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Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Volume 25, #6

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
Walt Whitman
WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 25 Number 6*
Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher
Thomas Perry, Admirable Factotum
c o n t e n t s
Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $33 for 11 issues.
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Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127
2005 Ten Penny Players Inc. *(This magazine is published 4/05)
James Penha 4-5
Geoff Stevens 6
Susanne Olson 7-8
Patricia Wellingham Jones 9
Joan Seifert 10-11
Jeanne M. Whalen 12
Joanne Seltzer 13
Herman Slotkin 14-15
Robert Collet Tricaro 16-20
Shannon Connor 21-23
Ida Fasel 24-26
Fran Farrell Kraft 27-28
On Kuta Beach, Bali
Dawn had not enlightened the volcano
when I saw Salimi still posted
at the trunk of a palm,
feet planted in the sand.
he scratched his butt just
enough to raise the shade
of his skirt to show
a copper thigh.
But it was only I,
Bad night?
Nothing dropped by.
He unhooked a finger
from his pout
and straightened it
pointing up past his nose.
Only one of those.
Salimi kicked
the coconut.
And elbow leveraged
as Bacall would, or Mae West,
he brushed a finger
across his cheek
where in moonlight
a patina clotted now.
And how
can I hide this, may I ask,
when sometimes
they look at my face.
Geoff Stevens
Does he match the curtains?
Is his coloring sympathetic to the scheme?
Will he fit into the scale of the room?
Have I got space for him?
Do I need to purchase new furniture?
Do I need to redecorate?
Will we need to buy a bigger house?
Union Susanne Olson
We live under the same roof
share name and mortgage,
fused together by the small gold
band, a piece of paper
the stubborn will.
Two plants
grasses grown in different worlds
dropped onto the same patch of earth.
Roots hesitant to mingle
strive for nourishment of another kind.
Each lives uncompromising
freedom. I know not when
and where he goes
he knows not of my ways.
The twofold plant survives
yet will it flourish
green and blossom and
bear fruit?
What need
drove us to find this plot of land
hold onto it, cling to the soil
Are we each others shield?
Against what loss?
Or like two trees
need air, and space and time
to grow unfold
and thrive?
The Last Thing I See Patricia Wellingham Jones
The first thing I saw
when I swam up from anesthesia
was your face furrowed with worry lines,
your smile. I felt your hand
clasp mine, warm below the IV,
felt your butterfly lips
touch my forehead.
Since then mine was the face
furrowed over yours,
then you were there again for me.
Although you say youd rather not
tread the path without me,
I hope you will be
the last thing I will see.
Laughing Janies Upstaged Life Joan Seifert
The eager, outreaching girl
whod always had the urge
to entertain, be in front of crowds,
get applause,
went down the aisle
with a quiet, charming boy,
and had three kids.
Learned cooking on a budget
and to sew her own curtains,
wore her clothes year after year,
saving dollars
for things the little dumplings needed,
Shed always wanted center stage
but pedaled briskly in the background
just keeping up.
When her kids were grown
they were so solemn;
doctor, scientist, nurse,
they wore white jackets,
worked in hospitals, laboratories,
one was helping find a cure
for some dread disease.
(it was her husbands genes,
all those brainy ventures,
she laughed generously.)
She would never hear
those entrances, flourishes, wild applause,
though her grin was wide and bold
and her heart took standing ovations
when people spoke about her kids.
Piano Jeanne M Whalen
Mist-swept outside an island cottage
I submit to breeze
and the breath of a forgotten piano
newly blessed by a teenaged boy in sandals
who plays with avid emotion
that never performs on his docile face
or in his stoic frame
but only in his passionate dexterity.
Assisted Living Joanne Seltzer
One of the newly
admitted ladies
calls herself a madam,
the other female residents
her girls.
Mother worries
people will think her
Bald, bent, shrunken,
three potential customers
dont buy.
In the darkest night,
In the deepest silence,
I mark your talking.
The satin ribbon of your finger on my face
is declaration.
The lilt of your hips as you come and go
is suggestion.
Your smile- the eye-lit flash of teeth-
is meaning.
Your mute moves tell me
what I need to know-
your expectations and promises,
your assurances and desires.
My Lady Heron Robert Collet Tricaro
Its likeness stood behind the glass,
beside some plastic plants, I drew closer to hear
what the expert would say, hoping hed agree
that these avian ladies are divine.
I learned a heron lacks good sense of smell
has no lips, its hand is its beak.
It has an oversized heart, an undersized
trunk and no Circe of Willis in its brain.
Its bones are porous, its hearing poor
and while similar to, it is not a crane.
The curator continued by lamenting
its penchant: its beak is guided by an
oversized eye, to peck at eyeballs
of trout, mouse, or curious people.
I slipped away from the crowd that night
and strolled by the campus pond, to catch
one last look at what was then my not so
perfect avian prima donna.
There she was. The haughty, imperious fraud.
Adorned in white silken contour plumes,
wearing a pendulant tuft like a broach.
Then, resembling an opera priestess,
she lifted the toes of her saffron shoes,
and slowly raised her plumed arms high.
Dense as cotton candy, she sprang
onto a cushion of head wind to
her three-dimensional stage.
The moon her spotlight, she turned
briefly my way
before soaring to the stars.
Lucy Robert Collet Tricaro
Comeliness and disposition
may mean much to most,
but I avert my eyes to looks she lacks
and ignore those who say
her image is a scowl standing
with arms akimbo.
Who then, if not Aphrodite,
if shed deflate the moon and hang
a digital clock in that space?
Bright? From one to ten where
six is average, Lucy
might be five-point-two.
Who then if not Athena;
if she thinks Chanticleer
is a ceiling fixture?
We go back a long way. At age fifteen
minutes, I was in mothers arms. At age
fourteen minutes, Lucy was on a respirator.
The Wrong Thing To Say Shannon Connor
I have seen the color of madness in your eyes.
I have seen you punch holes in walls.
Ive seen my name spelled out in scabs
on the soft part of your wrist.
I have seen the pictures from your dresser drawer.
Thats why its the parts of you I dont know
that scare me.
Its why I lift up every sentence you speak and look underneath
for what hasnt been said.
Because I know
how much deeper you can go.
And when you speak to me like this,
greeting cards of conversation, might as well be
talking of the weather
might as well hold up a mirror
to everything weve said before
when you speak to me like this
then fall silent
I fall to pieces.
Maybe its better to let you pretend
you are the reflection on the water,
telling me what you think I want to hear.
Maybe its best to imagine I love myself only,
that you are my lovely Echo,
and if I drown, I will drown at least in beauty
rather than
in the arms
of the beast below.
Youll swear that you are neither. But then,
as always,
my dearest love,
youll rip my heart out
and disappear.
Simple Arithmetic Ida Fasel
Sleeping Beauty, a hundred years older
than the Prince, reckoned Martin.
Call it a fairy tale, a silly story.
We were latecomers to love, too, zigzagging
the continent to separate trips, planes late,
cars broken down, yet we arrived precisely
to the minute when we were in the same place.
Call it coincidence. Call it unlikely.
All is love, all is meeting.
And what then? work and bills,
nagging decisions, slashing headlines,
family and friendly interruptions,
hurts and hiddens of our own making.
Love has a career too explores, develops;
as day follow day probes a little farther,
looks back, stops to consider,
consolidates, breaks through.
Can happiness be complete?
Can we be two blooms growing on one stem?
Love is the fine print of exalted feeling,
intense, abidingly peaceful; in the margins
top and sides and bottom of everything
we do away from each other and in between
the lines of everything we do apart. It is
the constant in the endless repetition
of each others company. The ballet
dancers firm position to leap from.
The bold rhythms of the body electric,
the silent eloquence of hand-in-hand,
the listened-to, listened-for voice.
Fulfilled yearning longing for fulfillment.
Call our life together a fairy tale.
Call it a silly story.
Call it a sequence of events you and I
Would not live again but for love.
Memory Fran Farrell Kraft
I often say If he hadnt died, Ida killed him.
But maybe its less simple than that.
For ages I wore his shirts to bed.
In many ways he defined my adult self.
As his acolyte, I gained confidence in my abilities
while accepting that I was nothing without him.
When asked how I felt, I had no idea;
the concept of grief was a mystery to me.
Over time I did bond with his children.
Twenty-five years later, his kids and theirs
joined me at the far-away lake where his ashes reside.
His shirts are long gone.