All contents from this back issue will be included. The first
installment is the poetry.
AN ANCIENT RECIPE
by Earl Coleman
Most gormandize on love,
A fiery Tabasco in their veins,
And relish what chance dumps upon their plate,
An overseasoned stew or yesterday's remains.
A few, abstemious,
Sip only of ambrosia or refrain,
Eschew the fallen fruit and culls
And keep their hunger sharp as love's sweet pain.
by Earl Coleman
For pleasure's sake
Of his own devise,
Testing our retort
He may yet put right.
He makes plentiful
Potatoes, barley, corn,
Although some sullen
Crave tequila's worm.
Out bellies to the bar
We are intemperate or wise.
For these few hours
We may choose between
The rot-gut and the wine,
Dependent only on our will,
Until that designated time
Too soon, He closes shop
And sends us home
To sleep it off.
by Robert Collins
Though he tried to hide it,
we all knew him as the drunk
who slashed the mayor's tires
on a dare--blackest sheep
of a clan with too many secrets,
rising once a year during mass
to recite the pledge again,
shaking, staggering on sea legs,
the greasy suits he sweated through
stinking of whiskey and tobacco.
Then late one spring he vanished
like a man who's fallen overboard
in darkness three days out of port.
Only a long time later did I learn
he's started disappearing years before,
drifting out alone during funerals
for a shot to take the edge off
or cruising from bar to corner bar
trying to forget while his wife
and kids trolled down foggy streets,
black after block in a borrowed car.
Ten years after he was banished,
dying slowly on the Bowery, alone,
washed up, beyond rescue or remorse,
his liver swollen big as a football,
he prowled through padlocked doorways,
out of breath, crazed on Muscatel,
trying to find a passage in the wreckage
he was trapped in on the bottom
that might lead back to the surface,
a hunger mean and lethal as his own
alert behind each door he tried to force.
Before he sank beneath contempt,
shitting his pants and vomiting blood,
on Sundays I'd ride beside him
in the huge back seat of our Buick
submerged in the stale aroma of wear beer,
listening to the stories he coughed up,
and wish I had a father who talked to me
like he did, believing I was drowning
while the world outside swarm by,
holding my breath, holding myself under.
by Jeanette M. Cox
Her baby was
born without a brain
just outside Matamoros,
She buried the
baby on the banks
of the Rio Grande
just outside Brownsville,
The police were
and brought her in for questioning.
"The way I see it, it was a fair
she said, dragging her
FALL in BOSNIA
by J. M. Cox
Rain splits the sky
my eyes catch misted thoughts
walking upon corpses of leaves.
by J. M. Cox
toe to heel
from the center
of the rug,
following the braid.
My ragdoll is at
Mama sits before
the mirror, twisting
hair with crooked fingers.
Daddy had broken
the day I received my doll.
had hit Mama in the
and threw her
against the stove.
The rug beneath my feet
blends from green to
The day I was given my ragdoll,
Billy had tried to
but Daddy was stronger.
Now I wear his overalls and
The blood from Billy's ear
had ruined Mama's
I watch as Mama wraps her
hair upon her head.
The day I
was given my doll,
Mama had wrapped her
to save money
to put Billy in a box.
The men in uniforms
came and took Daddy
At the end of the rug,
the braid is tucked under.
I can reach my ragdoll
but turn and follow
the braid back
to the center.
SELF POET TRAITS
by J. M. Cox
each age produces its own poetry
to a norm
by slicing the unexpected
with the unexpected
from the separatists,
and the post-modernists,
and the retro-spectralists,
for it is within
that we find our true
by Holly Day
as she lay there, bleeding
helpless under four hundred pounds of
quivering flesh, he smiled
a toothless grin at what
nausea screamed "hang ten!"
again she tried to turn her head
so as not to throw up on herself
he held her with flabby hands so
she swallowed the bile
and pretended to be
but this Quasimodo clone was smart,
smart enough to lure her into his
tiny slum apartment, smart enough to
recognize the slow pulsing in her
chest as life
life to be tortured
for yet another
AS CONTRA-CONCENTRATION DROSSED
by Jim DeWitt
such terse poetry was never red
until today, dropleting quatrains
tossed away for some scarlet time bum
to catch, as the trilled tome
he'll hum comes perverse
but approving to
the swell trickle of verse
as when a puppet laughs
resembling too well the fickle academics
of Hell, yet soughing
a soft-enough touch for moves to
jock-o-lanterns baying at
the moonbody's memories of illusion
till those of a
de-crayonified goblin's ilk
cast tibgles faded enough
for a crystal swaying-back glass
of milky non-confusion
by Jim DeWitt
the thicker air of this Alp valley
with incipient stories
but the bard in me is determined
to climb higher
and somewhere there stumble onto
an unknown alphabet
to write them in
shaking a furious flurry of words
out of my pen--
then what care I if I ever get back
to Hackensack to mow the lawn
and take out the trash . . .
ho, see over yonder
a snowflake's just landed
smack on that black cat's back
by Jan DiVinvenzo
Lowered a sawblade
faster than sound
to make an incision
straight down the spine.
I whirred him in half
specking the white
collar with fine
he sat unharmed,
in a quaint cafe,
but so swift was I
in doing the deed
that like a candle
after Zorro's sword,
years down the road
he fell in half.
by Paul A. Hanson
Their daily arguments peeled
the living room wallpaper; they
cured their illness with alcohol
which saturated the floor boards,
as they exchanged four-letter
words, and fists beating on the bones
of the house.
"Your tricks are no treats,"
he shouted from the basement,
setting fire to old newspapers.
when the smoke
"I loved him,"
she told friends
at the funeral.
The landlord felt differently.
by Scott C. Holstad
apparitions of people
penises torment me
of skeletal phantoms
walking in rain
deathly dead stick arms
upraised to the gods
knew one such
cheated of life
by a diseased society
intent upon deprivation
of body and soul
identity as we would
by what could
by Scott C. Holstad
they come at me in
my dreams smiling
gap toothed grins
at live in
a non acceptable mode
so to speak
of useless ideologies
and utopian dilemmas
barrel chested dreams
of new identity
threat to the
OUT TAKE ON DREAM WORLD
by Scott C. Holstad
here we go
by teams no less
the world marching in
to this tiny
battle and decide
half of us take seats
the other half goes on
i'm in the front row
aisle seat too
only 12 in my team
i've got a
sawed off double
pointed straight at
the cheeky throat
of some unlucky
m-o-therfu-c k-er (hopefully this confuses any search engine)
also gotta grenade
action starts when
(sun)light goes down
light leavin town
fleeing on a
seats start to rotate
guns go off pop
i squeeze my trigger
miss by a ton
feel hard thud
and bloody soccer
ball head lands in my
wide white eyeballs
glarin up at me
blood running down
sweaty itchy fingers
surreal victim sequence
of carnage twitching in
state of mind smell
shit in the air
lights go up
only 2 left on my team
(don't feel guilty then)
from view no smoke
on bloody joints just
a few left and
eerie naked people
sprouting hairy leers
adopting post PC
we all know
this will be it
so i check my gun
no more grenades
and wonder why me
can't move from our
seats feel a little
trapped can't run
spot na-k ed b-it c-h
crouched and gurgling
on all fours and
we lock eyes
this is it
bring my gun to bear
(can't shoot till the
lights go down)
see cold barrel
looking at me
sweating hard now
this seems crazy
it's all suicide
we're less than
from each other
we're gonna cancel
each other out
she licks the barrel
of her hard steel gun
points it straight
at my head
dancing defecation dance
Who Put This Play On
what sh i-t he ad thought
this is why are we
killing each other
what's the point
knowing fear will
come when light
goes down and
of the senses
in oblivious state
still we must
kill in order to
day i guess
and now it's
time and our
guns are locked
in people the
LETTER to HONG KONG from my 8th-GRADE LATIN TEACHER
in ALABAMA, 36 YEARS LATER
by Li Min Hua
Vowed I would not let another week pass
before I wrote.
Back from Charlotte for my last checkup for my eyes.
I had surgery there in November.
Did not realize I could not see colors correctly
until the first cataract was gone.
I see fine now.
Don't know from whom you hear in town,
but I'll try first to list those
of your Mother's friend's who've also died:
Evelyn (57 yrs.), died Thursday after a
three-yr. valiant battle with cancer.
Ralph from cancer about a month ago.
He had a lovely second wife. Harriet,
his daughter lost one of her sons in
the Service before Christmas. She is
divorced. He dropped a bomb. They were
Mary Francis was found dead in bed last fall.
She was Van's stepmother.
Fred and his wife were brutally murdered in March.
Mr. Mill is gone, Garvin gone.
Clarence is still here, in body only. Poor thing.
Virginia (Mrs. Fred Sr.) is gone. Her house,
in front of Clarence's is vacant still.
Sunny Sr. is gone. Poor Tommy, his wife, is
senile, and so pathetic.
Dr. S. (Donald) has Parkinson's Disease. They
don't talk about it, but you can surely tell it.
Marvin has cancer all over him. Pitiful.
Thomas is in very poor condition. Rose still
Doris is gone, as is Catherine.
My garden is very pretty now, but so full of weeds.
I've spent today watering it.
And they all have Baptist appetites.
I can't work in it like I used to
because of a bad back and foot and 80 years!
Get the fellows from the Fellowship House, alcoholics,
to help me and they are pretty good for the most part.
I enjoy it, and so do my friends.
What do you think of all the Methodist
about deleting "Onward Christian Soldiers"
from the hymnal?
And the Baptists quarreling
about what is and isn't true in the Bible?
Two August bodies spending precious time on such silly things.
By the way,
our minister resigned on Sunday.
For my part, I am delighted.
Wish we could get a little more mature fellow
than we have had.
And in Charlotte, the minister of the largest Baptist Church
has left the Baptist and going to become an Episcopal priest!
Oh yes, Justin R. Is in London with a liver transplant,
doing very well.
Poor Hazel is here on needles and pins.
She was over there for three months. Just returned , in fact.
What are you doing
during the vacation?
I'd love to see you. I'm home for good, I think.
Can't take all this running around any more.
I'm surely glad I did all my gadding when I was younger.
Let me hear from you.
I HAVE NO REASON
by Douglas S. Johnson
I have no reason
To leave here,
No plane to catch,
No train to ride.
I have no wife
With wifely hands
In Chocolate chip
When I get home.
I will stay here,
Safe as a rolled-up
Nestled in the slick
Blank and white
I will not leave.
I have no reason.
by Douglas S. Johnson
Lie on the ground,
Our clumsy feet,
Fragile, quivering moons,
That we try in vain
To speak aloud
Fall like bits
Of weary lead,
Sounding like sad,
That meet the earth
That spreads forever
Like rings in water.
Wander the ground,
Worn and tattered,
As ancient women.
Moths of light
Swim over us,
In a brief magic trick.
I take your hand
And remember the million
Since last year.
MY WIFE MARY'S PROVERBS
by Douglas S. Johnson
There are certain capricious ways
About some women
Who carefully pluck
Their eyebrows out
Only to just as painfully paint
Them back again
In wild, wide arches
Of constant surprise.
And there are undignified things surmised
Of fifty-year-old men
Who will restlessly prod
A hornet's nest
With canes and gasoline
And then curse the stung child
For getting in the way.
There's a surly shade
Which hangs about the swollen feet
Of slavish cooks
Who work endlessly to engineer
Lavish nine-course dinners
And then complain about the food.
And then there's a curious fashion owned,
A honed, fine elegance,
By couples, bedecked in Munnsingwear,
Who walk down the aisles
At the movies
With bellies full of greasy food
Paid for with hot cheeks.
by John P. KRISTOFCO
I ran down the old streets in my dream again last night.
I knew the houses and the doors,
but no one was home;
no one is ever home when we run the old streets,
looking into the windows, shouting on the steps,
searching for afternoons of baseball,
pleading for an extra evening in the tent,
another hour in the yard.
Someone at the door should tell it
to stop the racket
and go to sleep;
everyone must go to sleep.
There is little time,
and there is work to do
PAINTING THE HOUSE
by John P. Kristofco
Before the weather goes too far
and October's short sun
steals the day away,
I go back to finish
on the ladder,
back to brushes
in coffee cans
and white rimmed tins
of paint in the garage;
four weeks now to finish
this business of deception.
Beneath the tiring maple
I spread a thin veneer
on drying wood
the gnats and mites,
the cracks and lines of seasons
in their cycles.
It goes on just like philosophy,
theology, or logic,
covering the quirks of autumn,
shielding the creeping dark
It stretches like a skin
across weathered bones and blood,
the relentless simplicity
of each subtracting day.
I fall asleep
before the crackling of the fire
while the cold rain
begins to fall
on the fresh dried paint
THE OLD SLOVAK WOMAN ENTERS UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
by John. P. Kristofco
in the north wing,
flit about the hive.
She sits alone.
Women at the desk peer above their glasses,
and she wonders if they've ever been upstairs,
or if they've just the hounds at the gates.
Her hard brown eyes move across
the orange and metal room,
people with clipboards, cards, and papers.
She is silent
in her blue print dress and sweater,
her babushka in the canvas bag.
Beads repeat contrition;
she has faltered, failed, stumbled til
she finds herself huddled here, alone,
washed up upon this carpet shore,
She left the kitchen window open some,
for the air,
and Mrs. Konoczek will be by
for the plants,
but she knows it doesn't matter.
She still smells the must
the hallways and the closets
But here it is the plastic
and the gauze,
muzak and muted voices
mocking the ceramic silence.
Here it is
the slide and slap
that will snap her up
and take her
with a jolt and metal hum
up to the room
she has never seen,
where she will die.
by Peter Layton
14 and observed a rape
back a weasel's semi truck stop
East Rosin, girl skipping
screaming in busted down
tule reeds off I-50 didn't
Help caught each step in the
drum of dust magnets
drank all my Coke, veined licorice
gobbling it all little thing
crying like waste dabs her
pulled clothes back
pass two truckers saying nothing
kick on to frame bike
these different assaults since
cover my face
I want my own . . .
by Pete Lee
I want my own electric chair
I want it old and creaky
I want it big and wooden
I ant it square and clunky
I want a shaved head
I want a last meal
I want a priest there
I want to walk the last mile
I want leather restraints
I want official spectators
I want one reluctant reporter
I want it to happen at 12:01 a.m.
I want to smile weakly
I want to hyperventilate
I want lawyers running about unseen
I want their actions to be in vain
I want candlelight vigils
I want to give a shaky thumbs-up
I want to take one last look around
I want it burned into my pupils
I want someone to dim the lights
by Frances LeMoine
In another setting,
the density of your innocence, inevitable and clean,
could be gauged.
Its gravity could be appreciated, its rhythm sung, its dignity
The warmth of its eloquence could heat the tongues of the
In this setting,
It is ignorance and imperception.
It is ridiculed in malicious whispers by these sophisticates and
Ignored in boredom.
Your bullet proof oblivion invites assault
and in this setting you are our sweet enemy.
by Kenneth Leonhardt
Stephen Collins Foster deemed
(Oh!) Susanna fair . . .
Until he, of Jeannie dreamed,
With the Light Brown Hair.
by Kenneth Leonhardt
Necessity may be
The mother of invention . . .
But she has aborted
Many a good intention.
JEALOUSY: A TANGO
by Duane Locke
Although not a diva,
she was as jealous as Floria Tosca.
Any blonde that chanced to walk by my house
was thought to be pacing the street
to see if I were alone.
The edges of my curtain were worn and dirtied
by her constant gripping and peeping outside
to see what woman was seeking me.
I tolerated her outrages
because they were flattering
and supplied subject matter for my dreams.
She was the only lover I had.
Once some girl by mistake knocked on my door.
She with scissors stuck her in the face.
The police carried her away,
and I'm still alone.
But now I understand her jealousy.
She thought everyone lived as she lived.
It was revealed that she had five other lovers
at this time.
Now that she is in jail,
her other lovers have found others.
I'm the only one alone.
by G. C. Mahan
The point behind this, he says,
Gesturing down at the woman pristine,
Held hard on the porcelain table,
The point is, it can be done.
Snap! Elastic worm fingers push,
Stretching into gloves.
A dark slow moan begins,
Scalpel elegantly held, relaxed
In long fingers, gestures.
A smell of iron slightly rusted
In a bone dead auto yard
Rises slowly as he, in one
Ballet arch, cut across . . .
Cherry red fingers work swiftly.
Intent on removal,
Intent on proof.
Nobel stuff, Laureate stuff;
Prizes received; speeches made;
Fame, fortune: immortality.
Now, he whispers, now . . .
It begins to rise up, out.
Slowly, slowly now . . .
One slip, a breath out of place
And it's over . . .Now, slowly . . .
He sees the Prize already won.
A background cough-ssssh . . . !
Pure focus . . . The Prize . . .
Slips, squirts, misses . . .
A groan throated by an
Intense, impatient audience
Concentrating on failure.
It ends quickly; she dies
Shuttering ever so slightly.
An imperceptible glint of defeat
As he snaps the gloves,
Tossed into the bright red heap.
Next time, he says, next time
I want better nurses: more light
And better nurses!
In the outer room a small man waits.
In concentrated unfocus he lifts his head,
Nervously fingering her well-worn purse.
How is she? He asks.
MADE IN AMERICA
by G. H. Mahan
I stand washing my hands.
A smell of iron rusting all around.
Crimson speckled walls turning black.
In the heat of a quiet August night
Father, mother, sister, brother,
Calm, dead calm,
washing my hands.
Thoroughly American made murder.
I will be another of the undead,
Rusting, wasting, waiting, tasting
Madness. Let the court decide.
by Chaz Murray
There is no where left to run
when the eyes see darkness,
when there is no sun,
for sooner or later
the seeker will find
that memories will fade,
and eyes go blind,
for whether in shadows or in depths,
our lives come to sorrow
and many regrets,
but sometimes, in the stillness of time's expanse,
there is a distant glimmer
of moving stars; so intense,
rising above the stifled inane,
bringing the soul
the essential flame.
by Nancy Nicodemus
I, flat chest and Dutch bob,
with green-eyed Gloria.
Older sisters, in their white swimsuits and red lipstick
strike Betty Grable poses as they pin up Bogart and Gable
on studio-bedroom walls.
Slipping off their wedgies, laced well above the ankles,
they sit cross-legged upon the bumpy pink chenille
amid Screen Play and psychic ouija board,
passing the lone Pall Mall between sips of green-bottled Coca-Cola,
as Sinatra croons from the wobbly 78.
Katherine, Claudette, and Veronica--
leaning over the orangecrate dressing table into the oval mirror,
they flutter-flirt their lashes
pluck their brows into Crawford arches and
pat pancake makeup in orange fingerprints upon their cheeks.
They brush under one another's pageboys--a full one hundred strokes
and, once again,
rehearse being suddenly discovered
by a midwest talent scout.
Eavesdropping, we lie on the adjoining silver-screened porch,
stretched head to toe along the narrow metal cot,
sighing our fantasies and following
with our star-gazing eyes
the neon of the Indiana fireflies.
by Simon Perchik
This bridge as if before its crash
it strafed the river, cut the tide
in half, the fog
heading back, the waves
looking out in terror--how much lower
till what's left from this plane
finishes its dive
let seabirds sweep the surface
for thermals, for engine sounds
and when the air is right
there's a sense I bailed out in time
though the river has this stench
this bending over my body
and close to shore one foot
more than the other cringes, sweats
stumbles upstream--under that shoe
the throttle touches down
--I'm walking home, washed
and what's left from the river
flows without a name
without my arms held out.
Dead of a friend
by J. P. Pochot
i'm losing it
through the halls
where I can still hear
the dead heartbeats
the walls too clean
the faces too pale
smelling of acid
in a stare
to tell me
you are no more
by J. P. Pichot
the white dust
through cold stainless
suddenly so weary and old
cut at the root
an itching of nothingness
a brutal pain
in the gut
to throw it all up
but too troubled
to call you
so I run
to the toilet
HOW CAN YOU DECIDE
WHAT'S GOING ON
the only way out
and final escape
from all of this
but I must admit falling
of that after side
i'm not as strong
as you imagined
and if I die tonight
i might cry for you
or reach for your
strange blue eyes
PARIS IS KILLING ME
and you will
i miss you
i'm dying again
but for a little while
to ease the pain
that emerges from
i catch a long glimpse
of my foot
i would cut it off
but i just
can't quite move yet
red moons over me now
i do this night away
throwing it up
in endless nausea
anger and hatred
and for you
far away friend
i'm not sure
to be able to reach
inside the hungry armchair
with no will
even to light up
or change the turning disc
YOU'LL NEVER KNOW
I MISS YOU
with a few more
until the lasting end
and until you vanish
forever from me
by J. P. Pichot
come to mind
as we drive
to new york
searching for death
or was it something else
there is no fear
in our eyes
no panic to last
across endless bridges
green and yellow
over our heads
in your eyes
as you watch me
the dusty mirror
from your bleeding hands
bursting vividly by
off walled shadows
THAT BLANK LOOK
by Tom Riley
No eyes in sight but mine. Why should I look
if the world, self-absorbed, will not look back
at me? I hate the task I undertook.
No eyes in sight but mine! Why should I look?
Within my heart, I hoard a better book,
a blank one: emptiness keeps me on track.
No eyes in sight but mine? Why should I look
if the world, self-absorbed, will not look back?
GOODNIGHT AND GOODNIGHT
by David Robertson
Sea urchins, brine faces,
sing for the child,
for the star, the bubble afloat,
or wave under the trees,
from a star.
The leaves hear it;
their single greeting
rushes from a chorus of mouths
And the boats begin their journey
spinning on a tide
in the depths of the bath tub.
Then the soft teats are sucked
the tales are told,
the wolf, breathing at the door, goes by
and flowers spring up
winking as he passes.
Goat on the bridge
what a hard head,
no worries on the green hill.
Then goodnight and goodnight
and a wave of the handkerchief
to the glass mountain
only one can climb.
And the bubbles,
the colors still running around them
as they spin
up into the arms of the trees
on the glass mountain
while green shadows
snuff at the grass roots
gathering the crumbs up--
the animal crackers,
their heads and tails go first.
Now give the coverlet a pull
make every hill and valley
And in the night,
bed pillows rise and fall,
stars touch the windows,
and in a corner under the bed,
the troll hides with empty hands
And a sea
filled with whispers of salt
stretches into the dark.
by Peter Roemer
Canyon of rock:
spires spear the skied circumference
hung with clouds
grey as lava:
flirt with freedom
over the myopic depths
where we rush past those breaking petunias
where slowly death has come
to that body burdened with feathers.
(AN UNTITLED POEM)
by Nanci Roth-Natale
Night time creeper.
Losing ground fast
Branches scratch past.
All caught up now
THROUGH ANOTHER DOOR
by Lladoow S. Shevshenko
Scale the mountain, a promise to be kept
water softly slipping, falling as it wept
these gentle tears, making tools so round
from echoes past, a call, a softness found
in hillsides deep they're still--
churning up the ground . . .
Smells of light, in the midst of night
flies on fire, tiny stars, burning bright
I hear the hoot owl whispering, through a window wide
no-place left to roam, on this mountain's hide.
The red-tail plays, above the road in sky
in trees, a cool breeze blows, across a gravel drive . . .
Deep inside of Manitou, are these spirits eyes
ghostly souls that I once knew, that used to hurt and cry.
Leaves made now, of soft pine dust
that hurt my eyes, with a sudden rush
makes me smile now, at the end
below cool water, a softness now descends
down Scaly Mountain, there I roam--
in dreams, today, my need is shown--
by Manitou, through another door I'm blown
Where I do steal away.
AT THIS TABLE
by John A. Youril
Let us be faithful to the seasons,
Let us endure the quiet applause--
This is a poetry not of passion but exhaustion,
And such splendor does not intrude itself,
Does not seek to rise above the noise.
Let us be content,
Let us be like moonlight moist and radiant,
In the grave and in the bed equally comfortable--
For they please us still but do not concern us,
Now that both youth and age have left us,
Now that we speak not to the crowds but to ourselves alone--
To understand little not misunderstand much,
To put aside all vain erudition,
And converse with folly as gracefully as wisdom.
Let us empty ourselves in celebration,
Not measure the libation:
If there is but one who drinks well,
The night has not been wasted.
by John A. Youril
You look out from the window as if expecting your own death to be
foreshadowed in the snow,
I wait yet another hour while you fashion a word from your wholly
You sulk, and I judge the hour to be unpropitious for this
Each in their turn your recollection have shimmered for a
Have soared and then fallen,
Have revealed their emptiness and now take their place in these
annals of harsh season.
With bitter breath you tell me that I too will come to this--
I nod and wait for some distant clock to strike the hour.
UPON THE TOWER
by John A. Youril
I repeat that it is all one whether any of us survive the season,
Yet you brood upon the pale steps as if salvation itself refused
You make too much of the matter:
Invent curious reasons to postpone that which alone is desirable,
Follow your own shadow through the garden,
Knowing there is no one else
And that even I grow tired of waiting.
(The following poem is written by a well known poet from Columbia from South America, Mario Rivero.)
by Mario Rivero
From Magazin Dominical, No. 539, August 23, 1993
Footstep upon footstep
as one who constructs a wall
we have constructed distance, there far off,
and we have gone inland,
withdrawing from the plain toward the mountain, above.
But where will we go when only the snow remains for us?
Mama, the elder chieftain, who divines,
has told us that we must come, bringing our grievances;
which we know, from a thousand and more years,
is our right,
So we know that there are valleys and trees
and flowers and grasses, and rivers and rocks,
and that there is no white man to whom they belong.
Ever since our ancestors, since the beginning,
we have lived here.
In the lost days gone by,
when our own house was the entire cordillera,
alone like its first children,
when the eye didn't know the foreigner.
Without a scale that tilts toward the side
the years and the times adverse to us,
is a land so lost in the past
on this high snowy peak that is no longer ours.
This brightness that gleams on the high ground
of the mountain range, like an ignited rose,
is not that of the moon.
It is made by the "civilized" white man, who burned, raped and
with his own Justice,
without right or remorse.
The "white friend" who speaking deceit
puts a bullet in our heart,
robs all that we love, and vanishes.
Toward where he came from he then returns.
He covets our mother the land,
and he snatches her, and baptizes her with blood, as his own,
to work nothing on her.
Walking in a circle of bitterness,
we have waited for everything to return again as before,
while our ills and sorrows multiply.
Hoping we are given a place to lie down in,
air to breathe,
until our armies of hope
With no place to set down the sole of the foot,
there is no cover, what is called cover, beneath any wing.
With our hands crossed across our breast we wait,
like sad shadows, with a noble sadness,
while downward bows the forehead.
Because where to go now if only snow is left us?
While round about the white world grows
we become small,
because they take from us what is ours
We are dying. Our myths are dying.
Our huts are smoking. And to the big people
the sadness of the little ones doesn't matter.
Everyone looking at the same world, separately,
different we are. Without knowing the splendid place that
belongs to us.
Wherever we are everything is foreign,
they don't speak our language.
We understand nothing of writings or papers
painted with ink.
Behind our tired footsteps echo the footsteps of conquest.
They come ever closer . . . closer . . .
But how to go up higher, in the cordillera?
Where to go, if only snow is left to us?
POETRY -- THE SURVIVAL OF HUMANITY
by Raymond Fenech
"Art, more intimately, deals with and forms the emotional and spiritual climate of our experience," asserts American Poetess May Swenson, adding, "Poetry can help man to stay human."
This can only mean that man is losing, or has lost his human part and hence his identity. Perhaps poetry is the last remaining link left between the physical and the spiritual in man. Poetess Sr. Marcella Holloway in a short essay asserts, "Perhaps of all the arts, poetry has the closest relation to our spiritual life."
As poetry can only be created by a poet, poets must be given more credibility, respect and attention, otherwise mankind risks losing them altogether.
As the world moves forward into the year 2000, books are being replaced by computers, videos, audio visual gadgets and other sophisticated scientific discoveries. This can only mean that very few people if any, would prefer a good book to any of the mentioned entertainment. What's to become of poetry?
If man wants poetry to survive, he must start teaching his children to love and appreciate poetry. Poetry must no longer be merely part of a school syllabus. Children must be taught that poetry may as yet save man from losing their souls among their own robotic creations.
Man is already at a drawback because of the limitations of his mind and the brevity of his physical life. Stendhal says that man is like a fly, born in the summer morning and dead by the afternoon. How can he understand the word NIGHT?
But unlike the fly, man is sorely conscious of the vastness of the unknown beyond his consciousness. The poet's task is to trace the outline of this mysterious volatile world, making it visible to the rest of humanity so that they may learn to appreciate life more and thus live it to the fullest.
The experience of poetry is to suppose that there is a planet half the light of which may be seen by any ordinary eye--the other half is in darkness. Poetry can throw light on this other side, its invisible energy can take man to It.
Let us hope that American poet Gregory Corso was wrong when he said that "everything today seems to work against the poet, he is always in danger of being wiped out. The way the poet is treated today I doubt any future poet would want to be a poet . . . " If poetry survives, mankind will survive with it.
Reprinted by permission of Raymond Fenech
Originally published in Verses
MORE TO COME!