TINFISH Number 6 March 1998
Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard may your sleep be blessed Joe Balaz Limbo Spirit Normie Salvador Ur-bane (excerpted from the Book of S.I.G.N.s III. 1. 1- xxiv) William Marsh G Dedication John Kinsella hydrography Zhang Er Arpine Konyalian Grenier, translator Rainwiper Joe Balaz Wai for Housing / Why for Kalo? Mary Burger around then under the bay Daniel A. Kelin, II Like Water for Ala Wai Gwyn McVay Those Are Pearls Gabrielle Welford Muddly for Bill Michael Robbins Far candle Kamaka Kanekoa After Sappho Ida Yoshinaga auntie anti Elizabeth Treadwell Patience, Imogene Bobbie West Cinematique John Tranter Sfumato E. Tracy Grinnell was she ever Liz Waldner Wednesday Morning Pray Time Pam Brown Lido
his & That (I Cite Myself)
Brian Carpenter odd Karen Kelley Diptych Zhang Er Arpine Konyalian Grenier, translator Ruins Bill Luoma goblur Joe Ross Just Before Juliana Spahr Review of Albert Saijo
CAROLINE SINAVAIANA-GABBARD may your sleep be blessed (for Ria & the Afro-German sisterhood) may your sleep be blessed with fragrance: ginger blossoms, white, gold & pink/ in the garden where one day we will work & play together/ where i will make a bed of rainbow petals for your back, & a pillow of blue cloud for your head, may your sleep be blessed/ with the shade of mango & coconut leaves/ where i will hold you & watch/ over your dreaming. may your sleep be blessed/ with birds nesting in tall trees/ their naked, spindly arms flung out/ in wintry benediction/ over all spirits at rest on welfenstrasse, in gesing, in heidhausen/ in muenchen, in deutschland, in europa, where you lie down with your brave heart this night. may the sleep of our sisters be blessed this night. black daughters/ in the cell block/ in the crazy house/ in the hospital/ on the sidewalk in the rain/ in the snow/ in the dirt/ in the camp in the barracks/ on the border/ on the road/ black sisters/ with your sons/ with your daughters/ with your fine beauty, the colors of earth & sun & shade/ may your sleep bring strength. may the sleep of our sisters be blessed this night. & their children, & their lovers & their brothers. & their loved ones/ lost in burning houses/ spirits leaping out of flames/ into black nights of diamond stars out of burning rooms where the door stuck shut, where the window stuck shut, where bright threads of smoke laced the eyes shut. may their sleep be blessed/ with cool breezes/ & streams of clear water dancing over deep forest stone. may the sleep of our sisters be blessed this night. warrior sisters/ armed with broken hearts & spirit medicine/ warrior sisters/ armed by spirit guardians riding horses of wind/ warrior sisters/ armed with shields of ancestor wisdom & street wisdom/ with mother wisdom/ & baby wisdom, with girlfriend wisdom & grandma wisdom, with hip-hop/ be-bop/ & boogie-woogie wisdom with/ audre lorde, billie holiday & bessie smith wisdom/ with sojourner truth, rosa parks & aretha franklin wisdom/ with tap-dancing, sashaying, wide-hipped, brazen hussy wisdom/ warrior sisters/ may your sleep be blessed on this night/ on all nights/ forever & ever, amen.Caroline Sinaivaiana-Gabbard is a native daughter of Tutuila Island in the Samoa archipelago and a migratory bird person with lengthy stopovers in Turtle Island and now O'ahu. She teaches Pacific and world literatures, writing and other forms of non- toxic resistance at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. Joe Balaz edits O'ahu Review from Ka'a'awa. Of his pieces in this issue, he writes, "'Limbo Spirit' is a commentary on the concept of aloha. 'Wai for Housing / Why for Kalo?' deals with the issue of a taxed water supply needed by both housing development and subsistence farmers. The concrete poem shows the power of money and political influence. Kala and kalo are the Hawaiian words for 'money' and 'taro.'" Normie Salvador is of the first generation of the Salvador clan born in Hawai'i. He graduated recently from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. He volunteers at Kennedy Theatre and the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre, collects animé and manga, and wanders his imagined realities William Marsh resides currently in San Diego where he teaches writing and children's literature. He edits PaperBrainPress, a chapbook series of contemporary poets, and is co-conspirator in the Tucson-based Voice and Range Community Arts and Production forum. His textual, visual and kinetic poetries can be accessed on line at www.dtai.com/~bmarsh John Kinsella is a frequent contributor to Tinfish. His most recent books are Poems 1980-1994 and Genre, both published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press in Australia. He is now living in the U.K. Mary Burger is co-editor of Proliferation, an annual journal of new writing published since 1994. Her work has appeared in Chain, mirage, Prosodia, Situation, and An Anthology of New (American) Poetry (Talisman House, forthcoming). She received the New Langton Arts Bay Area Award for Literature in 1997. Daniel A. Kelin, II is a member of the Honolulu playwright's collective, Cabaret Tiki. He was a finalist in both the International One-Page Play Competition and the Actor's Theatre of Louisville Ten Minute Play Competition. Zhang Er is a poet and translator. Born in Beijing, she left China in 1986 and now lives in New York City. Her work and translations have been published in many poetry journals and newspapers in the U.S., Taiwan, Europe and China. Her first book in English translation is forthcoming in 1998. Arpine Konyalian Grenier, who translated Zhang Er's poems in this issue, has published poetry, translations, reviews and interviews widely. She lives in Pasadena, California. Gwyn McVay is the author of two chapbooks of poems, Brother Ikon (Inkstone Press, 1996) and This Natural History (Pecan Grove Press, 1998). Her work appears in Sulfur, Ribot, Talisman, and Poetry New York. Gabrielle Welford sometimes writes. Mostly she mothers, doesn't clean house, thinks she's going to start her dissertation soon putters, grows things, and drives around. Life is daily. She lives in Honolulu, Hawai'i. Michael Robbins lives in Portland, Oregon and has had poems in Phoebe, Seattle Review, and Poet Lore. Kamaka Kanekoa is from Kahului on the island of Maui. He graduated from Maui High in 1991 and briefly attended Brigham Young University; he now studies at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa where he is majoring in Art (sculpture). Ida Yoshinaga grew up in Wailuku, not Waialua, but her ex-husband's mother's family and her good friend's hanai'd parents come from this North Shore town. She dedicates this poem to Doris and Joanne and all small-town locals who ever wanted to get out. Elizabeth Treadwell is the author of the chapbook Eve Doe (becoming an epic poem) (Double Lucy Books, 1997), and a prose and poetry collection, Populace, which will be published by Avec Books in the Fall of 1998. She edits the literary magazine Outlet. Bobbie West grew up in rural Illinois, worked various jobs, including waitress, union machinist, English teacher in China. She has work forthcoming in Gas #10 and works for the San Diego, California Public Library. John Tranter co- edited The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry with Philip Mead. He founded the web journal, Jacket last year, and is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including The Floor of Heaven and At the Florida. He is a frequent contributor to Tinfish. E. Tracy Grinnell's work has appeared in Syntactics and Proliferation. She has just received her B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Mills College and assists at O Books. Liz Waldner's new book is Homing Devices, from O Books. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington. Pam Brown's Selected Poems 1971-1982 has gone through several editions. Her work has been published in Australia and translations of her work in France, Croatia, Vietnam, and Italy. She lives in Sydney and is poetry editor of overland. Karen Kelley lives outside San Francisco, California. Brian Carpenter is a Seattle, Washington native, and currently an undergrad at Seattle Pacific University. His work has appeared in the web-journal Poet & Sword, as well as the upcoming journal Happy Genius. Bill Luoma works as a technical writer and data manager in Kaka`ako, Honolulu, Hawai`i. His published writing can be found in various little magazines and in three booklets: My Trip to New York City (The Figures); Western Love (Situations); and Swoon Rocket (The Figures). Joe Ross moved to San Diego, California recently from Washington, D.C. He is the author of nine books of poetry. He received an NEA Fellowship in 1997. His next book, Equations : equals, is forthcoming from Sun & Moon Press. Juliana Spahr teaches at the University of Hawai'i- Manoa. She co-edits Chain with Jena Osman. She is author of Response (Sun & Moon), and is also a widely published critic and reviewer Gaye Chan is an artist and a member of the faculty at the University of Hawai'i, Department of Art. Duncan Dempster conducts research for Split Flexi Broadcast and is currently compiling urban socio-phonogeographic data in Honolulu.
NORMIE SALVADOR Ur-bane (excerpted from the Book of S.I.G.N.s III. 1. i-xxiv) Acid tears burn oblique from grayscreen skies Falling on stone gargoyles crouched 'mid glasteel1 spires In the night's reign. Metallicraft2 run the rivulets below, On neon electriclouds. Macro-org3, Cyb-org cells among the ferrocrete4 welts. Among the scaborous lines, runed, ruined. Firewater fuels heavy metal mantras. False lifespark, thrumming, pulsing; wanting re-in-car-nation. The City Father sleeps, neverwaking. Streak light, bright glare; oxide reek, shriek steel rend. Glory! In the Union of steel and flesh. Abort. Drink of the slayer and slain. City Father attend The christening of your gravel obsidian veins. Are your foul stainted5 lifewaters now cleansed? Jagged obelisk-altar pierce-high rise 'Neath suns vermilion, ore, virid6 -Cyclopean worshippers gatheroun Will City Father wake? Wailing doppler shifts Cyb-org cells come to unsuccessful Union. Metallicraft detour-flow, their chant unbroken Until another. Gatheroun the Phoenix pyre. Will this be the One? To show the Way to Assimil-Nation? City Father sleeps. ____________________________ 1 glasteel: neo-adj., in reference to metropolian sprawl. orig.: glass + steel 2 metallicraft: neo-n., vehicles of alloy composites powered by internal combustion. orig.: metallic + craft 3 macro-org" abbr/ for macro-organism 4 ferrocrete: neo-n, concrete sintered with iron. orig.: ferro (iron) + crete (truncation of concrete) 5 stainted: neo-v., to have been invariably corrupted by some substance. orig.: stain + taint 6 vermilion, ore, virid: archaic. variant forms of red, gold, viridian
WILLIAM MARSH G Dedication to the E.T. question she added the customary 'we're not' and he not wanting to be misunderstood said 'too easy to recognize in these new disguises'-where women are people send apricot blossoms for the last great eco- problem of the age: numbers never digits always two not three dimensions and these the ways men wage their will so skilled in the duplicate thesis: went warily in to the moon rock came back fat in a truckload of ore- welts from our belts barely visible, sung to the sun's first helium burst so should we marry my pale dusky darling shirk time & not tarry my principal starling with you is to manage with i am to drown moon beams the advantage to suns gone down asleep, they healed in their values like good workers will & saddled up dreams for the taking (bare back primitive) stars were their signposts, with every last vowel inscribed in the lag which was their breathing when the doors of perception swung shut on them the whorls of Calliope swooped down on them knotting the charge that rang in the crescent that was their bodies in the first cell of collusion ideas of relation are the first whack at description when the eyes fail s/he fails s he rises in the gallery's divided-light corridors the passion each feels has the rough outer edge of repulsion at each lunge of the eyelid outward
JOHN KINSELLA hydrography Obsessive reservoir ringing changes as dowser & hazel twig twist sharply over water-way deep patterning flood plain mimicking a subterranean hot spot in dry southern places damping family & stock & seasons of poise designated drought or stream riveting bodies of water perennial corpses diminishing a Pont Neuf flurry of mechanics as the gaudy fountain sprays fashionable names in-font per vascular fons et origo, georgically gloating weir a misshapen picaresque fattened on bloodworms scripted on tidal flats innate down-stream, filaments flexing circularities & principles, beauty-flow bent theatrical, red perch destroying status quo, changing habitats feeding arterial pumps as empire drives its barge inwards from the mouth, large-bellied black swan duping a wader's scurry compressing slurry occupation like stacks in hyper-spatial flocks; text block on text block opening engravings from Les Raisons des forces mouvantes: confluence, text & pre-history, editorials inciting offshore inquiries into Cayman Island companies.
Rainwiper Idly winter like his flag silent hand itching to balance the breathing Before the chill a yearning left traces that cannot be wiped clean purer than the scenery no need to flounce the mitten Up and down and brazen the randomness of dismissal backseats still warm from last spring and the panic for untimely rain Later unexpectedly simple without the reflecting mirror he is able to watch himself standing, outside translated by Arpine Konyalian Grenier
MARY BURGER around then under the bay a sleeping goldfish flash of petals off the surface didn't make a carp, then it was there, white I want you to know something I'll tell you predators; it's us with cans of spray, You hope you won't hurt people; really you hope they won't hurt you. Now just roses or a reservoir. If we could only find the death camp we'd feel better. I said "apotheosis" without really knowing what I meant. Sometimes I'm wrong: like child porn. I learned what a lung was from the American Cancer Society's county fair display. A spiced geranium, bloodstain on the flag; not divided but that people don't know what they're seeing when they look at you.
DANIEL A. KELIN, II Like Water for Ala Wai -a poem of bodies- Dark. Japanese Drumming. Two opaque white pieces of silk hang at one side of the stage. The pieces begin to billow, rising higher and higher. Finally they reach out over the stage. Blue lights flood the cloth. One person enters carrying a paper boat with a candle. The "boat" floats exceedingly slowly about the stage. One by one several other people enter carrying paper boats with candles. They move slowly about the space. Other pieces of cloth reach out across the stage at various heights. Occasionally a piece flies across the stage, free. The "boats" slowly pick up pace and begin to swirl in and about each other. A piece of heavy cloth, dark in color, flops onto the stage. One of the "boats" gets tangled in the piece. It creates its own whirlpool of sorts. It stops, as if stuck. Others are blocked. Slowly, but with increasing speed, there is a jam. The "boats" end up pushing against each other caught in the dark cloth, possible the blue-white. One candle goes out. Another "boat" drops. Another tips. It starts another one on fire. The blue light turns to brown. The clothes all drop off and either wilt or fly off the stage. As a brownness invades the space, one person drops his/her boat and stamps on it. Others follow. A scream erupts from all the people. To the rhythm of the drumming, the people start a stamping dance. The various rhythms come together. The intensity and speed pick up, swirling to a frenzied tempo. A big whirlpool of people are dancing around in a frenetic Bon dance. Cloths are picked up and whipped about. The boats are trampled. Pieces of paper fly onto the stage, eventually taking on recognizable shapes-styrofoam cups, boxes, plastic bags, etc. The frenetic dancers rip up the cloths, tossing them about the stage. The screams revert to a call/answer. Bodies are twirling madly about the stage. They fall. Slam into each other. Fall. Slam. Fall. The bodies all end up on the floor, twisting, flopping, falling lifeless. Music abruptly ends. The bodies shake spastically in odd rhythms. Gasping breaths are heard. The tempos slow. The silence is punctuated by a breath or movement only once in a great while. The entire stage goes silent. We stare at the bodies, material and mess for a long moment.
GWYN MCVAY Those Are Pearls Those are pearls that were his eyes Pilar, pillar of her church, hair shone with dye, y la Virgén de Guadalupe Her aureole smokes, its plastic blisters- slugs in lettuce are veined the same purple-chevrons above a gas station peel back, a blue mantle, calling More curaçao, antifreeze spill in the palm, callus and thorn in battery acid leaking into rust a corroded image: those are pearls that were his eyes, her fierce love that the turistas uncover in napkins, pools of oil on concrete, my love wears silver shoon, Pilar dye-streaked and plastic Guadalupe, both radiant with la sucre, diabetes, holy blossom on vegetable skin, perfume, a cut thumb
GABRIELLE WELFORD Muddly for Bill Felt a small a small rip fender separate now low or load bearing unbearable wall reassure in hand or land crab held up slight or sleight of Free at ze momentary a mo o hell sanit solit o Bend wagon mor dant seepage under this rib Ball cock hen nasty bit a reign in Even this flo hurts a flo hurts even this this flo abandons the rib again where surprising a hole more than a dent a hole shivers Cord less keeps light ing probable show time Whereas it's too much down here many frontiers away devious habit not frock lep o sanit or habeas no non habeo corpus like a light show you were just here be reft do I have a hole center god in it Init
MICHAEL ROBBINS Far candle Sent to know of the silent wood tenants of earthfall, confiscation under secular pretenses of [line broken off] The tides which from afar candle irregular descant of airships, crash toward [...] elimination of class distinctions, I can, he said, only dream of so many at one time, the leafy shelter of the Skralings. It was for your sake the smoke the salt surrendered spelled nothing at least nothing this hearth of graphite [six lines missing] birthdays of dead kings. So you will walk a mile in this polymath's sand tonight, of which it is said even the gods [have suffered] to learn the only way to fall is down a rabbit hole or some other kind of hole, or possibly there is no burial in that northern ground. The pole star is visible despite the lamps of burning city-states, and we can steer our drowsy boats into that fantastic harbor [unintelligible] never to thatch huts again [unknown number of pages used as fuel for cooking fires] drinks cool spring water from an earthen jar. And without it, at the solstice's dire genuflect, we are as one who, composing a hymn,
KAMAKA KANEKOA After Sappho Eh Aunty wake up, he tink he god's gift. You know, dat guy who always sit by you and try sweet talk you when you guys stay talking story. He only trying fo make you laugh cause you love dat kine stuff. You always make like you no can talk and your heart beat come full fast. Your mouth stay all bus' and right away you get all chicken skin, jes' like you "enflamed with passion" or someting la dat. You act dumb. You starting to scare me cause you start fo sweat and you come all green like luau leaf. You act like you when make die dead or someting. Eh, WAKE UP!
IDA YOSHINAGA auntie anti hey, auntie, no go show-off- pierce your nipples, eyebrows, lip, clit... what kine woman you? you wen forget how small dis old plantation town stay? las time you wen ride on dat crotch-rubbeen, harley knock-off, rice burner, your tribal, dark indigo tattoos sprinkled with crystals of shoulder-sweat, my girlfren hanachan wen say dat's da crazy wahine of waialua- she dating one popolo, military-kine, he ten years younger and get kids from his ex-girlfren, da club rock-za hostess whose ex-boyfren was one married doctah from da shimada family- no, not da shimada store shimadas- da haleiwa-side shimadas, yeah, dat one, da guy who wen new york for school wit da fat rolling chins- da bar girl wen kakaroach all his money den he wen crying to his wife, I sorry mommy, i like come home... so howcum you ack li' you no know where we stay? why you no can wear mu'u-mu's an' nice-kine liberty house-girl hair? why gotta spike'em out like one over-ripe pineapple, pokey and lame?
ELIZABETH TREADWELL Patience, Imogene a clown dripped in heaven sensitive fox the social impact of this back-bent paradisio, horse-drawn ~ (mishap) ________________ indication of fraught begonias, a back-door jewel (not supposedly here with me) ________________ (your) serenades tired & restless a fine place to be lain, stored in (a commentary of daggers) thickly tunneled landscape of a former guest __ ~ to what turn-on, knock-kneed allegory (barely written/ visible) it is so hard to fall in a clear blue lake ________________ reputations are made on such ~ look at her fancy shoes Donkeyskin One: held in her mouth, the orifice stick of her landlady's chapel, her maid and lady-in-waiting. What she was. Kill the thing. The thing itself shits jewels. And father hid in his quest, hid is quest. A proposition. Trembled little lacy. Girl in the courtyard. In the former wear of snakeskin boots. Land upon her, eyes of dear prince. Charmed, I'm sure, as long as there are grandmothers. And volumes of Perrault.
BOBBIE WEST Cinematique   sh e ha s, u nqu e stio nably   th e wor st ta st e i n hat s of a ny livi ng actr e s s.   y e s, but Cary Gra nt wor e a blu e poly e st er suit   in th e show er.   hi s catato nic pati e nts miraculou sly awak e n ed.   th en th ey da nc ed.   th e cru el captai n swor e h e would n ev er giv e i n to thi s muti ny.   wh e n h e tur n ed a nd walk ed away, sh e sat th er e, smoki ng.   polic e arriv ed o n th e isla nd, but   no o n e wa s l eft aliv e - so who wa s th e murd er er?   a f ew wi s e-guy pri so n ers e scap ed i nto th e swamp.   ("Ro s ebud" do e s not com e to mi nd h er e.)   th ey all scr eam ed wh e n th ey r ealiz ed th e gia nt worm s   w er e tryi ng to eat th eir f e et.   a nd th e whol e th eat er shiv er ed wh e n Norma n   tur n ed out to b e hi s ow n moth er
JOHN TRANTER Sfumato Anne you are falling in love late in love, your life dwindling like an image on the ceiling traced with a smoking candle, now fading- at night the stars caught in the tree branches- they were playing the kissing game, she insisted, so we felt crazy, the heat, our bodies shackled to shock smelling the brightest perfume, but she said, Oh, there, the boys, look, and they murmured alone together-yellow ink on the brown pages, lemon playing against the pale blue air, and she passed around my 'show you' heart, looking and looking, shopping to buy, the one who mattered smiling with his eyes, not his heart. 'Once my hopes had died nothing mattered, but then, when had it mattered?' Too much drinking, a vista sweeping beyond the plain around the periphery of the bay, he wiped her mouth, it was from the summertime fun and drinks, that and the purple ink on the marriage contract. So they talked, so he fell arse over heels in love, he thought she was unattainable, but she ate him up, is that any kind of a future for a grown man? He flushed warmly and dragged me past a large store dummy as he whispered his dirty little secrets, even the slightest indications of domestic intimacy, the kind of perfume she used in bed, viruses and lack of sleep from the trip home. We made money, we found her an innocent job. Tie the knot properly-I guess you know to do that- of course I know-but politics soaks in everywhere, now they were acting serious, one hiding, one exposing feelings of desolation. It was the boss who stole from the customers, she said, and as far as reporting it to the cops, she was game. Then security code-words flashed onto the screen-'When I believe how I believe, what I fucking-well believe-' is that any way to talk to a superior? It happens all the time, but knowing about it is different from doing something about it-my career, I noticed the old wine had the same flavour as the stuff the girl was drinking. It made me sick. Oh yes, you could say it was kind of her. He told her, over and over, how to teach others intellectual games, how to sidestep the moral issues, how to brush up your magnetism and influence people- held in his stare she was like a fish, somehow. A snapshot gentility, decayed from the backing sheet to the front gloss, and now whenever I look at my career, it's to wonder how I ever believed all that.
E. TRACY GRINNELL was she ever ...will take this to her grave but say something more endless, than the strideress sleeps now with the fishes for it was us against the unbothered... -Jennifer Moxley lie stride, you are a lady- stride in way; fancy long unwandered steps. (hide this- presently) will is this taken to the grave. will is taken, and brought to the grave. hers. this lady may or may not have lied. here she lies: it all being taken there. more endless than will (future), and not being a manner of falsifying (hide- hers is figure head. hers is iconoclastic. hers is mocking other than: who claims not to have lied, who claims compassion, bedside, yet plays silence. hers is mocking and takes this to the grave as uncomplaining. (we were against the hidden) (against the hiding as matter of complacency) more endless than lying (in body or deed) more endless than lying still. hers was attached to lying where endless attached itself as meaningful. endless as a meaningful endeavor. endeavor to lie, endlessly. endeavor to lay an act of courage. but was she ever courageous? was she ever. there is a lady of strides. hers is strides of ways. striding as ways. weighing leggy. making ways, manners of legs. she is a lady. that is to say she is a 'she.' that is to say gendered- not to say, sexed. we shall say she, is gendered. hers, sexed. she had no sir. hers was uncommitted. she had no sir. hers had her. and now she sleeps. now hers is endeavor to lay hers endeavors, endlessly. hers, six feet under. she is a lady. was she ever courageous. (hide this- concealing obsequious by nature) lady, this hiding. she hides, hers is concealed. naturally. servility non sequitur. only, lady is presumptuous. lady, this is now hers. servility enforced as we all are, to the grave. as we all are, it is beyond presumptions. (lady in hiding- sleeping with fishes- sleeping around- she gets around- hers is lying- six feet under- all these are speeches. voiced. palatal. voiced. stops. all these are voices. ladies, she, hers. hers is active, bilabial. hers is servile only to the grave. it is us. find the complacent. see: unbothered. it is us. see: unfettered. hers complacent we are voiced we are waited jealously unfettered she courageous never came unbothered lie stride. you are a lady. was she courageous? take it in, and take it to the grave- was she ever. hers was ever courageous was she ever- she was.
LIZ WALDNER Wednesday Morning Pray Time Trial. Tribulation. Psycho-sexual amputation. So busy. So big. What happened? The whole in the psyche's ozone-it was an accident, m'excuse. O lord god in heaven save me, salvate, from an uninhabitable moment. No eye contact feels safer in here. She has a bagel in her pocket. How come it's not bagle like bugle? The music of bugles is bagle-like, going round and round and coming out here. How can she but giggle at the french horn's effluence, etc. Have I ignored it and has it gone away? No no row row boat river slipstream ocean view harbor home harvest home blank turkey delight table laden linden the tree linden the tea the leap from forest canopy to golden savannah Suzanna don't you cry for me I've gone to Tangyanika with a thumb piano on my knee. Little Jack Horner, his corner. Thumb plum one sex in a nutshell plumb line heart line throw out the live line (phone sex) I meant life line Jesus is coming for me. When he washed oh when he washed when my Jesus washed he washed my sins away o happy day with thunder clouds o dunderhead o donner all alone in the wrack of the roof of history o tool Machiavellian o fool antediluvian o well blessed over dressed o men a men a women a linen a linnet a linden a tree (find a place to stop, about another minute, stop, second hand, the discourse on the watch, the sad and happy clocks, the pattern of his socks but actually, ouch, I stopped with the tree)
PAM BROWN Lido obscured by the mayonnaise-yellow towelling hat's brim, his expression's unknown a flat Romanesque castle on a wooded hill sloping down to some sheer sandiness - the background he lifts the canvas handle of an emerald-blue inflatable dinghy with rocket-shaped fins & bumps it over the sand he thinks - "I think I'll grow a trimmed goatee.." a woman in a white bikini & navy-blue watchband toes a soccer ball towards her shadow "...if possible.." he continues thinking the little hat's toggles dangle lightly against his skin the glary white fringes of the green & red umbrellas sussurate.
ZHANG ER Ruins The family masks were excavated but also our faces that cannot be shown hanging over the city wall without the city we have our reasons Exaggerated movements and the sense of being watched minute by minute following the grave digger's peg we have our reasons To dig for the wellhead moist soil bleached to dry sand desire has tilted the castle we have reasons Rename these streets that have lost their names carefully braid the hair long dispersed for size the smile under the masks more and more genuine we have our reasons translated by Arpine Konyalian Grenier
PAM BROWN This & That (I cite myself) Resting like a relic in a field of meaning - push the rocks around for transformation - gravel rash, scab, scar, all factors that fall squarely, (like that) those well-known codes - public-private continuum - a surveyor's tripod clacks - the laneway, reduced & framed, is picturesque - even the rubbish appears artificial. casual citations accumulate, ballooning empirical tactics - o no it's an index of anecdote the hypermarket surveillance camera attempts its capture - my nearly-beautiful every dream, my artificial memory daily. disease, elusive entity, slithers. pale gloved hands, yet HIV negative. the milky ampoule's contents swallowed - waste management, the nightclub. sleepless in a townhouse, hours of zonelessness. (like this)
BRIAN CARPENTER odd if even too order miss up mess with the and order see quence the how usual words in fall place in order fall in up messed place then spring the deal this big whats order with this mess whats order the deal big deal when even if even through mess with and through words and place and the words place deal big whats the diff iculty and bother why bother if the deal big deal even spring a mess even if odd even too bother with this place order write mess mis s order out with out order it and the mess is big place this place o bother
KAREN KELLEY Diptych shown here in an unfinished state (not beautiful enough): graphite, lead, funnel, flowers. What you feel is true: a sketched-in bodice, images of isolated gestures against dense grids, dozens of nylon cords taut over a structure of copper tubing. As long as the narrative hesitates between choices, other interpretations are possible: nervous inner ear configurations, topographical maps, copper mesh, feathers. The neckline area is a bright red, the body a luminous green and white. This doesn't exclude flowers, fruit, or vegetables cut at the stem, broken eggshells, a surface onto which milk has been poured (object of desire)(pulling the weight of dozens of blurred words: summer storm, plunge, complete darkness.) Zoom in on the word "water." The most far-flung, most dangerous words extend into the swamp and cannot be approached on foot, but only by rowboat. The moss conceals bullfrogs, birds, and insects which are understood to be products of human memory-moist- before it began to explicitly call upon narrative, that other source. Tell me, then: this scene of depth and power 6 feet tall and 3 feet thick hung about 2 feet above the ground with alternating bands of gray and black, lapping, lapping, are these emptied and unsteady images various phases of reality? Are they implicit? I came here with nothing in mind and was kissed and I am going to sleep tonight, early, my inward heart (this would explain) placed at eye level, a web of baffling connections appealing to the landscape not as an index of identity but as sheer material locked for a long time alone in a bathroom coated with powdered blue pigment punctuated by literal depth, elements of which spill out onto the floor. The narrative runs between unpainted borders, a landscape of profusion laden with words, some of which have dropped to the ground (disintegrating flowers) (eventually feels so nutty and dizzying that it's all right to simply let it pass) through which can be seen female figures hung from the ceiling, hoop skirts of copper tubing perpendicular to the wall and projecting like so many open doors alternating vertical bands of yes and no, each side a mirror image of the other, opposite point of view without interruption, containing repetitions of forms (that evoke) dwellings of the imaginations ELEMENTS OF STILLNESS [PINE TREES][SNOW] REALLY STARTED TO MATTER TO ME I AM A PIECE OF NATURE EMBEDDED WITH SMALL OBJECTS, OR MOLDS OF SUCH OBJECTS, WEDDING GOWNS, CHARCOAL LINES, MELTING SNOW JUST THE INANIMATE DEBRIS TEARS THE WORLD APART AND LAYS IT BACK TOGETHER resembling chunks of raw meat or bodily organs or a document or the dream of a white room with a big window affixed to the human interior in long, narrow strips of text: a large drainage grate, or a stairway characterized by mixtures, where one thing slips over another- When the voice speaks, I listen to the voice. I am almost too breathless to think. Are the parts related to each other, folded arms and crossed legs, buried stone, long sleeve, hand that encircles the wrist, rising tide (beyond the ordinary constant) sensitive to light and touch, beyond mimic? I don't know how to present the self. it is almost surely a deteriorated poem of some kind (broken back) It is impossible to be in control, and I know my life is an illusion. I am no longer interested in a very complicated narrative. That heart is my heart, MY DOOR-whose central image is a heart.
BILL LUOMA goblur teller heffie thisby car rection zample porting follow topal over we seed flashing hazard eats in gogo bath vurst importer phono wellfleet splain brook sprain park mountie fever booten lox car broken stealer donut locker less you hatchet ready goto thought i turkey phoner lizzie please putter icing knotten trash bag on button icy button coolie katie terpin seita cutey get a coller repark styro foamie cooler pull jupe side heff sticky ear sounden grinding lock car frank willa dixie soma icing deli door next lacey bing icing turkey packing melon starting blanding uppen we heff not mullen broken key rem not splaining detail one booten caring heff ignite broken stealers sticksen crank pozy push up drive in wellfleet eater well hole weekend plan justice mashpee broken bricklyn play pen chess pie police do thing not get flag heffie park douglass wayside thursday sno lent out wednesday looken after tuesday snowden oppen hood starter behive brandy hoze needy socket woon skill lack wiper snowden offer car waiter calto storing part grunty forem finner shipping sexy fiver core charge rim v-8 auto gobbler arrow num num plusser tunny oil wacky car off wipen greaser warm no conek gator larm sturdy robe shay shower burlen terry clothe yer wicking moisty schnecken coffee planer shingle dignals yooper coossen meter anamounting behind tenor pushup atta arms down brekkie go free pop pop cluchet ball left in courtie left in canal nogo garage douglass nono shay cal a mama duglaa aven zoro looter chico berto ritzo parker car inman head plead zooty loren hess judge saver know it start breaken try crank friendly levis park no thursday sno level two party bringer can be waiting lunghi push car cleaner fore kate kate drive must conference bye bye lef key zooter tow canarsie michel inman kids read atsnay winthrop hwy kings church road righton nostran righton glennwood walker twenty blocker vicky small dust inbod shop by marble workmen wrecking kings yard countie howza dead cars subject magnet lectro big guy sweeper oil hey move oily gobbler auto mouthy hippo open hungry grounder side sponge douglass answer happens hatter care if olden broken no one get intuit stripper cargo stray lift tag many sorties dooring written pencil gracie byparts round monda sticky auto yester right ask kenny starting corder yes day you safe bench test motto take slip white face office pay back bring slip bad dog bad own cage jacket radio fluk tate badge mako plessy core receipt catch and carry starter motor three leg jaunty greasy sheesh be back otter using key
JOE ROSS Just Before It lasts nearly as stone. This light ducking as a discretion makes way. As if choice. Or a will to bind without being bought. Or brought to the forefront of some incredible yearning, as by the sea. Outlooking is being. A sudden stillness shimmering as a kiss. The cliffs without description. A language. In here you find the dogs bark just for the joy. What would you become from such wander? The trees return to words.
JULIANA SPAHR Review of Albert Saijos OUTSPEAKS: A RHAPSODY (Honolulu: Bamboo Ridge Press, 1996). 199 pages. $12.00. Sometimes I go along looking for something new to read. I long for it. I was luckily able briefly to satisfy this urge a few months ago when I encountered Albert Saijo's OUTSPEAKS: A RHAPSODY. Saijo is in his 70s, a Nisei, a WWII internee and veteran, a comrade of Beat poets, a stoner, and a current Volcano, Hawai`i, resident. (I cant help wondering if Saijos living in a remote part of the most isolated landmass has something to do with the freshness of this book and I think the answer is yes.) I picked up his new book (among his many pursuits he has written a book on backpacking that is years out of print and collaborated with Jack Kerouac and Lew Welch) and I thought I am lucky today. Saijo clearly and self-consciously places himself in the Blakean and Emersonian tradition of transformation. The book opens with quotations from both. And we get in the poems themselves an emphasis on individuality and self-expression. The pieces read as brief but intense rants on subjects as diverse as IS LANGUAGE NECESSARY TO HUMAN EXISTENCE to the GULF WAR to a piece dedicated TO IRISH HEROES. Saijo's claims are simple: I WANT TO BEAR WITNESS (17) and MY TEXT IS THE WORLD I LIVE IN (19). Or more interestingly: I WANT TO RHAPSODIZE BUT I WOULD NOT BE PUT INTO ANY LITERARY CATEGORY I AM AN ANIMAL IN A CAGE & I AM BARKING TO BE LET OUT AS IT HAPPENS MY BARK IS RHAPSODIC (19). This desire to rhapsodize in a Cagean awareness that one is not free yet must talk as if one isdistinguishes Saijos work. He approaches things sideways a lot, writes things other people dare not think. Consider this passage from ANALGESIA: LAND OF PAIN FREE: LETS TAKE THE BUCKS FROM HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS CANCER & CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH ALL THE BUCKS WE COUGH UP TO SUPPORT MYTH OF CONTENDING NATIONSTATES HITECH AEROSPACE PROJECTS ETC ALL THE EARTH DESTROYING PROJECTS THAT GOT US KNEE DEEP IN SHIT EARTHWIDE & TURNED WORLD INTO A COMBO PLATE OF BIG MAC COKE FRIES WITH SIDE OF SUKIYAKE + 2 SCOOPS RICE & LETS TAKE THESE BUCKS TO FUND THE MOST AWESOME CRASH PROGRAM THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN LETS FORGET THOSE ENDLESS BULLSHIT PROJECTS WEVE BEEN FRITTERING OUR TIME & MONEY AWAY ON & ADDRESS PROBLEM NUMERO UNO IN HUMAN LIFE PAIN THE TOTAL ELIMINATION OF PAIN BY THE END OF THE CENTURY (23-24). But since I am a text fetishist, I can't let this review go by without complaining just a little. Saijo writes a visual poetry of scribble and revelation in different colored inks. There is an interesting reproduction on the cover and there are tantalizing black and white glimpses of the visual poems throughout the book but the book itself presents word by word translations of these poems. Saijo, I want to argue, is a new Blake and his readers deserve an illustrated edition. His manuscript pages are beautiful because they are messy yet readable. But they are also important for they illustrate that the paradox of our position as readers in the modern age: if we want to continue thinking about the relation between the physicality of the worker and the world, we have no choice but to look at what a man who claims I WOULD GO OUT & SMASH MACHINERY BUT FOR THE FUTILITY OF ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD makes (62). The late twentieth century, with the democratizing influence of desktop publishing technology and web design, has claimed to have created a lot of new Blakes. But little of this graphical work presents something that refreshes our eye. In this age, I find myself desperate for signs of the humannot to establish a human essentialism or authenticitybut rather to explore the ways the human is messy, immediate, and daily in its complexity. By celebrating low-tech handwriting in the age of mechanical reproduction, Saijo reconnects with these qualities. Or as he writes, ALL I WANT IS TO KEEP SOME TRUE SENSE OF AN ANIMAL UP ON ITS HIND LEGS ON A PLANET IN DEEP OUTER SPACE & IF A MACHINE WILL HELP ME I WANT THE SMALLEST MACHINE LUREENA MAKES (64-65). I have mentioned a Blakean and an Emersonian tradition because it is the most obvious throughout the book. But I dont want to sell this book short as uninflected romanticism (or as just more Beat poetry a little later in the game) because it reconnects and refigures much. (It would, for instance, bet interesting to compare Saijo's work to work done by language writer Robert Grenier who also uses a handwritten scrawl and produces poems that are close visual equivalents.) I find myself wanting to say that OUTSPEAKS is both rooted in tradition and totally new; that it is both a product of a solitary genius and of someone hooked into communities and culture; that it is written by a Luddite and by a progressive visionary; by an anarchist and a socialist. Saijo is, of course, well aware that contradictions like these are the stuff that forms existence. At one point he uses the kolea, a bird that winters in Hawai`i and summers in Alaska and Siberia, as a utopic model for dealing with contradictions: ITS REPORTED THEY HAVE THIS INTERESTING CUSTOM OF MAINTAINING THEIR FORAGING TERRITORIES DURING THE DAY THEN ABANDONING THESE TERRITORIES AT NIGHT TO GATHER AND ROOST TOGETHER IN FLOCKS SOME KIND OF ANIMAL CIVILITY HERE SOME KIND OF POLITIC FOR BEING TOGETHER AND ALONE (143). Contradictions are part of the wonderful madness of this book but also are illustrative of the relevance of this book which refigures and reinvests the Beat values of dropping out to open the mind, of individuality as the basis of an equitable collective culture. It is good to reconsider the world in this manner, with a fresh eye from someone who has seen a great deal.