Lars Palm (Sweden): from "Footnote Poems"


perhaps because movements are so easily founded by people who do nothing. or because moments are so easily found by people who know something else. moments move to the side while some of the people begin. & while others cease. not to exist but to be existentialists. for reasons they themselves find unclear. at least when they try to lay them out. on a table in muddy shade. meanwhile back at the parole-board bored officers vandalize offices & are sentenced to any number of years without parole. that's how things go say the people who do nothing. as if they ever wrote a song with no less than two harmonica solos. or spoke to a dead french poet called jacques. or jack as they would have it. but perhaps because they just the other day founded a movement in someone's left arm they are content with doing nothing. except sit back to watch the arms race. which one will win remains to be seen wearing black trousers & a red t-shirt getting into a nondescript dark car


a boy hid it in his school desk, the only object in that classroom painted blue. a girl hid under the blackboard, the only object in that classroom painted green. a teacher hid behind the pulpit, the only object in that old-fashioned classroom painted red. a same-sex couple painted a closet black & hid in that. that started a movement of painting & hiding in that school. before long most spaces where you could hide & most objects you could paint were occupied & colourful. the first boy took something out of his desk & looked baffled. a principal crashes in through the door looking agitated, mouth moving without producing any words. the principal's face changes expression, now confused. the principal exits quickly heading down the now deserted hallway. a telephone conversation ensues. the school is sealed. a whitewash follows a few hours later


she was not the author of the black notebook she gave to him, even as she called it "mine" before adding, "now it is yours." but then authorship is an increasingly shapeless ship. a small aside for sure. maybe found in that notebook. he would know for he probably read it. she would know for she probably had some part in its making. i would be expected to know for i'm writing these notes. eileen would know for the beginnings are hers. so "mine" or "yours". shall we mine the possibilities? or just say "ours"? or even question the very notion of "ownership"? wouldn't that be fun? ownership as theft. of course. the old anarchist idea. probably stolen from some earlier anti-authoritarian movement. what did for example the diggers have to say about ownership? people before money? what will people after money say? in other words who can claim ownership (theft) to that idea? & what has that to do with her giving him a black notebook? whether she really could call it hers it was well received. & strengthened a bond between them. maybe because of its content. maybe in the simple act of giving. maybe because they both like black notebooks. maybe because m/s authorship just left harbour heading south-west with a cargo of, you guessed it, black notebooks


except that, she understood with that first nibble: she will spend the rest of her suddenly over-long life aching to taste again that poem she swallowed out of existence. in that form. & maybe she asks herself, or someone else's self, if she finds another poem to nibble: how would she react to that? would the taste of that poem be pleasing to her? but maybe she doesn't ask herself, or someone else's self, that. maybe she pours herself a glass of wine & submerges herself in a song. & maybe she thinks about how that combination tastes. & maybe she sets out to turn that combined taste into a poem. & maybe that poem tastes interesting. but she will leave it up to a neighbour who just entered, suspecting nothing, to be the judge of that. for that neighbour just happens to be a sommelier & a drummer


except that, pride is necessary to locate the eye within spaces lacking discernible parameters. because of that, pride is very proud to finally be useful. full of life a young woman skips. wait, there, could that be a parameter? & could the eye be nearby? except that, spaces discern a direction. a couple of miles, then to the left just after an oddly shaped tree. & if necessary we will hang a sign on it. the spaces nod & make thoughtful faces. the eye locates you. a big black hairy dog puts his nose to the ground. then suddenly he lifts his leg to a lamp-post. directions continue. the director tries to locate an angle, a way into the scene, thinking the part will improve the whole. except that, the need arises to locate the eye to facilitate cutting. this bread is often used with soup. this soup is easier to cook without pride. yo! a parameter. what next?

© Lars Palm 2008

Andrew Lundwall (Rockford, Illinois, USA): from "Gardening at Night"


the moon slices like ivory
through our window we see it
deceptive breaths
shredding yesterday's bills

injured that look
down the stairs
descending slowly
it hurts to watch

it's not even funny
we're incarcerated
in eternity's rumpus room
no one's speaking


nothing personal but i'd rather distance you - cursive all up there in my face like a blizzard of bees each letter pimped out - geography this


three nuns at the bar last night raised mug this bud's for you - the jukebox jester played a wicked accordion for the occasion


a dark cloud - was it a rorshach test or blood spatter you tell me - my game is 3D - infatuated passengers grin


if it rains for real
decorate it this time
laurel it and let it
drop like a stone
so safe on the other side
so convenient to be


congregate like the washington monument
bright hydrants shapes of being awake
recurring still supplied memory we’ll hook
up thoughts dispensing fleshes steadily
like yellow lips decompressing a map
hard twists of night radically lilt
to know long returns clad in black robes
by an absence like a lifer'd found the egg


struggled up from sleep
from the glow that fires her fingers
sweet consequential sweat aloof
like lonesome in snow globe

thought that if i'd told
or if you'd stayed still
long enough if being anyone
is being everywhere else but

you've shrouded yrself in silence
excused myself from room to smoke
distracted bored long drags tilted
to find her something in my stacks


lost in the raging sound
a face is splintered
through the club
and its web of smoke
all eyes die here
at their feet the ladies
shiny north pole they swirl
to stun the masses stupid
at the edge of the world
renee especially
i walk through you
your legs suit me
where i wish to move
through your eyes
offer a bouquet
to shadows
to love

© Andrew Lundwall 2008

Chris McCabe (London, UK): from "The True History of the Working Class"

MARCH 26, 2008

Last week we went to see The Fall at the Astoria -
a warehouse of drunkenness, experience, harsh bass
that breaks apart Paolozzi's mosaics inside Tottenham
Court Rd station, a place where people meet to make
sensation mean something real to them - soon to be sold
to commercial developers - another turreted outpost
beneath the omphalos of CENTREPOINT. In the crowd
was Frank Skinner & the drummer from The Horrors.
In that tensile thrum before they came on stage,
the sense that something special is going to happen only once
like this - at our feet a stash of Red Stripe cans - we stood
on the top tier looking down at the moshpit & stage.

A man in a leather jacket & jeans, shaved head,
seething an undercurrent of repressed violence
and dissatisfaction - skin pitted through acne
and alcohol like a kind of hairy red lemon - tells us
he's called Des & starts talking at us. He says
The Fall could only happen in England, where
else would people pay to see a drunk take the stage,
offend us all & then leave when he's had enough?
He pours warm Guinness into a plastic cup
as he talks, makes clear to us he's from south
London & shows us his badge to prove he's
a Brentford fan. He says he doesn't know why
he comes to support them, he fuckin hates
Mark E. Smith, miserable bastard that he is.
Then quotes his favourite Fall lyric: "Hey there
Fuckface! Hey there Fuckface!". And sure enough
thirty or so minutes into the set Des throws his
plastic glass to the floor & walks toward the dark
stairwell to leave, the value of his ticket is to stay
true to the occasion - it's what Mark E. Smith
still might decide do at any minute himself.

I wonder if Des is the kind of person The Guardian
was talking about as 'minority working class',
the kind that should be spoken of with more respect
and helped along in some way. Des
is not lacking in basic intelligence but smells
of dinners only taken at drink's convenience,
survives to threaten & assumes he can enter & possess
anyone's living space. Staring at my wife's cleavage
as he talked, his eyes seemed to salivate.

And what do The Fall say of this : the moshpit
mixed with lads of fifteen & bald men in their forties,
as Mark E. Smith unlplugs his band's guitars,
ups the amp levels, leaves the stage. He strikes
me later as the first autodestructive artist in popular
culture, Gustav Metzger on meths & Tennants Extra,
a grouchy mumbling munchkin gurning & seething
as any 50-year old man who fees his life has come to nothing.
Neckless, arthritic, pissed, he swerves any attempt
at live perfection. Sarah said it was like watching
Faustus on stage with Lucifer in the wings too scared
to enter. As he built it up, let it come apart again,
destroying & creating just once, like this, for us -
a fin-de-siecle schoolboy on detention in his own attic
forever writing out the lines: Blind man, have mercy on me.

MARCH 22, 2008

I read an article in The Guardian a few days ago
in which the jouralist wanted to defend the 'working class'
and probed: "would we talk of any other minority group
like this?". The assumed 'we' of his readership speaks,
I suppose, for his press. I had breakfast in the Family
in Dagenham - a Sunrise Scramble (eggs, tomato,
mushrooms, buttered toast) - and the newspapers
fanned free on the tables were The Sun and The Star.
The 'we' he assumed spoke for what he supposed
to be true. And his press. Red tops, tomato sauce
bottles that congeal then crust the plastic spouts.
How can being interested in how the world works
presuppose a condition of non-working class?

MARCH 20, 2008

When I was very young Thatcher was a thing that happened
to may parents' faces when they watched the television -
it showed itself like gritty food with sounds of She & Her & It.

When I was very young I could tell when it was windy
by how quickly the clouds moved.

MARCH 23, 2008

Easter morning snow on blood-red terrace -
O Christ, the flocks, so white - it sticks

MARCH 27, 2008

This is how terraces are made : burn down
the Fairy Tale forest. Imagine a one-off binge
on gingerbread. Draw the curtains. Shut the door.


© Chris McCabe 2008

Christopher Goodrich (New Jersey, USA): Two Poems


When the oxygen masks drop,
I will apply one first to my own mouth,
as we were instructed, make sure
I am still alive, before helping you
with yours. In this moment,
according to the government,
I am most important.
This admission is the only way
to ensure your survival. If you need
assistance, you must acknowledge
that I will always come first.
Your life may depend upon it.


Upon the anticipated arrival
of the new journal
in which I appear, I slowly savor
my own poem, maybe two,
three times (I even read
my biography) before shelving it,
satisfied that my existence
exists. Like the author
who enters the bookstore
to find himself on the shelf
without noticing his neighbors;
I often look into the eyes of strangers
I pass on the highway
not to see who shares the road,
but more and more,
to see if I am seen.

© Christopher Goodrich 2008