This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
POfitry In the Mainstream
'And ah , the little babies-Shiny black-eyed babies-(Half a million pink toes Wiggling all together!) Baskets full of babies
Like grapes on a vine .:
WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 10, Number 2 February, 1989
Barbara Fisher & Richard Alan Spiegel - Co-Editors Thomas Perry- Intern
Subscriptions to Waterways are $20. for 11 issues; sample issue is $2 plus $0.5~ postage. Checks payable to Waterways, 799 Greenwich Street, New York, N.Y. 10014.
@ 1989 Ten Penny Players, Inc.
(At last off press!-INSIDE INVISIBLE WALLS by Joanne Seltzer, $3.50 + .70 postage, payable to WATERWAYS.)
4-5 Louis Reyes Rivera 6-18 Fredrick Zydek
19 Arthur Winfield Knight 20 H. Edgar Hix
21 Kim Hedge
33-35 Susan Packie
22-25 Kit Knight
26-27 Gilbert Honigfeld 28 Sf. Mary Ann Henn 29-30 Joan Payne Kincaid 31-32 Ida Fasel
Til every child.i, - Louis Reyes Rivera They shot him because he was human raped her because she was sane
lynched him in the heart of central park while his skin blue truth gave birth gainst the shadows of their shame
their passion comes distorted with a greed for everything blest
they strip the land & never understand how the rich black. soil of our earth
is just as sacred as our flesh
they do not teach our history but lie to cover up the theft
then call us wild when we don't smile or bow or tremble when they blast our strut now striding further left
but we got something for them truth can never be at rest
our sweat not bland, but rooted in our hand where none should ever fear their worth
in facing struggle put to test
for we are up & rising stars plowing lies to plant new seed
to feed each one from work undone growing stalwarts branching fast
til every child learns how to read.
THE WORD OF GOD ASTRANSLATED]EROM THE ORIGINAL TEXT BY BARBARA EILEEN (BlITZ) lESSING, A MILITANT HUMANIST" FEMINIS'L AND HETEROSEXUAL SOC]fAL SERVICES PERSON - Fredrick Zydek
Removing the spatula from the darkness,
Mother God, turning and pointing the freshly fetched tool toward the hearth, said, "Light", and light it did.
Then, taking from her bosom
what appeared to be a rose,
she scattered all the bits of light among freshly filled breezes
until what bloomed in specks of moon dust and galaxy, shimmered into place.
The morning and evening she called the 1st day.
On the mornings of the second and third days,
and into part of the fourth,Mother God, flaying the stars and laughing out time,
said, "let us put things that get wet in this pile, and things that cook: food in the other."
Then loosening the strings of her apron,
and putting down her broom, the Mother God said, "let us make man into something that fits:
and from the dust she scooped out a chunk of ego that seemed ripest in the groin,
and before it could get up and leave the room for a beer, she said, "suffer the little children
and you'll answer unto me."
- -_ - -_
Then, drying her hands on a towel, the Mother God said, "let there be floors to learn ballet on,
comfy chairs where I might weave a shawl,
baskets to gather flowers and hemp,
violets to scent the bureaus and linens.
Let there be rolling pins and dusters,
large feathered fans, nursemaids and satin, german cameras, fields of blooming grass, barns full of wheat and soy bean,
good wine, babies and the Mahler Quintet."
And the evenings and the mornings lasted to the sixth day.
Finally, removing her apron, as Father God sometimes did his tie, the Mother God blessed the meek for they seldom grumbled,
and told the government it would inherit the national debt.
"Come unto me and we shall have a garage sale,
and the money thereof shall we dispose towards a law giver, for in the law we ain't but one another."
And so saying, and seeing that it was good,
the Mother 'God blessed the herbs of the field with a mighty fire, and called it vegetable soup. And once the bowl was empty,
she crossed her legs before the fire, and said,
"let the seventh day be for resting", a case of care and contemplation whispering down the hall.
PERKJNS STREET - Fredrick Zydeek I
This street was most assuredly home, and
those that lived here were as fixed to it
as the ruts in the walkway that whistled when it rained.
a two story frame
that always needed painting, seemed to me to be the center
of the world.
It sported a porch at front and back, and a round hole
in the living room wall where mother ran wires to lamp the library table covered with lace
of the lot of us smiling as though the world might never tremble.
It was here the town came to be with father.
Some were old
and fill ed with cigar. They had names like Kowal. Stanaslas and Kowalski.
Others were young and full of hard arms
tales of fish and mining
that always ended
with dad' s chrome-plated guitar twanging out "Nancy Brown",
or "She'Il be Com'n Round the Mountain"
and the yodels of a polish cowhand
telling tall ta1es
of box cars
in San Francisco.
Up the street
an orchard ran wild with fields and patch, culling things
one learns from children;
how to master the tallest trees,
or sneak in the bushes to explore the mysteries waiting in our jeans,
the magic green woods coaxing out its blossoms until the Field-Rose
dipped from their stems enough to tease the world into stopping by
to sip and listen.
Then came the railroad daily hooting towards the mill, its stack
and grill always polished, the engineer always leaning out the window, hat just so, left hand waving at our awe.
The seed-house and water bin were chopped from boards thick as hands.
We use to hide there
and play at settlement-fort where the big boys always smoked,
or left rubbers
for the mind to worry at.
I'm afraid to look
for that curly headed boy who'd sit in the deepest puddles each time Summer
lisped away to Fall.
He knew the gray mouse sleeping in the ivy,
the blossoms of the Snowball tree urging him to climb
from his discomfortablesilence.
He'd sit in his room
and wonder why the boy next door died suddenly, how the mongoloid girl
two houses down got that way.
He would lose himself
in stamps from Tanganyika, and old coins from Zanzibar,
or crank the Edison player until his arms
could no longer swing to the dances he learned from its disks.
It was here the book of western poems
handed down from Jack Brown coaxed him to pronounce words as though they might muster up the things
they fostered from the page.
It was here the book of Mother Goose
gave him both beat and rhyme,
and here the slight fantasies
forming where the rain stained
the calcimine on the chimney
to shape and shadow, bloomed from the ends of hand-me-down pens and the stubble
of indelible pencils.
He use to watch night fill his bedroom window until the hills
hunched their backs
and got treeless
each time the moon scalded out their details and left them naked.
It was then the Buttercups were shoulder high,
and the spear ferns
tall as a man.
And it was then he thought,
for the first time,
how much I would hurt when I tried to find him.
LETTER TO BUNKER AT CAPE GIRARDEAU MISSOURI - Fredrick Zydek
Dear Judith: Please forgive me for sending
back the money. What r want from Andy
and Jane waits on the other side of my
last poem. Send a coffee cup, or a bead - something I can touch that I know touched them. Send me their voices on tape, a photo
of the two of them in Golden Gate Park,
holding hands, smiling, waving back at me. r remember when Aunt Jane came to see the Polish picnic, and all her sisters, women of the Reformation, brought gifts
of frankincense and myrrh to the mountains. I grew dizzy when r learned the new clan liked poems and wrote papers on Baudelaire.
- --- ---
At last! Some blood I felt related to!
I bound the thesis Lesette wrote in France, and when Andy said that Jane died I cried for three days. I never understood why Lesette stopped writing until you called. Please use the money to have a lavish
meal, the kind Aunt Jane would order for you.
And when you've finished - toast one another and the good God who keeps our memories safe. I plan to write a poem for Andy. I'll
write about fishing on Lake Kapowsin,
the tales he told about Bertha and Stan
when the clan wasn't more than a twinkle.
If I don't see you soon, I'll die. Love, Fred.
ZERELDA SAMUEL: A l' JESSE"S GRA VB - Arthur Winfield Klllight
I am proud of my children. I am proud to be
the mother of Jesse James.
He was generous to the needy and he was never a traitor. They drove him from the plow when he was a boy.
and for money they betrayed him, my generous, noble-hearted Jesse. All for money!
I call for vengeance upon the traitors,
I ask eternal God
to look down on me, his mother.
They call him a robber,
but he never betrayed a friend.
Ohl Why did they loll my poor boy Who never wronged anybody, but helped them and fed them with the bread that should go
to his orphans? Thank God, Frank is beyond their reach! They can't shoot him in the back.
ANGELA WIDTEQ,QUO - H. Edgar llix
I have walked on the dawn clouds, my hair a streaming comet behind me.
I have chased the lightning in the thunderstorm and drunk the milk of the small Spring clouds ..
My granddaughters do not believe me.
They call me a crazy old woman.
They have flown in airplanes
and are therefore wise.
If it cannot be done, how have I done it? If I have done it,
how can it not be done?
My granddaughters say I am a crazy old woman or a liar. They tie feathers in their braids.
They wear silver and turquoise jewelry.
Still, they call me a crazy old woman or a liar.
W mot Hill - Kim Hedge
Up on the hill.
Autumn leaves cover the mossy earth,
Like a patch-work quilt.
It is peaceful and quiet
Up on the hill.
Up on the hill.
The giant trees guard the memories of three lost children,
Like precious jewels in a palace.
Up on the hill.
Up on the hill.
The secret of those children
is sometimes told, when the wind blows through the trees, Like Whispering children.
Up on the hill.
1///", "hr;}. , '" ',<,' ',,~~, , I
When our baby was two months old she slept in a drawer while
her father and I did research
at Columbia University.
During that trip, we stayed
with my husband's cousins
in their apartment on the edge of Bedford-Stuyvesant,
We heard gunshots and sirens all night,
So John and Nelda aren't strangers in the sense of ax-wielding maniacs. But to my home,
they are strangers. Different rhythms .. I hear strange footsteps
going down the hall
STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE - Kit Knight
at 3 am. And I wonder
if the wooden floors can sense
the unmatched sounds. Extra towels bang in my bathroom. Blue.
And my daughter's cat
spends most of his time
hiding. I can't think
of any family members I'd want to spend more time with
than these cousins, who give the word 'liberal'
a whole new meaning. John quit his law practice so he could teach school
in the ghetto. They've had their car stolen and stripped
at least six times; and each time it was society's fault.
-.~------.--------------+' ... ......__.
Nelda was mugged; all she said was, "Don't ever tell anyone
what the time is, at least not
in an uncomfortable situation
in New York City." Most people go someplace glamorous
for vacation. John and Nelda
went to Ecuador. They've also been to Cuba and Red China. Another cousin said •
. puffing with her self-importance and her enormous weight,
"If John likes Russia so much. maybe he ought to stay there," Shirley was ignorant
and I told her so. That was
the last family dinner I ever went to
with Shirley. Next summer, 24
John and Nelda are planning
a trip to Alaska. After three days their Thanksgiving visit with IlS
was over. I gift wrapped a two pound coffee can and filled it
with cookies. They took it
along with the remaining apple cake and pumpkin pie ( I used
a cream cheese base). They took off in their red van. I took the extra leaves out of the table.
Removed the extra chairs.
We shut the door to the spare room and stripped the bed. And it's strange. Now the blue towels
seem to belong. There's a hole
in my home. I miss John and Nelda.
Play - Gilbert Hooigfe1d
Six fifty-five a.rn.,
and it's play-time for a pair of squirrels who cavort madly at the base of an oak, never tiring of their game of hide-and-seek, girdling the tree first this way then that,
spying, biding, spying, practically doubled-over in laughter as they fall to the ground, roll together for some quick rough-and-tumble, then the break-and-run for a minute of tag, then furiously up the tree trunk, tails abreeze, convulsed in laughter like a couple of kids.
The first shoots of the year sprout wildly, unpredictably, gangly, scallion-legged adolescents, gawking in knots, kids talking then not talking, standing in odd-sized clumps, uniformly gotten-up in green, and huddled in their schoolyard on the first warm day of spring.
Onion Grass - Gilbert Honigfekl
No Place To Go - Sister Mary Ann Henn
10 kids sleeping on a floor skinny mistrustful
they're fleeing from memselves and from many other things
Are they ready to die?
Does anyone care what
does anyone care it's
an over populated world anyway too many is too many, isn't it?
If cats are neutered, why not - ?
:DEW Mrn OF BABY ~ J Dan Payne Kincaid
the place babies baby strollers
in the same aisle trying to buy
baby carriages babies hanging
a beretyou have to give way
from someone's neck. Babies being bumped
make room or take it
on the shin ...
into you trying to shop
a holiday bent over
seems to be
an army invasion of infants.
AULD LANG SYNE - Joan Payne Kincaid
What was woven in my child's mind growing up
your piece of plastic your acquisitions
warp and woof let them
your lack of stewardship of the planet...
slip through beyond reach until too late.
that ancient thread-
Love thy neighbor as thy self, unravels
Love means: your church your politics
CHILD AND CASTLE - Ida Fasel
She pats a hill of sand taller than she is. Spanks it Rounds it into a wall.
Not a nail to topmost fortifications, water enough in the pail to seal.
Last, the windows to open and let in light. She enters by a glistening door. Spreads her arms. Reaches full height to dreams, at home in the tower, feet secure
00 the foundation she raised.
Such knowledge! She knows the best place to build is the place she builds --
the shadowy cove where long beach grass hovers still. Hut the sea rides in,
rears at obstacles, prances round them, takes castle and hill below its roily surfaces where deep descent transforms the gale.
The child has the castle. The woman, the calm.
DIALOGUE - Ida Fasel
A little boy from down the street stalks all the hiding places
of my juniper on his way to school.
"I'm an undercover agent. I'm looking for bad people."
"How will you know them?"
He bends and resumes
and I wonder if he will outgrow jidgment by first impression.
Innocence - Susan Paekie
Trust is the gurgling of a contented baby
who knows nothing else.
The baby's white flesh barely indents white sands of timeless beaches.
The first Birth ~ Susan Packie Let me tell you the story
of how babies are born.
It's a secret that
very few know.
It began in a kingdom
where children were spurned and the babies had
nowhere to grow.
a bird and a bee
flew over the barren spot at the same moment.
In their heads suddenly popped a prophetic thought about flowers and seeds and squawking babies.
So they landed on posies marigolds and roses, ,
daffodils and hepatica. And before anyone saw
what the duo had spawned,a flock of babies were poking out from the blossoms,
all pink and cuddly
and smiling as if
they were the world's royalty. The infants were scattered throughout the neighborhood, the county, the state,
until there was no home
that did not have a crib
and the progeny of
the bird and the bee.
It is 'no fairytale
it is no mystery.
This is the real way'
that babes came to be.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.