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2003

November

Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, November 2003


We need to stop protecting each other from ourselves. We need to trust that deepest most delicate part of all, knowing it will survive, given the chance, everything even us. Albert
from

Huffstickler

Apology to Robin Waterways, April 91

WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream


Volume 24 Number 10 Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Admirable Factotum November, 2003

c o n t e n t s Joy Hewitt Mann 4 John Grey 5-6 Ida Fasel 7-9 Joan Seifert 10-11 Joanne Seltzer 12 Robert Cooperman 13-16 Jon Petruschke 17 Dan Lukiv 18-19 Jeanne M. Whalen 20-21 David Jordan 22-23 Anselm Brocki 24-26 Sylvia Manning 27-29 Felicia Mitchell 30-33 Robert Collet Tricaro 34 Barbara Fisher 35

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 8/04) http://www.tenpennyplayers.org

The Redemption Joy Hewitt Mann


I know that all possibilities must be compressed into myself; that I must keep my waiting room neat as silence. A time will come when locked rooms will open, when your eyes will avoid mine, your body flinch; and all the quiet sounds of my trapped soul will pierce your ears past screaming.
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Out of the Dream John Grey


Nothing between sheets and ceiling but myself and the dream. I wake suddenly. Empty bed, blank walls, three a.m. Early February. A hollow all around where there should be music. Its as if there were a wind blowing inside the house and that wind suddenly stopped. Gossamer thin, the shards of dream float to the floor. Its deaths

pile up invisible. Its loves thin out like the moon. All I remember of it is that farmers slaughter sheep, a young boy runs down a hill in his underwear, a mother scolds for something impossible not to do. Thats when the dream stops. Its waiting for me to catch my breath, to understand what it is telling me. But waking suddenly, its this room, not its meaning that takes over. I am just myself, in this moment, waiting for the world to converge. Dreams are like small fish I figure. They get eaten by the bigger dreams we live in.
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Between Bingen and Koblenz Ida Fasel


I wedge my way through modern Europe by fast trains, past competing skyscrapers and accent scoffers. My foot rubs red on cobblestones for a presumed birthplace, a plaque, a Tintoretto stolen. I keep the vigil of an old admiration, lingering at the saved frieze, the talisman marble, the cottage where Milton made his final ascent in visions on high.

At the great bronze doors, a lightness. My wadded underarm relieved of its travelers burden. Mother would say, Be more attentive. But I was! not once had I looked away. Loss again my liturgy, an unscheduled trip to American Express partial relief. Up he cluttered Rhine, round a point the rush is on. The tour boat tilts to the side we have brought our senses miles to see. There! The celebrated rock cuts clear of surfaces. Each stark line sweeps into briefly possibles brief traces.
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A male quartet (the brochures never told us) beams Loreleis allure bei stereo to glut of barges, passing tonnage. Is that all? a voice among us, I follow the folds of her garments Down ancient stone to the waters edge. Her golden rings ripple. She tosses back her golden hair to show her face in what the sky is up to, the legend reflected intact.

Hints that Listening Brings Joan Seifert


near San Juan Capistrano Mission , San Antonio, Texas

Old San Juan Missions bell has rung almost three centuries, now. Daily call to prayer still understood through time; theres steadfastness in its pensive peal. Not far away, the citys strident neon claims the busy day, flashing some assumed human need, boisterous traffic clatter drowns any hope of quietude. But listen; history echoes in other bells, small, faint jingling bells of grazing goats.
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They still forage, placid, near the ancient mission, as goats have always grazed out there, secure, where theres no need of tethers. Their signaling bells bring recognition, rescue if loose dogs, or danger, threaten. Strays are always found, that way. Its worked for centuries.

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R e q u i e m Joanne Seltzer
1 Grandmother Fannie, the paranoia Ive seen in myself and in my mother and in you who saw it in your own mother must go back as far as the first mother,

and my eyes grow dim Eve of the apple, Eve whose name means life. from too much vision. 2 Two of my daughters created babies that carry our genes into the future. 3 I resemble you at least in profile now my hair turns white and my skin wrinkles
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Were the grandmothers, the givers of genes, the bearers of dreams of paranoia.

First published in Filtered Images: Women Remembering Their Grandmothers Vintage 45 Press, 1992

Elmer Caldwell Watches Fox Hands Prepare for Their Departure: A Shack Above Gold Creek, Colorado Territory, 1870 Robert Cooperman
After she made up our bedrolls, she took a small pouch from her neck, and worked dried leaves till they became a paste: her idea of protecting me from John Sprockett.
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She made me bend my head like I was a superstition-Papist, and tied the bag smelling like perdition, and cold as a dead mouse around my neck. She chanted more words, and if I wasnt so frozen with fear of Sprockett, I wouldve laughed, except her eyes were fierce as a mama hawk protecting her nestlings from a lynx
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swatting at easy pickings, though not reckoning on her dagger-beak and talons sharper than a Bowie blade. When she was finished, she tied on her snowshoes, signaled she was ready to lead me into, and out of, the jaws of death.

Jennie Rousseau Looks Back at Her Career as a French Spy Against the Nazis Robert Cooperman
At twenty-three, I was blessed with a face peach-innocent as a teenager painted by Renoir, so angelic that even the Gestapo confided to me about Hitlers deadliest secret weapons. I was their translator, my German perfect, and these men more dangerous than American gangsters thought of me as their harmless little sister.
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I kept my secret even from Papa, who had refused to talk to me until I was thirteen, when it suddenly dawned on him I had a mind behind my eyelashes. His tongue would have loosened as if hed spied the bomb designs and rocket factory sites himself, the Germans with ears everywhere.

After the War, I lost all facility in that language of murderers, my memory reverted to a mediocre tool the instant Hitler killed himself. I never told Papa my role. Why bother? He would never have believed me.

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Deodorants Poem Jon Petruschke


Im in the middle of two deodorants. Only one my girlfriend likes amidst my moist armpit. She believes it smells like grapefruit. I wear the stick she likes on the mornings of nights I see her.
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And the other, malingers in slow depletion, occasionally over my glands, but only when I expect to sleep alone. Even Ive grown to hate it just for its lasting, as if, in the medicine cabinet, jealous and lingering, trying to wait out my girlfriend.

Outer Limits Dan Lukiv


8:00, Friday nights, 1962, Outer Limits. in bed in darkness at 9 at 9 years of age The giant insects that devoured flesh, the great eyeballs that saw through night and into fear, the box that sucked the curious into a white beam, the horseshoe crab aliens that bit and mutated the bitten,
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the time travellers that messed up time, and lives, and the energy cloud that fed, on the life force, like an evil little boy eating a roast beef sandwich They all went to bed with me, and horrible others came too, goading me, terrorizing me with colours of thought too random, too delineated, too ferocious.

I pulled arms and legs and hands into the covers, left nothing overhanging the steel rails of the upper bunk that would float, and yet nearly plummet from a great precipice. A turtle, I, drawn up, cursing myself from watching that show, living the horror of sleeplessness in a dark room of fiends and dark evil.
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Saturday morning Id awake, alive! eagerly breathing in the bright air, smelling the opportunity to run like a crazed lunatic up and down the neighbourhood, revelling in all the noise my lungs could muster, eagerly waiting, impatiently waiting!, for Friday night, 8:00, to watch another episode of Outer Limits.

Therapy Jeanne M. Whalen


Five girls, we spent most of our early childhood in waiting rooms with one pack of gum and one coloring book, waiting for doctors and therapists to rehabilitate my brother so he could be like other brothers. These institution afternoons with our cousins were a pleasant change from Sunday nights in the hospital cafeteria
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choking down dried-out hamburgers, soggy fries, and ginger ale that burned my throat. We were always crying, and at three and five, my sisters clung to my seven-year-old self (a surrogate for preoccupied parents) while we all watched our baby brother try to breathe, his pacifier sliced down the middle to leave room for the respirator.

Palsy Jeanne M. Whalen


They smile a little differently, hold their heads at different angles with their Fruit Loop and popcorn necklaces and everlasting jam hands on fourteen-year-old men by someones standards although shaving might present their parents with a problem.
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My Michael, the brightest, blue eyes never still, he smiles with his whole body legs out, arms long, mouth open wide and inviting and glistening just a little more than youd expect.

A Good Boy David Jordan


Be a good boy, my mother always said when I left her. Pedaling into an icy sunrise on the way to seventh grades pimpled agony while she stood in the kitchen doorway patting her pregnant belly.
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Climbing from the car at the Little League field in my gray flannel Waner Brothers uniform (number 6, like Ted Williams) for a game against the Moody Jets she would not watch.

Crossing the cracked sidewalk outside Gordon Street Baptist Church as I straggled to my Sunday school class and she strode to hers. Her last words to me were always the same Be a good boy.

I have three sons. When they leave for school or skateboarding or Cub Scouts, I say So long. Or See you later. Or even Adios. I never say Be a good boy. That is not a burden I wish them to bear.
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Neighbor Anselm Brocki


So many plums this year from our backyard tree that friends and neighbors wont take any more bags full, so after gathering the afternoon falls in frayed cutoffs, sweaty work shirt, and rubber zoris, I decide to take them next-door to the famous, reclusive movie director who moved in five years ago but have never met.
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I hear the chimes blend, but no one answers the huge Spanish door with a bug eye peep hole. They think Im a peddler my mind says. Then through the screen of an open window next to the entryway, I make out is pock-marked face from TV interviews. Hes looking down at his desk in the unlit, cool room. Im your next-door neighbor, I say quickly. Do you want Some plums from our tree?
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Celeste, he calls, come take a look at the plums. God, he thinks Im selling. The door opens. Celeste is pretty, much younger than he. Theyre very good, I say, something you cant get at the supermarket. She moves to accept. Put them in the fridge, I say, and wash them as you eat them. They last longer that way.

Thank you, she says slow, like not at home in English, but a white-teeth full smile. Thats very nice of you, he says, not getting up from the desk. On which side are you a neighbor? I point west. Whats your name?

I say my initials and name. With an i or a y? he asks. i, I say. Love your movies. Thank you, he says. I leave quickly, feeling Ive been a good neighbor but lost a little piece of my dignity.

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The Same Sylvia Manning


. . . the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the Valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the Valley of the giants northwards. (Joshua 15:8)

Any place on earth was once the old country, motherland or fatherland of some one, some one culture or more, some creature or diverse. Lodestones of wisdom, folk or otherwise, sought their own discovery.
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In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, as example, one learned soon to give a child dehydrating, honey; and that it was decided by hurricane survivors seasons gone to have your keepsakes in a satchel by the door; take them, if nothing else, to save your soul. You could learn these things once as a bird learns how to migrate; wisdom of the place itself came to you. Now we wait for a civilized people to realize that all such lore has left the sphere material
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for having too long found in hearts too little resonance. We wait fir all the creatures there to listen again even the lizards, even to the silence of a country loud with violence in a land which will claim no parentage if not for all. We wait for Jerusalem itself to be heard again telling: how to save the dying children, how to save storm-battered souls.
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Beautiful Pink Cup Felicia Mitchell


It was a beautiful pink cup. I didnt buy it for you. I bought a postcard somebody else wrote on in 1910: Hello. How are you now? We heard you were sick and mama and me wanted to go to see you but papa was using Mack so we couldnt go. Maybe we can come some day yet. A postcard you wrote to me in 1985 is tacked up in front of my desk. Will it find itself in an antique shop? Perhaps a hundred years from now
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another woman worried about her hair will pause and read it: I think we will meet again on Guadalupe Street with the autumn wind as fine as light on our faces. You said: I think some day our ghosts will stand and listen to the Mexican band across the street, plaintive and joyous, and laugh at the gentle clown beguiling the children with balloons. Do I think next time we lose each other all we have to do is go to that place and wait? There was also a plate I also didnt buy,
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my favorite Indian Tree. It was old but somebody had taken gold enamel and patiently repaired the border, which was now too gold beside the fading flowers. Genevieve wrote, We are going to have threshers some day soon. Cant you come over then? Would like to see you. I will never know if Bertha got to go, but I think she must have. Even then, in 1910, an upturned stamp had to mean something like I love you. Like I am waiting. Please come soon.

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It was a beautiful pink cup, so old the chipped handle was smooth to the touch, like your touch. Hello. How are you now? I heard you were sick and I wanted to go to see you but you died. I am going to make coffee and cookies some day soon. I will not drink out of a beautiful pink cup. I will not eat off a plate that hides its age. Cant you come over then? Would like to see you. I think we will meet again and laugh at the gentle clown beguiling the children with balloons.
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Night Shift Robert Collet Tricaro


Where I work, dark is this industrys strength. I labor to keep the laden eyes of night half open. Ground down by five o-clock whistles, I lever the world back into motion. The work is hard and my taskmaster, arms akimbo, flogs me with loser if I whisper to others that night pales me and I yearn for lanterns or moon. My taskmaster screams goldbrick if I squeeze seconds more from a two-minute break Ive earned after half my shift is worked. I can never quite understand what it is I do I just work, helping to keep the night world in motion.
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