June 30, 2007

About Poetry

I just want to tell you about poetry
because I don’t really know what it is
Mr Ramsbottom my teacher said it was
stuff that rhymed,
had verses
and it was neat and tidy
we used to learn
daffodils and
I must go down to the sea again
to the lonely sea and the sky
and that sort of thing
they don’t write poetry like that any more

now they can stand up and say two words
and it’s a poem
it’s a real good poem
you have to know which 2 words to say though
and you have to say them right
so that people know it’s a poem

any how
for something to do
I’ve written you a poem

Birds sing in sky
My brain flys by
wondering why
we live and die

that poem had 14 words

—Jacquie Williams

Posted by dwaber at 11:51 AM

June 29, 2007


small composition jar
in these few words

barely reach the page
a process by which

the person removes obstacles swallowing handfuls

of rags swallowing handfuls

of muttering tepid you become you do

a large room full of the same person
double-decker kissing

the plurals approach this notion
of writing

as it is the fasteners
fasten what holds fast faster

held in relation
to things

children screaming
at the bubbles

they themselves produce catches corners of the eye

a dog eared miniature
of the printed addendum

rise again wakened skin
the better thing

encompassed here
spelled out

light shadows the man with a bedeviled groan

a bedeviled flask
as the wheels speak

a small bundle of them
make a star of it

a taller slender streetlight
a lower lipped movement

fraught with digits
tipping tip tips

diggle – the off center of a cracker the machine of life

rare fruit hanging off
the machine of life

a perfect reflection in fog a swizzle stick alphabet

how to open standing up across the table

—Nico Vassilakis

Posted by dwaber at 12:31 PM

June 28, 2007


Simply driving to the end of a sentence.
Plummets in mumbles.
Excuse me, didn’t quite get that.
Crossing out words.
The pencil pressed onto the surface of a page
Beginning at the front and leaving at the suffix.
The word erased.

In his investigation, it was the hand. He could not find it. What exactly has happened to the hand in handwriting? Disguised as a machine behind french doors, a ray of light, forgotten orange peel.

It is annihilated. There will be no silkscreen of dreaming. A slow drip my darling. Louder and louder and licker and looker and lavish and languid and leopard and lever and luminaire. Wrapped around the angle you preserved for an upcoming autumn.

The lag. The differentiating magnet. Gauge the lips. Caught with the phone cord’s connective tissue. You the drug. You the snapping stalk, the talking stalk. A coterie of filigree. Emblems tucked away. I refuse what i create. The pinnacle of one life. Alongside the abutment. Yes, one kite defends the storm of unknowing and, yes, one boy running into the future. A brilliant arc hovers by streetlight. To know this you would have had to be there. And you're very near. Sound of pages turning. Do pages turn? Is it circular or piled up higher than hair?

Refraction decides. A soothing condition while the ease of it assures you.

I am not mobile, but my signal has become digitized. The words form then dissolve upon contact. You allow transportation to occur. Information is the cargo – is money to the lost cockatoo. I respond to the flicking of a light switch. I am responding furiously. The best writing is a writing you stare at. At a distance you can mistake a pen for a cigarette. Eyes slowly go therein. The body endures small deaths. All the practice is beginning to work. There is an ease.
Language seems to resist obstacles, seems to appear at simultaneous interactions. Draws me to several - at once - stinging the fog.

This distribution of chemicals makes for a perfect day.
The way it was told to me - you never really get there.
It's the verisimilitude of standing here
atop a kind of quirky exploding laughter.

Chemicals laugh, they swing and dance, looking for a match, a pocket to fit their hand.

There are many reasons for the scalp to tingle.
The room is jettisoned.
The garden is always yawning.

And for now tare weight is a type of reality.

—Nico Vassilakis

Posted by dwaber at 11:59 AM

June 27, 2007


—Nico Vassilakis

Posted by dwaber at 12:34 PM

June 26, 2007


Some lines seem destined for the nearest landfill
—the way my name, when I type the wrong keys,
becomes “Ant.” I feel like an ant these days,
lugging my giant crumb to some great sand-hill,
dumping it, and trudging off for more.
I wonder where my good old-fashioned brain went?
It didn’t fit my head, like the attachment
I bought second-hand for my vacuum cleaner.

You can’t do much good with a bad connection—
part A fits into part B, no exceptions,
or you’re screwed. There’s no great adapter
to plug into, turn on the juice, the power
and the glory. Forever and ever, we survive,
trying dead sockets till something sparks alive.

—Amy Lemmon
previously published on ZinkZine, an online literary magazine.

Posted by dwaber at 12:44 PM

June 25, 2007




If you are reading this


it is due to an error,


an oversight, or some otherwise


unprecedented act on the part


of the Management.

blame it on the Moon

Do not be alarmed if


you hear a voice you are not accustomed to,


or if mention is made of subjects

embarrassing nipples

out of your ordinary purview,

“those stubborn bloodstains”

or if unfamiliar territory is mapped


intricately and with candor.

that Moon, she brings—

Comfort yourself with the fact that

if not blood, then at least—

you will soon be returned


to your regularly scheduled programming,

“sorry, sorry, sorry”

with the requisite words from Our Sponsor.



Unless, of course, you prefer


To follow me away to the roof

hair curled to frame the face

to watch the white disk turn two-thirds

Lillian Gish on film, 1915

mottled sepia, then charcoal, then black,


then shyly bare her sharp white face entire.



—Amy Lemmon


previously published in Prairie Schooner

Posted by dwaber at 11:44 AM

June 24, 2007

The Piece That May Have Tried To Provide An Explanation

Filled with, and characterized by, the difficulties that plague all writing and especially poetry and considering also an observation made about a lack of butterflies.

          for Mireille Juchau

          Some things begin with a dream. These are nice – the torn out heart wearing the paper napkin as a hat; truly understanding the relationship not had by the barn and the picture of the barn1; swimming above the sea in a stage of mitosis, out-flung chromosomes moving towards the poles in one enormous embrace.

          As a method, not one expostulated but one in busy-ness, I have decided not to be aware that what I am writing is poetry. Of course, it’s useless – things which are often not dangerous and sometimes are – and dangerous to persist with this thought-action when not writing. One must be prepared to live unprepared. Further, to prepare everything for that which can abide no preparation.

          I see a mudpuddle. I see mudpies. It’s all too unclear and messy for allegory. Symbols can sometimes get in the way of other symbols and life has refused its familiarity to the living. Bought a lamp and write by lamp-light. I do this for none of the wrong reasons. I simply write differently beneath the softness of a moon-sun.

          It was said of Bruno Tant that ‘[he] designed fantastic buildings for imprecisely formulated purposes.’ My poems are invisible sleeping dwellings on the maps of these towns where Tant’s architecture migrates towards the imagination. Perhaps Poe stands in the square taking snap-shots. The poems are not as useful as ribs but like them do protect life and when removed from the body grow certain murmurings of the mind.

          Susurrant. Should we consider it the work of many rather than the work of one? Libratory. Poised between islands only occupied by each of us once and alone, I consider this token space – plants, animals, stories about them beginning with the last sentence of the previous tale, but used to head in a different direction. A tree moving position. Seahorse becoming seashore. Little poems, in the form of voices, knocking on the door of the neverending house.

          What is the main danger with deciding to do this? To write a little piece and make no claims with it yet still believe in its justification? Is it that tears and chuckles bearing signatures – not names, but the unmistakable marks of a singularity – cannot be cried and laughed again by others? Or never enough others? May I answer: the voice has this special nature, that it can speak to, and of, itself. So listen...

          A friend of mine, herself a writer, tells me that there are no butterflies in her life anymore. I was delighted today, when in a restless moment, two white ones with wings edged in black (as if outlined by the drawing hand of a child god) chased each other in circles fluttering the tree opposite my balcony. But I cannot take her butterflies – they are the kind of thing which loses what you want from them when taken.

          You cannot hide stupidity in poems yet all poems contain stupidity, as well as the intelligence they seek. They must be the poorest of the poor living by a full sea in which to fish; they must be where they are originally from in every place.

          Other things begin in the mind awake. These, also, are for travelling with. And though we may stop to ask, How candid can we be with ourselves, truly?, there is nothing here by which to be overwhelmed. To be afraid of life, is to be afraid of poetry; hearts bleed, with or without the humour; ready to grow, the plot itself, like the stem of a young tree.

          There is the impossibility of finishing – what must be finished and in general. Clouds sink like stones some days and others they seem as light as the ghost in my chest. My heart is not on this cover but within the pages of this book, a book which contains a missing growl.


          1. Representation differs not only in reality but removes the representation of the thing from its own representation. The barn you see from another direction is the same size as the barn you see from the other direction. The picture of the barn is a different size from every direction and the barn that is always the same size is not there. (This perhaps makes sense only as dream.) Why dream of a barn?

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 04:55 PM

June 23, 2007


          accompanied by poetry

If your poem sinks
It is because paradox has already disembarked
Once I spent a whole day doing absolutely nothing
This caused death and disaster to ensue
This poem is a desire for survival
Therefore I am without evolution
I lack the understanding for this
And so should you
We float by virtue of being vessels
Our design more important than what we carry
So it should make no difference if paradox gets off
All the same the poem sinks

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 04:48 PM

June 22, 2007

Their Reins

     for A.F.C.

‘I try the hearts of men, and their reins, and give to every one according to his conduct, and according to his device.’
                              AElfric, Died circa AD 1025

Philosophy, a publisher told me, is five dots – the first white and the next four black. I like this, the philosopher on the bare back of the palomino heading for dark mountains. If I had a horse perhaps I wouldn’t dislike horses so much. I don’t find them sexy or particularly interesting and tend to associate them with kicking people to death. Certainly, I think they’re at their best when off somewhere with other horses and am sure they don’t reciprocate the young girl thing. Do philosophers just have too much time to think? How do you go from horse-brain to human-brain and who cares where the dots lead anyhow? Philosophers are, of course, up on the horse and lost for the lot of us. If I could bear being up-close to those monstrous eyes I’d sidle up, grab their reins and simply lead them to water. But then, what is it they say, you can’t make them drink. Not like publishers. They think horses are an angle and the booze only runs out if you think it does. One told me once, in his cups, that poetry is sneaking up on dickheads...

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 04:23 PM

June 21, 2007

‘The Mysterious Laws of Poetry’

     after José Lezama Lima

These are really quite unable.
As laws.
As they tend to shy away.
From discovery.
Mystery, you see, is not a prelude.
To anything.
Makes no difference.
If the facts are established.
And poetry.
A deliberate act become random.
If you understand it.
You didn’t.
Its mysterious laws preclude.
Anything but.

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 04:19 PM

June 20, 2007

The Desire Project

     Arouse in the poem the parting that opens between the lip that is writers who are always people who do not believe and the lip that is writers who to write must believe and the space is dark. Have you ever gone looking for black in black? Have you never tried separating white from white? Worth having or wishing for, we think, are the things which tilt our brain in that direction, we think, unsatisfied.

     Introducing a gloss:

     Between your thighs is the warmest place I know but I can’t fit my life there. And by what they call pure chance two stars fall and the shape of the poetry is wholly changed. This I found one day when misreading Shikibu – kissing across centuries, you can miss the mouth.

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 04:01 PM

June 19, 2007

Practising Death

“...and the curious way we
write what we think...yet
very faintly;”

               Walt Whitman

I write into this space of mine
Unanswered by all ever written

Poems to be occupied
As if they are uncomfortable rooms

Each brief love curled up
As if to resist the world’s cold

These are the things
Upon which I practise death:

The man eating a flower with his nose
First the flavour and then

The cylinder of colour it fell through
To become the sky

Or the other playing thoughts
With the minds of craters on the moon

Holding out to me his bleeding hands cut
From falling onto stars...

And in the end there is no picture
Turned towards the universe

No foetus that grows to a true portrait
Outside the singular womb

It may be that emotion rewards me
And motives are irresistible

But with each greyly-drawn ghost of words
I know more certainly

I do not have the time
To transform my life into a vision

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 03:57 PM

June 18, 2007


All the words in the world don’t explain laughter or tears. I am not a fine observer but wearing the skin of a lens and gripped by what is before me. It appears magnified as if closed in upon when this is the world and its counterparts, its precursors and unimaginable others spreading out across a plain that runs from vision. Indeed, any sense. Try feeling the contours of the names we give to ambition or betrayal, to obedience and devotion. On your tongue they are as if the body; in the air they stretch to unbecoming. But nonexistence dressed. And this is all we say, that moving from not knowing ourselves to the story, we wrap what can never be full or empty, what is neither here nor there, what has no level, in content. The gift is on the outside. This is not to say that life as flesh and breath is a matter of style and that living it in a certain way, substance, but maybe that words measure for us the measure of us and as well the distance from everything to nothing by taking as their mark something in between.

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 03:40 PM

June 17, 2007

Shattering All Writing Pens
     after Rumi

Don't write!
It makes your toes go soft!

Don't write!
You will be eaten by snails!

Don't write!
You will hear voices
and be pursued by every contamination
and lack!

Can you come to the bed
and do things
that can only be done
with flesh?

Put your cool hands here!

Please don't remember my words!

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at 03:36 PM

June 16, 2007


When asked the breath of those words poetry escorts, still you show slumbers, graven image, as though Anacreon's your oblivion, and these silences come from no other courier's hand.

—Jeff Harrison

Posted by dwaber at 03:23 PM

June 15, 2007

The Day The Laurel Hid Twice

soil reads what you speak
soil through lace is dew
soil's a simple word to be able
to lure grass along a long wind
when you walk under the moon
the soil is your foot's mirror, that
came out wrong but you know
what I mean, while you gather up
dollars the soil sleeps in, side by side
with the poor dead scientists, soil's
furrow has as much in it as the grass
has on it, even thru the slime the
letters "S" - "O" - "I" - "L" still clang
together, ring dry and crisp, I mean

—Jeff Harrison

Posted by dwaber at 03:22 PM

June 14, 2007

Verses that softer spring from their cottony chapter

spring, verse,
your tune's
train borne
by no retinue --

were your
echoes to
rest, your
face yards
dark, what
darker night
could Jove

unless diminishment, why,
echoes were copies ever

and unless diminishment,
echoes were mimicry ever

(& the
rest of
that in-
of hominal
& else)

(tales of satyrs,
centaurs, sphinx,
mermaids & such
in verse, portraiture
out the poets' throats
racing verse's echo
with speech's echo)

put the brakes
periodical, until
this dawdle is
drawn to millennia)
on undiminished
in ladies &
gents, but
the birds
& beasts,
in song
to throat,

did they
to circ-

—Jeff Harrison

Posted by dwaber at 03:20 PM

June 13, 2007

l e   p o è m e   a f f l i g é




Let me tell you some of what I have seen. Amid the languages I speak, and those I keep concealed. Things I have touched with my hands and those that have eluded me.


Through a window in an old wooden door the sky breaks at dusk. What remains is a dark stain where none was. And my inability to recall the shape of things before.


There is a telephone with a cut cord and a dog lying heavily against the wall. It is or is not cold.




I walk from one end of a room to another.


I walk from one end of a garden to another.




What remains after seeing is a short burst of colour, gone.






After suggests something other. Other than what is before me. This letter, your name.


Language that is conciliatory rebukes the body. I am offended by the nature of words and their ability to dissuade. Often I am most offended by the words of your language. The language in which I write. The language that sets my body against itself. And dismantles the present.




In your language, there is illusion, but there is no hope.


In hope, there is illusion.


And in illusion, there is the stuff of language.





I have acquired a viola that in time I will learn to play. Do you still listen to Górecki? I have also acquired the score to ‘Already It Is Dusk.’ In it, Górecki notes: ‘The viola is always ‘en dehors’, but not too much.’ Do you know what this means? I believe it to mean that the viola for Górecki is much as some poets intend language to be. The viola is always underneath the music. Underneath is the suggestion of itself. It is outside. In another language I would say: Désincarné. But I would not say: Disembodied.





Affliction is a capital word. Affliction is the blood of poetry.


Don’t misunderstand me. Through the window in the door, I see the afflicted sky. It is afflicted because it is out of reach. For a poet, this too might be the nature of language. And it might also be the nature of the poet, in relation to others. For the poet must make language into two things simultaneously: sobriety and passion. Does not Buber do the same through Walter Kaufmann?


‘And to gain freedom from the belief in unfreedom is to gain freedom.’




Where is the poet who will return language to the body?


Where is the body that is prepared to receive language?




I am sending you plays by Koltès. I think that you will know what I mean.






—Nathalie Stephens


from Touch to Affliction, Toronto, Coach House Books, 2006.


Posted by dwaber at 03:11 PM

June 12, 2007

from The Sorrow And The Fast Of It, forthcoming from Nightboat Books, 2007


It is possible to write one’s day through letters, a letter.


Here in this city the letters are many and the days are many. The city that was to be every possible thing that came before. I admit I exalted it. Now there is the broken glass river and our cut up feet. Now there is a horizon of hydro lines. And bridges. From a distance they might be beautiful. But underfoot... There is a small island of herons. And just beyond the beginning hunting ground. Gunshots. The dogs madden. City dogs. Their hearts furling. And me? What does it matter? I bark along with them.


I was looking for something to soften living. The collapse of it. The reach of it. It was a coldest winter. The river was not wistful as I had imagined it. Intempestif was the word I used. Wind billowing the rapids even whiter. Magesterial. I could live here I thought. Hook my eyes into frozen rock. What was I thinking? It is six months and already I am leaving. Eugène said une ville en vrac. He was right. What I first saw was monumental. A saillie of gorgeous concrete. Stairs spiralling. Turrets. A rue piétonne. Pigeons shitting on cobbled walks. A joie de vivre? It is best not to dream too much. The dogs began coughing. I laid down on the ground. Just to see. The police man moved me along.


Here there is one poem and the poets keep writing it.




This excerpt appeared previously on Drunken Boat



—Nathalie Stephens

from The Sorrow And The Fast Of It, forthcoming from Nightboat Books, 2007.


Posted by dwaber at 02:54 PM

June 11, 2007


Books don’t show the way but insist on remaining. So how to leave the book and enter directly into the body ? We are jealous of one another’s bodies yet we each have one. I would undress my tongue and dip it willingly into ice cold water would invite you to meet me where the body becomes transparent where lucidity is a function of the flesh where nothing is for sale and everything is given away. I would invent rude words for your mouth show you the true colour of blood. Love in the raw is life renewed. But of this write nothing down not a thing. Be wary of the heat that emanates from the unwritten page. Everything remains to be said so long as we have said nothing. Most importantly do not fear dirtying yourself. Love washes the body clean of perfection.

—Nathalie Stephens
from Je Nathanaël, Toronto, BookThug, 2006
(also exists in French as Je Nathanaël, Montréal, L’Hexagone, 2003)

Posted by dwaber at 02:46 PM

June 10, 2007


Like the bleached fibers and their haunted ink,
interpenetrate each others’ solitudes,

not penetrating, not dissolving; stay
rolled with the single patterns of the days,

linking through pages to burn with speaking lace
and thread to bodies, evenly alive.

—Annie Finch
from CALENDARS (Tupelo Press, 2003)

Posted by dwaber at 02:32 PM

June 09, 2007

Ars Poetica

In the mouth of the monster
Under the wood of its heart
Lighting this rock
We'll place a flame under the soup
Before ice forms on our eyes
We pledge to tell it
Oh live it first, but when
The hurlyburly's done, we'll have sight
Leading to insight and then messages,
Mysteries, the use of melody if we're careful, patterns
Will pervade
One ring on each our toes won over time, hold them up to the light
Look at those sensors lifting and dangling and showing what followed
The courage, the speech tidying it up.

—Grace Cavalieri

Posted by dwaber at 02:23 PM

June 08, 2007

Lilly’s Planetarium

I look up to a festooning of obsolete cartoon characters trailing their tag-lines, shimmying out of costumes while their colours are unpicked to make them suitable for all receivers. They run rings around their loveliness; striking vogues before breakaway clusters, their reasons no longer commercial. Why does this one wear her skirt so short when the light-lag is only 40 years, not the stipulated 186,000 (and that was all a misunderstanding)? She burst before the next feature: a white healed scar tissue, long and beautiful and grey as a horse jumping a bar, scattering glass like the slow explosion of surprise fennel. I am waiting for the next thing to be good.

But it goes very dark and I look down at the sound of my feet shuffling cough-marks in the carpet.

Then the lights. And looking across I see Lilly, her eyes settling rainbows for twins: expensive marbles fired impossibly and simultaneously from something double-barrelled, like the most elegant surname from an old Catholic family. Flecks impersonating minstrels tinkering with platelets throw nickels to Irony, who is inflated with pride and is thanked for fucking off.

When the show is over there is nowhere else to look and my internal piano reels jangle – cold silver-plated against hot – a feeling of removing elastoplast slowly and being free soon to visit Lilly and her planetarium again.

—Nathan Thompson

Posted by dwaber at 02:20 PM

June 07, 2007

laws of attraction


the day you stole that harmonica

was the first day of the rest of my life


                                                                      I wish

I could understand the colours you blow

that wave on the frequency of night-lilies

collating what they dredge

                         sweetening the philistine edges

of your dimly lit ornamental music


I expect the frogs will be at it for some time

winking like ellipses in brilliant prose


arguing an eloquent case

                                              for misplacing adjectives knowingly      sequentially


smudging the corners of our real riverside sheets


—Nathan Thompson


Posted by dwaber at 02:16 PM

June 06, 2007

To a Modern Poet

With shards of words as dissonant as truck
Gears grinding, you assert you cannot live
Without Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Bach,
And other courtly music. Yet you give
The bird to courtly verse. When you see rhymes
And meters, you’re affronted by the thought
Of this assault on modern art and times.
Sonatas you esteem, but sonnets not.
So why should avant-garde posterity
Reward your cursed contrariness of rage?
To cure your foolish inconsistency,
We must replace your music with John Cage,
Carl Ruggles, Milton Babbitt, and George Crumb.
May you absorb their clinkers till you’re numb.

—Miles David Moore
this poem previously appeared in a recent issue of Light

Posted by dwaber at 11:07 AM

June 05, 2007

Poetry and Music

He hoists ungrateful bricks up decorative ladders
too dainty for the weight.
Over millennia, his fathers and mothers
molded bricks into arabesques,
Grecian statues, free-form improvisations.
He knows the rules, those tacky globs
of mortar, but the secret of melting bricks
is something no one can teach or learn.
He looks at his hands. He looks at the bricks.
Dull red, unpliable, they look
defiantly like what they mean.

She tries to dam the stream using only her hands.
Over millennia, her fathers and mothers
solidified water between their fingers,
built palaces, cathedrals, pyramids.
Their secret can’t be taught or learned.
Their rules are crows on telephone wires,
scattering at their own discord.
She could wait for winter, but ice
is slippery, dissolving at first sun.
She looks at her hands. She looks at the water
bathing her hands, the stream-bed pebbles
in dull mosaic, the cloisonned fish
eluding her grasp. The ceaseless
water-sound and crows’ caws mingle,

They toil side by side,
too busy to notice each other
till he drops a brick in the stream.
She looks up. He looks down.
His eyes trace arabesques.
Her eyes build cathedrals.
The brick bends. The water stops.
From somewhere, a faint sound mimics birdsong.

—Miles David Moore
"Poetry and Music" is in the current issue of the online magazine Innisfree
Poetry Journal

Posted by dwaber at 11:21 AM

June 04, 2007

Ars Poetica

It will make no difference.
But you’ll find you can’t speak without love
although it’s an imprisonment.
Your voice must be love wrestled to unloving,
the lyre at the moment of catastrophe, a silence
within which another voice opens.

You’ll speak as you must, as always,
although you’ll never know why you’re listening
through the elisions of your stuttering heart.
You’ll long to finish, although nothing has happened,
although you haven’t begun, as if your mere being
hurt you with abundance. No one will explain.

There are wounds that blind you, sudden voices
splitting into winter, toothed windows, terrors
sifting through white slumbers of corruption,
the wraith that greets you with your shrinking face
at dawn, anonymous and violent,
waiting for Virgil.

Because you have tasted your salt in the blood
of another’s mouth, because a small flower
is eating the history of stone,
because you are asleep and all possibility
tilts on the edge of your vision, because you are nameless
and are called, because you know nothing -

a possible music
lifts through the panic of dismay -
it’s the blue of all the flowers of your body,
the brain stem, the clitoris, the tongue,
the wrist vein, the channels of the heart, the dying lips,
reaching to their likeness in the sky, in the sky’s waters -
you can’t lift it out of your flesh
because it won’t exist, but it flowers past you.
It opens the places you’ve always been,
house, fire, glass, bed, water,
tree, night,
the child’s glance which strews your transparencies
across a field of colours you have no name for,
the profane ash of touch
darkening your tongue, the dream of imperishable silver
which wakes to another dream, a boat departing
from an unmapped shore, and your crumbling words, unable
to hold even one drop of light.

—Alison Croggon

Posted by dwaber at 11:58 AM

June 03, 2007


Then, take this tambourine
inside the sheep barn,

listen to the anaconda's intestines,
the shark's walking stick,

learn the river insect's secret
neon calligraphy,

swim through Frida Khalo's hair
and come out smelling like orchids,

lift your appetite
towards the certified blue turtle,

feast on Garcia Lorca's leather shoes
and taste the sun, the worms of Andalusia,

don't hesitate in front of a donut,
a ferris wheel, the crab nebula,

excavate diamond-eyed demons,
Chaucer's liver, Minoan helmets,

paste Anne Sexton's face on a $1,000 bill
and purchase a dozen metaphors,

beware of the absolute scorpion,
the iguana with the limping leg,

permit indwelling, white words around the eyes,
the confrontation of windows,

never feed your towel to the alligator,
he will eat you and eat you and eat you.

—Nick Carbo

Posted by dwaber at 03:52 PM

June 02, 2007


Slimy slithering censors are more profane and dirty
     than the “S-H-I-T!” they cut from works of Poetry!
They never run out of work;
     they label more evil whenever they need income,
     they “define” the standards that justify their labor,
     they can, they will, they do contradict themselves at will or opportunity.
And who censors the censors?

Like Batman’s signal projected against Gothom’s cloudy sky,
     censors paint crosses in the night!
They organize Witch hunts to catch the selected sin de jure...
     tonight: wanton serving wenches!
     tomorrow: topless entertainment!
     next week all politics other than their own!
Where most of us find ordinary life
     they find vast raging reservoirs of vintage sin...
     they pray for obvious signs, but use tinted glasses for ratification.
     they are blind to the boulder in their eye, but stumble over our gravel.

But we scribblers... those who mainline Poetry... we are junkies!
We like it! It’s the monkey on back side of our mind!
We write witch doctor prescriptions in exchange for a little free love,
We are Pimps getting laid in meter.
We Pantoum, and Haiku, and, Villanelle.
We flaunt our thread bare Caesura.
We drip Sonnets at the mention of Love.
We shout out in strange public places, main line in Coffee dives,
     compose on napkins at parties, and sometimes. . .
     we leave Limericks on pristine private walls. . . without permission!

There are even reports of onomatopoeia in the presence of children!
But, we pay our dues, there is always a fee for free verse!
If it sells there is a tax, and when we fail at market, we still pay the muse.

Shoot it up, drink it down, inhale, blow it out, suck it in, give it away!
Poets have secret knowledge and weapons of black type!
Thankfully, freedom is still addictive, and love is never dirty!
Remember! Critics and Censors get here the same way we did. . .
     life’s first poem was sharp smack on our wet bare butts;
    that first wail was an angry poem of protest, and. . .
     when death comes, protest is still the proper response!

Know this: Poetry records, sorts, catalogs, and explains. . .
     far better than History!

—Jim Lyle

Posted by dwaber at 01:18 PM

June 01, 2007


Poetry is where love goes
when no one wants it.

Poetry sings about plowing,
or smoothing,
or planting
or harvesting;
seldom sings about
“leaving be.”

That happens with out request
or song.

Poetry is remembering yesterday.
Poetry is dreaming tomorrow,
Poetry is complaining,
and cheering,
and cussing,
and poetry is about what should be done,
and when,
and where,
and why no one is…
or does.

never calls for poetry
is past when.

People know something is missing;
they wonder where love went;
They don’t understand:

Poetry is much like air.

You can’t breath out
without first breathing in.

—Jim Lyle

Posted by dwaber at 11:02 AM