TINFISH Number 5 September 1997
Kathy Dee Kaleokealoha
Try Listen Ida Yoshinaga the global village Faye Kicknosway License Beth Murray she thought she was marie curie Tracy Ryan La Parure Eileen Myles Waterfall Brian Henry From the Annals of the Healing Tradition Kevin Killian The Stendhal Syndrome H.T. Prelude Mary Burger Thin Straw That I Suck Life Through David Bromige Hide the Poor Susan Gevirtz D S R - SENATOR. . . : "flipbook" Stephen Oliver Wildlife Trade Randolph Healy Foliage Chris Vitiello Throught 2 David Fox from Domestic Violence . . . A.L. Nielsen Roscoe Mitchell Tony Quagliano Benjamin Latrobe in New Orleans Todd Baron (lear)
a variation on defeat
Joe Balaz Lele Bruce Andrews from Minute Score John Mateer Polyphonism Standard Schaefer General Motors Joanne Burns market forces Rachel Loden 101 conflations John Tranter Globe Michelle Murphy Columbus Avenue Jonathan Morse Physics for Poets: A Review of True North by Stephanie Strickland
Contributors' NotesKathy Dee Kaleo Kealoha Kaloloahilani Banggo lives in Wahiawa on O'ahu, she publishes widely in Hawai'i journals and is author of the forthcoming 4-evaz, Anna, from Tinfish Network Ida Yoshinaga is a Maui girl who writes, among other things, about the persistence of racism, classism, ageism, homophobia, misogyny, and white privilege in virtual communities. She lives in a Makiki "Star Trek" coven with a raucous bird named Rizaldo and a pair of borders otaku Faye Kicknosway is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including All These Voices (Penguin) Beth Murray lives in Oakland, California and teaches art and writing in elementary schools. She has an M.F.A. in performance and photography from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She publishes poems and stories through her press, Lucinda Tracy Ryan was born in Western Australia and published her first book of poetry, Killing Delilah, in 1994. It was followed by Bluebeard in Drag (1996) and Vamp: a novel, in 1997. She now lives in the United Kingdom Eileen Myles is a poet who lives in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her new book of poems is School of Fish (Black Sparrow) Brian Henry co-edits Verse and will be in Melbourne as a Fulbright fellow this autumn Kevin Killian is author of a forthcoming biography of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan). His poem in this issue is from an ongoing project, "Argento Series," which is his attempt to navigate the human and apocalyptic dimension of the AIDS pandemic by reading the films of the Italian horror "maestro," Dario Argento H.T. co-edits 6ix and is working toward her Ph.D. at Temple University Mary Burger co-edits Proliferation from San Francisco David Bromige has lived in various places, most English-speaking, for over six decades and has published poetry and prose for four of these. Books in this decade include Harbormaster of Hong Kong (Sun & Moon), Cast of Tens (Avec), and Men, Women and Vehicles (Black Sparrow). He makes his home north of San Francisco and in cyberspace. "Hide the Poor" is part of his next book, Hi Susan Gevirtz is a widely published San Francisco poet whose books include Taken Place (Reality Street Editions, England). Her poem in this issue comes from a new piece called HOLLOWED OUT BOOK [Shipping Lines Stephen Oliver is an antipodean whose poetic concerns are global. Of the several collections of poetry published, Islands of Wilderness-A Romance (Penguin Books, Australia, 1996) is his most recent. He lives in Sydney Randolph Healy was born in 1956. He read Mathematical Sciences at Trinity College, Dublin. He teaches high school science in Dublin. His books include Twenty Five Poems, Rana Rana! and Arbor Vitae. He is the founder of Wild Honey Press, which publishes chapbooks of experimental poetry Chris Vitiello co-edits Proliferation from Durham, North Carolina David Fox has had poems in Exquisite Corpse, Processed World, Prosodia, Central Park, and Orpheus Grid. He lives in San Francisco Tony Quagliano lives in Honolulu and edits the journal Kaimana. He is a frequent contributor to Tinfish and also has recent work in Harvard Review Todd Baron is co-editor of ReMap and co-founder of Littoral Books. He is author of Outside (Avenue B), Tell (texture), and Return of the World (O Books) and is the recipient of a recent Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative Poetry from Sun & Moon Books A.L. Nielson' s works of poetry include Heat Strings, Evacuation Routes and Stepping Razor. He is author of the recent critical work on African American literature, Black Chant (Cambridge), and holds the Fletcher James Chair of Literature at Loyola Marymount University Joe Balaz is a frequent contributor to Tinfish. He lives in K'a'awa, on O'ahu, and is editor of the new journal, The Oahu Review. He writes of the poem in this issue: "E Ho'oku'u I ka Mana'o" (Free the Mind) is an expression of how one can be trapped either physically or mentally in any particular station or situation in life. Lele means "to fly." The repetitive and alternating positioning of the word creates a maze or a cubicle effect, with an allusion to being compartmentalized. At the same time the repeated word, lele, is a constant directive to break out and fly away Bruce Andrews co-founded L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E with Charles Bernstein. He is the author of numerous volumes of poetry and the recent collection of criticism, Paradise & Method: Poetics & Praxis, from Northwestern University Press John Mateer's latest book is Anachronism (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Australia). He was born in South Africa and now lives in Australia Standard Schaefer is completing an M.F.A. at the University of Southern California. His poems have appeared in Ribot, Angle, Syntactics, Texture, Disturbed Guillotine, and Volt. He received a recent Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative Poetry from Sun & Moon Joanne Burns is a Sydney writer. Her most recent book is Penelope's Knees (University of Queensland Press, 1996). She is currently assembling a new collection, Watchdog Rachel Loden 's work has appeared in New American Writing, Boulevard, American Letters & Commentary, Situation, and in the anthologies American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century and Best American Poetry 1995. She lives in Palo Alto, California John Tranter is a leading Australian poet and editor of the new journal Jacket., which can be found at http://www.jacket.zip.com.au on the worldwide web. Among his many volumes of poetry are At the Florida (1993), The Floor of Heaven (1992), and Under Berlin: New Poems-1988 Michelle Murphy lives in San Francisco. She is author of Jackknife & Light, which is forthcoming from Avec Books. Her the tongue in its shelf was published by Standing Stones Press in Minnesota. She has recent work in Orpheus Grid and Tinfish Jonathan Morse is professor of English at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. He is a frequent contributor to American Literary History and author of Word By Word: The Language of Memory (Cornell) Duncan Dempster Jr. (covers) lives in Honolulu and works at lo-fi press, a division of compress productions.
KATHY DEE KALEOKEALOHA KALOLOAHILANI BANGGO Try listen. While da res of us stay fry hamburgahs o drive truck go pick up opala- -stink ah?--some sistahs stay in wrap aroun telling any kine stuff j'like who "da people" stay, la dat. Eh, what da diff if I weah one wrap aroun fo go work luau take pitcha wit da yobos an da haoles--eh, 10 dahllas one hour--o if I weah one wrap aroun fo go rally make any kine noise? I no mo one PhD, tita, but I can tink fo myself. You know what, I get one termometer get plenny degrees--I stick em up my ass when I staht fo tink I know wassup fo somebody else. Az da kine like fo ac', ah. Az da kine tan-tah-dan. You know what my maddah an faddah wen tell me? "Eh, you tink you smaht? You tink you more superior? Whack. Das what dey wen tell me." Eh, some of us stay whoppin our jaws while da res of us stay takin slaps, you know what I mean? What? sistah, you going pay my light bill? You going feed my keeds wen I go work? You going aloha my man some kala when he come out Halawa? What? You going clean us up and dry us off da ice? You going stop my faddah from fucking my sistah? What? You going stop all us--my anties my uncles my sistahs my bebe bruddah--from drinking? Can o wat? Can handle? Going fix em? What? Eh, sistah, I get one needle in my arm right now, sistah, fix me up, hah, go. My bruddah stay sleep in A'ala Park. What? You going buy us one house in Kahala? What? You going set us up down Makua cave? Eh, sistah. My tutu from da heiau up top da Bay an if you no believe, sistah, den you can go archives look em up. Go, go look em up. An if i no like write in pidgin den i ain't an if i no like tawk in pidgin den i ain't. An if da people like call me one coconut, go right ahead. sick ah, people tell you how fo ac'? sick ah, dey meazuring your blood? how much you get? how much you no mo? how pu-wah? eh, das pure, das poor wuz Hitla, ah, wen meazah? Howz dis? Bruddah stay ask how come your name so long, la dat? An why you gotta show em all fo? like show off? You no what bruddah? What? Why, boddah you? Boddah you, no look den. eh, i tell you, i nevah go punahou. i neva go kamehameha. i neva hahdly go schoo. but i can tink fo myself. eh, wuz da words wen keep me stay heah cause us kine flip hawaiians us kine bloods ah we no mo money ony da kine poho sook sook panipani small kine big one go drink shh-moke da buds sing fo da tutu no shame an laugh up den eh, what? what? no cry go dance I said an "oh mommy, mommy I so sorry I wen whack you" nevah min', bebe I take care ah, so what my bruddah one moke? so what my my sistah one teda? my maddah stay namu an why we no can aloha each oddah? why? you like beef? go O triple C? Az why hahd, ah. But das how stay an if you no believe ah sistah ah bruddah jus go down da housing an look o else come up Wahiawa I show you take you down ohai street take you by dah freshwatah park an den mebbe if you come we believe you ah an we listen ah cuz we not da kine maka maka Hawaiians, so no make. What? You wuz da one wen wipe up my hanna-buttah? You wen pick out da maka piapia? What? You wuz deah wen da mahu wuz fucking da grunt outside my window? You wuz deah wen nevah have no peanut buttah, no bread? You wuz deah wen da kaka- roaches wuz crawling all ovah dah icebox? You wuz deah when my cousin wen down Wailua hang himself from da mango tree? You wuz deah wen dey wen sen me Koolau? You wuz dea wen dey wen take all da bruddahs from da nay-brah-hood an broke dey ass down da police station? You wuz deah o what? You wuz deah wen dey wen wheel me outside Kekela? You wuz dea? Wuz you? Funny kine, ah, but nah, I no tink so wuz you. I neva see. Try look. I still stay o heah. I nevah blow my brains. I nevah pound yours. I like but. Akua sabe. Akua sabe.
IDA YOSHINAGA the global village "There's a place where there is no race-black or white- there is no gender-male or female- there is no age-old or young. There are only people. It's called the Internet." - MCI TV ad, 1997 tappa tappa tap: deep in my night, Pacific time, and his East-Coast dawn, francisco's fingers fly on, landscaping a scene. he means to torch and moisten me: in a stony lakeside estate, i'm secured by scarlet silk handkerchiefs to a four-poster bed, my slender, nut-brown frame stretched out like a lizard's my coarse, jet-black hair spanning the sheets like an "Oriental" fan as he trails a peacock feather, iridescent, over my reddened lips, which gleam in the flicker of yellowing candles. and i don't know how to tell this miserably married middle-aged professional Catholic Italian Jersey suburbanoid who makes missiles for a living that not all Asian girls from Hawai'i are bikini'd, or thin, or tanned, or give a shit about his Suzy Wong fantasies of gently giving, all-forgiving, long-tressed, slant-eyed exotics- or wanna do anything but get off, log off, leave the sweaty keyboard, and fall into tossed dreams. i turn the fantasy: cut my bonds with a ninja's knife (which i've tucked 'neath my chinagirl dress), catch his head in a judo lock, tie him down, spit on my blade's bamboo case, prepping it to fuck his pale-as-port virgin ass- so much for eurasian romance. he hisses, you bitch, you're really sick then scurries from the chatroom like a scared gecko. well after midnight, you'll hear laughter from my room- i can't explain how sane, how strong this makes me. another cyber-eve, sir valjean pouts when i proclaim he's too youthful; i only sleep with men over thirty, even virtually. he's very mature, he whines; true, just twenty-two, but teaches marine biology at a local Arizona C.C., works toward a lit. Ph.D., sports a black belt in aikijutsu, breaks 17 bricks in one fierce swoop- geezus! where do they teach these boys to crow so? he might as well whip it out and measure it for me. how do i say day in and out i meet smartass brats of all ages in the academy, crafting long CVs puffing up like balloonfish on steam- all whipping it out, sizing, all still boys. at least he's chivalrous in a medieval sorta way; sweet lady, i'll meet thee at the grand canyon renaissance faire- he's a knight in the s.c.a.* (*the society for creative anachronism, a european middle-ages cultural revival organization) his guild will draft me a custom-sized, silver chainmail dress-- historically authentic and non-chafing besides. they'll do it in an hour flat! it'll make me look festive at the bonfire bellydance. i'm drawn like a druid to ceremony, but balk after our two-hour chat on pagan beliefs: he knows too much about anton la vey* (**author of The Satannic Bible) and aleister crowley*** (***early 20th century British warlock) recites like prayers lives of lone prodigies who ranged the backroads, palely shaping unmarked graves from mere rivers and toolsheds. now the guild seems like a coven; perhaps the fire has five points! he makes me recall another brilliant man who left me red and blue, gripped by the passionate conviction he was the vampire lestat. i'm glad you're exploring your european roots, kiddo . . . too bad they ended up in transylvania. a flick of the wrist, and my mouse evaporates the good sir too . . . if only it were so easy in reality. dick and jane have zero shame- dick poses as a motherly dyke named Dimbi who elicits girls' secret fantasies; jane recruits boys of color to their horse ranch in montana, militia-country. they're anti-government, you see, but pro-shotguns and free-love- it gives their marriage a kick. is it true what they say about latin men? jane purrs to a dominican teen. i think she's seen "la bamba" one time too many. i train thoroughbreds; wanna learn how to ride? she teases an african american lad, whispering privately to another haole girl in our virtual community, he'll do me 'cause it's every black boy's fantasy to screw a Caucasian woman. i wish the two would tell her, shut your flapping trap and scrawny trailer-park legs . . . but they're quite young and it backfires anyway- in this white space, she has them too scared to be aroused. then some time, in real time, my fair male mainland prof declares the 'net a global, post-modern village of democracy, free from race, sex, age, anomie, and other chains of society. and I continue to chuckle well into the next night, online 3/27/97
FAYE KICKNOSWAY License From a window in Chicago a woman looks out at her front yard buried in snow, and at her dog and the mynah bird, its Hawaiian shirt and yellow legs and mask, and understands that a piano, or a giraffe, would be more common in the yard's flickering light. She wonders why the dog doesn't bark, why it's so contemplative. It is Chicago, and the street light illuminates what she, staring, understands is improbable. It's the shirt, and looking closer, the cigar, that worries her enough to open the door and call the dog in, where, she hopes, he will be safe from the aberration that is occurring in the yard. But it is the bird that enters, rips its shirt and mask off, and leaps, yellow dye bleeding into the snow, cigar tight in its beak, to the woman's halo of blond hair. It sinks its claws through her skull and lifts her out of her familiar doorway. The dog, unmoving, very probably cardboard and the crow's ruse-for it is a crow, seems immune to the woman's cries. She dies, but not in Chicago, rather on Oahu, in Hawaii, across from a beach and the ocean in a ditch beside a red dirt road. Her crying, then her listening, stop. The crow, exotic to the island, amid flashbulbs, television, tourists, eats her, and rises. Puffing its cigar, it plunges through a prison of bright yellow light to a chain link fence where it stands above its spidery legs, derby hat black as snow, with its mother, Murder, and its father, Orpheus, in the humid air of Chicago. It is summer and Sunday. The dog sleeps in the shade under the porch swing. His mistress, her hair glowing in the afternoon light, mows the lawn, moving monotonously back and forth across the yard.
BETH MURRAY she thought she was marie curie she locked herself in her room and said I am going to spend the next four years in here extracting radium from pitchblende ore she requested a coleman stove and a phone book for sidney (she knew marie's pitchblende came from a refinery there) and stamps for writing her sisters and brothers during these four years just like marie but she did not need pierre she needed no scientist to betray the cause she asked for a stack of books on karate because she said there was a correspondence between the phorphorescence of radium and the force that breaks a board radium can penetrate six inches of pine she thought her hand could too if she gave it time she asked for chocolate bread and cherries what marie had eaten the day before she fainted in the lab she would publish her results but not copyright just like marie she said she had scientific integrity her discoveries were the world's property only she would not run the radium van she said there was no war no reason to drive around healing soldiers she would leave that for the r.n.s after two days in her room she called for a graduated cylinder she had dropped hers but she did not need a broom when they handed through a jelly jar she threw it back full of boiling water later when she needed salt she asked their forgiveness she said she might take students but she would not teach french she could afford only physics and chemistry and she would hope for poles she would not have babies could not bear the soft skull breaking out of her uterus what use was it if they wanted to give her the nobel prize she would fly to stockholm but even then she might not come out of her room if she were to take a husband he would just die anyway the horses would trample his head he would be a dreamer and she would wonder what he was thinking when the cart rolled over his head piled twenty feet high with uniforms who needs them they would crush him his head she would undress him when he came to her dead clothes damp from rain and bits of brain she would cut them into squares throw them in the fire observe the flames agree to continue his lectures but without his last words I don't want to consider any more advances the advancing hooves or the retreating carts she said no thank you I will stay in my room extracting radium* _____________________ * Marie Curie was married to Pierre Curie who was chair of the Sorbonne's Faculty of Science. Pierre was killed by a horse-driven cart on the streets of Paris. He died instantly from a crushed skull. The Sorbonne asked Marie to take over her husband's position at the University. She began her initial address with the exact words that Pierre had ended his last lecture: "When one considers the progress that has been made in physics in the past ten years, one is surprised at the advance that has taken place in our ideas concerning electricity and matter . . . ."
TRACY RYAN La Parure Utterly without strategy, learn gem tactics. This wearing or breaking down for erotic discharge, photographing historic calluses. Housemaid's knee degradation, or the only evidence we have. We. Reconstruct. The joke's on her, who dared aim at anything better, we play at Paste and never qualify. Designed to show off to advantage. A woman may sing, she's got a sweet little asset. Spent, again and again. Look me over, lend me the stretch marks stripes earned but may be devalued any minute if you're not careful. Meat market, even if you are. Seems only yesterday. As you were going to a feast-joke's on you, made a meal of. Object not agent. Mutton dressed up. Sic transit. Gross joke, will they be in the same place one day, mini titillation. Know the punchline when it comes.
EILEEN MYLES Waterfall I miss whiskey regular fun meet a girl know I'd won I miss whiskey what a dope now I'm sober horny, broke Whisky I miss you I had a friend you're never alone with an elbow to bend I play a guitar but music stinks I sit in nature typical oinks typical bahs, neighs & whinny typical doodle bloooo ka-thunk ka-thunk In me speaks the divine menagerie the nectar the blood on my hands Girls Girls Girls! I came to pray
BRIAN HENRY From the Annals of the Healing Tradition I. . . . roiled, not appeased the fantom driving the women to suicide and murder, pestle working mortar, herded onto the vessel most swiftly, pustules constellated across their faces, some foam- spawn, forced to recline in their own faeces, the days seem open to a new kind of despair- II. and he tried to ignore the sores disfiguring, and some thought him gallant to save these less than women, their wombs the pits of prunes, of no use. There were 30 of them on the ship, 29 to a room, the one led in each night collared and crazed with hunger and the scourge, strapped upright by the wrists and stripped. A new one each night. He never whipped or beat the one- III. he did what came natural to a man with orders: he asked for their fears and took notes. Then into the water. This went on for a month. IV. The emperor sent a messenger with gold, praise for his vision, then banished him to the sea or the colony. The only other extant account is his own: The boils on the skin V. burn to the bone, to the brain. I questioned hundreds more to find the cure and now the fire is on me, it sears, it bursts, the fire my only fere until I kept one- less hideous than the rest-from the sea. I bound her days since. When the fire settles, swordless I bleed her, VI. and a new fire takes me heedless. I know I will burn for this.
KEVIN KILLIAN The Stendhal Syndrome With a rush, and we do away Look at those Brice Mardens and the big horses of Susan Rothenberg and the palette without color of Neil Jordan Pleasure as a synonym for AIDS its metonymic attachment to the body the fringe on top of the surrey of living easy without you, easy air Jordan Color my world white, with veiny streaks of red A terror at giving up my seat at the opera the family box I really fucked myself over, that box of steak. Steel stripes shadow the steel pier-Brighton Smegma nada, the reverse of what?-My dick tiptoes through the sands in another's-shoes a river wide, green desert ribbon-
H.T. Prelude Light cuts the chair, lace slip (if you love metaphor, you love the stand-in cup with flared mouth (toward the discernible, pursuing no steady cake, a violent luck (not looks, but states of feeling face of crumpled paper (on the fringe of wings, gun shooting blanks (responding to chance encounter she, he (belonging to you, subject to love and death, mushroom, milk (the ideal unrepresentable, more beautiful than the empty page the (sentence that killed me pear, inverted pyramid (all metaphors fail the body and besides (writing the subject, aware of its lack you cannot fall out of this).
MARY BURGER Thin Straw That I Suck Life Through episode 7 Trees in scale to the indigenous inelegant shops laundry - iglesia - cubanica - taqueria poor people and not-poor-not-rich people a child is silent but inquisitive old lady with a blue rain cap though it is not raining hair sculpted and preserved a floral arrangement the artifice signifies a dignity a lady bruises endured in fun the belligerence, the insult the pointed remark because the friend is otherwise affectionate and loves you after all the ordinary traumas of a child's life reimagined in a Baroque composition a bloody knee a fever wracked red slap that radiates the wide print of a hand small stomach twisting Gordian knots in dread through a cathedral of elaboration the child's trauma becomes our own groined vaults over buttresses and cool stone nave mannerist stained glass narratives of shepherd and dog's paw and thorn the wooden staff, the beard, the goatskin tunic brown eyes warm we tell our children Jesus saves if we were raised that way Jesus not so unlike Barney only Jesus almost never on TV His restriction to color illustrations and stained glass tells us this is a special kind of love blue rain bonnet makes her way farther down the street.
DAVID BROMIGE Hide the Poor Constituted for this purpose. One beats & beats for that which one believes. Piles driven deep into mud. Temblors were frequent. Solid as a self. To maintain manoeuverability & independence. Begins with 150 million in assets. Begins with selling me a rug. Begins with peddling passports. Begins with product, ends in copyright, lives in gray area in between. The "O" Zone. Only the dead are cast in cement. Man overboard. The irrational element in whatever you said it was. I had to bayonet him, because he had jumped into the trench where I was. My trench, to one view of things (mine). Having done it once, I did it frequently, failing to see the distinction until later-too much later. But when YOU tore the fivespot almost in half, it came back to me unscathed. And when I snatched the wallet, the explosion blew my glasses off. How did the second Ace of Clubs get into the deck? Civilization holds the answer. The big man turns on a dime. A new voice issues forth. Yet distinctly a throwback. Juts up like body parts until the age of two. Only a hand to trace sensation, only a larynx to unite these many tongues. I have had the opportunity to gain experience, yet remain the longwinded candidate with the AGM upcoming. A vote by many is a vote for one. Owl hoots in vault. Man of many thoughts finds light dazzling in singular contradiction. There had been several brothers, at least several. Your own worst nightmare. Two thousand of you marching up a country lane bearing pikes & scythes would restore my faith in politics. I would be proud to be whatever nationality I currently happened to hold most currency in. I, too, write bric-a-brac. The Net is Down. The Veil is Rent. The opiates are stained with glass. The first time I saw you rip your clothes off in indecent haste, I ended up getting fucked. Hallelujah. 2 Face only a mother could sit on. That was somebody else. He is a handsome man. Are you movie star? Ektor? After midnight, a touch of Apocalypse Now. That's the religious impulse venting. We must take it in stride. It's a morality. It gives an experience of time. So does sucking blackheads out of our navels. Behave, or be bounced: we can all hum a few bars. Being a song, being a character in a play: hiding our agendas. It came with invisible strings attached, like money. It was truth, inaudible to idols. Limited Company. We skipped a decade. For charity, or for profit? Everybody aspires to the Swedish model, but that model may only work in Sweden. Another form of model is a decoy duck. It made him cantankerous before dinner. He's just an average person. That question puzzles many people. Because thinking does make it so. You owe it to others. Practice this principle, treat them that way, your clothes will last twice as long, no blood or bulletholes. You'll be longer in style. Self- importance where the sun never shines or mediocrity. Practice appreciation with personalized compliments. How many p's are splashing this all over the newspaper? If your answer was five or more, your're outasight. They're coming to realize you're important. Smile. You have a nice smile. My father was Apeneck, Apeneck Sweeney. When environmental reports can go with pasta, I'll eat one. Face only a topper could shadow. To hear him talk. J.D., C.D., and F.K. agreed, kind of. I'll jot that down. Let them meet in the parrot: "What's your name I can report and embody at the same time." The secretaries were treating the salesmen. Better or badly. Employees were trading minds, and not only their own. Looking from the standpoint of this being as new to me as it is to you, what do you think? Is the gift mine or his, to evaluate the reason for its having been purchased? We ate the turkey.
SUSAN GEVIRTZ D S R - SENATOR . . . : "flipbook" The shoals were thin that year The pillars sickened into sugar as we passed the harbour silted up No one oculd cry no one could inhale until our gills came back then under was upper flutter was the rampant whisper which we tried to catch casting fish hooks at the skies Here where the first quinqueremes had sailed I saw far beneath my feet the breakwater of the ancient harbour blindly binding body to body the thin sliver of thin air the outside coming in built of skin trespassed on feet of metal celestial speak up map of read-me-to-sleep the contrary context of "next-to-next" Two girls on one swing where cry is spelled city eventually at our last parting she said "when your body is born" tracing paper launches the barge lay down dwarf of passage everything is present [ TH promised to visibility you why the ocean doesn't overflow How the wind howls and other rhymes you'll arrive knowing answers to then a life these songs their answers you'll forget
STEPHEN OLIVER Wildlife Trade A bird in the coat's worth ten in the bush. Take one Black Breasted Button Quail, Malleefowl, Freckled Duck, Squatter Pigeon, Hooded Plover, Star Finch, Red Goshawk, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Night Parrot, Regent Parrot, Lord How Parrakeet, Paradise Parrot, Little Tern, Woodhen, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Lordhowe Boobook Owl, Robust Silvereye, Masked Booby, Red-Lored Whistler, Black Throated Finch, Thick Billed Grasswren, Little Shearwater, White-Bellied Storm Petrel, Redtailed Tropic Bird, Black Bittern, Square-Tailed Kite, Grey Falcon, Magpie Goose, Blue-Billed Duck, Sooty Oystercatcher, Mongolian Plover, Black Tailed Godwit, Painted Snipe, Superb Fruit-Dove, Pink Cockatoo, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Purple- Crowned Lorikeet, Swift Parrot, Turquoise Parrot, Scarlet-Chested Parrot, the Powerful Owl, Sooty Owl and Marbled Frogmouth, a Pink Robin and Collared Kingfisher. Add to this the Silky Mouse, Desert Mouse, Smoky Mouse, plus one Numbat. Such rarities you can pack quite easily with the Broad-Headed Snake, Stimson's Python, Fierce Snake, Pale-Headed Snake, Stephen's Banded Snake, Narrow Banded Snake, White Crowned Snake, Leathery Turtle and Collar Whip Snake, the Centralian Blue-Tongued Lizard & Malle Worm Lizard. Don't forget the Green & Golden Bell Frog for luck. All this, neatly placed in your Alligator-Skin, Double- Belted, Hartmann-Leather, Silk-Lined, false bottomed Suitcase.
RANDOLPH HEALY Foliage Upside down eight hens step right across my retina. Before I can recover the reflection of a cow surfs weightlessly along my window. No wonder I He was going on about its nose. What's nose? The red wine's. He was a wine expert. Some expert. Even I could tell a bottle with a red nose. The girl, who is clever, hides her brightness from the duller boy, he doing the same, each trying to stay behind the other, a slow bicycle race of romance. But how did it find this one sorrel spike in all these acres? Coreus marginata, master of disguises, I Meanwhile. Well, if you must wear armour all the time don't come running to me complaining when it starts to pinch.
CHRIS VITIELLO Thought 2 Articulation is what's important or "What's important." bumblebees should be incapable of flight How obvious construction workers on a scaffold level more of a pharmacy than a dictionary. A dictionnaire. Given: The speeder sped. He sped and sped. The following figures will illustrate to you that, the following figurative language will illustrate in such and such a way 35. RECLINING FEMALE FIGURE (FRAGMENT) South Germany (Augsburg?). Second third of the seventeenth century? Plump figure of whitish ivory polished to a dull finish that has yellowed considerably on the back side, and which in spots has turned to a brownish-yellow color. Both legs are pegged above the knee (iron dowels visible), as are her left arm from the shoulder down (pin), and her right hand (pin). It is not easy to determine whether the iron pin on her back side is old. There is a diagonal crack over the body, on front and back. H. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm.) 1917.317 The completely naked figure seems to stretch out her left arm horizontally, and is making a protective movement with her right arm in front of her. The hair, parted in the middle, is gathered together on the nape of the neck, partly plaited, and is artistically shaped like a cross. The figure is perhaps a fragment of a multi-figured group of Diana with her nymphs (and Actaeon?), or of a composition such as Europa on the bull or Dejanira kidnapped by the centaur Nesus, as shown by Giovanni Bologna's bronzes. If this were the case, it would be strange that there is no sign of draping. For instance: I didn't get rid of the cold, my body did. For distance After days of travel one longs for the simple pleasure of relaxation in a rural setting but in our mile-a-minute world full of cancerous cities and superhighways [sic] the bird and the bee never even meet. Time rushes. The bee hovers over a blossom or a photograph of a blossom or a projection of the blossom's photo or over the mouth of a beautiful woman saying "blossom" or flies acrobatically above the city spelling out B-L-O-S-S-O-M with its flight path. The bird finds solace in little parks and gardens, fissures of life in the great dark stone that is our city. The bee hums but not loud enough. The bird performs a brief celebration of its wings and settles upon a ledge to peck at raisins an old woman leaves for it each day. The bee finds slicks in alleys and dumpsters and next to parked cars the bird and the bee never meet, they are parallel, and they may appear to meet in the distance but it is only an optical illusion, they can be seen to converge and we are deceived, their separation is beyond the limits of sight and can be said to be invisible, but one may\sooner see an echo back to its source than find straight lines in the eye 3. The bee is not to be trusted. Its buzzing is more than a standby warning, neither latent nor self-involved. When attuned to each other bees cooperate in highly ordered patterns, patterns with signals packed so close together they enmesh to the swarm with which we may be familiar. This living wall, if you will, can move in any direction and change direction on a whim, as entire schools of fish move. Still, it is not possible to connect a particular workshop with our statuette. At the North Pole It's frozen. Sometimes so that light achieves a density. There's no language, only labored motion. (editor's note stating that this proves the work is fiction) Thought stiffens. Time is precarious to the point that the time wasted when one goes to pull a chair out from a table in order to sit at the table, and at first doesn't pull the chair out far enough, and so must pull the chair further out and devote more attention to the matter in order to complete it, this time wasted is infuriating and the repercussions of the event along a life are incalculable. Here the sun cannot navigate the atmosphere freely and runs the risk of being snuffed, trapped between frozen layers. So it occasionally darts along the sky's perimeter between the sheets of ice. And we resent its cowardice. The ice-bee reigns at the North Pole. Ice-bees are so tiny they hide from predators behind falling snowflakes. Native peoples believe that their misfortunes are caused by the conspiratorial ice-bees whose deeds, each individually too small to be seen by the human eye, sum to an inescapable doom. Ice-bees are blamed for cars not starting or for reliably thick ice cracking beneath a fisherman's feet. Ice-bees eat holes in hunters' coats and scarves and sting children's eyes until they fester and close. June 5: The pine's there and no doubt will be there tomorrow still. Merely by conceiving it I have created it. It's really a fairly poor tree. A finger's width of frayed fiber holds a great busted limb desperately to the trunk. Stopped on the verge of a fall (no, it's in mid-fall, it's falling) the branch's divisions and needles are enmeshed with those of limbs below, and this week's succession of thunderstorms haven't budged it from its handstand. One of the branch ends has snapped this season and the fallen span lays amidst its own bark, broken further (but not completely apart) upon contact with the ground. The siding on the back of the neighbor's house here is scrawled with charcoal mildew. The downed dog-legged branch appears soggy and the limb's broken tip has darkened with rot. Our pine's lowest healthy branch grows alone on the right side of the tree, seen from the vantage of my back porch. Its tip touches a maple plume-if the maple's entire shape is that of an inverted teardrop then the pine touches the maple at the tear's greatest circumference. This renegrade's needles fall upon an impressive shoulder of honeysuckle so dense that the vegetative structure beneath it is not identifiable. At ground level poison ivy laces the honeysuckle. The drilling bees feed here to fuel their perforation of my deck. How many I have not examined the drillers closely but I have imagined them, their styluses spirally ridged like a screw's shaft, or grooved like a drill bit. But then I try to picture how they might drill in this way and I can only picture them twirling their bodies around in tight circles and this doesn't seem likely. I'm now sure they somehow eat the wood, like termites. Maybe they are part termite. When speech breaks down, it does it all the time, and we still listen to it, aspire. The bee reverses field without provocation when we talk to each other. If it was at all possible. Ifz. Aerodynamically the broadest bumblebees should be incapable of the slippage of wings through air, thought through a hoop of fire, sold off metaphors looted, riotous laughter, the artifacts of the insane. Bees can't lie. Still, bees can't lie, the air animates harmonicas and bottlemouths, waves try patiences, a stammer lines out to a shudder, reels in as a stutter, confessional letter arrives after phone conversation, parking fines handed out at a fund-raiser. And the shine of the museum floor at opening, the doors fluttering through like ornithopters, the bee exposed to direct sunlight emits, tongues store at constant temperature, times do I have to tell you, sauces congeal to scriably-smooth surface, bias dispe(n,r)sed from the dais, steel bee-like hovering, deafening chorus of thousands tearing paper in unison, blind alley, conductor's mouth, from those national whereabouts they pause long between their thoughts waiting for the teetering word to plummet a dead fall trap closing without the descending slidewhistle noise dropped bombs make, typed and typed, spoken true to the copy of the true, the "true," and a school of nascent truth spinning hintwebs around it, a volume of such webbing, so tight and minute to vast appear solid, a realm of it, to be it a medium in which we live like bees in air and sea-birds in the sea, those sigh sweet talks just the two of us, summing to that we just know in proximity without speech, intimate meaning held in outside words, vague silent paralinguistic orizons we rest our heads on to sleep at night, our buzzpillows, our buzzpillows.
DAVID FOX from Domestic Violence for Adult Children of Bulimic Angels: a non-sonnet Sequence For the crimes of horrific journalism and even worse music, I must come to the aid of my country and murder John Tesh. I'd like to see a show of hands or show a sea of hands. I'm not picky: Let's compare things we'd give up lives for (our own or someone else's). I'd rather be at the taffy-pull, but that's not the percentage move, Not the focus audience. Mention my name at any tractor-pull, Hardly an olympian task. I'm trying to remember what The headline was on Suck. I'd love to over-emote here But me and my buddy Herk'll just be cleaning out the stables, Mr. Bones. Teshian. Tesh-esque. If I hear heroic again, I will demand heroin. Does that translate as I am not high-minded enough or I am not high enough? Yes, Officer Tippett, the accident occurred on Leonard Cohen Demominator Near the corner of the cul-d-sac Nipsey Russell's Revenge. No one was hurt until Mr. Tesh spoke and up-welled an over-arranged music That smote him dead. Bad cop. No donut, but the weed-whacker of evolution.
A.L. NIELSON Roscoe Mitchell 1 Steps to the front five Slips under the thumb rest Backhand strains to the neck strap For sound 2 Steps five To the front slips Under the thumb rest backhand Strains to the neck Strapped for sound 3 Five steps to the front The backhand slips under the thumb Rest the neck strains Strapped for sound 4 The front steps rest The neck slips under The strap the backhand five Strain the thumb For sound 5 Steps to the front slip The neck snaps back Under the thumb five rest for Strapping sound
TONY QUAGLIANO Benjamin Latrobe in New Orleans I The Sociology of Apocalyptic Deliriums bat device registered in Latrobe's brain the architect's hallucinated fiend had class high temperature sugar distillation Bacardi high class norte del rio low class bat swill below the fever along the nerve of the descending staircase green wine in a beached shell II Apocalyptic Poetics old style: they say it was the yellow fever killed him or was it he was yellow all his life new: the long fear
TODD BARON (lear) with a bolt of good faire so that we spoke in celebration (cotton proceeds the earliest sale MAKE IT? I can't even walk with you row of lights dates configured the municipality he said that words reproduce the same social origin earliest from clef to cliff the trifolium areola above the arches string -and-key of a rhetorical period I mean HOW DO YOU GET IN the lot of this ministry? man's garb under head and action asks fetter? try tying one down try call-waiting when you write to a bird his wing-spread song Do scald like a molten lead
TODD BARON a variation on defeat (for & after John Wieners) I will be an old man somewhere & live in dark room somewhere by a t.v. screen. I will think of this night, as often as not-rain or earth falling on stone. There will be no one on the street, only this song, wanting nothing but the longing to be apathetic with you(my central self together on this street. Now is a time This, chance not the last chance but the least. However you lay serene, & come again. Bear me to seed, there is no return from this room. addressed to this room. compressing your face at the mirror.
JOE BALAZ Lele
BRUCE ANDREWS from Minute Score
JOHN MATEER POLYPHONISM --an essay 1. written becoming seen SHAPE for the eye becoming sound SHAPE for the mouth becoming heard SHAPE for the ear becoming thought SHAPE for the mind THUS WAS THE KNOWN remembering (+) 2. meta-poie-physika a- non-neo-phrasis 3. cause seedsybilsylabills: MO THO KE MO THO [a person is a person because of other people: Sesotho] KA BA THO BA BA NG IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM C A C A L O L O L O [Artaud] or pallaksh [ simultaneously yesandno: Holderlin via Celan] !are! AS SUCH mu. [the 1st koan: Nothing]
STANDARD SCHAEFER General Motors It was not a time when thunderbolts steered things. Heaven was empty and everyone was headed toward North Money, a city of parakeets screeching beneath their hoods, for the rumor was of plenty of self-storage, and the angels there all deputized. No one had any idea it was shaped like the General's boot. Toes throbbing, he said the problem with angels and parakeets is that neither can build a tank. Maybe it was all that dissonant music back in college all that erosion of formal thought. Certainly it was neither love nor assemblage. It was simply the tarragon invading the terrace. Metaphysicians were called in--the enlarged city was rumored to be breeding and some winged fellows were circling over head. The solution was to remove the rooms without ever entering it. Redecorate. Sundays and Sunday was the business. We had, as the General insisted, invested our sons. It was not an emotional decision stuck as we were behind all those cars heading blearily into yellow feathers. Sometime later, I insisted that the room had been filled with angels and that I could tell by the frost on their bills and could you please be a little less human about things, I don't feel like getting things done. I know an angel when I see one, said the General, it looks like me. A matter of sitting still and seeing. His daughter stood and walked toward the body opposite her own which was also unoccupied. Perhaps if we'd learned the banjo, instead of the fork lift we could have prevented so many roundabout elisions, assuming that language could be anything other than a set of instructions: the page arrived and brought the page. It was not an emotional decision. We were only looking for a room when we found the sceance, an angel dissected in the cup of ghost. The banjo now seemed over-eloquent but it was July and the groundskeeper was missing, cannons boomed behind the third green, flowers of liberty burning a hole in the night. Thought they looked like angels or parakeets though they tasted like chicken tarragon. Quantity changes quality. Perhaps that too is over-eloquent, said the General. We thought work was the answer. All those days lettering, all those lines across the pure immutable night. Or a white page striped in white. I believed the letter A was as good a place to start albeit the position progressively more precarious: angels preceding us and at dusk God shouting to keep it down. But I was never against the angels themselves, only the conditions which required them.
JOANNE BURNS Market Forces cough up quotations from that fossilized string bag of early scholarship jute or nylon, generic cotton a tangled net like dna mutated temporarily lost for words at the inquisition of quality communication old phrases parts of speech shoot out into the kangaroo court of air around your mouth as if a fine powder of chilli had infiltrated your throat baa baa black market my vile hen this is the season of our discontinuity how can a rat a dog a plate of pink ice cream have a media life while you are wracked upon a wheel of nursery rhyme see how you scatter all experience is an arch for jack and jill o incey wincey spider thou art sick of mellow fruitfulness into the valley of drapers' shops rides little mary fawcett with bess that innkeeper's black-eyed daughter there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on peggy sue now is the hour when we must urge all leopard skin pill box hats of the world to look into their moth holes and remember the paint is peeling off the painted oceans and painted ships have lost their plimsoll lines
RACHEL LODEN 101 CONFLATIONS The dead puppies turn us back on love. - John Ashbery A terrible beauty is bored, like Cruella de Ville plotting on her red bedside telephone, but you know my cigarette stopped waving eons ago, and nobody in all puppydom can claim I swept around in such a coat, or held the negotiables for such luxury. No, instead there was the brain saying come in Cleveland as though attention could be called up like a standing army, and used to move around a room, say the right foot after the left, or is it rehearsed the other way.
JOHN TRANTER Globe In the first chapter a raw wind blew up and discovered streams of watery alarm, the reader frozen in front of a silent knife to escape the due pain. I'm arguing stimulus-response, or motor inhibition in the face of the inhuman demands of this print, that reaches out of some corner of the past- a grubby back room stinking of tallow- and orders you to stop thinking like that, now start thinking like this, and do the things that are inevitable, given this new political alignment of wish and fear- no, let me think about a road that wandered down the flank of a hill, through thick grass under the moonlight, snowfields gleaming on a distant glacier-no, I must read these halting words that once leaked and stumbled from the nib-I see them begin their journey through the post, the type shop, printery, warehouse, then trucks grunting through the city streets and then the silence of a bookshelf- high, almost out of reach, at the back of the self-help section in the shadows, towards a happy auditor, or, lensed and winking glints of light onto the kitchen table the miserable viewer, I mean reader, hypercritical at breakfast, and so taunt his target of scribble, these doodles intersecting with his fate- what did the Professor say?-a kind of hostile curl to his lips, nausea-no ballot, no blame. I felt like an electrical lead, carrying the news down the cable to the TV hookup. I could have chuckled at the way he slept as he grunted and changed position-dreams decorate the endless competition between our hopes and what we get, or put another way, between the good boys we hope we are and the black thing shrieking in the cellar, all rage and spittle. It's a ferry-that's it- to carry things over, from one shore to another. Theories never know the peaks, they just endure the drudgery of the climb, then some other bastard gets all the kudos. The dealer was really the Professor, in disguise, forged papers, taking a chance on the thin voice that spoke economics: he looked up from a globe where he was plotting his travels, for journalism or a work of literature maybe, the strange future that he was about to step into and vanish in- like having to be a writer for the first time. END
MICHELLE MURPHY Columbus Avenue At the flower stand we lean over winter tulips into orange electric blossoms that fell roundly out of a Saturday morning cartoon landing breathless in this air. What is it about a hothouse sky that makes us ache for lightning, for mouthfuls of muddy soil? For a syntax we can chew on, one that can translate the tree back into its seed & make it hum.
JONATHAN MORSE Physics for Poets: A Review of True North, by Stephanie Strickland (Notre Dame) Fill a glass with water. Let it become still. Gently add one drop of ink. Wait and watch. Over the next hours, its dye particles pushed along by the random molecular buffeting of Brownian motion, the ink will diffuse until it colors the water a uniform tint. In that uniformity the drop itself, its roundness and blackness and self-containedness, will be lost forever. You cannot put it together again. Underlying what you've just witnessed is an idea: the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the doctrine which tells us that the universe tends on an irreversible course toward disorder and death. Poets like Emily Dickinson have always sensed that through their words, and in the middle of the nineteenth century the German physicist Rudolf Clausius enlarged the poetic vocabulary of the twentieth by isolating and naming the concept of entropy. But it was in the United States, at Yale, that J. Willard Gibbs (1839-1903) gave the ink drop demonstration a significance accessible to measurement and mathematical conviction. What Gibbs did was to reimagine physical processes as statistical processes, mathematically simplifying the material universe to an array of varying numbers. Gibbs's achievement has had enormous practical value, but Muriel Rukeyser liked to think of it as one of the grand gestures of New England idealism, and she chronicled its coming into existence in the form of a long, impassioned biography-not, one would think, the most propitious genre, for Gibbs the man was a living caricature of the cloistered scholar. He never married, lived through the era of the Civil War without having a recorded thought about it, got one of the first telephones in New Haven but gave it up after a few years, lectured about vector analysis with tears of joy in his eyes but regarded the phrase "For example" as frivolous. Edwin Arlington Robinson of Maine and Robert Frost of New Hampshire had terrible things to say about austerities like those. Rukeyser, however, interpreted Gibbs's New England typicality as a license to generalize her narrative from the poor life at its center to a constellation of Gibbs's English and New English contemporaries: William James, Henry Adams, Charles Sanders Peirce, James Clerk Maxwell. Now in True North, Stephanie Strickland has taken Rukeyser's insight and retranslated it into verse. For Strickland, Gibbs and Emily Dickinson and Jonathan Edwards and Isaac Newton are all explorers in search of the polar light whose worth's unknown although his height be taken. Strickland here joins Miroslav Holub, A.R. Ammons and a handful of others in an elite: poets who know science from the inside. But the language of True North, often enough, is only library science: a shelving of Gibbs in the archive of standard techniques. So, for instance, Strickland's elegiac "It Is You Talking Just as Much" borrows its title from Whitman and its stanza form from William Carlos Williams. Such appropriations make up the prosodic structure of True North. The idea seems to be to increase the book's elegiac resonance by providing it with a genealogy in allusion. So True North proceeds by recontextualizing, giving us performative titles in the style of Williams's "This Is Just to Say," Dickinsonian capital letters, and whimsical-finicky footnotes in the style of Marianne Moore, referred to in Dickinson's style with superscript plus signs, like this +. Often enough, the performatives are merely introductory phrases and the footnotes are merely bibliographical. Thematically, too, the gestures toward history seem arbitrary. But what's interesting about that arbitrariness is the attitude it reveals toward language. For the language of True North, a book about physicists, isn't yet experimental. Like astronomy before we began pushing at space with rockets, it is merely descriptive. Down at the level of grammar and syntax, the old work of referring words as if to a non-verbal reality outside themselves goes on. Strickland's "Heaven and Earth, 1666," for instance, sets out to celebrate Isaac Newton by erecting a verbal structure around the word "Attraction!" If "Attraction!" had a meaning per se, the structure would be stable. But "Attraction!" has no meaning per se. It is only a part of language. The interesting thing is that Willard Gibbs himself thought of language metaphorically. Strickland retells the poignant anecdote from Rukeyser: Gibbs faithfully attended faculty meetings at Yale for thirty years, but spoke only once. The subject under discussion was a language requirement. The reward for getting past the failures of language? To be found un-readable. Gibbs rose. He said: Mathematics is a language. And he sat down. ("Shortcut to What?," 62) That punch line is worth spelling out. If mathematics is a language, Gibbs spoke the dialect of the absolute: the words to the music of the spheres which sang through the emptiness of space, long before mind existed, that two stars and two stars are four stars, world without verbal end. Yet here on the earth of an auditorium at Yale University, surrounded by all the particularity of passing time, Gibbs said something in time's mortal and imperfect creole, a sentence that stopped with a period. It was all he could do. It is all any poet can do, but some poets struggle to defer that final surrender to the not yet significant. What is most interesting about True North, therefore, is perhaps this: Better than most poets, Stephanie Strickland understands what is at stake when we try to signify through words. She has learned from science, and her book wants to teach us, that the things that are true cannot be spoken of in the incompletely significant words of any human language. And yet she continues to write poetry as if that discovery were not in itself a discovery in language. Moving large blocks of words from source to source, rearranging existing prosodic structures without deconstructing them, she makes traditional materials into a nest for new words. But that nest serves only to protect the old words from transformation.