Hugh Behm-Steinberg (California, USA): Four Prose Poems


In the movie everything splits in two, fortresses, autos, apartment buildings, neighbors, deals, and for everything there is someone between who grays. And there is this kid and he hates his father, who’s a vampire, because all he wants to be is a vampire too, only with better teeth and flashier tracksuits. And there is another kid, also hating his father, who finds another father, and this first father is not a bad man he gets to hang out with a woman who used to a doctor and another woman who used to be an owl. Lots of explosions, and the idea that if you can write precisely what you want with magic chalk you can mend what was torn from you.


When I’m a kid I’ll be water, I’ll be watched closely. When I’m seen I’ll change your mind. When I do chores I’ll be diligent. I won’t live in an empire. When I’m handsome I’m trying not to be imperial I won’t let myself be folded upon myself. I’m not a suit. I won’t let myself be a suit. When I’m a grown up I’ll be a kid and no one will watch me, when I’m a grown up I’ll watch myself. I’ll be water only different I’ll do chores and I won’t be them. Won’t be chores, won’t be laundry, won’t let my clothes be my costume, won’t let my clothes be my uniform, won’t live in an empire, I’ll be handsome like a statute but I won’t be legal anymore.


When I was dead the king of the dead challenged me. The most beautiful poem and you’ll go to heaven. Because I was dead I had all the time in the world, everything I ever said sat in my mind like a book, I could read my own mind like a book. But when I looked down into hell I saw Paul Celan, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and if they were there then I knew the king of death hated poetry, and I was fucked either way, so I kept my mouth shut. The king said what’s the most beautiful poem and I said nothing, and he said silence is most beautiful, but I wrote it first, so it’s a tie, which means you only get to live, and say hi to John Cage for me.


I’m seldom sparrowlike, the mud bothers me, don’t peck so much no more. The warm air lifts but it won’t even argue with me. I’m fond of my clothes, the hairs on my arms, my arms, my thumbs. I like to hum more than sing, I only know how to whistle one note, I’m not fooling anybody. This is the part where I’m supposed to turn, and if I was a sparrow I could do so very quickly and without thinking, it would be routine, you’d have to be really focused to remember it happened at all. This would be the part where instinct took over, the worm got what’s coming, but it’s sunny, and I’m not, I sit on a bench and watch, more patient than I look.

© Hugh Behm-Steinberg 2007

Marco Giovenale (Rome, Italy): from "first platform 2"

§ 0.2

it was at cape breton isle.
he is one of major b-fiddlers exporters.

mosaic isle. gravel. say:
surrender, say: board nothing, üre :00:4.

he boasts nothing. he puts cut
hands on the hob. he lights furs.

see a group of nuns praying.
intriguing, intriguing. fake exit.

in back lane pink pool of bones.
no clone dwarf with rifle waiting.

peaches. & the original tapestry theory.
quilt mud art always begins

as a crooked violin-flute duo
in august - which is voodoo winter

§ 0.2

two years minus | another year waste area |
informational master goofy coffee sipping maiden

they they furl nasa gonfalon. current. beware
of | hoops of stones and unmanned rockets
available through the month.

jamaica leader in spain and algebra mafia
led tin corporate sponsorship brochure.
soda fills both sides of the timecoder left

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: centers/ issues/ rêveries/
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: peeps/ peeks/ ices/ depots/
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: hacks/ views/ wee dew corn rifle
shooting beyond the lines. warned. the lightning strikes
all the children bows on the ground.
then x: nothing in the box. the mender came and go. he grew diaphanous.

you saw him. | better. | you know it.

§ 0.2

four circles. cup of glass crumbs.
baked seal-faced nyman silk.

catch the promo. it was just here. didn't you
see any lunch? the four famous black rabbits

laughed at the color statements by georg.
prune pig sewage n { archives suck.

undress handspun gut fiber x/200
-- private request. | a. b. | { mimic the manner of connexion.

© Marco Giovenale 2007