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WATERWAYS : Poetry in the Mainstrea 4777 ISSN 0197 WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream October 1994 Through Formalism her feet progress Reach Form,---yet still would onward press. There bid her tarry! 'Tis, I guess, But few steps more to Formlessnes WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 15 Number 9 October, 1994 Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher ‘Thomas Perry, Assistant John Grey 4-6 Will Inman 79 Ida Fasel 10-12 Matt Dennison 13 Geoff Stevens 14-15 Christopher Woods 16-17 Waterways is published 11 times (includes postage). Submissions wil contents Bruce Hesselbach 18-19 Joy Hewicc Mann 20-21 Gertrude Morris 22-25 Kit Knight 26-27 Arthur Winfield Knight 28 Terry Thomas 29 Lyn Lifshin 30-33 Mary Winters 4 Albert Huffstickler 35-38 a year, Subscriptions ~- $20 a year. Sample issues -$2.60 Il be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Waterways, 393 St Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127 1994 themes from William Watson's Epigrams of Art, © 1994, Ten Penny Players Inc. Life and Nature (1884). EXCHANGE John Grey We slide poems inside each other's fingers like razors, gentle but firm, 50 we know the possibilities bucdon't get cut. I've long since understood that it's not che work itself chat matters but the furtive act, this nipping at each other's pollen like invidious bees eager to know and be known 4 Reading you later ina dull room, under a dutiful light, lick the sense off your lines like chocolate from fingers and somewhere you expose my guts, ‘wist implication into evidence. But dammit if there wasn’t another poem somewhere, your hand folding up in mine, mine giddy in the hollow of yours, something swapped like touch, like glances, and later, poetry taking its place. CIGARETTE WOMAN John Grey ‘There's a woman sprawled across the retirement home's lawas, her untidy dress a feckless parody of that complex’s smooth-shaved grass. Her pocket book is spilled at her feet like a trash can, its scattered contents unloved satellites to this desolate chain-coughing planet. ww Red wrinkled hands drive a cigarette in and out of her mouth. Her lips sag around it mimicking her shoulders. "Though worse for wear, she is still too young for this place. She seeks its gray-bearded sanctuary I suppose for the numbing of its tongues and the blinding of its eyes, even the ones pressed against the windows, puzzled by the blur of her back. 7 Most of them in this place grow old like grandmothers, | hair bleaching white, skin shimmering slowly across still proud cheek bones. So light at the end, they loosen from life, blow away from ies bud Tike pecals. She just gets heavier by the minute. Bitter at everything save tobacco, her sadness bares its teeth through dumb clouds of smoke. SHOE Will Inman Shoe was well made, Shoe's character was built into Shoe's shape, sewn in, grown in, by shoemaker. Shoe knew by its very structure what it was supposed to do, how it was expected to serve, Shoe was lucky: Shoe and Shoe's mate were bought by a person whose feet fitced. Some persons don't choose well: then they blame shoes. "You're not the same shoes you were when I got you!" they say. Sometimes, chough, even a well-fitting shoe will noc have chosen the right person. Fit ain't everything, Sometimes Shoe's wearer scuffed, schlepped along, not bothering to lift his feet -- and shoe -- well out of gravel or weeds or mud. Shoe fumed, silent but hot. This Shoe never squeaked. Still, Shoe knew just what to do: Shoe invited in a small pebble or mud clot or grass spicule, knowing full well the painful intruder would take the blame. For a little, then, the wearer might be more careful about how or where he (or, in another shoe, she) stepped. Shoe hated to be walked through the chickenyard. Chickens left such generous gratuities all over the place. Shoe didn’t resent having new sole or half-sole after much wear. A good lathering shine almost always made Shoe want to sidle up to his also glowing partner, Shoe liked to stay dry inside, though Foot sometimes sweated. And, God forbid, scank, Foot powder made Shoe want to snecze, but it’s hard to sneeze without a nose. Fle tolerated powder to keep Sock dry. In time, Shoe knew that wearer had grown old. [was 2 toss-up which would wear out first, Shoe or Foot. Shoe dida’e want to be given away, not even to an appreciative owner. Maybe Old Shoe would be planted on Old Foot. Then, Shoe found out most feet are coffined bare or only with socks. Shoe fele like starting 2 revolution, but what can an Old Shoe do separated from Old Foot? April 3, 1993, Tucson MAN THROWN OVER Ida Fasel Days like ballpoints you have to fight to get the ink going, jab and swear ac should be more than that should be whole fantasies like Lear his glorious daughter, Gloucester his loyal good son, everything rounded out, reconciled day's end never is Should draw from rump to the wispiest blown hai a line straight and sweet as bow to violin never does 10 A friend says Pray and I try Linda shed your grace on me. Another says It figures After the fantasy, the reality. Your bodies lost interest in each other because your mind's in order, hers runs on runes and crystals. Both say You're better off. Think man, You're free. Yes, free as a tulip bulb given a chance another season to blossom only as a tulip never will COMPANY Ida Fasel Dropped off ar the edges of the garden, gifts of wind or bird, wildness with some finess, land-hungry, spreading out from the shade of the corner pine to borders of the lawn, and closer still -~ mulleia, violets, columbine, bushy wispy yellow clover, Queen Anne's lace blossoming white as wicker on the porch where the family gathered, welcome as if they Filled the empty chairs. eo ———— CONTINUED STORY Ida Fasel ‘The high meadow is my front yard. No need to dress, shirttail half out. Walking through the door is everything, “The wind composes a landscape, the bright clouds, the brighter sky draining sun of brightness to new character in flecked places. Butterflies go tipsy in boisterous air. ‘A brown thrasher sends out notes on the order of song, aria floated over and over, ripple and flourish artful, intense, tiny, complete. ‘Time takes off from taxes, bad art, brawlers lined up face to face. It's as if I'd recovered a day from the International Date Line. My heare lifts like the litle basket under an ascending balloon. No body walls contain it. From nature to iridescence. One leads to the other, is the other. What exactly does it mean to make so much difference here where Lam? Always in the act of crossing the line. What line? DREAMWOLF Matt Dennison Dare we invice the dreamwolf in, to jump through our chaste window, catty us over the midnight snow under a far moon? Dare we at this stage in the old geme dare to feel the galloping charge of hot breath, rough hai? Far past our window che dreamwolf runs, hungry, unconcerned with us. HEATWAVE Geoff Stevens ‘Thrown like a pail of feathers Whilst, near at hand, by acircus clown lager-fisted owners band together they fleck the air for a sea-trail tale, and then come screeching back, ashanty or a shandy seagulls suspended and flocked that will bring a bite of sale in 2 summer blue of seaside to che tongues of sea-dogs boiled viscous by the sun. lotling about, dehydrated, | And boats lie silted, on the summer shore. wilted, tilted, in che harbour sand, their water seemingly deserted to 2 dazzling horizon, oceans away. MACGILLYCUDDY'S REEKS Geoff Stevens Shadows of the clouds engulf che mountain wich a purple cloak of darkness dull the fields of lying-down cows blacken che rooms of the stone cottage huddled by its barn the smoke of peat drifting in the damp stark pre-thunder ait. Lightaing cracks the micror on the kitchen wall lights the ruddy face of Kathleen in her shawl shows the steam hissing out from spout of ketzle on the hob. The heavens turn over wich rolling thunder rain splatters on the grass; Nature puts greenery back in summer grass. LAST LIGHT, YUCATAN Chriscopher Woods This is how the world goes black, But not why it must be lose Inside a night void that lingers Until darkness exhausts itselé Let me tell you how itis Ina place of spicy language, Simple people garbed in muslin. Believers still in old gods, “Their skin is dark as copper. In the dark, in the light, They are always wrapped Ina kind of lingering night. 16 Suddenly the blue water blackens Beneath a red clay sky “That floats above the bay. ‘A fishing boat crosses a bloody sun, “The coconut man leaves the grove His arms full of furry hard bounty. Allis right, I cell you. Allis ready for night to be complete. fiest published in THIRD LUNG REVIEW, NC, 1989 CLEARINGS Christopher Woods They form a procession, Those faces, So many of them now Across the years. Once you start to believe They are gone, disappeared, They appear again: In forest clearings. They last. After light, and even memory Try to hide them From us. They last, All those departed In the great sequence ‘That moves steadily on. Because in clearings Faces live forever, Always safe in light On brittle leaves. Forever, Everything once loved. MARCH OF THE 10ch Bruce Hesselbach “This godforsaken desert isa bitch, We'd hoped for better pickings in the East, for golden swag and slaves to make us rich, and then become centurions at least. Holding letters from my father's friend to Trajan's camp I went at Antiochus, meeting many farm boys ata feast, ‘young men of fortune ready to attend the interview. Well pay respects to Bacchus and then become centurion at least. ‘Two wives I'll have in Africa and Britain wich triple pay and hoards of silver loot and frequent leaves to speed my lengthy hitch. 18 ‘The nubiles will appeas, by Cupid smitten and military life's the fastest route for golden swag and staves to make us rich. At Joseph's fortress where the fight began, wwe soldiers soon had boiling oil to drink. “The hail of rocks and arrows never ceased and several times the 10ch broke rank and ran for firebrands are hotter than you think. We'd hoped for betcer pickings in the East. Masada was the last stronghold to fatl. “The heat was like an overhanging sword. We died of chirst near by a poisoned dich and when at last our rampart reached the wall the sight of corpses was our cich reward, “This godforsaken desert isa bitch. AMALGAM. Bruce Hesselbach Unguent of toad and essence of obnoxious weed combined and intermixed produce abright flower, but not without a grueling struggle. As years pass, we learn that one celestial harmony can come from two old nebbishes. 19 OFF THE WAGON Joy Hewitt Mann Jane sleeps naked on the bathroom floor pink tiles cool against her breasts and the vornit on her lips hardly notices and the whiskey that screamed last night whispers "Wake up, Janie, It's Daddy.” and he is chere or rather she is there with him as he pulls her down the steep hill in the pink wagon he built the year she was born the year her mother died pulls with his giant arms his giant voice laughing into the wind that howls in their ears faster halfway down Faster and he is gone -> and the hill sweeps Janie down alone racing against the wind hurtling into space and she can only cling to the wagon and scream. 20 ME AND MARLENE FRYE Joy Hewitc Mann We were flat-chested girls cut dead by every busty prep -~ and we were short too. Ic was never cool to be such "little kids” with childish breasts; fifteen year old teasers hung out like hoods against the wall all silver-stud and dangerous. This was the garbage "they" fed us and we ate it gladly -* revelling in the stomach cramps of never fitting in. We puked our torment in pubescent rooms where teddy bears and Barbies listened in and "bubble-gummers" stared from peachfuzz walls -- «and this too will pass" which it did. So I've got tits now 36B but it's too late for Jimmy Thom and all the other heart-drawn faces from the years of "You're too young". I got the letter yesterday ~ Class of '73 -- but what's the use? The girls who married "made it’ boys boast implants and thousand dollar lips and anyway... Marlene threw herself under a bus, aL DUST TO DUST Gertrude Morris Mother was always cooking, cleaning, dusting, asif to route her own devils, as well as those that lurked in the corners. when she died did They consult a ledger and say: Lether come ia, here is a woman blessed faithful in cleanliness? Her spirit lingered giving orders: Dust! Clean! I did what I was told, till eno longer had the power. let dust gather on the furniture, in the air, under the bed enough to grow potatoes, orchids, I didn't care. 2 Call it Creative Indolence; writers didn't dust (some had wives); dusting was boring, infra dig. But it seemed always to be waiting, to reproach me still her surrogate, and proliferating like wire hangers. Dust, at least, is subtle; dustis quiet eternally. Nights when I can't sleep Tehink [ hear hangers tangling Inthe morning there would be more of them. I think I hear dust whispering soft as 2 mother, a friend. WAITING Gertrude Morris Now in winter shorn of leaves trees stand simply in their wood. But even on the verge of solstice deep in the secret cambium heart asignalisgiven: = something is changing, the angle of the light the sun, and the work begins again. Leaf buds will form pare the crust, ease out, tentative at first, testing the pale sun. First one leaf then many arrive in a cush, suddenly there's a canopy, awhole green company airing out damp new leaves. MIMOSA Gertrude Mortis In the hot wind of August ic thinks it is growing in Australia, swaying double pinnate fronds, lacy umbrels of fern, shedding pollen from pale silk-blossoms on concrete on cars blaring and blowing going like wind. 24 Unaware of the noise it does not wake or sleep night and day under sun moon street lamp ic reaches over the fence shaking feathery blooms, like Gypsy Rose, snaking roots under the road bed, wanting to cross the street and start a forest. AT THE ARTISTS’ BALL Gertrude Morris I walked out in the summer night aharem girl in iridescent veils and ankle bells. Iwanted to be the Sulean’s favorite: (read: Daddy) Cab drivers honked and whistled at me, their favorite, in the Harem of the Street. Ac the ball I met a black bride in a blond wig, at six feet owo rather tall for a girl. Unmasked, unwigged was a tall black man who wanced to be the girl next door Doris Day married to an ordinary Joe, having his kids... That night we danced and flaunted seven veils till daven tore the veil of night away, our silken lies stripped dowa to the daily gray disguise. ETHEL ROSE JAMES, 1987: THE REAL ISSUE Kit Knight Only a quarter of all white families in the South even owned slaves. All the men weren't fighting to keep something they didn't even possess, Yankees called it ‘The Civil War. Southerners call it what it was, The War Between the States. I've studied that war; my grandfather was forced into becoming an outlaw because of che war, Jesse James. Southern governors refused to relinquish their authority 26 to Lincoln. Southern people alone had the right to decide the fate ofthe South. Some governors were reluctant to give power to Jeff Davis even after he was elected president of the Confederacy. North Carolina had a shoe factory and Lee's army may have been barefoot, but not if the reb came from Raleigh. The first peace negotiations were held in the fourth year of that passionate and bloody struggle, Davis sent three highly ranked men to meet Lincoln and Grant aboard asteamship. As the men passed the batele lines, soldiers on both sides cheered. Everybody just wanted to go home. IF slavery were the only issue, the conflict would have ended on the River Queen. Any tea of the 36 scates could have defeated the amendment banning slavery. Davis said, "We are not fighting for slavery; we are fighting for independence.” And my grandfather said, "We vowed never co kneel before any man." 7 —————————— ————————ee—————————— | TIMOTHY TWOTREES: PROGRESS Arthur Winfield Knight ‘The white men plan to build a road over che ground where our ancestors lic, Ics desecration, we say, but they just laugh. Ac night we dynamite their bulldozers, but they come back with more machines. They're always there, waiting. They club us with the buets of their rifles. My handkerchief sticks to my broken jaw like a flag of surrendet, and two of my teeth are missing, I spit blood and ask for a doctor, but they just laugh, shoving me into a cell. They say, "You can’t stop progress.” MEMORIES IN MOTION ON A STILLBORN SATURDAY ‘Terry Thomas She rustles into my presence with a starch white image. Never ends mingle, tingle and die along skin deadened totouch. Not” much of 2 melody, you say, but my antidote is too expensive, bones and feathers have lose their power and I cower in my sterile bed, pensive, caucerized by thought. 29