Stacy Blair (Indiana, USA): "Photo Experiments"

Blonde locks jut out over the tops of pigtails,
bleached beach/sand-color by the sun.
Time's short between this photograph and my regard.
Picture: no flower lays or shoes, just
young grass hips. She is, I am, we were,
very young. The entire page of this album
flanks history; under my mind, another
helpless time explosion. I was, we were, are,
naked newborns, as our little limbs on film.

c. Stacy Blair 2008

Mary Walker Graham (Boston, USA): "My Favorite Word is River"

The lady maples dip their long green fingers into their own reflections.

And the train goes by twice, toot and toot.

The okra was so tall this year, ringed with crimson,
the Japanese beetles like scary mobile jewels. Imagine if her necklace walked...
(and ate holes in her thin skin, and had to be trapped
with sticky pheromone ooze.)

It gets thin and salty near the marshes.

Now I'm dining alone on the Sonoma Coast...

River rhymes with liver, which has the meaning

both of filter and of one who doesn't die.

c. Mary Walker Graham 2008

Steve Halle (Illinois, USA): from Blackbirds

Under the desk-
red plastic box
of Legos, from which
things were built
demolished brick
by plastic brick,
a place of origins
lays in wait

behind blue blinds,
a red light, an imagining,
made real by imagination.
The memory of its glow,
the ghost apparatus,
rising mind at bedside dawn.

Etched in the marble
of a city's empirical consciousness,
a dead man eternally bleeds.
Voices plead with his blood
for certitude, and construct

a reply, feels real enough
to pacify the weary mind,
the dry throat forming words,
yet the body reaches after
its own and another's carnality,
only flesh memories pacify,
not scripted visions of fantasy.

The lampshade grants
the bedroom understated light.
A turn-dial color TV,
one-hundred faux-fur paws,
magnitudes of material,
when love is pulled from warm hands.


c. Steve Halle 2006

Mary Walker Graham (Boston, USA): "On the Banks of the River in Winter"

As if for the first time,
the long low sound of the water
and the train just beginning

to round the bend and blow
its way through the dark tunnel.
How many times I've sat here

in summer: considered the chicory,
drawn the blue bridge flung
from bank to bank, or wondered

the names of the red flowers,
their throats like trumpets.
How many times I've not

given in to the weeping:
I can almost see her- Mary- the one
who lifts the Potomac mud

to her face and smears,
as if it were a balm and not
the original problem,

or the one with the bucket of fish:
she should return them but that would mean
letting them slip, silver and whole,

finally cast out from her. I'd rather
let them wander in the waters,
cold and insistent and crying.

c. Mary Walker Graham 2008

Nick Moudry (Philadelphia, USA): "Victoria, High Quality Pt. 2"

Film hits me with an OK boys
don't like this story
is my favorite sequence of course
under the she is under the illuminating hello
you are programmed to act
of your own talking turned into
a speech which says "Hi"
of course we are here to see you doesn't
belong here turns out to be very proud acts
just like a play the agent role is fragile
will you play of course you will if it is written you will
love it everyone sings under the
always evolving she hits me with a
character's all I have ever written
of course I want to be like all over the place
but she said it's too
cold outside to be standing around
thinking why don't you go fuck yourself
& she says let's go home & fuck
& I am thinking hey yeah
it's great to be an American

The biggest fuck you
about life is I'd probably sound more
messages into your machine
but am not entirely sure you like people
as far as I'm concerned I wish I could
wake up & no one is there or is
pretending to be there she holds
my hand I have no idea what she means
when she is so friendly you can say I am
lost behind everything or
it has been a long time since I even
thought of America was up til four o'clock
looking at us only often in the act

c. Nick Moudry 2006

Chris McCabe (London, UK): Two Untitled Poems

I seek the fine grain with the coarse mind,
The cloth my brain is wrapped in, rough
To the touch of the world's green edges.
My body sometimes knows what's to be

Done, when in name I speak a wild field
That has not been cleared of impediments:
The culture's stones, commerce's salt
That rot the Earth and shut off the sun.

I long to yield beauty, in its own allotment;
Uncurbed and yet refined; freely available
But not cheapened by bargained price.
Let the springs, the bird-songs, the trees

Come into their aloneness like a coronation
That allows the new king to attain greatness
Amidst the very loss that brought them there.
All that is most clear and true is visible

Like the color that breathes itself on rain
To make the surface dazzle with life, to show
That what is beautiful carries between floors
And can be on the ground, or greenly upstairs.

...........................................................................

Things are what kings hold- and let go of, once;
Learning too late that the nothing outside belongs
To the nothingness buzzing in our blood, and will
Connect to it, as a burglar will drill through
Steel locks and busy tumblers, to our blood.
The tempest of existence thrums and thunders,
Rumbling the body like the great beating of a kettle drum,
Announcing the hard hollows and stretched surfaces
Of ourselves, our groaning testimony to being present
Against our wish, presented to an audience who loves us less.
We sense the vibrancy of loss as a humming of violins
Like a surgery wild with last-minute cutting, a tuning
Up of instruments and mastery- the universe
Has a dancer's body and a maggot's mind.


c. Chris McCabe 2009

Adam Fieled (editor, Philadelphia, Pa): Apparition Poem #1613

#1613

Follow Abraham up the hill:
to the extent that the hill is
constituted already by kinds
of knives, to what extent can
a man go up a hill, shepherd
a son to be sacrificed, to be
worthy before an almighty
power that may or may not
have had conscious intentions

where hills, knives, sons were
concerned, but how, as I watch
this, can I not feel that Abraham,
by braving knives, does not need
the one he holds in his rapt hands?


c. 2010

Jordan Stempleman (Iowa, USA): "But the tail end is too powerful to relax..."

The slob who dates the mother
can never remember who sheared
the musical return of an unwavering afternoon, dries himself
in response to the hard fought
saying: seeing you like this means
we're here enough to begin introducing ourselves again.

c. Jordan Stempleman 2007

Adam Fieled (editor, Philadelphia, USA): Two Poems

THE FALL (FOR MARY HARJU)

I look at a bridge through the window.
I am standing, naked, while you paint.

I feel that every moment is new, nude.
I am in my body as it actually is, I am

in time as it moves forward, from in
side my body, responsive to drafts

coming through the window, mirrors
which show me what I know too well

to know, what I have lived through
and with, what I have seen but not

been Other to. Sunlight glistens-
we fall upwards, without question.


FROM THE LAST DROP

I saw no one at the coffee shop

I had coffee that tasted like ash

I opened a volume of Beckett

I stared into a wall-size mirror

I smoked a soul-coughing butt

I redid my stubborn Irish mind

I was home in twenty minutes

I have waited years to write this


c. Adam Fieled 2008

Mary Walker Graham (Boston, USA): "Kissing in Cars"

I can't find my keys,
lighter, wallet; I've lost my
arches in the dusty windows,
way in the cathedral grasses,
naming things: heavy/slow
eyes smiling, even in sleep,
steam rising from the grates,
even on a warm day. Not that
I understand it, but I wanted
to buy a yellow dress;
I wanted the streetlights,
blinking once, then not anymore.

c. Mary Walker Graham 2007

Kristen Orser (Chicago, USA): Three Poems

THE BED HAS NO HEADBOARD

I'm balanced is something
I want to tell you. Another thing,
if you don't stop running
the water I won't ever stop considering
your halo or that which reminds me
of your halo. When I pander, push
me, and when I push just remember
the faucet's wish list.


WISH LIST

Just imagining looking up, never realizing
the boundaries you have set for yourself.
How many ceilings can you have before you suffocate
from thinking inwardly. I have an outer shell which doesn't
remind me of anything, besides I'd rather cry on the couch
holding my arms against me, begging my arms to never let me go.
I leave because I care. I am the way planes fly.
There are reasons I have never felt tense in my shoulders,
and I keep writing them down on paper, and then forcing them
in-between the muscles and bones which make up this frame.
I ache, pray for mountains.


CLEAR IN THE BRISK, LAUGHING DAYLIGHT

The view from above, far above,
as if we all sat on shoulders gazing down at what was,
beautiful, and yet fleeting. A comic
scene. Your head ballooned with a yawn, a single
yawn followed by others. Your eyes were as big
as they ever were, your eyes were as big as now,
as the remainder of the season, of the past few years.

The trees kept leaving on their own like a glass
of water sitting on a wooden banister outside,
on some porch: the water- the sky- condensation- inevitability.


c. Kristen Orser 2009

Steve Halle (Illinois, USA): from Cessation Covers

crooks on the inside means suicide
crops on the downside, pesticide
boy on the crib-side, infanticide
favor eyes over eyesight into homicide

she asked me to untie her,
chase away the lice, the worthy
few isn't me, which heaven sees-

........................................................

a chain for your locket, the photo
drips from your mouthed wish,
my light oversees my greatest
pension; a shock of impatiens.

the rat beneath a Blue Line train
diseases Chicago underground-

.........................................................

broke Bogart, broken bone-saw,
thinned-out source, the sun capsizes
Los Angeles, and if you skip the sun
it will make you sleepy, if you count

measured breaths, you can snore
among bodies; these mink coats
paid off well; now I'm sworn off kills-

.......................................................

she gave in to "we," planted a house,
built a tree, still, needy, widgets belie
bees, a windy taboo, a yarn, pleased
by redundancy, Wednesday suits you.

she's the one she likes. all are pretty:
psalms and banshees like to scream
along; she likes to shoot his gun,
blown loose, left behind, if you wouldn't mind-

c. Steve Halle 2007