'":: o r. .... .



ISSN 0197 - 4777

· ., ',

vVATERvVAYS: Poetry in t h e Ivl a i n s t r e a rri January 1995

Oh the world is a beautiful place

co be born into if you don't much mind

a few dead minds in the higher places

or a bomb or two now and then

in your upturned faces

Lawrence Fedinglutti

.;. ~ .:. ':

'"'\iV ATE RVV AYS: Poetry in the Mainstream

Volume 16 Number 1 January, 1995

Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Assis tan t

CO n."t.en."t.s
Ida Fasel 4-6 Christien Gholson 22 John Grey 33-34
Lyn Lifshin 7-12 Ruth Daigon 23-25 James Penha 35-36
Joan Payne Kincaid 13-14 David Michael Nixon 26 Gertrude Morris 37-42
Mary Winters 15 Terry Thomas 27-28 Arthur Winfield Knight 43
Kit Knight 16-17 Jeff Parker Knight 29-31 Joy Hewitt Mann 44-49
Bruce Hesselbach 18-21 \,yilt Inman 32 Albert Huffstickler 50-52 Waterways is published] 1 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 SL Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127

@ 1995. Ten Penny Players Inc.

1995 themes excerpted from Lawrence Ferlingheni; A Conev Island of the Mind. .

Copyright @ 1958 by Lawrence Ferlingheui, Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.



. _ ....

..... ,.

. ~ ":

" ':'.

•• + •• :: .:-:~: ••• '

». ...


~:. ::;: :!.:..' .:

~- . -~--_. -~..... -~-


At the window mornings I greet

the angel created new

and know with every breath

1 take

God is creating more with every breath of his. What beautiful work those wings, that story. What a start in a world

I want no part of but am in. Unusual for an ordinary day to have only one wonder in it.


How much more so with choir after choir.

Angels are not myths but secrets of the truth. Perhaps I am an angel. Like Isaiah.

"Here I am. Send me."

If only I remember.

• ,::. •• .: 4 ,'!.:. _~~: .•• ' .. -;. ~.'_.


~ ... ~'-. - ._'. • » , -..=

• '\ .:,!, ':"" - •. :_, .. , ;- -' " ':. .," T-"' ,-_':. •

--. __ r!" ,j _, , .. ; -, -.-;-.. ,:~' .. " ..... = :, :-;. _,~.

NOVEMBER 8, 1994 Ida Fasel

Nature grows our columbine, carrots, crystals, grows our weeds free-speech wild.

Will the landslide election

and a few wise words

keep nature from growing ow cities seven cities deep?


o li'T ·o'F;_THE "P6ET~Y" \VORKSf-IO'p

Ida Fasel

They melt and reappear by chance in (he parking lot or supermarket

girl who worked gigs with a blue guitar now water and sewer specialized

for the city and county of Denver

boy who scraped words to their pressed tin ceilings

delivering mail to house numbers.


... .::-

:.L . _ .

. -:~. 1'. ,'"

They talk of poem poems that no longer come, the air between us bristling

with AUM, with existences, with words up from under -- peanut shells to toss or gold to silt true, persuading

in the far reaches of patie nee.

Here a line flares the dark out of corners, loses flame slowly; here a poem pops

like a small F ourth of July over the transom.

Years, decades, these few flower? Years, decades, these few flowers.

They miss the sound of my voice they say.

.... ,~~ .-:.' .. ::,


Balalaikas on the player. Tuo Guitars blur Main Street.

I'd always wanted to be a gipsy too, knew

my mother danced at 12 with the door locked

on North Pleasant, without shoes so

Gramp wouldn't hear.

-:' ~ • _. _~~. ", _~. ~ .... .' '"_ ,,_ .-1 • _

Twenty years later

Joy and I gaze, our ballet shoes neatly folded, frown as mother kicks her legs higher and higher until we

get out our tambourines.

..... : ... \- ....


II'" .'!.~. ,.\ : .. ~;" l.':.) -, ~ •.... :. '~'~';··:·':'''_'::~-''·:;··~I· ... , .. ' . .,. ~~":. -:; _-.:- s < ~.~ ' .• ' r .- • '. .:. - t :"~'
.. ~ .. - -- .,
IN MY GR.ANDMOTHER'S my grandfather might be listening."
KITCHEN would slash, as if Then I'd leave
Lyn Lifshin it was all he for the dark hallway
couldn't deal with: where chunks of
gremikas or some a litany of my cranberry and melon
thing that sounded like father's debts, glass twisted light
gremlins, crispy short comings thinking how the
on the stove as my hovering like the baby sitter said
grandmother spread smell of chicken in Polish tunnels
chocolate over a sauteed in the they pealed baby's
yellow dough on iron pan. A lake skin for shades, stuffed
cloth. From the of aches, someone their hair in pillows
window, there was whispers, says Rose spirea grew past
corn, blue chicory something in Yiddish. the etched glass. The
twisting in back Hushes, crooks her groan of the glider
of the apple [fee head at, II Rosalyn sounded like those trains
8 G,. _', .. '.' _.~

, ':0 : -,.". :-~ .... ,,1 •• - ••.• :..; •••• , .-', ~ ":' ~~


never used, seemed huge

in the dining room,

a bull dozer .

or tractor it blocked the door. Thick pad on the seat so her

bones wouldn't bruise. Metal gleaming. "Mama,

we'll get to

the new mall, just take your pills, please, please." The bones sticking out of her

back like an antique plow rusting in a




". ';,""'= _.'



Lyn Lifshin

The rooms in dusty light, color of ground lead

and powder, a no color slate

3 older people are rocking in the quiet, eyes lifted looking out ahead like figureheads

on old ships, rocking slowly as air close to a freeze

in a de Chirico painting


One of the three is my mother, her hands on the arm of the chair, fingers bony

the rocking is slow motion, as if like roses, the three are suspended in a clot of glue

they're grim, no emotion, hypnotised by grey

that goes on. Then children

~l~~' : ~ '.

burst from charcoal laughing, alive, they say peace is in the air,

a calm and the joy coming in is death, it's in the room,

a death that isn't scary

bur is a hand on a forehead soothing fever or an arm

to lean on as we are

led into a room of amber light.

, ...... ~.. . _ .... ~ _

.. - .. '

r _ '1.: / ... ~ . _ ..... : ~'. ~

1977 AUGUST Lyn Lifshin

It was that August when I saw her lips jut out as she slept in

the car I drove out of

the mountains. Like Nanny, she'd nod our under

the afghan in the

ferns. I watched past Black Locust Inn as the news of Elvis came and took the corners slow, thin

painted cups wrapped

in news print

in the trunk, my mother's .head lopping, Love Me Tender on the dial.

That night, every station played what now it seemed we'd never get enough as Otter Falls roared and the cat and

I curled in the lavender room my mother still brought me water to. I couldn't know

13 years from that Wednesday, I'd be bringing

:L. _ r : :. "'r




'.-; . ~ .• ~.; : r·~.

, '

. . ~.:- .~

everything to her in

my house, in the room so transformed by hospital beds, commodes, bed pans, pills, she asked "was it really her room?"

Or know, last year, running up and down, crushing demerol in

soup or anything sweet --

cooking and re-cooking broccoli

as the IV dripped

like the days I had no

idea were quite as numbered, dazed running and rushing,


-. 1'<_- ...

both of us scrawny

my falling asleep in the grocery line as she yelped my hands were knives, were toO cold, killing you when

I rubbed her back. I knew the end of (he plot, where we were heading, but not how we'd get there

r: •


Joan Payne Kincaid

The redtail sails beyond the world assess ing November 9th migrations of warblers and robins

it stirs the sun and computes moves like a stringless kite

it flies translucence with black fingertips buteo stretched tight as canvas

in motionless deceptive trance

on stiff northeast wind

contemplating a kill

-", "

. '" '.

observe its rolling timelessness fierce detached secret intent hypnotically you begin

to think you are its slow revolutions as if you both are caught in the wind or corpses transformed to space.


f. -- .... : -:!'" :- -:!-. '_~ .•• ~-_:;! - v. -: ... :: r~: ! :-.~: _'.::"";: '.~. "." ,/~,.,.:,- . ..;-::- " .','. =\ ~. I

AIRPORT Joan Payne Kincaid

Down so
at homo
Kennedy sapiens
the can
I I birds fly
they friendly
I shoot skies
on are
their Laughing
nests Gulls. 14

r- .

~~. . ' ..

••• :.... " .' -.;.. • 1 ~. ~ I.~· - ..



Kid at the museum calls it a bore: old slice of giant sequoia.

Can't figure out the lines

of grown-ups every day ...

Thankyou notes stick from bark flaking apart like pastry dough --

It's the happy tree.

Rings show the good stuff coming up in Mom or Dad's life; saint who appears on Sundays

in nearby back yard

lost her crowds

predicting perdition.

Magnifying glass moved slow shows tiniest script:

lottery win, reunion

with high school love,

child on a full scholarship new living room furniture

-- no one looks for D-Day.


'J .: ;:_. ',:

- .. . "-.::

"_ .,'


Cyrus told me about the small drummer boy who fell asleep and woke to find himself taken for a corpse

and laid out in a long row

of dead men. The child screamed and screamed. When the battle of Shiloh ended, over 500 horses

lay dead-bloated and stinking-on the field. During the battle, undergrowth caught fire and many


" '. :,",~ ," • 'L. ':'" ";'

~ .. ' _' _" • " .• , • _~_ ":. ._ .. '._ : r '._., • .:' . .'

• _~ _:0 ~.. .," :.,. - .,:.-- .'.. • ~ •

wounded men screamed for a while. My brother

and my husband were there. Many of the wounded dragged themselves

to a pond, but as more injured men came

and collapsed, by morning the water was blood red. Southern men won

the first day, but

on the second day fresh Federal troops took back the ground they'd lost. And I lost my husband. Cyrus tried to carry him, but

approaching rebel troops forced my brother to drop my husband and flee. Later, Will was found wrapped in

a gray blanket. Apparently, my Will hadn't died right off, but rather faded

like a fire going out. Forever, I'll be grateful to the unknown kind Confederate. I brought Will's body and his horse

home [Q Illinois. Other men, less ranked, were buried in mass graves. "125 Rebels" and in a separate trench "35 Union."



Bruce Hesselbach

There's a sense of grandiose adventure when rising up out of thick forest suddenly the world rolls out below you: houses and farms, counties, vast lakes, commerce, wealth, population, everything tiny below your feet.

The dizzying cliffs; the cooling breeze.

Sometimes when I hike I come across pleasing surprises like a wooden ladder up a steep climb

or a sheer slate gray water-

fall, bridal veil threads cascading white on the dark gray jagged edges of a perpendicular cliff.


. ;~:'.

. ~'.~.

Or in twilight two fishers bounding across the trail startling US and no less our dog.

Or, in darkness coming down

from Katahdin by flashlight, the noises --

we don't want to see them --

they could be skunks!

Looming up over Noonmark,

the impressive mass

of Dix Mrn., gored with slides, with

a snow cloud battering its summit.

The cloud foaming at the mouth

is a wild beast held back by chain,

then lunging forward and hurling through Noonrnark's birches with snow.


. ~,". :::" ,,',..,;-.: ","'

It was worth chancing the weather

to see Hurricane Mtn, crowned with hoarfrost white balsam firs, white saplings, mountain ash without leaves --

red berries on white branches --

icicles dangling from rock; ice on the trail with bubbles flowing under the ice.

How many times have I reached a mountain cop and the clouds unexpectedly cleared?

On Cardigan I saw hazy lakes and valleys and distant mountains like whales breaching out of white foam.

It was worth a few raindrops to see all that.





Bruce Hesselbach

I can't ride my bike around. My neighborhood

is no good.

We had a girl there

who was lost and never found.


I can't go.

I am small

with slender limbs. My bike outside has silver rims.

When the little boys call, I want to ride,

not stay inside.


. ~~. :

(:. ~'7 .:" <, -, .

..... ;: ...... :- .",

. .-:_..' .,_~ ...

', -'"

While I sit outdoors in the sand box,

the little boys roam around several blocks. Their mothers are sure that they'll come home when they ride alone.

But I can't ride my bike around. My neighborhood

is no good.

We had a girl there

who was lost and never found.


I can't go.

:-_ ...... -

:.".' .:.

~''';' .' -;r. ..

. - -. -.~ ": - '.

WINTER SCE~ES Bruce Hesselbach

every day the sun's path sinks lower and lower until it's blocked by the brandnew chasm of brick

artificial cliff whose ravenous shadow grows and grows leaves fly down dark streets chrysanthemums wither

new neighbors blind the old

• !r' :. ' •• i~' -': .:' .I_";·



The bomb released into the falling night plays the hollow music

of the people who made it; The music of parked cars jammed under streetlight. The music of rusted washers abandoned in cornfields.

The music nf fluorescent tubes shining on linoleum floors. The music of sleeping books

in the heart of dark libraries.


.. ~ . ' .. - ~' .. ~

r « .t-

The music of police cars, side by side, funning,

in the empty factory lot. The music of a people looking for love,

filling the nigh t

with the teeth of their hunger.


Ruth Daigon

They come without warning, a missed beat, a breath,

a handgrip on a rope slivering the skin.

Each hooded figure carries

a candle in his skull, death under a sheet, his white skin the dark place he burrows into.

In No Man's land from

Scotland Green to Cemetery Road the air smells of accidents,

a skyscape of burning crosses.

.. ~ ..... /. -. " .:: ~'~' ..

Sound spurts from hiss and stammer into fullthroa ted voices of fire.

Something lies half-buried, waiting. Fear has its holding place

in cracks, crevices, erosions. Hate tightens roots in a stranglehold.

Welded together in silence, watches link hands,

count each finger twice

and bear witness.

After midnight fires burn out, families sit and stare at a window's width of sky while a quiet

watch of men oil their guns.


:;- ..

T_:- .

" ....

· .. :.' , - . ~.,

: ... ' ·l


Ruth Daigon

Check the wiring Unplug the shriek

Listen to the steel-wool voice - of the box poised in (he kitchen Leash you doubts

wi th little grins


nods of the head Remove your glasses Cough



Adjust the paper flower in your button hole

Become shut spring smooth rock

as explosions

grow nearer and louder Although bulletins are printed in another language broadcasts scrambled

news gets here just the same

and death grows a richer crop each year

• '~.' ~ c



woods splatter with gunshots feathers flutter

the high whine of blood. And the hunters.

They skirt our woods and look for some excuse to enter.

The Fur Fin and Feather Club exercises squatter's rights

co hunt our animals

and fish our pond.

They know the secret of balance of focusing the bullet

of aiming dead center at what we never understood but what we chose

to love.

Birds trill

down a long September from bare tree

to bald ground.

Animals crazy with life race through undergrowth.


'. ~ .

; ,':..


WHEN ANGELS SHATTER Da vid Michael Nixon

At night when my knees shake and no one knows me,

at night when the cat curled into my hair turns to flashing claws,

at night when angels shatter all around me in showers of stained glass, I reach in to the boiling darkness, seeking to clutch a phantom hand.

I .~




-t- • " .•

.., t- ~,r '.' , )-


was arrested as

a vagrafl(

(drun.k or high) sp~nt a, night awash

. in a cell -

g.·uess, yelling for food,

(~\t.ee( peas with oil), .

t:;.jl.Qugh'to make a man barf anchors. 011, yes! He had one--

'3 tattoo on the

bigge'st arms I've seen. And he flexed them,

-,grabbed the bars

. .',:" ': " .. ':

and shook til his squinty eye shut

(near bit his pipe in two) and said something about being a yam, while poking around

the d irry floor.

Finally, he settled down

and asked what was for dinner. Guess he wants to get

thinner on veggies,

but this is a meat

and bread joint.

"" .'


• , "~ .. ', e • I .' :

THEOLOGY Terry Thomas

Age is a hangover without the buzz.

The bartender wipes the frothy pew', indifferent smile.

And all the while, sipping

or chugging to years, fears ferment in amber liquid--seek the blessing.

The barmaid flashes smooth thighs. ignoring sighs from the choir.


. ~" ,_"."" _"

-,.' :

I'd be a liar if I said

I didn't seek the fountain of youth, but truth is bound in glassy

sides, reflecting nothing.

The drunkard nibbles wafers, tasting wine and the gathering headache of too many communions.

~ .- •• _.""- _." _ r _' ••• _. • " ... ,' ..


Jeff Parker Knight

An old story: the pitcher hasn't got the speed anymore, but he can still paint the plate:

the boxer's footwork has gone co hell,

but he understands the rhythms of flurry and recovery, knows where he is in the ring, in the round, in the fight. His counterpunching is immaculate.

At the park I see them, middle-aged dad (lost a step) shooting hoops with teen-aged son. Dad's up 10-9, gotta win by two.

The kid should have put the old man away by now:

he's taller, faster, with a better shot and quicker hands. Dad misses a five-footer, the kid rebounds, takes it back,

..:.".: _,:' .' ..


immediately drives, spins,

and as he shoots Dad bumps him, not enough to call the foul,

but enough to disrupt the shot. And now the old guy takes it back, sets it up,

begins worki ng it in, his back to Junior, methodical.

He's letting his dribble drift left a little, then a bit more

(enough? no, not yet)

until, the split-second

before Junior goes for the steal, really commits,

Dad spins right, easy lay-up, game. 30

t, '0;.'

-, .:T_": ..... , ":

_; .. 'r, ,J _ - • "

;. _" ~ ,"

Still, his shirt is soaked,

he is badly winded, and the kid could play til dark.

The scale is tipping.

l .: :. ~ :

:'"".-:r~·· .o,' ? .:--


Jeff Parker Knight

I was carrying (he baby, trekking across the hot asphalt coward the store,

when the drought broke into a million


The rain startling to his skin, too-sudden cold,

Dylan almost cried,

but when he looked my way I pointed upward, said:

Look, there's water falling from the sky! I ruffled his hair, and he smiled a little.

- . .,.'.

He looked where I had pointed, mouth

open, tasting [he rain. He giggled a little. I said: Dylan look,

and stomped my foot,

splashing a fast-forming


He was laughing hard now, arms raised, welcoming it all,

and we laughed and splashed our soggy way across the lot, utter fools,

people scaring.

Oh, we were happy.


• r ~..- : _ ... \0,

• • ~ 1 • '{""- '.~',":'.

I.' .-


Will Inman

snails in the garden path suck up september rain

due in july, late like politician's promises, shells crunch under my heels: those parasites carry cosmic spirals --

no avoiding hints of heaven, but look

in your mirror, you wonder if you'd carry that worn face with you

were there any such place to fetch. everyone else leaves it behind to burn or bury or both. what makes you think you'll be any different. it's not god who's the politician, no,


. '., ."

", .. :~., .; '"':"' . " .. ~ -:

it's human interpreters who play that dreary game: real heaven's still those last few minutes in the garden

in spite of snails they can't help being shaped in galactic image, hell, your heart muscles are spiral too,

and even hearts wear out. bliss

may i remind you is not some forever place, no, forever bliss is a few minutes alone with scorched irises and that one scrub pine, those rare seconds can last you

longer than time

September 2, 1994, Tucson


She has birch

and everything is birth. Through the windows, trees opening up like wounded, plump thighs, straining flocks of finches out of a warm, green belly.

She lies in bed, clutching that piece of her she almost let go.

The morning's precocious sob has flesh and bone,

. : - . .' . :.. " .. :: ...

,-:. - ...

creeps its tiny arms around

her breast, not the dream dreaming but the dream paralyzed awake.

I cross over the strange knot, woman and baby,

melting a dark depression in the womb of sheets,

not knowing where fabric ends and skin starts,

standing, staring,

absorbed by beginning's strangled gurgle.

I wonder what part of me was taken to make this

,= . ,.:~ _'.'.


child and who will replace it? Is what she loved in me

now molded into the bones, bud eyes, dark hair and lashes of the burrowing infant.

Veins suck back and forth against the milky surface,

my blood imbibed, secreted. She does not see me now,

Doctors sapped her rose with bony hands. I do not waken the tendrils

with a glance.

They breathe back and forth,

mother, child, mother, child, mother, child.


Finches string along the upper elm branches.

Something has escaped me via flight. I fill the eat's water bow!.

Even that furry ball seems to know, something is alive,

something is alive -

crying for the wand of attention, dribbling down the white of birth, gripping with tiny fingers,

my fingers

but mine no longer.

.. .."1.'.~"':;' .'.


And when behind me

the door closes

in your upturned faces yet

you must not turn away nor oddly even find the key

but turn [he knob (0 try to see

my side of things




Knowing now that lovers lose faith

and friends absorb themselves, that critics are blind to vision, and fortune

finds whores and gamblers,

that those who shop for beauty at the mall must return, that no murder

is premeditated once it occurs, that words are believed, the war never ends, sex

is dear, that the jails

cry with children taught honestly to cheat,

1 own the ages

and face death without despair.


·,_. '; ~ .... t _~ .-".' - ;

,.' :" ..

IN ST LUKES GARDEN Gertrude Morris

She funs toward me talking her talk,

one of the cats who come for the hunting.

Does she think opening the camera means food,

or is it company she craves?

I smooth her soft fur, small motor humming behind delicate ribs and throat.

She attends to my ankles, rubbing scent· from her cheek to make me hers.

. ~:" :.


\Ve go touch to touch til she captures my hand in soft footpads (claws well sheathed).

As I turn to leave, the coral cave

of her mouth opens without sound;

she looks smaller, forlorn, almost gone in the purr of time,

miming the only word she knows to call me back: meow.

I r ...


\VA R~1SWO RTH Gertrude Morris

After the rain

worms are pink jewels shining on the walk. If stepped on, given the chance,

a miracle occurs:

All on their own they grow a whole new worm.

In experiments

Worm Planarius will twitch when touched with electric current, at the same time a light goes on.

After that they'll twitch when light occurs.

For all the clever work

they are chopped up and fed to other worms, and ~ respond to light.


it ". " ~r '.: ~ ': .: ......

. ' i" ••

.. .: . . ~ .

I marvel that memory is stored in bits of worm, transferred to another worm

that somewhere in moist pink slither

lie receptors for the stimulus

that stirs them to perform.

They are like poets, children who remember, waiting for the jolt of memory,

to see the Light, and begin again, a whole new poet

a new poem.

Science has reasons I don't want to know, only this:

Do they feel the pain?

Can they forgive what was done to them?


. 'r:


~ : _ .. ,:~' ", - ,,' " .. _ ", ~ ~ .::

....... ': .. ~ -.- "",

GRANDMOTHER Gertrude Morris

When I think of those summers

it's always the light I remember: sun spangling the path that wound through the cool of the little woods where she sat reading her prayers.

The prayers were read from right to left as if the Light of the Word would blind . if faced head on, and was best approached obliquely. Grandma prayed for all of us, especially, I thought, for me

r .~ ....•• ,," :' •• _ ." ..... :., _ ....

[he wild one, always running barefoot

(0 the lake to swim with the Italian boys. It seemed to worry her. After all we were bluebloods, Kohanim; we prayed with the splayed fingers, the magic key

to God's unlisted number.

On a green day in the garden

while at prayer, a hummingbird

lighted on the edge of the Book.

It illumined the Word a moment

then flew up into the light;

she often spoke of it.

The night I found her lying on the floor, her head lolled like a broken doll's,

but her body still looked smooth and white

: • v • ~. 'i,..' .... ' •.• ~." . - , .' r"

with more to give, almost young as a girl's.

I shouted to reach where she was going. She opened one blue eye and muttered: tired ... nap ... then she'd ...

her last word was fagele,

a pet name for me: little bird.

Kohanim: plural of Koha«: High priests of trot Temp!!. Hebr(f;J F age!t: Bird. Diminutive. ytddisJ.


..::" .. 4 •• ,


At the bottom of the bag I found blue-sprigged pajamas mother made for me when I was a girl. It was as if I found her among the rags. The pajamas, torn

and turning brown, were soft with age. I could see her strong, thick fingers (index nail distorted)

deftly passing the cloth under the fool:

of the old Singer Sewing Machine.

I remembered her, elbows deep in flour, kneading satiny dough for hulsa, pounding it down again and again.


Put to rise at the back of the stove, lightly covered by a white, linen cloth, it smelled sweet of cinnamon;

I often stole a forbidden crumb

and ate it raw. (When it was baking we had to tip-toe past the stove

as if a baby were sleeping.

The pajama top was falling apart

but I did try on the pants ... Too tight now to button, the old flannel was gentle, warm as a hand.

Bulka: ?;:((i COffii brtad. Russian.

: .. ~. ~.'" :,

• .: .,~ ... ~ •• __ :'.:' _,,' •.•• :"" ';,r _ ... ,

JII\1 BRIDGER: BLIND Arthur Winfield Knight

Reporters come

and ask me how it used to be. I'm a curiosity, a relic.

I outlived three wives,

all squaws,

and most of my friends. I spend my afternoons sitti ng on the porch facing west, waiting.

My hands shake so badly

I can barely roll a cigarette, and I'm almost blind.

I was the first white man to see the Great Salt Lake and I built a fort

. ~', -, .: - " ..

bearing my name

on the Green Rivet in Wyoming. You can see so much farther

in that country.

I never had no learning,

but I don't have to be smart to know a man needs

more reason to live

than a rocking chair

on the porch

of a shirr)' rooming house in Kansas City.

I can speak French, Spanish and a dozen Indian dialects, but there's no one to talk to, I want to go back,

but] can spit

further than I can see.


f.. '.

" ,"

.", .:+ . ~. . 1". '~'.~.

' ..


-'. , . ; ":,'. ,: ..

I HAVE LIVED Joy Hewitt Mann

in places

where people turn on themselves in rooms so small

the words rub raw

and pain

and whiskey smells seep through the walls

where even lovers turn to stone hurl their loneliness

come in screams

in rooms so small

they turn themselves

into a fetal curl.

fim published in Hosthox, U of 0, Onawa, Summer 1994

. .



Joy Hewitt Mann

In [he white room

[he man with tatooed arms plays with sunbeams

splashing the ceilings and walls with his shadows.

They explained

her death

because they were strangers

in words as clear as headlights. Where violence had rushed like stones hurled at a bird

she had flown over the edge

co avoid the lights of drunken men.

Beside him, Bibi laughs

touching the sun with tiny fingers. He moves his tattooed arms

and scabs the light with tears.

fin: published in Hostbox, U of 0, Onawa, Autumn, 1993


.. ,-. ':.

.' .~ ~

TI-IEHOOD Joy Hewitt Mann

It began with a corner store selling a chaw or frou-frous for the ladies,

just like another store

two miles down the rutted road selling the same,

both surrounded by houses that grew and gabled and gingerbreaded into a town when they met,

birthing foul spitting factories, bleak-faced mills rumbling

on hot summer days disgorging slack-faced workers into


• ~ ••• "<" • ~ .-~. -:,


f •• ,:._.

; ........ - '; .. ~.~

a city

that crackles with neon at night. ROOMS ... NAKED GIRLS ... SEX frou-frous hang on the tits and

asses of bitter-mouthed women

but they don't stay there long

and the customers who aren't drunk have had their chaw of crack

and break their faces on their

own fists,

and down the dingy halflit streets under the eyes of

sad gable and gingerbread they're selling a blow-job or death --

you can buy anything at the corner store,

fim published in The Skinny, Kitchener, 1994

: -_, - ..... ! ..... ; ~;. -'0

,.' .....

. ..... _ .

..... /~~.l' ._~ _ .~' "' .. '~ ": "" •

-"'~ . ":, • r _.::.:-.-·o~· _ - I

IT'S A WAR OUT THERE Joy Hewitt Mann

I give my change to the street kid (barely a child) clad in Salvation Army handouts,

her life a burlap bag of memories and worn blankets. Her shy back hugs the hotel wall, thin shoulders edge away from touching,

Sad kitten eyes will not play my game (no thanks/no pity) they see this day and no more,

the coins and I exist as seconds of near past, near enough to have no surface of pain attached.

I walk away quickly, my body pulling free

from armed invasions of other soldiers of misfortune, my mind expanding out to touch her reasons

for choosing [his life of begging change by day and

. ,,~. ".

._ - ~ 0 •• ,'-


, l -: .' .:.. :-.: .. : , : .--' ,




begging life by night

(over what")

... the unwanted civilian casualty of the what that came before

... a battle bruised the tissues of her lies

.. .force marched to the beatings of a different drummer

(no food for thought in that Mess)

And now (the Uncle Sams) the pimps, the pushers, the beggars, the children "rho bear their pain in togetherness,

want her.

FORCE FEEDING Joy Hewitt Marin

They turn them away from the soup kitchen Christmas Day --

food for two hundred, five hundred show.

A no-food riot.

Police come, nursing their diet of too much

of too much, bellies fu 11

as they swing

.;. \ . .':.~. "_"';

their night sticks

and call for order. "There's nothing left." "Go home."

"Clear the area."

Home's a bitter pill

taken on an empty stomach, and people with

full stomachs

never catch

food hysteria.


" .. '. :~, • , .. ' ,.: ~ .- -~. ,i".

-'.\- .~ -", =':'-' .. : ·r.:·' ';. • ~t-.. '!-':l .... ~. _._ .... " ...... ~ ... _. ~ .


Albert Huffstickler

"Maverick. n. (A/tffSamuelNaverick, 19th c. Texas ranchffwiJO did not brand his cattle). 1. an unbranded animal, especially a lost calf,fomJerly the legitimate property of the first person who branded it; hence 2} (colloq) a person not labeled as belonging to arry one party faction, etc., who acts independently." - Websters Net» World Dictionary 1960

I love that word. It's a spacious word, a tolerant word, a human word. There's a final beatitude, lost somewhere in history, that says, "Blessed are the mavericks for they shall come home." But, Webster's notwithstanding, there's a further meaning to the word, perhaps never clearly stated but nevertheless implicit. The rna verick is one who doesn't fit in but is nevertheless of value. And it is this meaning that gives vitality, scope and direction to the word. It: is this meaning that makes the word a badge to be worn with pride.

The word maverick is an all-inclusive term that embraces the loner, the noncornforrnist, the artist and the renegade. It includes the bank clerk who builds violins in his basement at night, the moonshiner who runs for state legislature, the country girl who won't work in the fields but sings at every gathering til she finally becomes known. And it goes on to include those who accomplish little or nothing: the wanderer on his way from nowhere to nowhere


, .

-ith all his worldly goods on his back, the kid who sits on the sidewalk, his back against a ~~ilding staring into nowhere. And it refuses to shun, or in any way impugn, the shiftless, the crazy, the incompetent.

It is a Christian term in the very deepest sense of the word because it turns no one away for lack of merit and it is a creative term because it allows a person to be where he is reo-ardless of social biases and hence gives him a point from which [Q start to develop his p:renrial without compromising that identity that is uniquely his own. 0

It's a expansive word, as wide and deep as a west Texas sky at sunset, a word designed [0 continue expanding as people continue [Q alter the ways in which they manifest their variety and eccentricity, It's a democratic word. It refuses to leave anyone out, refuses to

deny anyone the right to his basic uniqueness, . 0

And further, it's a Texas word but because, by its very nature, it cannot be contained, it becomes Texas' gift to the universe-sa term designed to include and contain the unincludeable and the uncontainable and bring them home, make them a part of things without ever infringing on their basic identity.

Lastly, it's a compassionate word, a forgiving word, a word I'd be honored to have on my tombstone. Let my epitaph read, "Peace to his bones. The maverick has come home."


I': ..

."\.. .: -". '..;. .:. ' ~'i~~ .. : :.- .. _~ .. ~ .. l-'~''''-J~_ o'!.

...... J .... ! . ;.~-. _' :- :-.-~~ •. ~ ... .t •• : ~a.._;':; ... ~" •.. , .. ;_ •... :~ .•. ,11-.....,0:'"


Albert Huffstickler

Well, things change but that one day we spent looking for a frying pan was one of the nicest of my life--cold, [he dead of winter, bundled up, driving all afternoon from one store to the next lookinz


for a frying pan because myoid

one had burned out or was too cruddy to clean, all over town, freezing our asses off, one store after another, stopping for coffee from time to time, clinging to each other in the cold, I knew just

the kind I wanted I kept saying but it never seemed to be where 52

we were looking and finally I settled for a blue enamelware

pan from Academy but it really didn't matter, what mattered was moving through the cold laushina

<:> b'

feeling the cold in us like new

life, a clear goal ahead. If I

showed you this now, you'd probably get mad because thinzs chanced

'" '"

later and now this is all a long

time ago but looking back with the clarity of distance I see

so much joy and realize that

it really was one of the nicest days of my life and for that reason alone deserves to be recorded and

so here it is. July 4, 1994


I • :'. •• "~~~. c e ," '.

_ t, •