Eileen Tabios (California, USA): Three Poems

(after Christian Hawkey’s “Thistles for Finches”)

In the passage of a blink
a howl descended
as grace bubbled up—

A trash can
kicked down the stairs:
music and laughter

because el cubo de la basura was painted
as red as your lipstick
as red as flamenco

I recognize the helplessness
of those who must dance
and those who can only witness—

Flounces transcended
the polyester reality of her skirt
As well, oh pale limbs

revealing a ziggurat
tattooed on an inner thigh
on an area where inscription must have been desperate
with hurt

(after Christian Hawkey’s “He Spoke and, Speaking, Realized He Could Speak”)

A room emptied
of all but curtains

despite expensive velvet
despite no rips

A room empty
amidst its curtains—

Well, except for
that useless light

and the body drowning
in it as a hand writes

As a hand writes,
In Iranian mythology,
the cypress formed
the vegetal metaphor
for fire, for flame

“and reminded men
of the paradise he had lost”*

(Paraphrasing and quoting in No. 2 from a randomly-opened page, P. 86, from The Olive Harvest, a memoir by Carol Drinkwater (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004)

(after Christian Hawkey’s “Spring Fever”)

… wind permanently delayed
ignores my open mouth.
Instead, blue triangles kick up
zero ash, dancing with red squares

Sequins wait for
without knowing the outcome of
“Matte vs Glass”

© Eileen Tabios 2008

Didi Menendez (Illinois, USA): Two Poems


You say you are from Bellevue
although I know you really came
from Bedlam. The CIA confirmed
this. The squirrels ate all my papers
so you can't prove me wrong.
I used to share a drink with
Toulouse-Lautrec but then I
contracted syphilis and they
sent me away to the same island
with Napoleon Bonaparte.
He was such a bugger.
He used to spit when he spoke.
It was very hard to get back
on the horse when you need
to keep wiping your eyes.
Did you know my sister
was ironing her skirt last
time saw her? Don't tell?
You have a sister too?
Did you see that game last night?
DiMaggio was at his best. Wouldn't
you say the same? You are going
to have to speak louder. I am deaf
in my left ear. I went into shell shock
while in Saigon. Van Gogh lost
his ear in Viet Nam too.
He was my bunk buddy.

Lets sit down a spell.

Do you play cards? There is a good
game going on right now in the next
room. Every Tuesday. I used to play
the stock market but lost it all in 1929.
The fall was brilliant.
Did you know that right before you hit
the pavement you see everything
very clear so very clear and it feels
like everything will remain like this forever
and then everything goes black.

What about that cafeteria food. Be careful
with the jello. They put saltpeter in it.
Shh. Quiet. Quiet. You don't want anyone
hearing us do you? Stick with me kid.
I haven't had an erection since the crucifixion.
Sometimes I scratch my balls
as if they are still there.


I am a specialist in triviality
and untying knots.

I became a perfectionist
on tying my shoes at the
age of three just so I could
untie them.

In eighth grade Rosa
became zealous with
Johnson & Johnson
baby powder. She'd
take showers before
being dropped off
every morning at
St. Peter and Paul
Catholic School
by the Roads in
Miami, Florida 1973.

I needed to tell you
the exact details of the
date, time, denomination,
and location because I
mentioned earlier I was
a specialist in triviality
and untying knots.

Betty took the bus with
us to school. Her hair
was dyed blond because
her mother owned the
beauty salon off Calle Ocho.
This is important to know
because Betty had her hair
chopped ala Ziggy Stardust
when everyone was
feathering theirs.

I forgot to mention
that we are all Cuban
boys and girls whose
parents all left because
of the Revolution between
1959 and 1966.
Betty once said
to us while Rosa
was not around
that Rosa was
powdered up because
she wanted to be white.

As these words
escaped her strawberry
glossed lips
three nuns walked
past the flag pole,
three girls held their right
hand to their heart,
a pigeon landed on the
asphalt and cooed, my father
walked past the school
yard carrying my lunch
in a paper bag, boys turned
their head to the street
as a green Impala drove by,
the American flag made
sounds against the wind.

I looked down at my feet
and pulled up my navy
blue socks and noticed
the laces on my black
and white oxford shoes
had become untied.

© Didi Menendez 2008

Christopher Rizzo (New York, USA): Three Poems


for Joe Massey

How one hearting
says in awe
instance brightly
dashed what Springs—

to know no
wrong move into
words rushes sunning
spot on in

place what
language isn't of

value where
one loves where

one lights
loves right on


for Jess Mynes

Waking up to
ache turns out
what kind

kind of
to breathe to

carry on and
on like this


How breaks to subject
things thick with room
under sleep wall for
that happened with me
feel slit and for light makes in
verticals material happen
no luck painting on a picture
even you go
to careful see step
along with the rests
to do just this


Always a picture sticks
stones and words cripple
to work doubt out
leave you saw that hang back at always
light another one
how chalk up hulk meant
worked up and seem to move seen
ochre ochre ochre
kernel sound stone tone
speaks and myths
amusement confuse profusely
chaos every potential
sound out of


Type and ink absorbs to him
cobbles they together
how public this typos and relate
a blow such wording
touchstones happen and set as willed
treeing but arise do
where lit blades through
in zone a morn
adhesions bodily dally sketch
shone and try hone
no ideas but in acting on things
no spall but in clay says
stints come together stays breathe
into it intuit

© Christopher Rizzo 2008

Paul Siegell (Philly, USA): Three Poems

*11.17.05 – Galactic – TLA, PA*
(—most I've ever seen Fisher dance)

word moves
tour words
words with eyes open and mouths about to:

direction words:
start here, head down, turn left—hup,
two miles and a u-turn, retrace, turn right—
grocery list words:
pick this up, and this, o and don’t forget this:

put a “re” before “new”
after a space add “orleans”
and, crushed, you’ve got memorial words
constructive words—the t-shirt words
of a saxophonists in a quintet
from a mending delta city—

jazz-funk yeah-word fusions, song-
building, song-storming rock and
crowds of words
true word wings and roll word concerts
word tickets to word parties
eventful words and all the words attending
cute-girl words, stunning loveliness word
eyelashes, applause for word rhythms and bold
word drumming, beat-controlling time words
bouncing towering-wow words—
that moly is holy wow words—

with knowledge of not enough words:
you’ve gotta allow the wows—

and where do all these words come from?

useless words! instrumental-only words!
words pict outta the crowd:

there’re bands I love that never sing a word.

*06.22.07 – Wilco – Count Basie Theatre, NJ*

all for the show of audience,

a lyricist serves his language as if pulling down a building
from the small city block of bar tap architecture. a fluid,

inebriating pour.

like an ashtray anthem, lest we’ve penned some other medicine,
drinking smoke swims overhead in the night’s aquarium of air.

charged by an avant-guitar, listen-licked by the lyricist,

Wilco tension crescendos rendezvous with introspective

and whip the attendance of epileptic starfish into flight—

but what are the chords to when the kick drum shakes the serifs
off the alphabet in my eyesight?

if you look close enough, chord constellations take great pains—
while as wise as time, the audible dance of a drummer at drums

handshakes all the letters a pick uses, from string to string,
to spell a scale in the taxicab of a measure.

*06.28.07 – Ryan Adams & the Cardinals – F at the TLA, PA*
(—for the sold-out, short-show disappointed)

a fan-thrown

stage front

as roadies
tear down

to boos

© Paul Siegell 2008

Laura Goldstein (Chicago, USA): A Creature...


daft habits jolt into damped laps you can say “don’t worry about it” several many times and at the end of what’s this an episode fractured season realized into sub pieces we’ll then see that but the telling truth of now begs you, new friend, for some other advice

relax into civilization. money ekes out the pores: cleaning it kills it. I thought that I would write you but you’re already written. I thought that I could fight you but I’m actually smitten. i thought that I was right in the place where I’m sittin but actually I’m already off on a mission

flowers unearthed strewn in and around the empty fire time and time in time out again
eventual crumble toward the end of something’s life span not visible but sensed
why denote or demarcate an aspect that evokes questioning on grounds of difference
it was in the 80s when these questions began to solidify and then steps backwards

not as handy handled in the lap need seat tabletop new idea of starting some line, horizontal approaching goes beneath and passes on a way not moving but proceeding we are then vision or experience tricks in a way that shows both present and future though different to both be true

and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth saving (robinson crusoe) about a bucket or a truck of coins could now be considered a truckload of corrected manuscripts
corrected by the finest editors, copied by the cunningest manifestors, manifested by the most brilliant businessmen working in the literary world today

I think that when you can sense that someone should just not be in your space or is bringing negative energy into your life then just cut them out of it. there’s this seminar on actually not forgiving people. it can be best to just go with your instincts, gravitate away from those people but then know that people will be moving away from you too

some previously ignored suggestion. helter directional. More about triangles that function as arrows into and outside of this poem. Boiled water that’s cooling at a rate about a seeping that is telling. And no more assumptions about what stays and what goes ok

however, upon second thoughts, I decided to take it away. Just in case (robinson crusoe again) about the money again and this time it is money, not coins. Dusk hulks out there with a new name that lingers inside an older connotation I’ll web onto a mat of cool repose in order to find some will power oh here it is just convenience

an arrodissement of the head around the deft heft of having fucked up. I’m singing out loud without realizing it. there are four people around me (I’m the fifth) looking at me though I can’t hear myself. number one: camouflaged first person narrative, number two: neon-inspired withdrawal of light and (consequently) color, number three: androgyny in hound’s tooth, number four: tired fireworks finally uninspired. five. right? only that.

like flitting wood grain finally exposed or brick by brick window and dream are almost the same word in that language like door and doubt or door and duel almost a lightning fest of forget it on your way out or go ahead and use pressure on people and see what happens

the whole embarrass yourself thing I feel is really passé I mean in terms of social rules I feel that we should learn to give each other a bit more room to fuck up and it should be ok although it’s hard I guess to remember all that you should have learned about yourself and other people when someone just pisses you off

I’m mixing purple with more red. I’m waiting on a certain few things to happen. Imagination is not patience. Go and rough up the day there will be more sticking points. Shine up by rubbing down. All the remembering or all the keep yourself on target it’s all the talk in a way that makes you seem like

And then yes the one about being unable to perform in fact in this one I quit before the day was over, gave up on them, and they were young. In fact, one of them lives across the street in the housing project. But if they won’t listen, that’s it. but by and by there is the progression, the ones, many in a row about being able to carry too much. I mean, not being able

Not relying on how it sounds in the context of what it should sound like in order to be a certain thing rather what can be there despite what it sounds like. And not so much a separation between the contexts more and more risk in terms of social rules and pissing people off or at least proposing something that would dethrone a few.

I sure do hope you catch me at my most beautiful
one level is red, the other green: calibrate
assimilate, estimate, mediate, all the products
I ate, to date, I shouldn’t disregard tell-tale
signs but it’s too late

Quite. Lie. Hood. Raft. Rabbit. Raft rabbit. Albeit. Vice. Knot. Know. Landed. Seeded. Tell (n). bench. Search (yourself). Vie. Viscous. Couscous. Pen. Pose. Out. Or fuel most light pressed get watt age press earn our of wit get neglected bring ten red ones to town

© Laura Goldstein 2008