berkeley poet ry review


berkeley poet ry review

Berkeley Poetry Review Issue 43
© Berkeley Poetry Review 2016
Berkeley Poetry Review is published annually with grants and support from the
Associated Students of the U niversity of California and private donations.
Berkeley Poetry Review is not an official publication of the ASU C. T he views
expressed herein are those of the writers and artists, and not necessarily those
of the ASU C or the U niversity of California. Berkeley Poetry Review reserves
the right to reprint all accepted poems in any subsequent issue, anthology, or
T his issue is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-N onCommercial-N oDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Berkeley Poetry Review
Andrew David K ing
Jules Wood & N oor Al-Sammarai

Berkeley is hallowed ground for artists and freethinkers. T he town,
named after a philosopher-poet (one who, poetically enough, declared that esse
est percipi: ?to be is to be perceived?), has stood as the backdrop for the Beat
epoch, the Berkeley-San Francisco Renaissance, and the Free Speech
M ovement. T his is, obviously, far from a complete list; nothing I could say in
an introduction like this one could do justice to the history that precedes me,
to the formidable ark of talent and willpower that has partly sailed into, partly
sunk beneath, the canon of American cultural history. Jack Spicer, now a
poster child of the Berkeley Renaissance, prefaced his recitation of a part of his
poem ?Imaginary Elegies? at a reading he gave on April 11, 1957, to T he
Poetry Center in San Francisco with a dedication to Robin Blaser and an
epigraph from Yeats's A Vision: ?All that a man knows, and needs to know, is
found in Berkeley.? To the great amusement of the audience, Spicer
pronounced Berkeley ?berk-lee,? the city's name, though it was assumed that
Yeats had been speaking of the aforementioned philosopher-poet, the Irish
idealist whose name is commonly pronounced ?bark-lee.? But Spicer's pun has
a further layer. Yeats was not the line's original source: he quotes it, towards
the beginning of A Vision, as received from ?a young revolutionary soldier who
was living,? he says, ?a very dangerous life.? So began Yeats's endeavor to load
up on philosophy to improve the first proof of his great mythic work? spurred
on by the gnomic dictum of a soldier, which filtered up through the decades to
resurface in Spicer's reading, where it was playfully misattributed to Yeats as
something he had said in his own person, and to which was added a sonic
modification that shifted the referent of ?Berkeley? from the philosopher to
the town, thereby, to well-tuned ears, referencing both.
T he genealogy of this incident can say a few things about the mazelike
qualities of poetic transmission? a phenomenon that (in a more extraterrestrial
form, granted) Spicer was interested in. T he pun itself suggests a connection
between knowledge and geography, the idea that knowledge might be found
somewhere in just the sense that any town is found somewhere. But there is
something special, Spicer must also be facetiously, even mockingly, saying,
about the city itself, the university, and the academic and artistic communities
that congregated there in the middle of the 20th century. Given the amount of
era-defining work that traces its lineage to that time and place, this seems
difficult to deny. And the act of referring to the philosopher popularly known
for his denial of the existence of material substance, via Yeats, suggests an
attention to intellectual achievements found outside the realm of poetry proper.
T he zeitgeist that gave birth to so many lasting works of mid-century
American writing and theory, and which later gave birth to the Berkeley Poetry
Review, was rooted in part in the conviction that aesthetic pursuits could lead
to, or otherwise importantly engage with, knowledge? of a familiar and an
unfamiliar sort, and across disciplinary boundaries. T his conviction, which I
share, appears with clarity in the opening editorial statement of the
Experimental Review, a magazine published in 1940 in N ew York by Robert
Symmes (later known as Robert Duncan, another figure at the center of the

Berkeley Renaissance) and Sanders R ussell, who met at U C Berkeley. T he
following excerpt appears in the portfolio of poems and documents about the
Berkeley Renaissance compiled and prefaced by Ben M azer, a contributor to
this issue, for the third edition of Fulcrum:
T he experiment is not to foster an eccentricity or a novelty of
language, nor to create a new literature: it is to extend the
understanding, to bring everything into consciousness, to develop the
artist's awareness in the field of observation? in the world of objects,
values, dreams, in tensions within the social and economic order as
well as in more involved states of consciousness? the way of the
primitive, the saint, or the mystic.
Extending the understanding: just as one might hear ?in Berkeley? in two
ways, so might one hear this phrase. Extending the understanding could
amount to simply adding to its contents? lengthening the list of known
propositions, putting more jars on the shelf. O r it might amount, on a more
literal interpretation, to stretching it further into real and imagined space,
widening the boundaries of the map of what can be known. In the T heatetus,
Socrates proposes an analogy between the mind and an aviary. T he idea is that
there are different senses in which one can retain an article of knowledge, or of
ignorance; if an article resides in the mind as a bird does in the aviary, then it
seems possible that one could enter the aviary to retrieve a particular article but
emerge, mistakenly, with another. H e eventually discards the analogy, but it
seems fitting as a means to describe a collection of disparate literary works
from a diverse, and commanding, group of writers. T hese poems, whether
they say true or false things or simply furnish sensations, form a rambunctious
zoo of thought inside what might be described as a hive mind. T his is not true
of every collection of poems: there are plenty of inert and unthinking poems
out there, too. But I stand behind each of these poems for their continuation of
the editorial mission of the Experimental Review, which seems to have lingered
in the air at Berkeley. Whatever their topics and tones, they succeed, I think, at
extending the understanding: adding birds to the cage, or enlarging it.
Sometimes, too, they rend it; other times, they seek its destruction.
T his issue includes, serendipitously, a glimpse into the history of this
particular cage. Berkeley Poetry Review founder Rob Sean W ilson and I have
curated a small selection of archival documents from the journal's early days.
T hey are presented with prefatory comments by us both. I should point out
that this issue's very first page is a facsimile of the title page of the journal's first
issue, modified and signed by W ilson for this issue. Beyond these explanatory
notes, I will let the documents speak for themselves; besides being of ?mere?
historical interest they will, I hope, give some insight into the energies that
brought the journal into existence.
Also noteworthy about this edition is its several longer pieces. When I
first toyed with the idea of including more such pieces than might usually
appear in a journal like this one, I noticed in myself a little resistance? an
editor's tic, unremarkable in itself, of worrying that this or that thing will take

up too much space. But now that I have undone some of my acquired myopia
it seems to me strange? puzzling, even? that longer poems, poems that
require their readers to think beyond the space of a page or a few pages, do not
appear more frequently in mainstream publications. A few explanations of
competing simplicity are available: they are not being written; they are not
being published; when they are written and published, they are not read, or, at
any rate, not read as often as their briefer counterparts. I suspect that a
combination of all of these causes has conspired to exclude the long poem
from the everyday conception of what a poem is; but I also suspect that
something of the climate of reductionism, wittingly and unwittingly cynical,
that hankers for what contributor Lyn H ejinian has described as small, perfect
?gems? of poems has contributed to the scarcity of a practice that asks, in
general (though certainly not necessarily), for more sustained thought and
attention from readers and for more argumentative and aesthetic risks taken by
writers. A few important qualifications are in order. T he first is that longer
poems do not, solely in virtue of being longer, avoid the pitfalls of their shorter
counterparts; some do succumb to them. T he second is that the longest poems
included here are dwarfed by the hallmark ?long poems? of the English verse
tradition? so they might be seen, then, not as examples of vanguards of the
form but as movements away from the reigning standard of the poem as gem,
origami crane, or cut rose. All of this is not to say that a poem may not be any
of these things, that there is anything wrong with gems, origami cranes, and
cut roses. T hese may be valuable aesthetic objects. But the concept of the
poem ought not to be exhausted by them.
Robert Pinsky once wrote, somewhat self-deprecatingly, that he was
drawn to poetry rather than other written forms because he got bored more
easily than most people. ?T hat is why I like poetry,? he writes in the
introduction to his poem ?Impossible to Tell? in the anthology T his Is My
Best, ?because it moves so quickly: one second you are talking to the Western
W ind and thinking about the small rain, then suddenly it's 'Christ!' and then
immediately after that it's wanting to be in bed with my love again.? Poems
swap incisors for the molars of novels; they puncture and tear rather than mill
and grind. Ars longa, vita brevis: one wants to get to the heart of things while
there is still time. Yet the idea that poems offer condensed what novels offer
sprawling should, I think, be tempered with the caveat that the comparative
incisiveness of poems and novels is not strictly a matter of length or form but of
the quality of a work's attention, of its intensity. T hink of a novel like To the
Lighthouse, its pages lit throughout by lightning-strikes of social and
psychological insight, many as seemingly capricious to the characters whose
thoughts they are as to the readers who receive Woolf's charged reports of
T here may yet be a difference between the prose of To the Lighthouse
and properly ?poetic? writing (the latter, one might suggest, is in principle
more preoccupied with the machinery of language as such, even if it also cares
to describe experience), but the point here is that the lumens of a focused
attention need not be more at home in a poem than in a novel, or vice versa.
T his leads to another, albeit roundabout, reason for my inclusion of several

longer series in the journal. I have endeavored to choose poems that justify
themselves? that, to stick with the ?lumens? metaphor, keep the bulbs lit? at
every point in traversing them, that tend to produce beautiful or provocative
figurations not only for their own sakes or for pleasure, that engage in poetry
not as pastime or frivolity but as part and parcel of the activity of
understanding. Pleasure seems an important goal of art, but I suspect that not a
little sap is taken out of the defense of the worth of artistic pursuits if no other
goal can be found to supplement it. I have done my best to select poems that
do not take up the resources of poetry as mere accessories to understanding,
but which see that some problems and questions? many having to do with
giving an accurate phenomenology of experience, including the experience of
confronting what are often taken to be strictly ?intellectual? questions? call
for, maybe even necessitate, those resources in order to even begin to be
adequately dealt with. T his is what I understand by the work that poetry can
do to ?extend the understanding.?
And yet this work will often fail, or produce imperfect fruit, or
otherwise disappoint. In T he Long Schoolroom, Allen Grossman, the
recently-deceased giant of American poetics whose poem ?T he Piano Player
Explains H imself? is reprinted here, tells of reading one morning in a public
library to discover ?how poetry comes to be.? T his leads him to Bede's story of
Caedmon, ?the first poet in English who has a name.? T hen he says: ?M y
intuition was then, as it is now, that valid poetry comes to be only when the
man or woman with work to do has exhausted all means other than poetic for
doing the work that needs to be done.? I agree; and I suspect that what
Grossman describes as ?the bitter logic of the poetic principle?? the fact, if it
is one, that any poem will inevitably betray the impulse that gave rise to it by
distorting it through the structures and institutions (one thinks here of
N ietzsche's ?prison house?) of language, the very medium the poem depends
on for its actualization? is an apt characterization of the fate of aesthetic aims
more generally. While this is a saddening state of affairs, I also suspect that its
inescapability is less a reason to abandon those aims, or to relinquish in
frustration what incomplete understanding they do give us, than to knuckle
down and forge ahead. T his struggle may actually be a mark of sublimity. As
H elen Vendler writes of Stevens's later poems, ?effort, undone by fate and
successful only in fantasy, is finally the quintessential definition of life as art,
and the product, the poem, in order to be sublime, must remind us always of
the effortful process that gave it birth.? Bitter principles need not lead only to
While addressing (?recovering? is too decisive a word; ?addressing?
has all the right connotations of speech and transcription) the illnesses that
caused the release of this issue to be delayed for several years, I not infrequently
found myself turning to poetry. T here is something about venturing into the
world again after an episode of illness that causes even the trappings of ordinary
life to appear alien, absurd, not to be trusted: one's self, one's home, the public
sphere. And there is something about poetry that, in its reproductions and
reconfigurations, combats that alienness, something that shores up the
intelligibility of the world as a whole. It seems intellectually unfashionable to

talk of art as therapy; but therapy, it is worth noting, has its intellectual
projects, one of which is the project of self-understanding. Like Pinsky, I
admit I found myself sometimes attracted to poetry because it seemed to offer a
speedier, if more haphazard, route to understanding? especially on those
occasions when I felt that the uncertainty of the future made it wise to invest
in what could be more quickly obtained. O n other occasions, when the
waning of time was less of a concern (though it was never more than
something I temporarily wrestled to the back of my mind), poetry offered
another cabinet of balms: within it, the satisfaction of an aesthetic experience
that borrowed from any area of life or study, without compunction, whenever
it saw fit. T he conception of art as therapy is not unique. T herapeutic
conceptions of philosophy, in one sense or other, can be found at least as far
back as Epicurus and as recently as W ittgenstein. By ?therapy? I do not mean
simply the provision of comfort, nor by ?comfort? simply a feeling of security.
By ?therapy? I mean the endeavor to make some sense, however vague or
piecemeal, of where we are now, at this moment, in this world; by ?comfort? I
mean only the notion that, wherever we are, we are not quite as lost as before.
We have a better sense of how to go on, of how to write the next line.
I am as grateful to my contributors for their patience and kindness as
the issue was brought to publication as I am for their pieces. For support and
advice I thank M ike Cassady, April Chan, Danni Gorden, K atie H indenlang,
Bryce T hornburg, and Rob Sean W ilson; I also thank Yaul Perez-Stable and
Andrew Reyes. For assistance with correspondence pertaining to the issue I
thank R achel Feldman, Samantha N ichols, and Jules Wood; for his editorial
input, I thank Chiang M an H in. And I thank my family, without whom I
would be nothing.

Andrew David K ing
Berkeley, Aptos, and Hayward, California
April 2016


dedicated to the memoriesof
Leonard J. Cirino
Allen Grossman

Table of Contents
Danni Gorden
Corey M esler
Wesleigh Anderson
M atthew Z apruder
Angel Dominguez
Allen Grossman
Bryce T hornburg
Robert H ass
Yaul Perez-Stable H usni
rob mclennan
K aren An-hwei Lee
Janis Butler H olm
M ary-Catherine Jones
Robert Peake

I Have Cleansed Myself
Poem on the Occasion of a Weekly Staff
Little Demon of Kiss
Vestibule 1a
T he Piano Player ExplainsHimself
Oh the PlacesYou'll Go
Mark Me
Second Person
Essays, before a sonata
Breath of Spiracles
Songof Black Sage
Sound Poems
T he longdrive
A Short Essay on Priestsand Kissing
ReadingJamesJoyce at the Berkeley

R aúl Z urita (translated by
Andrew Reyes)
What isParadise?
D. A. Powell
T he Sundial
N a H ui-Dok (translated by
M onica Lee & M argaret R hee) City Treasury
David M offat
Gopher Wood
Daniel W.K. Lee
M argaret R hee
T he University Dreams
Chris Carosi
On the Grid / At the Gate
Sun Grass
Linda N orton
Prayer (I Have No Money)
T hree Gardens
In My Girlish Days
from W ite-O ut

John Ashbery
M ichael Ives


[a selection of artworks]


Strange Reaction
from T he Ghost in the Field


Peter Adam N ash
Lyn H ejinian
K ayla Krut
Jenny M ary Brown
Daniel Aristi
Alex Taitague
Tricia Asklar
Charles Bernstein
Charles Bernstein &
R ichard Tuttle
Rob Sean W ilson
Ben M azer
N ick Admussen

Andrew David K ing &
Rob Sean W ilson
M ajor Jackson
M ax Goudie Pujals
G. C. Waldrep
Jessica R ae Bergamino
Changming Yuan
M ark Tardi
R umi (translated by Amin
Banani and Anthony A. Lee)

Tel Aviv
Heartsand Queens
Sent Sense (Unfollowed)
SoCal Tattoo Poem N. 11
SoCal Tattoo Poem N. 14
Everyday Poem
Study No. 30
When the Nephrologist TellsMy Father
He Must Stop EatingAnythingwith Eyes
or that Comesfrom Anythingwith Eyes 113
Autobiography of an Ex-Kike
Because the Snow Which Falls
translation by T EE K im Tong
Naugatuck River Flow
Parable of Old Swedes
Still Plum


[a selection of documents from the
archives of the Berkeley Poetry Review]


Canon of Proportions
from Attribution Error (2/3)
from Stratal Geometries


Holy Words
I'm Nobody



W illiam Dow
Larry R uth
R ainer M aria R ilke
(translated by Len Krisak)
Giuseppe U ngaretti
(translated by Len Krisak)
Aaron Shurin
Lawrence Eby
Laura M ullen
Goethe (translated by
Samuel Garrett Z eitlin)

If You're Not in Love
Last Walk
Saint Jeanne, rue Saint Marcel (1985)
Happy Hour
Two or T hree Stanzason Salvation


T he Square
Sappho to Eranna


T he Exchange
T he Part Unseen
from Flight of August
Eye Exam
Close Your Eyes. Now, from Memory...


Freed T hought
Songand Creation


Else Lasker-Schüler
(translated by Samuel Garrett
Z eitlin)
My blue piano
To My Friends
We three
So longisit since.....
H enry Wei Leung
Still Life at Terezin
John Olivares Espinoza
T he Sound and Sgt. Fury; Or, T he
Onomatopoeia of Combat
ComingSoon To A T heater Near You
Leonard J. Cirino
A Parallel Universe
Brendan Ian Cohn-Sheehy
To J
Andrew R idker
I Only Lend Out What I Don't Like
Gerald N icosia
Noteson contributors

T he GreeksWho Stole Kerouac
[special nonfiction feature]


Danni Gorden

T he night you took me into your bed out of guilt
there were riots in O akland. During the earthquake
I was watching Blue Velvet for the first time. I
thought I was seeing those horse-cranes, apparitions
of N ordicness, but it was just you, just you in your
underwear yelling in the porchy dark of your porch.
Increasingly my body is the police presence at O scar
Grant Plaza. Every day here is Sunday. But now
I am a cyborg and what I mean to say is boundedness?
Fuck that shit. M y body is all bodies; I am the universal
signified. We don?t know who will play the cyborg in this
film. M eanwhile a man and a woman are run over by a
M ercedes and the popular response is that they were asking
for it, which is something like they had it comingbut less sexed.
Silly thing to say. Silly thing to trust I am, I say, I know.
To think that language doesn?t mean before we enter it.


Corey M esler

I Have Cleansed Myself
I have cleansed myself
with silence. I have felt my bones
in the soup of my body. I spoke your
name only once, to the
priest inside
my trousers. N ow I lie
down because
what is left for me is the
I am prisoner of. I lie
down because
I lie, and because you call me
back every washed-out day.


Wesleigh Anderson

Rest assured that every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of you
and your children,
from the first step you took inside the boundaries of the mini electric car
course at LernPark,
such as this eclectic selection of vibrantly painted but otherwise identical
electric cars,
the colors of which it is strongly recommended that parents and guardians take
careful note,
so that you will know where and who your children are at all times while they
are on the track,
because at great distances children are like colors that bleed and become
and are also like colors that have a tendency to escape the eye when even
briefly disregarded,
and only watchfulness can keep you safe from all of these undesirable fears,
which children will tell you are like colors that become real only when they are
believed in,
for although care has been taken to protect your children from the drab and
colorless outside world,
and although all available resources have been employed to make LernPark a
place of stimulation and exploration,
it is possible to lose sight of the brightness of these colored cars and the bright
electric blue sky above them,
and to fall prey instead to frantic delusions of conspiratorial grey factories and
achromatic machineries,
somehow imperceptible except from obscure angles and an uncontrollable
which purport to expose some truth about the superficiality of the color of
these cars,
but while the utter implausibility of these inventions is self-evident to all
attentive parents,
and LernPark's promotional materials clearly show that no such factory is
and there is nothing in these photographs that contradicts your children's
colorful electric cars,
and therefore such imaginings are no more than an incredible and childlike

being alerted to these possibilities will assist you in maintaining caution,
for even the most vigilant may be seduced into occasional inattentiveness,
when even the smallest and most unwarranted unease may become just real
enough to threaten.


[redacted at author's request]


[redacted at author's request]


[redacted at author's request]



Angel Dominguez
Vestibule 1a



Allen Grossman

T he Piano Player ExplainsHimself
When the corpse revived at the funeral,
T he outraged mourners killed it; and the soul
O f the revenant passed into the body
O f the poet because it had more to say.
H e sat down at the piano no one could play
Called M essiah, or T he Regulator of the World,
Which had stood for fifty years, to my knowledge,
Beneath a painting of a red-haired woman
In a loose gown with one bared breast, and played
A posthumous work of the composer S? ?
About the impotence of God (I believe)
Who has no power not to create everything.
It was the Autumn of the year and wet,
When the music started. T he musician was
Skillful but the M essiah was out of tune
And bent the time and the tone. For a long hour
T he poet played T he Regulator of the World
As the spirit prompted, and entered upon
T he pathways of H is power? while the mourners
Stood with slow blood on their hands
Astonished by the weird processional
And the undertaker figured his bill.
? We have in mind an unplayed instrument
Which stands apart in a memorial air
Where the room darkens toward its inmost wall
And a lady hangs in her autumnal hair
At evening of the N ovember rains; and winds
Sublime out of the N orth, and N orth by West,
Are sowing from the death-sack of the seed
T he burden of her cloudy hip. Behold,
I send the demon I know to relieve your need,
An imperfect player at the perfect instrument
Who takes in hand T he Regulator of the World
To keep the splendor from destroying us.
Lady! T he last virtuoso of the composer S? ?
Darkens your parlor with the music of the Law.
When I was green and blossomed in the Spring
I was mute wood. N ow I am dead I sing.

Bryce T hornburg

Oh the PlacesYou'll Go
Popeyes, Boston M arket, Starbucks, Arby?s,
Panera, Cinnabon, and Au Bon Pain.
Q uiznos, Togo?s, Subway, Blimpie, H ardee?s
(Carl?s Jr.), Papa M urphy?s, Auntie Anne?s.
Taco Bell, Del Taco, Taco M ayo,
Baskin Robbins, Ben and Jerry?s, Dairy Q ueen.
Taco John?s, Chipotle, Taco Bueno,
Whataburger, Burger Chef, and Burger K ing.
Benihana, Denny?s, Wendy?s, Baja Fresh.
Sizzler, Chevys, Chili?s, Church?s Chicken.
Little Caesar?s, KFC, Seattle?s Best.
Cold Stone, California Pizza K itchen.
W ingstop, I H OP, Checkers, In-N -O ut.
Weinerschnitzel, Wetzel?s Pretzels, Waffle H ouse.


Mark Me
T his was the first word of the sonnet: me.
Yes, you came first; between us, there?s a pair.
I suck my teeth for skin that isn?t there
And taste a little song. T hen I go home.
M y orchards turn, revolting like a poem
U nplucked and left to rot. T he juices flow.
I get real hurtful when in need, you know.
I only want you so long as I can break
You open and take what you?ll have me take.
I orchestrate my meat to make mistakes
Like these. I shoot my mouth off and I bleed.
I fingerbrush my wine teeth. Point being:
A poet has a hungry heart and eats
H is cuties. H eaven H eaven H eaven H eaven H eaven help me.


Robert H ass

Second Person
T hat summer, after your friend had shot herself the previous N ovember in her
backyard garden? it was the morning after T hanksgiving?
And after the sudden death from cancer of another friend, a prose writer, who
had been living in Italy with his fourth wife
And seemed after a long struggle to be working suddenly at the top of his
form, you had left off writing a tribute to be read at the memorial service
For the one friend in order to go to the hospital to visit the writer, who was
also your wife?s first husband
And who, it was clear, his family gathered around him, his new Italian wife
and children from two marriages,
Cancer was finishing off, a fact which he seemed to regard with bitter clarity,
almost with contempt.
H e?d had a gift for expecting the worst, and here was the thing itself, he was
leaving behind a beautiful woman and an unfinished book
And the silver green of wheat fields in the U mbrian dusk. H e had liked coffee,
fussed over its preparation, loved the high gloss of the leather on Italian shoes.
You did get your brief memorial talk written, and delivered it, mourning in a
room full of mourners, mostly her friends,
M ostly people in middle age and late middle age and so getting newly
accustomed to the frequency of memorial services,
And, yourself new also to this experience? not of death? but of a subtle,
though not that day that subtle, acceleration in the occasions for mourning,
You felt death there in the wood-paneled room with its elegant, coffered
ceiling, its busts of authors and composers, its bookshelves where,


You saw suddenly, the dead were sleeping like the princess in the fairy tale, and
could be awakened and set speaking by the caress of attention,
Someone opening a book, felt death, that is, to be a somber and dignified
presence, a figure of some authority, not a funeral director exactly,
M ore like the respected principal of an honorable but famously formal school,
or even a valet, a gentleman?s gentleman
Who was older than you and wiser and understood all the forms of the world?s
etiquettes and had acquired the habit of waiting patiently
While people experienced themselves, because they were, after all, living and
death wasn?t,
So it also occurred to you that death must watch the living live the way some
dogs watch humans at their feasts,
And afterwards your own life continued according to its various contingencies
And you found yourself in Paris in the O deon neighborhood on a little street
near the medical school with its loud, late cafes and bars
For the students and interns getting off work at the hospital, so you did not
sleep well but woke anyway to fulfill the promise you had made
To finish a translation of Pablo N eruda?s ?Baracole? and ?Sólo La M uerte,?
the poem in which, in the last lines, death is an admiral standing on a hill in
the harbormouth
Reviewing his fleet. And this is why you needed the second person singular, to
describe the mornings walking up R ue de Q uatre Vents to the Café M airé
O n the wetted-down cobbles of the summer street, looking in shop windows
as you went, death in the etchings of old boats and in the rich rotogravures
O f tropical flowers, to your coffee and the view onto Saint-Sulpice, and, a line
at a time, N eruda?s poem. You could have said, ?T hat summer
After my friend had shot herself? or ?T hat summer after his friend had shot
herself,? but it was you who walked the streets those mornings,

Wavering a bit among the other grammatical propositions as you woke to the
early summer coolness in the air,
You studying the piles of fruit in the little markets and the gilded Empire
sewing chairs in the antique shops,
You lingering over the shop specializing in anthropological texts with its
sheets, torn probably from old books, to be sold separately, of cannibals from
And high-necked, barebreasted N ubian queens, because you had the strong
sense that death was tending it all,
T he little pears wrapped in paper on the espaliered trees in the Luxembourg
Gardens, the house you passed sometimes on R ue de Fleury
Where Gertrude Stein had spent her days writing sentences like ?Tea towels
aren?t necessarily?,
Past the small hotel across the square from Saint-Sulpice where Stein put up
T horton W ilder when he visited and where, now,
T he young woman brought her green wooden wagon piled high with white
and blue irises to sell separately or in bunches?
What is it about irises that makes you want to describe a sheaf of them as
?lithe,?as if they were longlegged young women bathing together
After a round of golf or tennis? you were in that sort of neighborhood, and
wondered briefly how the day
M ight have been different, been colored differently, were the woman at the
wagon old and M orroccan with dark brown, well-worn hands
And not a Sorbonne graduate in pigtails and a jaunty longshoreman?s cap,
moving like a dancer as she unloaded and heaped up her flowers,
And you did not have a Spanish dictionary, so after you had done a morning?s
work, had written in long hand
N ext to the Spanish text, ?its incessant red waters would come to flood, and it
would ring out with shadows, ring out like death?,

You would gather up your books and walk back down R ue Valmont to Q uatre
Vents and then to R ue Princesse and the Village Voice bookshop
Where you knew O dile and M ichael would not mind if you went upstairs into
the alcove of foreign language dictionaries
To look up the word you?d translated or guessed at translating with your
sketchy Spanish as ?incessant.? You did this for weeks,
And began, as you walked, to notice the young men from the suburbs ,
M artiniquean or Senegalese, Arabic-looking, perhaps Algerian or Tunisian,
And the young Vietnamese, sweeping the street in front of the restaurants that
catered to the well-off folk of the arrondissement and to visitors like you,
Specializing in the cuisines of the French countryside, the home cooking of
Gascony and Alsace and the Languedoc,
T hat the children of the proprietors didn?t want to cook anymore, and you
thought of the young black men in your country,
Shot by police in a train station after a scuffle, or shot coming home from a late
trip to an all-night convenience store
And you wondered about the mothers in the Parisian suburbs, in what
uniforms or regalia death appeared to them when their sons went out into the
And you felt mildly sick, thinking about the courtesies of death and the sense
of propriety with which it distributed its presence in the world, social class
By social class, war zone by war zone, brutal here, gentle there, as if you were
being wakened again by and to an unfairness
As labyrinthine as the city itself, whose districts, whose boulevards and alleys,
gardens and arcades, you wandered in the afternoons
And so you came more and more to look forward to the quiet mornings with
the poems,
Looking up different words each day, taking N eruda a line at a time? ?with a
sound like dreams or branches or the rain?,

?and the great wings of the sea would wheel round you.? By the middle of July
it was hot and you walked long hours in the city
And by eight o?clock? you had begun living in time? when you came back to
the neighborhood of Saint-Germaine-de-Prè,
And you would sit at one of the outdoor tables and the proprietor would set
down in front of you, with a delicate glassy sound,
A chilled glass of Lillet, the proprietor was not death, nor was the Lillet, nor
the handsome couple at the next table ordering grilled river fish.


Yaul Perez-Stable H usni

A geography at the end of it:
Body thins into the plural absence of
Forest past the doorway. I have been here
And here and not here. Signs stuffed with pines
Step through portraits? that self-reflexive
Refers to what hasn?t been painted. T hey line up
For execution by green, and so into a landscape
Transparently. Tomorrow I am there then there.
Tracing paper over the narrators of a map. T hose voices
O utline the missing stones, water them,
And they grow and grow until not here.


rob mclennan
Essays, before a sonata

W inter. Even knowing what you love
is no salvation.
Jan Zwicky, FORGE

no questions,

there are no answers
then, of course,
John Cage, Silence


W ind, a long door. Collapsible, winter. M ark out stations, cross
our t?s. W inded. We dot the eyes,
a thin-spate. Speckling. Silence,
wrote this out. U ntouched. T he archive, indeterminate.


Who are you, really.


Evolves, a need for minutes. Pastoral, jackhammer. Perform the vandal?s
cloth. An edge. In order again to never hold. To hold.
Such staggered, loss. In fashion. Warped, arrival.


K aren An-hwei Lee

Breath of Spiracles
I hear acacias breathing in the night
although one would say
it is inaudible. Wangari told us,
forestsare the lungsof the earth.

R iver wattle, pearl acacia,
and after-dark peppermint groves.

Black crickets aspirate the night
through holes, spiracles
in their abdomens.
Ants inhale through openings
in their sides.

* In line 8, Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) wasthe Nobel-Prize winningKenyan environmental activist.

Songof Black Sage
In fire season

I darken

as a natural tinder-box

H ard to say why

coast and desert exist together as one
O n this shore

a rough mesa

air and light stroke my skin
Bleached wood-bone

twisting chapparral

I am wild sage
M y nutlet-seeds

in aromatic rain

crushed by famished quail

T his is why I live here
caressing the air with lobes

of hairy sea light
ravenous bees


Janis Butler H olm

Sound Poems
from R abelaisian Play Station


Q uantify the stillness of the grackle and the cubbyhole. M ust she hustle
citronella for their appliqué? Fugitive percussionists have ravaged all the booster
seats. R arely does our urban curry disrespect his verse. Enter holographic
loggers, giddy and itinerant. T hanks to reconfigured maple, barracudas chill.
O ne could safely postulate a sea of forks and engine blocks. Which of these
medieval bistros feathered your reply?



T hey do foresee a beetleheaded icterus.
T hey do foresee a tumefacient kedgeree.
T hey do foresee a gentilitious hacky sack.
T hey do foresee a cataplastic myrmidon.
T hey do foresee a hymeneal brittlewort.
T hey do foresee a decretory febrifuge.
T hey do foresee a martinetish shandygaff.
T hey do foresee a ricky-ticky glycoside.
T hey do foresee a permafrozen exciplex.
T hey do foresee a superlunar nematode.



Coupled with a tussy mussy, dopamine reverberates. Seven amortizing jackals
flaunt their leatherette. H as she rescued cyberpunk from transcendental
permafrost? Lonesome rigatoni grifters manufacture slugs. O verlap or
convolute or disassemble brandywine. By the time our steerage quickens,
poppets will have flown. Elsewhere logophobia relinquishes its minivan.
Geodesic caterpillars glitter on the hearth.



I picture, then, a rarefactive devil's bit.
I picture, then, a lily-livered scattergram.
I picture, then, a nummulary pipperoo.
I picture, then, a dipsacaceous telomere.
I picture, then, a bullyragging hyperlink.
I picture, then, a hotsy-totsy rhumbatron.
I picture, then, a migmatitic architrave.
I picture, then, a thyroglossal whippletree.
I picture, then, a pulverescent bafflegab.
I picture, then, a sesquitertian otoscope.



Whose intentionality is garbling this aerosol? Grommets and emoticons
repurpose her mystique. From the get-go, wedding planners cradled our
sarcophagus. O ratory notwithstanding, avocados fuse. At this level, teapots
stagger. Blunderbusses vitrify. Countless pterodactyl fractals threaten his
charade. Dare they excommunicate a novelettish piccolo? W ith the hyssop,
thundershowers grip the lavaliere.


M ary-Catherine Jones

T he longdrive
We weren?t looking for apples / not in the market for orbs / we were more
the line types / unmeasured, a snore in rewind / we weren?t looking for apples.
T he orb? think gold / Grand Central clock stirring / energy, the stories
around her? backscatter. T hen the curious / yes: face to folded clothes / in
suitcase, your own: to discover that personal / smell that everyone but you / can
smell. Recall / the hitting of the sack, slaking / the fisherman star? / we the
lines, discussed / unscripted, all texture? there are pros and cons you
know? / and until the apples we weren?t / looking for? persimmon, pear, the
sting / of sonnet 18? the fruit softening.


Bowl of fringe / drunk in silken / striations? perfumed with purpose / I can?t
seem to find. Suspended ungrasp / and beetle cave? we stoop / to stare and
stare into / you like the fridge? peckish / hoping that that / something that is
not there / will appear this / time inside of you.


A Short Essay on Priestsand Kissing
T he aging R ussian was
an orthodox priest. In
his white collar, black
short-sleeved shirt (the
casual nature eased
the dogmatic scheme),
he spoke of Byzantine
art; claimed western art
missed the H elenistic
truths of iconography.
T he Renaissance he
said, was the greatest
period of myopia,
Iconographers didn?t
sign their work. T hey
created in the service
of the church. M aybe
they didn?t want
anyone to know they
could inhabit deadpan.
M aybe they preferred
the pierced organ,
sanguine, or they,
maybe the cathedral of
Chartres, one stroke
at a time.
T he priest?s passion
was infectious. H e spit
like a baby first
learning plosives. T he
projector, his backlit
saliva? this brought us
back from slides
hypnotic in round

darkness... the magic
remote? clicking
casually through
history? he, like a
hungry young man
at a jukebox.
Christ wasn?t meant to
evoke emotion. Just
invitation. N o one
said, But it?sugly.
My Christ ishandsome.
Rembrandt?s too!,
by God. H ands
raised, questions about
asymmetrical eyes, too
narrow noses,
foreshortened lips:
what we look like if we
don?t close our eyes
when we kiss.
Caravaggio?s Doubting
T homasis a literary
work he said. We
wanted Caravaggio?
anyone? to also be
present. N ot just
Christ alone. God no.
We stared into scores
of poker-faced
M adonnas
and Emmanuels. H e
spoke of the Person
we were invited to
encounter urging us to
Look closely.


Robert Peake

ReadingJamesJoyce At T he Berkeley
I had been up all night in an O akland diner, talking
about not very much. N ow the sea keeps me awake, gulls
eye me like a suspect, and the long poles sway.
H ere, the wind blows in all directions,
flipping my pages, churning the algal spray.
Beside me, the hooded fishermen pace for warmth.
I will leave college as I entered, a ghost.
I will study the planks of the boardwalk for syntax,
debate the existence of God, and miss my finals.
In a darkened room, capacity three hundred,
I will find enough space for my thoughts.
In the sea, a companion; in books, the broken word.
I study the globe of my fist, the chapped knuckles.
T he fishermen are shouting jokes above the wind.
T he one-eyed man on the cover cracks a smile.


R aúl Z urita

What isParadise?
translated from the Spanish by Andrew Reyes

People of H iroshima: ......................... What is Paradise?
Chilean workers: ................................. What is Paradise?
N ations of earth: ................................. What is Paradise?
From these scattered sites of South American exile, as one echoed, I speak of
the effort of undertaking in the limits of our life the construction of Paradise.
I am hungry? that is, one echoed in hunger. And I suffer? that is, one echoed
in suffering. Perhaps I am condemned? that is, one echoed in damnation.
I labor for art and death will take me, yet the work I recite is not a measure for
dying? listen to the beating of your hearts.
I conceive and compose a Paradise, as yet one more arching over once-lived
life. For to work with life is to strive as an architect of one?s own experience,
erasing and redrafting the experience that will be, a life to someday live. It is
the shaping of a new kind of sense, a new form of social experience.
T hus, to labor over Paradise is not only to create a work of art, but also to
correct the aches of experience. I endure not as a writer or an artist? or at least
not only as such? but as a crafter of consciousness, an artisan tirelessly
attending to the alteration of the outlined avenues of experience: as one
reflecting, trying to refute individualism and the illicit gains of its ideologues.
For individualism is the isolated surfeit that terror toward death siphons out of
dread before life? yes look? durch mich wandern die Verlorenen.
I understand then the work of Paradise as a way that, from the depths of
anguish? that is, from hunger, dread, withdrawal? shifts the understanding of
misery into a shared way of seeing. To understand that this work wields the life
of all is to wreck the ruins of old for the sake of a burning new brand over
these South American wastelands. T his form is what antiquity forgot of art and
we, charred faces that we are, affirm our right to labor over beauty.

¿Qué esel Paraíso?

Gentes de H iroshima: .............. ¿Q ué es el Paraíso?
Trabajadores chilenos: ............ ¿Q ué es el Paraíso?
N aciones de la tierra: .............. ¿Q ué es el Paraíso?
Desde los lugares de este exilio sudamericano, como uno repetido, te hablo del
trabajo de asumir en los límites de nuestra vida la construcción del Paraíso.
Yo soy un hambriento, esto es, uno repetido en el hambre. Yo sufro, esto es,
uno repetido en el sufrimiento. Yo tal vez esté condenado, esto es, uno
repetido en la condena.
Yo soy un trabajador del arte y moriré, pero el trabajo del que te hablo no es
una preparación para morir, escuchen el latido de sus corazones.
Yo trabajo en la obra del Paraíso, pero como uno más en el recorrido de su
vida. Y trabajar con la vida es trabajar con la corrección sistemática de la propia
experiencia como un borrador de la experiencia que será, de la vida que alguna
vez será. Es un proyecto de construcción de un nuevo sentido y de una nueva
forma social de experiencia.
Entonces el trabajo en la obra del Paraíso no es sólo un trabajo de arte sino de
corrección del dolor de la experiencia. Yo persisto en ello, pero no como un
escritor o un artista. o al menos no como eso solamente, sino como un obrero
de la experiencia; como un obrero que penosamente trata de ir corrigiendo los
borradores de su camino en la experiencia. Como uno repetido que trata de
impugnar el individualismo y las ganancias ilícitas de los individualistas. El
individualismo es la plusvalía que el terror frente a la muerte le saca al terror
frente a la vida sí mira, per me si va tra la perduta gente.
Entiendo entonces la obra del Paraíso como una práctica que desde el dolor, es
decir, desde el hambre, desde el terror, desde la soledad, transforme la
experiencia del dolor en la construcción colectiva de un nuevo significado.
Comprender que se trata de la vida de todos, es dar por concluidas las peores
formas de la antigüedad para estampar una nueva marca sobre estos páramos
sudamericanos. Esa marca es lo que la antigüedad olvidó de la belleza y
nosotros, estos cabezas negras, afirmamos nuestro derecho a un trabajo en la

So what, then, is Paradise?
T he sky has always been where we have thrown all of life?s unachievements.
Stripped, as many others, in 1975 I began my work? a practice promised to
Paradise, not one pinned to the empty sky. M y effort opened with the act of
singeing my mask, for it was still not possible to sear the sky with our lives?
amended incidents? but in the testimony of this scarring were related the
sinking stars of our night. I know (and my friends do too) that when we?re able
to rewrite our works and break with all compulsion to servility, mental or
physical, all of us? dead and alive? will be able to erase our flaws and revise
our skylines. T hat is my life?s moving course, as one more mirror, the Inferno,
Purgatorio, and Paradiso of M ein K ampf of R aúl Z urita (and really this title is
but a meager metaphor for hell). Yet even there one speaks of love, though I
believe it best not to insist on this word? at least for now.
Still, the new stain over the sky, rather than a face full of scars: this will be
(Fragment found among your ruins)


¿Q ué es entonces el Paraíso?
El cielo ha sido desde siempre el lugar que hemos ido llenando con las
carencias de la vida. Como tantos, despojado, el año 1975 inicié mi trabajo
entendido como una práctica para el Paraíso, no para el cielo vacío. El inicio de
su camino se abre con el acto de haber quemado mi cara porque todavía no era
posible marcar el cielo con el hecho corregido de nuestras vidas, pero en el
documento de esa quemada se relaciona este acto con las estrellas de la noche.
Yo sé (y mis amigos también) que cuando podamos rediseñar nuestros trabajos
y por ende romper con cualquier obligación al servilismo físico o mental,
todos? muertos y vivos? podremos por fin revertir nuestras carencias y por
ende corregir el cielo. Ese es el camino de mi vida, como uno más repetido, el
Inferno, el Purgatorio y el Paradiso del M ein K ampf de R aúl Z urita (y este
título es apenas una pequeña, ínfima metáfora del Inferno). Allí también se
menciona el amor, aunque creo que es mejor no insistir en esa palabra, al
menos por ahora.
Pero la nueva marca en el cielo, no en la cara, ese será el Paraíso.
(Fragmento encontrado entre tus ruinas)


D. A. Powell

T he Sundial
Who has set you in the dell, cherry
blossom and bee.
You can?t look God in the face
and not be blinded.
When a petal lands its body here
it is a truant child, searching
as we all are searching
for a little shade.


N a H ui-Dok

City Treasury
translated from the Korean by Monica Lee &
Margaret Rhee

Where can I bury you?
Memorial for Lee Han Yul, activist
We have no land
I ran off with your dead body
But we do not have a land to warmly bury you
T he only land we have is
T he hospital entrance surrounded by layers of police
We follow you in a procession
U nder the sky, we do not have
Even the little soil to make your grave,
We do not have any steps of freedom
Where can I bury you?
Where could I ever see you again?
I?m apathetic to the always occurring deaths, and for this
I?m on my knees for forgiveness
In the M angwoldong cemetery, 4.19,
Where can I meet you? Every moment, see the buried graves
O f dirt. Can I change my words that we still have no land?

We do not have a land
N ow you lay to rest, a length of 3 measures of death
O ur only clean land.


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???? ?? ??
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??? ?? ? ??,
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??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??
? ? ? ? ,? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
???? ??
??? ??? ???
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??? ?? ?? ????? ???
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? ? ? ? ? , 4.19? ? ? ?
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David M offat

Gopher Wood
H andel and ginger:
scent and sound
as I find
Isabella d?Angoulême
under a scarf
in a withering cold.
A neck cloth. H al?s
dukes, his dear
brothers, laugh
when I ask if her
U lster overcoat
has too many buttons.
She dreams later
in her own right:
candy stripe bottoms,
well-worn jeans and
nothing else, half-sleeping
with a paperback
in a Stockholm tower:
the harbor deep beneath her
after the window glass.
In rusty books accordioned
with cords of rice-paper
Jung?s flood of blood
threads our lives together:
the girl and I
lost in his eternal winter,
building an ark of Turkish fossils:
Adam and Eve separate again.


Daniel W.K. Lee

Let me be the one who?
Twenty fingers and a few?
H ong Kong, a distance still too?
Ginger-spiked wind blew?
From the waist, slumber grew?
Lines in sand never drew?
Pain too precise to rue?
A half-glass or sudden slew?
T he standard lie saw it through?
By SM S, an angel withdrew?
H esitation frames the true?
Final threat overdue?
Everyday exiles to?
O vercome the need for blue?
You, alas, the last that knew?
What do I do with you?


M argaret R hee

T here are whispers, shouts. Cuts will be made. N ow, heads roll.

Let them eat cupcake.


T he U niversity functions on its own terms. Its own dream of a brain. Is it a
smart brain? T hink on the kind of dream prerequisite for T he U niversity.
Students are at the building. T hey stand on the building?s rooftop between
heaven and hell. M ore important than midterm essays. M ore important than
?campus life.? T he U niversity is not a machine, he reminds the other. T he
U niversity is unclean, she responds.
T he U niversity?s Dean picks up the phone. Before it all, she asks her staff
member, what is the bastard department and where is it located? She gets the
number and the location but not the history. Phone in her hand, she asks her
assistant, have you been dieting? She sets down a bowl of chocolate sweets with
her other. T hen she dials, and after a few seconds, cordially says hello.
I V.
Five people were fired in succession. H ow to kill a department? Livelihoods
not acknowledged. In historical timelines? N ot at all. H ow to tell a story of one
person?s life. O ne has three children, one has breast cancer. O ne will pass away
in a year from now, remembering T he U niversity as it were. She attended
every student graduation. N ow desert is in her mouth. T he staff devoted their
whole life to T he U niversity, only to be cut away. T hey chose T he U niversity
but T he U niversity did not choose them.
T he U niversity blasts off emails. Strategic. Every hour writes T he U niversity.
T hese are not love letters. T hese are stalker tactics. Strategic communications.
O peration Excellence. We need to conquer all of their cameras, their phones,
their tweets. We must get the message, any message, out first.
T he U niversity lives on. So all the staff gets cut and goes. T he U niversity lives
on as the number of email announcements grows. T he first time T he
U niversity really reaches out for the purpose of, well, reaching in. T hen T he

U niversity whispers. H aunts. N o sweet nothings. T he U niversity is not a baby
doll nor soft like cotton candy. T he U niversity is not a tulip blossom nor sweet
as a lollipop. Does T he U niversity dream?
T he activists hear of the news. T hey know T he U niversity has strayed from
T he School of Dreams. T he U niversity trembles when the activists meet, even
when T he U niversity with all her power, doesn?t know where where. O r
there there.
T he activists collectively agree that they will not protest with just one
bullhorn, but together, a singular voice. T hey are the waste. Even if they
don?t desire to be. T he queers, colored, the poor, the undocumented, the
gendered. All around and in between.
I_N _T _E_R _S_E_C_T _I_O _N _A_L_I_T _Y
IX .
T he activists agree they will not protest in front of the building. But agree
they will partner with Anonymous and make virtual waste. I know you.
You?re goingto do some crazy technological stuff to make a point! T he waste
gathers in the room. For a moment all stop talking organizing hope into
action? it?s a natural lull. In this moment of time and space, two of them kiss.
It is true. Student-activists also fall in love.
T he Bastard Department is the Bastard Discipline of the N ation. Bastards
aren?t illegal in Arizona. But T H E DISCIPLIN E is. T he Dean, the mayor,
and the superintendent said through the telephone lines: Did you hear? It?s
already a department. T hey correct themselves. It?s not just a Bastard
Department. M ore like a fungus from 1968. T here isnothingwe can do now,
except try like hell not to let it grow.
X I.
T he ?urban? children come to visit the university. T he U niversity delights in
youth and desire. Want me, T he U niversity coos, see how I shine, and envelop you
like so? T he possibilitieswith me are endless, see how I extend, my pillarsso white and

creamy? T he lightsin the hall so hallow and perfect? Asthe wind blows, my whisper
carriessweet nothingsinto your ear. Desire me, says T he U niversity. I suffer from
self-esteem issuesand anxiety. I try my best to like myself. T he U niversity sees it's not
working, and gets giddily desperate. Come here to me. T he children are too
young and smart to know what a chronotope is. T hey love their brown and
yellow and black mothers who love them so. But they know T he U niversity is
not so nice and friendly as they view from their homes in O akland and the
Bayview. T hey stand still before the buildings in a line and quiet even before
being told. W ith T he U niversity, you just know.
T he activists will set up tents. T hey will stay there until they die. U ntil T he
U niversity saves them. W ill T he U niversity?
T he U niversity does not bleed. It does not shit. It does not do anything that it
says it will. It pulls professor?s hair, jabs students in the ribs, holds janitors
without pay. T he U niversity scares the undocumented students to never bear
their hearts. U niversity, you promised to be good to me? You promised to be
kind, till death do us part. Till death do us part.
X I V.
T he student-activists want to stay, make it work, what can we do if professors
only care about T he U niversity and themselves? N ot all professors are like that.
U niversity, don?t break my wrist please. I dreamed of writing calligraphy
X V.
If you want to perish, stay. T he students, the adjuncts, stay.
If you want to stay, you must say. T he students, the adjuncts try to say.
T he U niversity has a space of refuge, around the corner, in the margins of the
lined paper. Come here, come to my breast, T he U niversity sighs, let me hold you for
a minute, dear child. T he U niversity heaves knowing what she had done. And
we huddle in because there is no one else around.

T here is a Prison next to T he U niversity. T he U niversity keeps people out.
T he Prison keeps people in. T hey are twin sisters one might say. T hey are the
best of friends, T he Prison and T he U niversity. T he U niversity says to T he
Prison, we don?t want who you have. I know, says T he Prison. I don?t want who you
have either.
Education spending:
Prison spending:
Do the math.
X IX .
Public Confession: I am Asian American and I have never gotten above a C in
T he student-activists land in jail. No, she says, they don?t belonghere. We must
beat them to teach them. H ow dare they try to realize a university that is free?
T he U niversity and T he Prison are illicit lovers. In the night they whisper
together. T hey are one. And they make one another tick tock tick.
X X I.
But activists also love. T his love feels good. Make a banner together, raise those
fists. Let me paint your fist red so our banner can bear your imprint. We?re goingto make
a banner together. We?re goingto make it good. So good.
T he student-activists ran when the police came. T his will be a problem. But
the real problem and solution is when they came to stay. T he U niversity smiles
but only when it gets fat. T he U niversity I loved, T he U niversity I hated. You
dichotomousdevil, you. T he U niversity groans again and again at this very word,
characterization. T his stanza.


* & ^%$
T he student-activists are made of flesh. T heir hearts are all ventricles and
pump. In comparison, T he U niversity feels envy. Like the strawman, the
tinman, the lion; T he U niversity wants a brain, a heart, and courage. T he
U niversity desperately wants to fall in love.
Oz is not T he U niversity but T he U niversity can dare to dream.
To qualify, within T he U niversity there are good ones. Good professors, good
students, good janitors, who all want to make it better. But T he U niversity has
the tendency to forget them once they?re in. H ow can you make up with T he
U niversity, whose terms are so impossible? I tried and I tried, the
student-activist shares, I really did everything I could. T he U niversity seems to
disagree. T he therapist tsked with her tongue. Inside her head, she?s thinking,
this is a really mismatched pairing. And later in private, even though she?s not
supposed to, she says to the student-activist, don?t worry you?ll be fine when
this is all done.
Whose U niversity? O ur U niversity! Don?t fight the Power, Be the Power. Do
you U C M e? and so on, and on and on.
Ethnic Studies
Ethnic Dreams Ethnic Lives
Ethnic Archives
Ethnic Pens Ethnic M oves
Ethnic Type
Ethnic Fingers
Ethnic Records
Ethnic Lies
What do we want? Ethnic Studies
When do we want it? N ow!

When T he U niversity woke up this morning, she felt really depressed. When
T he U niversity gets depressed she drinks a lot of coffee and wine and eats a lot
of sugar filled things. Why was T he U niversity so depressed, she asked
himself, and her therapist shook her head inside. Why are they all so angry at
me? Why doesn't anyone like me?
M .O.T.H .E.R . Poor U niversity. You want to resist, but it?s almost like you
don?t know how.







Chris Carosi

On the Grid / At the Gate
a long skirt among pedigree
eloped M exico for the numbers
cause they dance into the sky every week
some things won?t ever feel
that was not your choice
that was your joy
every couple of cigarettes
needs a sentence
between choices
a man sleeps in that car
in cells in people
gold and silver
to remain a mouthpiece for a quieter world
every poem is the place it was forgot
by naming you
the power?s out


Sun Grass
this is all I have to do and all I say
all I have said? this is the finest voice
the finished voice I have used
this boring stanza sits upon
my understatements, some fine details
do stay dormant in the picture
perturb the tail in my pants, suggest the crown
the attic room reflects
broken lights in candled homes
a rabbit ran lost in there
where a few vague dramas unfist
between the valleys flooded broken circles
observation comes true, pausing
the film of the flywheel exchanges
the surface of the eye with its purchase
a permission won?t allow weakness
one bad idea in its tissue is one germ
it relives the event and considers it permanent
there is a hilltop on the sun
that mere suggestion of sunshine
lasts as the expression listening


Linda N orton

Prayer (I Have No Money)
Volcanoesbe in Sicily ? Emily Dickinson

M y AT M card doesn?t work. Stupid bank. I
have no money but I do have time (I can see
the minute hand from here) and I have subway
fare. Disgusted, I head up to the M et because
it?s free to look. O n the uptown 4: Jeweled
belt on boy?s hips, buckle with Christ on
cross. O n a tote bag: ?Jesu why are we not
perfect?? O n that fat boy?s T-shirt: ?In
M emory of Christopher ?Big Pun? R ios.?
Reminder: Some people don?t have money or
a job, or they?re dead. Old bottles at the
museum: If it?s here, it?s valuable. What of the
shitty has survived? Was there much shitty
then? I visit my favorite painting, I genuflect. I
love that pink behind the cross and in the
wounds. Which banker ?donated? this
painting? Oh, right? Lehman. But all I can
think about is Keshia, the service
representative at my bank in California.
1-800-U SE-LESS! And I said so. H ow could
I? I mean, don?t I know better than to rage at
her? Christianity, capitalism, female solidarity,
the history of slavery. And plastic, and stupid
jobs like mine. And anger management and
the middle way? God help me, even though I
don?t believe in thou or thee.


Last night when I said I was king
you pulled me closer.


M y grape-colored street: dark skin
squeezed dry, pavement with mica in it.
A pregnant woman thinks it?s good enough to eat
because she?s starved for something she can?t get.
You have just one tube of paint, titanium.
U se your fingers, taste it.
T his may be the only chance you get.
So what if your street?s all white?
T he ocean-colored blood in the tips of your fingers
tints the paint, and soon your picture of the street
is complicated, not dark, not white.
Low tide, the smell of tears paved over. Sweet.


T hree Gardens
Adam noticesthat Eve isholdingsomethingclose as
they leave the garden. He asksher what she carries
so carefully. She repliesthat it isa little of the apple
core kept for their children.
- W illiam Butler Yeats

H ome: T he triple-decker apartment building with asbestos siding.
T he litter in the doorway. T he overgrown garden where things have fallen
and piled up. T he broken doorknob tucked inside a battered shoe.
A figurine and a bell. Parcels on the stoop, surrounded by bushes the color
of parcels. A broken pencil (gnawed) and a shiny chestnut on the sidewalk.
Is this place condemned, or just available?
Irish bachelors used to live here with their mothers. Costello, Croker,
Christian, Shields. T he one with half an arm had been a hobo who?d got
caught under the track in the Depression.
T his leaning trellis, a lesson in splinters? it was white when I lived here.
Leaning against nothing, a parallelogram, it looks like a sail, if a sail had
more Ls in it.
Puddles the color of the sea in funnies? Superfund teal. Salt air and
aquamarine sky over the garden . O r is this now a vacant lot?
At night, the glowing blue-green of something wooden painted white,
revealed ingloriously when snow melted. O ne golden window illuminating
(M y dream of roses transforming an ugly chain-link fence by
H ere: California. N umbers on the Pantone color scale: click.

What if all poetry, all gardens, were distilled to swatches, numbers on a
chart? N uance and memory? you wouldn?t even need words? the
shorthand of intimacy and color, the ease of a wedding registry.
Even hard-nosed consumers would overrule the numbered colors with the
poetry of chestnut, bubble gum, Fudgsicle, forsythia.
T here are M exicans all over the roof and Salvadorans are mowing the
grass and a guy who looks like Kerouac is tiling a path. It?s going to be
She has so much money.
She chooses the colors of her garden from the Pantone scale (she has an
app) and the horticulturalist finds plants to match. N ative plants, whenever
And forsythia, though it?s not native and won?t grow here.
But she wants it. So she tells her Z en gardener to try to force it.
T he willfully ignorant are exiled from paradise along with the
cunning and curious.
I carried my apple for a long time without eating it. I think I thought I was
saving it for an emergency.
T his emergency.
?You?? my tall drink of ice water? I was too grateful to you, my
blue-eyed devil? I didn?t know you? until you were sufficiently besotted
to? sign papers? to trade up?
?Sufficiently besotted? sounds juicy? from the burst-peach sound of it?
You are? they tell me, and now I see? a ?Jamesian character??

Am I one, too?
Which one?
T hey?re all so? rich.
A long time ago: In a garden in Rome, tired of walking, tired of
arguing in such a glorious place, we rested on the grass. I was happy,
irritated, invisibly with child. A bickering mystery.
A boy of four was walking with his mother on a path in a painting. T here
were cypresses in the distance. We too were in the painting.
T he boy, an angel, gestured in our direction: ?L?amati.? H is mother didn?t
laugh at him or silence him or drag him away. She let him finish his
sentence with a gesture, a flourish. She looked at us and smiled.
Lovers: that?s what we looked like in the grass at twilight, in another
language. And we were. Tucked into each other. Aedicular. Two plus her.


In My Girlish Days
It took the 8-year-old female [shark] 21 hours to eat the 5-year-old male
inside a tank at the COEX Aquarium. According to video of the
consumption, the female shark started with the male's head and slowly went
about consuming the rest of his body.
T his act of shark cannibalism likely was the result of the sharks bumping into
one another. "Sharks have their own territories," an aquarium official
told Reuters. "Sometimes, when they bump into each other, they bite out of

Twenty-one hours?
I would have made a meal of him
in the time it takes to listen
to every song
on Sinatra?s ?In the Wee
Small H ours?

but then I?d spend the rest of my life
feeling terrible about it?
?I?m sorry, dear?
you astonished me,
so I ate you.?

(?I eat men like air.?)

(O r something.)

from the ?Disambitious? section of
W ite-O ut
R ichard on the phone telling me about pulling his own tooth?
?Authorette,? he calls me?
M ake coconut cake for him. Send cookies. Send money. (T hough he will tell
me he is ?not impressed? with the amount.)
At second-hand bookstore on Piedmont Ave: ?Do you have any books by bell
?bell hooks.?
?Who is she??
?Black. Feminist. Buddhist. Women?s studies.?
?Oh she could be anywhere. People beyond category are dispersed.?
H e gestures to the shelves and goes back to texting.
Proud, oblivious, unengaged, incuriosity seems to be a particularly California
trait. Always makes me miss the East Coast.
?So the loss keeps changing its shape? - H ilary M antel in N YT profile
?Scar as archive? - Brian Teare


At flea market:
?Is this a hand-painted tablecloth??
?I don?t know, but it?s from India, where people do all kinds of outrageous
things by hand.?
Daniel in meditation class: anecdote about his road rage, dissipated when he
realized the driver was a beautiful woman.
Remembering Elaine K aufman suddenly. I hardly knew her, haven?t seen her
since 1993, but I have never forgotten her. She grew up in N ew O rleans.
H er mother kept candy in a locked cabinet, bottom shelf, behind the couch.
She also kept a book of H olocaust photos in there. Elaine used to unlock the
cabinet, sit behind the couch, and eat candy and look at horrifying pictures
while her mother was out.
In Walden Pond African American guy is trying to sell used books. Piles of all
the ?for Dummies? books and also a beautiful old book with embossed covers.
?Would you take something like this?? Seller holds up the holy book.
"Sure, I like to keep a Q ur'an or two around when I can."
Rear window smashed in last night on San Pablo. N othing taken from the car,
not even T he Communist M anifesto or the sneakers in the trunk. M aybe my
sweaty gym clothes made them run away.


I was scared. I was alone and it was late. I didn?t know who to call or what to
do. Who cares?
I called A.
T he dream of a male protector outlives all men.
Found an old book filled with things to use in my collages.
T he Conflict as Seen T hrough Collectibles. (T he conflict being: the Vietnam
Downloaded images from the Library of Congress web site. All the outtakes
from the WPA/FSA series. Roy Stryker punched holes in the ones he didn?t
like. N ow the archivists have scanned the negatives and posted the images,
hundreds of them, with the holes punched in them. Fascinating. Gonna make
good use of them.
Tweets amputations
Tweets the death of child
Googles slaughter
Yelps a review of rape at Valley State Prison
Yahoos her mother
At the Y, Roxanne, my friend the evangelist, stops to talk to me while I?m
showering. H er eyes glitter as she talks about Christ?s suffering on the
Cross? she says happily, ?Pastor says it was even worse than it was portrayed
in the Passion of Christ.?


Putting on my makeup, my foundation at the counter at the gym, looks like
I?m rubbing whiteface onto my face.
?Do you ever have ?lyric episodes??? Small strokes?
?Yes,? if I?m lucky.
Searching the online archives of the Library of Congress, looking for public
domain images of women, Boston, children, I type the word Irish into the
search engine and I find a picture of a naked woman coyly holding a shamrock
over her crotch. Oh, a St. Patrick?s Day card. T his is part of a collection of
soft-core porn stereographic cards from the late 1920s, when my Irish
grandmother first arrived in Boston.
T here?s one image of a dark-haired women bent over, displaying her back. T he
look of abjection on her face. Who was she, why was she posing?
I pull out my files about my father?s mother, Christie Sullivan and her mother,
M ary K issane Sullivan. I find the social worker?s report from 1932, an
astounding document that tells a fascinatingly sad, judgmental story about
Christie and her illegitimate child, her financial woes, her sexual aura, her
abandonment of her baby.
I print the picture of the nameless naked girl. I scan the social worker?s report,
enlarge it, and print it out. I dig out the book about the insane asylum in
K illarney where M ary K issane Sullivan died. T hen I cut and paste and paint
late into the night, dipping my brush into my wine more than a few times.


Linda N orton
U ntitled works, 2014
Cut paper, Sharpie, acrylicpaint on canvaspanels; originalsin color
From ?Dark White? series


















Linda N orton
?Ain't,? 2007
Cut paper; original in color
From ?T he Great Depression and Me? series


John Ashbery

Strange Reaction
O ur networks will be joining you in progress.
Let's break for lunch here, dry-eyed,
shouting, and see what everybody's talking about.
We can always resume our travels for what they are,
and if that is so, if they're fun and expensive,
why not number them? T hings sag if you make them,
or not. Elders give up
within the appointed time? Get your lifestyle together
or something, miles from here, much of it downstairs.
Go lie on the couch. Why, you scheming... From the cast-iron
villas of the sanctimonious to the feathery huts
of the poor in spirit, a hush fringed all night,
the way they move up in harmonies based on grounds.
Dawn put in its two cents.
By then we were far in imagination.
Storks and secretary birds rose in a single wave
charming in its generality. A pink sarong
stroked the trees. So, where were you?
T his was it? What we got all cleaned up for?
Tomorrow will rob today of croutons, I don't think.


M ichael Ives

from T he Ghost in the Field
some see a devil?s profile in the storm track
others more high-priced kerosene
earth?s children / dark compact masses buried in soil
squeeze a reef between matter and spirit
hope?s a map with a moveable north
or this burning sensation of possessing eyes
purls within the honey an ultraviolet milk
little ice ages come on to the Venus of W illendorf and are rebuffed
oak and wild horse give way to drained champagne flutes
turning tricks with light for pin money
the solace hidden in the crisis
purrs below audible range
three dead senators
two garden salads one
house boy the internal illogic
of society limits field purity no one
knows where the real basement is hence
suckling at the male breast of the dominator


launches another lost voyager
N ASA / put the onus on / a wobbling pivot inside a gyroscope
at / not in / the notional N ew Jersey
me ?n Spats on his Lyman quarterbacking the whole mess
in nineteen hundred and colonoscopy
but no one never factors in the human dimension
while drought
cancels out the absence of a divine face
or else powerful orifices must open up in the land
ripe and electric
with a proof of having navigated through
to the center of the corn?s rage
in America we have a saying
but it?s all silted up
have you seen me / ?
mind-state dating from the glorious period of unities / ?
please call the following number after 5 PM
at the following number


of deepest space / its faceless nature
accounts of it can?t tranquilize the core enigma / quite
otherwise it?d ruin the atoms
hysterical martyrs to this shimmering mood piece
we?re not quote unquote designed to wake up
out of anything
in an overgrowth of tendrils
the afternoon wears like an armlet
according to his Lord?s fleet of water clocks
with whom the H eavenly M andate seduces
autumn?s step-daughter
inside the medallion of total surveillance
where phantom Budapests
engraved across timbals of the far cicada
ripple with thousands of suns in their glint planes
as agents of consensus / darts in their foreheads
amidst sudden movements and cresting panic
slide to the floor of the café


poisons and clotting factors raise on their cheeks
the florid crest of the sovereign occasion
it hurries unnoticed across the atrium
trailing behind it flickers of raw vega
of violently lucid Kyotos
and opened veins
the death mask?s morning will sire an ocean
if you?ll only look at it with an unlensed eye
the fireman pulls the cat down the tree
the cat pulls the fireman up the tree
stands at the center of the chiasmus
language busy building its Christ
estuarial each life a timed relinquishment
contains the incessant thinking grain of now deposits
fronds in wind thousands of years no comment
who listened a way into this silence
pilgrimage toward nothing?s not an eye
which no eye had witnessed


on the subject of visions
some enter into friendly relations with their hosts
others grip the flail and put on grimaces
you have it but you don?t have it
blast of seeing / shoaled briefly
in the warp of your fissures
by sacred road to those pictures in the mind
whereas halibut swim upright when young
?til its migrating eye should settle on the upside plain
for a ray of sun is the snow angel?s drinking straw
or be it the sun?s / it cannot matter
the way in and the way out are one and photonic
if yet no clear image in the mind
crystalizes on the eye beam
paint with not thinking
no image of no mind
leaves coin my history when they fall
was missing all the time I clung to it


so how about a garden of amulets
which as itself a darkened place
the removal of night alarms no one
sleep in the palm of an alien vigilance
its motive / : / the night in transit
sends a current of brain through the dream
semiotic profusions of the Cretaceous
into horsetail-cycad crosstalk drops a pearl
infinite consanguinity it bears
and speech a late-phase distillate from this turbulence
its rhythms filtered all ways through
the animal recently born now stone
great yearning locked up in the ice of hiatus
pumps super clusters into distant reaches
at the opening bell stone priest opens gate
in a ruined pagoda between striated plates of sleep
I park my urgency alone
with cloud scope under cloudless sky


took a world into my world-shaped hand
caressed it into the next five minutes
to remember / : / an ocean forgets to forget
a workable paradise / your listening to it
that this hour shall slip into the next
along a chain of connecting verandas
sound and touch carom across the visual field
whose musculature
always a few seconds old
tremulous as an Amsterdam at noon
shadow of the cathedral cutting into
your laugh breaks through
the ocean tells you it?s bolted to a flux
but you haven?t been unlistening the flange
of now beached into yesterday?s Q value
wanders before into after?s kitchen
and when you read it all back to me
I try to catch the words with my hands


untenable preference for terraces and dusks
sent through underground conduits
to pleasure gardens written in serotonin
no illusion but carve it in stone
is the root of being
this ratty shelter guessing cobbles
for the end of time I serve myself to myself
?tis meet I should thus cannibalize
by so feeding into its crop my substance
the muscles will have had their motions
and words their brief endlessness
so screw the hose back into its spigot
child out of time
a true coral warding off the bounders
with its growth rate
your land slopes gently as a lesson
plumage of hours pressing against
the anguish already strange and fossilized


on the north side of the pharmaceutical
animal transcendence is itself an animal
as much as the much one makes of a leaf
falling to earth makes autumn
O tropical life of silence
I?m a hot coal drifting through
planispiral out-spew of stars the ür text of the ammonite
innumerable ages of grass bowing under storm
come nacres of iridescent look-at-me and gone
Arcturus and R igel the groaners of those nights
as now upon now shored in cliffs
across the parsecs drone
the insect wars their silence unrecorded
waves of pitched battle
oblivion dark as if it had never been
no great spasm of a world knowing itself
silence of the never was a straw adrift
on the was but is no longer
that ghost of me running in a field
falls out of time at the edge of thinking it
put out the clock behind the word
put out the word behind the head
put out the head behind the world
ghost of a field running in me

Peter Adam N ash

Tel Aviv
for Annie

Each evening I watch them from the window
O f our bright apartment on R upin Street? ?
A mother and son drinking Gold Star beer
O n the terrace across the way, and I
T hink of Edward H opper, of what he would
H ave painted as a Jew on this sultry
Tel Aviv night in June, drinking wine from
T he Galilee with two blond and sunburned
Boys playing knights on the floor behind him
And a wife, a beautiful wife, making
Fresh chopped salad and ful to the news of
Violence in Gaza as Israeli
Warships glide through the view and the grave young
M an on the terrace lights a cigarette.


Heartsand Queens
T hank you for dinner I tell my father
As we pick a dirty path up Broadway
Past the darkened space where Shakespeare?s had been
T hrough a grove of old men just staggered out,
Blinking like bears from some grotto or den
Where I picture cards? jokers, hearts, and queens?
Smell beer and rum? Schlitz, Ron R ico, Don Q ?
Taste the hot, metallic tang of Chubbys
And Chesterfields, the blue ghosts of which cling
To these brown, unhaunted men who have laughed
And had their fill of this hot summer night
Far from the heckling of children and wives
Who stare wistfully from windows or droop
Like willows from painted fire escapes and sigh.


Lyn H ejinian

Sent Sense (Unfollowed)
A cow goes off and with it three crows in a sycamore tree cawing ?awe,?
?ha-ha,? ?off,? ?ah!?
I apologize, dearest one, that was my dream, yours was different
T he present king of California is tall, long-lived, and she bounces on her bed
Why blame oneself for one?s virtues
Two sacks, sails slack, sadness sinks into the inland saga
R ibaldry comes to mind, ten guys descending, pigeons escaping
Tessellated battlements rise, frazzled
Crickets are chirking the frogs ribbet, the owls howl, and the snakes? ?
T hat is what the censor stole
After that duration picks up speed again
Seven fruits are simmering and their jam will be done just in time for the toast
now on the hearth and a bit too close to the flames for comfort
Inconceivably Flagstaff, unlikely Boise, never Garberville
O ne of two good eagles has taken a cat


Everyone stopped
Somewhere unsullied by my thoughts exist pure memories, entirely free of
what I?d make of them, wholly unremembered
If you can write a tragedy you can write a comedy
Perhaps we are the victims of false recognition taken by an acquaintance to be
a tree
Vice versa ditto
Sweetness spilling over sour is essential to the sensational flow that
characterizes the continuum we call chocolate
W ith rapid eye movements I follow the hummingbird over the horse
I don?t have much capacity for nonchalance, indifference is a poor substitute
H eel, Fido; fetch, Pal
Time brings whole pieces to the puzzle but not the whole puzzle, the whole
It?s really her! It?s really him!

What color is the item that is three-cornered and made of wood
Together with the sun she goes off into the border zone like the middle note of
a chord
Is love the product of judgment?


Bring, buy, catch, seek, teach, and think, unrhyming in the present but
rhyming in the past
I?ve just gone out for a good laugh at sunset
L is for language, P is for baked alaska
T he middle of a sonnet? that which holds its parts and holds it apart? will be
found at its end
Along comes a boy skating on the ice with a hundred-and-four degree fever
T here?s a statue in the little park that I revisit to circle, go back to chastise,
return to admire? it is said to love solitude
Let?s bring two things together that don?t seem to have anything to do with
each other? a wet windowsill, say, and a white tiger? and see what
they have in common
M y eyes have filled
For example, a cormorant cannot? and should not? be said to have any point
at all
T hat?s a bushel of wheat; that?s a secretary; that?s a night flight to
Bangkok? but which one?
I don?t much like epigraphs: they tend to offer false promises in the guise of
false conclusions
Very slowly with my eyes I follow the lines between boards that link the
bedroom floor to the equator
53 degrees Fahrenheit near dark at midnight, the curtains hanging still, no
birdsongs, nothing defies gravity, only occasional street sounds break
up the lack of experience, the failed attempt, the infinity of possible
degrees at whose center stands the imaginary pole toward which the
dipper dips



T houghtsound, background
For the painter had grown wild, the dead girl: how murdered
Let?s sleep out on the porch on this moonless night and barely glimpse the
M usic of delicate arrivals, pluralities predicted in a statistician?s handbook
Living an unstraight chain, she? , or I? , and we? ., they? , then she, he? ,
she, you, ? but she
We utilize the valorizing conditioner, the volumizing shampoo, the volatizing
T here once was a woman with assurance and wit who considered all isms
Portage, voltage, cartilage, wiggle-room
T he male turkey with the raging battle wattle and gaping mouth whose
outspread sprawling tail feathers he turns to us we name Bad Beggar
and his every expression is an angry supplication
And she?s never ever won?t
T he saint in question, the baroque saint fiddling in the heraldic painting, is
ungovernable life itself
Scrambled is the logosphere, perpetuous is the contrasphere
I am a rhino and the grass is gray, the prairie undulates as if there were only a
single mind to which one goes for one?s thoughts
Is that ever irreverent?


A dream is a poor location for memories of things one hasn?t noticed, things
scarcely worth noticing
Whew? my head is like a chrysanthemum held upright on my neck
U nderwriting the stick figure with its stock-still demeanor is its caption:
?Another M inute H as Gone By?
Figs on a spot
In due course anti-lions and anti-asps will befriend wandering humans on
sailing ships propelled by calm1
Enter two guinea pigs, one black and one white, gender of each only to be

See Walter Benjamin, T he ArcadesProject (W1a, 622).

It?s impossible to discontinue
O nce there were four children and their great-grandmother was the duchess of
a distant island known for its berries, sail-makers, sullen lice, bears, and
a dark shepherd whose name was Daisy
H ow very like pickles the leaves on the beautiful branches hang in the rain
?Today is today is today yet again?
I cannot play the instrument of lamentation, it?s impossible to tune
H istory comes upon a clutch of dog?s eggs in a ditch that?s plastered over and
painted green as the grass whose insects sting
I have not left yet, she says? I have not yet made that distinction
All dusty begonias continue to frolic


K ayla Krut

for PQ

T his, says the head, is why translation matters?
does that answer it? She found K ing dead
in June, dredged from his pool at 46?
in press photos, Laguna waters like candy.
From Church Street, the glistening bridge.
K illers who live by parks are in best keeping,
round shoulder sharp shoulder. T hey see
the bird under the bench, a pumpkin scarf
caught on a post, path patterns
dry-carved by Labradors?growling.
Down Parker: a cream-collared shirt in
otherwise peach, heeled oxfords. Beyond,
the window ice-cream cone appliqué green.
Evenness something attainable. Two old men
who lean on each other enter a café.
Is that why a striped shirt bought two vodka-tonics.
After upstairs at the city club in square vases
dog-green stems wrapped, folded or tied
peaky and drenched in water, like long leeks,
their red-gold heads less interesting.


In the yard of the French school on Downey
wail dozens of small bodies. Were it doable,
decentering experience would be this (Ariadne
aborts regicide in a labyrinth; abode
and consort listed later).
Transcriptions of wails curl as tendrils,
a snake in a donut?s shape. An iron hired
to demonstrate competency. Whole days pass
where all that happens is you open and
close blinds, fresh summer place a bellows?
T his to neutralize brushing off origins. Black
velvet chaperones, half-cider, waft by rings
of dancers, narrow, former, not ungainly.
A 415 might be the hospital.
N Judah jerks, belching passengers.
O ne tic you admit has maternal cause:
once finishing a cup or plate
of coffee or food, pushing it away. T his
to signal doneness. T he table accepts
and, unassuming, makes a little sound.


At least ask be ground to tortilla, thrown to jackals.
Candles froth like grape juice on long
Sabbaths. T hey were more boring than school
and challah sometimes came with chocolate chips.
Solve the problem if there isone, or don?t.
Tonight ten years ago you dance foxtrot, sheathed,
gloves slick, the Fairgrounds ballroom
stellated with children, flat Sprite,
stiff shortbread; tonight last week in ratty
hair you shoot pool in a draped jacket.
Light qualifies the metal of jewel chains;
silver and gold slide thinly through.
T he emerald couch becomes a guest bed
and mythic slap, imperative, bring, order.
At midday, heads down, animals lick limbs.
N ot the teak chair across the live-oak table;
neither grapes nor reupholstered slingback,
not the basket for raw linen, not tarnished
rings, not mewling from next door; not ruddy
Gerbers: the front mudroom.


H ere your Cole Valley companions:
hall light, ridgebacked dogs, rosy shortcuts.
Olympus is not salient. H e had two names.
Artemisslew her in seagirt Dia for it.
You push away a plate: two blackberries.
H ydrangeas at the French school flinch
for shrieking (rippled antlers, the stag Greg killed).
A hundred feet from shore and the mountain base,
wild boar. What comes is not yours, but yours to pass on.
T hey flaunt velvet from their haunch of wall.
T he sleeves of the green grapes frosted.
If surgery succeeded, we?d see her
after dinner. O dd to live so near the school,
there was certain frustration in the choice.
I.e., to choose not easily to hear a call.
Shrugging is most at-one, would be more blissful,
the sigh when you forget to breathe for focus,
the self-healing body?s nod in concert,
silk filter of curtains for tall windows.
O r scaling back, assenting to remove these.


You make a thing specific by pointing at it.
H ere, M argaret with Valentine?s body,
dark hair of a twenty-ninth bather. In
the afternoon, swimminglessons. In this,
a boutique built of ablatives.
French school voices sick with shouting
run out, cars slam, R ico snaps the gate.
T hey teach both tongues that neither be suppressed?
cheating loyal, then. Before each dinner
long baths burnish faces to shine like ice.
Parents renounce cinnamon syrup from bistros
preferring collared flutes of K ir Royale
or peaches, gulped, fatly distended by water.
An animal-woman sits overlooking the city.
Do you know the city? What doesit say?
H er day jewelry clinks in a night dish
prepared by the bed, glass of water hanging.
T he sun out might not mean anything,
but least it?sout. T here is no olive bay pair.
People converse in a nearer room with windows.


Jenny M ary Brown

A salt-water fish, an arm span of greyblue flesh, an ocean stone,
slimed through my fingers and I,
pissed as a fly stuck on a screen,
hands like claws, groped dark water.
While I dreamt, catching the tuna,
the chain, dragged through mud
by my dad?s tractor, carried our colt,
eyes open, through the front fields.
Days before, the injured colt
twisted himself, knees knocked,
tucking under and over each other.
M y dad, head down, warned us.
T he tarped lump was there till morning.
M y stepmother?s flowers splayed
when the truck came to get him.


Daniel Aristi

SoCal Tattoo Poem N. 11
A los 60ytantos es pues la heráldica cansada.
La epidermis, lunar, ay
El viejo atabal?
U n corazón flamígero negro,
Con espinos, y la sangre diesel,
Dos tibias cruzadas, U S M arine, y una calavera
De su muerte adentro.

At 60somethinghey it?sthe weary heraldry.
T he epidermis, lunar, ah
T he old kettledrum?
A blazingheart black,
With thorns, and the diesel blood,
Crossbones, US Marine, and a cranium
Of hisdeath inside.

(M iddle-aged H ispanic male
Van N uys, LA, 25 January 2013)


SoCal Tattoo Poem N. 14
It?s arching all across his upper back, first word on the left shoulder blade and
last word on the right one:
(?WeCannotStareAtT heSun?)
Fact. Oye
al Sol nadie lo mira a la cara, cholo.
N ext, wonderment: T he only thing in N ature
we're forbidden to look at, think about it ?
Who's design this is that we burn our eyes on
El Rostro de Dios?

(22-year old M anuel
La Jolla, San Diego, 22 August 2010)


Alex Taitague

In an isolation tank repeating
T he sentence I DOES N OT EX IST
Does not get you anywhere
Any more dissolved than where
You already are: in the tank
It becomes ungrammatical.


Everyday Poem
Important now but otherwise trivia,
T he categories of time, time to study,
Time before midnight begins let slip
T he finality of the trivial. Ten minutes
Behind amounts to a quirk in geography.
N o account that I live there
And walk to the buildings there
U nconscious of the everyday leaves
T hat pass these categories of time
Before beginning which have always
Evaded this study.


Study No. 30
O pposite the installation in the concrete
Space might still be a table to suggest
T he rolls of paper in between as much belong
To the table as they do composing songs.


Tricia Asklar

When the Nephrologist TellsMy Father He
Must Stop EatingAnythingwith Eyesor
that Comesfrom Anythingwith Eyes
H is hand shakes a little. My feet are paying
for the day walking, he says. T hisdiet
islike growingup. Doctored-up baked
beansand bread with ketchup everyday.
H e walks out to the water?s edge and dips
his feet before neuropathy takes them away,
before doctors determine the legs will have
to go. Before the fatigue of daily treatment.
We all fall in love with our own power,
he says. H e went into the Cambodian jungle
with a sense of purpose and a team of a few hundred,
mostly M ontagnard soldiers. M ost everyone
died there. I thought I could make a difference.
H e goes to the gun range every Wednesday
with a friend. After, he has the fries, skips the burger.
H e has a jigsaw puzzle going at home most days.
Years after I stopped being a vegetarian,
who knew my father would keep a food journal,
hang the recipes I send him like he lines up
good targets from the range?


Charles Bernstein

Poetry is made not of ideas but of words.
Poetry is not made of ideas but words.
Poetry?s made not of ideas but of words.
O f words, poetry?s made of, not ideas.
Words is what poetry is made of, not ideas.
N ot of ideas, poetry?s made of words.
Is made of words, poetry, not ideas.
M ade not of ideas but words, poetry.


Autobiography of an Ex-Kike
I am so
tired of arguing.
Time to cross
over. But they
just won?t let
me. Fuck ?em.


Charles Bernstein & R ichard Tuttle

after Virgil (G. 2.429-30)

for no reason less
wild bushes bear
blood-red berries
birds ensnare


after Virgil (G. 2.458-461)

fortunate to toil
close to soil
far from armies


after Virgil (G. 2:541-542)

We?ve travelled far
Time to unhitch the horses


Rob Sean W ilson

Because the Snow Which Falls
Because the snow which falls
north of the 38th parallel
must be the same snow
which falls south of the 38th
parallel? Christ?
mas white, intricate parallax,
once, half?drunk on OB's
on a country bus snaking
to Ilyong, a student
soldier proclaimed to the
sleeping citizens, N o more
38th parallel, just snow . . .
just snow falling over fences,
tunnels, DM Z trenches, filling
the ricefields north of Seoul.
N ight and the peace of
snow. Yet parallel lines
cannot touch, the grim badges
will come out, will glare
their red?and?blue differences,
until another shot rings out upon the snow
as it falls upon the snow
which falling for another
thousand years cannot
rinse the blood of Korean
brothers sisters which flows red over
the 38th parallel,
which does not exist.


Because the Snow Which Falls
translated into Mandarin by TEE Kim Tong

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?? ? ? ?? ??
?? ??????
?? ? ? ?? ?
? ? ??
?? ??????
? -? -? ?- ? ?
??? ?? O ?? ?? ? ?
?? ? ? ?? ? ?
? ????
? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ?
? ??? ? ? ? ?? ??? ? ? ?
? ???? ?? ?
?? ?? ??? ? ? ???
??? ???? ?
?? ?? ? ????
? ? ?? ?? ????
?? ? ? ???? ?
?? ?????
??? ????
???? ?
? ? ?? ???
??? ??

? ? ? ? ? ??
? ? ??????? ?
??? ? ?? ?
? ? ??? ? ?


Naugatuck River Flow
Church music played along the polluted river,
the day was born. It was time to tap maple trees for syrup.
Wrestling teams wrestled, Sacred H eart hoop games went on.
M oon R iver flowed and skank. A wigged woman held up
the bank in Stop & Shop.
Sidewalks went on being repaired. T he futures were coming.
Drunken down or stoned sober, life went on death went on I.
Cyberblue writing years later love letters in digital sands
tracing the N augatuck R iver flow years and years away
greeny homeland is waning astray, dank flow of estray:
wanhope by the Chase Brass & Copper, oceans
mill miming channels to express
far-sung investing against flesh-death sobered up in Pratt mills
as if casting fate to the H oly Spirit inside doors of the Immaculate
or high getting high on the Rock overlooking
the N augatuck R iver long hours later by the Watsonville slog
amid the fogs of evening song the red river rises
born by the river in a little tent/
just like the river I?ve been running/
ever since?
In the same way, a truly holy person does not live for himself
can become eternal can achieve anything.
returning to the muck source as translated into Leo Tolstoi
sure as tomorrow morning comes
amongst come-back-again things
sudden shift or atmosphere above the churches
and factories that pockmark working hearts
of wind and light attack

waiting for some
Flowers of Evil fly up
gull-like at Bolinas estuary
put a gun to the head
melt a fat shadow into the dead wood
then sails away
sayonara Richard Brauitign
up from the rock to islands of N agasaki,
rivers oceans tying California
a cross
R ude street hurling noise, brown skins and
long, mincing, glacial he or she comes; dolorous passers-by:
fastidious solvency walks in sage veils, balancing centuries into sin.
Agile jambs, cowlike, would drink in tempests at N augatuck M all
but from brass eyes clock eyes that pass back-from-the-dead-man.
O range hurricanes, plantation shifts hailed from the future, ocean.
Germinating ruins into factory streets
as if retorn, as if almond joy candy or old baseball tunnels to the south.
You who would have loved her, fleur who knew an evil street, home.
T he M use hovers over the N augatuck that flows to South Korea: pudgy,
wearing an old lumberjack shirt, smiling with Jack wings
O r, years later, coursing down slow Pacific highway through coastal fogs
early morning Saturday upon waking, or breaking, it was always Easter?
hic non est?
the way of life isby abandonment.
on the road to San Francisco, black man, gleaming headset, screaming up
into outer space skies at Taylor & M arket castaway in San Francisco?
there?sa race war down here, peoples, so now you know.


?Buddha of the rock? over the N augatuck flowing
to the Red R ivers and N ikita M oon of China coheres at some deep
level now if the world will only come around to Four Fold blessing
pudgy town-drunk angel in lumberjack shirt hovers heaven-wings over
town, blessing the Rock and youm, the N augatuck R iver in a smiling second,
rare? he shall lead these works like H oly Red R iver and beget
When the N ikita M oon Rose to a literary agent, for the Lord ismy agent.
H is muse to Ozymandias, say:
I?d sleep and forget it, mon; I had my own one life,
my own sad and ragged life, forever.
Stars fell on Alabama drinking too much into the Love R iver
in K aohsiung, where a tree speaker blares out Broadway love songs
across four languages, forty codes: ?formerly polluted and now
pristine Love R iver? which stinks of a toppling Dragon Boat
cum oars and green-light mosquito quiver or Serena she of the
Li Po drinking Taiwan land into acupuncture, Sunday-solitude-stuporover a new mass of darkest German beer down from China: so weave
a songa songof riverlove a water flow back flowingto the land
Blood flow of the riverine muse, she
comes with the cleanly rain that rages up with the rubbertown air
with storms of tin-soldier Brits or Chinese acrobats declaiming.
Across dark fields of O ctober, sutras
flow into the long O not my
gods indifferent to cannons inside canons.
To sleep in the ague of a red song, a red riverine musing
dangerous plants, falling cups, plangent magus rings of a Saturn-knight tempest potentate him who tempers into grief, or rage.


As he looked up the clouds assumed, as assumed, faces of hermits
faces of hermits becoming like Lew Welch
becoming Sierra cloud-assumptions, Lenore K andell the scent:
Ti Shan, Cold M ountain, Ti Jean drinking in heaven, havened.
Faces of hermits becoming Sierra cloud-assumptions over N augatuck?
H an Shan, Ti Shan, Cold M ountain, Sappho:
Ti Jean still drinking in the heavens like a happy priest.
Adrift across rainy morninga in my monk?s moan cell
composing a song or two or a river or three
letting a ghost in letting another ghost
out with the window, seventy times seven frenemy angles,
airs and lights, ponds
when these waves of the Red R iver flow in, no longer reckoninglost time
walking Friday and Saturday, the San Lorenzo R iver
at the Boardwalk overflowing banks
threatening the walkway, eroding the beaches
O f twentieth largest container ports in the world,
thirteen are on the Pacific R im, ocean
O ne of them abuts outside my window, ocean
O ne of them is in the crazed taxi driver?s pocket
Six of them are in my battered luggage
Seven of them are laden on the fragrant road, ocean
transit besides the warm green waters of the moneyed harbor
O ne of them is filled with Costco peanut butter
O ne of them is laden with Giants baseball bats
& tickets to a Prince concert, D ylan?s harp, Victoria?s secret.
O ne is them is labeled Diamonds from Sea to Shining Sea


Who threw out the H ollywood shirt I wore here,
who felt so worn out
under sweater
our bags are so heavy
T he snow that was supposed to fall,
T he snow that did fall, once,
T he kind cab driver who never left Boston
who treated me like a native because I lived here
T hirty years ago, ?on the poor side of Beacon H ill?
who had an idea for a new novel
idea for an energy drink
who would fill you with the H oly Spirit, ocean
T he time that slipped away, forgotten in brass muck,
T he riverine poem that never stopped being written.
T he time that never would return, that never came,
T hat never left, the time of our time, the heart attack machine
T he life that got away, lifted up, made four-fold, here.
T houghts tangled into black hair, stare, back at lair
the Lamb of God who takes away the night riding mare.
M ists rise memories linger moods tank
have as broken proof a bent finger, Saint Pharma, stank
Vermont maple leaves floating on the Kyoto river,
Send me the quiver, mute sycamore, not this death dust.
Weep at parting from you I
Weep at parting from me into two.
A firefly aflame with metaphor,
Send in the bombastic senator man to explain.
Bewildering dream of the apple tree by the convent
Algebra of the convicted memory, free.

Buddhist statues covered in leaves, temples inside temple.
But I am always in a hurry, try to leave.
I fall away from myself like a shelf
or leaf above the ravine of a melancholy elf.
Frozen in the ice a maple leaf
Frozen on my face, a strife.
Clouds dissipate above the Pacific harbor,
bullet trains cross, this longing is not so specific
as if haunted by your beautiful ghost
your moist flesh lakes, your beatnik hosts.
H unter of dragonflies, you
car dealer, horse thief, nature spy
held me in passing like a curb lock,
sainted in the funereal socks not St. Davenport John.
W ill I remember our last meeting together,
or this one time and space into selfhoods, dismember.
Between the moon and me, sleep covers my eyes at noon.
Between summer and autumn, tomes carrying some tomb.
In birthplace by the N augatuck the flowers still smelt.
U nknowable heart, infinite art, varicose hand felt.
Love goes out again, 24 little hours,
Was is, love was, war, or a smiling devious friend.
Chinese fisherman are drawing a slow boat up a dank love river,
You and I can hug, dry land like a glass shiver by rattling concrete.
What does this add up to, a deformed set of wry couplets
melancholy as a psychic fate who earned morning breakfast, room-to-let
Into a summer funnel, fall, feel and fell,
Seems at times like a rare cushioned hell

bang against the walls, bounce against pillows,
the melancholy Dane has gone M ellow yellow.
Sun-smiling grimacing fellow.
stay and stay make the flesh into hay, or seize the ray.
?Jaywalking leads to Regretting? on the river street
K aohsiung spread out as seen at night from 85 Sky Tower
romanticcity dazzling
or the city strolling by the lime-green summer palace of Generalissimo
speeding truck drivers by the Donggong R iver
You will become Red, oh Angry Buddha, a new highway deliver
Illusion that we were ever together, Tim
Fell into the river drunk, that time, wrote poems like the boss
Courting young lovelies. Illusion that Saved
Was playing in the background as sign, that you wore white
kid gloves to the Andong wedding in a town of ancient K ims
as if she ever loved the monkey dancing on a saint stick.
many selves bleeding into the mystery of gingko trees
leaching towards the ground, sims
bruised by fogs. Privacy of unharvested lament,
abused by factory smelt, growing up all nerves;
wanted to study Pound, Sappho, St. Vitus Dance,
practice Ti Jean dharmas in a meditation tent
did not amount too much heaven-haven, lenten
Laments, Cheever-like, allies to heaven sent.
M arys, like the hail air, fall. I regress.
Back raging like a beer bottle to pavements, hell bent.

Apple trees in love with the cemetery ground
pounding into the summer green tent.
as if to the warring dawns sent.
T houghts tangled in the black hair, stare,
Lamb of god like a nightriding day mare.
M ists rise inot memories linger
have the broken proof a bent finger.
M aple leaves floating on the river,
Send me yon quiver.
Combustible dust in the air of Ipads made in Sichuan
cadmium leaking from chemical factories
into rivers of H unan
bleeding into livers, lungs, kidneys or brain cells
?I had believed in the government?s report of progress
began to grow vegetables.?
Cadmium leaking from mute, ocean
factories into rivers of H unan
bleeding into livers and lungs or
combustible dust in the air of Ipads made in Sichuan
cadmium leaking from chemical factories
into the thousand rivers of H unan, ocean
Empty room
empty town
Hicnon est
homeless for X mass in the city
Franciscan borrowings you can count me in
sobbing into small beers at the mall


God born in a manger in the mangy comprise
compromise you
stranger what tear you weep for the angel stars, stare
O phelia jumps into an ice
R iver, Detroit
First winter K
R ice offering
face brook down, face first
her thirst booked
for Eternity, spurned
child spread-eagle tearing river,
effortless turn of the car key
you forgot to write
Posited against bare H omer streets polluted rivers of an industrial town, proud
of it, that Catholic schoolboy quest, want just to help save writing to beatitude
Write and write and write and write. Always to write.
N othing special about this day, and that is what opens
to miracles that come and go like some
darting hummingbird across huge windy expanse,
H opkins hawks hover over valley cove hover beside La Selva beach
N othing special except opening the day to writing.
N othing special about this day except the prose poems a friend wrote.
N othing special about this day except the passage of air through lungs that
feeds and renews a million cells, that the H oly Ghost leads to create.
N othing special about this day but where the avocado came from.
N othing special about this day but the radio that brings news from the world,
that brings in the white station from Santa Cruz and the M exican soccer news
from Watsonville.
N othing special about this day except like Emerson you are writing a way

N othing special about this day except like D ylan you are turning out another
version of an old song with the help of the Grateful Dead.
N othing special about this day except you have forgiven it all, including
yourself, for blockages and let downs and states of getting lost.
N othing special about this day except the glowing cover of a road across.
N othing special about this day except the details in which the spirit moves and
takes place.
N othing special about this day except it keeps happening as a day like the sun
turning across the sky.
N othing special about this day except your breakfast has turning into the
energy to write words, to know thoughts, to spell a few words, to forget a few
names like that of David M eltzer last night.
N othing special except the will to let go, to fall into the ground, to recall high
N othing special about this day except the ripe avocado on the window sill.
N othing special about this day except the sheer fact of language being
exchanged for things.
N othing special about this day except Donna H araway.
N othing special about this day except the digestive system workings.
N othing special about this day except three thousand years of prosody.
N othing special about this day except the culture that invented glass and Glad
N othing special about this day except the emails coming in as I write.
N othing special about this day except the coffee beans from R wanda.
N othing special about this day except the mood lifting up, the possibility of an
influx of grace and care and good will to all, Easter promises.

N othing special about this day except a poem may come.
N othing special about this day except the walk through M anresa fields of
flowering blue manzanitas and daisy golds.
N othing special about this day except the doctoral degree, the black box full of
D ylan recordings, the writing desk, the sun coming through windows.
N othing special about this day except the freedom to think and to write, the
gladness of that, the privacy of a laptop, the moving forward.
N othing special except special delivery that does not come.
N othing special except the moon over the Pacific on its way to China.
N othing special except the temporality of nothingness being undone by
N othing special except the claims for the image.
N othing special about these M onterey Bay clams except they breathe.
N othing special about this morning except sleep lifting from the brain.
O n a clear day I can see forever cut
into 62 years cast out runes
wandering across days of light
when they Begin the Beguin
I can hear the silence of M eher Baba
praying along with the chorus in O akland?
the moon was yellow
sufi my heart
was a lesser known color
penny ante uped this joy of living
in the daily gamble
come weather come news


memory of other houses
other needs
like motherhood seeds
prayers like the theme song
from the lax summer of 1942
as a father?s half-note in the trenches of Anzio?
lost mind like a son vocation
poem calling up the star voice, M ary if
from the sea beyond the sea, specific
if you can fix this mailbox
you can fix
the La Selva day of its vacations
in the still stillness
steals in uncluttering
the night re ponds
happy radio days
reign of rain fog
into the lonely cosmos of a quiet room, singing
gold dusted all we drank and ate


Ben M azer

T he living are angels, if we are the dead in life
and immaculate beauty requires discerning eyes
and to ask incessantly who you are
is both our strength and doubt in faith, to know
what we must appear within ourselves to know:
that we do love each other, that we know who each other is
by putting ourselves in the hands and the eyes of the other,
never questioning the danger that rides on words
if they should misstep and alter a logical truth,
or if they should signify more than they appear to,
whether dull, indifferent, passionate, deeply committed
or merely the embodiment of a passing mood,
some lack of faith in ourselves we attempt to realize
through the other who remains steadfast in all the flexibility of love.
Stay with me, speak with me, remain with me in silence
but remain with me, abide like a flame
enduring the terrors of the wick engulfing and sputtering
because I have made these declarations from a place like yours:
conceiving the only happiness in a chosen hope:
that love will be so because we want it to be.
H arrowing the lives of these angels who are so much like us,
we fail to see them in us, but they are there.
Apologies must harrow, too, wherever they falter
and mislead us, into the terrors of our separate doubts,
most at home in the pristine snow of each other's arms,
ceaselessly bounded back into the current of the tide
reverent of touch, its indelible yearning and lament
to which we apply a delicate balance of assents
with which to commemorate as much as through a flickering of the eyes
the spirits, and shapes, and forms of our greater desire,
that which hangs with us as life in these angels on earth,
the bodying forth of the evaporate intrinsic self,
that which we put our faith in by taking hand into hand,
our more than faith, being studious of ourselves,
choosing not to live separately in one quandary
because the archangel of angels commands us in love.

Look, and see where these images of ourselves
beautifully depict with utmost sensitivity
our hopes for a better life, which lives in us,
which is the spirit at its essential and most transparent,
like Chaplin and the orphan peering around any ordinary brick corner,
not smiling, though we must smile when we meet each other
over a distance, heading in one direction
because humour is our great joyous clue in life,
happy to be heedless, hearing music in the acceptance of chaos,
where music is an appreciation of the aesthetic sense
that burns in us, delicate, discerning, and unique.
Fall not into the sea of total evaporation
that threatens to undermine us with its undertow
of doubt without reason, of reason without doubt,
knowing full well that even the living angels
must suffer a seachange only to remain constant
to that which they must be, even the dead in life,
that the highest reaches of our possible understanding
must attain to an iconry that will live without us,
because we have been on earth, and have truly loved.
Even Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in Top Hat,
just before dancing cheek to cheek as true lovers are meant to do,
experienced the seemingly fatal setback
of a pure misunderstanding created by logical circumstances,
yet could not avoid the very real truth of how they felt,
so beautifully realized in a visible sheer grace of sharing,
itself mimicked by the tight movement of two moving together
effortlessly but with utmost joy in tact,
greater than the world itself a love such as this
which faces two together in its immaculate scope,
looming and large as any of the designs of God
for partners with a discerning sensitivity,
the highest realization of life whether in heaven or on earth.
We move through dusty streets, because dust moves with us,
being the dust of stars and the dust of heaven.
Listen how silence itself mirrors forth the greatest warmth in seeing,
smiling as again and again I take your hand,
like Chaplin or Keaton at the picture's end,

and that is the music of earth, and proper to angels.
It is haunting, this beauty, and returns us to us.
We are the visible windows of a darkened shop at night time
mirroring back to us images of ourselves.


O r by the dying light's resemblances,
memory evaporated like a pool . . .
we swum the fever, too dark to see warpaint,
but know the pain, dissolving of resolve . . .
Yet cooler stations clear the deck for it,
dark buildings laced like pearls beyond the park,
the aimless garden of the boys and girls,
the ice skate changing station, decked in shit . . .
I could not, no, I could not, play the spool
of all our quarrels, even all our love,
but view you bathed in light of ambulances,
at traffic stop, or driving, on the way
to M t. Auburn H ospital Emergency.
Yellow, red, and green . . . the stiff chin . . .
the sad and wounded look . . . the apparent brains . . .
light upon light upon your portrait rains . . .
T hat furthermost point of eternity . . .
that is decisive in the fate of me . . .
you have such elegance and equipoise,
who wear for heart a tattered wreath of rose.
You, my girl, are my first family.
H umour rolls the wheelchair under thee.
Past spectres of the notion we're estranged,
our vaster knowledge of each other's ranged.


N ick Admussen

T his situation is that nothing is it with me,
except the fictional father-ghost at my shoulder
and the screen ahead, simile for an eye.
What else I can say about it
disinvolves the word "you."
Prepended with a colon, a statement
will be parsed as an action.
:descends wild and hungry from the mountains.
:disappears into himself as in religion.
I have my palms flat on the keyboard
as if trying to heal the sick.
I am ordering the apparatus to make love.


Parable of Old Swedes
T he upright elderly clustered around the supine elderly, they were all
Swedes, they smelled like their alchemical kitchens, smoked meat and urine
and smear of lard. I don't know why I was there, but that sensation is
near-constant. I was born from gather ye rosebuds. I was born in a hammock
on W illiam Duffy's farm. T hese people were far from me on each possible axis,
x (mouth distance), y (snow distance), z (toughness distance). T hey could
therefore only be metaphors, distant little horizon metaphor dots, and
obediently they moved with the jerking grace of metaphor and leaned over the
dying man with the inexorability of metaphor. T hey knew it would come to
this both in fact and in my conception of fact, which is to say that we were
starting to have the togetherness of metaphor as well. T he dying man had
seemingly every blockage, I wanted to reach down his throat and scoop the
mucus out, but it was clear that the burble was way down in there, now, and
nothing to do about it.
T he elderly Swedes just watched. T hey put their jerky hands, their pee
hands, their Crisco hands on the man who laid down. T hey were talking in a
language I didn't understand, but there was a pattern in it and so I had to
accept that it was real. T hen they were talking in a language that I did
understand, they were looking right at me and waving their frondlike lips, but
there was no pattern in it and it felt dreamlike. T hey wanted towels or sheets
or something made of fabric. T hey wanted living water in great quantities, or if
that was unavailable they wanted stilled snowwater or bitter water which I had
survived drinking or water from which I had cast the demons out. If there was
no water I was to rub leaf-fragrant dirt into their skin. T his took years to
understand, probably I have invented it, regardless they looked directly at me
and made such requests as they could.
T he man on his back made the bow of the keel of a ship, as if snapping
back to his natural shape. I leaned in unconsciously, and a man in a low hat
and a fury of white hair turned to block my approach. H e spread out his hands
as if casting two fistfuls of dice. H e said "You are only for the provision of
waters or dirts." Part of his translation problem was that all my generosity came
from the sensation that I had never given anything to anyone. "Stand back," he
said. T he disc of the old man's hat was perfectly still and the circumference was
parallel to the floor. H e said, "we give to him the air."


Still Plum
Botched light, unrightly
splaying down from the shade chink:
all this time and I am still for hire.
I mean, I have arrayed my objects
and my gray ladies. I have thorn
protection, thorn audience, thorn factory,
and I claim the little buds inside,
whose existence I assert.
Why, then, sharks turning. Why magnet
tether anchored in the cheek. Why whore
clothes and the hand-lettered sign
cheap asyou like it, which also says
screw you for being debased
and eat me, so sweet and so cold


A selection of archival documentsfrom
Berkeley Poetry Review'shistory
a special feature

Towards the middle of a tawny afternoon on Sunday, February 21,
2016, I met with Berkeley Poetry Review founding editor Rob Sean W ilson at his
home on Archer Drive in Santa Cruz, which overlooks the Pacific through a
pine-filled hollow. I spoke with W ilson, now a Professor of Literature,
Creative Writing, and Cultural Studies at U C Santa Cruz, for several hours
about the origin of the Review, the evolution of the English Department at
Berkeley, the vast and self-replenishing cast of characters populating campus
life at the time, and the tectonic shifts in literary and cultural studies in recent
years. T he following documents, all from W ilson's own archives, detail the
Review's genesis and the milieu from which it arose.
T he idea for the Review germinated when W ilson? a graduate student
in English at Berkeley in the early '70s? found himself impressed by, but
dissatisfied with, Occident, the university's flagship journal of letters, then
edited by Leonard M ichaels and David Reid. ??It was totally appropriate for
N ew York,? he told me. ?It didn?t fit Berkeley, or the West Coast, at all.? So
W ilson, himself a ?cheery pluralist? who did interviews and columns on poets
for T he Daily Californian via his Berkeley Inscapes column, sought to create an
outlet for what he described as ?a kind of democratic pluralism,? one that
more sufficiently captured the wealth and diversity of local talent. W ith the
support of Josephine M iles, who herself advocated for the poetic innovation of
T hom Gunn, Denise Levertov, Victor H ernández Cruz, Jack Spicer, Ron
Loewinsohn, and the Beats, W ilson recruited other interested students. (She
had a ?cosmic? mind, he said.) In the fall of 1974, Berkeley Poetry Review's first
issue emerged. M ore than four decades later, the Review remains W ilson's
lasting contribution to Berkeley intellectual and aesthetic life? that and the
Japanese maple he planted on Forest Avenue. Both, he said, are ?trees that live
- Andrew David K ing


Lyn H ejinian and others have stressed that the year 1974 impacted
Berkeley/Iowa/Berlin as some kind of crucial ?constellation? of elements,
forces, and forms, thus indicating a shift or turning point towards something
different and new. Coming in the wake of the liberating energies of Free
Speech and the mongrel plenitudes of Golden Gate Park, 1974 was also the
date the Berkeley Poetry Review was published on the campus of U C Berkeley as
a ?journal of emergent poetics? as it came to be called, standing (then and
now) for a multiplicity of forms and voices and embodying a push towards
representing a fuller sense of student voices and an emergent multiculturalism.
T his was what Josephine M iles had been supporting inside ?the English
Department of the soul? (as Jack Spicer notoriously troped it) by long
advocating a more pluralist poetics as voiced in figures as diverse as Arthur Sze,
David M elnick, M organ W ines, Rochelle N ameroff et al. and as posited
against what we felt to be the N ew York-turned style hegemony of the campus
literary journal Occident.
I had a column in the Daily Californian called ?Berkeley Inscapes? at
the time and came to Jo with the student-based review idea for the BPR, and
she got me put on some chancellor?s committee to get funding and an editorial
room in the publications space of the Pelican Building as it was called.
Anyway, that the journal is still going close over 40 years later is testament to
the social institutional fact that we opened a "worlding" space and form for
something that needed to be supported ?in progress [process]? however
unknown, under-theorized, or half-baked and mongrel it all was etc. T he
other thing at U CB in 1974 I would point to stand for those place-based
energies of emergence and difference is that T heresa H ak Kyung Cha (whose
Dictee would come to transform Asian Pacific studies) was giving some of her
ethereally estranged and Korean uncanny art space performances in the Art
Department building, which has to be considered a part of some left-coast
?avant-garde? as much as was happening in Iowa or N ew York City, in the
impact as space, form, and language it would have on generations in the
emergence of multiple ethnically inflected forms and languages. Josephine
M iles was a driving force in Bay Area poetics and was way ahead of her time in
embodying the interactive energies of poet and scholar, wholeness of theory
and practice, in the American sublime tradition of Emerson, Whitman, and
R ich. T hat the BPR still lives on, under the able editorship of changing
generations of students, from myself to A.D. K ing, is testament to such deeply
rooted pedagogy and vision of radical democratic emergence.
H ere are a few comments on these ?semi-ancient? documents that
track the founding of Berkeley Poetry Review and some of the early trajectories
from Berkeley to H awai?i and into the American and Pacific-Asia poetry scene.
John Gage [pgs. 158-160] was a learned doctoral student in the U CB R hetoric
Department and a fine poet himself in the Leonard N athan formalist tradition
of skeptical wit which was an important part of the Berkeley scene, if avowedly
on the conservative end of the student pluralism. ?Inscape? [pgs. 156-160] was
a weekly column on poetry and poetics that appeared in the Daily Californian
and was avowedly pluralist in its portrayal of the existing poetry scene; it was
edited by the artistically deft Christine Taylor, a medievalist Ph.D. candidate in

the English Department who was an important ally of all the work I was doing
in poetry and poetics at U CB and in the Bay Area as was her partner Leroy
W ilsted who designed the first two issues of the BPR, covers and all. David
Linn [p. 155] was a contributor unknown to me or others on the editorial staff.
David H enderson [pgs. 156-157] was a much respected N ew York city poet in
the Afro American musicality and U mbra tradition who had moved to
Berkeley and became a cultural force there with Ishmael Reed et al.; David
had been a doo-wop singer at one time (perhaps with the Dells), and later
wrote a book on Jimmy H endrix, edited Bob K aufman?s poetry, and much
else. I wrote an article on H enderson?s poetry for the ?Inscapes? column.
H enry N ash Smith [p. 164] was a venerable senior professor in the English
Department at U CB, one of the founding fathers of American civilizational
studies in the U SA in the myth and symbol tradition. H enry N ash Smith was
on my doctoral exam committee and the professor who introduced me to
Professor M asao M iyoshi who was looking for a research assistant interested in
American relations to Asian cultures, especially Japan, so I did 19th-century
American literature research for him on the book that became As We Saw
T hem, a book still in print and influential in Japan and U S cultural studies in
the pre-Said ?orientalist? moment on mutual interaction on the Pacific R im. I
kept in touch with people in Berkeley via mail, in the pre-internet and
pre-email days, and would bring writers to read in H awai?i like Robert H ass
and Leonard M ichaels et al. M iyoshi would always visit on his trips to East
Asia, and he would ?debrief? me on my own stay in South Korea when I
would go back to Berkeley where my daughter Sarah was attending schools
there. Robin M agowan [pgs. 162-163] was a crucial beloved undergraduate
mentor to me at U C Berkeley in English: the last class he taught at Cal in the
summer of 1969 included my classmate, N ancy Ling Perry, who later played a
key role in the rise of Symbionese Liberation Army attacks and died in a
shootout with the police in Los Angeles as my family watched it on television
at 2641 Forest Avenue. Robin was a surrealist poet in the visionary mystical
tradition from a prominent San Francisco family who was well connected to
writers and artists from James M errill (his uncle Jimmy) to Larry R ivers and
Kenneth Koch, all of whom he would try to connect Bay Area people via
wonderful parties at his home in the Berkeley hills behind M emorial Stadium.
I remain eternally grateful; he is still my friend and mentor, and lives in my
home state of Connecticut now and is a gardener and a poet still. John Ashbery
[p. 166] is John Ashbery, just becoming world famous then. W.S. M erwin [p.
161] is always W.S. M erwin in H aiku, M aui, or anywhere, and he shared the
Z en influence of Roshi Robert Aitken from his zendo in M aui where I used
to talk about American poets like Stevens and Whitman with him, and took
the poet Louis Simpson for a cordial funny visit once. O f course Josephine
M iles [p. 165] was my key mentor as a graduate student in English at U CB and
way ahead of her time as she embodied the interactive energies of being a
scholar and a poet in the American sublime tradition of Emerson and
Whitman; she was poetic mentor to generations in the department including
Duncan, Spicer, Ginsberg, A.R . Ammons, T hom Gunn, Sze, and, well,
me? hers are the praises forever. I might add here that M erwin and Ashbery,

along with Robert Creeley who was the poet?s poet then in the Bay Area, were
the key poets I was drawn to then: tactics of elision and minimal syntax and
anti-rhetoric (as in M erwin and Creeley) warred against the more maximalist
geo and surreal forms of expansive vision in Charles Olson, Creeley, and the
ever-present Walt Whitman. In her work Eras and Modes in English Poetry,
Josephine M iles was an acute scholar of the ?American sublime? which she
singularly elaborated as a prosody of phrasal accumulation and expansive
visions of the spirit drenched cosmos in biggish forms of poetry. I was drawn
to that, and would write a book on it with W isconsin U P, my first book,
American Sublime: T he Genealogy of a Poetic Genre, before I turned to fuller ties
to the local and international ties to the cultural poetics of Pacific and Asian
sites based on my 24 years of teaching at the U niversity of H awai?i at M anoa as
well as visits to teach at universities in Korea, Taiwan, H ong Kong, and
- Rob Sean W ilson


Covers of the first (front) and second (front and back) issues of the
Berkeley Poetry Review


Flyer for the Berkeley Student Review, which soon after became the Berkeley Poetry Review
Page 1 of 2 (page 2 facing)
M ay 28, 1974


Berkeley Poetry Review application for official recognition from the O ffice of Student Activities
N ovember 21, 1974

Berkeley Poetry Review subscription form
c. 1974

Guidelines for the Committee on Literary Publications, from the O ffice of
Student Activities
Page 1 of 2 (page 2 facing)
June 7, 1974


Flyer for the Berkeley Poetry Review
c. 1974

Financial and staff-related notes
c. 1974

Letter from Lynne S. W iepert of U C Berkeley's General Library Acquisition Department
to Rob Sean W ilson
M arch 14, 1975

Letter from contributor Dave Linn to Rob Sean W ilson
August 5, 1974

Letter from David H enderson, a founder of the Black Arts M ovement, to Rob Sean W ilson
c. N ovember 6, 1973

Proposal for an anthology of black avant-garde artists and writers by David H enderson,
enclosed in letter to Rob Sean W ilson reproduced on facing page

Returned Berkeley Inscapessurvey from poet and R hetoric doctoral student John Gage to
Rob Sean W ilson
c. N ovember 2, 1973

Poem by John Gage included with correspondence to Rob Sean W ilson reproduced on
facing page

Draft of Berkeley Inscapescolumn on John Gage by Rob Sean W ilson
c. N ovember 1973

Letter from Rob Sean W ilson to W. S. M erwin
July 19, 1980

Letter from Rob Sean W ilson to Robin M agowan
Page 1 of 2 (page 2 facing)
August 22, 1980


Letter from Rob Sean W ilson to H enry N ash Smith
June 25, 1980

Letter from Rob Sean W ilson to Josephine M iles
June 30, 1980

Letter from Rob Sean W ilson to John Ashbery
July 20, 1980

M ajor Jackson

Canon of Proportions
H ow unnatural the body cattle-ranched,
and yet one feels one?s laughter seeping
like an unplanned gun-fight, zig-zagging
a queue only to pause for two seconds
in a full-on, arms up, frozen jumping jack
when the scanner half-circles and backscatters
one?s genitals, ionizing into a potentially dangerous
phantom. T homas Jefferson was never
a frequent flier, and I wonder if Reverend Al
Sharpton, whom I stand behind
at Reagan International contemplating
adult things like cerulean flowers
and millennial breathings, ever deployed
a furtive power fist above his head.
At this hour, the safety of a nation requires
I abandon explosive shoes and double-shot
lattes, and model my best Vitruvian M an.
It is either this or lonely rail yards.
I choose the amateur in the skies
like I choose a right knee in prayer.
Still it must be said: the occasional lament
of a train is an unremembered dream
and arousal might lead to a pat down,
a tell-tale pistol of flesh to grieve.


M ax Goudie Pujals

for FrancisPonge, Jack Spicer, and Barbara Guest

When you take penned rhododendrons
out of R ichmond Park,
ship them out to talk them up
sad they have gone from regularities
to needing sheepdogs that picked up everything down ferns
would collect England, then clouded commons and woods,
spurn England and go home bringing it back,
and you find bridges that go with other countries?rivers,
even other men?s rivers in books, as ones rumored to be yours
and find yourself stopping, blocked by H enry M oore-shaped islands
or anything which slowly from a quiet walk
says hold out for the imagined and unowned.
In night fording solemnly
to track the wildflowers
we forget we loitered on with autumn dear
and the crickets ripping on
while maple wings fell through flooding
the feet of foreigners.
For us night shifts
redresses redresses and shifts
the flood made of the maple wings
and the past day.


G. C. Waldrep

T he body as sculpture. (Pageant, labyrinth.)
Wrapped like Central Park or M arin
in Christo?s silk, wiving into a future
of minerals & taffeta, hypocausts & gorse.
We have computers to calculate the rocket?s
rate of descent, its pure metaphor.
Everything?s a ruin, you said, at least
in embryo, by which you meant possibility
as seduced or displaced by time.
We were not talking about the body
& our kitchen was a delirious semblance
of all our commensal desires.
We weren?t talking about burying
your father, my father, anyone really.
Predicate: the mask with its flesh
retinue, adrift over the fields
like so many mathematical kites.
O f course they?re burning, I say, turning
away from the window. What?
you counter. T he fields, or the kites?


Aerial archaeology, cropmarks & hut rings,
ditches, enclosures? we place
our fingers in the grooved photograph &
the mind says Almost, the mind says
It ispleasurable to know where men have been.
Sleeping in the grooves at night,
faint musk of earthnitre & defenses the mind
conceives, conjures, concedes to agriculture
& topography.
We sleep in the X -chromosome, the Y
keeps right on dreaming. Absent the body
it dreams another body, & another, man
into bull, bull into kestrel.
We are guests moving around inside a film
the dead are showing. Sure, you said.
I mistook you for a film, for a body in a film
I said, when I woke up. Sure, you said
again, standing in our beautiful kitchen, sipping coffee,
crowded in among the animals & glass.


Porter?s seat?s small theater
of foxglove & rust. I almost wrote ?trust,?
as in vowel, something even mortal
pain & grief believe in.
Along with the best gods, the other gods.
When they tell you
?Step into the light,? it is not automatically
a sign
you should step into
anything. Light. Language. Faith. H istory.
We study architecture
because we want to believe the material world
is more literate than this one,
the council estates with their tiny shops & cottages
& the great houses
slope-farmed into children preparing
for some future bewilderment, or something
more than future, involving glass & more styptic
chemicals. A rushing wind, renewable.


Dried husk of an abandoned station?
see, you can tell by the steps
leading up to what would have been
the platform, now vanished in a tangle of foxglove & some other flower I can?t name.
Language is no stop to the body.
Language is a choice, a bargain the body
enters into. In this not unlike sex.
Body chaining into body, generative, generational.
If we like the same things are we then
by that liking, that likeness.


A choice: the castle, the chapel,
or else the exploded gunpowder manufactory.
(It?s not much of a choice, you demur.)
It?s not that we wander about
looking for the pastoral. T he pastoral wanders
about looking for us. W ithout us
the pastoral is nothing: metamorphic occlusions,
?some generative organs of flowers & trees.?
T he sleeves of the cities suffer us.
T he plackets of the countryside, the little farms:
they suffer us, buried
under this incredible weight of nitrogen
& the vapors nitrogen dandles.
Certain software can reproduce these & other
patterns. Some of them we call joy.
And you say, I am affected
by the verticality of it. You say, I am
afraid of falling, & , Would you terribly mind
switching places?
N ow there are two of us.
As in the definition of that word, ?liberal.?
To give, vs. to be the recipient of a gift.
Which is the less terrible opponent
is not a question that makes sense, in the city.


T he moral imagination, you said.
It?s like some sort of kitchen gossip, isn?t it,
only nobody knows which kitchen she?s in.
Predicate, not to build but to have built.
So pretty, this little Latin
in its porcelain dressing gown.
Blink once for yes, blink twice for no.
Predicate, to have lasted long, or not so long;
to have lasted this long. Sustained
but in the legal sense, meaning
You are right, but only in this moment.
Small children ?make poison?
from the most colorful, most disgusting ingredients
they can lay their hands on
(overlay of Grimm or Disney as appropriate).
T hen they wonder what to do with it.
Part of the pageant takes place
in the labyrinth, yes. T he light is better there.


I said, one of my few natural virtues
is loyalty. ? M eaning you?re trustworthy,
you elaborated. Which caught me off guard:
H istory is an exercise in narrative,
in distinguishing between loyalty & trust.
What we liked best
about the gunpowder manufactory
was the enormous waterworks? dams, gates,
sluices? that survived, in part,
because they lay below the surface
of the explosion.
T here wee railings, to restrain the animals.
I thought, what soothing sounds
some of the animals are making
to some of the other animals. I think,
Predicate: to have made,
to have chosen the right sound.
What enormous meals they must have eaten,
you said, another way of looking
at the same problem. What you fear most
has already happened
& subject to gravity, like a wine glass
at a party. Because they were like us. Because
we could see their faces in the water.


It is not, or not only, a function
of H istory (Faith. Language. Light).
We step into the dark, cramped
shop where the Bangladeshi woman
sells stationery, & we find it charming
but we don?t say so, not there, not then.
What you considered a lie
I imagined as misplaced geography, an accident
of mapping or of maps. GI VE WAY vs. YI ELD.
H eartbeats wrapped in cloth, in milk.
H ow can we sell them
is what language is asking itself, &
isn?t the dystopia trying to utter something
beautiful & new,
bride material, honey-dusted?
Vestige, pronounced to rhyme with
Prestige, a brand of automobile nobody?s
thought to market yet
in this particular dialect, this alphabet.
When Q ueen Victoria visited the caves
they were said to have been hung in red velvet.
Predicate: to have hung, to have been hung,
to have visited, to have been visited.
To market, to pronounce, to have pronounced.
Perfect: per-fecto, to have been
completed, to have been made-through.
T here is no mention of this event in her diary.


A bridal texture, something suffering wears
when capitalism calls gender out
& says ?H ey, let?s go grab some dinner.?
You can record this in language or
you can ignore it without benefit
of language, without resorting to language.
Capitalism swaggers
outside of language in the shadow of
something like an enormous, gleaming motorcycle
we aren?t sufficiently afraid of. N ot yet.
T he body makes a living & we don?t
understand enough about particle physics
to come up with some alternative
preregistration algorithm for everyone
we?ve invited
so far. T he finches, the barberry bushes,
the silica, the honey locusts,
the geodes encrusted with amethyst are all
somehow outside the body?s plans,
its careful calculations.
Ventriloquy: at once hygienic & parturitive.
M yth closes one door & opens three others
without telling you anything
useful about what?s beyond the lintels.
You think you can see some lights moving
through one, but really you?re not sure.
You could stay here, the body suggests, sensibly.
But myth shakes one of its heavy heads.
Why does it always feel like gender was a house
you set fire to, in childhood perhaps,
only you don?t remember doing it, just some people
who told you the story later, claiming it was true?


I no longer know who I?m talking to,
I no longer know to whom I am talking.
T he greater horror: speech is, after all,
redundant, that is, mimetic.
I keep confusing the words
for ?money? & ?world? in various languages,
starting with German. Geld vs. welt.
T here must be a rib for this, the silence
keeps breathing in mankind?s
general direction. Take it out, take it out.
Your fortune, your lucky number,
Such a wealth of information,
we could have
made a gun from it, little fire-tongue
of intent vs. humiliation.
N o one has to ?believe? in light.
It comes, as they say, with the territory.


It is not about love. ? T hat might help,
though, you tell me.
I mean, if it were about love.
Correction: it has always been about love.
O r we were stones attracting other
stones. O ut there among the animals.
See, their beautiful faces.
H ow they crush & crumble in our hands.


Waves of sound, images
of explosions, ripe fruit & pornography
are streaming through our bodies
right now, at dizzying speeds. Surely something
in each cell registers these frequencies
& dies a little, soldiers
unable to parse the slick surfaces
of vein & rut, lip & teeth.
It?s not magic to say I love you
like Roman Catholicism loves the M onroe
Doctrine. It?s not even alchemy.
Because one thing does not become
another thing. Because nobody is interfering
with all the little hats music wears.
You want one of those little hats
for yourself, don?t you, the dystopia
whispers, wearing its ?silence? mask.
(See, there we are on television.)
It would be better, you said,
if we had a dog? any large dog? with us,
here in the castle. And we could pet it,
& sleep with it, & take it
for long walks,
when we wanted to. ? If we wanted to.


We eat the ripe cherries from the arbor
& they are ripe, but also
incredibly sour, so we talk about
what we could make with them
if we were far away, i.e. at home: pie, strudel.
In some versions the angel
placed at the eastern gate
bears a flaming sword. In some versions
not. O r she?s still there
but has lost the sword, pawned it, lent it out
in what she claims was an act of mercy.
In some versions it was all a trick
of geography, that is, of the light, of mapping.
A translation meant for the other animals.
But I slept so deeply that night,
you said. I mean, it was less rest than an idea
of rest: somebody else?s idea, a Platonic rest,
something I read about in a book.


First you make the tools
out of nothing. And from the tools,
you must make nothing. T hen, out of nothing,
you must remake the tools.
Somebody asks me
whether I keep a garden at home.
I lie & say I do. I have no idea why I?m lying.
I like any story with nasturtiums in it
is one way to put it, this truth about lying, this tool.
M aking a movie is another way to put it.
If you have enough light. If you can pay for it.
Little interruptions in the light
is how the plants see us.
M inuscule ghost-explosions, combustible.


T he city presents light as an interruption of light
which is why we go there.
And for the food, & for the cooing of pigeons
which reminds us what it would be like
to be wingèd after all, i.e. Icarus
was not the scared, ambitious boy we like to think
but rather some ancient concinnity,
a bit of skin caught in the projector, electric.
Season of mothers, season of tall ships
& of the seas that bear them.
Is it any wonder, you say, &
I don?t know what you mean but I
say Yes, meaning the sea is a superior fidelity.
It has a shape, it has a motion.
Predicate: to have possessed shape, suffered
motion. T he big gods & the little gods,
the ones we stroke, & sleep with, & take long walks
with. T he ones that lead us into
& then back out of the castle,
that little bit we can see from the castle
that is not in fact the castle.
We write this down, & suppose something
by it, place it above
the desk, the bed, the sideboard
with its diminutive constellations of glass.
We thank glass is another word for it
because glass is breakable & we can see through it.
I think, It is not that much like a movie,
after all. You say, It depends on which movie,
which curative herb we are talking about.
Digitalis. Abbreviate poison for the human heart.


M y tongue, an ignorance. Little orchard
of brute senses. Starlings
fly through it & no, they are not like
the mind, mind?s hand grasping & ungrasping, rather
an artist?s conception of graphite
as a gas, something that expands to fill
any available volume.
(Light. Language. Faith. H istory.)
H alf-dark the river, unchained from its mills,
how it pools & creels, pools & creels.
A scribble in a notebook from
what some dogs were doing, further along.
T he songmark of orioles,
papermill phantom-whisper by the car park.
N ow please read aloud from the strip of paper
you are still holding in your left hand.
Did I say strip of paper. I meant wedding garment.
T here are leaves that recall the shapes
of human hands, tropism of some dynastic
paradiso. Just the same
we shave them from the land,
suits of clothes we never bothered trying on.


A trick of oxygen, this snuffing of candles
with one?s bare fingertips.
We believe what the scientists tell us
about the members of our bodies, their elemental
faiths, & then we use them.
M axwell?s Demon, sorting hydrogen from
oxygen without benefit of clergy.
T he traditional arguments about sound
moving through matter, hammer, anvil, stirrup.
O bjects, things that can be seen
in their daily offices, tasted, touched, handled.
In a separate development,
a visiting Egyptian novelist explains
that the reason there are no good
Egyptian restaurants in N ew York City
is the peculiar Egyptian genius
for failing (or refusing) to self-promote.
It wasn?t as if anyone had lost anything,
any prophesied savior failed to show.
We were just trying it out, test-driving our notions
about mimesis & what it might mean.
It made pretty colors in the leaves
& we ate them, & then we called them snow.


Viral, this severance.
As if all the planes had returned safely
from the mission except one
& we were waiting for it,
half-angry & half-terrified & trying hard
to talk about something else.
Toadflax embroidering
a crown on the lip of an ancient well.
Is it art(ful) to see it this way.
T he poetry of money
is only one source of detailed revenue
language audits. We say it
& then it?s true, presto change-o.
We made such beautiful use of Latin
in place of the willow groves,
the high places. We were waiting, but
not with that look you keep giving me.
Because if we don?t, the crops will fail.
Because if we don?t, this time
the magician really will saw the girl in half.
War was a story
somebody was telling, & then
we were in it, I mean, we found words for it.
Abracadabra. Presto change-o.


H otels built especially for constellations.
T hat is what he said. & lived as if it were so.
Yes, he sometimes baked the wood
in a kitchen oven,
in his mother?s kitchen oven, so that
it would achieve a certain texture, so that
it would look or feel a certain way.
Breviary vs. aviary: who would win?
God-spiral of plot, makeshift genuflection.


O r: consider the exquisite geometry
of the calfskin glove.
You want it to stand outside H istory, but
somehow it keeps obtruding
into the story, a magic lantern
not meant for us. FI VE CEN T S, PLEASE.
We want to touch without touching.
St. Icarus, restore a semblance.
What passed from hand to machine, &
back to hand; there was no
duplicity. (Invisible hand, invisible glove.)
And we were there, & talking it over
with the future, which seemed sincerely
interested, asking only
about the orphans, those other ones,
what would we do with them, where would we
find the proper clothing.
Restore to semblance. A minor
emendation, as tangency for intersection.
When you kneel into the hoarfrost,
even accidentally, your knees come up
wet. Your body?s heat does this much
on its own. For a little while.
M ay I introduce you to my topological
anomaly, which I call house. &
we broke it, & out of it, & called that pain.


If invisible hand, then invisible glove.
If invisible gym, then invisible
weights, the body?s capacity
for leverage. T he cone of night spindling
inland, this far north of the equator.
It is always a little bit about dying.
T he buckles & stays. T he flight-pressed estuary.
T his is where gender comes in,
embroidered wedding tent set up
on the president?s lawn. Children use it
as their freedom, a video installation
without the capacity to offend
the ex-lover whose blithe envoi
we have now translated
into however many languages.
T his isn?t one of those languages, you said.
What is it then. A little bit of wind
in the projector?s mouth. Let yourself go
bankrupt, it?s easy, all you do
is pour your soul into as many
different bottles
as you can collect, & package what?s left over
as that mystery novel you?re always
threatening to write, & which you will never
otherwise complete, so that?s OK.
We can walk there, we can have a picnic.
Because film is already dead
when it comes to us, when we view the images
light produces, extruded through the corpse.


At the prom we had no time to test
whether all bodies fall at the same rate of speed,
so instead there was a lot of
drunkenness & dancing, & trying to figure out
which parked car was yours, vs.
somebody else?s. Various urban legends accrued.
We were aware of memory as it evolved
from experience, even before
it evolved from experience. Pentecostal, precogniscient.
T here are only eight conic sections, after all.
Something eroshas to deal with.
M y student wrote, A snake understands
a child bent low over his blocks
because a snake unhinges its jaw in order to eat.
I disagreed, so she took that
part out. Which ruined the poem.
I lay in the back, in the bed of a friend?s pickup
& watched the stars do their thing.
We did not assist in the investigation
of the theft. We did not assign pronouns.
We kept tripping over this enormous
sword one of us was carrying, as if it were on fire,
only nobody knew what fire was, yet.
T he bunnies in the courtyards fled from us
in the direction of mathematics
& illness, the two things we hadn?t yet sold.
We didn?t have questions about
what made them human, & heterosexual.
We were still looking for evidence of the flood.


Later, many monographs on Bonnard
& some stencils we kept dubbing.
A mannerist ecology, Lisa Robertson proclaimed,
& we believed her, in spite of
what the painters were declaring, namely
that realist figuration was somehow
coming back
& would be responsible for
cows & pigeons & bombs falling
& looking up into the mouth of an exorbitant
wheeling paradigm of native architecture
we remembered neither
demanding nor building with our bare hands.
And we want to keep it this way,
we all agreed, as a province
of gender, plangiform, ambiplexured.
T here is nothing so immediate
as the human wrist.
It keeps happening, as if it?s the history
not only of your body
but of all the other bodies your body
could be, or was, or could have been.
Predicate: all the bodies your body
could be, was, could have been.
?I heard.? ?I saw.? Domestic interior
of the universal, the sea your stoup, your iron rail.
As if in fidelity to subjectivity
some? if not election, then release.
It?s you & me & all this city, separated
by a bridge with some carved figureheads on it
& a body stashed inside.
? Guess which body, H istory murmurs.


T he flare of a match is produced
by the rapid oxidation of its chemical
outer coating, its pericarp
& we know we have to do something
quickly, communicate the process to some
other medium, some uninvited guest.
It is evening, approaching midnight.
T he monuments of the city
kneel before the traffic the city wakes,
or seems to wake, from the shorn pavements.
If something goes wrong? terribly
wrong? we send out images
of the terrible wrongness, little flashes
of we-don?t-know-what, not-really,
only how it behaves when we
express it as from a god?s jug of milk.
T he body as a museum for light.
It is not a book, it does not exist
in four dimensions the way a book does.
Time scars it in its cradling anger
& teaches us new textile protocols.
We bring candies to the patients
in the hospital, even though
they are too unwell to enjoy them.
T he debate over whether light
is a form of fire, or fire a form of light,
goes on & on
& bores H istory so much it resurrects
M idas, in the form of a small
planet we live on.
Watch us move so carefully.


In the museum, we encountered
a pair of human forms, anatomically correct,
sculpted entirely from telephone wire,
red yellow pink green & blue.
Slightly larger than life-size, which somehow
made us even more uncomfortable
but not uncomfortable in the way painting does
which makes us want to invoke
the Greeks, let the dog
back into the castle, into our beds.
T his time, the surprise
was that the medicine actually worked.
We were able to see the city from inside the city.
And not just because of the fires,
though we saw them too,
jute music boxes someone left open too long.
Part of the history of the body
is that we used to own it.
Together we formed small companies.
Together we consumed the fruits of others?labor.
As if something rode in on that, & we were
burdens, or beasts. Little shoe-shaped
absences where the bullets caught
some clothes we happened to be wearing.
H ow heavy these feel, you said. I said, Sure.


H ow to tell a remnant from a ruin,
for example. Built on absence
as residence, permitted by updraft & the kindness
of certain fungi, certain spores:
I release you, says the estuary.
I release you, says the moon, recombinant.
I mean, if you want them to. Tithe
& not-tithe, un-tithe
of strut from aperture. Your rosary?
I almost wrote bursary, suspended purse.
T he body only meets us halfway.
What you are saying is that painting
was simply not serious. Ever.
& that inside painting a little man sits,
& he keeps the mechanism going, & we watch
& we gasp in wonder
as if it were something almost alive.


It was spring, & my friend asked me
(& others) over to his farm for a work frolic.
H e wanted to tear down an old shed in his pasture.
It had been well-built, this shed. H e should have
put a new roof on it & left it
where it was. It took us the better part of the day
to clean it out & remove as much tin
& other metal from the exterior as we could.
Fine, he said. We?ll just set fire to the rest.
N ight was coming on. We doused the posts,
the beams & rafters in gasoline. M ost were pine
& there was still a lot of loose straw inside,
a wealth of fluent surfaces. (See: T IN DER .)
Growing up against the rear of the shed, so close
to the shed that nobody had ever much tried
to chop it down, was a wild cherry.
After the fire got going, somebody pointed out
that the tree was going to burn, too.
T hat was, my friend said, regrettable,
but unavoidable.
We went inside and sang hymns for a time,
then went back outside, after the sun had set
& the shed fire was at its zenith.
T he cherry tree, being alive? full of spring sap?
took some time to catch. When it did,
it burned like a torch, with an audible whoosh.
I?m showing you this film inside the film
the dead are showing, which is about gender,
I think, I mean from what I?ve seen so far.
T hat?s me, leaning against the pasture fence
at dusk, of course with my back to the camera.
T he branches, my friend said, suddenly,
pointing. ? T hey look like hair, don?t they.
T hey look like human hair that?s burning.

Jessica R ae Bergamino

Today there are ways to cure the body
before it is ever born, to unhinge it
from spectrums of quiet and being
crooked in the ways of love. A mother
is a river that her children bathe inside,
washed in vitamins and echo.
Even the saints are endangered, unstitched
from prayer while the rest of us long
to become part of recorded time.
Still, someone must forgive us women
gone retrograde while the stars, the planets,
the moon, and everything else aligns.


Changming Yuan

?yes, yes, with your
yellowish skin, you enjoy
meditating within the shape of
a wishbone, inside the broken wing
of an oriental bird strayed, or
in a larger sense, you look like
the surfacing tail of a pacific whale
who yells low, but whose voice reaches afar
far beyond a whole continent, to a remote village
near the yellow river, where you used to sunbathe
rice stems, reed leaves, cotton skeletons
with a fork made of a single horn-shaped twig
when i was a barefooted country boy
on the other side of this new world


You are really haunted by this letter
Yes, since it contains all the secrets of
Your selfhood: your name begins with it
You carry y-chromosome; you wear
Y-pants; both your skin and heart are
Yellowish; your best poem is titled
Y; you seldom seek the balance between
Yin and yang; you never want to be a
Yankee, but you yearn to remain as
Young as your poet son; in particular
You love the way it is pronounced, so
Youthfully, as a word rather than a letter to
Yell out the human reasons; above all
Your soul is a seed blown from afar, always
Y-shaped when breaking the earth


U sing my yellow tail
I yellow-swam
From the Yellow R iver
As a yeast of the yellow peril
Against the yellow alert
In yellow journalism
W ith a yellow hammer
And a yellow sheet
I yielded to the yellow metal
At a yellow spot
¼ million yards away from Yellowknife
People call me yellow jack
Some hailed me as a yellow dog
When I yelped on my yellow legs
To flee from the yellow flu
Speaking Yerkish* like a yellow warbler
I have composed many yellow pages
For a yeasty yellow book
To be published by the yellow press

* An artificial language developed for experimental communication between humansand chimpanzees.

M ark Tardi

from Attribution Error (2/3)
?T hat all violence is contained in the precision
of detail.?
- Paolo Giordano, T he Solitude of Prime Numbers

Between underlying probability and observed result
you did not tolerate the lesser choices,
each day a relentless emptying out, stray
rounds, a ceremony of devoted attention
going in every direction,
the study of viscosity and bead, fluted bones
not only liquid, cinder and soup, but roasted
a bullet too bland, impersonal
less integers than points on a continuum
made from your own belt


T here are no harmless motives, thinking
detached from all consequence,
it was guttered and channeled and sluices
like a gnarled moccasin or
some squat ungainly bird

the ligaments could have been flypaper revolving in slow spirals

Gone are quinsy, glanders, and farcy
menstrual blood prettied with rosewater


All prologue, backwash, and stray rounds
stumbling around inside the notion

T here was no need for whispering or mime,
naked pleas just a room away
you were clawing for encounters
three slices served on a piece of wax paper
or bony rump against which to measure desolation

as if no one knew how to decorate for death


full of pent up resentment, imagined slights,
a scalpel, scattered shovels
velvety brown with oxidation
bound to a different set of restrictions

Everyone looks like a potential victim or restless thief
depending on where you stand


Try squeezing a sponge under water
hide the habits and purchases, fit the key into the lock
in an earlier era it might have been called surgery
an accumulation of dates, maledictions
scratched into acceptance

like old frozen slices of fish on the side of the asphalt
like gelatin or dribbled shell
dental work shrugging against time
located amidst scars around the knee,
antecubital fossae, a splayed sartorius
indifferent to height

the marginal apartness promised nothing


T hat feeling special is the worst kind of cage
like poison or north or zero

You make a career of waiting, the other body
a silhouette at best, sigh-stuck
it asks for blank space
warps and ripples, sequenced protocols
the one who?d done the running and
the one who didn?t know why


It?s a posture difficult to unbend, a momentary blur
outside the window of a car
or ridge of eroded particles, future pastoral
misstepping the logical ear

the law of sample spaces
more or less clock-bearing, or clock-shaped
like listening through slotted lids
like a decomposing tongue


from Stratal Geometries

To make a study of smaller things.
T he dark waist of your silence.
T he stone vulnerability that meets in vaguer clusters, coiling
and turning. Sutured moonlight.
T hat marginal apartness promises nothing.
T hat it?s N ovember but frost is little more than an idea.
A napkin for your knees.




Too late for explanations.

At some unguessed hour. At any intensity.
As if to obliterate the very concept of clouds.
As if to seal away the predacious, the slow voice
of ruin, carved into a picture
frame you can never touch.
N o light inside the cars, no light

R umi
a collection of translationsfrom the Persian by Amin Banani & Anthony A. Lee

To be or not to be? well, I don?t care.
Forget them both! T here is no honor there.
If I?m not mad by now, then that?s madness.
M y heart is filled with joy, so I don?t care.



Holy Words
Last night, I saw him sit with others here.
I couldn?t take him in my arms for fear
of them. So, I brought my face to his? faked
some holy words to whisper in his ear.



I'm Nobody
M y cloak, my turban, and my head? all three:
Together they are not worth a penny.
H aven?t you heard my name, known ?round the world?
I?m nobody. N obody! N obody!



I lie with my lover a hundred days,
and still my heart cannot end its longing.
H ey! You may laugh at that. But you?re still
an intellectual. Wait till you go mad!



I have gone mad, and madmen never sleep.
A madman, what does he know about sleep?
You know: God doesn?t sleep. So, none of that!
You know: I?m mad with Love, so I can?t sleep.



If You're Not in Love
If you?re not in love, go spin wool instead.
Go on! Do anything you like. Instead,
in the kitchen, lick the cups of lovers?
since there?s no wine of love inside your head.



W illiam Dow

Last Walk (1993)
Steps slurred into steps
so that you no longer had to practice
losing yourself for cobblestones told you,
passages in the street, staircases gone soft,
made it clear.
Reminiscencesof the self are reminiscencesof
a place and how you found yourself
in it.
Yes, that was it, your whole body involved,
but not cries for help; this did not come
from your thoughts only.
When you taught yourself the art of straying
you could not lose the art
below the citybright
and everywhere you were
I saw you yesterday. A small italic cnext to you
held on, trembling; soon after
the last child your legs slowed,
became indecisive,
and your feet learned stubbornness.
A blink of your choice
small lights

seduced all feelingsaway.

T hen someone carried you downstairs.
Shoelaces scared you,
and then the inability to make a cup of coffee

because you couldn't hold a spoon,
stir the future in, stand up when someone else
came into the room.
It seemsthat you were able to will
only from a very small space,
or whatever waslisted on the manifest,
where only rainwater knowswhat to do.
Yes, that was it. A scent remaining of the water.
A woman you wanted to be commanding
a sharp, inquiring shadow,
not giving in to interferences.
N o longer the one with all feelings
taken from her legs, fingers
afire in the sunset,.
and feet more lifeless still.

N o longer
set in a decisive blow,
struck left-handed, face down,
for any tactic one tried to use.


What seemed great movements
you walked yourself backward

dwelling in small,

covering not chronological time
but momentary spaces, merging your life into settings
where you could be obscure to another.
mergingyour life into settings

Violent conclusionswere denied or mythologized:

unruined by Paris topographies.
For you knew, unwilling, how to get lost
between your last walk where the world
ended? Avenue Claude Bernard,
and the difficult birth of your third child.
Time became the medium of constraint,
repetition burned away from the third child you had
insisted on.

Reminiscences of the self are reminiscences of
a place and how you found yourself in it,
reverberant roundnesses of fruit, hardnesses,

shines you still feel on rue M oufftard.
Violent conclusions were denied or mythologized.
Disappointed you deposited emotions in the places
for intimations of future
passions and the failures

contained in them, what you called the sphere of
action or
no longer the bobbling figurine

Reminiscencesof the self are reminiscencesof
a place and how you found yourself in it,
reverberant roundnessesof fruit,
shinesyou still feel on rue Moufftard.

Disappointed you deposited emotionsin the places
for intimationsof future
passionsand the failures
contained in them, what you called the sphere of
action or

What seemed great movementsdwellingin small,
you walked yourself backward coveringnot chronological time
but momentary spaces, where you could be
obscure to another.
What you called action or


Saint Jeanne, rue Saint Marcel (1985)

Buckled tight in the same hysterias,
shuttered in the same sticks,
along the vitrail her girl arm up?
light without warmth, prayersnot prayers,
but conversationswith her three saints,

Michel, Catherine, Marguerite?
she will go with the rest.


M ore and more sensations scribbled on her body,
fire engraving an edible wrist,
and a face dark creeked in
(her prayersare out there workingfor her),
hardened by her favorite words? mort,
rebondissment, lâcheté
she wants to wield
a blade over the pews.



But be it known already,
her church is falling backwards
(a caution of stepsto the altar):
no more aplomb Burgundian threats,
no more absentia bodies, sighs over a stand
or a girl?s hand endorsing her letters,
"M ary,"
?Father,? "Jesus,"
N o, but the prophesized virgin
will strike everyone
if her story is not believed.


M eanwhile, here on rue Saint M arcel
is the cast-up look, a mute mold of water
unsettles her face
and suddenly like something unfastened,
washed up, three pigeons gather dabs of flesh,
instant pairs,
the paving stones covered with them,
as if pigeons could sweep the crowd away.



She tries on a suit of light
and then, her body moving, an unaltered gray,
not much but moving.
She has to say something
that makes a little sense, so help her God.


T he darkness outside has something
to do with it
when she cocks her prisoner's head to the sky?
yes, she has a mind of her own
down here.
(All spoiled? that they had made waste of her miracles.
And carryingon
like drunken crows.)



Flames littered on her back
move among her as she walks,
a bronze foot disclosed,
to reveal her sunned,
illuminated nakedness.
Burning swords below turn every way she turns.
She wants to hear something
that makes a little sense.


T he departing soldier is drenched in clouds,
orders of clouds, grey wet, weapon stirred,
so that standing in gazes,
she does what she must do,
lingers alone on a pedestal
revealed in the voices
she hears around her.


Clouds ease off. Green flesh, eyes, hair of green,
the longcommotion out of words,
so that even the Dominican, crucifix sprinting,
provoked by the scrolls of her testament,
cannot console her.


Larry R uth

Happy Hour
Line and shadow an eccentric conflict between
plot and something else, a bird in hand is worth
two null hypotheses striving to recall the present
imagination, allegory, all the new thinking
about loss gone west, creative misinterpretation
east, takes refuge behind an ironic curtain, shows
of solidarity, hilarity, feints of the unforgotten
barren or bereft, vowels, diphthongs dissolve,
improvised explosive pronouns equivocate,
expunge contingency, syllable and sentence,
its music made, the M öbius band disaggregates,
demurs meaning and multiverse, dissolves arc
and sphere, there and here, real against rhyme,
space and string, have one last dance, text
and time.


Two or T hree Stanzason Salvation
O n that day with nothing else I go
to the shore out to the dunes at Limantour
run full tilt to the end where the tide sneaks
behind riffs of sand, surf, and harbor seals,
recalling our late night peregrinations
Berkeley to Point Reyes, exuberant youth
unrestrained and errant, crawling through
N ikki?s window at two to invite her to dinner
at Sam Wo's
Edsel Ford Wong scowls
sends us up to the third floor follows
with tomato soup hot and sour, now I think
he loved us showing up when the place
was quiet about to close and he was grinning
inside as he prodded us up the flight of stairs.
T he end of an ebb tide, muddy hollow, gulls
along way off, egrets vivid against the estero
beneath brown hills and sky along the sand,
blue jellyfish, kelp and harbor seals, curious
about what brought me here to surrender,
water flowing toward us from all directions
until the seals finally forsake this place
and so do I, hating to leave, memory and place
entwined, I had to go, but on the trip home
I searched for the place we once looked for
coffee when another late night expedition
to the beach we were too tired to drive home.
T he man at the counter said
we were too young for Irish coffee.
N ow we?re traveling on a chair lift, looking out
over near vertical faces, still snow covered,
still snowing this spring day, I sit beside him.
T hat other other day he?d called, told me his
cancer was too long advanced, and now that
conversation recedes, and instead we speak
about nothing in particular and everything

and Jared and H arriet, snow, playing with oranges,
and yes, the golf course is causing more problems,
ruining vernal wetlands, the landscape disappears
as we reach the top, how many times is that today?
N o matter, each time the trip repeats, it?s different.
?Let?s go
out of the chair
remember- bend
at the knees Stay
on top
of your skis!?


R ainer M aria R ilke

T he Square
translated from the German by Len Krisak

Long since capriciously distended by
the rage and almost riot that can be
the complement to those condemned to die;
by booths; and by the market-crier?s plea;
and by the Duke who rides through, mounted high;
and by the pride of Burgundy
(the constant ground to all they see):
the square stands ready, as its breadth invites
the distant windows to its open spaces,
while escorts and attendants at the rites
of emptiness still slowly take their places
where merchants trade. From gables way up high,
the little houses try to see it all,
ignoring, though, the towers, which are not shy,
and loom behind, as brooding as they?re tall.


Der Platz


W illkürlich von Gewesnem ausgeweitet:
von Wut und Aufruhr, von dem Kunterbunt
das die Verurteilten zu Tod begleitet,
von Buden, von der Jahrmarktsrufer M und,
und von dem H erzog der vorüberreitet
und von dem H ochmut von Burgund,
(auf allen Seiten H intergrund):
ladet der Platz zum Einzug seiner Weite
die fernen Fenster unaufhörlich ein,
während sich das Gefolge und Geleite
der Leere langsam an den H andelsreihn
verteilt und ordnet. In die Giebel steigend,
wollen die kleinen H äuser alles sehn,
die Türme vor einander scheu verschweigend,
die immer maßlos hinter ihnen stehn.


Sappho to Eranna
I want you filled with agitation;
Shaken like a vine-choked stave.
Like death, I crave your penetration.
I want to pass you, like the grave,
W ith all these things, to all creation.


Sappho an Eranna
U nruh will ich über dich bringen,
schwingen will ich dich, umrankter Stab.
W ie das Sterben will ich dich durchdringen
und dich weitergeben wie das Grab
an das Alles: allen diesen Dingen.


Giuseppe Ungaretti

translated from the Italian by Len Krisak

Weighed down with weary secrets, bare arms swimming bent
T heir churning strokes. T he stirred-up depths of Lethe swirled,
And slowly freed those graces that were vehement,
And loosed that weariness, so light might be the world.
Oh, nothing lies more silent than that eerie lane
Where leaves won?t bud, or fall, or pile in winter?s keeping;
Where nothing ever pleases us or gives us pain;
Where there was never waking after never sleeping.
Back then, each thing was salient in transparency,
Back in that trusting hour when? the stillness failing
And re-extending, from the buried trees set free,
All destinations to their measurement?s re-scaling
(Goals branching off in rainbow echoes)? love, surprised,
Leapt from the riverbed in which it had been caught,
T hen turned the darkness rose, and in that hue, devised
N ew life for more than all: a sleep; an arc, stretched taut.
T he prey of endless ghostly shoots named in the will
O f endless minutes, propagated out of walls,
T hat primal image more and more excludes us as it thralls.
T he truer the obsession that she is, she flies;
T he lovelier, the more she touches naked calm.
T he seed? the merest thought? of rage, she shakes, and vies
Against the void. In her brief body wrapped in balm,
She fortune-tells the streams and re-erects the palm.
And she reveals her artful fingers when she sighs.
She makes the minutes ready with a savage blade.
She ravages, imprisoning with an unclear blade.
She devastates the spirit with a stone-deaf blade.
But I will never look away. I swear to this,

N ude, le braccia di segreti sazie,
A nuoto hanno del Lete svolto il fondo,
Adagio sciolto le veementi grazie
E le stanchezze onde luce fu il mondo.
N ulla è muto più della strana strada
Dove foglia non nasce o cade o sverna,
Dove nessuna cosa pena o aggrada,
Dove la veglia mai, mai il sonno alterna.
Tutto si sporse poi, entro trasparenze,
N ell'ora credula, quando, la quiete
Stanca, da dissepolte arborescenze
R iestesasi misura delle mete,
Estenuandosi in iridi echi, amore
Dall'aereo greto trasalì sorpreso
Roseo facendo il buio e, in quel colore,
Più d'ogni vita un arco, il sonno, teso.
Preda dell'impalpabile propagine
Di muri, eterni dei minuti eredi,
Sempre ci esclude più, la prima immagine
M a, a lampi, rompe il gelo e riconquide.
Più sfugga vera, l'ossessiva mira,
E sia bella, più tocca a nudo calma
E, germe, appena schietta idea, d'ira,
R ifreme, avversa al nulla, in breve salma.
R ivi indovina, suscita la palma:
Dita dedale svela, se sospira.
Prepari gli attimi con cruda lama,
Devasti, carceri, con vaga lama,
Desoli gli animi con sorda lama,
N on distrarrò da lei mai l'occhio fisso
Sebbene, orribile da spoglio abisso,
N on si conosca forma che da dama.

T hough monsters scale the barren, terrible abyss.
N o form that?s set apart from fame is known or made.
And if, the fire for adventure burning yet,
And minutes turning to desire that were dread,
I?ve crossed the fleeing walls of Ithaca and met
At last the final metamorphosis of dawn,
I'll know? by then I?ll know? that human history?s thread
H as spun down to the hour it will break upon.
Oh, there was nothing newer than that road, it seemed,
Where space had never been debased by light that beamed,
O r by the darkness either, or by other time.


E se, tuttora fuoco d'avventura,
Tornati gli attimi da angoscia a brama,
D'Itaca varco le fuggenti mura,
So, ultima metamorfosi all'aurora,
O ramai so che il filo della trama
U mana, pare rompersi in quell'ora.
N ulla più nuovo parve della strada
Dove lo spazio mai non si degrada
Per la luce o per tenebra, o altro tempo.


Aaron Shurin

T he Exchange
Is it a turtleneck? N o, it?s the calendar. Is it smeared lipstick? N o it?s his pucker
of shame. Are they wilted dahlias? N o they?re his stoner eyes? An exchange
of value, a tranny shift, a cache of noms de plume or guerre or charactère?
Are they vestiges of youth? Yes, they are scavenged buds, stoner rhymes. What
are the implements? T he quills of night. What is their natural habitat? T he
vellum of sleep. Are you sleeping? Yes I am working? A cognate pool, a feast
of semblance, a gift of seeming? Is it a clean slate? N o it?s crammed with
erasure. Are you scribbling? N o I am being scribbled. What is your nom de
plume or guerre or charactère? Silvered Tempest or Cauldron Sheen or By the
Light of the Full M oo. Who named you that? Fate, Chance, and ?She did? ?
Can I go now? You?re already there. Stoner paradox? N o: street trees in full
bloom late summer, gleaming as though wet; cool sun inside a sleeve of ocean
air; branches swish in the breeze, lift? a high visible hush? the light light?
yes/no, no/yes? I am given to write?


T he Part Unseen
Is this the something else, the part unseen, the antidote of clouds, the sculptural
path revealed, the winding staircase tucked behind a maple door? ? Is there a
person crouching in the foreground, among the rocks and reeds, or jumping in
the background ? up into the pogo sky with arms akimbo or folded like a
chair, daring the bourgeois clouds or of them? I think he can?t decide whether
to fly or die? T he toreador pants grip his shins ? or are those plum trees
athwart the Plain of Jars? ? Is this his lonesome cataract, the last bushwhack,
the foxed and spotted contract, the raison d?être welling up, the parallax? ? I
think he isn?t really there, couldn?t see the door, didn?t need to cure himself of
clouds? Is this an alphabet of blood, or disappearing ink? I saw the river
peacock-blue mirror from the slowing train in the blue dusk. I think there was
a seagull streaking at the bend. It may have been a person in a boat, hauling up
his oar to float the curve?


Lawrence Eby

from Flight of August
M eander the bucket over, pour
the fire out, our
smokeless need to stealth
in desert, our smokefilled bodies. T he body is,
it is asking, a pass between
the bushes, a hideaway
in an attic. What happens when
you become a refugee
to the earth itself? T hese
bundled things walking
for friction, there?s a destination
over the next mountain
pass. Freeways kneel
and hold their arms out for
collapse for collapse.


Clock shop smashed in the riot
the riot. Two burning
cars in the street, melted
dash, the pedals pinned
to the floor. T here?s no gas
left in


locked shut
water running down
the drain
the aisles
emptied of their goods.
A stag in the street
in the crosshairs.


When thinking of flight, the body emerges a wing. Its feathers transparent
against the blue-gray, those subtle tones
roof tones
wall tones
a checkered floor with a layer of dust, a hand-trail cleared black and
white squares with a corner tugged up. T he underneath on the cusp
of bloom. H ow many people have traveled through this kitchen? T he thin
cabinet doors open, bare shelves. O n the counter, the telephone is off the
hook. U npaid bills, a calendar marked
in X ?s. A stencil of a wasp on the kitchen table is bedded with dust. T he
desperate animal abandons its nest, flees gliding to the tundra?s deep burn.


Laura M ullen

Eye Exam
Letter by letter the lines appear:
T here was this sense of trustWorthy vision, then...not so much.
I tried to speak of the difference:
Smear or blur or uneasy overlap,
M ore or less out of alignment.
T here will be this weakening?
What other word, some other word,
O f the grasp, the apprehension.
M aybe a ?T ? maybe a ?Y, or?
I tried to show how the shadows...
T here will be this loosening?
Put it like that if you wish. Letters
Like specks of darkness washed
In a long box of brilliant light.
T hat last one, a ?Q ? or ?O ? perhaps?
Slowly all the ways I learned to try
To resist the recognition of what
We call feelings come to seem
U seless (?useless?)? at best.
T here will be this...what? ?But
I?m guessing,? I said, something
Close to terror in my voice.
I wanted to talk about how
I?d begun to notice faces
Wouldn?t quite completely
Resolve: not that there was
An actual double, but I wasn?t
Sure which of the too many eyes
To try, moment by moment,
M eeting. Blink if you need to.
I don?t know what to do, I wanted
To say, now I see that what
I?d thought of as the world
Is ?information?? more or less
Clear? better or worse. Try it
Again: Better? O r worse?

Close Your Eyes. Now, from Memory...
T here are invisible dots all around the apparent
I said I said I could connect b
But that milk white milky way was all stars in fact
I write down what you are saying word for
As you go on saying there is a blur here
Past the bits of given speeches I attach
To enlarged darker areas the conversation
Swiss-cheese-like rats rats
H aving perhaps already been at
T here are dots or there are holes
I write to linger in connection

or escape

Either way opaque b
Black escape hatches o
O pen lidless across this
M emory m
M y eyes are close
I write down what you are saying I forget I make a mess a black splotch
enlarging a spill of inky what there is is a smear or ear here where there would
open word obscured a light as size indicates size and looks
a lot more like

appearsto establish

I stopped the rocketship to take a snap shot
O ut of range of the sound of your voice
A polka-dotted dog dropped by
So close its name was all


I could


T he mouths of holes or pipes or ?very deep pockets? these openings each
W ith its energy signature
in relationship
T hose dark marks are hints we?re taught to take diminishing the choice of one
who assiduously follows foregone lines to find out what already exists
constellation of the dog in place all right a child?s face look who found what he
or she was told to seek looped


H idden images no sooner
Found than forgotten with
T he eyes they never were
Intended for (lean over this
M y obedience) Someone
Imagined someone seeing from


Far off down a long corridor
Transparent or else
Some alien craft
Disconnects closed
Eyes recalled as counted on


Away w
With thisn
Negative space
T hose numbered stops at last let loose use another sense to sketch a quicker
U nexpected curious
Connections stretch past the space
Stations to several now I see them
N ot where you said they were

vanishing points

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
a collection of free translationsfrom the German of West-oestlicher Divan (1819/1827 2nd ed.)
by Samuel Garrett Z eitlin

Freed T hought
Let me accept myself only in my saddle!
Stay in your huts, your tents!
And I ride joyous all from afar,
Above my cap only the stars.
H e legislated to you the constellations
As conductors to land and lake;
T herewith on them you delight,
Steady, glancing in the H eights.


Laßt mich nur auf meinem Sattel gelten!
Bleibt in euren H ütten, euren Z elten!
U nd ich reite froh in alle Ferne,
Ü ber meiner M ütze nur die Sterne.
Er hat euch die Gestirne gesetzt
Als Leiter zu Land und See;
Damit ihr euch daran ergötzt,
Stets blickend in die H öh.


Songand Creation
Likes the Greek his clay
To shake to form
T he hands befitting son
To heighten his delight;
But it is winsome to us
In the Euphrates to grasp
And in the flowing element
Back and forth to roam.
Blotted I thus the soul brand
Song it becomes resounding;
Created of the Poet's pure hand
Water itself to clench.


Lied und Gebilde
M ag der Grieche seinen Ton
Z u Gestalten drücken,
An der eignen H ände Sohn
Steigern sein Entzücken.
Aber uns ist wonnereich,
In den Euphrat greifen
U nd im flüss'gen Element
H in und wieder schweifen.
Löscht ich so der Seele Brand,
Lied, es wird erschallen:
Schöpft des Dichters reine H and,
Wasser wird sich ballen.


O ut of how many elements
Should a song of the outlaw be nursed?
Such that Laymen feel it with pleasure,
M aster it listening with friends.
Love set before all T hings
O ur T heme, when we sing;
Could she be penetrated through the Song,
T he fuller around, the better becoming to Sound.
T hen must sound the tones of glass,
And glisten the ruby of the wines:
T hen for the loving, then for the drinker
W inks one the loveliest of wreaths.
T he sound of arms is also called out,
T hat also the drums blare;
T hat, if Fortune to flames flares,
H erself to idolize in the Victory of the H ero.
T hen to the last, it's all unruly,
T hat the poet is hated of the many,
Which uncomely is and ugly
N ot as Beautiful life allows.
K nows the Singer these Four
Primeval M ights to mix,
Like to H afis he becomes the People
Eternally to rejoice and to refresh.


Aus wie vielen Elementen
Soll ein echtes Lied sich nähren,
Daß es Laien gern empfinden,
M eister es mit Freuden hören?
Liebe sei vor allen Dingen
U nser T hema, wenn wir singen;
K ann sie gar das Lied durchdringen,
W ird's um desto besser klingen.
Dann muß K lang der Gläser tönen
U nd R ubin des Weins erglänzen:
Denn für Liebende, für Trinker
W inkt man mit den schönsten Kränzen.
Waffenklang wird auch gefodert,
Daß auch die Drommete schmettre;
Daß, wenn Glück zu Flammen lodert,
Sich im Sieg der H eld vergöttre.
Dann zuletzt ist unerläßlich,
Daß der Dichter manches hasse;
Was unleidlich ist und häßlich,
N icht wie Schönes leben lasse.
Weiß der Sänger, dieser viere
U rgewalt'gen Stoff zu mischen,
H afis gleich wird er die Völker
Ewig freuen und erfrischen.


Else Lasker-Schüler
a collection of translationsfrom the German by Samuel Garrett Z eitlin

My blue piano

I have at home a blue piano
And yet I know no notes.
It stands in the darkness of the cellar door
Ever since the world went raw.
It was played by four starry-hands
? T he woman-in-the-moon sang in the sails?
N ow the rats dance in the hammers.
T he keyboard is broken? ..
I bewhine the blue dead.
Ah, dear angel, open to me
? I ate from the bitter bread?
To me yet living, the door to heaven?
Also against the ban.


Mein BlauesKlavier
from M ein blaues K lavier: N eue Gedichte (M y
Blue Piano: N ew Poems, 1943)

Ich habe zu H ause ein blaues K lavier
U nd kenne doch keine N ote.
Es steht im Dunkel der Kellertür,
Seitdem die Welt verrohte.
Es spielten Sternenhände vier
? Die M ondfrau sang im Boote?
N un tanzen die R atten im Geklirr.
Z erbrochen ist die K laviatür.....
Ich beweine die blaue Tote.
Ach liebe Engel öffnet mir
? Ich aß vom bitteren Brote?
M ir lebend schon die H immelstür?
Auch wider dem Verbote.



I have in a star-blazing night
Brought the man next to me to the end of his life.
And as his shrieking blood ran against the dawn,
H is Fate glanced darkly upon me.


from Styx (1902)

H ab?in einer sternlodernden N acht
Den M ann neben mir um?s Leben gebracht.
U nd als sein girrendes Blut gen M orgen rann,
Blickte mich düster sein Schicksal an.



O, I loved him endless!
Lay before hisknees
And sued to Eros
My desire.
O, I loved him boundless.
Asone summer?snight
Sank my head
Blood-black upon hiscrotch
And my armsblazed about him.
Never did my blood so fan to the fire,
Set my life in hishands,
And he raised me out of heavy dusk-pain.
And all sunssangjubilant songs
And my limbs
were like
Liliesgone awry.


from Styx (1902)

O, ich liebte ihn endlos!
Lagvir seinen Knie?n
Und klagte Eros
Meine Sehnsucht.
O, ich liebte ihn fassungslos.
Wie eine Sommernacht
Sank mein Kopf
Blutschwarz auf seinen Schoß
Und meine Arme umloderten ihn.
Nie schürte sich so mein Blut zu Bränden,
Gab mein Leben hin seinen Händen,
Und er hob mich ausschwerem Dämmerweh.
Und alle Sonnen sangen Feuerlideder
Und meine Glieder
Irrgewordenen Lilien.


To my unforgettable male and female friendsin the citiesof Germany? and to those who, like me,
were driven out and are now spread out in the world, In Solidarity!

To My Friends

N ot the dead rest?
After a still night I?m already rested out.
Oh, I exhale sleep,
T he moon still swaying
Between my lips.
N ot the sleep of death?
Already in dialogue with you
H eavenly concert? ?
And intone new life
In my heart.
N ot the surviving of the marches black!
Treaded slumbers splinter the morning.
Behind clouds veiled stars
O ver midday cached?
T hus ever and again find us new.
In my parents?house now
T he angel Gabriel dwells.....
I desire deeply there with you
Blessed rest to celebrate in a fest?
Love mixes itself with our Word.


Meinen unvergeßlichen Freunden und Freundinnen in den Städten Deutschlands? und denen, die
wie ich vertrieben und nun zerstreut in der Welt, In Treue!

An Meine Freunde
from M ein blaues K lavier: N eue Gedichte (M y
Blue Piano: N ew Poems, 1943)

N icht die tote R uhe?
Bin nach einer stillen N acht schon ausgeruht.
Oh, ich atme Geschlafenes aus,
Den M ond noch wiegend
Zwischen meinen Lippen.
N icht den Todesschlaf?
Schon im Gespräch mit euch
H immlisch Konzert......
U nd neu Leben anstimmt
In meinem H erzen.
N icht der Ü berlebenden schwarzer Schritt!
Z ertretene Schlummer zersplittern den M orgen.
H inter Wolken verschleierte Sterne
Ü ber M ittag versteckt?
So immer wieder neu uns finden.
In meinem Elternhaus nun
Wohnt der Engel Gabriel.....
Ich möchte innig dort mit euch
Selige R uhe in einem Fest feiern?
Sich die Liebe mischt mit unserem Wort.


O ut of manifold farewell
Ascend nestled in one another the threads of golden ash,
And not a day remains unsweetened
Between the wistful kiss
And reunion!
N ot the dead rest?
T hus I love to be in the vastness? ..!
U pon earth with you in heaven already.
In all colors to paint upon the blue ground
Eternal life.


Aus mannigfaltigem Abschied
Steigen aneinandergeschmiegt die goldenen Staubfäden,
U nd nicht ein Tag ungesüsst bleibt
Zwischen wehmütigem Kuss
U nd W iedersehen!
N icht die tote R uhe?
So ich liebe im O dem sein.....!
Auf Erden mit euch im H immel schon.
Allfarbig malen auf blauem Grund
Das ewige Leben.


We three

O ur souls hung on the morning dreams
Like cherry-hearts,
Like laughing blood on the trees.
Children were our souls,
As they played with life,
As the fables tell.
And of white azaleas
Sang the late summer sky
O ver us in the wafting of the south wind.
And one kiss and one faith
O ur souls were one,
Like three doves.


Wir drei
from Der siebente Tag (T he Seventh Day, 1905)

U nsere Seelen hingen an den M orgenträumen
W ie die H erzkirschen,
W ie lachendes Blut an den Bäumen.
K inder waren unsere Seelen,
Als sie mit den Leben spielten,
W ie die M ärchen sich erzählen.
U nd von weißen Azaleen
Sangen die Spätsommerhimmel
Ü ber uns im Südwindwehen.
U nd ein Kuß und ein Glauben
Waren unsere Seelen eins,
W ie drei Tauben.


So longisit since.....

I dream so distant from this earth
As if I were dead
And were embodied no more.
In the marble of your gestures
M y life remembers itself nearer.
Yet I know the ways no more.
N ow the glittering globe wraps
M e heavily in the diamond-dress.
I but grasp in the emptiness.


So lange ist esher.....
from M ein blaues K lavier: N eue Gedichte (M y
Blue Piano: N ew Poems, 1943)

Ich träume so fern dieser Erde
Als ob ich gestorben wär
U nd nicht mehr verkörpert werde.
Im M armor deiner Gebärde
Erinert mein Leben sich näher.
Doch ich weiss die Wege nicht mehr.
N un hüllt die glizternde Sphäre
Im Demantkleid mich schwer.
Ich aber greife ins Leere.


H enry Wei Leung

Still Life at Terezin
the ?model? concentration camp

H ere the birds thrive. Swallow droppings
stain each threshold like welcome mats
of old eggs. Twigs, mud, spit
scribble the walls. O ne swallow
rises daily on the same perch
to sing its breast?s cry.
A square cut out of a brick room
looks far out across the moat
into another window. T hrough this,
distantly, a door opens inward,
and beyond, a tree has dropped two pears.
O ne slit open when it hit the ground.
A fist of bees has been pulling free
the pear?s green flap, its uneven wing.
T he queen lies dead beside.
Where, where else to go?
W ithin the tunnel walls, footfalls sound
like pebbles being chewed eternally.
Dead ends could be dark turns.
In some corners, skylights cast down
dim circles. But to stand in a beam of light
is not to know light? one knows moss,
veins of dirt, and more droppings.


O ver the R iver O rze, the smokestack
disguised as a glass factory
towers still, over shaking aspens.
T he twenty-two thousand were emptied into this water.
N ow, fish plop out so often
the dust won?t settle.
And here, a golf course has been built.
M en pull their bags around the bends.
T he bags are black? as large as bodies.


John Olivares Espinoza

T he Sound and Sgt. Fury; Or, T he
Onomatopoeia of Combat
O boof of cannon fire & the ba-doom
that follows. O whoop from an R PG.
O whup whup whup of the Black H awk
blades bending the raw light of dawn
like straw. O thok from a rifle butt
cracking the back of a skull.
O thump of the enemy?s body
collapsing over a stack of sandbags.
O brraapp brraap O budda budda budda
O tatta bratta O M -16?s classic
ra-tat-tat-tat. O officer?s pistol
and its krak krak krak and the blamm
of a sidearm shooting a man point blank.
O pthoosh pthoosh, O tzing, clang, and fwamm.
O vip vip vip.
O Sergeant Fury,
who drags a man?s upper half
out from a blast crater by his rucksack.
Do his Commandos howl for victory
or air evac? Fury can?t tell
through all the buddabud pow pow.


ComingSoon To A T heater Near You
EXT. Beverly Hills, East LosAngeles

? H ello my name is Rosa. I am very happy
to meet you. ? You speak English. T hat?s wonderful!
? Just a little. I am learning. ? Can you read the settings
on a washer?
? H ow?s hisEnglish? ? M y name is Enrique.
Would you like to see the menu? M ore wine? ? Pretty good.
Let?s face it: you don?t have to be N eil Simon to help the head waiter.
? R icky! I?m moving you up. M ás horas. M ás dinero.
? Are you feeling well, Rosa?? I?m just feeling
a little tired. ? Where is Enrique today? ? I don?t know.
H e didn?t come home today. I think he had to work late.
(?Would you like to see the menu? M ore wine?)
? She says she can get you a green card if you work for her
one or two years, Enrique. ? I can be legal? But I cannot leave
my sister, Rosa. ? I?m talking about survival, ?mano.
(¡La migra! ¡Córrele!)
? I want to take the job from that lady. I want to fly to Chicago.
I got to have the work. I do a better job than anyone else.
I can be ready tonight. You won?t be sorry.
I want to be legal.
? Rosa, do you like working in the big city?
? It is usually very smoggy.


Leonard J. Cirino

A Parallel Universe
after María Negroni

Even if it's prison we love the places we leave behind. M emory
moves forward and back, bewilders us. O ne smell gathers like
a barnyard or crushed straw, another leads to sores on our
cheeks, even boils on our backs. We treat them secretly, as if
hours had passed in their making. In truth, it was an entire
century of terror. Back then it all seemed normal. O ne could
stand on a street-corner and whistle at girls, go to the movies
and watch horror shows, even a day at the park seemed like
casual fun. What happened? All the films got spliced and
slashed, long shots became portraits. Even the match that
Lawrence struck ignited so much fear we couldn't look. In the
still, black and white newspaper photos, the stubborn eyes of
an actor hailed ensuing genocide. People applauded and
wanted to be like him. Far away, on an island named after a
holiday, the tribal chief laid his head on a stone and slept. It
was his downfall. N o more weekdays gathering coconuts, no
more beautiful women.
N o, the world had encroached on space and his space.
Everything became as small as a seed. T he seed was buried for
several generations. T hen it sprouted and came back to haunt
us like a dead sibling. Destroyed towns were mired in dry
riverbeds, there was no protection against evil, the wind
became a prison. O ur senses left us as beauty darkened at
dawn, the moon betrayed us at noon, and the heat and storms
became insurmountable.


Brendan Ian Cohn-Sheehy

To J
Is music is jazz
to jabber to jive
babbling in five
take five take ten beats
and it?s half a phrase
from the chorus, Dave
Brubeck springlike comps
to twenty repeats
ready to jump the
sax breathes into the
Jass, the first sound of
dripping juice, peaches
sweating with salty
palms poplar shades blue
as contorted mouths
stretch sundried, fly
flocking to strange fruit.
Don?t worry, blessèd
Billie, child. Someday
Ray will singGeorgia.
Stride along Scott
Joplin. Ten fingers


pass with Tatum?s tact.
Art is blind tripping
over keys over
black over white keys
faceless keys springing
through uncharted space.
Solitary Art.
M onk,
T helonious, blue monk
threw new hue R uby
from flailing fingers
at blue note
bursting into bebop. M onk backs
Bird and Dizzy, Bloomdido
Diz begets M iles gives birth
to a kind-of blue
baby, to
To talk about you,
to stop a blue train, John
Coltrane, to take
giant steps, to reach
the record?s hub
to overblown
O m John O m Jesus
to reach
July ?67
your liver

is to John Taggart
is to giant steps
is to slow tempo
is to subdivide
is intonation
is sonic contour
is heard as giant
stepsis spoken once
and then too is sung:
sea of soundwaves speaks
Ti Jean?s native tongue
toms low Big Sur rock
beds, symbol crash
San Francisco Jack?s
back, Doctor Sax! see
sunrise shapes, J?s crash
Seamus hears two Js,
eluctible modality
ship jolts Patrick John
Sheehy, John Patrick
left father left church
for jazz, for M arie
marrying R uth, Jack
Cohn returns from war
to N ew York Jazz, to
join John, two J?s enjoined

to grandfather
to grandfatherless
unjust position
of Jacob, identi
-fication; just
a jarred skull width
to jazz guitar, to play to
electric Jacob
to J
to appreciate the
counting to the
tenth letter
to O ctober born nine past January
to return to the hooked
tenor sax bend
returned to jump to join
Johns Jacks James Jacobs
to jump sax, to jazz


Andrew R idker

I Only Lend Out What I Don't Like
I am shrinking
but my garden isn?t. It?s shameful
really, the spillage of stems.
Children run through,
poking their angry night-fingers,
making relentless fun.
T heir skin is fine
but I wish they?d watch
where they?re going.
I entertained a novelist once
who I?m not at liberty to mention.
I served him my own lettuce.
It?s nothing to fuss over
but he loved it. H is book is somewhere
in the house. It?s still here.
T hey come and go.
I remember putting my nephew
on the table, next to a ceramic bowl
I call R ichard. I lost track of time
at the market (I stopped at the church
where they sell statuary.)
I?ve done a lot of browsing.
When I got home, he was gone.
M y nephew, not R ichard.
R ichard is a bowl.
M y life is lined with brass.
I have wheels, birdhouses,


water pumps, placed strategically
about the overgrowth.
I leave out vegetables
for the men who have begun
to make measurements
and appraisals.
T hey could stand to be gentler,
things are fragile.
I have accumulated myself.
Years ago I bought two wooden
roosters, who pretend to roast
themselves over photographs of fire.
I?m practically green with jealousy.
When it comes time, I?ll melt myself
down into a mold.
T hen they?ll sweep through
the house and find nothing
except the garden, which is teeming.
T hat?s their problem.
Some days I take up sweating.
Who will pull me from the oven,
put me on the mantle? M y nephew
lives on the west coast and R ichard
is a bowl. People are hard to trust.


Gerald N icosia

T he GreeksWho Stole Kerouac
a special nonfiction feature

O n July 24, 2009, Judge George Greer, known as ?the toughest judge
in Florida,? ruled the unthinkable? at least unthinkable for the Sampas/
Viking Penguin literary empire? that the will of Gabrielle Kerouac, giving the
Sampas family the right to exploit Jack Kerouac?s works, image, belongings,
and even his gravesite, was a forgery. Greer couldn?t have been more forceful
in what he said about that crime.
?She [Gabrielle Kerouac] could only move her hand and scribble her
name,? Greer wrote in his landmark ruling.1 ?She would have lacked the
coordination to affix that signature. T he [probate] court is required by law to
use a clear and convincing standard in determining these matters. H owever,
even if the criminal standard of beyond all reasonable doubt was the
requirement, the result would certainly be the same. Clearly, Gabrielle
Kerouac was physically unable to sign the document dated February 13, 1973
and, more importantly, that which appears on the W ill dated that date is not
her signature.?
M any people like myself, who were familiar with the dynamics of Jack
Kerouac?s last years had long suspected that something was wrong about that
will? even if we weren?t sure it was a case of forgery.2 I used to think that
there was undue influence? perhaps the old lady was just ?out of it? when the
will was signed. But it was a well-known fact that Gabrielle Kerouac loved her
grandson, Paul Blake, Jr. T he Blakes and the Kerouacs lived together for long
stretches of time? on Long Island; in Rocky M ount, N orth Carolina; in
O rlando, among other places. Gabrielle taught her grandson Paul to sing
French songs and she cooked French treats for him. Gabrielle was absolutely
devastated by the early death of her daughter Ti N in, Paul?s mother, in
1964? after being devastated by the death of her first child Gerard 38 years
earlier. It was inconceivable that she would then, in her right mind, write Ti
N in?s child, the grandson she loved so much, completely out of her will.
Jack died in 1969, leaving everything to his mother in his will? which
also said that if his mother wasn?t around to inherit his estate, he wanted his
nephew Paul Blake, Jr., to get it. Gabrielle, ?M emere,? outlived Jack by four
years, and when she died the will leaving everything to Stella Sampas Kerouac
was suddenly filed in the Pinellas County Courthouse. O nce Jan Kerouac
filed her lawsuit against the Sampases, challenging her grandmother?s will as a

forgery, the Sampases responded in the media that they had had nothing to do
with the drafting of Gabrielle?s will, but there are many facts that suggest
otherwise, including the fact that Stella?s own personal lawyer, George
Saltsman, was the lawyer who drafted Gabrielle?s will. In addition, Saltsman
never witnessed Gabrielle signing the will; in fact, he stated in sworn
testimony that he never saw her again. H e simply mailed the unsigned will to
Stella for her to take care of.3 H ow the Sampases managed to hide the theft for
so long is a long story. It involves the fact that neither of Gabrielle?s
grandchildren, Jan Kerouac nor Paul Blake, Jr., was notified of her death,
though the Sampases had the addresses of both.
In one of Jan?s notebooks, now on deposit at the Bancroft Library in
Berkeley, she scribbled at the top of a blank page: ?T he Greeks Who Stole
Kerouac.? She never lived to write the story.
T he Sampases were banking on the fact that the victims they were
robbing were two dysfunctional kids. Jan had grown up on the streets of the
Lower East Side in the drug-ridden Sixties? with no dad, and a marginally
effective mom. H er veins were filled with methedrine and LSD, and at 13 she
was working the streets to pay for drugs and parasitical boyfriends. T hat this
kid had any chance of discovering a forged will was virtually nil. As for Paul
Blake, Jr., he came home from high school at sixteen to find his mother dead
on the couch? having starved herself to death to punish herself, a good
Catholic woman, for losing her husband to another woman. H e rambled
through Alaska and elsewhere, working as a carpenter and losing job after job,
as well as two wives, because hitting the bottle was the only way to quiet his
ghosts. Again: no chance this deeply troubled kid was going to start probing
courts for an answer to his disinheritance.
W ithin weeks of Jack?s death, the Sampases had scooped up his
manuscripts and papers and spirited them to a small apartment above N icky
Sampas?s bar in Lowell. A close friend recalls Tony Sampas tapping on one of
the cardboard boxes of Kerouac files, saying, ?T hese things will be worth
millions? not now, but some day.?4
After Jack?s widow Stella died in 1990, her youngest brother John was
elected by the Sampas brothers and sisters as their literary representative, and
he took off selling Kerouac papers and belongings as quick as he could. But
apparently, rich collectors like Johnny Depp were a little uncertain about
dropping 50,000 bucks for items they weren?t sure Sampas had a right to sell.
So Sampas began handing out copies of Gabrielle?s will to his best customers.
O ne such customer sent me a copy of the will a few weeks before Jan Kerouac
and her lawyer Tom Brill arrived at my home in January 1994, planning to talk
about her problems getting royalties from the Sampases.


Instead, Jan took one look at the will on my kitchen table and yelled,
?T his thing is a forgery!? H er grandmother?s signature was way too strong to
have been made by an old lady who?d been lifted on and off a bedside potty for
seven years. You could see where the lines started and stopped, and the last
name was misspelled ?Keriouac.?
T he Sampases fought for fifteen years to keep that case from going to
trial. When Jan died in 1996 and made me her literary executor to carry the
case to trial, the Sampases made a deal with her heirs, John Lash and David
Bowers, to dismiss the case? and when I refused to dismiss it, the Sampases
and Jan?s heirs fought together to get me thrown out, succeeding in 1999. But
Judge T homas Penick in Florida refused to let Lash dismiss Jan?s entire lawsuit.
H e let Lash dismiss Jan?spart of the lawsuit. Penick pointed out that there was
another potential heir, if Gabrielle had died intestate: Jack?s nephew. Paul
Blake Jr.?s lawyers Bill and Alan Wagner finally won that forgery verdict from
Judge Greer on July 24, 2009.
T he Sampas family, the brothers and sisters of Stella who had inherited
the Kerouac Estate from her when she died in 1990, immediately took an
appeal of Judge Greer?s decision. Co-heir and Literary Executor for the family,
John Sampas, told British journalist Stephen M aughan ?We do not believe the
W ill of Gabrielle Kerouac was forged and do believe the Judge based his ruling
on fictitious accounts by a doctor who never met Gabrielle Kerouac.? Sampas
also lamented that a strong defense of the will had not been put on before
Judge Greer. Why he and his family did not mount such a strong defense, he
did not explain. ?O ur lawyers,? Sampas claimed to M aughan, ?would have
demolished Alan Wagner and his corrupt father Bill Wagner.?5
While the appeals process continued, Paul Blake, Jr.?s lawyers were
prevented from going after assets of the Kerouac Estate, and even from getting
any sort of accounting of those assets. All that is now changed. O n August 10,
2011, the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, ruled against
the Sampas family and affirmed Judge Greer?s ruling that Kerouac?s mother?s
will was a forgery. T he way the decision was written ensures it cannot be
appealed further. It is therefore considered a final decision. T hat means it is
now in the history books that the Kerouac Estate, arguably the most valuable
literary estate in recent history, was stolen. As things now stand, however, the
Sampas brothers and sisters are still sheltering under the protection of a Florida
?non-claim statute? that allows people to inherit stolen property, and keep it,
so long as no one complains within two years.6 Since Jan did not see the forged
will until 1994, the two-year waiting period after the filing of Stella?s will (in
1990) had expired; and unless Paul Blake, Jr., can find a federal law to go
around the Florida state law, the Sampases will get to keep all their literary

1 George Greer,

O rder, July 24, 2009, ?In the Circuit Court of the Sixth
Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County, Florida, Probate Division, Case
N o. 73-4767-ES-003, In Re: T he Estate of Gabrielle Kerouac.?
2 From

the very beginning of my research for M emory Babe, talking with
people who knew the Kerouac family both in Lowell and outside of Lowell, I
began to hear many expressions of wonder and puzzlement about why
Gabrielle Kerouac would have left her entire estate to Stella Sampas, a woman
whom she was known to dislike enormously. It was also very clear, from
letters and personal testimony, how much Gabrielle had loved her grandson
Paul Blake, Jr., and there was simply no way to explain why Gabrielle, if she
were still in her right mind, would have disinherited her sole and much
beloved grandchild. T he same perplexity over the contents of Gabrielle?s will
was expressed to me by other Kerouac scholars and chroniclers, including both
Larry Lee and John M ontgomery.
3 Bill

Wagner, ?T he Estate of Gabrielle Kerouac, the M other of Jack Kerouac:
Effects of W ill Being Forged? (privately circulated document), August 2009.

source is confidential. H e was one of the inner circle of Tony Sampas?s
friends at N icky?s Bar in Lowell.
5 John

Sampas to Stephen M aughan, undated email, circa August 2009.

6 Florida Statute,

Sec. 733.710 (1989).


Jan Kerouac and Paul Blake, Jr., at Gerald N icosia's Corte M adera residence, April 1995
Photograph by Gerald N icosia

Noteson contributors

N ick A dm ussen is an assistant professor of Chinese literature at Cornell
U niversity. H e is the author of three chapbooks, including Movie Plots from
Epiphany Editions, and his work has appeared in Fence, Blackbird, the Boston
Review and the Kenyon Review Online. H e is an active translator from the
Chinese and his translations of the Sichuan poet Ya Shi appear in recent issues
of the N ew England Review and Chinese Literature Today. H is first scholarly
book, on contemporary Chinese prose poetry, is forthcoming from the
U niversity of H awaii Press.
Wesleigh A nderson, a law student at Yale, still indulges his first love, poetry,
on the side. H e is a Bay Area native and N ew England transplant, where he is
experiencing for the first time the joy of having four real seasons.
D aniel A r isti was born in Spain. H e studied French Literature as an
undergrad at the French Lycée in San Sebastian. H e now lives and writes in
Switzerland with his wife and two children. Daniel's work is just out in Meat for
Tea and is forthcoming in Los Angeles Review and Cleaver Magazine. Daniel is a
Pushcart nominee (Dirty Chai).
John A shbery?s new collection of poems, Quick Question, was released in
December, 2012. H e recently received a N ational H umanities M edal,
presented by President O bama at the White H ouse.
T r icia A sklar received her M FA from the U niversity of M assachusetts,
Amherst. She currently lives with her wife, daughter, and toddler twins in
Sharon, M assachusetts. H er poems have appeared in Bateau, Boxcar Poetry
Review, Cold Mountain Review, juked, Neon, Poet Lore, T he Portland Review,
Redactions, Red Wheelbarrow, So To Speak, and Verse Daily, among other
A m in Banani, Ph.D., (1926-2013) was Emeritus Professor of H istory and
Persian Literature at the U niversity of California, Los Angeles. H e was a
former Chairman of the Department of N ear Eastern Languages and Cultures,
and a former Acting Director of the Center for N ear Eastern Studies. H e
received his B.A. (1947) and Ph.D. (1959) from Stanford U niversity and his
M .A. (1949) from Columbia U niversity. H e was the author of T he
Modernization of Iran (1961) and editor and contributing author of T he Epic of
Kings (1967), Islam and Its Cultural Divergence (1971), Iran Faces the Seventies
(1971), Individualism and Conformity in Classical Islam (1977), Communications
Policy for National Development (1977), State and Society in Iran (1978), Nation and
Ideology (1981), T he Bride of Acacias: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (1982),
Mysticism and Poetry in Islam: T he Heritage of Rumi (1987), Persian Literature
(1988), Tahirih: A Portrait in Poetry (2005), and numerous articles and reviews
on the history and culture of Persia. Professor Banani served on the Board of

Directors of the M iddle East Studies Association of N orth America, the
Executive Council of the Society for Iranian Studies, and as Vice President of
the American Association of Iranian Studies.
Jessica R ae Bergam ino is the author of T he Desiring Object or Voyager Two
Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among T hem (Sundress
Publications, 2016), T he Mermaid, Singing (dancing girl press, 2015), and Blue
in All T hings: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press, 2015). Individual poems have
recently appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Willow Springs, West Branch,
Crab Orchard Review, T he Journal, and elsewhere. She is a doctoral student in
Creative Writing and Literature at the U niversity of U tah, where she serves as
poetry editor for Quarterly West.
Charles Ber nstein?s Pitch of Poetry, new essays, will be out this Spring from
U niversity of Chicago Press. H is most recent book of poems is Recalculating
(Chicago, 2013). H e is Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature
at the U niversity of Pennsylvania. M ore info at
Jenny M ary Brow n?s work has either been featured in or is forthcoming from
T he Monarch Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Sugar House, among others. She
is currently the poetry editor at T he M ondegreen. She lives in Arcata, CA,
where she reads comics, plays the piano, and teaches at H umboldt State
U niversity.
Chr is Carosi is from Pittsburgh and then escaped to study at the U niversity of
San Francisco Creative Writing Program between 2009 and 2011. H e is the
author of two chapbooks, bright veil (N ew Fraktur Press, 2011) and FICT IONS
(T he Gorilla Press, 2015). O ther work has appeared in Spring Gun, Switchback
(where he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Your Impossible Voice, and a few
others. H e lives in San Francisco with Rebecca where he?s worked as a copy
editor, sportswriter, bookseller, proctor, and file clerk and now works for City
Lights Booksellers and Publishers as a publicist and digital marketing
L eonard J. Cir ino (1943-2012) was the author of more than twenty
chapbooks and fourteen full-length collections of poetry since 1987 from
numerous small presses. Towards the end of his life, he lived in Springfield,
O regon, where he cared for his elderly mother and worked full-time as a poet.
H is 104-page collection, Omphalos: Poems 2007, was published by Pygmy
Forest Press? Leo's own press? in 2010. A 64-page selection, Tenebrion: Poems
2008, was published by Cedar H ill Publications in summer 2010. H is
full-length collection, Chinese Masters, came out with Street Press in 2009. H e
was the featured poet at the O utsiders? Art Festival, Lincoln, N E, in August
2010. H e is remembered by his friends and fellow poets for his generosity of
time and spirit. ?A Parallel U niverse? was originally published as a broadsheet
by Pygmy Forest Press. [Editor's note: Leo was one of the first people to correspond
with me (and send me books, drafts, revisions, etc.) as a clueless young poet looking for
guidance almost a decade ago, something for which I'll always be grateful. - Andrew
David King]

Brendan I an Cohn- Sheehy is a U C Berkeley alum and U C Davis M D/PhD
student studying medicine and neuroscience who maintains his passions for
words and music daily in the Sacramento-Davis sprawl.
N a H ui- D ok was born in N onsan (South Ch?ungch?ong Province), South
Korea, in 1966. She has published several collections of poetry. She was
awarded the 1998 K im Su-yong Literary Award. She favors a style marked by
aphorism and suggestive turns of phrase.
A ngel D om inguez is a Latinx Los Angeles born writer and performance
artist forming Dzonots with notebooks along the California coast. H e is the
author of Black Lavender Milk (Timeless Infinite Light, 2015), an experimental
lyric-novel that functions as an extended meditation on writing in relation to
the body, time, loss, ancestry, ritual, and dreaming. H is work can be found in
Berkeley Poetry Review, Bombay Gin, and online at Open House and, with work forthcoming in Fence. H e was the co-founding
editor of Tract/Trace: an investigative journal, and presently curates the ongoing
series: Bodies/Pages. Along with H annah Kezema, he co-founded the
performance art collaborative: Dream Tigers.
W illiam D ow is Professor of American Literature at the U niversité Paris-Est
(U PEM ) and Professor of English at T he American U niversity of Paris. H e is
an Associate Editor of Literary Journalism Studies (N orthwestern U niversity
Press) and has published articles in such journals as Publications of the Modern
Language Association, T he Emily Dickinson Journal, Twentieth-Century Literature,
ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, Critique, T he Hemingway Review,
MELUS, Revue Française D'Etudes Américaines, Actes Sud, Prose Studies, and
EtudesAnglaises. H e is the author of the book, NarratingClassin American Fiction
(Palgrave M acmillan, 2009), co-editor of Richard Wright: New Readings in the
21st Century (Palgrave M acmillan, 2011) and Richard Wright in a Post-Racial
Imaginary (Bloomsbury, 2014). H e is currently completing a book- length study
on American M odernism and radicalism entitled Reinventing Persuasion: Literary
Journalism and the American Radical Tradition, 1900-2000 and is co-editor of the
forthcoming Routledge Companion to American Literary Journalism.
L aw rence Eby is the author of two books of poetry, Flight of August, winner
of the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio H ouse Press, and Machinist in the
Snow, ELJ Publications 2015. H is work can be found in Forklift, Passages North,
Fourteen Hills, T hrush Poetry Journal, and others. H e is the editor in chief of
O range M onkey Publishing, a poetry press in California.
John O livares Espinoza?s poetry has appeared in T he American Poetry Review,
East Bay Review, Miramar, New Letters, and Z YZ Z YVA. H e lives with his wife
and two children in San Jose, California.
D anni Gorden is a social worker in Portland, O regon.
A llen Grossm an (1932-2014) was an American writer, literary critic, and
academic. A noted poet? his sizable catalogue beginning with A Harlot's Hire
(1959) and ending with Descartes's Loneliness (2007)? he also made inestimable
contributions to criticism and the study of poetry, including T he Sighted

Singer: Two Works on Poetry for Readers and Writers (with M ark H alliday, 1991)
and T he Long Schoolroom: Lessonsin the Bitter Logicof the PoeticPrinciple (1997). A
professor first at Brandeis U niversity and then at T he Johns H opkins
U niversity, he received the Bollingen Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and
Guggenheim and M acArthur Fellowships, among many other awards. H is
poem in this issue, ?T he Piano Player Explains H imself,? appeared in T he
Ether Dome and Other Poems: New and Selected (1979-1991) (N ew Directions,
1991), and is reprinted here with the kind permission of his wife, Judith
Rober t H ass teaches in the English department at U C Berkeley. H is most
recent book is What Light Can Do (Ecco), a collection of essays.
Lyn H ejinian is a poet, essayist, teacher, and translator. H er academic work is
addressed principally to modernist, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and
poetics, with a particular interest in avant-garde movements and the social
practices they entail. H er most recent book is T he Unfollowing (O mnidawn
Books, 2016). O ther volumes include T he Book of a T housand Eyes(O mnidawn
Books, 2012) and T he Wide Road, written in collaboration with Carla
H arryman (Belladonna, 2010). And in fall 2013 Wesleyan republished her
best-known book, My Life, in an edition that includes her related work, My
Life in the Nineties. Wesleyan is also the publisher of A Guide to Poetics Journal:
Writing in the Expanded Field 1982-1998, and the related Poetics Journal Digital
Archive, both co-edited by H ejinian and Barrett Watten. She is currently the
co-director (with Travis O rtiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and
publishing cross-genre work by poets, and the co-editor (with Jane Gregory
and Claire M arie Stancek) of N ion Editions, a chapbook press.
Janis Butler H olm lives in Athens, Ohio, where she has served as Associate
Editor for Wide Angle, the film journal. H er prose, poems, and performance
pieces have appeared in small-press, national, and international magazines. H er
sound poems have been featured in the inaugural edition of Best American
Experimental Writing, edited by Cole Swensen.
Y aul Perez- St able H usni lives, reads, and writes in San Francisco. H e
graduated from U C Berkeley in 2015 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature.
H is favorite words include "still," "of," and "perhaps."
M ichael Ives is a writer, musician, and sound/text performer whose poetry
and fiction have appeared in numerous magazines and journals in the U nited
States and abroad. H e cofounded the sound/text performance trio, F?loom, in
1995. H e is the author of T he External Combustion Engine, (Futurepoem, 2005),
and wavetable, (forthcoming from Dr. Cicero Books) and has taught in the
Written Arts Program at Bard College since 2003.
M ajor Jackson is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Roll Deep
(N orton: 2015). A recent Guggenheim Fellow, he is the editor of the Library
of America's Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. H e is the R ichard Dennis Green
& Gold Professor at the U niversity of Vermont.

M ary- Cather ine Jones was born and raised in the south and now divides her
time between working in M anhattan and raising a family in N ew H ampshire,
where she and her husband live on the Contoocook river with two children,
one dog, and seven chickens. H er poetry has appeared in Poetry International,
elimae, Cultural Society, Scapegoat Review, Z one 3 and others. H er photography
has been featured on N PR ?s All T hingsConsidered and TedX . She?s the founder
and director of the Datum:Earth reading series in Peterborough, N H , now in
its fifth year of programming.
L en K r isak's latest books (both translations) are Ovid's Erotic Poems and
Catullus's Carmina. W ith work in the Hudson, Sewanee, PN , Antioch, and
Southwest Reviews, he is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren, R ichard
W ilbur, and Robert Frost Prizes, and a four-time champion on Jeopardy!
K ayla K r ut is an M FA candidate at the H elen Z ell Writers' Program at the
U niversity of M ichigan. H er work has appeared most recently in Contemporary
Verse 2, White Stag, and American Chordata.
A nthony A . L ee, Ph.D., is a lecturer of history at U CLA and at West Los
Angeles College, specializing in African American history, African history,
and the African Diaspora in Iran. H e was awarded the N at Turner Poetry
Award (Cross Keys Press) for 2003. H e received the N aomi Long M adgett
Poetry Award (Lotus Press) for 2005, and the M erton Institute?s ?Poetry of the
Sacred? Award in 2012. H is first volume of poems, T his Poem Means (Lotus
Press), was published in 2005. H e collaborated with Jascha Kessler (U CLA)
and Amin Banani (U CLA) to translate the volume Tahirih: A Portrait in Poetry:
Selected Poems of Qurratu?l-?Ayn (K alimát Press, 2005). H is translation with
Amin Banani, Rumi: 53 Secretsfrom the Tavern of Love: Poemsfrom the Rubiayat of
Mevlana Rumi (Islamic Encounter Series) is forthcoming (2014). H is poems
have been published in various journals in the U nited States and Europe,
including: ON THEBUS, Warpland, T he Homestead Review, Härter, Beyond the
Valley of the Contemporary Poets: 2003 Anthology, and Knocking at the Door: Poems
about Approachingthe Other (Birch Bench Press, 2011).
K aren A n- hwei L ee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo
2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the N orma Farber First
Book Award. Lee also wrote two chapbooks, God?s One Hundred Promises
(Swan Scythe 2002) and What the Sea Earnsfor a Living (Q uaci Press 2014). H er
book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary
Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the
Cambria Sinophone World Series. She earned an M .F.A. from Brown
U niversity and Ph.D. in English from the U niversity of California, Berkeley.
T he recipient of a N ational Endowment for the Arts Grant, Lee is a voting
member of the N ational Book Critics Circle.
M onica L ee was born in Seoul, Korea and has lived in California since 1979.
She has two daughters. Currently, she resides in Southern California.
D aniel W.K . L ee is a Seattle-based writer whose work has been seen in
various online and print publications. H e is also a cultural critic,
sex-relationship advice writer, and puppy-daddy to an insanely beautiful

whippet puppy known formally as H is Lordship, the Earl Camden. Daniel and
Camden can be reached at
H enry Wei L eung is the author of a chapbook, Paradise Hunger (Swan Scythe
2012), and the recipient of Kundiman, Soros, Fulbright, and other fellowships.
H e is now at U H M anoa working toward a PhD.
Ben M azer was born in N ew York City in 1964, and was educated at
H arvard, where he studied with Seamus H eaney and W illiam Alfred, and at
the Editorial Institute, Boston U niversity, where his advisors were Christopher
R icks and Archie Burnett. H is most recent collections of poems are T he Glass
Piano (M adH at Press) and December Poems, out this spring from Pen & Anvil
Press. H e has recently edited a critical edition of T he Collected Poems of John
Crowe Ransom (U n-Gyve Press, 2015). H e also discovered the forgotten
Berkeley Renaissance poet, Landis Everson, and edited his Everything Preserved:
Poems 1955-2005 (Graywolf Press, 2006). H e lives in Cambridge,
M assachusetts, and is the Editor of T he Battersea Review.
Born in O ttawa, Canada?s glorious capital city, rob m clennan currently lives
in O ttawa. T he author of nearly thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and
non-fiction, he won the John N ewlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for
the Arts in O ttawa M id-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the
CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. H is most recent titles include notes and dispatches:
essays (Insomniac press, 2014), T he Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere
Books, 2014) and the poetry collection If suppose we are a
fragment(BuschekBooks, 2014). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground
press, Chaudiere Books, T he Garneau Review (,
seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (, Touch the Donkey
( and the O ttawa poetry pdf annualottawater
( H e spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as
writer-in-residence at the U niversity of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews,
essays, interviews and other notices
Corey M esler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals
including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and
Esquire/Narrative. H e has published 8 novels, 4 short story collections, and 5
full-length poetry collections. H is new novel, Memphis Movie, is from
Counterpoint Press. H e?s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 2
of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor?s Writer?s Almanac. W ith his
wife he runs a 145 year-old bookstore in M emphis. H e can be found at
D avid M offat is a writer and historian who works at T he H ouse of the Seven
Gables. H e studied English with a concentration in Creative Writing at
Bucknell U niversity, and has published poetry in journals such as T he Berkeley
Poetry Review and Spillway. In 2015, he coauthored A Gracious Host: Visiting the
Gables through the Years, an exhibit and companion book on T he H ouse of the
Seven Gables as a tourist destination. H e has lectured locally on the lives and
work of Joseph Priestley, Samuel Johnson, N athaniel H awthorne, and Charles
Dickens, as well as the history of American U nitarianism. H e is a member of

the Board of Directors for the Salem H istorical Society and the
Editor-in-Chief of the Essex Genealogist.
L aura M ullen is the author of eight books, most recently Complicated Grief.
Recognitions for her poetry include a N ational Endowment for the Arts
Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award. She lives and works in Louisiana.
Peter A dam N ash is the author of a recently published biography called T he
Life and Times of Moses Jacob Ezekiel: American Sculptor, Arcadian Knight and of a
novel called Parsimony, soon to be published by Fomite Press (2016).
Additionally, he has published poems and stories in Desideratum, T he Avalon
Literary Review, and T he Minetta Review. In 2012, he co-founded and now
writes a bi-weekly post for a literary blog called Talented Reader: H e lives in N ew M exico with his wife
and two sons.
Born and schooled in Chicago, Gerald N icosia is a biographer, historian,
playwright, and novelist, whose work has been closely associated with the Beat
M ovement as well as the 1960?s. H e came to prominence with the publication
of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouacin 1983, a book that earned
him the Distinguished Young Writer Award from the N ational Society of Arts
and Letters while it was still a work-in-progress. It was highly praised by
writers as diverse as John Rechy, Irving Stone, W illiam Burroughs, Bruce
Cook, and Allen Ginsberg, who called it a ?great book.? N icosia spent several
decades in both the Chicago and San Francisco literary scenes, making a name
for himself as both a post-Beat poet himself and an organizer of marathon
literary events, often in conjunction with the San Francisco Public Library and
the Friends of the Library. H e edited major poetry collections by both Bob
K aufman (Cranial Guitar) and Ted Joans (Teducation). H e was also involved in
several video and film projects, including the public television documentary
West Coast: Beat and Beyond, directed by Chris Felver, and the movie version of
On the Road, directed by Walter Salles. A lifelong friend of peace activist Ron
Kovic, N icosia spent decades studying, working with, and writing about
Vietnam veterans in their long process of healing from that war. H is definitive
work on that subject, Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans?Movement,
was picked by the Los Angeles Times as one of the ?Best Books of 2001,? and
has been praised by notable Vietnam veterans like John Kerry and Oliver Stone
and also by veterans of America?s later wars, such as Anthony Swofford, author
of Jarhead, and leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War.
Among his other books on a Beat theme, he has published Jan Kerouac: A Life
in Memory and One and Only: the Untold Story of On the Road. H e has taught
Beat literature, the Sixties, and the Vietnam War literally around the world,
including in China, where he adopted his daughter Wu Ji. H is experiences in
China have found their way into a forthcoming book of poetry, Night Train to
Shanghai, which was published by Grizzly Peak Press in 2013. H e is also
working on a book about racism and the death penalty in America, Blackness
T hrough the Land, as well as a biography of N tozake Shange called Beautiful,
Colored, and Alive, which will be published by St. M artin?s Press. H e spoke at
the First International Beat Conference in the N etherlands, September 5-7,

2012; and more recently, he organized and M C-ed a marathon Beat poetry
reading at Bob Weir?s Sweetwater M usic H all in M ill Valley, California, on
January 8, 2013, which went on for almost four hours with over twenty poets
and musicians. In June 2009, he was given an Acker Award ?for avant-garde
excellence? in his writing.
L inda N or ton?s first book, T he Public Gardens: Poems and History (Pressed
Wafer, 2011; introduction by Fanny H owe) was a finalist for a LosAngelesTimes
Book Prize. She lives in O akland and works at the Bancroft Library at U C
Berkeley. In 2014 she received a Creative Work Fund grant and the Phillip
Dickey Fellowship from SFSU . T he poems published here are from a new
manuscript called Wite-Out. O ther work from the manuscript has appeared in
Z en Monster, Eleven Eleven, New American Writing, and is forthcoming in
Amerarcana, Hanging Loose, OccuPoetry, and Fourteen Hills. She appends the
following notes to her work in this issue:
?In M y Girlish Days?: ?All of my playmates is now surprised / I had to
travel before I got wise. / I didn?t know no better / Oh boy / In my
girlish days.? ? M emphis M innie.
?I eat men like air.? ? Sylvia Plath.
?Disambitious? ? John Berryman
Rober t Peake (English, ?99) is an American-born poet living near London.
H e created the Transatlantic Poetry series, bringing poets together from
around the world for live online poetry readings and conversations. H e also
collaborates with other artists on film-poems, and his work has been widely
screened in the U S and Europe. H is newest collection T he Knowledge is now
available from N ine Arches Press.
D . A . Powell is the Tin H ouse Writer-in-Residence at Portland State
U niversity and a 2016 Civitella R anieri fellow in Italy. H is most recent books
are Repast (Graywolf, 2014) and UselessLandscape, or A Guide for Boys(Graywolf,
2012), recipient of the N ational Book Critics Circle award in Poetry.
Born in M iami, Florida, M ax Goudie Pujals earned his B.A. in English at
U niversity of California Berkeley in 2013 where he took an interest in
translating Spanish Caribbean poems hoping to improve the perception of
writers who are important to the education of American immigrant culture.
H is experiments in inversions of form take their cue from attempts to invoke
art with the same energy as nature. H e has gone on to direct his writing to
communities of cooperative farmers in Latin America.
A ndrew R eyes likes grammar and etymology. H e has a B.A. in Comparative
Literature and Philosophy from U C Berkeley, which perhaps helps qualify him
for his current job of teaching English and Spanish things to kids in his
hometown of Chino, CA.


M argaret R hee is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and
Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015).
Literary fellowships include positions as a Kundiman Fellow, Squaw Valley
Poetry Fellow, and the K athy Acker Fellow at Les Figues Press. She holds a
Ph.D. from U C Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies, and a BA in
creative writing and English from the U niversity of Southern California.
Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor in Women and Gender Studies
Department at the U niversity of O regon. A portion of ?T he U niversity
Dreams? appeared as ?Lecture Poems? in the June 2013 issue of comma, poetry.
A ndrew R idker is the editor of Privacy Policy: T he Anthology of Surveillance
Poetics. H is work has appeared in Guernica, Boston Review, T he Believer Logger,
St. LouisMagazine, SmokeLongQuarterly, and elsewhere.
At fourteen, L ar ry Ruth and a friend set out from Yosemite and hiked the
John M uir Trail. T hey spent the last night on M ount Whitney in a snowstorm
in July. Larry now works as consultant in natural resource and environmental
policy. For many years he taught, conducted research and handled
programmatic responsibilities at the U niversity of California. Recent research
focuses on wildland fire, environmental assessment and the sustainability of
natural resources and ecosystems. Publications include articles of federal
wildland fire policy, ecosystem management, forest policy in the Sierra
N evada, and adaptive management.
A aron Shur in is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the M FA
program at the U niversity of San Francisco. H e is the author of more than a
dozen books, including T he Skin of Meaning: Collected Literary Essays and Talks
(U niversity of M ichigan, 2016) andCitizen (City Lights, 2011). H is honors
include the Gertrude Stein Award, the Bay Area Art Award, the Gerbode
Poetry Award, and fellowships from the N ational Endowment for the Arts and
the California Arts Council.
A lex Tait ague is a poet and resident of the East Bay who graduated from U C
Berkeley in 2013. T hough continuing to write, he now works in San
Francisco in the field of advertising and analysis and enjoys working with the
precision of numbers that writing often eludes.
M ark Tardi is the author of the books Euclid Shudders and Airport music. A
former Fulbright scholar, he earned his M FA from Brown U niversity.
Previously on faculty at the Department of American Literature and Culture at
the U niversity of Lodz, Poland, he is currently a lecturer in the Department of
Foreign Languages at the U niversity of N izwa, O man. H is newest book, T he
Circusof Trust, is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press in 2017.
Bryce T hor nburg is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. H e
currently teaches creative writing at the U niversity of Iowa.
T EE K im Tong [Z hang Jinzhong in pinyin romanization system] has
published a number of fiction and non-fiction books in the Chinese language.
H e lives in K aohsiung, Taiwan RO C, where he teaches at the N ational Sun
Yat-sen U niversity and directs the Center for the H umanities.

R ichard Tuttle's art is represented by the Pace Gallery in N ew York. M ajor
exhibitions of his work have taken place, recently at the Fabric Workshop &
M useum, Philadelphia, and the Tate M odern, London. A retrospective of his
work was presented in 2005 at the Whitney M useum of American Art, N ew
G.C. Waldrep is the author most recently of Testament (BO A Editions, 2015)
and a chapbook, Susquehanna (O mnidawn, 2013). H e lives in Lewisburg, Pa.,
where he teaches at Bucknell U niversity, edits the journal West Branch, and
serves as Editor-at-Large for T he Kenyon Review.
Rob Sean W ilson has published poems and reviews in Bamboo Ridge journal
since 1979, and in various other journals from Tinfish, Taxi, Manoa, and Central
Park to New Republic, Ploughshares, Partisan Review and Poetry. H e is a western
Connecticut native who was educated at the U niversity of California at
Berkeley, where he was founding editor of the Berkeley Poetry Review. H e is at
work on two forthcoming collections of poetry: Ananda Air: American Pacific
Lines of Flight; and Automat: Un/American Poetics, and still plays basketball, pool,
and meditates (prays), each day, in the great void of being and creative bliss. As
Jack Kerouac put it in Dharma Bums, "Equally holy, equally to be loved, equally
a coming Buddha!"
Changm ing Y uan is a 9-time Pushcart nominee and author of 7 chapbooks.
Growing up in a remote village, Yuan began to learn English at 19 and
published monographs on translation before moving out of China. W ith a
PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in
Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry,
BestNewPoemsOnline, T hreepenny Review and 1159 others across 38 countries.
M atthew Z apr uder is the author most recently of Sun Bear, Copper Canyon,
2014. Why Poetry, a book of prose, is forthcoming from Ecco Press. An
Associate Professor in the English Department and Director of the M FA
Program in Creative Writing at Saint M ary?s College of California, he is also
Editor at Large at Wave Books. H e lives in O akland, CA. ?Poem on the
O ccasion of a Weekly Staff M eeting? originally appeared in Faultline and
?Little Demon of K iss? in T he Rumpus.
Sam uel Gar rett Z eitlin is a PhD candidate in Political Science and a student
member of the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early M odern
Studies at U C-Berkeley. H e has published translations of R ilke and Brecht
and a recent translation and edition (co-edited with R .A. Berman) of Land and
Sea: A World-historical Meditation (Candor, N Y: Telos Press Publishing, 2015).
R aúl Z ur it a, Chilean poet and recipient of the Premio N acional de Literatura
in 2000, published his first works under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet,
which lasted from 1973 to 1990. In the tradition of Dante, Z urita?s poetry
seeks Paradise, but finds it out of reach. H is works include Purgatorio,
Anteparaíso, La vida nueva, and IN RI.


Front cover:

Back cover:

Photographs taken during the ?Plea?
1969 People's Park protests

Linda N orton, 2015

© Bil Paul

Acrylicpaint and Sharpie on canvaspanel

From ?Home and Away? series