#7

Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Volume 25, #7
My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and daylong ramble,
They rise together, they slowly circle around.
Walt Whitman
WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 25 Number 7*
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)
http://www.tenpennyplayers.org
James Penha 4-5
M.M. Nichols 6-7
Geoff Stevens 8
John R. Cannon 9-11
Joan Payne Kincaid 12-13
David Rogers 14-15
Ida Fasel 16-17
Bill Roberts 18
Fredrick Zydek 19-20
Robert Cooperman 21-22
John Grey 23-24
photograph by Barbara Fisher
3
Pachyjazz — James Penha
elephant
refuses to die
despite slaughter
and starvation
paleonecrology
and diaspora
the
elephant
rises to all occasions in silence and majesty
to improvise
a solo
trumpet
elephant
4
Koan — James Penha
Upon the belly of the Buddha
in the ruined jungle temple
snores jelly-soft a monkey
about to reawaken
as the tiger
who now drooling by the lotus
will taste nirvana.
5
Birds! swooping
black-winged upward
through twilight
undeterred by
smoke’s tour of
daylong dusk
Two by two they
make flights
I fancy, drawing
my two by two
breath in rib-caged
balloons
6
Smog Days — M. M. Nichols
Wings and lungs
propel time
into spaces
we are moving
toward, soon
to arrive
See where the birds
burst upward
past twilight
An air raid
on downdrifts
of the dark
7
Geoff Stevens
If we merely circle around
until they’ve gone
they will steal our eggs
trash our nest
8
Floating Grace — John R. Cannon
The field sparrow’s buoyant song
floats
like a gentle breeze
up the hill
from the field below.
Not powerful like the wren,
or raucous like the jay;
but delicate, soft and sweet;
Nearly ephemeral,
you’re not quite sure
you heard it,
until it comes again
and lifts your head
with a warm smile
on your face.
Lovers at Dusk — John R. Cannon
He swoops in from downriver
and perches near the nest;
She is upstream
scanning the shallows.
He settles, preens, and when he sees her,
he tips his head way back
and gives the long eerie contact call.
A thousand ring-necked ducks
flutter and move nervously,
all attuned to the white-headed eagle.
But she doesn’t even turn her head,
supper is her priority.
10
Later, she glides in slow
and perches in the nest tree;
He comes to her, they move in close,
they touch beaks.
Dusk falls and the two dark silhouettes
with still-white heads
fade into one dark mass;
Geese land,
ducks settle,
herons squawk.
Soon only gentle sounds pervade;
Then,
a soul-piercing unison call,
as the eagles bless the night.
11
Joan Payne Kincaid
silver lights drip on the birch
in a gray drizzle of fall
finches have grown subdued
cold wet feathers
among final yellow leaves
12
Who Else — Joan Payne Kincaid
Supposedly health conscious runs to a donut shop
fresh out of the dentist’s You’re all set for six months
for a strawberry jelly and coffee down- at- the- harbor- escape
from tooth scaling to a familiar comforting flavor
observing geese form a v in water and sky
A fisherman passes recalling one at the ocean last week
using a rod and reel not to catch fish rather to fly kites
this day an eagle was cast in the sky
over dunes and waves with migrating raptors
he adjusts for the wind, and the unexpected...
a wife’s recent death the reason he began
this partially detached hobby.
paper eagle high in the wind
tethered to a fishing pole
nearly free
Late October, Near Dusk — David Rogers
I felt like a tree, walking,
and then a rock
and knew at last
to stand still
and listen for the other footsteps:
deer, bird, snake, ant, squirrel
walk their paths, let feet
spell out their names
14
in a language
not even poets have fully decoded:
its alphabet has no symbols,
does not communicate in runes.
Its only meaning is itself,
its only record the wind,
but I am learning slowly
to speak it.
15
Coming Home — Ida Fasel
The island is hidden in morning haze
but the ferry docks in clear
as I am clear of wandering the world,
the best of it, returns.
Through bare trees the sky shows
autumn blue with a gold tint in it.
A partridge sights me,
keeps distance close.
I am aware of others unseen —
squirrel, fox want to know about me.
16
Where the old house was
the give and take
of curtain in the wind.
I used to go in by the window,
calling Anybody home?
No clock on the shelf, no shelf
yet time rights itself, given time.
I’m a boomerang made to return
at the precise moment they do,
welcoming me in a rustle of leaves,
marveling how I too have changed.
17
Fascination — Bill Roberts
With tears rolling copiously down my cheeks
I watch with horrified fascination
As the row house two doors from ours
Is consumed by hungry flames
And choking smoke while firemen
Send urgent streams of pressurized water
Through gapping windows and the roof
Causing a boy younger even than me
Held in his mother’s protective arms
To become utterly mesmerized
With satisfaction by the destructive blaze
He has just moments ago purposely started.
18
Drummer — Fredrick Zydek
It began with a ticking roll,
an isolated storm of hail
pelting its way
from the stretched skin
until there was nothing
in the noise but the clicking
of heels and the steady
beat of blood and heart.
19
The drummer’s face grew
pursed as stone, eyes fixed
on some polar wisdom
as if the mind’s first dream
had just rattled through
his head leaving him
in the ragged stance of saints.
Each rap snapped into the air
brittle as ice, deep as bone.
Some hit like buckshot
on a tin roof. Others, crisp
as slivers of broken glass,
quick as things that glisten,
cut through the air like knives.
20
Revenge — Robert Cooperman
He believed revenge was easy;
the two bastards in his palm
and Tom needing only to squeeze
to hear them howl: for the lies
they’d spread about his wife,
the cliché true about academia:
battles rapidly lethal for rewards
meager as meat on a starving monkey.
After Andrea trudged home one night,
miserable from their pincer attacks
and the dean’s dithering,
Tom phoned a childhood friend,
“Don’t worry about a thing,”
Curtis assured, an expert at terror.
21
“Just don’t kill them,”
But that night Tom couldn’t sleep,
the mattress conscience-thorny.
In the morning, he phoned again.
“Do they deserve it?” Curtis demanded,
an attack dog unwilling to be called off,
Tom remembering Curtis as a child,
a teen: ferocious as a wolf with its cubs,
ever since Tom’s small favor
that Curtis believed had saved his life.
22
No Comfort
John Grey
I know the light
is as fragile
as old bones.
I have picked it
up in the cup
of my eyes,
seen it wither
to dust
in the seconds
it takes for
darkness to
swallow me.
23
When you tell me
there is enough sun
left to guide us
through the
bewildering corridors
of this ancient house,
I nod in agreement,
though my trembling
fingers tell
a different story.
My thoughts turn
to so-called friends
who deserted me
in times of great need.
Their faces glow
in the last of the light
as it’s swallowed by
the walls and windows.
24

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