3

-----;;

vVATE R V\1A YS: Poetry in the Mainstream May, 1993

"Roses are planted where thorns grOf;!!, And on the barren heath

Sing the hotley bees. /I

1

VV ATE R'V\1 A YS: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 14 Number 5

Richard Alan Spiegel & Barbara Fisher -- Co-Editors

Thomas Perry, Assistant joy Hewitt Mann Fredrick Zydek Kathleen C. Griffin

H. Edgar Hix

Robert Cooperman Frances LeMoine joanne Sel tzer

joan Payne Kincaid

Ida Fasel

Felicia Mitchell

4-5 6·7 8·9

10-15 16-17 18·19 20-24

Gertrude Morris

Neal Michael Dwyer Arthur Winfield Knight Kit Knight

Susan Packie

David Chorlton

Hannah Alexander DavidA, Bickimer Albert Huffstickler

34-38 ,39-40 41-45 46-51 52-53

54 55-56 57-58 59--66

May, 1993

2j.27 23-32

33

Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $20 a year. Sample issues -- $2.60 (includes postage). Submissions will be returned only ifaccompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127

1993 themes from William Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell".

© 1993, Ten Penny Players Inc.

IN FRONT OF THE L. C. B. O.

GEORGE STREET THE MARKET Joy Hewitt Mann

Brittle and blotched by sun-drugged days, she hunts for home in sunset windows

where bottles catch on fire and men in pin-striped suits swing past her

clutching paper bags.

Some mornings her oncevlrgm

dreams

soar on last night's leftover high -she is beautiful and hands

frozen in the everyday of false apologies

give her spare coins. 4

But today

cold-sober birds are perched in granite

and she looks

old

for sixteen.

So people pass her by.

Perfect answers can live (or weeks in the implacable rock face

of her smile.

IN THE BEGINNING· Joy Hewitt Mann

There is enough light; shadows have crossed it, the blind have known it before their birth,

it is the dust and smell of unwashed hands,

it seeks the nameless pockets ofblood-stained earth,

hides in the smiles of alleyways. I know the apocalypse

by heart, .

but still. ..

there is enough light.

S

FIRST TRIP - Fredrick Zydek

{for Amelia)

There are wild pipers singing in her bones; green-emerald isles looming at the windows,

the sparkle of England's wettest edge, stones that hinge the metric of what the rain knows when the wind wades where memory is but half the matter. She is slain in the spirit,

filled with visions of silver ships, carafes

of french wine along the rue Valette,

great victorian halls, a fire from knowing

why the tide explodes white against the sand, why the cliffs at Dover must always sing

the birth of words waiting in Hardy land.

She's filled with things we do not see, the lure of Kent and Avon, what waits on the moors.

GOING BROKE IN BABYLON Fredrick Zydck

a small

gray summer of no suns

is all Nebraska gave that year.

The black clouds of bad luck

closed the garden path on every debt

and every doubter.

We were the children of Pharaoh

caught between

the urge to fight

and tWO great walls of water.

We begged everything

to keep from going under - the bank,

the center of the universe,

strangers.

Running out of luck and ego, we locked the door -

stuffed our hands in our pockets

and walked

the long way home. 7

A VOlCE IN RAMA Kathleen C. Griffin

The sun's a bright cotton toy on the folding chair

at the Newman Center;

the baby (boy? girl?) in bangs and belled white oxfords waves an aimless arm --

so small, ending in knuckles lost in the puffed-silk flesh.

8

The body's betrayal,

the biological clock: squirrels eat dead leaves, poets eat paper,

pregnant women eat white clay

to fill the hollowness

of the hungry time,

of false Spring.

Bear with me

in the bitter morning,

while the words wash over my head,

as the word made flesh

lies on the alter,

the flesh new-made

out of mothers' cries and cradling arms. Bearing the mourning, weedy and dead,

as the numbing arms of the dyi ng earth,

hugging her failing warmth for comfort, in her arms cradling her children's bones.

The sun's a faded toy on the summer porch

of a locked and empty house with an unraked yard.

9

OLYMPIC GOLD - H. Edgar Hix

Forty years running

and alf I have to show for it: sore feet.

No Olympic gold.

No interviews on Wide World of Sports. No smiling face on a corn flakes box.

J usc 40 years worth of sore feet

That, and 20 years of your hands rubbing thern back to life; Olympic gold hands.

10

-- - - --

'-~

CROOKED· H. Edgar Hix

It came out crooked.

Perhaps, there is a stone just under the surface. Or, the bulb was planted askew.

(Do crocuses come from bulbs? I don't know.

I just know it came out crooked.)

So, there it is: bent at the base,

and its leaves trying to look normal;

and now the flower's corning out

crooked.

11

It tries in vain to follow the sun.

It tries in vain to match the rest of the garden. It tries in vain to be anything but crooked.

(It is green and yellow.)

12

BROTHERS - H. Edgar Hix

Two old cats in a rocking chair. No word, as we know words,

has ever passed between them. Still, they seem content enough, lying, flesh to flesh, asleep.

13

SILENTLY· H. Edgar Hix

silently silently

like the grass grows like the fog dissipates

like the angels on christmas trees sing

this is how people in the city sidewalks pass one at a thousand

and only the engines and wheels in the street remember sound

this is how sand slips from the shore to the depths how eyes slip behind sunglasses

how fingers type words onto screens

and words slip onto library shelves

14

__ --- -

- -~

silently silently

drowning our the engines and wheels until the only sound that can be heard is made by feet that have stopped

15

A STRANGER IN HER ROO~'i - Robert Cooperman

You've just returned

from a convention in Las Vegas~security guards everywhere, dobermans loving nothing better than to savage an innocent woman; four days of listening

to the men in your field brag.

of hearing the curses of gamblers: one crazed old man

making you pour his quarters into his second slot-machine, "For luck and your pretty face!"

16

Four days of warnings

not to ride the elevators alone,

of keeping your door triple-locked and watching out for men

with prowling eyes, crab-hands.

Now you're home, asleep, making the bed ours again, and not a jagged crag

swarming with ants, picnic crumbs. When I stumble from our room after a night

of too much celebrating your return,

I stub my toe and swear

in a growling mutter to wake you.

"Who's there?"

you shout into the darkness. "Get out of my room!"

then collapse back to sleep, dreaming, I hope, not

of intruders with weapons, but of your harmless husband.

17

FROM THE BASEMENT (SUMMER) - Frances LeMoine

I sometimes tried to infiltrate the white cloud logic of the hot blue sky through that pane and the hot blue sky was all I wanted.

Sometimes,

And on the hottest days I could see

the white of the diaper on the green of the grass and I could hear the loudest of the littlest laughs.

Her feet would move slowly, like the time did on those days. Right behind the baby.

Be careful honey.

The marbled brown tiles of the floor chipped here and there, their beige veins sometimes maps to that other world.

Those tiles always cool under your feet.

1.8

r

And the sound your feet made on them still

a wall to wall memory of the absence of rugs

and the lack

and the vivid privacy.

In the evenings the television blared the noise of their soundtrack. The noise of communion in the ears of a refugee.

A weary fan wheezed weary air,

the slow swirl of its rusted blade the only stirring on some afternoons.

When the laughter above danced down the stairs

and boxed my ears the heat on those days postponed the rest of those floes.

And through that pane,

the infiltration of that white cloud logic was compelling.

19

BEES Joanne Sel rzer

My friend Arlene was busy killing bees the other day.

Arlene confessed she felt like a Nazi,

bur AI (her husband) once nearly died

of multiple stings.

The high-tech machine that brightened her porch psychedel ically

bonged for every zapped bee, a church bell announcing

one more departed soul.

The porch reeked of apples,

. .

npe enncernents

fed into the machine

to offer queen and drones their final sweet, productive swarrners work release.

20

.~-

- -

~'L "'.L

r

A WINTER TRAGEDY Joanne Seltzer

of busybodies

all creative havens

bees won't leave their hothouse hives

gorging themselves on honey hoards

even to defecate

as they wait to die

they huddle together sharing the heat

from impurities endemic to

21

GERTRUDE STEIN - Joanne Seltzer

"One rose begins again & again

within a very small thing a great deal

that has been begun.11

'*'

Petal by petal

the rose that is a rose perpetuates her voice.

22

LOVE ... ON CHE EKS AND ROSES ... FED (Richard Lovelace) Joanne Seltzer

Love feeds on roses when it is young

on ordinary food

in middle age

on cow dung

when old, sick and gru ff.

Young Love gets a vase Mid Love the oven

but Old Love hangs on the wall until ripe enough, dry enough

to rouse the fire that cooks the food that uses up [he soil

another generation of roses

must feed upon.

23

A SINGLE ROSE - Joanne Seltzer This is a single rose

I

am sending you It

IS blue &

symbolizes

both completion &

impossibility

SMILES - Joan Payne Kincaid

Coming from inside to out messages from another's senses

controlling the ear more

than taste

or contest

It is the sense of touch

that ultimate\y triumphs brings flowers and destruction

as if tears can tear

away ideas.

25

HE SAID HE HATED TO SEE THE CAR \VRECKED Joan Payne Kincaid

Today in snow and icy challenge at noon-sense of being alone

in links of black arterial systems groundsnow turns houses blue white-knuckle approach of cars f1ickering.February Snowmoon in east blurred sphere between earth and sky.

She thinks of being rooted now free to function passively

birth, growth, fruit, decay restrained creativity.

Windows return to butter color

she stands like a seedlins measurins nisht

000

silence paints the streets like plague.

26

-

5~

IT WAS OUT THERE BEYOND - Joan Payne Kincaid

Attempt to preserve wildness morning to night

floats open wings of closed eyes .

before breakfast lists draw closer to truth

of dependents come to feed and drink

each immature snow step feather

no longer flyable beyond kitchen window

still as stone in its bath

of reflected ruby light requiem.

27

HI-RISE Ida Fasel

At the sliding door to my 16th floor balcony I pause

for the pleasure before the pleasure of knowing where I'm going.

In the distance a siren begins

i [S sorrows, comes closer, closer; whines full voice; plunges pell-mell past. Peace holds me like a long halfnote that rests still singing.

With only weeder and pocket pruner for luggage

I cross into a country

where I make a tasseled shadow

over boxed beds of crimson, magenta, white,

I stay kneeling.

28

.----~ -

HOW~TO Ida Fasel

Tips on cut flowers sound

like battle music for the gardener. The how-to varies slightly for violets, tulips, roses, glads, azaleas, but the verbs come to the same hard blows:

carry head down into the house scrape, crush, split, smash, sear stems

snip off top buds

strip foliage and thorns straighten curves

drip hot candle wax to hold lower petals on

plunge in tepid water overnight

refrigerate

Do you wonder I prefer

to leave flowers where they are? 29

TOURIST Ida Fasel

Till I went to England

I thought that a catapult

was a giant construction pulled up by a glancing circle

of armored men

who aimed it at ancient walls. Then I discovered

it was a slingshot, the kind

my brother made of a dry branch when he was shorter than I was.

Till I went to Cambridge

I thought the stained glass,

the libraries, the Rubens

were all there was to admire. Then I saw a white cat moving in rhythm with the flowers,

white to white and yellow daffodils, and that was my photograph

of the great chapel of King's College.

30

THE GOOD FORTUNE - Ida Fasel

I'

I

When I was teaching onthe Maine Coast,

a man came to the house and read our future from images that formed in the air about us. He said things would come to mein 2's --

2 husbands, 2 books, 2 years of l_ife beyond my destiny. Where does count-off start?

My own oracular vapors sec a high point

in that morning of transparency when I woke from near-death. Better today, thank you.

On the way to well the best time of my life. For twenty years since I've sent my kite hourly, daily, monthljj annually

into the mixed high Colorado wind where the force of its diamond design

shows itself, sometimes banal, sometimes joyous, as happiness always is to the measure

ofv v hat you arc. I like to think, when I think

of that fortune at all, he was a man who couldn't do simple arithmetic. The fabric, except for repairable snags, is crisp, satiny, and of durable quality.

32

LISA'S BEGONIAS - Felicia Mitchell

Lisa's begonias have a life of their own, apart from the one nature gave them. In fact, this life is bigger than life,

and bigger than two hands put together.

To see them, you smile and know they're real, as real as the conversation birds make,

as bright as her room, the blinds open.

Lisa's porch is a ju ngl e, an oasis, a porch.

All you have to do to believe it is see it.

The begonias have grown, and grown, dappled light bleeding color into them.

You won't want to leave once you see what you see, you'll be amazed that it happened without you.

All alone, on her own, her potted garden the proof, Lisa woke up one morning and smiled.

Time ripples on.

33

GREENINGS: Gertrude Morris

Each spring

I take the green I get:

ailanthus in the window of an ancient tenement like squatters, digging the scene,

my small estate on the window sill same old plants jogging in place unwinding miles ofleaves.

Wi nter, now the Hawk is out;

pigeons puff their feathers for warmth, starlings walk fat.

34

Sparrows, small dusty ghosts

scrounge like homeless men for a crumb the homeless roost where they can.

" !

When green arrives

in all the small parks and sq uares I'll welcome any ragged scrim veiling the trees again.

35

- ~-

GARDENS- Gertrude Morris

In spring

I look for gardens in the city:

bright patches between old tenements conjured out of barren clay.

There's one with roses rambling a chain-link fence

and a cherry tree.

Late on summer a squash hung there

huge and golden on the vine

greenly unaware.

Come April I hunger for green places, I roam the streets

gaunt as a wolf with a belly full of winter. 36

Sometimes I dream that Indian ancestors will rise against towers of glass,

to shatter them,

and give us back the wilderness.

37

When spring slips in like a sweet mugger,

to each small paradise in all the dreary streets come yellow flags of forsythia,

torches of daffodil rushing to light.

I want to say:

Green, hold back a little while,' Yellow ... stay!

ROSES - Gertrude Morris

In the Jefferson Market Garden where a prison stood

roses

loosen their petals look around

take a breath ...

shake raindrops off like dogs ease fragrance through the bars soft as thi eves.

they bump heads ... bopping to sparrows' scrambled salsa. Behind a chain-linked fence all those roses

open up

confess what they know hold nothi ng back.

ST. RAPHAEL - Neal Michael Dwyer About three feet from the Mediterranean, I look to the moon and remember;

this is where they came to heal themselves-

the sick and the aged crept into baths of temperate waterflowing in

on aqueducts like the ones looming

awkward in Frejus, This is where they came to rejuvenate tired limbs

and busted esprits.

Two years since last I sat here -

l'Esterel staring at me.

so the streetlights flick on, warm up pink

all the way to St. Tropez. And a seagull dives by the yellow buoy bobbing lightly

39

on the darkening water. How many hours from Africa, or Corsica? And a limp dog

whines a bit at the horizon Are there still eight kilometers between St Raphael and St. Aigulf?

There's geography

in the healing. There's this place tapping homeJessness

on my shoulder, and this moon taking time out of the cure.

This is where they came

to wash the death hooks off - ailment is said co have scattered hysterical

to the corners. Looking down,

with these inch-high waves turning my feet to sand, I hear a pay phone ringing.

I r should be for me.

-

--- --

;z:~ ...

BILLY THE KID: SHACKLED Arthur Winfield Knight

They bring me in chains

to the house of my girlfriend so we can say goodbye.

"It's a hell ofa Christmas,"

I say, trying to smile,

It must be ten below Outside and {he snow's deep enough

to hide the chains on my legs. Paulita's mother asks my guard if he'll unlock the irons

so Paulita and I can go

in to the bedroom

..1 ,

for an "affectionate farev,rell "

,

but he tells her,

"I ain't Sama Claus,"

and laughs when I stumble toward Paulita,

my chains clanking.

They puc them on me, laughing, bruising my wrists and ankles, when I was captured

at Stinking Springs yesterday. Paulita's face is soft

in the light from the candles. She cries, hugging me, and sa ys, "Merry Christmas."

41

Each weekend, Pat has slept on Bob's couch

so there has been no sex but she told him,

"I'm going to chase you until you say otherwise."

THE BEGINNING OF LOVE· Arthur Winfield Knight

After three weeks she sends him a card saying,IIPerhaps

this is the beginning of 10ve.1I

42

It's flattering,

but Bob says it's happening too fast. Too fast.

After two divorces,

he's not ready

for the beginning of love, and he wonders

what he should do

He's still paying

for his last mistake; there's alimony, acrimony.

trying to laugh. "As soon as you take off your pants, you lose your shirr."

I tell him, "Follow your heart,". and he said, "That's how I got into the first two messes,"

Thruthe wall at night, Bob imagines he can hear Pat's ragged breathing. Getting up,

he will make a drink, the ice cubes Clinking like silver dollars;

one after another, they disappear.

43

BUTCH CASSIDY: VANISHED Arthur Winfield Knight

Sundance and I

had our picture taken standing in front

of the Concordia Tin Mine

. in Bolivia,

the mountains rising behind us,

but the photo is old, faded. All you can see is the mine entrance and the Andes

in the background,

There's a blank space where we used to be. No one can find us.

44

FEBRUARY 22, 1986· Arthur Winfield Knight

This morning

a fly died in my coffee. What a perfect way

for my day to begin.

4S

-

_ ___.__ -- --=-~~-

BOOTHILL Kit Knight

I've visited old graveyards before, but this one

in the famous dust

of Tombstone, marked the first misspelling. As always,

the Arizona skies were all glary and cold/hot bright. I walked where they dropped

in the O.K. Corral where Wyatt Earp stood a mere

12 feet--unbelievably raw-from opposing guns and shot the bad guys.

I explored

what the NY Times called lithe most famous honky-tonk in America." For nine years this lusty saloon

never closed. The Bird Cage was' named for its 14 cribs suspended

above the gambling tables 46

- ----- -

-

... - ...

where "fallen angels and soiled doves II traded

with men. In 1881 the city sold licenses for

"ill fame." Seven dollars. One hundred forty bullets scar the walls

of the old theatre, now historic. The wooden marker didn't tell me how old . Frank was when he died

in 1880, nor did it

[ell me what

killed him. But he must have believed it was

an inconvenient time

to die and he understood the thin line between plaintive & whining.

His marker reads, "REME~v1nER THAT AS YOU ARE, ONCE \VAS I, AND AS I.AM,

YOU SOON WILL BE. RE.ME!\,tBER ME."

47

THE MAN WHO SCULPTS ANGELS Kit Knight

Neal believed fate was

half shaped by expectation, and half shaped by inattention. But he also believed in magic. Things just happened,

sometimes. Logic, he said, is a sneaky excuse

for tragedies & mistakes. Rosemary is 50 & believes her experiences haven't changed her so much as

made her more

who she is. Suspended on wires, some angels were carved

from light weight wood and others were cut

out of leather. Neal said, "I want you to tell me honestly how great

these are." Rosemary supported her children redecorating

48

Spanish restaurants

at 2 a.m. She knew his saints were both eerie & poignant, with

a touch of happy. She felt warm & fuzzy

whenever she thought

of Neal, then said,

"I'm an idiot." On

their first date she wore a wrinkled dress that fell off her shoulder & when the wai ter promised

lithe angels fly up

from Mexico

for this taco salad," Rosemary & Neal laughed. Later, their bodies under the soaring sculptures, Rosemary explored

Neal's scars

and wondered about secret suffering. "I sleep," he said, "in the presence of angels."

49

, I

GINNY'S ANGEL Kit Knight

Ginny was four

when the angel lifted her little sister out

of the crib & held her aloft & steady

while the burglar

lifted the vacation money from the rented cabin

by the lake. The parents were playing cards

with other adults

in another room.

Laughing, clinking glasses. Ginny was asleep in a third room. The following morning while police examined footprints in the mud

and the jimmied window, the girl told her mother

. . .

-InS1StIng-

the angel had kept little Viola quiet and saved her.

50

-- --

- -

Ginny remembers watching

the angel drop the baby back in the crib.

Her little sister fell

from a great height,

but wasn't

hurt. Light surrounded the falling baby.

Silver light

from a heavy liquid. Years later,

no one had to explain

a thermometer to Ginny.

She'd already seen mercury & understood saving. Deliverance. Laughing, Viola said, because of his speed

the Roman god Mercury is the patron of

travelers & thieves.

51

STORM'S RELEASE" Susan Packie

The hurricane that roared through southern Florida left a, path of devastation

worse than a California earthquake in its wake, destroying homes, whole towns, a sense of security. Lives will never be the same.

At a zoo, scores of birds kept

in captivity were suddenly freed.

52

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

RAIN SHINE - Susan Packie

Sunshine becomes some, but I have a rainbow soul, each color distinct,

each blending subtly

into irs neighbor, contradiction and harmony, a brilliant display

brought out by rain.

53

r' _ •.

THE BRIDGE David Charlton

the peak of the road

where the view circles us

One bridge more, one crossing, the new shore,

and the sky is ours to fold away. \Ve have no papers,

no country. We are running on ernpry, looking

another set of arches to carry us, another language

for work. \Ve answer no questions. \Ve are nobody's business,

to learn, a new city, new houses, nowhere to go back

nobody's neighbours. We never turn around. After this bridge,

to. This is the bridge .

we follow to its end, over

the river is behind us.

54

L

_-____....,;;;;;; __ ------ - ._

SOCIAL SECURITI NO. 048-76--063 Hannah Alexander

machine monster, latter-day minotaur glutton of hair, muscles, arteries, nerves rich and angry with the breath plundered from our breathing

spewing out numbers to be implanted

on the intimate bone: each number unique, unchangeable-without it

we do not cxis t.

5S

but I reject the fury and raging of gears the witless clacking of moloch teeth and will diminish myself

to small smaller smallest

until I am Thumbelina

afloat a water-lily leaf

harboured in a pond.

the number branded upon me will be bleached out

by an indiscriminate sun

cleansed away by impartial rains: and the machine will cast me aside worthless, alien, exiled.

I will be unreachable as an echo frail as the whisper in a sickroom where death is on call:

I will discuss politics with the bullfrogs crochet my poems on the air

drink honey from a thimble

and sleep inside a rose:-

I will hear chamber music of sparrows the con fidences of trees

the silver sonatas of stars

... the patterns of my unprogrammed mind ..

56

SPIRITUAL AIDS David A. Bickimer

these patients are our spiritual aids

the closest thing to Christ we know communion with them is with them night sweating in the agony of the garden praying that this cup be passed

and waking long beleagurcd nights eased seeking strength and consolation

in succumbing to the will of [heir father never more strongly believed in

never more difficult to understand

so hard to see through the constan t threat of fatal disease

betrayed by their closest friends

this time with carefully close-lipped kiss despised and scorned by general populace mocked and bashed after sleepless night dreamless these living little Christs

forced to carry their cross alone

falling many times and picking themselves up knowing full well the final crucifixion lies ahead just before the plug of the ventilator is pulled and silence reigns between two rumbles

of light thunder as foodcarts pass in the hall

for them no wealthy man comes forth offering tomb and spices

instead the innkeepers of the dead

57 close their doors and beckon elsewhere

these least of his we must rush to embrace

to remind them the stuff of the universe is no cancerous flesh or tight-lipped acknowledgement but rather is the greatest force called love invisible to most for never experienced seeming to inhabit, jf at all, another

world all together which wise men know

is this wounded world revealed whole

suffer yourself to come to them frightened lost worried lesser than children

their one pain eased is one less lash

their anger and envy assuaged is proof

of God's non-forsaking in flagellation

I do not ask if you were there

your presence is now required

right here now as spiritual aid

lest you be bequeathed for all time spiritual AIDS failing to cling

to that old rugged cross signed INRIHIV now a hospital bed in an AIDS ward

while there if you listen you can hear the wind in her sighs and listen to his breathing capturing anew his last words and stand

with his mother and beloved at the foot

58

WHAT YOU WILL or LOVE AMONG THE CHICKEN SOUP Albert H uffstickler

(for Felicia)

I thought 1 saw you standing among the broccoli at HEE's, greenish, head dropping to the side, arms akimbo

but you were really behind the chicken soup at the Minimax

brow furrowed with concentration as you strove to look cylindrical. Only later did I realize that you were the third croissant on the left

at the Cafe du Jour, curled semi-foerally with fingers and toes pointed and looking quire flaky, which explains the success of your deception.

59

Thaes when it came to me that you tend to see what you want in this world which led to digressions into what perception really is,

the nature of reality and the cosmic implications

of toO many visits to shopping malls.

Whereupon I decided that there had to be more purpose to my life

which is how I came to take you off the shelf of Waldenbooks, looking fiercely oblong and paginated (title: What to Tell Your

Child About Reincarnation)

and went home to catch up on my reading.

begun in Hastings

completed in Cafe du Jour, Oct. 12, 1985

from: Fat Free, Athens Georgia

60

THE OLD MAl'lIN LOVE - Albert Huffstickler

It is good to fall in love when loneliness no longer troubles you. Then you do not count minutes.

Then there is no need to be selfish.

A lonely man is concerned only with himself

and what he calls love is love only in the sense that the food a man eats when he is starving is love.

They sac on the porch of his small adobe house and looked at each other then looked out across the desert to where the sky touched the

mountains and were content.

He did not ask where she had come from. He did not ask when she would go.

She had appeared on the road in front of the house trudging along

with her bundle on her shoulder.

61

She had stopped and they had looked at each other for a long time. Finally, she had left the road and walked over to him.

"Con permiso,' she said and seated herself on the steps.

She was a young woman with long black hair, dark, brilliant eyes and broad hips. He brought her a glass of water while she sat wiping the sweat from her face

and between her heavy breasts with a large kerchief.

"Gracias." She drank deep and sighed.

Then they sat in silence for a long time staring out across the distance. Finally, the old man rose and, going inside, busied himself makingcoffee. Then he tilled two mugs and took them out on the porch.

He took cigarettes from his pocket and offered them.

She smiled.

They smoked and drank coffee in silence.

"Quiere mas?"

"Favor."

62

He took the mugs inside and filled them again.

Then before he went back, he switched on the small radio

on the shelf above his bed.

Willie Nelson, that great healer of the heart,

sang Seven Spanish Angels.

He smiled to himself, nodded, then carried the two mugs outside. The afternoon grew and thickened. They sat on.

Evening came. He rose once more and went inside.

This time she followed. .

When he put [he big pan on the stove, she eased him aside with a murmur With a shrug, he seated himself at the table and sat watching

as she fried the meat, heated beans and tortillas and set the table, everything happening swiftly though she never seemed to hurry. When it was ready, they sat at the table and ate in silence.

63

When they finished eating, he went out on the porch and sat smoking

while she washed the dishes.

Then she brought fresh coffee and they sat drinking it and smoking

his cigarettes while the dark came in.

Night fell. They sat on in silence. Finally, he turned to her.

He could not see her face but the light of the first stars touched her dark eyes.

He could feel her smiling at him.

He rose and, picking up her bundle, walked inside.

After a minute, she followed.

from Maverick in the Chaparral, Maverick Press. Eagle Pass Texas, April 1992 64

CREDENTIALS Albert Huffstickler

You will know me by my eyes. You will look at them and see

all the streets that men have walked upon across the land at evening

bent beneath their burdens

looking for a window.

You will see the ligh ts of ci ties flashing in the rain

while all the lost millions

who have forgotten their names walk crouched beneath the burden of their loneliness

while the wet skies pour down on them.

You will see the alleys of the world

in which the homeless of this planet sleep their restless sleep more haunting than

their waking while the darkness covers them damply like old grief and the stars frown

down on them

like prodigals returned

with nothing to show for their wanderings but the holes in their garments

and the shadows haunting their eyes.

65

I I

You will Know me by my eyes because they will ask no more of you than

the rain does and they will take no more from you

than a child takes with a kiss.

You will know me by my eyes because my eyes will know you

and you will feel like one turned

homeward

after wandering an ancient and forgotten planet

where no one, not even the wind, spoke your name.

Santa Fe, June If, 1987,for LOrello,

from Fennel Stalk, Phoenix Az, No. 12, 1992

66

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

D Enclosd ir $/0.00 plus pos/agtJor "it Human Rdations Fac/orby Dauid Fir/rtf.

Mall GAd payable 10

H. Waluways Projtct a/lin Penny Pkrjm, Inc.

D Enc/oud is $20.00 Jar ant years subscription 10 Vla/aways: POtlry in Iht Mainstream.

Nal! Gheck p(]'jab/( 10

Tht Wattroays ProjtctoJlin Pmry Pfa)'U!, bu.

I I I I I I "Divided into large sections: Man and Himself, ~hn and His

I Fellow Man, Man and His Society and the Forces of Nature,

Fisher's book then goes on to subdivide each of these into smaller sections covering such topics as Sage or Fool, Saint or Sinner, Love and Hate, etc ... Each smaller section is also introduced with a parable taken from literature, history or philosophy, so we're given plenty to ponder in these 244 pages - a lifetime of Fisher's best thoughts. They repay our attention ... He is a wise man with a sense of irony I wit, compassion, hope and concern for mankind at all

J levels of our bumbling around on this planet.And he never excludes himself from his musings as being the slightest bit above or apart from the struggling whole."

Laurel Speer (5 & 10 + 2, Summa 1993) Bard Press. 244 pages. ISBN 0-943776-09-1

The Human Relations Factor

by David Fisher

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