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