Saturday, November 01, 2003

Issue 12

Clemente Padin

Stephen Mead

Colin Van der Woude

Christopher Barnes

Dave Ruslander

Clemente Padin




C'est l'amour








The Narcissus's Jardiniere

Clemente Padin was born on 8th October, 1939, in Lascano, Rocha, Uruguay. Poet, graphic artist, performer, videomaker, multimedia, networker and art critic. Graduated on Hispanic Literature at the Republic of Uruguay´s University. Edited the magazines Los Huevos del Plata (The Silver´s Eggs), 1965-1969; OVUM 10 and OVUM, 1969-1975, Participación (Participation) 1984-1986 and Correo del Sur (Southern Post), 2000.

Had published some books and booklets in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Venezuela, United States, Holland and Uruguay including : Los Horizontes Abiertos, two editions, 1969-1989; Visual Poems, four editions: the first "OVUM",1969 , the last Xexoxial Ed., Madison,Wisc.,U.S.,1990 and ; Angulos, Amodulo, Milano, Italy, 1972; De la Representation a l´Action, Doc(k)s Ed.,Marseille, France,1975 ; Omaggio a Beuys and Sign(o)graphics, I.A.C. Ed.,Oldenburg,Germany,1975-1976; Happy Bicentennial, Daylight Ed., Holland,1976; Action-Works, three editions 83, 88 and 1992 ; Peace=Bread, (Ed.Fluxshoe, New York,U.S.,1986; Art & People, Light and Dust , Wisconsin, USA, (1996); Experimental Poetry, Factoria Merz Mail, Barcelona, Spain,1999; La Poesía Experimental Latinoamericana, 1950-2000, Información y Producciones, Madrid, Spain, 1999; La Poesía es la Poesía, Ed. Autor, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2000; PAZ/PAN, poema interactivo, CD Rom, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2001; Poems to Eye, The Runaway Spoon Press, Port Charlotte, FL, USA, 2002; Spam Trashes, CD Rom, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2002; Visual Poems, Ed. Visual World Poetry, Saint Petesbourg, Russia, 2002, etc.

Had exhibited collectively in more than 207 expositions and in more than 1.500 Mail Art Shows, from 1969 to 2002. Had exhibited his works individually in Montevideo, Uruguay, 1973; West Berlin, Germany, 1984; Hyogo, Japan, 1986; Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1988; Chester Springs, Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1989; Edewecht, Germany, 1989; Seoul, South Korea, 1996; Hasselt, Bélgica, 1997; Barcelona, Spain, 1997 & 2002; Verona, Italia, 1998.

Was especial guest in the XVI Sao Paulo Biennal, Brazil,1981; special mention in the I Biennal of La Habana, Cuba,1984; fellowshipped by German Academy of Arts and Literature, DAAD, West Berlin, Germany,1984; admitted in the II Video Biennal of Medellin, Colombia,1988; The XI International Congress in Aesthetic, Nottingham, England,1988 ; rewarded in the Posters Concourse to XXIV Seoul Olympiad, Korea,1988; Actions, multidisciplinary artistic event in Chester Springs, Philadelphia, USA,1989; rewarded in XXXVIII Montevideo´s Municipality Saloon,1990; V International Biennal of Visual/Experimental Poetry, Mexico City, Mexico,1996, where was distinguished by his pionnering activities joined to Edgardo Antonio Vigo and Guillermo Deisler; Eye Rhymes (conference on visual poetry, Edmonton, Canada,1997; VIII International Festival on Poetry, Medellín, Colombia,1998, Literature out of the Books, University of Barcelone, Spain, 1999, VII Biennal of Havanna, Cuba, 2000, etc.

Has been published in tenths and tenths of magazines and publications in all the world. His notes was translateds to English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, Dutch, German, Russian, etc. Has worked actively in internet projects since 1992. For more information see :

Has personally participed, among others, in the following encounters:
- International Expo of Propositions a Realize, Buenos Aires, 1971
- XVI Sao Paulo Biennal, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1981
- First Seminary of Contemporaneous Art, Rosario, Argentine, 1984.
- 34th Annual Meeting of PCCLAS, Mexico & U.S.A., 1988.
- XI International Congress in Aesthetic, Nottingham, England, 1988.
- Actions, Chester Springs, Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1989.
- II Latinoamerican Encounter of Fine Arts, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil, 1990.
- TOMARTE,First Alternative Encounter of Art , Rosario, Argentine, 1990.
- International IX Symposium of Literature: Modernism - Modernity - Postmodernity, Montevideo, Uruguay, 1993.
- International Coloquium on Hispano-American Poetry from 60s., La Habana, Cuba,1994.
- XXXIX Congress of SALALM, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., 1994.
- I International Conference of Latinamerican Literature 1945-1995, Mexico, 1995.
- V International Biennal of Visual/Experimental Poetry, Mexico City, Mexico, 1996
- I & II Euro-American Exposition of Visual Poetry", Bentos Goncalves, RS, Brazil, 1996-1997.
- First Buenos Aires Conference on Experimental Poetry, Argentine, 1996.
- Art, Ethics and Human Rights, University of Tucuman, Argentine, 1996.
- Eye Rhymes, University of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1997.
- STOP, National Museum of Contemporary Arts, Santiago, Chile, 1998.
- Intersigns Poetry, Paço das Artes, San Pablo, Brazil, 1998.
- VIII Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Colombia, 1998.
- Belo Horizonte Biennal of Poetry, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil,1998.
- The Literature out the Books, University of Barcelone, Spain, 1999.
- Trienal of Visual Poetry, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, 2000
- VII Biennal of Havanna, Wifredo Lam Centre, La Habana, Cuba, 2000
- Encontro Internacional de Literatura Latino-Americana, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil, 2001
- Le Dernier Festival, Ventabren, Marsella, France, 2001
- IV Salon of Digital Art, Havanna, Cuba, 2002
- VII International Biennal of Cuenca, Ecuador, 2002
- Perfopuerto, Festival on Performances, Valparaíso, Chile, 2002

Clemente Padin Stephen Mead Colin Van der Woude Christopher Barnes Dave Ruslander

Stephen Mead


The beaten urn, dug up…
The trace of sun in a garden shed,
Through hair, on hands-----
How rich this, this minor
Chord played well, with distinction.
If the gleam could become a sweater
Who would not find the fit right,
Feel that all-over-touch & pull
Such shape closer
Little caring how it might sag?
So our bodies, our baggage,
Pounded, refined & worn
For the wearing can still
Cast a light
With the wrinkles vainly saying:
"Look at us, us crags of stars!"
& we must look, touch, anoint
Because the glow is everything
Good darkness is known by


      For Otto Levi

Night can be the best time,
Unless it is too clear.
Then we can't use flashlights
In case of overhead planes.
Also, when it is winter
The cold can interrogate &
There's no leaves for camouflage.
Smoke is the best insulator,
But can be seen, smelled &
The snows, melted,
Burn, cramp.
All in all, for sustenance
One only has skin, skin &
Animal senses. Thinking
Is a byproduct if danger
Doesn't turn desperation
To fuzz…

Once I was in such thick,
Feverish from a bullet &
The nightmare of how it came.
That happened at night too.
That happened but we managed
To cobble back health real as
Terror's hunger
Is necessary for revolutions

Or so I keep repeating
Since hope must

Have a reason
& the feet of life


Waiter On The Water

The night you became a messiah
I started to notice more.
The first thing was this path,
Your basic slab, fairly short & made
Of how many poured stones?
Anyway, it shone incredibly
Where you stood, where you left,
The dark wet grass on either side
Composed of city clover, small tufts
With white buds, hundreds

Stars, in fact, a perfect
Match where I laid down,
Where I was raised up.
There was a soft rain drifting, that kiss
Of mist one could live in
Quite comfortably admiring
Traffic lights, their celestial glow &
Distant buses & yellow cabs passing

Except you waved your palms over,
An al most touch, the fingers so open,
The skin so close & I rose towards your face,

That embrace of waiting eyes

Stephen Mead is a freelance artist/writer living in northeastern N.Y., over the past few years I have exhibited art both throughout N.Y., and in Provincetown, M.A. In the early 1990's I was also published in several little literary magazines, stopped to pursue visual work, and in 2001 began seeking publication again.

Clemente Padin Stephen Mead Colin Van der Woude Christopher Barnes Dave Ruslander

Colin Van Der Woude

Untitled from scrapbook 1993

Woods, the girl is hidden
stream, cold and hurt
the boy listens, guilt-stricken
waiting for her to call his name, alone
eyes from the black turn mystical
the paths are soon to meet
the girl cries
head bowed in silence she weeps
softly onto her mind
she needs somebody to run with
waiting for the embracing arms
the kissful gesture
the clothing stained with the cloud's blood.

Colin Van Der Woude lives in Tasmania, Australia.

Clemente Padin Stephen Mead Colin Van der Woude Christopher Barnes Dave Ruslander

Christopher Barnes


The ice cream liquors
in the sun rays
which thin out the rush-frisk street
are me etc.
and not me.
In a dip of laminated conversations
"just like the song," she said
"did you ever see a dream walking?"
I pricked -
the anticipation of his shadow
in the blackout of an eye.

Christopher Barnes lives in England.

Clemente Padin Stephen Mead Colin Van der Woude Christopher Barnes Dave Ruslander

Dave Ruslander

Blue Heron

Statue-still I stand
by undulating turquoise.
I wait.

Gulls cry overhead,
geese honk,
Purple Martins eat on the wing.

Hungry, I fish.

Dave Ruslander lives in rural Virginia. True to the sweeping-generalization that Southerners are slow, he didn't get around to writing until he was fifty. Since then he's written poetry, short stories, and one novel. His work has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Green Tricycle, Cenotaph Pocket Edition, Mipo, Melic Review, Snow Monkey, 2Avant, and many others. Dave has bipolar disorder.

Clemente Padin Stephen Mead Colin Van der Woude Christopher Barnes Dave Ruslander

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Issue 11


Lisa Gordon

Jan Savanyu

Joel Fry

Tom Bell

Jerry Hicks

Kenny A. Chaffin

Danny P. Barbare



      laughs, lies back
on the bed, her left foot ankle
resting against her
neck vertebrae

how did she do that and
how can she do that and

this and that and this touch
of sheets, simple friction, cold
but then starts blossoming, long

           Sundot pinprick growth

summer at its tips, white

heat            a daisy lays
unfolded. an open secret
the honey flees deeper

Tips against tips as when
the tow driver checks the battery for a charge
knocking the jump cable terminals together, blue spurt
flash between the tapping

I in another for a while, not caring
or minding
      freedom from mind

so what was it? I dunno

rawer, sunnier, hotter, touched but
other from - antelope quite wild,
as yet unnamed            gestures

lope, lope, lope

ripping gulping
broken throat water fountain
high arching silvery lawn sprinklers

twists into mist, never comes down

Why saturday is better than sunday

"to have peace in a life of pain" - Eckhart

To sit here, in the morning
and hear a few birds outside.

To sip coffee, to hear

the low horn of the train.

My old friend Nietzsche
arises from his rented bed in Turin,
he glances at his face in the bathroom mirror.
Not too much headache this morning.

In Strasbourg, Germany, Eckhart
passes sparrows hopping in a dry spot
under an awning. In his mind,
he thinks of the word "endurance,"
crosses it out, replaces it with

Amichai looks out across Jerusalem.
He sees two dresses hanging on a clothesline,
in his mind, replaces one of the dresses
with a man's shirt, brightens the color
of the other dress, changes "hanging" to "flapping
in a breeze," and continues to chew
on his toothpick.

And let us not end this poem
without a mention of Ryokan
sitting in his thatch hut in the woods,
yawning, cold - the hearth fire's


meeting years later

It was a long time since they had last met.
Both of their faces were a little bit broader.
The sun ruffled red feathers on a blunt-beaked

While she made tea in the kitchen
with a sound of clinking and steam,

he walked through the apartment, stopping to bend
down and appreciate a small jade maple,
two tiny porcelain cats.

A sound of wind chimes somewhere.

He noticed a book that looked familiar
nestled between Freud and Schopenhauer.
He opened it, saw pages he had dogeared
years before.

Well, at least there were no pretentious notes
in the margins.

She came out with the tea.
They sat and discussed relatives, weather,
occasionally old things, touched on lightly
like air on skin once a bandaid comes off
or cold air on the roots of teeth.

They laughed, the sunlight played on the table.
They felt the calm which only those
who have suffered much can feel.

When their joy becomes too full,
brimming over each sensitive edge
unendurably, who will be first
to accept it, who will be first
to walk away?



In the morning, I prefer coffee.
At night, some "Sleepytime" herbal tea.

In music, generally Nick Drake or Hendrix,
in scenery, passing North Carolina fields.

In women, blondes,
in men, not myself;
in books, Meister Eckhart and Ryokan;

in food, Heartland granola and big fat oranges.

In clothes, black t-shirts and black pants.

In weather, summer.
Hmm, it used to be fall.

Who said there was no order in my life,
no choice, or no changing.


the lesson of ben

I didn't know he wrote. He was just
a guy who did some odd jobs around the office.
Open-faced, unassuming, white guy, mid-20s.

Clearly, he'd had some experience
with pain and uncertainty, and yet
maintained a certain youthfulness --
this, in itself, gave him the innocuousness
that made him someone I could talk to -- he wasn't
to get anything from me -- or even
give anything.

So, then, when he said
"I heard you're a poet,"
and emailed his prose,
I was amused, but not surprised.
As time goes on, I get better and better
at identifying these people:
inevitably they are damaged, a little,
they take great joy in simple things,
they don't have a lot of money,
and they actually have a sense
of hope in reality.

Whether what they can offer
is a chapter of a novel,
a good or lousy poem,
or just some leftover bread.
(Once, Ben told me there was
some leftover home-baked bread
in the kitchen of our office.
I was starving,
and it was good).


This February morning, I glance outside
the window, pulling back
the venetian blinds.

Cold brown grass.
Overcast sky.

I've had enough sleep;
I can't stay in bed anymore,
can't dream the natural way.

So I heat up some water,
make some Red Zinger,
sit cross-legged on the mattress
and peruse a couple pages
of Safranski's bio of Nietzsche,
not really understanding much of it.

Then maybe a little Buddha, or Rilke in french,

and maybe I write a little bit myself.

This dreaming is also natural,
nor is it an escape from reality.
It sits inside life
like the white of an egg,
nourishing and surrounding -
the brittle shell is almost an afterthought.



Your own hand is a history of the universe:
claws retracted back to make way
for fingertip sensitivities,
cobbled wrinkle-creases like elephant folds,
open palm a shade slightly lighter

- some of the places for holding things
are clean, pure and pale, like the gaze
of a tired man who still laughs at your joke. These
little things

help, in the dusklight of the evening, when February
highway sounds shroud the trees dimmed behind
and the rain mist is just enough for the wipers to be

Open faces, open palms:
in this way, you survive.



It seemed like a giant sun,
white and sprayed over with opening
moments which did not, however, destroy
the spherical being of itself -
I touched what felt like curdled milk
or the opening of an animal

pulled myself out
of the egg



There are hopeful people everywhere.
Two miles from me in this city
a mother tucks her baby to bed.
She brushes his black hair off his forehead
and presses her palm to it, feels its coolness.
His white brow is untroubled and smooth.
He is hopeful, too, in his dreams.

A dreadlocked man working the checkout
hums a pop song to himself. He does not know
that the reason for all the plateglass, for all the
stark lighting
is to reduce the incentive for theft.
The bright light gives him some hopefulness:
the things in the store are clear and detailed.
The air is clean. It's a good pop song.
The shift doesn't last forever.

There's a hispanic family up the street from where I
sit here
typing this. The man, rugged, short, stocky, long
brown sideburns. The woman walks out of kitchen steam
the phone crooked to her neck. Little papi, four years
zigs and zooms fat blocks of red, green, yellow Lego
while the TV plays a DVD, J Lo movie.
There is hopefulness in this household.

But one gets suspicious
of a man who describes hopefulness,
who makes a point of assigning it
to certain people or situations.
One wonders what his motives are.
One senses that he might be desperate
or that he is trying to portray things
as they are not.

And there's a hopefulness in doubting him this way.



when summer wind presses and wishes against
the tops of fields, making long lazy zigzags
and snakelike indentations, as if an invisible giant
walking across.

When the man invited the woman out onto the porch
where a bottle of wine and two glasses stood on the
and a single rose, and they poured the wine
and sat on the porch steps, watching the stars
above the field.

When, nearing sleep, he felt a feeling inside of
as deep and wide, as quiet and calm as the fields
which one passes by in North Carolina
on any of the highways.

When, commuting to work from her house,
he glimpsed the fields anonymous and distant
in their seasons - white with new growth in the
dark-furrowed with plowing, in the summer,
heavy and green, in the fall. Once,

stopping to get gas in a small town, he let the pump
and wandered slowly around to the back
of the country store, where cracked concrete gave way
to honeysuckle bushes, scattered sunflowers,
and the beginnings of a field - he saw a fat garden
swinging in its web.

But chiefly the dreams of fields,
the sense of coming close to sleep
and finding it to be peaceful, and wide, and calm,
and perhaps he places his leg over hers
and now falls asleep.



I start to think of it more as my home
as I start to recognize my own inner
sad distortions, emptinesses
in the scenes around me:

whoever thought those rocks would look good
in front of that house, had to be kidding;
the bleakness of the state government buildings
in downtown Raleigh, is second to none;

and the hazy days of dump pop songs
and mealy corndogs
slowly obscured my youth
like grime at the edges
of cash register keys. The woman
who worked in the silk plant store

was beautiful - high legs and high cheekbones -
but I never met her. Except

if you want to call
this looking, and wondering, every day,
a meeting . . . .

In this way me and the landscape were similar.
The frightening air inside the hospital doors.

All the same, the herbal tea
that they served in the hippie coffeehouse
was good, it tasted good.


Chapel Hill

When I returned to Chapel Hill
they had shut down the persian teahouse - which
figured -
it was a place that I loved, so it had to be fragile.

But the used bookstore
remained in business, so I went and sat
in the poetry section, on one of their funny chairs,
and looked at a dome-headed photo of Allen Tate.

By the time I wandered
back out onto the street, it was dusk,
some sounds of drums were coming from the Mexican
and I saw little red and green lights, strung through
the shrubs
in back of a tiny three-piece band.

Many students, walking to and fro.

I left my car parked behind the McDonalds
and slowly walked up Franklin Street,
looking at the bottlecaps and butts in the gutter,
the crystal green of the crossing light,

the white-shirted kids working at Kinkos.

A smell of sour beer in the alley to He's Not Here. We
always too nervous to go there, in college.

Down past the Carolina Café, I sat on the stone
hip-high wall
in back of which rolling grass and giant old trees
took you back toward the university buildings.
Indeed, I was surrounded by beauty in my youth.
Smell of perfume, as painful as ever.
I walked back to my car, tears in my eyes.


how I hope to grow old

The old man treated the cancer as his friend.
He thought of the little DNA codes breaking down
inside of his cells, like the mottos on gravestones -

sweetly beautiful as they slip away
into a smoothness of rain-softened stone.

And anyway, others deserved
to know the world,
from their own youth.

One can be a twilit being. He tried
to have that effect on others, to carry himself
that way, around them: the effect of dusk:

so that they might muse a little bit to themselves,
sip their coffee slowly, and not even know he was



It was simple, really. You watched, and listened.

You mentioned the dead husband's name quite gently.
You brought up a couple of the old songs.
You pointed them toward something they could be proud

and let them remember it for themselves.


the poet's prerogative

how beautiful it is with you, here, in the moonlight.
I do not have my own phone number memorized.
I can't even tell you the number of my apartment -
303? 305? But I can tell you that you are beautiful
and I know this, by comparing you
to Nefertiti, and Cleopatra, and Julie,
even though I've never met any of them.
This is the poet's prerogative:
this memory.


You bent your legs back
till they tapped the headboard.

Later, we each drank an imported pilsner
and watched a silly show.

You fell off to sleep on the couch.

I turned, and looked at you:

blue shadows from the TV splashed on your face
like a rainstorm.


When we met again, years later,
as I touched your body and felt it move,

the echoes of other men

felt themselves against me


After a long, happy day
cooking Christmas treats,

in bed, your shoulders
smelled of flour and honey.


You sipped your beer,
we kissed and I kept
kissing you till
I kissed all the beer taste
off of your sweetness


In springtime,
the air smells like the water tastes.

I jog down the chilly hallway
naked into the steam-bloomed bathroom.

Drying off, I smell coffee from the kitchen.

There is no difference between how I am now
and how I was then, except, perhaps, that I won't let
you know
if I cry, a little, for joy and loss -
it no longer matters to me
if things in my life are remembered.


the geode

When he was young, once, he took
an assortment of golden pocket watches
his grandfather had given him
and took them all apart, marveling
at their little works and bevels.

A silvery spring, delicate,
that rose and fell like a fly's heart.

Older now, he had
a geode someone gave him.

It was not open - a dull gray ball,
it sat on his bookshelf.

He left it closed.


if you think you're saved,
you have forgotten
the one just like you
who hasn't been saved,
whose effort has come to nothing,
whose car won't start,
whose shoe sole flaps,
whose wife talks differently
to him than to the others,
whose vision seems flattened.

If you think you've failed
you forget the one
who is almost like you
except they have connected,
watch as they get lifted, taken
away, into where wherever is.

To say something good, and also real -
years ago, I would've said

"To say something good, but also real" -

but contradictions have worn me out.


a master

In reality, all the mage could give him
was a bowl of herb to smoke
and a blue crystal ball to gaze in.
But that was enough.

They sit there, watching particles of strawdust
circle and drift in the candlelight.
Outside, through the open window
sounds of horses stamping and snoring.
They pour a little more wine
from the bladder that hangs from a nail.

"Let me show you this," the old man says
and, tiptoe on a stool, takes down
a massive book hidden above a shelf.

Their two faces close,
they turn the heavy pages.
The young man marvels at the glinting goldleaf
halos in back of the tiny faces
of saints and virgins, delicately sketched.

The old man marvels too.
There are some things in this world
which bring us all the same
way from ourselves.

Let none of this be lost.


chamomile tea

Sunlight mixed with a woman's voice,
dandelions with thick green stalks.
Fingers scented of honeysuckle.

A sad man
thinks of these things
in winter

a happy man
holds these things
in summer


Venice Beach

I miss Venice Beach, Los Angeles -
the crowds of folks on the promenade
in front of the beach;
the elegant bald black man rollerskating
while another man tends the portable P.A. setup
blasting Madonna and eurodisco . . . .
I miss the little head shops, the hippie apartments,
the rasta flag hanging over a sunbleached porch,
the fragrance of palms, the way late afternoon plays
stucco walls. I miss the tea house
a couple blocks in from the beach,
where I could sip chamomile tea
and write things in my notebook, as I watched
young people come and go
from the front door of the hostel.
I miss the late night bar scene
when ridiculous men in bright white blazers
and women whose faces define loved and lost
sit with light-blue colored drinks in peculiar
I miss the gentle entrance
to the Rose Bud Tavern, where poor, sickly men
nurse their longnecks, saying little.
Also the candle dealer
and the man displaying his surrealist paintings,
and the mime in the grimy Blues Brothers outfit
and the man on roller skates playing Hendrix
through an electric guitar hooked up to a tiny amp
strapped to his back.

I saw him there one year
and I saw him again another year
thus showing that the place
allows eccentricity to endure.

Which gives me hope for my own mind. And I even miss
some patches of Santa Monica beach, up the way -
though not as much - the bums in their sleeping bags,
the ferris wheel out on the pier . . . .

Strange, how with places and people I love,
I miss them, it seems, even in their presence,
and seem to forget where I am
as if I was there, in my heart
as well as my body.


L.A. sunlight

How beautiful this sunlight is, in Los Angeles
where my parents walk through rolling streets
of Westwood, back from the university.
Even the colossal Mormon complex

does not look too awful, in this light
which plays on glinty little planes
lifting and circling above the downtown

and plays on the sleek black curls of the man
who works the checkout at Starbucks -
who knows, maybe a would-be actor or playwrite -

and at night, there's a delicious warm coolness in the
That's when I like to drive down to Sunset
and walk slowly up and down the strip
looking at the clubbers, the CD store displays,
the theme bars with their booming music
suddenly silenced when a door shuts.

There's even a bookstore, up toward one end of Sunset,
where you might find a used Allan Watts, or beatnik

If I love this earth
it will force me to grieve.

I like to sip tea, and watch the cats
sun on the porch.


I sit here on my bed naked
in my tiny duplex apartment
at the end of a working class street
not far from downtown Raleigh.

I left my glasses at work
and don't feel like wearing my contacts
so I walk around, myopic,
making a cup of chamomile tea,
fighting, shrugging or sleeping
off despair or embracing it in which case it goes

as I sit here naked on my mattress,
listening to a Nick Drake bootleg,
still recovering from last night's bender.
Those friends of mine really do drink too much.

On one of Nick's songs
recorded on a tape deck
at his parent's house, I think
you can hear some birds chirp
in the background.

If you were here, I'd clean up a little,
put on some clothes, I suppose, and
we'd talk about this and that.

A flash through the venetian blinds
on both sides of my bedroom -
crack, the lightning is close.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Lisa Gordon


The step back to square one
just before you arrive
is not the same
as never having moved.

Today there is
rend & clash,
bent fortitude reaped
of holding two ideas
powerfully singular
like two thumbs
in separate holes
of a slipshod dam.

What you covet
is the possibility of leakage
even though it appears
you do everything in your power
not to let that happen.

It's a good thing you think
that those who care about you
can't see what
you're really up to.


The pandering after a clutch
that was the trigger, the found poem, the surprise -
bow-legged bravado & all that
hope for deep erotica shimmering - yes -
candles burning next to the radiator
melting wonky into flaming trees of good & evil
& the love on the wood floor
a shoehorn splinter of
love - man/woman -
mortally seeming last chance though
really not.

The woman's later kisses are a murmur of ecstatic condolences.
The man, prettily alive, strokes shoulders & falls summer-thriving


You'd keep him if you could you think
at the same time not even believing yourself.

More correctly
you'd keep, if you could,
the self that you become here
lying all there next to him.

This has nothing to do
with committing
emotional fraud.


Years later in one of those dreams
where all the players have the wrong names, wrong faces

you recognize his hand holding a tea pot from Tibet
extending out of the sleeve of a homeless woman
who hasn't allowed touching
in a decade.

You have the most intense urge to kiss her,
drink the limp green tea
straight from the spout
spent leaves & all.

Lisa Gordon: I'm a schizophrenic, but a lucky one, meaning my pills work at least for now, I have strong love in my life, I can function, I've mostly learned to deal. As far as writing goes: Well I always loved something that Margaret Atwood said many years ago when she was asked why she wrote. Her answer: Why doesn't everybody? Yes, that is it - natural as drawing breath, & everybody knows how difficult that can get at times, at the very very least metaphorically speaking.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Jan Savanyu

Newfangled ten thousand tenfold device that brannacks
forth a solution: the hair of the pintofolded woman or Edna
proclaiming her hate with kisses ten thousand ten folding
two brannacking beaming forth a nude conversation with
arousing tools of social flesh gouging more of what it
intended or twenty thousand five folded that face in the
grocery crowd that singular creme devil to resist no speak
no look but atonement made mother brannacking a

spaces or shes what's left after the udder is milked
brannackbefolding tenfold fifty measure nano-machine where
is her on button

edna eye give you meye gumption       iu?

Jan Savanyu: I am a 24 year old student in Richmond, VA. I am heavily influenced by the likes of Dickinson, Cummings and Corso. all I can say is that you must keep positive thinking and no illness in your body and mind can destroy you.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Joel Fry

If Night

If night has no water
or siphon in its bucket,
it is lost. It can only return
with two smooth stones
fastened like moles
to its skin.

If the moon knows lakes
and seamless strata,
then morning will open
and run its paddle
across an appendage
of birds in flight.

Joel Fry: I live in Athens Alabama. I was diagnosed with Manic-Depressive illness at the age of 16. I have been published in the Melic Review and Stirring.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Tom Bell


"War has colored all of our lives for a very long time."

Is casualty notification at all casual?

Instanteous haplessness =+= with new technology comes earsback pinning
anxiety = you pine.

Generic enbed, embed, in bed those angels dancing on the head of a pin
winning the battle
we are

"They [we] have been monitoring listening posts and flooding the
polling advertisees

"terminalizing" BaghdadaDada

I hate that it happened to him,
                                                   he who
"indoctrinated" us into the Marines way

our media mediated immediated knowledge of war

headlines creep under, crawl along inexorably relaying the underlying
messages quick [or better, as quickly]

Embedded media
Frag news crawls along at camel's pace under the TV picture

TV has
Crawling once more under the screen
Along the banks of the Tibris
Clouds billow over Baghdad
Phones on the cutting edge disconnect

Regarding the Pain of Others

Nearby plaque commemorating Grant-
Land Rice's birthplace, Condoleesa
Rice lays out options, shopkeep, Kurd out of Jerusalem, carefully
Camels out of Winston-Salem out of baccy from nearby fields as
Vietnam vet fondles neck of Bud Light shimmers through on shockandawe
headline. Camera shifts to SUV mall miles off. Sex
y ad sublimes isms MONSTER.COM AMAZON ATLAS shrugged.

"in Bklyn over
the last 2 weeks a lone African-American has
murdered 4 Muslims and a few other shop keepers...extropolate

The show will go on tonight


"Invalid option" the computer
announced (snickered, spit out, bellweathered, cajoled underhandedly a
lob I could, I thought, wham outa the park but overcut down into the
today via BellSouth (Cricket, Clickit, Verizontally)
the SSI Disability Examiner stated (uttered, actually he saw the irony

Could be the name for a new school (flock, coterie, collab) of poetry

would have been truer before 9/11 and the latest discovery of the
ability to
rejoin (at
least in one sense or maybe even enjoin) the trumpets of war].

War is a real danger or a brief bickering TV flicker.



and then you wonder one day if the word is really the way i wrote it

interesting. had this thought last night
"and then you wonder
one day
the word is really the way I wrote it?
the word is really the way I write it?
they write it?
we write it?
this pen writes it?
this computer writes it?
this ami,ation program zips it?"

Then I got your message and thought of Lu Chi and brush meditators and
something Dmitri Buatov said about the roots of visual poetry and
Pennebaker's research which might say the how you 'say' actually
what you say as in process determines content.

i think aan has done some things along this ine and a lot of people
see it.

food for thought,
but for now I'll pick up my train of thought and write my world and
how well off Johnny Paycheck would have died had he not done 'Take This
and Shoved It"?


Their madness, their badness

60 and still


60 and still kiCKing




Standing still



                               Unpolished Lines

In the air
These days. Unsaid
Contracted for e-publication if you would contract it or
                                    polish it some

It may be
Mayday, Mayday.
But say
Ing is by far the more difficult

"I find it harder and harder to keep track of everything I don't do." -
Cayley in private email,

"I wonder; we seem to love poets and poetry for they can express in
so well how they feel, which we can often relate to.

That may be part of the problem?" - response posted to a self-help

"Or part of the solution" - response to response.

suppression of
poetry helps me
digest the way
the world rumbles

Tom Bell is a psychologist in private practice and a widely published poet. He currently has diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome and major depression.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Jerry Hicks

How long war -- who?

My mother, 20, own house,
she leaves a perfectly strong man,
100 miles drives
to Hawthorne place of great-grandmother
deposits me in dirty diapers, like a bad check.
She on to become worldly educated.

Terrified of stern, three, missing my dad, never
smiling grandmother no matter what grow
eat, poop, lie, listen talk, the
radio, you fight, cry, learn to shoot
a sling-shot, bird names, little sad songs, fly
kites. Some direction. School. Sticks. Steps.

Saw dad, mom occasionally, mysterious tide
flow on varient schedules different
goals and means. He found one day hill overlooking
Burbank airport, said, "Be strong."
He great war leaving to go far oceans. Nations needed
us. Fracture!

I, 5 cried and continued cried life mostly, cry
fills eyes black blobs dizzies me every life day. Tears throb
like seasons random crazy.

Unloved growing burden on who cares me feel some
evil child deserving nothing. God punishes crimes
I ignorance commit.

Do all wars forever? would my dad. would my mom.
would warmth and bounty...
i question -- i never the war, never.
nothing ever went. destroyed
i like London, i bombed Berlin,
i Hero-She-Ma cloud-dark. i core my life.
child wrong parents. wrong war world. wrong.

Jerry Hicks also appeared in Issue 8. His poems have been published in Rattle, Red River View, Anthology, Dan River, VeRT and others. Hicks hosts literary workshops, poetry events, and slams. He received the Excellence in Literary Art award from the City of Torrance in 1999. Books are "Even Weeds have Flowers," "Instructions Included," and "Blind as Bullets in a Crowd."

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Kenny A. Chaffin


In the Fall we'd gather the family together
the annual harvest of birds.
To clean and freeze some of our chickens,
as food for the coming year.

With the lawn the colors of Christmas
we pulled the entrails out. We'd catch
their legs with stiff wire snag
while they pecked the ground for food.

They'd flop on the grass
for what seemed like days;
blood spurts shooting from severed necks
as their thumb-sized hearts slowly stopped.

We'd scald them in a huge iron pot
with a wood fire for the heat. Pluck
the feathers (save them for pillows)
and pull the insides out. Find the liver,
gizzard and heart and save them with the rest.

For washing and rinsing we'd use zinc-plated tubs,
rolled from the wash-house to lawn.
We'd cut some up into legs thighs, and breast,
others we'd simply freeze whole.

And this is how it was done:
Daddy would grab them, head in his fist
and with two quick twirls pull it off.
I was too small, without the strength
to twirl them in the air. So I'd hold them down
my foot on their face and pull till the silence began.

Kenny A. Chaffin has written poetry and fiction for over 10 years and has published poems in Vision Magazine, Array, Esc!, The Bay Review, The Caney River Reader,, WritersHood, Star*Line, MiPo, 14-4-30, and Melange. He lives in Denver, Colorado where he works as a Software Engineer to supplement his poetry income.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Danny P. Barbare

Cat in the Curtains

So cool is the room
On the couch
By the window at night,
Because the cat
Is in the curtains.

Danny P. Barbare lives in the USA. He lives with his wife and two small pets in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He has a Southern accent and loves to go on long walks the woods.

Anders Lisa Gordon Jan Savanyu Joel Fry Tom Bell Jerry Hicks Kenny A. Chaffin Danny P. Barbare

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Issue 10


"Angry Blue"
(Acrylic/Canvas 1991)
by Coral Hull

Special Australian Section:

Coral Hull
Spike Rotundo
Sandy Jeffs


Michael Furs
Mike Katzberg
Elizabeth Kelso
Lori Williams
Danny P. Barbare

Interview with Coral Hull

Special Australian Section

Q: You recently completed a book with Sandy Jeffs called Voices From the Dark which explored mental illness and creativity. What, for you, is the most important thing you found out working on it?

A: I discovered I had chronic PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) after I suffered a minor breakdown and ended up in the Emergency ward at Darwin hospital with an acute panic attack and a dose of shingles. After accidentally viewing a special on PTSD on a small motel television where I had been hiding out and then researching on the internet, the pieces of the puzzle of 36 years of living with a neurological disorder and not knowing what the hell was going on inside myself fell into place in less than an hour. This was all a result of the Sept 11 crisis.

I wanted to put some of the trauma I had suffered over the years into words for the first time. I trusted Sandy because of what she has gone through over the years with schizophrenia. This allowed me to speak. For years I had known that there was something wrong. I remember as a child I used to hit myself in the head with my hands as if trying to knock the problem out. This was an act frustration. Working on the book with Sandy Jeffs was a satisfying way of claiming success over a very challenging life.

Q: And what was the process of putting your traumatic experience into words like?

A: When I create it is often an unconscious action, so I am unable to answer questions about creative process. I usually know what motivates me if I think about it afterwards, when I go back and analyze the work and wonder what motivated me to write or photograph. I guess it's like when I travelled out to the drought stricken country a couple of days ago in order to hand feed the cows. For some reason one of the most pleasurable things for me is standing among their huge dark heads as they burp and snort, gulping and tossing up the hay. I walk away in a euphoric daze, not knowing anything.

Q: You write poetry. Do you remember what motivated you to write your very first poem, how you came to write it? Under what circumstances was it written?

A: I was thirteen years old and the poem was called The Rainforest. I wrote it about Minnamurra Falls in southern New South Wales. It was a description of a dark moist landscape and included moss covered boulders and a lyrebird at dusk. How dark can a rainforest become without perishing? The motivation was power. It felt good to describe this place that had touched my life. I was probably trying to explain my own psychology to myself. It was the moment before the traumatic separation of my parents where I lost everything and was in fear for all our lives. It felt so good to write that I wrote hundreds more poems throughout my teens. There was a sense of achievement but mainly it was about trying to establish a sense of place and self. To quote the US poet Elaine Schwager, it was about "living in the falling apart."

Q: In relation to living with PTSD, how dark did it get? What did you have to overcome?

A: When the light is edging out of a rainforest darkness can be very peaceful. The psychosis that one experiences during a PTSD relapse is comparable to a state of terror, war, apocalypse or natural disaster. A majority of people respond to these real life situations accordingly and get over it once the threat has passed. In my case the threat did not pass. My problem is that my neurology is so well adapted to living with trauma that it stayed that way. To this day I suffer nightmares involving combat, crisis, war, secret agents, murderers etc. My sleeping patterns are distorted. I become edgy in social situations or where I feel exposed to threat. I am hyper vigilant and when in the grip of PTSD related stress I think I can hear animals in distress or people sobbing and whimpering, or those I cannot get to in order to assist. It is most often a case of mistaken identity rather than hallucination. I simply revert back to a time when certain responses were necessary in order to ensure survival -- which in my case was long term exposure to domestic violence that involved threat and torture. I could compare a number of my responses to situations to that of police, army, firemen etc. They are prone bouts of PTSD as well. My perception is often of a world in crisis. My response is one of fight or flight and I am always ready for an emergency.

Q: What have you done to cope? I imagine your writing, your photography, your drawings, all are part of ways of dealing with this?

A: Perhaps my entire life has merely been a series of coping mechanisms. Humour, drug use and abuse, the car I drive, the sex industry, where I chose to live, my creativity, animal rescue, obsessive travel, avoidance of intimate relationships, prayer and contemplation, workaholism, what I chose to wear, my politics, adrenalin addiction, escapism and the many qualities and layers these mechanisms involve.

For example; in order to cope with an acute 4pm anxiety I involve myself in outdoor activities. In order to cope with a fear of the dark, I may sleep with a bright light shining into my eyes. To cope with a world that is in crisis, I work harder in order to rectify the situation. There are dozens of things I do in a myriad of different circumstances that would seem complex, mysterious and even eccentric to some. But I now understand what motivates me. I am a lot more simple than I ever imagined.

While I have over twenty different creative projects I am working on at present, it has been more than just art for me. When I look back at how I have lived my life, I see a person coping not only within extraordinarily harsh environments, but with a brutal and unusual psychology to match. I believe that one of the reasons that I am doing so well today is my belief in myself and in love or god. I have always been a minimalist and these days I chose to live out of several suitcases. When I am asked why I point to the sky and say, "I'm on 24hr call or in my case, probably 24hr Emergency Service!"

Coral Hull was born in Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1965. She is the author of over thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, artwork and digital photography, and is an animal rights advocate. She is the editor and publisher of Thylazine, a non-profit biannual literary and arts e-zine focusing on Australian artists, writers and photographers in the areas of landscape, animals and in other areas of special interest, with a strong emphasis on indigenous Australian culture. She lives in Sydney's west.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Spike Rotundo

Special Australian Section

I wouldn't canooty
The bundy of clout
Even if I knew
What I was talking about
I wouldn't connect him
To a collatelly tin
For the simple reason
He wouldn't get in
He might have the panthines
He might have the skid
How would I know
If he didn't or did
So the safety check measures
In place in the morning
Are alright all day
For the likes of these
But if a blister pouts up
Like a black bottled nitrate
I'm leaving immediately
I can't cope with that

The Emotion Stone

The emotion stone
Emotion of stone
Hard cold and brutal
When it bangs on the bone
Does just to break it
And bring it on home
To a family just like it
With emotion of stone
Gives a cold cup of tepid
Then leaves it alone
So you go to your cave
For more emotion of stone
Then you're all on your own
Like a bat that's a bookmark
In the dead book of drone
Dreary in its template
Old cold through its spine
Mad in its matter
Thought twisted like junk
Every third and fourth page
Is hoary and bleak
And the book stinks like rat rotten
And your mind glows bright blank
Till you turn off its engine
And put it back on its back
And curl up beside it
And go to sleep in its space
Till the images crawl like beetles
Up to holocaust hill
They've just come to look now
But they'll soon come to kill
As your nightmare crackle
With burning black flame
And your emotion stone
Drops like a pallet
In a wet water pool
As the ripples move towards you
You just can't go on
So you curl up death donut
And loneliness too
In the thin iron pond
As they put the emotion stone
Down gently beside you
You hear them whisper
He's through yes he's through
As they move you in deeper
To make sure if you are really that dead
Or doing a pos sum or two
A fake phoney death
That doesn't become you
Then back in the township
They shuffle through your four quarters
Looking for gadgets and gold
The plastic's put over you
And you're wrapped in its crisp callous cold
Packed in your packet
Of the envelope grave
One step from renewal
And ten steps from your birth
And the emotion stone
Cold soburied in the desperate despicable and dilettante earth

Spike Rotundo: I work as an artist, poet, musician and performer. I found my love of arts as a small child and have been persecuting my local community ever since with my genius for being quite average. My achievements are too numerous to mention on the back of a Catholick postage stamp, so I'll sigh off now.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Sandy Jeffs

Special Australian Section

The Social Worker

The social worker
thought I was cactus
a dead loss
a blight on the world.
The social worker told me
I had: reached the end of the line,
and I believed her
thought I was history
a story with a crappy ending
a nobody who
walked in the shadows of others
and cast none of my own
a witch who made others miserable
a carbuncle on my friends' lives.

I festered and oozed
and sealed the puss of my madness
in the scab of my life's retreat
which had: reached the end of the line
so the social worker from Hell said
condemning me to another Hell
which had nothing to do with being mad.

My Life

My life
is only a breath
shallow at times
barely feathering
the myriad faces
that glide the ways
barely giving comfort
never taming the ghouls.

My life
is only a breath
that fades into
the moon's
asylum of beggars
and angels.

When they frame
the shadows of
the nether world
in a golden cage,
into which I come
and from which I leave
angry and mad,
let them say:
she was the maddest of all.
And I shall say:
my life
is only a breath
its hush speaks words
falling as a crescendo
upon the mad world's deafness.

Sandy Jeffs has had four books of poetry published. Her poetry invites the reader to experience the agony and humour of madness, the tragedy of domestic violence and the trials, tribulations and celebrations of midweek ladies tennis. Sandy often speaks to community groups, GP's , schools and university students about mental illness, hoping to raise awareness about the myths that surround this misunderstood phenomenon. Sandy lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her friends and animals.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Michael Furs

to avalanches as they rumble

to avalanches as they rumble
down adjacent faces. head towards
the canyons that they have
fallen into. stop as the day
sets. cook whatever is
left over flames.

eat vegetarian meals. consider
hemingway. make
snow angels during the wet season,
snow with breath, us
alchemists of the soul. eclipse
the ground we stand on. shimmering
life diamonds float
away before us. go on
from there. drink from glacier
lagoons. we
manuel with cowboy hat
claudio with adidas cap
and me lacking tunic
stare at the sun.

yellow no. 5

triple cola pronounced treeplay lists artificial
colors as an ingredient. preservatives also. i
drank some in huaycachina
on a restaurant patio. on the street,
tourists from all over the world carouse
the lagoon.
locals, some longlegged
with real bright shirts, too. its summer
in paradise. a dog with ripped orange tee shirt,
ribs protruding, big cock hanging out, saunters by.
im pretty sure hes from the bronx.

down a sanddune behind
the oasis, a boy does cartwheel back handspring
back flip back flip back flip
down to the water and gets nothing
in return for the fact
that it happened. somewhere im sure
some chicken makes real
shiny with piss a red wheelbarrow.

sermon ostolaza
(a la noche)

the shadow of a donkey
comes to life from a painting

and chases beer
fast down
my throat.
everybody laughs.

the shadow
of a donkey
comes to life
from a painting

and chases
fast down
my throat. everyone

everyone laughs.

Michael Furs was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He has suffered with anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and he has had a nervous breakdown. Despite this, he has worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and Rehabilitation Counsellour for schizophrenics, as well as spending much time volunteering in the United States and in Lima, Peru.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Mike Katzberg

McGuffey's Fogazaro

Clues were left
Hit-or-miss, seemingly in a random sporadic display
a verbiage unending in mindscarred careful disarray
the magascope astounds a perspecuity of conscious detail
Mare Island: one scene
Bryce Canyon National Park: another
All dress as garbed to a fancy ball
Parenticide avante garde mon derrier!
Clients perdu regained in San Juan
A tall bee tree
And we drink in the honey of each dripping syllabic.
He only wrote with conscious detail about the football field
The lives of his characters captured on the film
Of book bark encountered and tree trunks enfolded.
I wish I had that spaciousness inside myself sometimes.

Riding the Storm

sky of jet silver black as light
faded dreams fleeing along a forlorn song
violent clouds stirring quickly
brimming coffin
streaking the sky out of a perspiring sorrow

a .22 and still a child
held the bicycle up to my head
and hit the road
the sky bleeds red

saw it in the catalogue wanted it
just that colour, cherry cool
begged for it
had no money
begged for it again
wanted it more
got some pain
no money
got it one day

a sky that stirs
an anguish spiring
darkening ever like a fever river
never abating, breaking
a feminine shape slipping behind the masks of ether
stepping windswept lady through the gods' old war

to dream you wish for something other
to want is what the will considers reason
the thing which you desire
Icarus and the sun so cloaked in naked red
a youthful material-maternalistic virtue scrubs over
persistent pestilent in the naturalistic impasto

a bicycle:
some definitions pertaining to two circular rubber objects
some link these together by metal adornment
generally having a chain, a steering apparatus,
pictured with a seat, rider donning a parasol,
well here's the picture:

They call her the town bicycle --
because everyone in town rides her
and she's that way
two at a time you know,
always rolling
on to the next
take it down fast, pump and blow
onto the next wheel before the last is over
under the sky open with sin
bend her over rover
take it all in

The sky is riding from the stars
who cloak her bosom in tempestuous might
with their skinshade shady swarthes of taunting nothingness
deeper violences of shadow percolate still and heavy swarms
biting out chunks of a relentless gaseous aura
into the fleeing sun

She has the road
She has the vehicle of progression
She has no openings for you

Mike Katzberg, originally from Australia, lives and writes in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, with a roommate and a cat. He is in the process of writing a vampire novel, and deliberating over his first book of poetry, among other endeavours.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Elizabeth Kelso

Madness, Madness

Didn't you know eccentric women
Repeat the pattern of madness?

Didn't they tell you that we comb our hair
Then stare into darkness?

I'll tell you then. I'm the eccentric woman of
Who talks to the rain that falls
And ask my plants why they don't grow
Into strong little boys and girls

I'll tell you then, I'm the quaint woman of yesteryear
Quintessentially mad to the masses
But to the legion that guards my brain
I'm not insane

Didn't you know eccentric women
Repeat the pattern of madness?

Shamed by our Condition

My wrists were small
but the cuffs were smaller
as they bit at my skin
Shoved into the car head first
my body contorted to fit
in a space not fit for small children or wildlife

CLANK went the door of the holding cell
Piss scented air engulfed me as I sat
alone and cold on the hard metal bench
(chipping paint and artful profanity)

Cries of women
echoed through the corridor
and out the window
falling on merciless ears
I would not cry
for anger caressed my lips
He took away everything I had
He took away my freedom

He was used to the cage
but prison is no place for a woman

We were round up
an assortment of motley women
chained together by circumstance

I was not a criminal
just a woman and a mother
who would not submit to the will
of another

We were led out like dogs pulling a sled
Heads down and shamed by our condition

My cellmate was a crack addict
though she preferred the term "diabetic"
Her long, crack-eaten body draped over the entire
I studied her features
There was no doubt she took her insulin through a

Elizabeth Kelso is a native New Yorker who has been writing poetry for 17 years. She won 2nd prize in the 2000 "No Experience Required: A Literary Magazine Contest for her poem "She Fed Me Kimchi". Her work can be seen at

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Lori Williams

Crazy is a Place

Crazy is a mean place to be -
piranhas swim through saliva, teeth
pressure your tongue to tell a son
you wish he were never born, that your eggs

should have caught fire, burned black
like the ones he tries to make, ruining all the skillets,
before that drunken cum staggered its way
into your fucked-up Easter basket.
There is so much blood in the daydreams.

His and yours run together, a dysfunctional river
that covers baby pictures making cowlicks glisten,
making his Sesame Street romper orange.
In the night dreams, you cry.

How you've neglected the knife set!
The one from four Christmas' ago - they've dulled
like your hair, your eyes. Flat. Matte like the shadows
you wear as disguise. People don't look into them now,
and you know the men you'll never have.

Things like making toast and manicures become projects,
make you think of slots that pop out what you are so hungry for,
and fingernails small as sprinkles, so you drop the bread
to the floor, leave the polish open to dry.
With dead eyes it all seems funny.

Crazy is an interesting place to be, if someone notices.
Then there are pink and blue pills that you line up
on the counter like pairs of eyes winking all is well,
and doctors you picture naked with hairy balls,
which makes you laugh, and laughter is

the best medicine. If someone notices,
maybe sons will see the error of their ways,
become priests or even love you again, hold your hand.

But crazy is usually alone, going to six stores to find
the Schick straight razors dad used to use. Then you see
him shaving at the sink, nicking his cheek, sticking a piece
of tissue on it. Oh, how you fretted! The worst worry
in your life was his wound. You wonder why
he doesn't answer your prayers.

Crazy is a place where the doves never come home.

Breaking Down, Making Soup

A pockmarked life, ugly and filled
with flimsy notions of altered states
is reason enough to shed skin dead
a while, since the year full of holes.
Hung on bone (tired), teasing
like a tongue that circles pouting lips
and misses the point.
Fifteen thousand three hundred thirty
mistakes atoned for - promises, deals,
firstborn son. Like a pot of soup they simmer
until the whole schmear becomes something
with a name. Carrot shavings
and chicken feet are nothing on their own.
Sometimes he listens and forgives
but we pay with our sanity,
going crazy as we slurp poison
that does not quite reach the heart.

Lori Williams: Just your typical depressed poet from New York. I think I've had some sort of depression for most of my adult life, maybe even since childhood. People were always telling me "snap out of it", " you're so moody" and the worst one..."smile!". At age 43, I have finally put a name to it, stopped thinking I was just a miserable person. My poetry has been published in over 30 print and web zines and journals, including The Melic Review, Niederngasse, The Dakota House Journal, BlueFifth Review and is upcoming in Wicked Alice and Unlikely Stories. I've used poetry as my therapy for many years, but it's not quite enough anymore.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

Danny P. Barbare

Stormy Night

Drops of rain
Glisten on the wooden steps.
The wind blows
And the field answers
As everything else listens.


At the edge of the pond
It is like that dip and then tug
Into the darkness.
The line runs with that shiny scaled dream
That can never be fiction.

Danny P. Barbare's poetry has appeared in Pittsburgh Quarterly, Writing Ulster, Santa Barbara Review, California Quarterly, and many other publications and journals. He has struggle with manic-depression since his early teens. He started writing at the age of 20 and has written a poem everyday for the past 20 years. He works as a custodian and attends Greenville Technical College when able. He has a deep Southern accent, having travelled very little from the area where he was born.

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare