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Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Volume 25, #1

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance . . . Always substance and increase, Always a knit of identity . . . always distinction . . . always a breed of life. Walt Whitman

WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream

Volume 25 Number 1 Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Admirable Factotum *January, 2004

c o n t e n t s
Cynthia dEste Geoff Stevens Phylllis C Braun Joanne Seltzer Bill Roberts 4-6 7 8 9 10 Robert Cooperman 11-3 Fredrick Zydek 14-5 Ida Fasel 16-9 David Lawrence 20-1 David Michael Nixon 22-3 Jeanne M. Whalen M. M. Nichols 24-6 27-8

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 11/04)

Moment Cynthia dEste

A moment passes. The hour slips through half-life borders into concave night where the hot breath of midsummer saturates the air. A singular light shoots past overhead then disappears. Myriad stars hang from a web rigged to drop, a shroud mystic upon the land.

All that was clear is now diffused. Dominions lost to a subtle world That follows no round. There is one moment in all time, come behold it. Crouch here in wild grasses under the hovering stars, see the falling meteors, the sudden arcs of fireflies.

Let the dim surround surrender you to the dark and empty silence. In his one moment a shining avatar may appear.

Seeds Left Behind Cynthia dEste

November again. A grim curtain obscures the darkling sun, dimmed behind a rim of branches that reach up gnarled, empty-handed. Crows careen and caw over seeds left behind. Nothings left but the quick work of squirrels under trees,

under brittle, bargain-table piles of leaves. Growth has never been a constant, nor has harvest. After fall, after life and light succumb, comes a refuge of artless dark where form is diffused with mystery and all things become again possible.

Geoff Stevens
Complete homogenization is the death of identity but emulsions break separate to constituents reveal their past their pedigrees

Then and Now Phyllis C. Braun

The wind took them, ghost voices wailing, across the buffalo grass to the old Black Hills. Sounds of chanting magic incantations, coyotes howl, owlets cry, eagles scream from black wings soaring in the empty sky.

Darkness falls, lightning flickers, thunder like a great earth drum reverberating a thousand buffalo stampede, run. From this ancient tribal dream awaking to the chaos of the planet breaking.

Asylum Joanne Seltzer

This is a treacherous place to live. Genuine people, made of clay, crumble underfoot. The rest observe the evening news without going crazy. Turn the dial, my clairvoyant mother, twist your prophets wrist. You cant witness lunacy without going crazy. Dont just vegetate upon your bed & wait for something to happen, learn to paint ashtrays if you plan to go home. Why do they walk away? You say nobody talks to you because they know they cant without going crazy.

Before Diamonds Bill Roberts

Some time long, long ago before recorded memories and recorded music prehistoric man unshowered, unshaven, and uneducated got down on bended knee before his woman (the woman he wanted to be his woman)

dug for the biggest stone, didnt bother to remove the dirt or polish it, then gave it to her full-force by hand to her thick noggen as a token of his sincerity and proud ownership that has taken years, thousands of them, to diminish his harsh disputed dominance.

Edgar Goodrich, Outfitter,

Comments on Sheriff Donnehys Shooting of the Boy William Peters: Gold Creek, Colorado Territory, 1870

Robert Cooperman
Good riddance to the little heathen, his dirty fingers in my candy jars. My wife made excuses for him: "The poor tyke dont know better, raised up amongst savages." All them Injuns was thieving magpies; us patriots wiped out his band, shouldve done him like the rest, but when we saw he was white,

we rescued him; he kicked so hard, I trussed him to a saddle like a dead man. When Preacher and his Missus took one look at him, they sobbed like their long-lost son had returned, them never blessed with a child, and this one wasnt no blessing: demons jumping out of him like hed gripped a telegraph wire, the juice streaming to make him holler filthy words at me, like, "Greasy weasel, greedy weasel!" over and over.

Injuns call simpletons like him "Holy," more like imps that curdle milk and scare women into miscarrying. When Sheriff saw him waving a .45 that somehow witched into a Bible, Big Ed had to fire, for the sake of our women and children.


Coat of Many Colors Fredrick Zydek

It was exceeding great mortality when Hells black belly caught the white fear of Pharoahs hungry eyes in dreams so webbed only a herdsman could reweave them. He told of wind and locust spinning dry, of a day when the thunders secret would no longer slam among the trees, of spindly cows and barren wrens and a loss of portly gems.

He became the keeper of the harvests and when the famine came, it brought those who tried to kill him, seeking mercy and the bounty of his barns. He gave them like the coat off his back.


Song of Myself Ida Fasel

Whitman, you pause to wait for me, busy me, getting out from under British Quarterlies, searching influences and sources, sorting footnotes for more and more manila folders and index boxes. Old friend, you are saying, go back and read me. Your grammar is edgy. Your lines are sloppy. Your thought simplistic. How the sound of your voice on the page scatters my precious accumulations like a fresh breeze surprising dusty digs!

I watch your two apprentice boys wrestling:

The coats vests and caps thrown down The embrace of love and resistance The upperhold and underhold the hair Rumpled over the blinding the eyes.
I think of Jacob at Peniel, tenacious till the angel blessed him and left him lame but aloft. I think of myself, pulled from, pulled to. Your eyes are loopy with laughter. In love of the least love of all. Repugnant, irresistible you, embrace me. I stagnate in self-contradiction.
First published in Walt Whitman Review

The Right Stuff Ida Fasel

When I read an apes DNA almost Matches mine and deserves inclusion In the genus homo, I think it more Likely we shall diminish to his level Rather than he rise to ours. Can he stand beside me in church And confess to the small ways in which We are guilty of great omissions? Has he, like me, left undone Those things we ought to have done,

and done those things we ought not to have done?"* Does he worry about his mental health, not as it should be? When I read psychologists who identify me As a little house of horrors For which they only have the key, Where years have drifted snow bank high, I find the key already in my purse And push open the door to rooms Pleased to welcome me so much improved.

*from the General Confession, The Book of Common Prayer


Disappearing Prints David Lawrence

I look for you in the desert. Your feet dont leave footprints. Your journey unpeels Itself with each Step. In your beginning Is your end And in your middle Is your Failure to appear. I am not agnostic.

I take a strong position next to the oasis. I am an atheist. How do I hate you if you dont exist? I swallow a canteen of sand. This oasis is just another mirage. The thing about the miracle Of absence is its palpable Dates.


I Am: An Introduction David Michael Nixon

I am a song unwinding in the dark caverns of daylight and nighttime; I am a dull process of creeping life, among insensate beings; I am a pulse of pain, devoid of pleasure; I am thought and feeling tangled, impenetrable briars; I am complexity beyond knowing; I am a simple urge to stay alive; I am a simple urge to die; I am a slow, short basketball player with an endless will to win; I am the poet rooting for acorns under an ever-changing sky;

I am alone and I am with you, you who have your own continuous story; I am victim and executioner, striving, when I can, to be neither; I am listener and reader as words pour over me; I am joy, ennui, depression, and a calm clarity; I am who I am and Here I am in person.


Kristallnacht - Jeanne M. Whalen

Her last words were silenced by Reissdorf-klsch-bottle torches slicing through the bay window, through dinner preparations and her daughter's story time with Uncle Geschichtemann while the man of the house, raw from work, was resting his head on the cool bedroom wall.


The night caved in around him, callously devoured the better half of his God-fearing bungalow, and he stood stunned until his brother called to him through the smoke and his hands startled, sweeping the artificial darkness for protection. He staggered into the raucous street with a jacket that wasn't his, pockets full of pictures, ducking the budding mobs of Hitler Youth, the glass shards mingling in the street, and the sputtering blaze haloing his home.

As night retreated, the last man standing wore haggard pride in his dead brother's suit jacket pocket-full, guilt-dusted, world-wise, shutting out more respect than cold, gutter pennies scraping the smile off his shutter-frozen souvenir of a daughter dearly departed clinging to her mother, once the ideal woman, bare feet cozy on kitchen tile while she took her turn carrying

the angel-baby now six pounds, eight ounces lighter and smiling a little less with each directionless step her devastated daddy took.

Color Negative M. M. Nichols

Out here, starlings poke at the managed lawn, ghost lawn striped green on green by power mowing while my thoughts cultivate themselves. For example, why I mind when you dont hear what I say between your sentences. I dont want to hear you say again & at length No and No, deaf to your own wonder. So I lit out for lawn and bird. Crowns black sheen, brownfeathered bodies, yellow pertinacious beaks target known

but hidden till they yank it out, divining where: a tooth deeper than turfs green, no place but earth. They keep tapping in, Badger the vast management of greenness. Flying is something else. They say Yes! and Yes! and startle up to sunshine. My dark glasses turn them garnet red those dusky hunters who wear a pitch-black glory in their crowns.


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