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Poetry in the Mainstream
Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream September 1999
Traffic and work and riot, triad of waking are garbled into a full chord, drowning identity in conquering vibration impinging on the air, loud, rising, making the city conscious of propellers shaking
from Night Flight : New York THEORY OF FLIGHT (1935) Muriel Rukeyser
WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 20 Number 8
Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Assistant Will Inman Ida Fasel David Michael Nixon Joy Hewitt Mann Joan Payne Kincaid Herman Slotkin Albert Huffstickler
Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $25 a year. Sample issues -$2.60 (includes postage). Submissions will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127 © 1999, Ten Penny Players Inc.
4-5 6 7-9 10-11 12-13 14 15-24
how can you get any place sitting there? off and on! move it! shake the dust off! now here is nowhere: tomorrow over yonder’s where it’s at! never satisfied: that’s patriotic! that’s the American spirit! that spurs the Free Market! put your shoulder to the wheel of the world: be a shaker and a mover! propeller your posterior! jet your juggernaut! what on earth can you ever know sitting alone harking to silence and stars?
grease for the gristle - will inman
go to the ant, you slowpoke, consider her ways and be wise: she’s always in motion: she stitches great futures out of tiny stings.
make a tall wide bridge to somewhere else, this is no place to be caught dead: how many times do i got to tell you? be somebody else (like me)
12 October 1998, Tucson
job unfinished but complete like Shubert’s English or Michelangelo’s Pietà the dedicated crew and those watching worldwide
On January 23, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger flashed down
Mission Accomplished - Ida Fasel
swiftly sped through sunlit waters past sunlight reach all that love brought to bedrock dark
to glow among those that glow in the dark
Everyone talking and shaking hands, and up rolls a herd of heavy equipment: bulldozers, steam shovels, front-end loaders, all picking up people, scoops of shakers, and rolling away with them, while they clamber to get back down, while the others go right on talking and shaking hands. Here and there a rebel leaps off a bulldozer and lands on someone whose hand is out, whose mouth is open, and who goes right on talking and shaking, brushing off the fallen leaper, who by this time is shaking, shouting
Movers and Shakers David Michael Nixon
“Don’t you see the bulldozers coming? The ground is shaking! Help me! Help me!” The others go on talking and shaking hand after hand, while motors roar.
first appeared in ‘Voices for Peace’ and ‘City Newspaper’
The Streets Are Full of Legs - David Michael Nixon The streets are full of legs striding; lounging in outdoor cafes; poised at the edges of traffic; lost in a legion of lost legs, no matter how purposeful their gaits. The streets are full of legs fading-even the sharp bones disappear.
I will not be one of those women who die shrivelled and writhing like plowed up worms, worn out by overused wombs and soil that erodes deep into the brain, picking stones from their hairless skulls with every bend of scabbed knees, every movement of calloused hands against the weed-clogged dirt. But this soil is relentless as an ocean storm, it surges round my resistive feet, its waves move me closer to the grave.
The Work - Joy Hewitt Mann
She has dreamt of silk sheets again and intact combs running through her hair; she has dreamt of pillows and shoes that fit and food that she has not killed herself. She has dreamt of store bought jam again and sanitary pads and tiny bottles of Aspirin. She has dreamt that the sun has risen in the morning and she has not. His hand gripping her hair wakes her up. It is still dark.
The Dream - Joy Hewitt Mann
Visitors from a City Apartment Wonder How We Can Stand the Noise in the Burbs Joan Payne Kincaid dishwasher electric fanprofessional gardeners with professional noise machinery telephone company tree trimmers village tree remover ///~= dryer vacuum cleaner washing mac hine dehumidifier telephone dialers cars trucks helicopters jets motorcy cles<leaf blowers snowploughs stre et cleaners air conditionersnoon whis tle fire alarms\> the guy next door\ starts power washing his truck( illeg ally)every Saturday because he and t
he neighbors between us are at * war ! over their putting a central a/c next tohis property line on the other sideh e has broken out his jig saw to do- ityourself front porch railing not to me ntion endless screams of children... in clusters of summer swimming pools^
Our hero doesn’t win a war or make a miracle; nor is he martyr to a mission.
Origami - Herman Slotkin
Our hero folds enfolding chaos to origami so original, so useful, that it will hold us for a long time.
A Woman Named Circles - Albert Huffstickler Her father, an old hippie, named her thereby setting her on the path that was to become her life, seeking closure, trying to round things out in a world that was all angles, a world of straight lines converging, mingling. She tried to adapt but it made her crazy. Even her body was round, round and sleek and desirable and she used it to try and change the world into that full round entity that she envisioned but of course the world was too full of angles and she found herself used (in a circular fashion) then abandoned. And the years
passed with her circling her way through life with nothing changed, nothing resolved. And still she circled on, older now and wiser but no more fulfilled than the day her father, stoned on a reefer, baptized her with the remains of a quart can of Coors and sent her on her way. One day, old and discouraged, she was driving home on the newly-constructed loop that bordered the city when a big diesel cut in front of her, collapsing that little bundle of Japanese metal with her inside it right there on the loop, the concrete circle that death, in his mercy, had contrived and bestowed on her. The very last thing that her
sight registered was a big red sign emphatically declaring WRONG WAY and then she was lifted to a place that was all circles, giant circles, glowing circles, revolving circles, all the colors of the rainbow, circles, circles, circles and a lot of music.
June 19, 1994 from First Class, 1998, Milwaukee WI 17
‘I haven’t seen any of those people in years. Everybody I know has drifted away.’ —Old Plantation Restaurant habitue.
Whatever Happened to Kitchens? - Albert Huffstickler
Places people come to in the evening after work to eat and drink coffee, then wander back later with the dark coming in and the loneliness on them. Day in and day out, that little core of regulars meeting in clusters, each cluster aware of the others, nodding to each other. And the waitress of many years knowing just what to bring when someone sits down.
‘So be their place of one estate With ashes echoes and old wars— Or ever we be of the night Or we be lost among the stars.’ —Calverlys, by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Weary with the day, they come, ready to mingle hopes and needs, voices tinged with boredom, a furtiveness about them, the furtiveness of one who has no place else to go. “What ever happened to Kitchens?” They find their places and they stay, year after year, a new face appearing from time to time, an old one vanishing, the loss absorbed slowly after endless discussion of the manner of his going, his new estate; the light in the room a quality of their lives, a condition more familiar than the rooms to which they return to fall exhausted across the rumpled bed and sleep till morning draws a damp and cheerless hand across the drugged face.
“What ever happened to Kitchens? Where did he go?”
The one who left unannounced, the one who broke all the rules and vanished without a wordthe brawler, the bruiser, the banger against lives, who fought and cursed and spoke his mind and embarrassed them to a man, who was ugly and graceless and knew all their flaws and flung them in their faces and laughed at them and was dragged out more than once drunk, cursing the world and the cops and all of them individually and returned unrepentant to their subdued midst to continue as though he’d never left, haranguing, mocking themAnd then vanished one night with a wave and a curse to return no more, black jacket flapping, bald head shining, beak-like nose plowing through the darkness like a ship at sea, big Harley roaring. “So long, Motherfuckers!”
The shadows of the room converge, the talk goes on. The shadows listen and do not comment. The waitress moves from table to table, filling salts and peppers, wiping catsup lids. Voices sound from the parking lot, shrill and despairing. Lights flash against the window then vanish to the engine’s roar. They huddle closer in the close, still room. The night grows. They are dreams without a dreamer. “What ever happened to Kitchens?” They slouch in their places, humble before his absence. “He shouldn’t have gone away like that. He should have said something!” Lonely and dissatisfied, they talk desultorily, watching the clock. “Somebody oughta call the shop and ask.” “Maybe he’s there and don't want to be bothered.”
“”Maybe he’s—” the word never comes out. They crouch over their coffee cups; the shadows draw closer. His absence as bulky and menacing as his presence—but less acceptable. The waitress refills their cups automatically, her boredom a texture of the space like the shadows in the corner and the night that swirls in with each opening of the door. “Hell, he could write! He could send us a postcard here. They’d get it to us!” They sit on, later than usual. The talk turns to other things but no one is fooled; they’re waiting. They think of seasons past: Kitchens stomping in in the cold, jacket zipped tight, gauntlet gloves encasing his forearms, cursing the cold in his high, venomous voice; or shirtsleeved and sweaty summers, bald head glistening, cursing the heat.
Now nothing. The silence descends like a shroud. They smoke and wait, gathering their courage, not meeting each other’s eyes. Finally, one stands, glancing furtively at the door. “You leaving?” He almost sits down again, then straightens, nods. “Yeh, I gotta get an early start in the morning.” Another shifts uncomfortably, settles back, then rises slowly. “Me too,” he mumbles. One by one, the others rise, stand hesitating, then slowly, one by one, move down the aisle and out the door to stand there in the night. “I guess he’s gone,” one says. “Yeh, he’s gone.” “Gone without a word.” One by one, they move off down the street, heads bent,
a dread on them — of the night, of the silence, of the musky rooms with their rumpled beds and the darkness. One stops and stares upward, mouth agape. “What happened to him?” A car screams around the corner, then vanishes in a spray of light. He stands a moment longer, then trudges on, homeward beneath the clear, unanswering stars.
October 14, 1982, first published in First Class, Issue Seven, Milwaukee WI, 1998 24
published 11 times a year since 1979 very limited printing by Ten Penny Players, Inc.
(a 501c3 not for profit corporation)
$2.50 an issue
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