vVATERvVAYS: Poet:ry in the Ivl a i n s tr'e a rrr July.


Don't let that horse

eat that violin

Laarena Fcding.utli (In excerpt from nA Coney IsJand of lite Mind"


"'\!VATE R\7V A YS: Poetry in the Mainstream

Volume 16 Number7 July, 1995

Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher

Thomas Perry, Assistant

con. r.en. r.s
John Grey 4-5 M. M. Nichols 19-20 James Penha 31
Sr. Mary Ann Henn 6 H. Edgar Hix 21 Alan Brict 32
Gertrude Morris 7-9 Ida Fasel 22-23 Lyn Lifshin 33-34
Mary Winters 10-11 Giovanni Malito 24 Will Inman 35-36
CB Follett 12-13 Ruth Daigon 25-27 Albert Huffscickler 37-40
Terry Thomas 14-17 David Michael Nixon 28-29
Geoff Stevens 18 Cathleen Cohen 30 Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $20 a year. Sample issues -$2.60 (includes postage), Submissions will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self addressed en vel ope. Waterways. 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127

@ 1995, Ten Penny Players Inc.

1995 themes excerpted from Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Coney hhnd of the Mind.

Copyright ® 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.



Animal Man John Grey

I see him quite often

on the Providence streets, looking in the window

of the video rental store,

_ making strange gutteral sounds that seem to come from the cardboard cut-out of Godzilla,

or walking quickly through Kennedy Plaza,

leaving a trail of

. elephant trumpets

and chimpanzee laughter.

The man

who wanders the city making animal noises

is probably about 45,

although his madness keeps him younger. Joey says

he was kicked

in the head by a horse as a child and

that that animal

still hasn't let go.

I've heard him

as he sits on a pigeon scarred bench


on a soulless winter's day,

in the shadow of the skyscrapers,

filling in for the birds with a shrill warble

that is not of one species but a composite of

all of them,

mottled together as if by a _- police station artist

or the heart-tugging whimper ora bear cub in a trap.

Even on these dark days,

in a down-town devoid of life, he will greet me

with a tip of the hat

and a lovely bass hippo bellow

Perhaps he believes that as the species die,

he will be allowed to stay,

a man wandering the concrete and glass menagerie

with a million secrets

beneath his skin,

letting them fly free

through his elastic throat

so that the rest of us

may glimpse thac thin light and remember.


Is It the Real World? Sr. Mary Ann Henn

While the world waits holding its breath

he wanders the globe in search of adventure

all 4 corners

of a round earth.

It's a wonderful world but does he know where the sky begins or ends?

He's seen it aU the seasons desert snow oceans mountains

animals birds

humans flowers vegetables

. moon stars sun but has he seen the poor the old the tragedy of war?

Is it the Real World he sees or one he keeps inventing?


Mare's Tales

Gertrude Morris

On 59th Street, you can find a horse anytime, standing in his own powerful stinks, waiting to take tourists for a

carriage ride around the Park.

The drivers' style is Old English Thrift Shop: dented top hat, flower in the band, swallow-tail jacket over a tee shirt.

The horse wears a straw hat

with his ears poked out Resting

one foot on its tip, head hanging down, he dozes and dreams of meadows. Behind the set bones of his head,

he can't smile, or furrow his brow, but he nickers when he knows you; his muzzle is tender in your hand; his long face looks like someone's mahogany violin stuck in a feed bag.


Way Out West Gertrude Morris

The summer I graduated High School Mother and I went to Colorado

to stay with Cousins Jack and Hazel, and their two boys.

Jack was a pioneer, the first Jew they ever saw in Monte Vista.

Funny thing was, he looked just like them:

Sandy haired, bow-legged, Ten Gallon Hat.

The Ski-Hi Stampede came to town;

Slim Emery was one of the bronco riders; he came to Jack's store to buy things,

but never smoked: He rolled his own!


We flirted a little. He showed me how to roll a cigarette. Said he'd teach me to ride. We did go out and ended up

in the rodeo grounds after hours. We climbed

to the judges' shack for the view,

where he tried to ride~. He got mad when I fought him off. Didn't he take a bath? Didn't he slick his hair with Bryl Cream?

("J ust a little dab will do you.") Then Jack got me a horse to ride from a kid he knew. He said:

"He's an old horse; he'll teach you something."

Jack was mean; maybe it was the TB.

The horse costs SO cents for the day, and he wasn't 'North dirt. No matter how I dug in my heels, he'd turn his head homeward.

Finally 1 gave in and let him follow his head home.

The last I saw, he was grazing

on the cabbages. Walking back

I remember seeing a bleached cow's skull at the side of the road, like a prop in an old Western.

What the Horse Wants Mary Winters

A solemn white horse, not the kind to sign up for a carousel.

Leading the Macy's Thanksgiving parade

it's embarrassed,

the Mickey Mouse balloon kid stuff.

Rodent who sold out to H ol/ywood.



through the dreams of a Jungian analyst: what the horse wants. Symbolizing

the blind force

of primeval chaos The unconscious. The steed a subject of doctoral theses.

A mythic encounter with a boar: what the horse wants. Wild pig with its own yen for glory.

More than trampling and goring-opposite souls

whose moonlit battle is legend.

The unicorn

of tapestry fame

not far from their minds.

A Soldier and Sugar Mary Winters

An ant leads you (0 militancy. Shiny black uniform

jawed helmer. Antennas

for getting the word:

March. Attack. Halt. Return to base double time. Leave the wounded.


An ant leads you to sweets. Melting icecream bar

at the lake, jelly

on the kitchen floor

A picnic's cookie crumbs.

An ant leads you to crunch.



CB Follett

like smoke from signal fires hill to hill, bring word

of the past.

Strong as eggs

the smell of low tide

clangs with unexpected astringency.

I lift my head like an unbridled horse, sniff the air, deep droughts of mud-brine.

In estuaries, inlets, or along some . stretched out shore; wherever the smell hits, it carries vistas of slick green rocks;

horseshoe crabs pondering among muscles and mud; barnacled forts beneath the piers,


where one misstep could slice a sisterhood of blood between my heel

and some glacier-carried rock;

herring gulls screech after a dropped clam, fiddler crabs make tiny ping-prints

as they scuttle off in usurped homes;

the stays of boats slap slap against masts and bows dip and clap the water.

All the flags flap from the yardarms

of the clubhouse; their mothy smell dissipating into sea air, and our arms

and our cheeks and hair are thick with salt.

Jack and Bill are boxing the spinnaker, buckles and grommets clank together. The sail smells fresh and sunburnt

from hanging to dry after the last race; the one where Jimmy Barber caught his red and blue sail-belly in a wave

and sank bow-first in a late Sunday squall.

The odorless splat of goose jellies

thrown, slathered on my shoulders; rubbed into my hair. The squeals that meant

J like if 1 hate it I'm glad you noticed me

and the smell under the float, forbidden

by our mothers, where barnacles

and waving sea moss mixed

with the new heat of kisses.


Lost in the 'Woods Terry Thomas

It's usually therapeutic -beautiful bends and whorls, pine, oak and sky.

I could walk it with

eyes closed, almost cut

my way safely to free

fires and light. .. almost.

Last time was a crime against nature, unnatural. Saturated with sweat, footballs fields from the truck,

I would've bet on


the path back. But I looked -- it was strange, elfin, alien;

the sun was turned, askew; new -- everything --

like it was bid out on Mars, the moon (but trees were still there). I stared ... looking for a familiar bend, whorl (world gone wrong). Where was the truck? Where I? Why this loss, like any tracker blood

had bled into the hungry dirt. Why this squirt

of fear, trembling

toasting my canteen to

green ghosts?

I did get back ... somehow. My truck looked

like King's X, sanctuary, home.

Sometimes when I'm alone, quiet, staring into a safe flame I sweat, cold,

telling myself I'm just

the same (but already dead) wondering about

the bends and whorls

in my mind.

Old Crayons Terry Thomas

Left old crayons under the new summer sun, accidentally. Violet-red, yellow-orange,

brown and gray were condemned to aslow sprawl--

puddle in paper skin.

They were in a battered

box which used to lock

(don't want to look

roo closely at some things). Crayons struck fire (cousins to candles)

to a bag of marbles

and my championship top (wood and glass won't dissolve). I want to evolve to

green, purple or blue,

stray from the chipping

away of inevitable

black and white.

. .

In a mlcroscope --

long gone--


Tapestry Terry Thomas

Now I dread its censure, sure there's an answer

in its rich blend --

but it sends nothing. Some see skyscrapers

in its pattern,

some clouds,

some see tigers

dancing in green.

I've seen a


texture, furred on some

ends, bending my straight wall.

It prances on my wall, proud,

loud with weavings, curled, hurled together by an unfettered feline. She was mine, then -saw threads I did

dread to show,

knew my plait,

would wait patiently

to catch loose strands,


Ozzie Mantis

Terry Thomas

I met a raveler from the garden. rich Who said: two little legs, alone

Stand by tomatoes ... Near them, in the ditch, Near to stink, a chewed head lies, down,

And nibbled lip, was a dear sandwich,

Know by remains, well his passions bled

and I remember, cramped in lifeless hugs, The jaw that locked them, the mouth that fed; And in the dirt his juices write:

"My name is Ozzie Mantis, bug of bugs:

Look on my mate, ye Small and bite!" Nothing else remains. Found the rot

Of that rnonurnented peck, soundless and slight The tomatoes guard the murder plot.


Panorama Geoff Stevens

After breakfast bathers coffee tinged with sun lie upon a plate rim

of shimmering hot sand as the blue-yoked egg breaks once again

its pure-white albumen of frothy waves.


Cheeky Dog Met on the Street M. M. Nichols

Shy perhaps,

Black turning gray, plump at the angles,

he hangs back a little, below the walker owner's elbow. His cheeks are smilingly round

as if filled with Charms, so packed in they'll tumble out if he opens his mouth.

It's how my father's cheeks looked sometimes when he stood tall and tucked his chin under:'

ready [0 burst

with some subtle mischief, sunning in the fondness people feel for an old dog

still wagging.



M. M. Nichols

surveying all directions gray and white pigeon up on a branch

sticks his long neck out

the three dance

they peck and peck gravel oh madly accelerating

at last swoops to gravel, is joined by fellow gray & white too

but enough-they split

up & away each whirling to a different wind

and from unexpected quarter another relative--

black & white,

holstein of pigecnry


) -. ! J

Alien Artifact H. Edgar Hix I've painted the raw metal,

insulated it with 12 inches of pink insulation, built a case of oak two by fours around it, and even painted them black, too.

It's still too hot to touch. It still glows at night.

The stray cats gather around it for heat in the winter. I don't dare take it inside because it's too big.

The wife would have a fit.

But, I can't just leave it out there any longer. It's killed all the grass around it

The strays scare away every precious cardinal and sparrow. The autumn leaves seem to stick to it like a magnet

lid bury it,

but it floats two feet off the ground and won't come down. I'd open it,

but I saw what went in before it closed.


Traveling Smithsonian Ida Fasel

Shall I fly the Northwest Passage? Cross the International Date Line? Board an icebreaker? Sight from deck polar bear and snow goose?

I lack the brochure's requisite "good health, stamina, flexibility." Flexibility most of all.

Is there really a Chukchi sea? Shall I hear stories of old times

from smiling faces framed in breathy fur? In a Chukchi legend rocks were

God's first creatures he abandoned

for a better try.


When I was small I knew my ... -ray through all the unanswerables just by sliding my bottom

up and down shore rocks,

eating sea-raw dulse

that stayed where it was planted,

where I liked to be, .

where the sea rushed in to fill the labyrinthine turns of rock and gave me cool-warm words

for a grand narrative beyond my means to prove or pronounce.

Rocks the everyday of everywhere -piled on shore, holding down the field. Strangers on earth, all of us,

rolling stones perpetually recycled, those Time wears on his little finger, the smaller the better

to mend the winter-robbed wall we are.

Resting My Case Ida Fasel

A shower keeps me inside looking OUL No need to water the lawn today.

Rain installs itself gently

in the landscape.

A moment to be still.

Yet notfree of the hurly-burly world, the babble of talk-show hosts,

live and let live my unity,

setting aside gene and gender studies, honest about failings,

mine in particular.

Which addict brother and sister shall I tend in sickness

when they can't get high?

So many brothers and sisters, eyes in a crumbling wall.

I stand at the window a small step from rain, my company rain.

AliI hear is a loom, leave being woven with a weft of soft rain.

AlII feel is my conscience washed clean, wrapped like a garden rock

in shining foil by the rain.

If only this moment could last.


Protective Instinct Giovanni ~."lalito

Country road late in evening high beams

and my son awake next to me

There's something on the road -Look dad!

It's coming closer the usual illusion -

Look Dad, a dead animal!


It's almost under us and then I sec it

a man's body dead

in a pool of blood -Wow Dad. Look at that!

I swerve

and keep on driving -Did you see that Dad?

a huge dead animal, Dad.

Perhaps I'm a coward but perhaps my son

will be like Buddha someday?

Since Our Dog Died Ruth Daigon

\Vith a terrible hunger, they inhabit my green ju ngle of sleep.

animals move in towards the house.

Snakes slip through hedges

Lewd, toothy, carnivorous, they signal me with

dream claws and fangs.

a red fox, squatting on its tail, devours 'apples from our tree

the lawn's sieved by rodents a shadow ofa wing

covers the wall.

I signal back

with ancient mouth and furred throat

until the bloodrush

in a linkage of dreams.



The Void Ruth Daigon

Schooled in flowers Matriculated in bombs Trapped in a common dark What is loose flows

\Vhat is fixed withers

And the dead make impossible demands

No tears to scald the snow or melt the peaks

No sound except the squeaking of a prayer wheel Priests have stolen all the rest

Not a nimbus is spared

Not a funeral note

Only the sea sucking on empty bottles


Still Life

Rurh Daigon

Scraping the canvas clean, he lays his head on the table next to the fruit.

Famine parades through his dreams, a terrible hunger only apples satisfy, and in that dream, he devours them.

His elbow hits the bowl,

knocks it off the table,

and startles him awake

to his bare canvas,

shattered china

and bitter cores of dreams.




\Vhen Long Sleek Nancy Plays Da vid Michael Nixon

first appeared in Gypsy Specia! A Compila/irJ/Z E:rp.trimtnf, 1986

marbles slide

like blue slink

some ice mink evening

I see her where she's dealing but does not tip her feelings on the ice slide

smooth queen ice ride in the night

her bridged hand and her right

long fingers stealing as cue sticks glide and cued balls ride into the pockets

of the night

and topple all the sturdy men beneath the smokey pool light


The Birds David Michael Nixon

The birds march up and down the lawn -about-face and rows of claw-feet strutting, beaks back at an arrogant angle,

wings folded in suspended power.

Screeee and they rise as one I ten thousand, weapons lifting into an ice-clear sky.


Printing Paradise Cathleen Cohen

Lost in a thalo blue sky with clouds bent

by swipes of cheesecloth, trees inked with indigo and thumbprint whorls on the horizon.

This is the seventh try at landscape, cornrows combed

with fine teeth,

edges forming

when colors pool

into rich darks.


An alizarin blossom bursts into the garden, result of hea vy pressure or an unsure hand.

Natural Selection and Its Discontents James Penha

The zebra the lion

will not quarry lives

but without the pride

of attraction.


Headinz North: Concerto of Silence


Alan Britt


of blonde grasses, early spring's


brush strokes across the large thigh

of a Van Gogh field.


wander nude

through the field, pursued only by

blue silence

& the wind with a geometric bird

between its teeth.


The fragmented highway steams past motels

& small town Virginia

gas stations, a rusted chain curls up

on the roadside.

The taillights

of clouds are really the sound of a piano tearing apart

the heavy eggshell of anew hour.

The Blue Horse Puzzle Lyn Lifshin

there in the hallway, sky back ground, cerulean, tourmaline, a royal that's

turq uoise nearly

and the white horse, more beautiful than any carousel mare, long legs, almost a smile flashing.

"Your father brought it when you were one or two," I think she told me. I wish I'd written it down. None of the legs chipped or stained but the afternoon, was it in snow,

with air raids whirring, or a July the corn bent low

as the Tunbridge Fair was starting?

Did he buy it for

me or stumble on it? Or hold me when I

put the tail, the perfect back into its space, I don't know if I found it

hard or easy that

first time. And

now won't know

can only make up

what happened.



The Woman in a Wheel Chair at the Art Reception in the Gallery next to the Ballet Barre

Lyn Lifshin

she swerves away from paintings

the friends who said it would

do her good to

get out and see, turns away from the frosted rum cookies it's as if the legs stretching and bending were

magnets, the iron filings in

her blood bending

to Chopin. Suddenly it is months

before the accident, blue tulle like

arms, she floated with stars over that July pavilion, thought nothing would

catch her, hold her still enough

for what was not to be transformed.


what sacred brokenness Will Inman

that troop of wild horses did i say horses - anybody knows a troop will throng a concert hall wanting to be led, fed, how they will eat sounds to fill their deafness, enthrall them that's

what they want] not to listen as individuals, not to be inspired, no, to be ravished and drugged] to be taken out of themselves, not dilated

to receive those sounds as listeners equal

to what they hear, they will grab for sounding gold at the foot of the rainbow, will not

enrich themselves with vibrations of prism, that sacred brokenness out of which only wholeness can grow] no, they will weigh performance in the



scales of their ears, they will not get inside

the composer's marrow, will not surf those sounds to center where harmonics dance essential chaos down the honeycomb of god's lazarus ribs where pollen notes spring into coherent bloom, where death waits mantis, center this iris blossom

out of its season, no, that troop will not bring aware self into coherent collective waking

though hoofs may sound earthquakes, let techtonic plates shift, troops will JUSt gnash the singing

sex of god, stay respectable and dumb

September 4, 1994, Tucson


Dreamscape Alben Huffstickler

... And the rain was a chisel carving me out of the night and the radio blared songs from the 30s and I was in this 36 Ford driving down the brown road, ruts fender deep, and the rain was inside the car with me cutting

and cutting me and "Oh, Johnny. Oh, Johnny," and Momma was standing on Edward Hopper's front porch with a Coca Cola pressed to her heart, smiling like Will Rogers while Fred Astaire whirled

Ginger Rogers out across a field of

stars and Follies fillies prancing like

mares in heat and on the front porch the

old men rocked and picked their teeth and

listened to the junebugs while the

fireflies rocketed their incandescence into the still calm night and I was

driving along with my tommy gun in the back


scat and the rain coming down and carving me like an ice sculpture out of the

block of night and Irene Dunn was whispering in my ear that she was going blind because Lloyd C. Douglas had put her eyes out but if I would just rob

the National Bank she could get an operation you see and then we

could go down to the corner drugstore and sip sodas and make it on those old wire chairs only (Oh, Johnny. Oh, Johnny.) I couldn't move you see because the

rain, cold rain, wasn't through

carving me and Sylvia Sydney couldn't wait forever, after all, swinging on

that white front gate with her pigtails bobbing and that sweet, uncomplicated

ass arched to the wind (Oh, Johnny, Johnny) could she?

from The Rag, Austin TX, 1975


Survival Notes Alben Huffstickler

I'm the only person I know who saves the tapes

from his answering machine.


If you just clean

one part of the house,

it makes the rest look dirtier. If you try to clean it all,

you get pverwhelmed.

The best thing to do

is just clean one corner, then sit in it--

facing the wall.


People are always saying, PIt's just like riding a bicycle. You never forget." What

they mean is: you may forget where the horn is, you may forget where the brake is, you may even forget how

to turn the handle bars.

'But you never forget

that pedalling motion. For someone who has yet


Talk about lonesome,


I '

topedal his way out of his first crisis,

this is not helpful information.

sleep. And I wish you were here to talk me through this waiting but if you were here there'd be no waiting so what we ha ve here is another situation I'm not going to

pedal my way out of ~


We're talking a great tradition here: ifNera could fiddle while Rome burned, I see no earthly reason why Bill Clinton can't play the saxophone if

he wants to.


Now it's night and you're wherever you are and I'm waiting to


from Sulphur River Literary Review v. 10. no. 2, Austin TX, 1994