January 31, 2007




“A madman doesn’t need success. All he needs is a good hospital.”

Mohammed Mrabet



Experiment is an accident

no matter how carefully planned.

Can’t you see

I’m walking

between abstraction and magic

Because that’s who I am


The buffalo of the Great Plains

ghosting skittish herds

on Champs d’Élysées

under deconstruction. Supervised

by The New Pound Projective


and The Magicians of Jazz Street


Medicines & Mirrors

Weight gain & Hair-loss

Wallpaper of Hollywood Muse

Switching between Calvinist

projection and a drunken buffet

Call the doctor

or print your own magazine

Distribution is academic.




—Michael Rothenberg


Previously published in Small Town


Posted by dwaber at 05:45 PM

January 30, 2007




Below the radar

Used up


I’ve forgotten

what to write...









Redwood decks, a middle-class colonialism



       I don’t write


when morning comes,

a bell, the terror of quotidian


Heaven in a coffee pot

Winter rain



     90,000 W/OUT POWER



  No, I haven’t forgotten

what to write. I have a list.







“What’s your address in the redwoods?”


Redwood, “Sequoia sempervirens

A very tall, evergreen, coniferous tree


“Sequoia, Cherokee who invented Cherokee alphabet

Sempervirens means ‘ever-living’”


And beyond that:












“Native to coastal ranges

of southern Oregon and central and northern California,


having small seed-bearing cones

with peltate scales and unflattened branches.”






“Some Native Americans stripped bark off redwood trees

to gather sweeter cambium layers for food”



Hot tub in the redwoods







Donald says he’ll show me how to climb a redwood


Listen to wood stove







Shuffle wood in stove





Dennis says,

“Do you believe it, you own all these trees!


“You own me,” I tell the trees

(under the stars)



Begin again





Vacuum carpet downstairs


“One of the survival strategies of redwood trees

is ability to sprout from bud tissue called burl”






“If a tree falls, logged, or trunk damaged,

the burl can be triggered to start sprouting new growth”








“The sprouts use the root system

of the parent tree and are genetically identical”



Who’s to say they’re not the same tree?








Future disconnected


Who wears a hat?

Who discusses this?

Who is? (In the immovable grove)


scratch   twitch   scratch  rumble






madrone  oak   tick   black tick   toc   creek


green mossy coffee mug



“Second-growth redwoods often grow very fast”





“Often, stumps in old logged-over areas are ringed

by smaller trees that grew from roots of parent tree

These rings are called ‘fairy rings’"


   gray hum


Opossum stalks creek with walking stick








   Natural O-Currency






Needles clog the gutter


Quail scratch bark mulch to find seed

fallen from bird feeder






What war?

Which war?


Is it ever a good war?


Fog on the deck

What door?

The open one?

What for?

The war?






Oh, The Redwoods!


This New Growth door
Go ahead, open it!





                        BLUE SKIES



Blue Jays wake the morning



Yes! Come in!  Sit!


I’ll be    right     with you


There’s a war I must finish!


I will win it shortly


December 19-28, 2005
March 3, 2006


—Michael Rothenberg


Previously published in Golden Handcuff Review


Posted by dwaber at 05:45 PM

January 29, 2007




Angels sleep in peace!

Devils stay past midnight


listen to Paganini

Pretenders, King Of America, Heartless Liars


Have you heard them playing 8-ball while reading Content’s Dream?


Did it matter when the Army closed

imagination’s terrifying halls to Strategists of Art?


No, it doesn’t make sense to matter

No explanation needed for transfer of funds


from one pocket to another

For those Charlie Chaplins entering data, boiling nouvelle shoe leather soup


Supping on Valentine’s Desires and Therapeutic seasonings

It makes sense


Angels sleep in peace!

Devils stay past insomnia


& possum scud across the roof

Listening to accusations of the trite and trivial from Fashion Fascists


Reveling in accusations of the ideal & naïve


soaked in gross dependencies & mother


Have you heard them in their drunken dance

on granite floors,


in the rhythm of Sisyphus?


                        Would it matter if Superman

disappeared in his glacial fortress and forgot about Lois Lane?


No, it doesn’t make sense to matter

No explanation is needed for the transfer of sperm


from one pocket to another


For Cryogenic Automatons taking surveys & grants, boiling eclectic dialectics

Gorging on Cornish hens & Sweet & Low


It makes sense


Angels sleep in peace!

Devils stay past gunshot


& sweat soaked orgies

& tender whisperings


Have you made up your mind,

in those white silk gowns,

hair loose on freckled shoulder,


licking your own nipples,

raising your naked ass to four impossible walls?


That I should be persuaded by repressed exhibitions of genitalia

Does it matter when crisis rings


the death of a poet & saw-grass fires kiss his naked guilt?


No, it didn’t add up to verse, or wake the angels to salve the clawing innocent

No, it doesn’t make sense to matter longer


No explanation needed for the transfer

of one fish from one


Amazon to one aquarium

on a bookshelf on one hill above Pacific shoreline


For Game Hunters tracking down genuine tears & renderings, boiling conceptual logic

Mounting vanquished language of invisible jaguars & hornless rhinos


           On walls…


It makes sense


For those lazy drifters beneath the stars





—Michael Rothenberg


First published in Kickass Review


Posted by dwaber at 05:44 PM

January 28, 2007


if he knew me
I don’t want to be great

it takes me 10 minutes
to write a poem

& then

I want to whisper or
shout it about

My poems are usually brief
they resemble each other
they are anecdotal
they do not extend themselves
they make no great claims
they connect small things to other small things


I just want to kick the leaves
& have done


—Mairéad Byrne


Posted by dwaber at 05:43 PM

January 27, 2007

Post-Coital Depression



after the parties

and after the Seders

a few scant hours before the POWs come home


(and home is here, this is their home, and this is my home,
far from my friends and family and far from their friends
and family and the things that any of us would call home)


Now, on a quiet Saturday, I ponder art for art’s sake

and art for society’s sake

and art which by its nature could never last

because it is too specific

too focused in its condemnations

and not at all metaphorical


Today I ponder the role of an artist

at the close of a war

and the dawn of an empire

And what it means

to believe in something


in a time of blind faith

in blind and stupid leaders


Today I am an artist and a businessman


so I look over my projects


what is due, what is due me, what will be due soon

what must be achieved today so that

other artists will still consider me important


so they will come to my rallies

and come to my readings

and thank me for my politics

and thank me for my energy


Today at home

I think of the best way to relieve the burden

of living, writing, and voting in the country

destined to conquer the world


Today I think of stacks of burning bodies


dictatorships established in the name of democracy


and the motherless sons who will come back to America

and do everything they can to bring it down


and what does that mean to anyone,




the POWs come home

tortured beaten terrorized

and I will celebrate

with my city and with my country

and I know

that this is the last day we can call ourselves

a Republic of Laws



I fear for myself

I fear for my son

I fear for the Arabs

I fear for the Israelis

I fear for the Persians

I fear for the Americans

and I fear for every artist

who makes art for art’s sake

who won’t speak out

at the end of our world


—Jonathan Penton

“Post-Coital Depression” was previously published in the anthology, BANNED (Meta4, 2004)


Posted by dwaber at 05:42 PM

January 26, 2007

Deep Throat Nihilism


Never forget that beauty is destructive

and poetry is its most destructive form

Poets do not ask permission

When you sing Ave Maria in the library, sing it loud


—Jonathan Penton

“Deep Throat Nihilism” was first published on kagablog.


Posted by dwaber at 05:41 PM

January 25, 2007

Atonement Fast


If you could take

every time

a Muslim fucked someone over during Ramadan

every time a Jew killed someone during Pesach

and every single St. Valentine’s Day massacre

and put them all on the page

you’d have no more room

for angry little poems


—Jonathan Penton


Posted by dwaber at 05:40 PM

January 24, 2007

In the Company of Them


So I’m sitting here in San Fran

In another used bookstore

On another hipster block

In this fuzzy hipster town

And I’m browsing through the bookstore

And I’m looking through the comics

There are shelves of graphic novels

And I think they must be recent

From the flashy well-done covers

And the hip PoMo technique


So I grab some graphic novels

And I’m setting on the benches

And I’m getting up, and walk around, and find a comfy chair

So I lean back, and I’m comfy, and I open up the comics

Which are trendy, which are clever,

Which have lots of lit-techniques

There’s this one with the stone giant

Who starts out as a hero

Who might be old King David

or George Washington Carver

and he bests the evil villain

who was belittling his race

but now he’s getting bigger

and he just keeps getting bigger

and pretty soon he’s enslaved all the creatures all around

the metaphor was obvious

though the subject imprecise

He might have been Israel

Or maybe Nashville, Tennessee

But the book was tortured, troubled

And so exquisitely drawn

The artist must’ve worked

As long as Karen Hughes been ugly

It was twenty-eight dollars

U.S.                                              dollars

with      proceeds            going to                                  charity


And I’m looking at these novels

And I’m looking at the shelves

’Cause there’s dozens of these comics

Dozens of these graphic novels

’Cause there’s dozens of these artists

Dozens angry tortured artists

Who sort of kind of made it

In the graphic novel world

But if you walk down through the Mission

Past the chickenhawks and junkies

You’ll find hundreds of these artists

Who will never, ever make it

Though it’s hard to see the difference

Between the published and the losers

Because every artist’s screaming

Every artist’s fucking screaming

Every artist wants to warn us

Of all the evil that we do

They’re all warning and they’re screaming

And they’re bringing up the issues

With their hip PoMo devices

And their so unique techniques


And besides the hundred artists

There’s a thousand folk musicians

With their lyrics tried and tested

And their chords so true and blue

And besides the thousand singers

There’s a million sock-drawer poets

Who’ve put down their San Fran paintbrush

To write of what will happen

To warn the world of what will happen

If we let a madman rule us

If we let the wealthy lead us

If we sign away our neighbors for another cup of Starbucks

And the artists are all drawing

And the folkies are all singing

And the poets all recite their angry lines at open mics

But there’s no one really listening

No there’s no one really listening

And the few who clap politely never do a goddamned thing

But the days are getting hotter

And our lives are getting shorter

And the Fertile Crescent won’t be fertile for four billion years

While MSN reports on Fox News

CNN reports on Slate

CBS reports on Sharpton

And Al Sharpton studies Fox

While the talking heads keep talking

And the bloggers keep on blogging

And the artists keep pretending there is something left to say


—Jonathan Penton


Posted by dwaber at 01:03 PM

January 23, 2007

Regarding Your Career:

Your books are worthless.
Your perfect-bound, professionally-made, trade paperbacks from the bigger names in the small press are worthless.
Your rice-paper handcrafted signed and numbered achievements are worth less than the formaldehyde stuck to a dead poet’s balls.


Your credits, your blog, your hand-stapled zines will be forgotten as soon as they are produced. Your friends will laugh at them at your funeral. Your hopes for immortality mean less than the knots in your noose.


Yes, I admire the tall trannies with glamorous coats

in the laundromat documentary

Yes, I admire the Ocean Queen

with her marijuana fire department
Solicit their opinions on your goulash.

Let your work die with you


—Jonathan Penton

“Regarding Your Career” was previously published in a different form in Antipatico


Posted by dwaber at 01:03 PM

January 22, 2007

Third Crush

After David Mamet


One day I met a woman with eyes like a Townes Van Zandt song


She told me I looked like Jesus, or perhaps Adam

We got along like dykes and dogs, but


I knew it wouldn’t last

so I decided to love her leave her           and spend the rest of my life writing poems

about how much I missed her

That way, I could enjoy the pain of losing her and not have to listen to her voice


I was proud of my plan and I decided to tell my mother about it


But my mother didn’t like my plan


In fact, she got very angry


She told me that it wasn’t right to love someone when you knew you were going to leave them


I asked her if she felt that way about it why did she kick me out of the house when I was only thirty-eight?


But mother wouldn’t listen to reason


She was so upset that she called the beautiful woman

and told her what I was planning


But the beautiful woman didn’t believe her


So I loved the woman and left her

and then I sat down and wrote this poem


I hope you like it

I hope the beautiful woman reads it

I hope it makes her happy


—Jonathan Penton


Posted by dwaber at 01:13 PM

January 21, 2007

On the many things I do not understand



He speaks of a passion, strange and wonderful



I think of Joanie Vollmer

I study her death beside Tupac’s and Cobain’s

I wonder at the precise size

of the hole in her forehead



I think of writing, this attempt to force others

to spend a moment with the thoughts I think every day



He tells me that he caught the literary bug at a young age



That’s good, I tell him

Better that

than for it to catch you…



—Jonathan Penton


Posted by dwaber at 02:03 PM

January 20, 2007

Why I Don't Write Love Poems

In love, too busy.

And out, too caught
by poetry's essence:

—Paul Dutton
previously collected in Aurealities (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1991)

Posted by dwaber at 02:00 PM

January 19, 2007

Missed Haiku

In the only room that matters
a slight sound
obscures the one thought that counts.

—Paul Dutton
previously collected in Aurealities (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1991)

Posted by dwaber at 01:49 PM

January 18, 2007

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

shake     shake     shake     shake      shake

shake the darling buds of May
shake hands to torture me
shake against the cold
that looks on tempests and is never shaken
if you were by my unkindness shaken

shake     shake     shake     shake      shake


-pear   -pear   -pear  -pear   -pear   -pear   -pear  peer

doth homage to his new-appearing
as interest of the dead which now appear
and says in him thy fair appearance
The other as your bounty doth appear
On your broad main doth wilfully appear
I love not less, though less the show appear
Look in your glass, and there appears
No, nor neither he nor his compeers

-pear   -pear   -pear  -pear   -pear   -pear   -pear  peer

Shakespeare       Shakespeare       Shakespeare        Shakespeare
Shakespeare       Shakespeare       Shakespeare        Shakespeare


son    son    son    son    son    son    son

you know / You had a father: let your son
And when a woman woos, what woman’s son
Speak of the spring and foison
Yet then my judgement knew no reason
But thence I learn and find the lesson
true / Drugs poison
but despised straight, / Past reason

son    son    son    son    son    son    son


net      net     net

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth
Or captain jewels in the carcanet

net      net     net


sonnets  sonnets  sonnets  sonnets  sonnets sonnets  sonnets  sonnets

—Paul Dutton
“Shakepeare’s Sonnets” was published in an incorrect
version that incorporated editor’s errors in a student publication,
The Mitre (Bishop’s University, 2004)

Posted by dwaber at 01:56 PM

January 17, 2007


If the sea rakes and scrapes it
long enough
it may crack

revealing beneath
its inscrutable surface
ammonite, frond, shell

residue of process
and what it seems to hold
balanced and weighed

and sent with a flick to skim
like a real stone
the surface of meaning

—Alan Baker
(A version of this poem was published in Poetry Nottingham and in the pamphlet 'Not Bondi Beach')

Posted by dwaber at 01:14 PM

January 16, 2007



(for regina writing her exit)


but for the death of each word

it's this white pall of the page i must bear



white pillow of the page

that leads me to [poetry?]

luxurious open space

for my eyes to rest




quiet enough to listen

to see what's listened to beyond

nothing to do with thinking




a private language written in a secret handwriting




this strained white tension of silence

for my words to blurt




but how can i not help erase myself

in the ridiculousness of

ink the embalming fluid of

words the sarcophagi of

thought the death of






what if by greeting each other

we speak poetry

what if our language upon arrival

breaks down into profound syllables of seeing

i mean seeing each other as an ecstatic first moment

and when we part

as if we'll never see each other again




inhuman and obscene

breaking the dreaminess of your morning thoughts

reading a newspaper




as seldom as i see you

your death with me is ok

i know you are always where you're supposed to be

our conversation continues

the look you give me continually guides/chides




stretched out on the beach

i am the horizon

stretched out on my bed of sand

cry of gulls rolling slamming surf

as the horizon i will also be forever



—Craig Czury


from IN MY SILENCE TO JUSTIFY, FootHills Publishing, 2003



Posted by dwaber at 01:34 PM

January 15, 2007





there is something inexorable under the surface

a word i’ve never used






poetry the last language before death




of the two schools

writing what i don’t know interests me most




somewhere between looking and seeing

it only appears i’m not paying attention


the punishment is severe




do you still think memory

has anything to do with thinking




what else in this transparent beauty


at which moment




the distance between reading and visualizing





you already know not to open your eyes




all this talk of memory

we were both there

yet your telling and my telling




that quizzical look

takes me under language




that lost look never more found




between what i remember

and what i’ve imagined




all the way from death to show me




at the brink recognizable




i don’t believe in a poetry written from a singular mind


neither do I




the odds favor sea salt

blood breaking in on the blood





—Craig Czury


from IN MY SILENCE TO JUSTIFY, FootHills Publishing, 2003



Posted by dwaber at 01:30 PM

January 14, 2007


by accident
we stumbled upon the last breath
and knelt down
our one good ear tight against its lips
and rotted teeth

we could not tell
if it was night or the eclipsing sun

but from somewhere deep within its wound
we heard drums
and a circle of clapping bones closing in

again the woolly mammoth being roused
from its black slumbering dust

crude figures of men with sticks
and mud-sling barrows
illumined the cankerous mouth

—Craig Czury
from GOD’S SHINY GLASS EYE, FootHills Publishing. 2005,

Posted by dwaber at 02:29 PM

January 13, 2007


My pay says heave ‘er
So chinooked in Chicoutimi
For all the Mary-Christs & Little Johns
Broken from faith but still wrong

So fuck a grand vessel, tails dance or mastiffs
A shinny I’d say Souris
For liquour laws controlled by the Crown
And the midst leaves no bars

Juicy uncaged deuce ode
Batawa bound with a Bloody Caesar
For inquiring mimes want to show
In a bureaucrat’s five-pound drain

Seek ye delay nut
Ookpik onboard an Okanagan outpost
For man bites God
A left hook, a broken aye

Languish new mitten rev sir divest plain
Fiddleheads of Flin Flon
For a priestly demolition
A feckless skimmer in that old lean development

Sizzle bats or canoe havin’ bat’s teeth
Pogey people passing Penetanguishine
For the Merry Devil of Edmonton
Like fossils on the scrotum of the quay

There’s none serving ten
With toques touted to Trenton
For a Bilingual Tim Donut
For the hate stint stinging its part

Feign sea surround petty round taut
Sasquatch skookum stupid so Sackville
For Now’s here; why’s I?
They are creating new minds for dimming

No try justification, no try method, no try eaten
Tourtiere tastes of Toronto
For it made this town CRAZY for kung fu!
I cruise, a lone rat

Disease our mutters
A potlatch for Point Pelee
For whatever else poetry is free & dumb
And we have acquired the ways of strangers

— Stephen Cain
from the Coach House Books collection, American Standard/Canada Dry

Posted by dwaber at 01:52 PM

January 12, 2007

ars poetica: the language of light verse

upon reading w.h. auden

er in
room leaves shadows, initiates gaps, a darkness lurks in corners. Put a mirror, fitting strangely, put up a clue strangely, strangely clustered glass, piling up optic until all sides blaze, the one inch flame now a huge deviant light: the pacific room shines in the illusion of blaze. By just a candle, inhibit the chaos sea. Each glass echo is a word,   illuminates   off shadow. Alive, this author room, this fun biopic indication of space, of spacing, of the celestial geometry of light disseminates, rebounding endless echoes, grows to depict heat until there is no room left, no beatific candles, no walls. Left is a fragment of the holder’s glass, still burning, long after the spilt wax has disappeared   into   the  cold.

—Gregory Betts
A previous version of this poem appeared in If Language (BookThug 2005)

Posted by dwaber at 01:58 PM

January 11, 2007


Experiment 99a. Where do poems come from?

Moisten your finger and hold it straight up in the air. You will notice at once that one side of the finger is cold. This is the direction from which the poem is coming.

—Sharon Harris
From Fun With 'Pataphysics, as found in a bookthug chapbook of the same name (www.bookthug.ca), and AVATAR, a full length collection published by The Mercury Press (www.themercurypress.ca)

Posted by dwaber at 01:10 PM

January 10, 2007

Language Is A Game With Two Players

Stuck 100’ up in the air on the connector between the E-1 and the A-20

Gridlock in all directions

A kid on the radio sings “It ain’t the end of the world but you can see it from here”

My second perfect moment of the day

And the sun’s still only an inch above the eastern horizon

“OK ok,” says Uomo Bhob, “The first?”

“A revelation”

“Language is a game with two players: an I and a Thou”

“You would think that,” says Bhob, “you’re a translator”

“You know why I play?” asks Borul

He stares into whatever people stare into when they stare that way

“So you and I and all of us are a little less lonely”

And then he grins

“It’s the most live feeling I know”

Bhob says, “This is one hell of a tape job if I say so myself”

He’s busy wrapping packages of Captions II

“You’re still the king of the shipping clerks,” I say

He pumps like Mr Universe and says, “I know”

These are my friends

These are people I care about

—John Bloomberg Rissman

Posted by dwaber at 01:28 PM

January 09, 2007

How the Work Gets Done

I challenge my dream: “Show me the Equator. I’ve never seen the Equator.” And I’m there, registering at a hotel on some tropical island in the middle of the ocean. I look around expecting the exotic but everything looks depressingly ordinary, as if this were some grubby convenience store in Canarsie. “Show me things I’ve never seen,” I command my dream. I’m imagining succulent equatorial flowers, blossoms billowing like parachutes, and juicy fuchsia-hued fruits big as boulders.

The scene changes, but instead of embroidered nature, I find myself in the hotel’s unremarkable cocktail lounge. Some guests have dressed formally. Others are naked. We’re just a bunch of people sipping our drinks, probably waiting for dinner. We attempt conversation, but it goes nowhere. “This is nothing,” I scold my dream. “Show me the horrors, the spectacular horrors of the Equator!” I’m imagining spiders towering like skyscrapers on stick legs, and malevolent vampire insects numerous and unremitting.

Nothing outwardly changes, although, one by one, I begin to recognize my fellow guests. In fact, I realize that I know every one of them and I wouldn’t voluntarily spend a second in their company! I notice, too, that everyone now is looking around the room and recognizing everyone else. From their gloom I surmise that everybody has discovered universal, mutual hatred.

Can it be that, compelled by the rules of civility, we must spend our short, once-in-a-lifetime equatorial vacations in this Sartrean hellhole in intimate contact with those who revolt us?

But then it dawns on me: “Thank you,” I tell my dream. “For this true horror of the Equator!”

—Sandy McIntosh

Posted by dwaber at 01:31 PM

January 08, 2007


Wings flare. Hawk soars
as if the sky is Ifugao red
and her wrists shake

with seven silver bracelets, each
dangling a stone etched with
memories formed as feathers,

teardrops, arrowheads. The sound
of her grandmother crushing
gabi leaves for a spell

fills the room. The window persists
with its lack of your face
supplanting the pumice stones

during the monsoon season
in Pampanga. After tasting
salt through her tears

why did you open your pores
to the temptress' curved copper
tongue? Does the witch paint

heavy verbs on your thighs? Boulders
like "ravage," "pillage," "ransack"
or "despoiled"? Peel off their signs

for sweetness: her damp eyes walking
to the front mahogany door
to answer your wing beats

discerned through the breeze.
To arrive home is to release your
armor, dropping it on ancient terrazzo.

—Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios
First published in Saints of Hysteria: A Half Century of Collaborative Poetry (Eds. Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton, and David Trinidad, Brooklyn, Soft Skull Press, 2007) and forthcoming in THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES (Marsh Hawk Press, Fall 2007).

Posted by dwaber at 12:14 PM

January 07, 2007


What’s deemed necessary
changes. Hear

listening in another
decade, editing

and first lines.
A different

croons from behind
an impassive

I listen, cross
out more

The poem cannot
be pure.

never travels unimpeded
by anonymous

Writing it down
merely freezes

Translation: an inevitable
fall. Take

by shooting it
as if

were clay: This
one is.

It provided pleasure
once, was

Once, it flew
with non-imaginary

O, clay pigeon.
Translation: the

is my ear’s.
The sky

suddenly—I saw
but did

hear the precursor
fall of


Edit it down.
Edit it

Silence is Queen,
not lady

Edit it down.
Edit it.

it down. Edit
it. Edit.

—Eileen Tabios
From DREDGING FOR ATLANTIS (Otoliths, 2006)

Posted by dwaber at 02:03 PM

January 06, 2007


The same sky imaging your eyes folded over me as a perfume’s memory of “wine, pearls and stone” when I received your dream marveling I’ve become “a footnote grown larger than the book.”

The same book you read to excavate me is a fiction I sculpted to soften my marble core, as if—and I still don’t know—words can save me from myself.

The same poem you are feeling your way through is a thin, blue vein dug out from beneath my flesh for the color of a sky breaking into scarlet to set words afire.

The same byline your fingers caress now is text on a page, “which is to say,” yet another tree was axed for you to find the Iron Gate behind which I long hid with uncut hair and wounds as eyes, waiting for You.

—Eileen Tabios
First printed in Five Fingers Review and forthcoming in THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES (Marsh Hawk Press, Fall 2007)

Posted by dwaber at 01:54 PM

January 05, 2007

Poetry Reading

There are four in the audience,
five if you count the poet’s son
who is slumped in the metal maw
of folding chair as if he’d rather be
eaten alive than endure another reference
to millennial decrepitude, wind
in the rattle of oaks or the big ugly lizard
of heartbreak. He knows all of her stories,
where her voice will rise and lift for effect.

She’s reading the poem about the feather again. At eight
he learned to take out the e to spell father.
The woman hunkered in the front row is clothed
in an armor of silver jewelry. She emits a low
sigh at the end of every poem. Later, she will
corner his mother over styrofoam coffee
and little cookies to tell her how moved
she was, but really to relate her own stories of lizards.

He imagines the soccer ball he could kick
high over their heads like a dicey moon, the shouts
from the crowd as it sails toward its goal. His dream
is interrupted by his mother’s voice breaking like a shock
of crows on the word “resistance.” She loves
that word, carries it in her purse,
coiled in her tubes of lipstick. She powders
it on her nose, on the cheek that he kisses

—Jennifer Hill-Kaucher

Posted by dwaber at 12:46 PM

January 04, 2007

I Hate Poetry

I have tried to like poetry –
its enjambed stares
and the patient writers of it
who toil at their desks,
scribble into black notebooks
in parks with the pigeons
and bread-crumbed homeless
who snore their way to inspiration.

I admit I dated a poet
in an attempt to fall in love with the genre
not the person. I fell in love with
his cologne instead, the zaftig waft
of it behind him, an aura of an aura.

I shampooed my hair in coffee
and drank in the tweed of his sweaters,
as metaphor trudged beyond us,
then took the A-train into an alley
for a mugging.

Now that I am too old
for my death to be sad
I wish for poetry to knock
on my door, let himself inside
and leave a black mountain
of punctuation marks
like a garden of orchids
on the open field
of my neck.

—Jennifer Hill-Kaucher

Posted by dwaber at 12:53 PM

January 03, 2007

Ars Poetica

You don't go looking for poetry finds.
You go, looking, for poetry finds.

—Dan Waber

Posted by dwaber at 07:42 PM