli
           hotel in mombassa, kenya car bombed
           by arabs & missile fired it israeli passenger
           plane taking off, al gaeda blamed, 29 nov.'


wave of ponies she fire digs
maoist guns & early venom

(mainly bullet belts, nameless gruel
& doom / special boys their shiny

track & hair we slide on
secret maps) thin & western

living hack of citrus hole or god
the icefall (dhauligiri

alone with pie & dirt, the 2D bell
& white with flags

empty caves or heads / horned &
shuffling) stony ground, heat

the red house at the end of the world
(block 4, flat 4, bonney lane)


high or milked he too late / mopped
a swollen park / arms & bones (strong) the
iron view of may she cries      through wires
& cleans him, evil croon of love & fear


(nasty wound of hours clock & sugar
prunes the red kind bigs or littles / john's
insane mug & sad tree 'FASCO' old bells
his tongue      or boots a kind of swamp
secret bets & papers ailed the workroom)


den or pit he buckets soil & shells
& sad like floods or airports


                      battle to the death /
biggest flag
                      the ecstatic libyans recalled
                          as barbarian attacks

on civilisation      (power-breakfast       crowd
                                                          of beltway warriors –

'we won't report anything that would put our troops in danger'
                                                                 (MSNBC promo)

           the president helps barney
           down the stairs of 'marine one' & smiles


does not exist for long) is removed &
studied, his yellow nails or skin the hollow
bone as cudgel / dead skin, his mask of days


& lunchrooms car parks basements shade
           ('the best thing he ever did, that job')


goes by touch & quiddity / batters & dead (plays
           the last promise elegant rabbit kiss the state


of being when absent, reverence (approaching sleep
& grey his mottled flesh & troops

           ' . . . storm palaces'

the oil fires of his eyes & die out stars










Jack Foley




Break then
I fell
crashing into Vallombrosa—caught!—
but not by Milton's simile
and not for naught

Limbless and forlorn
I had no love to give
nor any purgative
So let the born be borne:
I vanished in a bog

Dolor, doloris
singing thus
it was not less calamitous
it was not less that leaf and leaf
mourned that I should come to grief
Upon this doleful bog
I fell amuck agog
repeating leaf by leaf
the paradigm of Grief

—No, no: mendacities!
These dead leaves tell no tale
All lamentation done
one is not anyone:
a thunderclap and off!


Here where the leaves lie thick
thus sang my elegy
and trembled to the quick
To what finality?

Inextricate so long,
I lingered in the wind

Before I turned to dust
I drifted (ah!)



About this poem, Jack Foley says:

"Leaving home is certainly an aspect of this poem, but perhaps the poem is even more about
leaving graduate school. (I was about to publish a long, complex paper on Milton, my first
critical essay to be printed). I liked the poem immensely but had absolutely no idea where it
might be appreciated—let alone published. I think now that, given the time at which I wrote
'Fall,' there was in fact no one publishing poetry who would have had the slightest interest
in publishing a work like this. 'The Skeleton's Defense of Carnality' had been printed in The
Beloit Poetry Journal,
as had 'Orpheus' (some years after its composition). I probably
sent 'Fall' to Beloit, but the magazine wasn't interested. As for graduate school, I realized that
if I left, I had no base whatsoever ('one is not anyone'); on the other hand, I couldn't see
any alternative to leaving. There's a hint in the poem (in that last word 'Superfluous') of
something I develop later: if you want the genuine in American life you must go to the
failures, not to the successes. The speaker of 'Fall' is a leaf. (I maintained an interest in the
dramatic monologue!) 'Vallombrosa' is from a simile in Paradise Lost—the place of fallen
The whole poem, like Milton's, is haunted by Latin; 'dolor/doloris' is the beginning of
the paradigm of the Latin word for 'grief.' (For me, the poem has echoes of the Latin Mass,
a feature of my childhood.) I made up the word 'Inextricate.' The etymology of 'superfluous'—
i.e., 'overflowing'— is relevant. It was only after my decision to leave graduate school, and
perhaps after writing 'Fall,' that I read Heidegger's Being and Time—a life-changing experience.
That book certainly had something to do with the poetry I collected as 'Charmes.'
Dasein, like
my leaf, is 'thrown' into the world."









Jon Cone



Children's Revolutionary Collective

Come dance with us,
Old Sour Puss
Is dead,
They laid him on a heap.

Come run with us,
Old Sour Puss
Is dead,
They dug a hole, they dropped him in, they covered
                        him with dirt.

Come laugh with us,
Old Sour Puss kaput! —
They took his glass, they took his rook,
They broke his glass, they killed his rook.

Come play with us,
Old Sour Puss
Is gone,
We giggled when they chucked him down
                        into the cold indifferent ground.

Come sing with us,
Old Sour Puss
Is nada to us now,
We have no fear, we have no chains, we have no
                        thorns around us.

All Evil has been shown the way
By his departure, his defeat,
The ringing bells and pretty morning mist,
The meat that terrifies no more.




A handful of battered vertebrae.
Chew, chew, broad flat dun squares.

—Kenneth Rexroth


Dense aether nor an alarm
sound ........ sounding
on the space above ........
the floor ....... not alarmed by smoke
precisely beat upon or clink of glass ....
and door jambs .........



A longitudinal knot,
.. a horizontal shiver, the crystalline octachord, elemental
amphoteric, ill measured, all measured,
nasal, bronchial, esophaguine, lungful,
tonal, atonal, ... chromatic or monaural or stereophonic ...
the whistling altitudes .........
the ceiling skims it ........
the agrestic brims it .. drams and dims it .......
the pancratium pampers it ...... on fluvial forge ..
the gravimetric and volumetric burdens hoisted
in public... in private .. ritualized orgasmos


.configurations communally based, tenorized saliva-chants like
the making of mash — like riffing endless on
the cracked terra firma ...... or hereditary reeds in relays
       fathers to sons — ah sucrose of
matrilineal hips on swiveling tips, graced
             the sanctuary wine pots vibrating in grass and sawdust,
waiting wailing warring waning wooing weaning a people


for ascendant ...........
carcajou the wolverine criminally rosined blue on the peninsula or
hauled metropolitan mess kites, it goes and goes and goes ,
the tonnage in incense and camphor oils ...........
polyphonic scouring the
shallow steel of its perpendicular wave
& long thick bone of a jam .............
rubble of a drum .................. Not kit of stasis nor stasis piss
................. Kit of skins, then,
for purposes of detritus shift ............

pulse-skin casements ...........
........................ stretched taut,
and ............... shaking the boots.










Alan May




Downstage, the priest with his rosary and remote.  Upstage, myself and a
mangy dog hiding behind the elephant's-ear.  The priest's lecture droned
on as he shifted the slides, as the continent shifted and divided.  We
half listened, half dreamed of a way to measure and predict the number
of hats hanging stage right.  The hat checks were made out to the priest,
and though I was tap dancing towards oblivion, I dreamed of a time when
I wore a hat, when I had a self.  And isn't a hat a halo of sorts?   I
whispered this to the dog and the elephant whose eyes were fixed on the
priest.  It was then that I remembered that the prop man had placed a
pistol in the bureau right of center stage, next to the coffin that had
been shouldered in by none other than yours truly.



I slept soundly on the bed of dirt and trash in the parking lot next to
the all night dining car.  If not for the cars parked in neat rows, the
shards of glass might resemble stars seen from a grassy knoll.  My
Dallas, my W.C., I bled heroically for you and the five and dime carousel.


That Pontiac K-car with the pool cube in its exhaust, that was a keeper.
The kitten asleep on the dash had torn the map to my dream-child, as if
there could be such a thing.  He carried coal-lung, he carried pocket
knives, he carried Johnny-In-A-Bottle.  He carried a small landmine, he
carried books and salt, he sang a little tune about broken glass, books,
and salt.  So much for nostalgia.


I was driven in the open limousine.  I floated between the pages of a
book.  I ate scrambled eggs and toast in Dallas, in my W.C. where the
glass was keen and so were the peaches.  One bite and they could kill you
with their sweetness and guffaws.



Longing for a promised land, the negated cross whispered. The great book
opened. Out fell a leaf and then a bird and then a flock of birds. The
leaf was red the color of wine. The birds sang and then shot off like
missiles. Your Eminence, the missive of the skull falling like a pebble
into the void. Your Eminence, I wrote this missive on aforementioned
leaf now floating in the pond where the angels pee.



                                                                              we wore broken
tongues, we gazed at the hard bread of doubt.  We angered first a martyr's
bones and then his ghost.  Under so long a drought, we sprinkled blood
on the golden calf.  A song swelled with verses calling down saints.  We
drank from the horn of the birth/virgin, sang the song: We Followed










Jay Twomey



The Garden of Theoretical Delights: A Triptych



We sow broadcast
for a harvest of weeds,
for sprawl, a motive,
an L. A. underground,
the rhizome our rootless freedom
in the shading trees,
teasing your toehold
in the garden,
that needy tyranny:
the yews and rhododendrons and the white rose;
that regressive order:
the fence and the gravel strip,
and the chairs, the plaid
dispositions, the table laid,
the crystal palace in the glass
of tea.



But always
already is freedom.
The glass on the table,
for instance,
a type of revolution, sweats,
figures the presence-at-hand:
you drowsing in bland content as if
revolving around a central sun,
some Louis XIV,
as if the spatial dispensation
were your lifetime warrantee,
when all the while
the lemon exhalations spill up,
the sprawling transformations of tea
into lichen, of lichen into spruce cone,
of spruce cone into birdshit
and flight.



As when,
an assemblage of crows
drops upon the rows of peas
like ribald hopes, barking.
The sweet leguminous pulse
in the grass
from yard to yard to yard,
hunger's variations, plays
fenceless on an aphid theme,
groping the infinite
despite the pretty salvations
of chicken wire and stake and tie,
despite your manic installations.
A garden is not locale,
but force dispersed
like crows in a thickly painted sky:
sooner set a field
of bright Van Goghs
to bleed in the rain
than call it yours.



Jonathan Edwards Seeks Love in Southern California

Gracious affections, like diamond shards
of bottle caps and broken animal bones
litter the roadway to the city of little gods,
L.A., the Getty on the hill
like a beacon in the interstellar smog.

I flew into John Wayne's magnanimous
western soul, at sundown,
taking in the eucalyptus air,
there to see a woman on a grand
re-unificatory scheme, an errand,
it turns out, into the wilderness of No.

Rental car red, cracked map across my lap.
I drove roadways paved fresh every day
in preparation for the return of Jesus: stay awake
he said, and Lord knows I tried, coffee
in one hand and chocolate cupcakes
in the other.  I jittered my way to her.

And she said: no.  I stopped for flowers
and candy and a quick refreshing flush,
and I waited in the dark at the foot
of the stair, and she said: no.

The last time I'd seen her we whisked along
the coast in springshine and love,
to the shrine of Saint Barbara.
I sprung for a feast in the Holy Wood:
It was perfect.  She was happy.  I was.

Four months later, after endlessness
and alcohol, and frantic midnight letters,
the morning's maudlin trash, I stood
at the foot of her towering stair, thinking
if only to touch her red hair, if only to stroll
in the garden of her earthen eyes . . . .

But I wanted more.  I acknowledge and confess
and do most humbly submit: I wanted more.
I wanted anything but to stand at the edge
of the planet, with angels to my north and virgins
to my south, and at the foot of her stair
to have her say, and say again, so plaintively
it filled me with untenable ardor and still
eats at my soul these many days: no.










Justin Vicari



Big Date

Away with the outside. I am more moon,
as it appeared last night shaved perfectly smooth
as if for a big date, waiting in the blue
clouds for one small blemish to overtake
its face, and start to darken it from the edges
in. It is given to some to be the sun
and never take their own temperature.
It is given to some to be trash hurtling on,
never questioning itself. The mind can
never be sure of the body, reflexes snap
like rubber bands pulled once too often
and this hole could open out to a fist.
Nakedness scares me, even when it's granted
freely. Silent conversation through a hole in the wall.


The Eternal Gunman

An antique tintype yields old torrid zones,
soft-shoe couple who seem to dangle
like shadow curtains on a bottomless stage.
It's the old sailor act. Are they prancing clowns,
or mariners made to master-stride the waves?
The young one's candle face is learning
to veil the rites of separation. His eyes roll upward
and away, as if saying, Allow,
I allow for this.
It takes so much to make you out
among these black and white fibers, inside
this cracked mirror endlessly dancing.
It's a tropic swell of passion, holding its breath
and mine, the mute sway of decades between us.
On TV a tattoo grinds in designer-underwear vaudeville.
To appreciate whatever makes one of us human
in the grand scheme—isn't this the master stroke?
The drowning effect in the marriage of irreconcilables,
and we see that the straight world is no longer on the maps.










Donald Illich




Quit trying to score political points.
They're tearing down judges' baskets,

Ripping out the legislatures' nets
On the president's field of battle.

This is not a pastime or a shell game.
A tiny pea might explode in your face.

A Joker could widen his green smile
Over the breast of the Capitol.

One should use home protective gear
Paid for in the latest fun and bills.

One should address a Congressman
By his super secret spy name.

One should look for dead cherry trees
In the belly of the government beast.

Put on your uniform, participate lately.
Throw hundreds in the air of the machine.

A little bird tweets in your plastic cell.
It tells you the costs of love and death.


Tour de Muse

The movement of new cyclists down my street
is a call for celebration in forests.
Woodsmen hack spokes out, refuse to chop
toothpicks from oaks they knew before the war.
Bicycles hang from angry branches, pedaling
the air against needles and pinecones.

I help riders up, but they're on the lookout.
Lumberjacks are seeking fresh maple syrup,
who knows what they might use for flapjacks?
They stumble down a gold brick path, thinking
it's chocolate, but the Easter Bunny's
amigos rise from their molten holes.
The rabbits wield unlucky arms, possess
black collars with racers' names on them.

Judges at ribbons athletes won't rip through
nervously wonder why numbers have stopped.
I could say contests aren't about winners
but the thoughts that follow, stranded in woods
without their separate identities
as protection, would-be-conquerors bound
for a holiday they've never heard of.

The newspaper writes about my address—
"don't expect anything cool to happen."
No one says Paul Bunyan and his ox will run
over competitors just as they've escaped
the critics' fangs and the noun eating plants.
Its writers can't tell me who'll be gored,
handlebars bleeding words from stomachs
only animals think are worth hoarding,
hidden colored eggs digested by snakes.









Nancy Graham



We climbed up a tree to escape the terrible snake.

the last good night
we tried to climb a tree
we couldn't kill one of us
the first one was awful
that was inspector gadget
a terrible gadget

to escape a terribly
smart thing
we passed you a lot
in the last year
casil and nuts and the
honeydew melon
what's so difficult?

we climbed up the
tree to escape
the terrific preamble
horrible. terrible.
terrible and horrible,
murder most horrible.

to get rid of those little
green bottles we're not
supposed to give anybody

we climbed up the terrible
snake to get to the tree
we climbed the tree to say
they dance

we bank left, do you know
where to dock it?
do you have a slip
down by the marina?

keep walking straight, girl,
you're in the middle of the road
here's not a game it isn't
dark a kid to play
we are playing we can play
because we're working it out for you

least done when
so awfully wrong
we really to hat to
have before it
weren't from very
could make
the moon watch
spin backwards if


The boy read the conjuring book secretly.

What do you practice together?
What do you want to do?
People try to get rid of containers
The boy I don't know secretly
had been a fairy, a weak fairy

The boys played in the snow
Where used to be hard ground, now
a hand truck, harder to get
the treads turning on those tires

I want to go and look at the big whale
but I will touch her, and if you go right
over there you should be able to touch her
Let's set her on your desk maybe you'll
want a picture. Funny, our friends had a cat
named no a rabbit named Opal.
I am sleepy. The cat is waving

The boy read the conjuring book's summation.
A conjuring thing, an invitation to dance or
stay put, that's true. The usual dance movement
home may just require flat pieces of clay.
He read the conjuring gifts right away
the accomplishment of gifts
get out of the way
What do you practice together?
What do you want to do?