Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Woody Woodpecker Attacking John Lennon

Henry conversed with John Lennon through Mr. Bones,
the conversation taking place
inside of Michael Robartes

because there’s too much danger in a woman’s body.
The Spanish Mr. Bones spoke
reaches to here,

Henry indicated his own chin.
And John could dance and dance
and slide away from view.

His words were toast,
each adjective spinning like a top,
hounding each nail holding up Christ.

Henry surfaced from the bottom of the Red Sea
dressed like Sgt. Pepper.
Oh, my God, he’s black like a rapper

shouted an old white lady
as stones flew up her nightgown, but somehow
Henry’s perfection fended off the woodpeckers of New York.


Remember when you asked me
the question-THAT question?
I do.

I was child, disguised as woman,
still gathering gold into red wagons.
By the time I turned back
to answer, you had gone.

Your footsteps sparked
through labrynthed streets,
then faded, traveling
places I could no longer follow

Was I hallucinating?

I could've sworn I saw a post about Katrina here by didi early this morning. I liked the letter/poem. It was effective. I just now came back to comment and it's not here. Did I see it somewhere else??



On a dark veranda
across the lawn,
a signal fire has been lit.

Clutched in cupped fingers
it rises and falls, an arcturian star
lighting a path from lips to thigh.
wax and wane
inhale, exhale

I track the torch bearer's
meandering course 'round the patio
by way of the glowing ember.
back and forth
rise, fall
wax, wane

Silently waiting and wondering
behind his penumbral smokescreen--
is this the night
I'll cross the lawn
and cross the line?

Sudden final flare;
a tiny meteor arcs its way to earth
returning veranda to darkness.

The door closes behind him.
A single bead of sweat slides between my breasts;
the fantasy of a nicotine-stained finger in its place.

Asian American Poetry - Stefans and MacLeish

Hello all,

I've linked to and commented on Brian Kim Stefans' "The Applicant" as well as Archibald MacLeish's "Ars Poetica" over at Hope you find the posts interesting!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Beginning of Seed: Slideshow with Music

Title: The Beginning of Seeds
(To watch this show, paste the address below into your browser)

Dancing with Katrina

is one blog trying to get out information about New Orleans in the wake of the storm.

The streets of New Orleans
are paved with water, the pull
of gulf warmth through the eye
of a windstorm. Buildings crack,
roofs fly. The lucky, ten thousand stranded
on the sidelines of a football field,
in hell.

American Red Cross


This is the end-point
of your days’ confused wandering,
the period at the close
of life’s frantic sentence.

Here are all those that failed,
waiting for the rest of us
to name the failures
of our own lives and join them.

The final destination, no matter
the brilliant flights of being,
no matter what your will
or your hard-won ticket says.

And when you arrive,
you too will come to the town square
where everyone is gathered, leaning
over the edge of the bottomless canyon

that has sliced open the earth
in the middle of Main Street.
You too will come to stare
into the darkness of this wound,

to try to fathom all
that has been lost
while, behind you, a futile breeze
blows aimlessly through the trees.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Seeking John Lennon (CTG)

Depicted on Broadway,
conceptualized by Yoko
a quarter century after
Chapman blew him away
as their limo drew up
to the Dakota
that cold December night:
multiple Lennons parade
on stage. Blacks, whites,
and women play Johnny Skiffle
of the Silver Beatles;
audiences lurch
in search of Lennon.

The night he deserted
Yoko for a pack of cigs:
multiple Johns walking
the streets of Manhattan;
a hooker at 8th & 42nd
jiggles her gold lamé ass:
"Wanna date, honey child?"

The Dovedale and Quarry boy
set loose in Gotham and LA,
watching the wheels, riding
the rock and roll serpent:
uppers and downers, LSD, coke,
lifetimes spent in purgatory.

On his birthday, his second
son Sean wailed first
at New York Hospital.
Sean and John, John and Sean,
"Beautiful, beautiful boy."

Ocean child Bermuda, captaining
his own yacht; Liverpool lad,
son of a goneaway seaman,
-- his Mum Julia slammed into
by a car driven
by a drunk off-duty copper;
his Dad ran off to sea --
long before the fame.

Lennon in the fog
of Liverpool and LA:
John in search of self,
drunk and on a bender,
or lost smoking pot
in the Dakota, only
to find himself with
"Starting Over," his big
comeback. . . Click
of the Charter
Arms revolver.

"Mr. Lennon. . .?"

Christopher T. George

Waiting for a Response to a Love Letter

The clock has spun itself dizzy,
no doubt nauseous – in a moment
time will spew from its round face
and ooze out onto the hardwood floors,

gathering in a thick puddle
like so much quicksand
to suck my apartment down
into some nameless void,

swallowing the blue recliner
and the stack of books on the coffee table,
devouring the writing desk,
the office chair and the cup of pencils:

everything that I know, all that I am,
will soon be ground between time's yellowed teeth,
savored for a moment,
and then digested until it is only a fine dust

while, outside, the forgetful world
will continue about its business
of love and hate, dreams and fears,
just as you might do tomorrow –

sitting down to write me back
after a quick, thoughtless snack.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Didi asked me to post these. She doesn't have power back from the storm, yet. Congratulations, Jenni Russell for first place and also the honorable mentions!

Winning Poems for July 2005
Judge David Brinks
* The judge has decided to pick one 1st place winner and three honorable mentions.

First Place:

Jack’s Belly Button
By Jenni Russell
The Critical Poet

Honorable Mentions::

By Christine Kiefer
Salty Dreams

By Lisa Prince

For Coyote, A Reflection
Myra South
Café Utne


Jack’s Belly ButtonBy Jenni Russell
The Critical Poet

Jack has this belly-button “condition.” A robin-egg blue lint grows
inside it. When I attempt to remove the lint, he becomes aggressive,
recoils defensively. He says the doctor cut his umbilical cord wrong
and there’s a hole inside his belly-button exposing his organs to
the air. He claims the lint is a byproduct of these organs’ secretions.
I never believed him. I always thought he saved the lint for his Mom,
who used it to stuff her hand-made quilts. But tonight as he stood beside
my chair, I looked inside his belly-button and saw a tiny heart beating.
“Hold still!” I told him. The tiny heart flashed and rotated like a police
light. Above it a pair of pink fuzzy handcuffs dangled from a lava
lamp. I pressed my eye to Jack’s belly-button and saw a room filled
with confetti, plastic fruit in wooden bowls, dried sea sponges, trip wire,
lobsters with rubber bands wrapped around their pinchers stacking
themselves like plates inside a dishwasher, and at a cluttered desk with
old chewing gum stuck to its side, a gnome swiveled in a leather chair
smacking gum, blowing it, and popping huge robin-egg blue bubbles.

LinenBy Christine Kiefer
Salty Dreams

Woody interior rotting
Eases the removal of flaxen fiber.
This retting the aroma of a rat’s death behind the cupboard.
Women beating the ornery fannies of flax stalks.
Each child to far corners, wood versus fiber,
Further separation, no harmony in the roughing.
How fine are you?
Stay with your own kind.
Parallel hackles, rough goes first
Ladies last, age before beauty
They are easy when wet.
An orgy of women required
To keep this weaver weaving.
Spin, dress with sticky ooze.
Thicken, strengthen before the toxin.
Bleach now, sun in days gone by.
Virgin white before more pummeling
To close every hole.
Across the pond she longs for sun.
The castle madam prefers sun in Stirling.
In capris, craves crisp clean air.
In pedal pushers, ponders purity.
Shops for vests with lungs,
Trousers with bronchi
Fears Chlorox
And its suffocating ways.
A startling oxymoron
Her poisoned pants
Once pummeled and putrid
To her like women’s lips
On her cycling, climbing calves.

grapefruitBy Lisa Prince

I have a little serrated spoon
hidden away in my utensil drawer

you have to pick a ripe one

I remember in high school
home economics classes
where they taught us to press
our thumbs into the ends
of fruit to test for ripeness

every boy I’ve dated
has wanted to squeeze my breasts

sometimes when I shower
I touch them myself
trying to understand
their globular form

for breakfast
mine would be nice

you cut them in half
with a serrated knife - not
the kind with a straight edge
so that you don’t bruise
them - ironically biting leaves marks

there was a boy who
so taken aback the morning after
when he saw the marks he’d left
he couldn’t believe they’d come
from his mouth

I wanted to ask for more

sometimes I’ll have
both halves of the grapefruit
even though home economics
would say half per person
neatly cut along each segment
so that each piece comes
out by itself

my mother had a mamogram
when she was fifty five

they found a lump the size
of a grape - there’s a fruit
I don’t like even if radiation
and raisin are very alike

she only has one breast now

I see her touching herself
sometimes when she thinks
that she’s alone or when
she passes the hall mirror

with only one breast she walks
lopsided - my brother gave her
an orange for her birthday

for the other side, he said

so I eat both halves
with that small serrated spoon

maybe I’ll buy one
for my mother

For Coyote, A Reflection
Myra South
Café Utne

So as the honey maker stops
atop the bloom
for just a moment

milking each drop of prism color
into the nectar she will brew,

so do we all alight

for a sweet span
between clouds
to create
what honey we can
hanging onto
our fuzzy lives

in hopes of feeding those
that come after us -
the buzzing

We are such
fleeting thieves

in search of one more
petaled jewel
to carry home

sun light gems -

we adorn crowns
with flower candy
for the mothers

dancing home again
humming between blooms.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Towards M's Beginning of the Alpha bet"

**$** (for M)

borrowing cash,
divorced, exquisitely, from

helmets, insular
jests, knave love,

notices one
pair: quark-like, relaxed,

to undying
vigor — willfully "X"

zany again.
Baffled, cashless, determined

for giving
heart in June —

love, M
notices open poppies,

rivers sunning
towards undivided vessels,

(xeric youth!)
zeroes after boredom.

Diametrics evidently
forgotten, grieved, horded.

just know
, M notes:

paragraphs questioning,
reasoning, satiating, transforming

vowels wide-open,
x-like, yawning — zapped.

~ Lorna Dee Cervantes
Abecedarian Hay(na)ku Experiment:
  • "Towards A: New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "B Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "C-ing Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet to D"

  • "Towards E's New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards An Effin' New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards, G, A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards H's New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards the Alpha bet's New Beginning of I"

  • "Towards J's New Beginning of the Alpha bet Towards D"

  • "O', 'K Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards L: A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • * It's one-a-day, folks!
    more hay(na)ku at Eileen Tabio's, inventor of hay(na)ku form (1/2/3 word tercets) & at Didi Menéndez' group blog, Café Café. (*Peace to Katrina. Hoping for rest & news. Tony Thomas? Heck to all hurricanes!)

    Poetic Acceptance

    I realize that this may be an odd place to do this, so forgive me in advance. If this comes across as spam, don't hesitate to delete it.

    I've recently launched a new support site for bereaved parents, and would like to get the word out about it.
    If you, or anyone you know is dealing with the loss of a child, or has in the past, please pass along this link.

    Poetic Acceptance - for grieving parents

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    Exciting news from Combo Books !!!!

    This just in from Michael Magee at Combo Books:

    Hi everyone,

    It is my distinct pleasure to announce the publication of
    the latest Combo Book,


    Written under the pseudonym (or hypernym) Tosa
    Motokiyu, edited by Kent Johnson and Javier Alvarez,
    beautifully and painstakingly designed by Christian
    Palino and Prototype Syndicate, perfectbound with a
    gorgeous cover involving UV spot-lamination and other
    things I don't understand, you must get your hands on
    this book!

    It will be available momentarily from Small Press
    Distribution but you can also
    order it (and put significantly more dough in the Combo
    Books coffers!) by sending cash or check to:

    Combo Books
    c/o Michael Magee
    7 Old West Wrentham Rd.
    Cumberland, RI 02864

    The price of the book is 12 dollars.

    Here are some examples of advance praise for the
    book and/or the Yasusada project generally:

    "(The Yasusada Author) has done a brilliant job in
    inventing a world at once ritualized and yet startlingly
    modern, timeless yet documentary, archaized yet au
    courant -- a poetic world that satisfies out hunger for the
    authentic, even though that autentic world is a perfect
    simulacrum...Like Pound's Homage to Sextus
    Propertius, the Yasusada notebooks force us to go
    back to the 'originals' so as to see what they really were
    and how they have been transformed."

    --Marjorie Perloff

    "These pidgin English fantasies of poetic mastery are
    awful and incredible. Like Frank O'Hara's 'poem in
    blackface' they give us pause by giving delight. The
    delight, dear reader, is a ruse.It's the pause that
    constitutes their gift."

    --Ben Friedlander

    "Here in America, where even our best experimental
    writers seem to be constructing gigantic monuments to
    their own talents and are eager to lie beside
    Wordsworth in some canonical garden, (the Yasusada)
    project, whatever it ultimately is or ends up having
    been, strikes me as either the most moving, unsettling
    and important thing going on right now, or as the most
    egregious and dangerous self-delusion in American

    --Tony Tost

    "Joyce and Stein gave us an idea of how the ego talked,
    Mallarme and Proust the superego. Now, for the first
    time in our era, an unearthing of Araki Yasusada's
    shattering letters and sublime
    poem-fragments...shows us how ego and superego
    would talk to each other, if only they spoke the same

    --David Rosenberg

    South Florida cafecafe members, check in re Hurricane Katrina?

    I'm in the greater West Palm Beach. We have power and no damage to speak of in our immediate area, though many have lost power in Palm Beach County and it's still raining in gusts off and on. South of us had it worse and Miami and all of Dade County seem hardest hit. We lost cable, so can't get the weather channel to check for more details. I've not heard back from an email I sent Didi early this morning, though.

    News about Katrina in the online Palm Beach Post. Check for the series of photos. Only the first ones were during/after the storm. Most photos are before.


    The Pact

    Each Spring, when the leaves first attempt
    to squirm their way through stiff stubborn
    branches, the lost girls float high beneath
    the ice of Lake Okawalla.

    Their eyes track the skaters--
    those pirouetting birdlike figures
    in thick woolen mufflers, the daring
    ones skirting the thinning spots that gleam
    like opals throughout the warming lake.

    Rabbits and deer shy from lake's rim.
    They've seen the gray, unblinking eyes, heard
    the moans in the night, listened to stories
    of suicide pacts, stockpiled pills, told and retold.

    They lift their heads instead, watch the stars
    and moon shiver-dance across the dark sky
    until a dawn sleet crowns thorns onto the trees,
    and tears finally melt rivulets into the crackling ice.

    Pris Campbell

    Inspired by a reading of the book,
    The Lake of Dead Languages, by
    Carol Goodman.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005


    Whom were you born to replace?
    Masterfully engineered,
    pale pigmentation of
    sky and sun and snow--
    your bloody ingress foretelling

    the smokey exodus of a dark-eyed gypsy.

    Motherland legacy,
    shrouded by a dermal cloak

    of gray earthly remains.

    ashes, ashes,
    we all fall down


    shoulder arch
    more aptly termed what human deeds
    could not, forgot her and as unfathomable
    as this in order to break the breath-lock necessitated
    the concept of absolute freedom which was not to lose its connectedness but to rediscover by sink by down law by dowse divinity means this unself-enclosedness was calling to one another and in every place its calling and in every place for

    of the female proper and also of the supra-individuality
    breaker; a hypostasis absensed as different
    as there were possible proto-images –
    these taken to the


    synergism locked cabinet
    the understanding of the heart providence
    that which became sophianized not difficult unless
    postulated and as thus a stupidity thwarted by elevating
    the tear’s superiority above that of brave directions. Expressly thus. Liberated
    away from a “minus”.
    Autonomous. A transcensus.
    Fishes and birds and a fifth day allowed for.
    A simple doctrinal mechanistic sufficiently unshakeable.
    The language of temporal being as prae-motio. Felt downfalling,
    an ankle foundating but besides this another which hunkered,
    the single root, a crumbgrab point as fusion would weakly
    only that could be expressed fathered almost on
    tides which backswept


    and a red cord
    blossoming to ribbon
    and a tie person penetrating
    as progenitor as homoousianism
    a dwelter swardly and haar-ish sweltering
    condensed a seemly


    but the prime mover,
    a feeble verbal attempt
    this if mentioned before
    then mentioned again. A
    still small scream backthroated
    in a fuckgarb tremulous rainbowish
    more scant wholesomeless prismish
    and pushed would if wanted iron but faced
    the fact of salt first and preferred no such as a non
    moved thing this wood this fermed this appalling leading us
    beyond tendons immobility a dreadful hush whence all unfurled
    as only anything belonging to temporality could. Could write it and therefore deserved not to capture it but lost it
    time it in relation to a thing becoming
    and without the help of grace
    a decompositioning
    the slight


    the morning but
    equally was evening
    rejection in a vein a dull
    crud got
    the taste
    mouth mouthed
    was satisfied
    was finished
    providence sweat was
    was palms
    was persons
    inspirated rubbed
    the inesparable one against
    the other a humanity passing
    between the could not look looks
    and palpated in their own manner

    understood must


    I Should Have Called Her Madam

    When the passing woman
    bent to whisper in my
    ear I knew she was important
    and felt the honor of her
    breath on my cheek.

    The container of everyday
    doesn't hold such messages well.
    But even here a few words evoked
    images of lasting names,
    things not fading, bolstered
    by innocence.

    We are like snowmen she said.
    Life melts while we strategize
    about 20, 30 years. We are smart

    but can't imagine courtesies
    persisting in the rocks of the stars
    you include.

    Then they ushered her away.

    A traffic circle outside Paris

    Bethesda then, the girl who knows

    Pi to forty places falls asleep,

    and as she does she fingers the gold

    flake, the gold key, and when she

    wakes up everyone loves her. It is

    4 AM in Paris. Local time. The news

    from the world comes in however...

    creosote, lipo, whatever it is that

    they are advertising between songs.

    Someone gets surgery but they

    don't say where. She should visit her

    aunt in Spain? Love a bullfighter?

    She gets it all down in her notepad

    somehow. Until the drama is already

    breaking up, already fading, there's

    la Tour Eiffel, les Champs-Elysées,

    Notre-Dame, le Louvre... Oh it feels

    like coming home, the trains run so late.

    And from there the entire face

    swells, and the split between her left

    incision and the right is a little

    sore; her gums start to bleed. She

    takes the pill they gave her for this.

    If she was ever in a dark room...

    If she was ever getting there by a

    dark man... Oh, that's what she

    forgot to say... the local story like an

    audition... No he doesn't light up like a

    lamppost... No he doesn't have five

    seconds... moving too far behind her the

    limbs for real now... No he doesn't

    disappear when she closes her teeth.

    She forgets the language of heaven

    but she remembers the algebra.

    The whole body turns in on itself,

    turns, and especially the eyes.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    nine dulcets for A prime

    1/ wavy lines of ivy, or are such inlets just projections?

    2/ the more this fever saturates, the less we flow together.

    3/ green as in new blades continued soft as overbrush one ran one's hands through . . .

    4/ removal one becomes accustomed to recalling as petite . . .

    5/ attunement to the real thing where fresh birds unwrinkle new light

    6/ use of the word 'egregious' as if saying so would function as an ointment.

    7/ 'thus' is smooth or nearly smooth enough.

    8/ per usual, it's merely morning, as if practiced in place.

    9/ moderato fields shrill questions that precede a change in season.

    "Towards J's New Beginning of the Alpha bet Towards D" (hay(na)ku experiment)

    **... (for J)

    bold, chivalrously
    dutiful, exquisitely fragile,

    hollowed, intuitive
    J knows love.

    numbed, opportunists
    parallelled quite resplendently,

    transcendent, unusually
    virile — winsome, xxx!

    Zeus - Ammon.
    Between challenges, D

    flirts, greatly
    humanes J, knowing

    mines night's
    ore: photons, quartzite

    signals transmitting
    undivided vigor, wit,

    Yet, zest
    accumulates, burrows, caves.

    ellaborates, figures,
    gifts — hoping J

    love, mainly
    numb, perishes. Quits.

    ~ Lorna Dee Cervantes
  • "Towards A: New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "B Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "C-ing Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet to D"

  • "Towards E's New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards An Effin' New Beginning of the Alpha bet" (hay(na)ku experiment)

  • "Towards, G, A New Beginning of the Alpha bet" (abecedarian hay(na)ku)

  • "Towards H's New Beginning of the Alpha bet"
  • "Towards the Alpha bet's New Beginning of I"
    * It's one-a-day, folks!
    more hay(na)ku at Eileen Tabio's, inventor of hay(na)ku form (1/2/3 word tercets)
  • A Spam Stopgap Technique I just found for Comments

    Click on the title to go to today's post on my blog, now implemented. This works for users of and the administrator has to do it, ie didi for cafecafe(if spammers start appearing, of course), but each of you can do it for your own blogs. My spam in comments had started increasing daily. I would appreciate it if a couple of you could try commenting on my post there to see if you can read the letters and get a comment through okay.



    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    "Towards the Alpha bet's New Beginning of I" (abecedarian hay(na)ku) (revised 8/24)

    &&&&& (for I)

    believable challenges,
    drives. Everything fallable

    heightens. I
    just know love

    nothing, otherwise
    proposes, quarrels,, resurrects.

    Surely —
    tarpits, underwire,
    virtuous widows, Xs,

    zephyrs, adolescents,
    bored child-driven enterprises,

    gimme heterosexuals.
    I just know

    make noise
    openly, proving quiescent

    sensual taverns
    underneath vast waterfalls.

    yes, zealously,
    any bay's cavern,

    entire frozen
    glaciers. Halving. I

    know living
    mainly nightens. Over

    questions rise
    sinuously, testily, unsure.

    wasting, x-acto
    yapping, zippering autumn

    closed, dumbed,
    elegant. For giving

    I just
    know love means

    orals, plurals,
    quinces, ravishing silhouettes

    underscore virtually
    whimsical xerox youth —

    Anything believable,
    challenging everything, fallable,

    heightened: I
    just know love.

    ~ Lorna Dee Cervantes
  • "Towards A: New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "B Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "C-ing Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet to D"

  • "Towards E's New Beginning of the Alpha bet"

  • "Towards An Effin' New Beginning of the Alpha bet" (hay(na)ku experiment)

  • "Towards, G, A New Beginning of the Alpha bet" (hay(na)ku experiment)

  • "Towards H's New Beginning of the Alpha bet" (hay(na)ku experiment)

  • * It's one-a-day, folks!
    more hay(na)ku at Eileen Tabio's, inventor of hay(na)ku form (1/2/3 word tercets)

    Over There

    First bird breaks soundwaves
    knit in ones and zeros
    that race against the light
    transmission of your reply.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Landscape of a Poem

    The first sentence comes from nowhere:
    a flock of birds appearing on the horizon.
    Then, with the next sentence, details
    are added - tall pine trees, a small pond, daylight.

    Of course, the second stanza introduces
    something new, perhaps a man walking
    by the pond, complex syntax working to brush in
    his walking stick, his green hunter’s cap.

    By the third stanza, controversy
    juts out like a steep hill in the foreground,
    compounded then by regret and desire
    which blossom like wildflowers upon it.

    And by the fourth stanza, we realize
    that we feel somehow lost. We wonder
    where this is all going, until we find
    that the hunter too wears a puzzled look.

    Then, in stanza five, it becomes clear to us
    that the hunter himself has lost his way,
    that he is contemplating his journey
    and asking himself about the conclusion

    of his trek if he were to cross the steep hill
    and leave his place by the pond
    where he is resting, perplexed by the images
    of the world around him painted on the water’s canvas.

    But the conclusion doesn’t come until after
    the seventh stanza, in which we notice the unity
    of the entire landscape reflected in the water
    and see also the birds which came from nowhere --

    the birds which are fluttering through
    a piece of sky trapped in the water, a piece of sky
    that signifies the whole moment’s evanescence
    with its rolling clouds, white as a blank page.

    Sunday, August 21, 2005


    Her happiness
    was formed of small matters,
    a hand held out to those in need,
    a hug to a friend, a poem
    written to grieve.


    this is my lot
    we each have our own lot

    a lot is a sheaf of wheat
    from our father’s field

    a lot is a grain of wheat
    from our mother’s hand

    a lot is a stem of wheat
    shaped like a key

    a key to a room
    a skeleton key

    we each have our own room
    sometimes a corner of my room

    is a corner of your room
    sometimes it isn’t

    some rooms are small & dank
    some are bright wheat fields

    with broad horizons and locusts
    sleeping in the soil

    the wife of lot
    looked back & now

    seasons all our
    solitary suppers

    Asian American Poetry - Reddy and the Hitler Question

    Hello, I've been posting and commenting on Srikanth Reddy's "Burial Practice," as well as the Hitler Question, over at Hope you find the posts interesting.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005


    I stand
    in the shower of the sun
    wet rivers
    and I stand
    on tiptoes
    in clear water
    with muddy tributaries.



    DEADLINE: January 6, 2006

    FINAL JUDGE: Valerie Martínez

    BOOK PUBLICATION: University of Notre Dame Press

    CASH AWARD: $1000


    Visit the website for more information:

    Re the old El Culo de Bettie poems

    I just heard in this morning's email that my 'El Culo de Bettie' poem and one other will be published in Dufus. That's the online version of Lummox, both edited by Raindog. I subscribe to Lummox, which is an interesting journal...more prose than poetry. Anyway, since that poem was inspired here, I just wanted to pass it on.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Brush Stroke

    (written in response to the challenge Erin references in her post below)

    Brush Stroke

    Flushed from the bush like a finch by the cat,
    the grasshopper jumps into the grass sprung loose

    from the fuchsia--that disgusting shade of pink--
    azalea in full bloom, the chartreuse insect is chased

    down by the black and white three-legged cat that looks
    remarkably like he just stepped out of Japanese print,

    his back painted with meaningful strokes of ink; one
    artful pounce and the neon green snack is gulped down.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Color Scheme of Things

    Color Scheme of Things
    before and after

    The twenty-four inch casket, precarious,
    promised to topple into the unnatural hole;
    empty platitudes fell like rain.

    I never knew pink and indigo clashed
    until I saw rosebuds and purple storm clouds
    gathered, solemn, over your vault

    or the color of dead blood, settled
    under the skin of your ears.

    Written for an online workshop

    Snapshot 17 August 02005

    I am waiting for the sky
    to fall. I am waiting
    to be wrapped in its blue
    cloak. I wait for this pain
    in my shoulders to grow
    into wings. I wait for
    the one who can lift me
    without effort. I wait for
    the people in this book
    to step out and fold me
    in. I am waiting for winter,
    for this dream to open
    into spring. I am waiting
    to wake up.

    I sit in this room with
    the other petitioners,
    with the flat wood tables,
    with the magazines
    and their glossy pages.
    I am waiting for my name
    to be called. I am waiting
    to be told what to do. I am
    rising to my feet. If you call
    my name, shall I follow you?
    These altered windows
    shed the sun like water.
    There is nothing out there,
    on the other side.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005


    Sometimes, like a snake, it will slither
    in through my field of perception
    while I’m listening to an old song
    and coil its heavy body around my heart.

    Other times, like a hook through a fish’s eye,
    it will jerk me out of a peaceful moment
    watching the wind in the sun-splashed grass,
    and haul me on a line into a hopeless boat.

    Of course there are days it doesn’t come,
    days it remains forgotten, unopened,
    like a dusty bottle of wine in the cellar.
    But eventually it always returns: in a question

    or in an inevitable answer, in the picture
    of a lost lover or in the smell of honeysuckle,
    in the eyes of an injured dog that appears
    outside my door, the kind I have to learn to live with.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Confessions of a Hungry Whore

    “Every man I’ve ever known
    was having a relationship
    with himself.

    One time I did an experiment:
    I tied one bloke's wrists with
    one of my best stockings

    but still he bled.

    Another I beat
    around the bush
    but that was his own

    face he was sitting on.

    I would try and find
    a way in up

    which was hard

    as all roads
    led back to

    So I developed the practice
    of devouring them
    as we fucked.

    That way it meant
    I could start
    at one end

    and still
    enjoy them
    for breakfast.

    Good timing I discovered,
    like good grooming,
    was essential.

    If I delayed past a
    certain point there
    was no satisfaction

    to be had.

    If I went too soon
    I’d bite off the hand
    that fed me.

    Sheer ecstasy
    was to be achieved
    by imagining them already dead

    - on arrival,

    (after all, you don’t want
    unnecessary blood
    on your bed).

    No, when
    all is said
    and done

    you gotta
    face life
    head on.

    Mind you,
    the problem

    you can’t look
    them in the eye
    and eat them at

    the same time.

    Men eh!
    Who’d have ‘em
    when they can have themselves instead.”

    God's Messenger

    It's that sort of day--the kind when birds
    fly straight for the sun, when mice run
    in circles till their tails twist into knots,
    and squirrels argue endlessly atop telephone poles.

    The mercury explodes in Sam Sander's garage
    when the temperature roars over 120 degrees
    and Mable Jenkins breaks her big toe-
    her pot of cold cucumber soup wriggling
    and protesting withdrawal from her fridge
    till it slips loose from arthritic hands.

    It's a day when frustrated lovers lie separate,
    panting on sweat-drenched sheets, and long-married
    couples grump about old fissures and decide they should
    have married their childhood sweethearts, after all.

    On such a day, a day ripe for miracles, a day
    prime for Gary Cooper to ride in on the twelve o'clock
    special, a vagabond appears,tells anybody
    who'll listen about dire deeds forgiven
    and roads paved in gold, roads leading
    anywhere and everywhere but here.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Untitled (second in the series)

    Sorrow is a bucket in the sky
    designed to pour tears
    that land on my face
    slice my cheekbones
    water Kaylee’s grave.

    This is not a walk in a meadow,
    a stroll in the park to remember.
    It is a knife, a scream rendered
    that pierces a bloody tear, removal.

    Fuck detachment, grief laid out clean
    no blood, embalmed distance.

    Self Portraits

    Does anybody care to join the conversation about self portraits onMy Blog?

    D, since you do both portraits of others and, I believe, at least one of yourself, would love to see you comment if it interests you.

    Others, too.


    Virginia In A Box goes to

    Sheila Murphy and although R. Cardenas did not enter this poem in the challenge, I feel this piece really is about Virginia so I am giving him the box too.

    E-mail me your addresses please.


    Sunday, August 14, 2005



    Hush fell, albeit
    eyes danced, glints
    of curiosity, liquid
    as mercury, as she
    shuffled with a dignified
    glide into our presence.

    Half-a-century has passed
    shaving thin my memory,
    still I nearly choke
    on my startled breath
    as she leans, touches,
    straightens, proclaims

    the single flow
    of our blood. Her blue
    eyes, circled with time,
    meet my brown eyes,
    expanded by the mystery
    of our kinship.
    Henry’s Unfortunate Elegy For A Lost Girl

    I lie here, buried in this rubbish,
    soiled newspapers from the month of June,
    black banana peels, maggots, tin cans,

    the boy raped me, hurt me, strangled me,
    and raped me again after I was dead.
    I still can not believe it.

    I see the pain on my mother’s face,
    I see the anger, the love I took for granted.
    Yet, somehow, it does not matter to me.

    There is no pain now, no time,
    occasionally a flick of light
    strikes me as odd,

    but, otherwise, my death is my life.
    I lie here, buried here, while the living
    walk on glass just above me,

    and this may well surprise you,
    but, I am so afraid the glass will break
    and you will find me!

    Orpheus B.C.

    Transformation… That’s what it is.
    Ecstatic melody that tears me open
    again and again.
    Those atoning chords
    strumming from your lyre
    that fill the vacant space in chest
    which mystics try to cram with prayers,
    and make men seek the age-old path
    to love god and love love and love sky,
    and swirl like shadows torn apart from
    bodies when they jump around the fire,
    and make trees fill with sweeter fruit,
    upon the strumming of your lyre.

    I heard you died, torn apart
    by Dionysus vineyard women
    and that your limbs were drowned
    in water, like the origins of sin,
    and that you walked the underworld,
    and that you walked the clouds
    as a regular son of a sun god
    and that Columbus went to heaven
    by the atoning grace of your chords.

    …But I see you here now,
    sweet voice and lyre filling mystic spaces
    as they have for eons,
    making chests swell with love for god
    and love for love and love for sky,
    consecrating men by voice and song…
    And I find it hard to believe
    they had you, they heard you,
    and let you come back.

    Asian American Poetry - Zulfikar Ghose

    Hey all, I've just completed a three post commentary on a Zulfikar Ghose essay on nationality, identity, and poetry at It's more interesting than the way I've framed it folks, but then again, what do I know? Anyhow, stop by and check it out, if you'd like.

    Saturday, August 13, 2005


    we lost today
    yesterday but
    we didn't know.
    sorrow came, and comes
    relentless; there are
    no words to describe
    the soul in anguish
    or grief beyond repair.

    Bamboo and Oak

    It was meant one day as his coffin,
    this box of hewn oak, sanded and oiled
    til it gleamed like the moon sailing high
    off a black satin ocean.

    He liked to plan ahead--
    liked the feel of wood, smooth as a woman's
    body would feel under his someday,
    he once told me.

    An odd one, this brother of mine,
    his room jammed with time lines and lists
    neatly writ on yellow lined paper:
    marry at age 22
    baby at age 24
    house at age 26
    company president by age 35

    He never did come back from Vietman.
    A POW, one witness said.
    His time lines drifted by, mark
    by mark, till, one day
    I inherited the box.

    Now, nights when I sense ghosts stalk my room,
    I open the lid, climb in,
    press cool wood against sweaty back,
    imagine him, lying the same, under green,
    skin taut across bone, skeletal,
    scratching 'death' on his bamboo timeline.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Who We Might Have Been

    “We all prefer comfort to joy.” - Flannery O’Connor

    Sitting beside the tub tonight,
    a light steam fogging the bathroom mirror,
    I thought of who we might have been -
    those ghosts of ourselves that never
    plunged forth from the womb of our routine.

    I saw us together beneath your porch-light,
    watching umbrellas fill the streets with black --
    dark flowers blossoming on the concrete --
    and with fingers fearlessly interlocked,
    we felt again the thrill of our first date.

    But still we sat silently looking out
    across the vendors and the crowd’s blurred face
    until we caught a glimpse of our daughter.
    Then, before we could reach her and embrace,
    I slipped down into the lukewarm water.

    No Longer

    Moonflowers unfurl fullness
    and pale faces as I lay my cheek
    where once your name was spoken.

    The earth has swallowed your stone
    till I can no longer read it -
    there are only memories and dew.

    No hummingbirds trumpet petaled praises
    no honeybees drink - they have flown,
    with wings too fast to be seen.

    Last Lectures

    Last Lectures

    The American death toll mounts,
    CNN does not bother with Iraqis lost,
    Not on any side, no side at all, just
    Walking on a street, buying groceries.
    It’s hard to maintain the level of outrage
    Warranted, this unending tale
    Of imperialism gone amok, money
    And power no longer sufficient to explain
    Schoolboys with firepower killing and
    Killing. The world is sick of this and,
    If it is not, I am. Columbine. Kabul.

    The simple things to do, I do. I sign
    The petitions, send small amounts to
    A dozen groups, I would write to my
    Congressman but that’s a joke, not only
    Because he already agrees, but because
    Taking such politics seriously cannot
    Be serious. Democracy is thin as chicken
    Soup: a good nonfat diet, cannot support life.

    Besides, I need not go abroad to search
    For imperialism. The richest society, super-
    Power, cannot afford pensions, medical care,
    Bridges in good repair, roads without holes,
    Schools worth shit, street cleaning, public toilets –
    The rich hide behind fences, the poor calm
    Themselves with cheap white bread, grow large
    And diabetic. No need to travel to find
    Jails filled to bursting and the prison business
    Booming. Crap movies. Crap food. Crap jobs.

    The not so simple things to do: I say, let’s
    Figure them out together. You in the front row.
    I’m too old to lead this discussion. You, it’s
    On you now. No more whining, no more bullshit.
    I’ll help, but you have to lead the way.

    That Old Gang of Mine

    The aging hippie couple
    at the end of my block
    stack sofa, chairs, bookcases
    and one table on their lawn;
    set a bonfire. Their way
    of making a statement
    about ownership, they claim,
    when the cops rush up.

    They grow weed among their
    flowering bottlebrush shrubs,
    carry brownies packed with
    their wares to the sad old lady
    across the street.

    She dances until midnight
    in a red beaded dress, skirt swirling-
    a redbird in flight. The neighborhood
    dogs howl under her windowsill,
    her four-legged choir of fresh lovers.
    The other ones lie six feet under
    in long ago graves, for now, forgotten.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    the red sledge hammer

    so much depends on
    a red sledge hammer

    lying in the hard glass light
    of high noon

    at the edge of
    the new bank site

    on top of the stack of
    white concrete blocks.

    * * * *

    (Previously published in The Subversive Agent, a print magazine that published briefly in the 1990's, edited by Paul Jentz. The magazine was originally founded by Thomas McGrath.)

    Note: The above poem was originally written with uneven margins on both sides -- I write most of my poems that way -- not flush left as it shows above. I haven't figured out how to do uneven margins on both sides in HTML, which is one of the reasons I haven't posted many of my poems online.

    I've gone ahead and posted this one because I surely don't want to "boycott" the blog because of a technical limitation. And I'll certainly post more poems in the future. (When I wrote the "Making of Eve" poem that I posted here earlier this summer, I intentionally used flush left margins, so I wouldn't have to deal with the HTML problem. But usually I find flush left margins too limiting, for poems.)

    I'm not any kind of expert with HTML. If anyone knows a (more or less) uncomplicated way to do uneven both-side margins with HTML, feel free to let me know. Thanks!

    Gardeners and Poets

    We gather in a Greenwich Village community garden,
    beside the public apple tree and the private pear,
    to recite our poems for friends and gardeners.

    Elders wander in and sit to listen for a while
    then drift off like swallowtails to the honey-scented
    buddleia. A woman in a straw sunhat harvests

    plump tomatoes in a canvas shoulder bag. Magenta
    hibiscus lolls by the gold of black-eyed susans; roses
    blush pink as our poet-comedian coaxes laughs

    about spam to shrink his mortgage, grow his johnson;
    curious couples peer through green chainlink;
    as August evening breezes blow, pigeons convene

    on a roof, and a male jitterbugs for bored females.
    The rain holds off; words trail into applause.
    We poets retreat to a pub for Guinness and gin.

    On the table, someone put a pink rose, a green apple.

    Christopher T. George

    This was a reading of poets who frequent Gazebo and Able Muse. Some photographs and other comments on the reading can be found by hitting the link through the title.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    New People To MiPO

    Walking to the Cineplex

    On these city streets you can't hear
    the sidewalks echo the clickity-clack
    of our anxious feet. They're submerged
    drowning in the noise of passing cars,
    prattling pedestrians, the sounds of them
    walking, strutting, shuffling–-the rub of
    cloth against cloth.

    The windows of each establishment
    capture us like carnival mirrors--
    See my mushroom head! Look!
    A tire hangs about your chin.
    I could drive into that grin on the road
    you paved with hearty giggles.

    The multi-plex greets us with neon "Hellos"
    we flock to like summer bugs, mesmerized.
    Yet, from the twinkle in your eyes I sense
    we finally discovered Oz.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Looking for Eurydice

    I lost Eurydice in the darkness.
    Darkness. Thick, vast and null
    as my view of god,
    as what fills her absence,
    as indigo gel made from China ink.
    I saw her face for a thunderclap.
    She vanished into the void
    an instant after I looked back,
    her eyes breaking the black
    as she gazed towards me.
    Darkness is the shade
    of secrets I will never tell.
    Darkness in my mouth
    hides the coin on my tongue.
    Darkness in each chambered nautilus
    within me, those quiet spaces
    where I honor the dead
    calling out their names.


    slap gap sonnet

    blads, calorificacient, this how alone
    makes suffer, pricks to camorated
    a selection of eye rod/cone
    swoops: the blood singulars, twofed
    lip mini-smacks also along smooth
    finger traps where concave cusps must
    fatten ‘n then blather up a soothe
    anti-sear scotoma larch lust
    no no these’ll not peg down
    that’s left to the yew its roots
    suturing undeads lest homegrown
    resurrected luke warm half truths
    wane. Hold. Hearts(') rent wood would calcify
    wrought raw broodings but ought               ally

    The Wait

    (slight edit)

    When Tom finally meets Meg
    in the Empire State building,
    I think of when you said,
    we're magic, babe.
    While Billy Bob spoons
    ice cream to Hallie's mouth,
    our old churn comes
    to mind, used now
    as a playground for spiders.

    Movies always reel you back to me,
    piece by piece.

    You are the squeak in the leaf
    I roll between my fingers each Spring,
    the halo of light lingering when
    I switch off my lamp, come midnight.
    You are the sweat in my gown
    and the silence between raindrops
    on that beach where you stripped
    off my suit and once took me, hard.

    Any day now, you will surely
    knock at my door and,
    kissing my cupped hand,
    say, she didn't matter, love;
    she never mattered at all


    When Tom Hanks finds Meg Ryan
    in the Empire State building,
    I remember when you said,
    we make our own magic, babe.
    When Billy Bob Thornton feeds
    ice cream to Hallie Berrie,
    I think of our old churn
    in the cellar, used now
    as a playground for spiders.

    The movies reel you back to me,
    piece by piece. One day,
    you will follow, I tell myself.

    You are the squeak in the leaf
    I roll between my fingers each Spring,
    the halo of light lingering when
    I switch off my lamp, come midnight.
    You are the sweat in my gown
    and the silence between raindrops
    on that beach where you stripped
    off my suit and once took me, hard.

    One day you will surely
    knock at my door and,
    kissing my cupped hand,
    tell me, she didn't matter.
    She never mattered at all.

    Pris Campbell

    The View From the Cheap Seats

    So much for orgasm
    akin to dying
    so much pumping
    that long, member
    puke whirrled peas,
    try to grow.

    In the corner
    the wine ferments
    while the boxer
    in his briefs
    takes member in hand
    sits in the cheap seats
    plays with words. In the shower
    ideals spew into submission.

    World peace can be found
    in a slit in the cotton.
    Chew on reguritated
    muck. Spray,
    then die again.
    Prick, to attention.
    Use words like
    this, then
    cover them in slime.
    Right on
    hip, hip, hup, hup
    and hooray.

    Sunday, August 07, 2005


    It was a war
    A dirty dirty war
    founded on lies
    whispers of what wasn’t
    sold wholesale as what is.

    Get Ready!

    Get Ready for the next mIOPradio!

    New promo posted at the mIPOradio podcast site.

    Listen and guess which three poets speak on the promo!

    You never know who... and what... you'll hear!

    Twelve Views

    1. Sing the singular white blade of petals still approaching sky.

    2. Is this threshold of approach close to a scorch point?

    3. Innocence as pass-through to friendly fire.

    4. Mistakes are thought to yield the fodder for cropped art.

    5. This hemisphere folds irises into their depths.

    6. Given the merchantry one foists on nature; where does sky begin to fit?

    7. Loam likely to fortify now generates few minerals.

    8. Recently soothing land becomes unwatched.

    9. Specific granules tip the shadows into darkness.

    10. Inherent range of motion flexes stillness in the eye.

    11. "Yes" remains one syllable.

    12. Art / icu / late, embedded sun amounts to several imagined leas.

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Antiquities- revision

    Be still
    listen for the sigh
    like breeze rousing dawn
    too soon after you held my head
    drunk with passion in your dream,
    my hair spilling into your hands
    like electricity filling the line
    between our worlds.

    Then go softly into the steel gray rain
    of days spent waiting,
    hollow aching drift of time muddled,
    set against raging seas of emotion,
    ebb and flow.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Nick Carbo's "HER AHS AND OHS"

    Hey All,

    I've just posted and commented on Nick Carbo's "HER AHS AND OHS" over on my blog: Hope you enjoy!


    Your absence is a black sun,
    a blazing void we circle
    in love’s hopeless orbit.

    Today I felt your nearness
    when I could say nothing
    in the long moment of pause

    that swelled out from the phone
    as my mother, your ex-wife,
    spoke about suicide -

    a long moment of pause
    that swelled out like the bubbles
    which once filled the bathtub

    when I was your favorite child
    and you would lift me, shivering,
    from the water and wrap around

    me a towel to keep me safe
    and warm in the bathroom air
    suddenly so cold.


    Telling Them Apart, my second collection of poetry, is now available as a free e-book.


    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Korean Adoptee Returns to Seoul

    How can I tell you that my wife and I slept
    behind three temples and some vendors flapping
    the Korea Times at the flies on the durian

    that in this racing city, the sleek Lexus races
    down fast lanes, past by skyrise malls

    and sidewalk food stalls while the old men
    call it a day and do not notice me at all,

    a Korean adoptee smelling Seoul
    for the first time in the thirty years?

    The first night back, I dream about birth
    rights and death dates, birthdates and love
    lost somewhere over the Pacific.

    The first night back, I dream in that hotel room
    behind the temples about a birth scenario.

    I dream about the woman whose body bore me,
    right here in this city thirty years ago, where

    that same vendor flapped the newspaper
    at the flies on the durian, eighteen years after
    the Korean War when Russians took the north

    Americans took the south, below the thin line
    that served as the new border. Maybe

    she was thirty and I took too much from her
    busy life and she could not imagine death

    so she left me on the steps of a church.
    Maybe she was sixteen, and

    I was heavy on her heart and on her back
    so heavy that in her dreams, I could sink
    quietly, in a lake.

    Have I mentioned this to you?
    Have I mentioned how downtown Seoul

    collides with the horizon, how I could smell
    pieces of Fresno even here at the barbecued squid

    vendor’s five foot business, how close Pyongyang
    feels when I am in Fresno among the blossoms,

    the cement, and the hopeful ones like me and you,
    counting on tomorrow being good?
    Have I mentioned how Seoul is a city

    in which I have loved and been loved, left and been
    left, a city in which I found green plants raging

    out of the earth, trees reaching toward the sun
    with such vertical precision you’d think God,

    yes, God had been involved in the planting?
    I should mention how the sun tries to blaze there

    like the sun tries to blaze here, how the son
    finally rests having been home and smelled the city
    and its possessions: the garlic fields, the rice fields,

    and the woman’s hands mixing
    the kimchi into the egg

    How his heartbeat sounds as if it is saying life
    life life life deep like the water

    that connects these two cities
    and the light breeze that blows in between.

    cafe' cafe' community

    These three cafe' cafe' participants will be in our next mIPOradio show. We will be featuring cafe cafe readers in each show regardless of theme. It is our way of saying thank you and to remind you just how wonderful you all are.

    Bill Allegrezza
    Dierdre Dore
    AnnMarie Eldon

    Please continue supporting each other by leaving comments and posting your poems and please remember to send me any audio you have or point me to where you have it on your blog. My e-mail is chinavieja at gmail dot com. If you have any friends you would like to invite, please let me know.

    Thank you -
    Didi and Birdie

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    night river love poem

    i want to hold you
    mid-stream with the
    current pushing downriver
    and the banks
    becoming a distant
    dream of safety
    to be enveloped
    in the darkness
    with no guiding light

    lost struggling
    coping searching
    as ages pass
    time collapses

    two bodies pushing against
    each other in that space
    where the struggle is to be
    one and two in the flow
    without drowning.

    Seems we have forgotten about Virginia