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VCP Press Los Angeles
Editor: Elizabeth Iannaci Editor: Frankie ::)rayus All things zen: Richard Mociano Cover 2,:-+j:.1es~g~: :g:-e~:!a:,C8:,s~a~~~~e Cover layout: Rick Lupert
© Valley Contemporary Poets, VCP Press, 2004 All Rights Reserved.
Publication of this annual volume of poems, in which many of our readers are represented by a poem or poems, is a proj ect of the Valley Contemporary Poets, a nonprofit corporation. Our reading series are partially funded by grants from Poets & Writers. All rights for individual poems or other materials revert to our authors upon publication. Nevertheless, we reserve all rights to this publication. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher and the author or authors in question. ISBN 1-892687-07-0 paperback Printed in the United States.
For more information, contact Valley Contemporary Poets at P.O. Box5342, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413 or click on http://www.poetrysuperhighway.comlvcp/
Table of Contents Ellen Bass Gate C 22 3rendan Constantine Last Night I Went To the Map of the World and I Have Yes sages fo: Yo.14 15 16 17 20 22 23 24 25 . Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man Is Stranded in Florence the Week of9/11. Lee Pool of Dreams Henry Morro Any Job Millicent Borges 1980 Hunger Greg Ennis Maytag Man Charlotte 0' Brien Bar at the Folies-Bergere Mark Bibbins Small Fable with Semicolons 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 . John Casey Translations Charlotte 0' Brien Australia Jasmin Vargas Where Am I From? Jorge Monterrosa Untitled Mifanwy Kaiser White Monica Youn MUSCAE VOLITANTES Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man Contemplates Cryonic Suspension as Religion Gwendolyn Alley Man Ray Kitty Tim Donnelly Disney's Head Anthony A...
Greg Ennis The Cradling Ellen Bass Asking Directions In Paris Tim Donnelly Touch Football Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man on the Paradigm of Marriage Mifanwy Kaiser Blue Vase Gwendolyn Alley usually when it's over Millicent Borges After She Got Her Nose Fixed Anthony A.Brendan Constantine The Day The Orchard Burned !o~~ Casey Kandinsky Charlotte 0' Brien Suicide's last secret. Also Called the Yacca Plant Tim Donnelly Wild Thing Brendan Constantine Apocryphal Poem Gwendolyn Alley i tried to wake him Greg Ennis The Last Escape 29 30 32 33 34 36 37 38 39 .41 42 44 45 47 . Lee And Martyrdom Jorge Monterrosa Untitled Henry Morro ZAPATIN Jasmin Vargas Swing Denis Mair God's Candle.48 49 50 51 53 .
61 John Casey Maya 63 Ellen Bass Pray for Peace 65 . Feeding 55 Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man Converts to Buddhism 57 Mifanwy Kaiser Stone 58 Jorge Monterossa Untitled 60 Brendan Constantine "THE GOLDEN LIBRARY OF KNOWLEDGE IS A SERIES OF BOOKS ESPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR TODAY'S GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE EAGER FOR INTERESTING AND FACTUAL KNOWLEDGE" ..Ellen Bass 3 A.M..
Thank you for continuing to share your idyllic courtyard and helping to promote poets and poetry. Catherine Daly and Rick Lupert. and "Pray for Peace" was originally published in The Sun. Poets & Writers. Our audience. "Asking Directions in Paris" was originally published in New Directions. John Casey: A previous version of "Translations" appeared in the online 'zine poeticdiversity. .k everyone a: Portrait of a Bookstore in Studio City. especially Amelie Frank. Brendan Constantine. Anthony at the Cobalt and everyone behind the counter who stays until midnight on Tuesdays. Teresa Willis. Without all of you neither our reading series nor this book would have been possible. Former directors for sage advice and continued suggestions for poets and programs.Acknowledgements :~e Valley Co:-::e=?o:-z. David Reisner. Ellen Bass: "Gate C22" and "3 AM Feeding" originally appeared in The Missouri Review._-y Poets wou'd l~e :0 :~z-. Our readers.
We think this makes for a lively plenum of prosody. We have accomplished masters. Although American poetry has apparently settled into demotic lyricism.Introduction Valley Contemporary Poets began its series of readings in 1980 by featuring poets from Southern California. Weare pleased to be able to bring together so many distinct poetic voices in one volume. a reflection of the subjective universe that enables the reader to move from the multiple facticity of life to focused concentration and a revelation of the limitless potentialities of language. The best of this kind of poetry is a projection of the interior life. Not only will readers find a geographically horizontal range of poets. it can also lead to the realization of the out-flowing of language to penetrate every sphere of phenomenal existence. seasoned veterans of the word side by side with new and emerging voices. Richard Modiano March 2004 . and in this year's anthology we are pleased to present outstanding work from poets from both coasts. Conversely. fresh work continues to be done in this mode. but they will also encounter a vertical range as well. Our editors have selected the best of many excellent pieces submitted by our contributors. Since then we have hosted poets from all parts of the United States. We trust you will be moved to seek out their individual works after you read this book.
the couple stood there. But they kissed lavish kisses like the ocean in the early morning. His beard was gray. We were all watchingthe passengers waiting for the delayed flight to San Jose. She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine she kept saying she had to lose. Like she'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island. no matter 3 . the guy selling sunglasses. sucking each rock under. And kissing. snapped out of a coma. We couldn't look away. the way it gathers and swells. arms wrapped around each other like satin ribbons tying up a gift. almost as though he were a mother still open from giving birth. We could taste the kisses. like she'd been released from ICU. made it down from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing. the stewardesses. the pilots. swallowing it again and again.Ellen Bass Gate C 22 At gate C 22 in the Portland airport a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed a woman arriving from Orange County. his smile soft with wonder. Neither of them was young. Long after the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking. But the best part was his face. When he drew back and looked at her. the aproned woman icing cinnabons. like your mother must have looked at you. crushed in our mouths like the liquid centers of chocolate cordials. survived bone cancer. They kissed and kissed and kissed.
what happened after-if she beat you. The whole wing of the airport hushed. little gold hoop earrings. tilting our heads up. each of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body. the vernix not yet wiped off and someone gazing at you like you were the first sunrise seen from the earth. or you're lonely now-you once lay there. or left you. sleeveless blouse. 4 . glasses--all of us. her plaid bermuda shorts.
Why do you never call? When are you coming home? 5 .Jas1: I\ig~l1: ~ Went Messages for Y 00 ':"":'0 rile Map of the VVor~(J-. There's a party. the oceans. Is something going on? Ireland asked to be remembered. Is that everyone? Oh yes. I wasn't comfortable giving it out. They asked what they always ask and I promised I'd repeat it.. I sang to it for you. Africa's birthday is this weekend.et you know. I said ~'d . If you're planning to go. Greece wants to know if it can get a lift.. Isn't that just too bad. Awkwardly so does Turkey. Russia wanted me to say The worm knows the cabbage but the worm dies first. anc" :-o-::ave America says it has misplaced your number. I have no idea what that means.Brendan Constantine :-. I didn't get to connect with Europe but. Do you? Japan looked really uncomfortable all night but never spoke. Just come. as the French say. No gifts.
in Central Park. gazing not out but through. He spends his evenings simply: meals of tagliatelle con funghi and thin-bodied wine at a trattoria in the Oltramo. fall. while the clock tower in Piazza della Signora tolls as it did when Michelangelo first unveiled his David. a lattice of leaves in her hair. a sorrow only music can define. when Hitler's whip cracked clear across Europe to the Aegean. he thinks of M. glorious. Later. after gelato on the Ponte Vecchio. full-blown. a swell on the river of thinking. the smoky aftertaste oflove . What can he do but sit in a hotel room watching CNN. the planes have ceased their crazy networking in the sxy. under statues of famous Florentines: Giotto. hooded. Dante.. 6 . the air traffic controlers' screens are blank as a field in Neorasxa.J.Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man Is Stranded in Florence the Week of 9/11 His web's not transatlantic. ascetic.. listening to the Polish violinist from Auschwitz play Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in the foyer of the Uffizi.
Trace the lines with your finger: That is not a future. each silence where heat goes to die. Everything written in code. Even the flowers growing a Fibonacci daydream. You are an iceberg. falling again. levitating on a shadow. barely glimpsed. 2 Our only language is context: absence and presence. Each sentence is jagged geometry. spelled differently. A face. Feet. trying to speak. Nucleotide chains dangle arms and wings. Things barely glimpsed await translation and spiral on. the thin line of sand ground out of mountains as much as the free fall spider filament. the unobvious the real.John Casey Translations Everything is ho. I drift nearby in mute decryption: That is not a hand. 7 . but your name. as if some old phrenologist had expected to brush this planet with absent-minded fingers and flicker awake. Look: A deciduous heart. hanging on by a thread. but a fortune cookie shattered open.ding on by a stranc.
in full bloom. finding cockroaches in the sink.m. fights. I often think about the dreams I had on your shores. I miss the sound of rain at midnight pounding on a tin roof. the sound of rain at midnight pounding on a tin roof. I miss the Jacaranda. red dirt on my feet. I miss laughter and drunkenness and two a. over a warm beach. red dirt on my feet.Charlotte O'Brien Australia How I ache for sun bleached land. 8 . over a warm beach. fights and watching the sun peter out.m. and the stain of wet paw prints on a wooden floor. How I ache for sun bleached land. I often think about the dreams I had on your shores finding cockroaches in the sink and watching :he S::::l peter 0:::. moonlit. and the stain of wet paw prints on the wooden floor. I miss laughter and drunkenness and two a. the Jacaranda moonlit in full bloom.
I am from arroz con leche on rainy nights. reserved indios. Where honor marks the difference between a boy and a man.A "where the rule an eye for an eye" prevails in all aspects life. I am from strangers' prayers and your embraces. 9 . and coconut water on scorching days. are beings from different worlds. Perfect paint job on the outside with crumbling walls on the inside. My parents. It is the big house with the huge yard and the towering grapefruit tree. My house is located on the comers of Chaos and Mayhem. I am from the streets of South Central L. two opposing forces. I am from week-long wakes and overnight vigils. Mother's hand held my limp fingers through the railings of the hospital bed. Mother's ancestors were quiet. Aromas drifting from the kitchen mingle in the living room with cigarettes and Grapefruit Citrus Body Wash. I am from doctors' hands and God's miracles.Jasmin Vargas vrlerre Am ~ J'rom? ~ am from pozo. Father's people were boisterous conquistadores of the seas. and midnight dancing by the beach. I am from sandalwood and Pine-Sol. The one with glass windows and rusty pipe drains. I am from veladoras and incense La Virgen's image and replicas of saints.e y enchiladas. From monarch butterflies in the spring. pescado frito y camarones a 'a ciab'a.
for this covenant between you and me is sacred: I will know when I touch you if you have been touched by another. I do for my own soul as well. to be a man to myself..lorge Monterrosa . am being honoran'e to you. but whatever I do now. phantoms in the back ground. but I will reach into my heart for my medicine bottle. I hear voices sometimes when we speak. and I tell you this in truth. I hope you are being a woman to me.oya. ~ am being faitnfu. and not spite me for the man that I have been. if it is so. and I will love you. 10 . with distance between us. where I carry an ounce of pride. I will surely love you until forever. I wish you to love me for the man I am becoming. I will know when I kiss you if you have been kissed by another. I will not go to the curandero to inquire about your loyalty. I am being a man to you. though the clouds my sins ride upon cast a heavy shadow on my character. and .
the white.Mifanwy Kaiser vV~lite L Rage. The throat swollen The nothing there. but the soft fur of the leaf. not into the stalk and root. No. you know. 4. twists you around so that even ultrasound cannot pull up the image of pain in the gut 2. 3. 11 . I wish I could smooth the sharp edges and no longer be the cactus thriving in the back yard content to go without nourishment for days. I wish I could disappear into the lamb's ear growing in the garden outside the front door.
Monica Youn MUSCAE VOLITANTES The train lights dinnned again: dead spots along the Northeast Line." a muttering hive a travertine nave The single-strand radio tower. A blustering grove a listening cave 12 . The conductor wished aloud for an insulated hand to smooth them. a cellophane glove a silvertone stave "It's still there. It was a planet. not a plane. Three empty crystal biscuit barrels.
oh my poor Mathilde. a porcelain sieve an oxygen grave " . mine was only paste!" a bustling dove a ritalin rave ~nere was midd'e C and there was high C and no other C could come between them. to which I cannot bring myself to aspire." a clementine love a glycerine wave 13 ..."But.
as Ouroboros. he floats in his cryocrypt for the next 10. A cryonautic winter. off to war. North Korea. -John Donne This morning." A science fiction story: legendary hitter dies of cancer. an ankh his cryometer). Death.Elizabeth Knapp Spider-Man Contemplates Cryonic Suspension as Religion One short sleep past. crashing his F9 Panther? And what stories of the afterlife will he bring into the future? Will he tell of walking the Hall of Truth beside the great Osiris (crook and flail his cryoscepters. or oflifting the death-mask of the late John Keats. thou shalt die. But when the resurrection comes. then vitrified to glass. flying low over Kyomipo. And death shall be no more. flicks its tongue. head and body are cooled. Head(less )-down. in the papers. the link on Yahoo news: "Head Separated from Body of Baseball Icon Williams. checking his e-mail. bites its own tail? 14 . a streak to break all records. son releases the body to a cryonics lab in Arizona. head snaps off like a PEZ dispenser. DiMaggio at the plate. we wake eternally. or later. on the winds of Chapman's sail. pumped with glycerol. the sacred snake.000 years. he wonderswill Ted still be Ted? Will he remember the summer of' 41.
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