ISSN 0197-4777

October, 1989

'And he--appraising

All who come and go,

With his amazing Sleight-of-mind and glance And nimble thought

And nature balanced like the scale at nought-Looks Westward, where the trade-lights glow And sees his vision rise __ '

Submissions should be sent to WATERWAYS, 393 Saint Pauls Avenue, Staten Island NY 10304 with a stamped, self addressed envelope if you would like them returned. Subscriptions $20 for 11 issues; $2.55 sample copy. 1989's themes are all taken from Lola Ridge's poem 'The Ghetto' first published 70 years ago in the New Republic and contemporary responses to her poem. 1990 theme sheets are available upon request with a SSAE, please.

© 1989 Ten Penny Players

WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream

Volume 10 Number 9 October, 1989

Barbara Fisher & Richard Alan Spiegel, Co-Editors Thomas Perry - Intern CONTENTS

Gilbert Honigfeld 4-6 Anne Shelley

Pat Anthony 7-9 Albert Huffstickler

Michael Hathaway 10 Susan Packie

Joanne Seltzer 11-13 Kit Knight

Wael AbdelGawad 14-16 Sister Mary Ann Henn

Ida Fasel 17-21 Hubert E. Hix

Rose Romano 22-25 Ira Rosenstein

Arthur Winfield Knight 26-31 Lowery McClendon

Fredrick Zydek 32-37 Hilary Tham

38-40 41-46 47 48-51 52-53 54 55-56 57-58 59-61

SICK mnn IN A PARJKING LOT - Gilbert Honigfelidl

So sick

she is nearly immobile, and at first I mistake her for a small misplaced rock

instead of a half- grown mourning dove, too weak to chant her own dirge, centered perfectly between the stripes with no visible signs of distress,

any movement deliberate as a queen's, resigned, patient, just like the little girl in the leukemia poster


DIRT a GHbert Honigfeld

Another day without rain,

TV news interviewing farmers

up and down their furrows, human interest lenses zooming-in on worn workboots kicking

dusty anthills purposelessly, miniature clouds of red dirt raised with every step, here

and there twisted scraps of oncegreen vegetation, turnip tops, one guy said, breathing

their last, the mobile film crew lucky enough to be there chronicling the very moment when his irrigation system

went belly-up, sucking up

the last of the mud-hole, spewing, like a defiant child,

one final mouthful of something wet and nameless, thrownup and captured for the six o'clock news, replayed at 11,

the farmer, his boots, his failed turnips, his harvest of dirt and the dry hole, cold news by Thursday,


all motion frozen now except

the coordinated liquescence

of a dozen doe eyes, peering unseen, behind the skirts of night

HAJLF~HOUR ~ GHbert Honigfeld

Late winter dusk, February, and in that extended half-hour before night settles down

like a fat woman broodhenning into a tufted easy chair, invisible eyes transfix us

from somewhere beyond the tree-line, wood's edge marked by silver pickets, a line of scrub maple saplings

and doe eyes, brown startlers,

pair on pair on pair, studying

the spectacle of human movement

in the clear and alarmingly noisy, precious silence threatened, violated,



morning drifted into chapel, mingled with the notes of Matins, and then, hung heavily above the guttering candles.

This odor of home

cured pig led us from the altar

through the basement dimness until light broke upon porcelain, stainless and rows of sizzled fat the color of dried blood.


Edges blacker than nuns' veils.

More crisp than their starched coifs. Flattened beyond wrinkles,

it crumbled under the touch of serving tongs.

Smoky air repulsed our empty stomachs.

Left us thinking of those pigs behind

the summer house that had come to this final significance:


Pooling around the raisins fallen from our Sunday

bread. Hungrily licked free from our fingers like memories,


SOUTH POINTE ~ Pat Anthony

Slash of rain

against my window where outside, rags blown with leaf-swirl take shape: bits

of dress and shawl-a shoe come loose-tidied by gentility

and old arthritic hands. Scrabbling in

detritus she

finds her bag;

peers inside

to reassure

herself. Rising,

tugs again the shawl and finishes this

ritual of awakening. Turns northward to face infinite sidewalks and finite promise of soup

kitchen. '~~~


~ r;~---... t·

- ~~7';"''1 ~:ir ~-~.

f_~~/-·I:J'.t 11~,~·r.

----~.il f'f t:J \ -:_,'

~~ 1-;;.·J .IF ~~.

l' !;". ~-



~-- -



Snow falls across the eye

of a Dall ewe, as she stands defiant in the face of this icy fall. She does not see

the need for our warming fire, nor even the very cabin's windows .tLj .. <-:" -;;·"",-.~tf~ from which we peer up at her. Does not ,~;: i~~t&f {(~~2;;\,

h b t I k I .or, t If. 'S .• ;:P ,! .• ,,·,,·,t

even see us, per aps, U 00 son y i'iiA{(,£~:·:., .. >.{~~~(~':.t~3j.

through; back to the first coming ".f~/~€~~"';::';""":~·.iE:;'~,::;,!,\:

" __ ·~~~_~"Cr._, ... " -I"- .... r~;-4-~ •• ~

of these elements in her own life's span:' ··.~"c..,.~ __ :~o;:~~

knows already their duration and her own need

to endure. Sets for herself some silent limit

and quietly begins its slow accretion.


EXCERPT a Michael Hathaway

eventually i take a mighty poetic leap into midnight dreams

singing loudly at the moon's face grabbing at tiny stars & planets i put them in ajar

poke holes in the lid

watch them glow like fireflies in their orbi ts

i say, "yeah."



BEYOND rGJ-.IETTOIZAT][ON u Joanne Seltzer

The kitchen is a ghetto.

The bedroom is a ghetto. Women who aren't admitted for reasons of sex alone

into private business clubs live and work in the ghetto.

Why do we tolerate walls

that keep us in and them out? Whether visible or not

walls, a mother-symbol, rise above the common level, demanding our allegiance.

When was this ghetto founded? So long ago no one knows

how to find the cornerstones

in order to remove them.

There was a fight once, a war, and women were the losers.

And Our ghetto has a few compensatory features

like the chicken soup we brew and the soft beds we sleep in. We go naked in our streets. We ban the would-be rapist.


Our meeting place: the bathroom. Shall we pull the toilets out

and install a urinal?

Or shall we ask the men in, sharing our facilities

with those who excluded us?

Outside these walls the wolf waits. Now we must ask if the wolf

has also been victimized

by myth and false witnesses. Shall we kill him or attempt a reconciliation?


I say, "Make friends with the wolf." You say, "Throw stones at the wolf." We fight. I pull your earring.

You scratch my cheek, punch my breast. We are both torn and bleeding.

The wolf takes a nap in the sun.

Men think us anonymous. We rediscover our names.

Men say we don't own our names but are given them to rent.

We say we have squatters' rights. Men say pay the rent or leave.

Shall we pack our belongings into a few plastic bags

and crash the men's park benches? Shall we pee in their gutters?

Are we safer on their streets

than in Grand Central Station?

This is our home, our history. We can unlock the main gate while sparing the ghetto walls, making an open city

that all are free to enter

or exit from as they wish.

Sister, put balm on your ear ... and I'll put my bra back on

and wipe the blood off my cheek. Then we can draw a new plan for the city of women:

I propose we call it Life.


ELLIE ~ Waeli AbdelGawad

Being inclined to love more than obey, a look of terrible defiance, a way

of pushing the boot, pushing the boot, a hate for all that bricked and pasted over,

our sister's eyes shone green as the bay

and she burned the orphanage to the ground. On Russian Hill the children say

she smiled as the smoke rose, the entire stretch from crest to quay glowing red as the Gates

of Hell and San Francisco. The four of us, they say, are children of the Hell; that on that gray day fifteen years ago

that Mad Ellie and I emerged

the city shook; that eight years later, one metallic May, Francine was delivered dead and was revived

with an electric shock; that when Torrence followed violet and screeching like an angry jay

Mama collapsed and died. It's true we ate like fallen and fearful royalty,

huddled against the cold spray

on the dock behind the Franciscan,

where thin-haired young waiters with rheumy eyes fed us scraps of prawns in lemon sauce and calamari. After dark we walked the lapped embarcadero

below the Bay Street parapet, and Ellie's song,

sweet as a clarinet, pierced all the wharf.

Sometimes Francine cried. Ellie said we were birds dreaming an animal dream, that Mama had gone

where humans had never been, a rocky island ocean where millions of birds spin like a storm. "Will we be eagles?" - This was little Terry, curly hair

like brown down and a love that flew. - "No, love, seagulls just like Mama." Late one night,


the moon high and white as an albatross

over Marin, Terry's body zippered warm in my jacket, Francine cradled birdlike and pale against my chest,

steel drums around us like a nest, we awakened to the sound of Ellie's screams. She stood at the end of the pier,

~1¥~it~~;~~~gi.~f~~~~:::mst ,/:~,~t~'

under the bright parquet of rock-candy stores and bins with oysters injars,

everyone holding a pearl, glowing in the dark, that Ellie might be right,

that it might not be a tragedy to fly in the place where a million birds cry and wheel like the eye

of the sun.


The catherine wheel of my mind goes round and round with thanks

though here there's no avenue named Ocean, no picket fence mounting beach roses against its white. The east wind

cannot be trusted to carry salt so far inland. I let go of mental brio-a-brae

to take a second look not to overlook what's important where I am. The distance between roses is a dancer's leap.

I dig my knees into earth dirty as Brecht.

It's planting time in less than flight time home.



A piece of nomadic furniture for the universe, growing up poor, walking endlessly to save bus fare, I stop short in an unfamiliar street.

A handsome clapboard house, austerely square, white, serene, rowan row of 12-paned windows framed in dark shutters, elegant arch

over the door sided with slender columns, fanlight a sun's glimpse of gemstones

Inside, a curving polished banister, my room

at the landing, a servant white-collared and cuffed carrying the visitor's card on a silver tray,

steps light and loyal on the deeply carpeted stairs.


I finish my letter at the silver inkwell, powder the paper dry, and rise

in imported silk to receive, real class.




When did perfume become philosophical? "Knowing," the ad says. "Knowing is all." Oh, I want it! I want to have knowledge tangible and full as this gleaming liquid in jade-topped crystal, final as

its knot of elegant gold cord.

The page is scented, and as I breathe the affordable courtesy, my heart performs a thrill, my mind takes off on a cadenza, all my serial parts fervently persuaded of possibilities of the real out there, right now

only questions without answers.


ON THE TRAIL a Ida Faseli

We pass daisies in high meadows like laundry spread out to dry. Snag on trailside brush.

Force our muscles ahead of breath

in the difficult air -- released balloons that lift our bikes to heavenly altitudes.

We pause to sight aspen and bristlecone pines, name 'Wind-eroded peaks, jump rocks,

splash hot faces in the cool clear creek,

pitch into escorted lunch.

Noone reports seeing God,

but on the third day, trying for 10,000, balloons rapidly deflating, I greet

a godsend in the sag wagon following.


-- - ---- ~~-------

STILL VVl-l[SPERS a Rose Romano

The tomatoes must be picked on Sunday so the sauce is started fresh.

Everything from the garden in the backyard still whispers of sun

and air, tomatoes purring, as eager to be part of the sauce as a baby to be

part of the family. The tomatoes

must be picked on Sunday and everything brought into the kitchen-the procession of the grandmother,

the aunts, and the girl cousins,

all the way from Southern Italy and Sicily to Brooklyn. Tomatoes, family, everything in the kitchen--this is why.


They couldn't take too many things

on the boat. The little they had wasn't worth the cost, and what was worth

any cost could be brought unnoticed. So they brought their reasons--the tomatoes must be picked on Sunday.


LA RADJ[CE ~ Rose Roman.o

I know Americans who can

follow their people back hundreds of years, this security of family, ancestors like endless land to build a home, to grow food, to live--no limit to the past like

no limit to the future-while I, not quite American and too late

to be Italian, go back as far as

my grandparents, maybe to last as long as my grandchildren--never sure where

I'm going and walking off a cliff.



That's what they called it in a book--sounds terminal. I play these tapes of old Neapolitan songs and have cravings for

curly macaroni and brown gravy. That's what we called it as children--I never found

out what adults call it. I see my grandmother's parlor--she never called it a living room--

on Sunday with the old women who spoke Neapolitan while Funicoli Funicula whispered from the Victrola. I sat on the couch in a

stiff, itchy dress, a canolli in one hand and

a cup of demi-tass--it was Sunday--

in the other, tears offrustration--

not being where I want to be--

waiting in my eyes.

I play these tapes of old Neapolitan songs, tears no longer wai ting.


Ai"\TN][E OAKLEY:F ANlIE ~ Arthur Winfield Knight

No one comes to see me

now. I'm back where I began in a crummy little town

in Ohio. It's hard to believe I was a living legend,

hard to believe

I shot a cigarette out of the mouth

of the German Crown Prince at his request--

and Sitting Bun called me Little Sure Shot

when we were with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. I could slice a playing card

held up edgeways

with a bullet at 30 paces.

I could break a small glass ball whirled on the end of a string by my husband

as I shot backwards over my shoulder, sighting into a mirror. I did that for 27 years, then I was 42,

too old to be an ingenue, and the cheering stopped. But I still remember

the applause.

In Paris they shouted, "Vive Annee Oaklee! Vive AImee Oaklee!''

as I shot out the candles attached to a rotating wheel.

Then I'd leap onto my pony, grabbing a pistol,

and shatter six glass balls thrown in to the air

before the first one

could hit the ground.

Now it's 1926

and the rest is history. Now, bent over,

I'm more diminutive than my original 5 feet and Cody, dead 10 years, didn't live long enough

to hear the cheering stop.


THE AGENDA = Arthur' Winfield Knight

I think about phoning my father to wish him a happy birthday, but he's often cranky, belligerent,

w hen I talk to him long distance

since his retirement. But he's been nervous

for as long as I can remember. When I was little

he was afraid

to drive across

the Golden Gate Bridge because he could feel it swaying, and I remember

standing in the dome

ofthe Capitol at Sacramento; Dad stayed away from the railing because he was afraid of falling. Mom says Dad needs an agenda when he talks on the phone now. He can talk to other botanists about manzanita specimens

but when he talks to me

he's reduced

to telling me what movies he's seen on his VCR, then he'll tell me the plots of his favorite films.

They are always romantic comedies or films where people like

Astaire and Rogers dance. Inevitably, they're made

in the 30s or 40s or 50s,

and they have happy endings. I want to say, "Talk. to me," but he can't.

We have never talked seriously about anything in our lives.

I decide I'll send him a card. It's cheaper, easier,

and I don't have to have an agenda. I guess there is no reason

for us to begin talking after so many years.


EBEN FLOOD IN PETALUNlA ~ Arthur Winfield Knight

He's 51 now,

living in the town where he grew up. His daughters visit his ex-wife

or work

or spend their time with friends.

Bob reminds me

of Old Eben Flood looking down

on Tilbury Town alone--or myself when I came here.

Most nights,

Bob gets drunk,

even if he doesn't see two moons like Eben, and he phones old friends:

Les in Arkansas, dying of cancer, or me

in the wrong California. Bob will call us

even if he doesn't have anything to say.

Poor Bob. Poor Eben.

I remember

those drunken nights when I first moved here. I'd phone anyone

I'd ever known. I'd say, "Talk to me, talk to me," babbling, inconsequential, until the line went dead.

FIGHT THE BIG C c Arthur Winfield Knight

Our 11 year old asked me to help her

design a poster

against drunk. driving.

At first I told her,

"Al ways keep a six pack in the trunk

in case you get thirsty and there aren't

any bars around,

but she said, " Oh Daddy, you're no help. I!

Then I told her about

the 4 primary food groups: beer,



and cigarettes.

"I don't smoke," I said, "but I try to drink

as much beer

and wine as possible, particularly red wine since it's supposed to help you combat cancer." I said, "Put that

on your poster: 'At home or on the road,

drink wine.

Fight the Big C.' " But she just said, louder than before, "Oh Daddy,

you're no help."



Dear Tom: I've been a dead man wandering among the dead.

I need a thought I can follow like a river -

something that will quench this thirst for the Eternal-

this hesitation of atoms

that keeps me waiting like a statue for my birth.

We're scaling the last lump of Summer now. The world's nervous geometry

is sinking back into the bulbs in the garden. Pi ty the unbelievers -

their dreams are behind them. I go among them unnoticed. 32


I was glad for the woods that surround your place. I can see you, coffee cup in hand,

greeting the morning's green secret,

growing dizzy at the smell of fresh pine,

the namelessness that defines our waking.

I want to be a planet-

to fling myself in the darkness of the universe and claim the harmony of stones.

Language is God's simple rule for getting even. Three times a year He passes this way.

He is in the kitchen now.

The sky hangs from his fork. Love, Fred.



THE BACK S][DE OF THE H][GH - Fredrick Zydek

The room's in slow motion now, time stands around with its hands in its pockets, stretches its back like a feline wind caught reminding itself of the weather

on the longest and warmest days.

The furniture in the room causes a sudden giggle;

who would believe the meaning of a Duncan Phyfe table?

Everywhere the room goes transparent, whole patches of it fade in and out

like Alice's cat, or Captain Kirk blinking off and on in his energizer.

I've decided I'm the alternative to gravity, a ballerina

spinning through the stars wearing nothing but sequins and ice

and a tutu spun from the moon's cerebral pleats. Each breath

I take reduces the room by two.

The world is made ofroot beer floats, huge piles of bagels and cheese.

The back side of the high is always want of food, music soft enough to play in, hints of orgasm everywhere delicious.

As quickly the room snaps back into time. "Did you see God?" someone asks.

"No," I reply, "but he didn't see me either."

MELONS m Fredrick Zydek

On days like these, I dream of melons -

those fat secrets of stamen and stem swelling round and willing in the vines.

At night, when the Nebraska moon creeps among the cottonwood and elms, they wait on their white bellies

for omnipotence.

Mornings, they make the mind go mauve, know the secrets of our deepest thirsts, flaunt their innocent flavors

towards the coming season.

I go among them empty-handed. I am like the wind

running pell-mell on its toes to greet them.


SABACJ-lIT:fW'f1[ - Fredrick Zydek

Some days I'm a mass of Christian virtues. Everything I do

takes the stance of prayer. I become an holy thing, white robed

and full of praises for the holy God

waiting like a white lump in the darkness of all my doubt and worry.


But I'm growing weary, Lord. All my good intentions bloom like weeds ~

my prodigal surges

dissolve me to a myth.

I am less than a sweat

in the arm.pits of the saints, a mote in the holy eye,

a thing early-filled

with shadows.

Some days I don't want to be a tree bending

in the cabinet maker's hands, a thing that needs

to be whittled and glued into new shape.

Some days I want

a gaze that can stun stone,

twist the brittle age straight, purge away the clones of heaven and let what wants to be

romp with the beautiful and good until hell freezes over.

Eventually it will have to deal with me.



CANEWALK m Anne SheJlJley

My cane, metal, grey rubber

becomes my telling gesture as though it were a curtain

a phrase, a sigh, preceding me.

Careful of ice quick-opening doors,

I stare downward as if in shame see shades and pattern

in cement.

Kids swoop like winter birds fat-chested in blue parkas their long denimmed legs and brave young bones make me glad for walls.


A pup on a rambling scent totters my tripod balance I wrestle a door

panicked. My God, two stairs.

My cane doesn't need coffee, air, light

or care. No oiling or boiling. Nothing. No one asks, how'd you get that cast? politely, no one asks.

Once, I lugged two boys, trikes, toys sheepdogs, grocery carts

mud stuck volvos

luggage, couches, laundry, refrigerators. Stubborn blond toddlers.

lovely, screaming, chirping toddlers.



Magic wand, Darth Vader, I want a mess! I want to chase after the mailman letting the cat out

locking myself out

in the rain, in pajamas.

I want to run, wet, to a neighbor, drink tea, and complain.


GRACE ~ A1lbert Huffsticlder

She stayed "With him and took care of him. He was an old man. She was very young. At night she went out to meet her lovers and came back late

and bathed and lay down beside him and slept, curled into herself

like a child.

"You don't have to this," he told her.

"But this is the way

I want it," she replied.


"You should have a young man," he said. "I have young men; you know that." "One OfYOUT own."

"I have you," she said, "and I have young men. This is what I want."

He did not argue anymore but went about his work treating her like

a miracle, like something beyond him that was

yet beside him, something that could

be gone of an instant

but while it was here

was beyond price.

first printed in Bristlecone, Carson City, Nevada, Volume 1, number 3, winter 1989

REPORT TO RENEE - Albert Huffstickler

Eight o'clock: I had cornflakes for breakfast and coffee at the Hyde Park Bakery;

then caught the bus downtown and bought some pipe tobacco

and had coffee at Texas French Bread, where I wrote a poem about going to Santa Fe.

A transient came into the tobacco shop and bought a pack of cigarettes on sale for $.95.

He said he was saving a quarter to call his friend because,

if they could each get a dollar, they were going to the Night Hawk for coffee.

That sounded all right to me.

Then I caught the Red River bus to Hancock Center and shopped for groceries,

walked home, ate, and took a nap, walked down Avenue G to a yard sale where I bought 3 short-sleeved shirts for $.50 apiece and a toaster

for $2.



Then I went home and tried the toaster out. Only one side works. I ate a piece oftoast.

I forgot to say that earlier this morning I had coffee with Hester, my 76-year-old neighbor

whose daughter yells so loud I can't even talk to my company some evenings. I also forgot to say that my dishwasher was broken and when the landlord came by

I told him about it and when I got home from town, it was fixed. So I

washed my dishes.

Lonely people stay busy, have you noticed?

Anyway, by now it was very hot and I took a bath, closed my house and lay down with the air conditioner on and read till I fell asleep. I did not dream about you.

I've decided that I have to start dreaming about older women since you are never going to grow up in time for me.

Hester has a parakeet.


Now, it's late afternoon. I walk across the street to have coffee with Daniel,

the manager of the Hyde Park Bakery. We talk a while.

Later, I go home and fix supper: hamburger steak, salad, corn, ajalapeno pepper and a pear for dessert.

By then, it is 8 o'clock and getting dark and I'm lonesome

so I walk over here to Burch's Restaurant where I get coffee and sit

wri ting this to say

that when you get older you'll understand how people get lonely for someone to share their day

as I'm sharing mine with you. There's a thing called intimacy, a very scarce commodity

in this world of busy people.

It's a feeling like tiny hands reaching inside you to hold and stroke your heart.


Burch's Restaurant, Saturday, May 20, 1989

- .:.:~

NOURISHNffiN'I' - AJlbert Huffstfckler

(From a Dream)

We fed the plants water from a wooden bowl, letting it spray

from the tips of our fingers like drops of light

in the spring sun.

Facing each other

across the bowl,

we'd swirl our hands deep then swing away

to let the drops fall

on the green, lifted faces. A rain dance.

We were raining on them.

When the bowl, itself part of a living tree, emptied,

we carried it down and filled it again

from the small, clear stream and rained some more,

not looking at each other,

not thinking about each other: just raining together.

March 12, 1987


We started in Seattle,

pawned a watch to get to Idaho, then commandeered a truck

of potatoes and drove it

down to Houston, where we

set up a pawnshop and negotiated for the return of our watch. Unfortunately, the shop was sold so the owner could gain

a toehold in Oregon, where everyone had gone to California before departing in despair

for the Lone Star State.

We're circulating among new arrivals with out-of-state license plates

and plan on going across the Rio Grande to Mexico as soon as we retrieve

our timepiece so we will know

when we can go back to Washington, just restless travelers

looking for the time of day.



I've always admired

people who are enthusiastic about their job

or anything else. If

I had the power to bestow one gift, it would be passion. People need

a real interest

in something outside themselves. Doesn't matter how meaningless. The joy and heart of the matter will be conveyed. Sharron Johnson was cheerful and enthusiastic

in her black and white

spectator pumps

as she led the tour of

Clay County Savings Bank in Liberty, Missouri. It was the first bank robbed by Frank and Jesse James.

It was also the first daylight bank robbery in America.

History was made on February 13, 1886. The cashiers,

William Bird and his father


were ordered to empty the vault's shelves

into a cotton wheat sack.

The bandits closed the vault door on the clerks,

and one of the outlaws said,

"Birds like you deserve to be caged." Apparently,

everybody knew everybody.

The loot totaled close to 61 grand. The band often

escaped across the Missouri River. A snowstorm hid their tracks.

One book said the James boys turned to robbing banks

because they were former guerrillas and when the Civil War ended

they were bored. More likely,

there was still so much upheaval, lawlessness, stealing, killing

and violence going on that

no one could settle down. And they were bored. Now,

over one hundred years later, the bank has been renamed

The Jesse James Bank Museum. Clay County has made an industry out of Jesse. And why is it wrong to see history preserved?

At least now

Jesse is bringing money into Clay County.



Adam West was going to be the grand marshal of

the homecoming parade in a tiny college town

in the Appalachian Mountains. The Ba tman movie was shown before his talk. And I wondered if he'd bounce on stage wearing his bat suit. But he was dignified in a suit and tie. His first remark was that he still fit

into his costume. And it was hue. Batman looked great.

His hair was a bit thinner and Mr. West wore glasses.

But I could see that he still could swing

from a batrope. Then t wondered if he was bored. Someone asked where Robin was and West said, coaly,

"Waiting in the car." It seemed everybody wanted to know about Catwoman. West said, "She gave me strange stirrings

in my utility belt." And I could tell his answers were almost scripted, but it wasn't West's fault.

Like George Orwell,

the natives absolutely

expected Adam to kill the elephant. Then someone wanted to know where Gotham City was

and he said it was a midwestern city by a beach; and someone yelled, "Ketchum." West's family

lives in Ketchum, Idaho.

Then West said, "You do know

about Idaho, don't you?

Some people don't."

I knew Ketchum was where Hemingway put a shotgun in his mouth in 1961

and fired.

I thought it was a pity Batman hadn't saved him.


AUSCHWITZ ~ Sister Marcy Ann Henn

My father enlists in the Foreign Legion

as all Jews did, at that time--badly dressed sad dirty I saw him but

would have preferred not to see him that way. I don't recall if I wore the Star anyway later my father leaves arrives in the unoccupied zone arranges for

my mother and I to join him. We cross the demarcation line. I have to cross

first. I ride on the carrier of a young woman's bike. We come to a road block and have to walk through the woods. Will I ever see my mother again? We arrive later than expected but she is waiting

for me together TOGETHER 'with my father




He runs the mountains: not up or down them but through the sacred trees, along the paths

of elk and long horned sheep, with the small streams that slowly eat their mountains.

He doesn't

sweat so much as pray the way the clouds pray: covering and cleaning the earth, giving themselves to the mountains.

He runs like the little things, rabbits and mice, squirrels, opposums; he hears the large shaking of the brush and

sees the eagle's shadow.

He has no name as he runs. He hears Canadian geese

naming the south wind. That name is enough. 54

ED DIES ~ ][ra Rosenstein

The weary old victim is laid upon clean sheets

By younger hands -- a doctor shakes his head. Eighty-year-old Ed knows that this is his death-bed, Though nice, for time undoes all that it meets.

He opens-- closes-- says the nurse-- his lost wife

One last-- hears he's dying-- and shoves the soul in his hand At the angels. A dry old body shakes with life

And moans for wine-- which brings his nurse on the run.

Still no wine. One theme runs through a strange dream as he sinks. That "The tracks carry the tracks." Inspired to bolt r;fr';)\:;;~~;i'~,W!.[:;)·):~;::'!~ .. \

~:~~.,. ,.jl':~~~·'·· I 1·~I·Jlk_;.~,,-.'.:~ .~-. -, . II

By dreams he opens his eyes, knows he-- he rasps ~~?~ ;;-:frMF,":;ir·'~~.·~~;!~ii;Jj!1

It, gags-- falling flat on his back, must accept-- ;\,,;"~J~'"ifi;ifs:;:'-: -~l !.!

~:"., .... , c·,-t~. ,;~ " '. Y,J'


;f2:i:-l\'\I'i '\ ':'111'\1'),1 h--.:,~ . .- ,:q, 55

.... ~I.1 '\\', 1 fl' ,~...- ....... !.I'I(';'!~'" '~l

'~~i';1~1%, .1"),1 "0, ,: Y.'~r~; :}:~~~ .. :::~-. ·..;S~~

~1\):l"hII!'!:')':"I:1 ,:JIl"'J"t"c',.o.i£:~'

11.,.!-11,,,, .. ,,!.,, .;\>·,,..r , .. _. __ ~. ~_

So the eternal bird that's him can wake huge wings And relish moments beside the Sun and bring back To its God, each truer than the next, five words:

"I'm a sick old bastard," he wonders. "Nurse! Hey fuck You!" His last words on Earth. Old bum. Yet once,

Before all that, when young a barber, an innocent

Male Delilah, not far from the East River, and "That's Why I hadda drink." A last blinding flash--Death don't got One for Ed. "The soul's a cheap ... " Occasion so vast,

Yet here he remembers-- that punk stole his pen in Nathan's Famous hot dogs--mustard's too sharp-- and his railroad flat In Williamsburg has no heat-- curses all landlords

As bastards-- damn! -- then boarding+ the "N"-- the worst

Today-- it's the "GG"! no damn signs!-- curses the goddamn conduct+

Yet the conductor answered gently. And so Ed got back in And rode further down that long dark tunnel in Brooklyn.


- -

MOON STARS CLOUDS m Lowery McClendon

Where is the moon tonight?

Lying sadly behind the clouds.

Where are the stars?

Far beyond the vault of clouds, farther than the moon.

They, too, are sad.

Where is the sky?

Behind the curtain that God has drawn.

Where is God?

He has drawn the clouds;

He has dimmed the moon and blown out the candles of stars; tonight He has left the sky

to ride upon His warrior dreams,

Where is He going?

He's going to a river hidden from the angels

to hide His dreams where, flowing swiftly,

the stars lay buried until the sea. We are alone.

Why are you sad? Not because the clouds hide the moon the stars,

nor because the sky is lost nor God is a warrior tonight,

but rather, because you are not here to share the sky's vast sadness

or mine, (yet how the world rests

on our columned sorrow,


J ,

how its turn groans beneath the push of shadowed wings). Should I believe this thunder is your calling? Or this storm your sorrow?

The rain is your absence, it is love's broken

and lost song returning, it is heartbeat,

it is love's silent fear. Here is my hand.

Where you are so far now,

is the sky common to our hearts? I believe the way the rain

has remembered us, a small, perfect acknowledgment of love.

If you were here to share my sadness

(for sadness is the broken bridge) we still want to believe)

I would welcome the clouds to hide the moon and stars;

God could ride upon His dragon either injoy or indignation,

could hide behind all of heaven's lights where your eyes would still catch their small starry fires,

the moon's constant wisdom, the sky's darkest soul hidden

where I or angels would never know in this rain that falls somewhere upon you, on your free and generous kisses, yes! your kisses and smiles.


Had Helen of Troy lost a tooth or two

before sweet-talking Paris came to town, dentures not invented yet, would ten thousand trees have lived

to crowd the Mycaenian sky? Or would Agamemnon, troubled by daily blood and brawls

in his unemployment lines, have found another excuse?

Would flat-chested Jane have served as well to shaft a thousand ships to war?


COLLECTORS a Hilary Tham

My daughter wants another Cabbage Patch Doll so bad, she will die, she declaims, knowing the word that conjures away

unbreathing hamsters in stiff fur, goldfish turned ragged and rock-heavy

on the water's bottom, robbed of their colors. She throws the word "death"

as a stone into our calm, knowing it makes turbulence, stirs

a dark shape into movement below the flow of



~~~--- -- ~---- -~. - -

'1 =-

Another darkness, the ache for possession, flings morning hooks that pull

midday people scampering over trash heaps, lusting after hubcaps, clocks

to polish and show, spit-shined

on crowded shelves.

After death, they crouch over their graves counting kidneys, lungs, drops of blood knowing only intact bodies will be carried home

to the trophy shelf. In their dead hands, envelopes hold their baby hair, milk teeth.


1990 themes are from the forthcoming book A JOURNAL OF PLATITUDES by David Fisher. The themes he contributed to the 1988 WATERWAYS elicited such interesting poetry we decided to agair

work from his material.



RubmisslOTI Due Date


When Horatio at the drawbridge oflife cried out to seize the day,

most of his companions fell into the moat.

December 1, 1989


When in doubt, love.

January 1, 1990


Humor is the pleasant surprise around the comer of the mind.

February 1, 1990


The idea of a creation is man's greatest creation.

March 1, 1990




Few find solace in lighting the fires of

future progress by being its kindling wood.


Conscience is a hot summer day that wracks the weak and bestirs the strong.


Most things to which we conform were initiated by non-conformists.


The higher we climb to riches the more terrifying the common earth looks below.


In the beginning, circus is an escape to

a new world; later, it is escape from the old one.

Suhmission Due Date

April 1, 1990

May 1, 1990

June 1, 1990

July 1,1990

September 1, 1990

-- _a. -


SubrnissiQTI Due Date


Many dangerous lakes lie beneath icy minds.

October 1, 1990


The priority is overcoming the injustice not punishing the unjust.

November 1,1990

· ... .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful