March 31, 2008


                        equinox of withins
                              absconded and
held as thought, delineated
               crossed out, brought back to the surface with the energetic
              gasp of a buoy
             in the iridescence of
                                what is entire-like scales

                                                        on the saline nothingness
things, chiming away, mistaken for the sounds of nature: dare you- instruct
chronology, old
that is your chest, the city built upon it, say something
              lung machine
anything that will fizzle this empire
                                                                   the nonsensical wood and brick

       the mortar that divides like paper, petals torn from the orchid-rings
                   from the dead
                                      do something,  history, old tree, fast axis
                                                                          where you hang your head

—Sandra Simonds

Posted by dwaber at 01:43 PM

March 28, 2008

The Moth on my Chest




                        rises                  as motif    as Oath or Oar


the aeronautics    of                 sour/ce, Circes


                        if]   if]   if]             then blas

                                                              pheme as in



            a passionless boat                           fruit that knows no


better than crest

red bird feather

plate tectonics …


                                                 the anemone’s blue arm wand waves


au revoir, slow as                 


                        cellulose streams ribbons

                                                            across the moon




                                    and I wanted to be called


            urge       or    actor

                        or at most        the page    not the Carbon Yell



                        like every light

                                                             always dims


                        infinitesimal decimal

                                    case in point


            the pen is a muscle                    with its inconsistent Must



—Sandra Simonds

Posted by dwaber at 02:46 PM

March 27, 2008

Weird Wind Inside Words

taking chances with sunlight
activity mostly songs
day & night yesterday
full of the meaning outside
will listen no longer
begin to pray is
wind a question
an ill heed
cars of oblivion
a world of smiling attentive luck
for a few seconds
nightmare beyond a single human face
barest sensation
i wish thusly for
such gratuity
vast purity blizzard of gaps

in those times when loud winds call
holy men come along a path of banality
more secret she waits
appetites more keen
to seize upon a radio
so she sent silence
not a thought
what it is
what it was
what questions these are
that inform charity
pay attention to dust
in silence & solitude
as a past wind learns to walk

in my secret life human
night has begun a world of poetry &
trance i sat &
bitter sang where two words tell
whirl & prance before sad
hence the exigency
bare breath message
everything is destroyed &
nothing flowers
into real life
a mist a light an image
rise when loud winds call
soft whispering did say be good to me
a world effaced with an excess of words

the wind a question of ruins
hypnagogic ally
distant & sufficient noise
a task & a work
thought representing nothing
movement of restlessly turning this way & that
ruined heart of junk all dead with words
what can i ask the wind
faint untroubled sky enough as coincidence
fortuitous presence that plays
nothing completely realized
devious sense ellipses
bends like rain
a cardboard light lay down in the street

distortion of craft
with a patient eye o
morse code come desire me
so that remembered stories
& the little
sweet virtue answer not
take from silence i don’t know
words that said
could feel
distinctly different
science poetry & thought
long windy maze
my girl’s pleasure
yellow rags where being is effaced

words a function of listening within silence
such quotidian confusion
familiar in the guise of the astonishing
& it holds me in
active voice borne on winds
call me crazy meaning ‘noblesse oblige’
nameless little thing listen
something lights up a flash on a path of
an unforeseeable manner
arises a sudden clarity
a somethingness here & nothingness there of
an austere & simple account
apparently laughable inconsequential
neither one nor the other
until the end

o wind practical exponential say
there is nothing
i surrendered long ago
heterogeneity of phenomena at radical distance
scraps of typewritten
words & phrases
the street is not ostentatious
i write in the glow of
pages of a
world of possible
encased in
an endless murmur of memory & dream
a sound has my ears singing
perpetual alibi of an ambiguous existence
words listen inside
a single light bulb

count among the whispers
my neat little volume
describe through negation
here except silence
where made of what structure
discombobulated fabric
awake at dawn’s sideshow
i hear a new star’s register
equivocal dissimulation
hazard suspends nuance
not of my creation
barely encounter thought
incessantly reconstituting itself beyond
words on a secret blackboard
new means of communicating with unknown plurality
hot machines are broken
we left poetry behind
from lifetime to lifetime
less eloquent than
strange light given off by bottles

our graces who may call to mind when
it was magic that had the honor of my ruins
oh i’ve tried everything
italics taking dictation
all nights are white
alone in the world
i may be a fool to use it but i
can produce
murmurs of distress a distant sound
on some radio station
the wind is saying
‘ tough charm of a sky without memory ‘

this dream of art nothing but loony fantasy
ask the rain
in many looks the false heart’s history is writ
period of despair
misses the everyday
& i thought how
silence plays indestructible
otherness in your head
perpetual affirmation & dissidence
& they fled
reprobates caught in a process of ruin
inexhaustible murmur
flare riot true
collapse endlessly familiar
into all that understand nothing

a philosophy of ambiguity
come desire me night
in the glow of a single
sound invented by the imaginary
context rather than beloved sake
silly promises of beauty
eternally regenerative scenario
so serene at night
perhaps more gladly long beckon
perpetual alibi of an ambiguous existence
a bad prayer over loud
disinterested play of thought
but i remember diction order with
total blue sky overhead
which can adorn & bless with exceeding loveliness

free of the itinerary it calls forth
hermits continue to be messages
of which number
the discreet which heeds tumbling away
light of sunny rain
whispers hungrily
on roads of sand
suppose that’s true
as i lay asleep
back in town
a manic rattle through the streets
loosens a bandage in the wind
terrible & now you have heard
writing open to the unexpected

golly there goes my sanity
false dawn all dead with words
before the trip began
reluctant prediction for an invisible childhood
to walk in the
blue discombobulated
symmetrical through space
an anarchy of light & shadow
translation modifies everything to
the temperature of glass
potential is naturally neglected if not expedited by
works in progress
listen for bare ruined heart
heaven & earth in dark trousers

language remains unexplained because there’s nobody
striding fast with lightning
echoes surround points of difference
poetry & thought curse it not
desire cannot realize itself as desire
beautiful for being the more easily erased
ballad’s memory hoping to
come back around & eclipse their
flash like sphere less stars
space that is moving through
annulled irreciprocity

exponential not quite
incessant coming & going of words
there came a voice
search for immediate distraction from this maddening fever
magnificent humility
ghost from the future
harmonica hum
stops itself
a space of difference
junk at a celestial pace
chinese calligraphy on the side
waves blindly from the painting of the whole sky

—Mickey O'Connor

Posted by dwaber at 02:12 PM

March 26, 2008

Medicine Tree

A disbeliever down to the bone,
he kneels before the stunted tree
alone in the feverish desert

called sleep. Various offerings—
wells of ink, plaster statuettes,
pages yellowed by time and heat—

from those who, like him,
once hoped to be forgiven or healed
lie scattered around. No doubt

he desires the persimmon
seeds, some kind of constellation
to give mercy, mercy enough.

Such windfallen fruit.
Such impossible sweetness.
Nothing here, says coyote.

Don’t listen, says man. Believe.
When enough is spent, the sainted
tree seems to creak, seems to whisper,

on words reverently pronounced
as ritualistic appeasements,
only then will the buffalo’s head

propped here in the highest fork
listen and reply. A spoonful of maggots
swims in each ear and the slack mouth.

The man snatches lines from the wind,
uproots them along with the pale grass
and swallows alkali. Nothing.

He praises the wind’s countless
moods, that grass for its democracy.
Nothing at all. He strikes flint

for illumination and misses the mark,
drawing blood. One eye in the head opens
halfway. The wound is not enough.

Tonight the first poem will happen.

—Allen Braden
previously published in Poetry Northwest

Posted by dwaber at 12:38 PM

March 25, 2008


The story reinvents itself
each night around the campfire.
Once in Ireland, for example,
upon a time some terrible storm
left a horse high up in a tree

or if someone lives by the sea,
then a seal. In the highlands,
a goat stands in, regardless
of what each has in common:
always a figure which has lost

its position in the appropriate world,
erased by chance or embellishment.
And when the wind blows through
the treetops, a baby and cradle will fall
out of one version and into another.

This tree could burst into flames
at any moment or be felled by an ax
wishing to carve more of its kind.
The story, though, goes on and on,
unafraid, untouched but changed.

—Allen Braden
previously published in The Bellingham Review

Posted by dwaber at 01:55 PM

March 24, 2008

Setting Out

I set out, not for Byzantium, those lingering cartographies of bygone lives,
the lyric ruin of cities, the icons and burnt calligraphies of bygone lives.

I set out for New World opportunity, aerobic energy, fruit-flavored coffees,
perfected trilogies, imperfect in the piecemeal biographies of bygone lives.

I set out for those highways veering off byways, deer on patches of grass,
new News with a seductive prize, hard to imagine in the mysteries of bygone lives.

I set out for happiness, the flesh in love, couldn’t get enough. Raw gifts
in silk, lipsticks, the one-way tickets, had me craving the bodies of bygone lives.

I set out for the city, lost my wallet, passport, VISA, any evidence of my name,
backtracked, discovered that I lacked tact, hard facts, the histories of bygone lives.

I set out without a map, just stories, like this one, that Byzantium was holy, the sages
artful, drunk as the goldsmiths in love with the glories of bygone lives.

But here, far from any ancient place, here where we refuse to age and I buy scented
products for my face, my name is cut short despite the memories of bygone lives.

—Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Posted by dwaber at 01:39 PM

March 23, 2008


She uses the apartment keys
to let herself in from the neighbors.
I am unnerved, maybe from drinking.
I know it will take all
the last of my strength to get through
the bath hour, reading Babar,
the talk of hair, how and if we will braid it,
tomorrow’s homework review—
I am really in a poem I say, cutting
lines together, images, this poem
I am always aiming at, pulling the sheet over
the day’s trial, pulling browned buds
from the night flower (didn’t give it enough
water this winter – it might not bloom
this spring). Brushing out
my daughter’s fine hair over her
wide forehead, caressing it, I put
another story together; she says
in eight-year-old-directness, “You threw him out
didn’t you?” This is the moment
I gather the lines, the poem, the raw
tendrils, watered or not, snapped in urgency
(the night flower has such a pungent smell).
“He wasn’t with me anymore sweetie,
he slept on the couch in the living room,
that’s not being together.” She weighs this,
the poem, in fragments, may never get written.
We are managing this – I am calm, I am on
other territory, a kitchen of plenty,
school problems solved, pencils sharpened,
the lesson memorized. “Did I do it right?”
she asks of the math review, I am calculating the lesson—
Motherhood, this sudden test. Unprepared,
untutored I am telling her the grade isn’t important,
it’s what you learn, what you can take with you.

—Adrianne Kalfopoulou
from Wild Greens

Posted by dwaber at 12:29 PM

An Ars Poetica

The Hooded Warbler

I can't fix on
the song diffracted by leaves,

the nervous, the ambitious,
green leaves of the forest, only interested

in the entirety
of space.
              The song in flight

washes the compass
while the song
                      at rest
                    on a branch

builds a top hat
into which

one might throw a little money
if one could.
                I see the source

in my mind, but that's not enough‑‑
for color's my god,

and the color of song is always a bird
at rest or in flight.

The leaves of nesting time
work me too hard,

but how can one be disappointed
when mystery wins, the bird unseen,
and spirit fills

so much brilliant space
—all that frustration—to consider.

—Tim Houghton

Posted by dwaber at 02:16 AM

March 21, 2008

In the Province of Fire

                    (James Hampton, sculptor, 1909-1964)
                    The Throne of the Third Heaven

What Christ would sit on this throne
of radiant, alarming tinfoil,
turrets and wings, butterflies of cardboard?
What god would speak from this pulpit
intoning the words of Moses and the prophets
announcing them from crooked tablets
covered in scripts of unknown meaning?
Who would decipher these urgent messages?

A janitor of the discarded,
a prophet of the lonely—
who stayed in his garage through the night
and lettered, on a makeshift platform
cardboard tablets bearing
The New Testament, the Old Testament,
the history of the Millennium.
He drew and painted, nailed crowns
of purple art paper to the throne’s back,
one for the east wind, one for the west,
God’s wind blowing through all that’s forlorn

even to this cold and simple rented garage
on N Street where the seat of the Great One
waits, empty. The janitor’s monument
spread, its great shining balls of crumpled
aluminum covering castoff tables,
exploding into crowns and snowflakes.

While revelations expanded in his head,
he, most faithful of servants, God’s carpenter,
shaped wings and raised swords
into a glory of lightning bolts,
apocalypse of wood and paper.

The poor will stand in his first circle,
luminous, when God takes his seat
on the tinfoil throne among rays
of foil-covered light bulbs.
He will lift a paper crown
from the dusty floor to a place
on the head of one who has labored
in dim light with glue and straight pins
and has not been afraid.

—Geraldine Connolly
from her book Province of Fire , Iris Press, 1990

Posted by dwaber at 02:12 PM

March 20, 2008

Ars Poetica

Fiction is a bungalow --
preferably camouflaged,
with a high wit wind whistling through.
There is something in the attic
and someone about to ring the bell.

But a poem
          a poem,
                    it is a cathedral.
Still air
                    the vaults;
and all the little angels
          looking down.

          Between boughs, between even
          the teeth of pine cones, or seaming
          the backs of new blades, poems
          are in the name Forget-Me-Not, in the Sioux
          meaning "singing river" or the French
          for "silent mountain." They are the knowledge
          of a bird, its name, and journey,

While Fiction verbs from noun to noun
conflict crashing into crisis
determined to make good time, Poetry's
got its thumb out, its eyes upon the sky.

—Tracy Koretsky

Posted by dwaber at 03:44 PM

March 19, 2008



Someone has observed that a pig resembles a saint in
that he is more honored after death than during his
lifetime. Speaking further of his social standing, we
have noticed that, when smoked, he is allowed to
appear at quite fashionable functions; but that only
one’s best friends will confess more than a bowing
acquaintance with pork and sauerkraut or pickled
pigs’ feet.

        The Joy of Cooking


One morning language thought me. I collected its thoughts over breakfast and sorted them into loose characters. Were they friends? I copied their words. God helps those who help themselves one said. Did I hear that right? Did I cross it out carefully? Is self-help the opposite of self-reliance?


Jacques Lacan liked to think of psychosis as when you don’t quite understand the language you’re speaking.Did I mean other people? I said language. Others thought about me in different ways than I thought about myself. They pointed out what was written on my face. I tried to be coherent, but met versions of me that had been invented by others. Because he doesn’t know who he is, the Tao Te Ching tells us, people recognize themselves in him. They were my teachers. They taught me what I could be. We are real and imaginary.


They followed me on the Greyhound bus to Wisconsin. Michael Taussig tells us that the power of the copy is the power to influence what it is a copy of. I studied others’ inventions of me and extracted ingredients from them. Then something about me changed.


To experiment, I need to judge what has worked and what didn’t. Taste is a good way to judge. If I don’t have taste, then I need people with taste, to taste. Is it selectivity that makes good art? Tastes tell us about desire. I like reading my tastes: they show me how I consume. They also show how others consume me. A swordsman should not have a favorite sword, Miyamoto Mushashi thought. I like to think that I have no taste.


Over time, my characters developed many interesting facts. In a room, I copy down two that are scattered throughout this book. [1] [2] To both of these, I hear my mother think of me. Food is the one thing that you must ensure is good because it gets in your body, she’d say.

[1] The last time I taught creative writing, each student had written an average of ninety-two pages over fifteen weeks, which was more than I had asked for.

[2] One of my students in prison wrote an essay that was good enough to be in the 95 percentile of all my campus students. His teacher and principal tried to use his writing to reform a section of the prison. But some view change as a threat: someone put copy of essay in his file, probably the head of security, and this essay will mark him as a troublemaker from now on. Do I want to change things for the better, even if it risks my students? I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t remember whether that I had left his writing behind where a guard or administrator might find it.


—Ray Hsu

Posted by dwaber at 01:41 PM

March 18, 2008




On the under-mothered world in crisis,

the omens agree. A Come here                        follows for reader & hero through

the named winds as spirits are

lifted through ragged colorful o's on          butterflies called fritillaries, tortoise shells &

blues till their vacation settles under

the vein of an aspen leaf                                  like a compass needle stopped in

an avalanche. The students are moving.

You look outside the classroom where      construction trucks find little troys. Dust

rises: part pagan, part looping. Try

to describe the world, you tell                    thembut what is a description?

For centuries people carried the epic

inside themselves. (Past the old weather    stripping, a breeze is making some

6th-vowel sounds yyyyyy that will side

with you on the subject of syntax               as into the word wind they

go. A flicker passes by: air

let out of a corvette tire.)                            Side stories leaked into the epic,

told by its lover, the world.

The line structure changed. Voices grew    to the right of all that.

The epic is carried into school

then to scooped-out chairs. Scratchy holes in acoustic tiles pull whwhoo~~ from

paperbacks. There's a type of thought

between trance & logic where teachers      rest & the mistake you make

when you're tired is not breathing.

The class is shuffling, something an          island drink might cure or a

citrus goddess. They were mostly raised

in tanklike SUVs called Caravan or           Quest; winds rarely visited them. Their

President says global warming doesn't exist.

Some winds seem warmer here. Seme.      Warriors are extra light, perhaps from

ponies galloping across the plains.       

Iphigenia waits for winds to start.                  

Winds stowed in goatskins were meant      to be released by wise men:

gusts & siroccos, chinooks, hamsins, whooshes,

blisses, katabatics, Santa Anas, & foehns.  Egyptian birds were thought to be

impregnated by winds. The Chinese god

of wind has a red- &-blue cap                    like a Red Sox fan. Students

dislike even thinking about Agamemnon. You

love the human species when you                 see them, even when they load

their backpacks early & check the

tiny screens imbedded in their phones.      A pony-tail holder switches with light,

beguiled. Iphigenia waits for the good.

Calphas & her father have mistaken the     forms of air: Zephyr, Boreas, Eurus

the grouchy east breeze & Notos

bringer of rains. Maybe she can                  see bones in the butterfly wings

before they invent the x-ray. Her

father could have removed the sails            and rowed to Troy. Nothing makes

sense in war, you say. Throw

away the hunger & the war's           all gone. There's a section between

between the joy & terror                   

where the sailors know they shouldn't         open the sack of winds. It

gives the gods more credit. An                 

oracle is just another nature. There's           a space between the two beeps

of the dump truck where the                    

voice can rest. Their vowels join                 the names of winds in the

acoustic tiles. A rabbit flies across             

the field with zephyr right behind.              Wind comes when warm air descends.

The imagined comes from the imagined.                                           



—Brenda Hillman


Pieces of Air in the Epic, Wesleyan U.P. 2005

Posted by dwaber at 01:35 PM

March 17, 2008

>>>>x>>>>>>>x the future x <<<<<<x<<<<



               MOTHS WALKING ALONG


After a million years, you drew a breath


Paused till it seemed more accurate

Not to


The skin between a day and a day is

Moths walking along


A pointy lurch when it works >>>> to keep

Wednesday from forever


In the same manner, the literal

Fits through any place if you turn it sideways

As they fit a cross through slatted doors


(A cross is a kiss turned sideways)


Others work in the garden

Spraying surrounding squash blossoms

Whole panamas of water


Not to be lost in the blend

Or consolidate the rose


That dread or delight


Some mixture once assured you




                         San Juan Bautista Mission, 1797



—Brenda Hillman


from Cascadia, Wesleyan Univ. Press 2001

Posted by dwaber at 03:59 PM