Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, May 2003 And every time you come to a diner

of coffee and write a poem.

just stop and have yourself a cup


from The Lost Diner Waterways, April ’90

WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 24 Number 5 Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Admirable Factotum

May, 2003

Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $33 for 11 issues. Sample issues — $3.50 (includes postage). Submissions will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127 ©2004, Ten Penny Players Inc. (This magazine is published 7/04) http://www.tenpennyplayers.org

Deidra Suwanee Dees 4 Ida Fasel 5-6 M. A. Schaffner 7-8 R. Yurman 9 Joy Hewitt Mann 10-11 Cynthia d-Este 12-14 Richard Kostelanetz 15-16

c o n t e n t s

Bill Roberts 17-18 Richard Luftig 19 Jon Petruscke 20 James Henry Brennan 21-24 Sylvia Manning 25-26 Geoff Stevens 27 John Grey 28

Mortar Crevices
peering through the frosted window, looking out at the cold wind he sees smudges of tiny wrens find drinking water from mortar crevices in the red brick sidewalk Deidra Suwanee Dees as he concludes his breakfast alone, sipping the last of the coffee from his McDonald’s cup


An ordinary day in the garden. My peach tree mourns the cruel and deadly sharing of its life with borers within. Insects fault leaves with fine blemishing crochet. Flowers ever on the defensive yield the perfection they were meant for to the abuse and mindless mayhem of sticky small tongues in relentless feeding.

‘to each they offer gifts after his will’ Emerson

Ida Fasel


My body catches the tempo of the universe, with every step gaining momentum, reaching a rejoicing deliverance to light out of nature – matter of the heart not material. Serenity gives sinews to thought, raises my head from the ground to sky.

In such an ordinary day, happily, the primroses flourish despite the harsh winter. New leaves are appearing above the withered. I take the path to the bench in the woodland of the willow, air soft as fur breathed on.

M. A. Schaffner The bones will tell you how they came to ground. This neat pile, only a little confused, shows the work of vulture. It stopped me, deep in a thicket where I’d missed my way, strung up on brambles like old Laocoon or a soldier on the Somme. Creeps you out, finding bones like that, with the sun setting, glimpsing a golden field a mile away.

Old Cow

I don’t know how the black wings tracked it here. You know it wanted lonely when it died. That wasn’t my idea but here I came to find the massy jaw, the heaped up ribs, The little purple blossoms in the spine and the trail beyond, ending at the road.


Newly Divorced
R. Yurman Dawn cracks past the edges 0f yellowed window shades the bits of blanket he’s salvaged battle the early chill in this new life bedsprings creak overhead and aged steps shuffle across a bare floor he crawled into bed at 3 a.m. now turns over to re-enter sleep at noon he’ll breakfast alone tired and pulsing with light


It Seems Impossible To Tell You
I was born between the shower and the sink, spent my days packed in the bottom drawer. The coffee’s getting cold as I try to improve the emptiness of a life patterned from accidents like all the white rings on this table. Joy Hewitt Mann


There is some romance in telling you I was born in a prison hospital to a woman falsely accused. Half lies are easily swallowed, like cold coffee bitter but flowing more quickly than hot truth. The wind is chattering outside, blowing wet kisses at the window and the coffee has left a new ring.

The Windows Are Open
The windows are open. Lesser winds push the trees around and whisper gossip about roses entwined with lavender Cynthia d-Este

about sunsets that crown the edge of the peak and the conjunct of venus and the moon on the lip of a purple sky nearly gone to wine.

Life must be unlearned to do that, denied, kept in fortresses designed to keep out the tiniest howl or perturbation of the natural world.

Who can say they are not satisfied with life, not fulfilled.

Spring frees the illusion of death Footfalls in rhythm on the pavement pick up resonance from the firmament.

Imbued with life, one is forced through the field of lively matter.

Nature’s afoot, light penetrates all but the most closed reclusive holes.

Green shoots can move cement, roots penetrate clay and the movement of trees seems like dance.


RamPart EmBrace NighTingAle ManAged FartHer NoNetHeLess BeAm MiniSteRing SuitOr

Richard Kostelanetz


CrypTogRam HoSpitAl

ApPaRatUs ImpRoper



My kid brother
Thinks he’s something A veritable sage Always advising me Recently it’s been To warn me That I should Bill Roberts That I know Because in some Way they’re all

Several years older Than he is That I should

Do this or That but always Something though most

A he has Like maybe I Should remove everyone

Completely remove all Negative-thinking people From my life

Negative at times. Don’t want to Sound pessimistic but I haven’t heard A word from Brother Jim lately.

First published in Joey and the Black Boots, Autumn 2002, Issue #39

Bill Roberts I take such arduous of what transpired notes but no one ever voluminous notes refers to my notes meticulous notes ever during our meetings certainly not me. just for something to do and everyone exclaims oh, what awesome notes we have a great record


First published in Joey and the Black Boots, Autumn 2002, Issue #39

At The Dollar Store
Some of this stuff may even be worth fifty cents. Party hats, computer games with 64K, the occasional funnel, spatula, tire gauge, off-brand aluminum foil all thrown together like dishes at the church pot luck supper. Richard Luftig And over in the book section with the five year-old almanacs, the biography of that aging actress, a book predicting the fall of communism— the thin, mint condition book of poems never read.


Inspiration from a Critique
Jon Petruscke I didn’t know my work could incite such loathing. She hated the poem title, on down through all twelve stanzas. Then, she hinted at something she found redeeming near the end, but avoided specificity, perhaps not wanting to dilute her onslaught.


The poem’s intent was to confront, pick at the reader and bother. Her reaction was so exactly my design we both were caught with our guard down.

My Name Is Elizabeth
And I am all about Time and Love. Well I guess everyone is, but with me, Love and Time swirl ‘round within me Like the wild winds of an ocean storm; I mean, I think a lot about Time, obsess Sometimes about the ending of good things . . . I hold onto them as if They’re pure gold, Which they are; And by Love, I mean it, Love!,

James Henry Brennan

I live hard/I love Hard—life is good, pretty good— But Time and Love can be Rough go for me. I am told my name means “consecrated by God,” But I rarely feel that . . . maybe, sometimes, Some of my people feel this a little,

And I love deeply— My family, my friends, my children . . . I really am one of those who Would die for my children, do anything For those I love . . . And I love a lot of people.

For I serve them well.

I only wish, sometimes, that I knew more Happiness, understood a little more . . . But I know better than to expect that; I know, after all, I am surrounded By Blessings, have known more happiness than most, And I know I do (yes) Good Work;

Though sometimes I’m fraught with care, (cheeks wet with the tears of it), I live with great Passion . . . I celebrate the present, and await The future with a kind of useful Trust.

And, O, yes, I laugh a lot . . . I really do laugh a lot!

I know I am loved, loved a lot, and more Than most . . . that maybe, even, I am Loved as much as I love, and, After all, It doesn’t get any better than that.


there is the thought that all of us are Danny’s friends, derelict with grief

just finishing up Tortilla Flat second reading second cup of coffee (read it first in the , hadn’t since):

Sylvia Manning


for Danny is only human and his house this place we were given, home for a while

but previously also quite unable to save friend Danny or his house

and I would go and lie in the grass with the lot of them, or carry on like a house afire with daily business, mourning

but a mocking bird caught a worm in this fat arid place and now eats it and now tells me, “So what? Dannie died and his house with him, but we are one nesting pair, and the early bird apparently still gets it, so there.”

Unpublished, you wish to break the bubble, so you take your spoon and trace the letters in the froth. With caffeine to keep you awake, you go on and on until a poem stirs from the depths. Sometimes it takes days; each diner you stop at, each coffee you purchase, adding just a word or two.

Geoff Stevens

John Grey The work’s unconscious by this. whose blueprint Then the life is. includes other people. Fingers are a running motor, can’t stray from the pattern even if they wanted to. Now no pattern has a loose thread, a frayed edge, not even those

After Your Divorce.

Weaving The Throw

You are weaving what you long to wrap yourself inside. But even before you’re done, you have.


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