THE BABES OF AQUARIUS By Maria Jacketti INTRODUCTION The Babes of Aquarius by Maria Jacketti CONTENTS A COAL NECKLACE FAITH ON MY FATHER'S BIRTHDAY OUR TIME PASSING RITUAL BEFORE SLEEP WAY OUT THERE HALE-BOPP I LOVE A MAN WHO RECYCLES Medicine Ways OPENING SORRY RSVP WANTING HIP SONG HELP WANTED FAIR WARNING BIRTHDAY SERIES TWENTY-NINE THIRTY THIRTY-ONE FOR THE WORD AVATAR MADONNA IN THE MOUNTAIN MARY'S MILK SAINT VERONICA MY SAVIOR IS MY VERB AFTER THE MODELS DISPLAY BONIER SPLENDOR ON CABLE TV KUNDALINI NARRATIVE PACIFIC TIME IN NANO NANO LAND WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN-IN-THE-MOON? MILLENNIAL AVOCADO SUTRA FOR A FRIEND WHO SUFFERS FROM CHRONIC WRITER'S BLOCK YOUNG JOSEPH I SEE THE VISITING POET SUNDAY IS FOR FORGIVENESS GOING BACK HAVE YOU? INVISIBLE WOMEN DOCTOR WHOM? WITH JUPITER AND SAGE NOT REALLY FATHER, THE SUMMER OF MARIEL, 1980 REINCARNATING THE WORDS AT THE END OF THE WORK DAY LIFE AT TOM'S, A LOCAL BAR THE WONDERING STAINS ON THE CARPET IN MY MOTHER'S ROOM UGLY AMERICAN TALE Sean Connery Crossing the Shit Crik in Weatherly, Pennsylvania (1969) For Hillary Clinton Monica, Oh Monica For the Mother of Elian Gonzalez POST SCRIPTUM Publications by Maria Jacketti
The poems collected here span about fifteen years of writing. During those years, I became a translator of Chilean Nobel Laureates Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. From 1986 through 1989, I was a student in the creative writing program at New York University. Since 1989, I've been an instructor of college composition and literature. I now make my home at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey, where I am EOF Composition Coordinator and Coordinator of ESL/ American Language Studies. I am currently working on doctoral studies through Warnborough University in Oxford, England. ** I like to let the poems speak for themselves. Most are autobiographical, but as of late, I am finding that the persona poem holds great opportunities for expression. I thank Klaus Gerken most heartily for giving me this dear space, allowing me to set these poems free to the world. Maria Jacketti
THE BABES OF AQUARIUS By Maria Jacketti A COAL NECKLACE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My father gave me a piece of solidified night. Remember me, he said, then coughed with black lungs, climbing up from the deep basement. I was eight years old. I clutched the stone. There was fire within its lake of smoothness. A fellow coalman designed the pendant - a teardrop crowned with silver filigree - it embraced the stone with a hard lace. My father and others fed the earth, extracted somebody else's plunder, loved their wives in furious silence, gave kids mule rides on angry backs. Now their offspring recycle luck or leave behind a scarred map. But for some, the Earth is a jewel box. I've searched for years but still cannot find that fossil tear - my father's half century of night, congealed. * 1989
FAITH ~~~~~ And if I scrape the last black nectar flakes sweeter than their mother dirt of Jamaica's Blue Mountains, and percolate with hope enough for one, and if I brew my senses and stir out the galaxies in this very last cup, and if I guzzle and quaff, snap my lips milky, nirvana's cat, and dare drink the second cup in all emptiness and find it fuller, sweeter, beyond zero, the joy of negative delight - then into sedimentary shadows, I'll hunt the last drop of doubt that vanishes when this movie plays, dreams, invents another wrinkled pathway in the gray jewel. * 1988 This poem is based on the Japanese Zen empty cup tea ceremony.
ON MY FATHER'S BIRTHDAY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Which golden age is this, Dear Father? I cannot remember your exact age, nor mine for that matter. Epochs over the mountain, crucified on the rocks, rocking me, your only baby, telling me to endure like a diamond and become a good doctor. You are passing, passing, like ether through my bones and blood, each year, a sequoia-ring, an orbit out from the screams of a life sacrificed for God-knows-what. Some would say your baby has become old wine, but now with the ascension of your ghost, nearer than my own breath, I am born to discover the words we never had the language to speak. * 1998
OUR TIME PASSING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What time is it? I am lost without my wristwatch, although sometimes I race back into warm folds of flesh where a clock hardly matters. This panic is like a virus - time is slicing, slicing. Fortune cookies fall from the sky. I eat them until my tongue is inked and lips bleed, paper-cut. Breakfast already? Yes, why fast? What time is it? Time to love: I feed the meter, the bomb ticks. I want to read the runes of the body with aching fingers, lips and tongue. I want to fish pearls of resuscitation from the bitter husk of sky. In our fantasy, the King and Queen become squatters in the fourth dimension; they manufacture, then manipulate their own time. But tonight such realities exhaust us. I unplug the clock, and we revel in the translucency the fragile moment this eternity the only time we were made to make. * 1988
RITUAL BEFORE SLEEP ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For Kimba, tiger of my heart (1985-1992) My back bristles against his damp chest, our bodies, question marks, near sleep. Our cat, who is blacker than the darkness, arrives between pillows, confidant of her place, gold eyes defying the lack of light. She comes to sing, to reaffirm that first touch. A rough tongue anoints us - licks away the seed of nightmares. But like happiness, she finishes quickly and leaps into the larger darkness. We clasp each other closer, our only defense against loss, and pull the cord, falling netless into sleep. * 1988- 93
WAY OUT THERE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming or whoever they are! Are they angels or devils, or simply double-headed like any paradox? And what shall we do about these shape- shifting neighbors when they finally drop in apparently uninvited? Will you tell your children that some souped up fairy tale has finally arrived? And while asking is still possible, will these travelers want to marry your offspring and impregnate the Earth with half-breed gods one more time? And if so, tell me, at which mall can I shop for the scientifically divine? And yes, in case you've wondered, I'm in space, myself, half the time, or shamanized delirious, if you give me that etiquette. All is oatmeal for the Gnostic. It depends where you're farming. I used to be a Future Scientist of America, but alchemical chutes and ladders proved lovelier still. And maybe, once upon a science fair, exobiology seemed just far out enough, some nugget, luscious and unobtainable. But now mountains can speak all the way home to Shasta, measure that! They say: Wise up. Be brave. It's time to rise. The starships, the saucers, the radiant cigars, will land like marshmallows in the night in parks and parking lots, and star people will glitter through the streets of Rome, Paris, Moscow, Manhattan, Bayonne, Baltimore, Hazleton, Helena, Helsinki, and my loneliest Jersey City, where the cows at last will sing hosannas and offer philosophies, thousands of goddesses dancing ecstatically on their petal pink tongues. And maybe things will be different this time, not like the bungled test patterns of history greatest hits, and maybe Star Wars will be healed, and maybe they -whoever they are - ever-so-beautiful in their star-spangled suits will teach us how to touch the sun again and connect the dots and bring aloes to the blindness and maybe we'll all remember where we came from, and then won't religion make perfect science? * mid 90s
HALE-BOPP ~~~~~~~~~ Humanity needs some angel food and we need a good cookbook. Have you beheld the millennial comet cutting through these April skies with its mystic lip? It comes with a mission in its frozen fire, kissing the world awake maybe or it comes to rain open the past where old truths would rather hide * 1998
I LOVE A MAN WHO RECYCLES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I love a man who recycles because in every empty beer can or pickle glass he sees the glimmer of his children and knows his prayer in the action makes safer their path. I love a man who labors the day to bliss in his backyard and tells me every cell of his soul remembers another garden perfect and long extinct, but ambered and ready to revive in memory. I love a man who remembers that we too are recycled until we imperfectly reach our perfection And play farmer in the sea potentiality where the cosmos is a sweet farm forever after because he knows the real cure comes in channeling the fire so long forgotten. And he knows he is this fire when the right action comes and is given its way. I love a man who knows that he was once a woman, many times a woman, of course, for such is the dance of reincarnation. I love a man who knows his body carries the double song of the androgyne. and so he cries when he feels like the desert, And only becomes more himself. I love a man who allows himself to become pregnant with the sun, who feels the seed, the hope growing and warming the kingdom of his solar plexus. He understands that we must change now. Because now is all we will ever have. * mid 90s
MEDICINE WAYS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A cardiologist once told me he could not understand my feel for poetry and the way I give it my time. Then he passed a platter of pork in a gesture of hospitality - I tried the dulce de leche instead. Such odd music in his way as patients wait for verdicts adding or subtracting their days, just words, being a waste to them when they could use something real like pigs feet on a platter. "Poetry, can it fix a heart?" he asked me. "Yes," I replied. "I believe it can." * 1999
OPENING ~~~~~~~ Blood to song my metered breath turns chaotic a baby's house overripe its sap dried up something says it's late beyond time so hurry now please in blood to song she beyond me somehow emerges thirsty famished readier than I am screaming like a ruby carrying the prayer we composed outside of time: an end to pain. * 1996
SORRY ~~~~~ I'm sorry he or she says all over again sorry for everything past, present, and future perfect sorry for feeling sorry about everything smashed and retrieved so sorry with roses and carrot cake and reincarnation only I remember everything without anesthesia and live it in my bones until I'm purple and then when can I get drunk on a word so empty? Sorry. Yes, I know. Never again. * 1997
RSVP ~~~~ Marry, friends Marry the idea Vibrate love Marry dazzling sequined A Virgin again No matter what How little or how much Before or after Love vibrate To a particular frequency & never breathe To another for another By another's lips Marry with the pastels Of a honeymoon sky And tropical latitudes Call in Martha Stewart In army boots This time -- Dance the Pennsylvania Polka With a member of the modern clergy And your lawyer Stand like a statue of modern attitude Underneath the negligée Of prenuptial armor -- Crack amorous jokes About the husband and bride Marry with skyscraper tortes And the royalty of these worn down hills Spinning like dervishes All your guests To a band On rent from the Pocono Satellite of Caesar's Palace Marry in secret in a Tiffany chapel Or elope as if you have something to hide Let them wonder Give them something spice-laden, Tongue-burning To talk about - And then make them recant when your stomach Doesn't protrude "I told you so," According to their timetables. Okay, I will buy a new dress And carry your public bouquets - But make them everlasting Molded of good plastic - Good luck. Yes, I will. Yes. Count me in. * 1999
WANTING ~~~~~~~ He wants what he wants but he doesn't know what he wants only that he wants it. * 1999
HIP SONG ~~~~~~~~ I feel my hips melting I feel my hips growing I wish they would make up their minds I love my hips Because they keep me erect In memory of The great elephant mothers Who died for beauty Extreme Otherwise conjured - Their obituaries never appear in Vogue. * 2000
HELP WANTED ~~~~~~~~~~~ There is work to be done Work on the shelf Behind the counter Over in the ears of windows In your face There is my lovely ethic To be free To work at it To make the bills go away To white out debts As I forgive others, oh Father Mother God To vacation at yoga camp Where OM is all I need to Say with or without eloquence Don't get me wrong I love my work I make love to my work In fact - I am half wed to it Yet there is work That knows no answers Gets no perks That makes me Holds me Crushes and supports - Owns my eye teeth And loves me like a Pimp On a gigolo's holiday. And I bet you thought I Was talking about my job. * 2000
FAIR WARNING ~~~~~~~~~~~~ You will give it to me My perfect intent to know I have What you plan - see I've Lived and died too many Times too many ways Reincarnation's a drag When you want to remember Strive to remember And then can't forget: Jumbled blessings To be paid With gems from the gut Texts Inside buried And my patience is running To zilch you know What I already know Only in dreams Waking up to the amnesia Of some divine plan That has had its way with me - This is it: The ultimate prayer: I will make war For peace To end the endless sacrifice IOU * 2000
BIRTHDAY SERIES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TWENTY-NINE ~~~~~~~~~~~ Sharp cliff from which I'll dive with bloody feet or there remain just another half-grown woman, choking on hype, hyped on lies, like old wives, foot-tied spinning, out of words, out of time. THIRTY ~~~~~~ The teacher said all women die at thirty - in the eyes of the media, at least, a woman turns to scrap at thirty, she will never be a babe again, men will take her for her pleasure, and Lord, she might even be grateful, unless she refuses to embrace the deadline, the entire plan sold hardcore and subliminal, like some lonely gospel, or perhaps even life insurance. THIRTY-ONE ~~~~~~~~~~ It is possible that all things are still possible * 1989-91
FOR THE WORD ~~~~~~~~~~~~ We carry this: Let the poem Not be in labor False In the beginning The Logos Flowed And all was song * 1999-2000
AVATAR ~~~~~~ The star that follows the light The light that follows the child The pyramids in the dark Broadcasting cradle songs The SOS sublime To angels who never have to die Who won't have to carry the body That carries all of the bodies The angels who watch through Bloody floss, ambrosial pastels, The evolution of a race That will carry their love to the cross. * 2000
MADONNA IN THE MOUNTAIN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the strip-mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania, any time like now And when I climb again to find you, the hills are sharp, the graves are pits, deep as blood. And when I touch your face all around me, the mountains I suckled, you become a map of scars. * 1992
MARY'S MILK ~~~~~~~~~~~ came to nourish the body of the world. * 2000
SAINT VERONICA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ had the art of asking for the image With the simplicity of a woman Who could paint only with her body, His body Her heart's blood of cedars His heart's blood of palms Mixed with unfiltered creation, the curses, The fires of Golgotha Captured on rag Indelible Human sacrifice. * 2000
MY SAVIOR IS MY VERB ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jesus, you're my astronaut, Tonight you give me New verbs to Master -- The list of things to do I praise the many motions That give me another chance To do To redeem myself in earthly Passages Lost asanas of the desert Mudras of the prickly pear, Savage rose Now I've seen you in the desert Telling me, Don't be afraid - I know you, Issa, Sananda, Iroquois Peacemaker of New York before it was new or York And how I loved your Middle Eastern accent - But I told you, we could work on getting you A standard American accent - I mean we could seriously work on it. They pay me now to do such things - And maybe I tried to kiss you, Christ, Because could any ghost, so plain and holy, Be more alluring? Yes, I can see how you converted the masses, And why women flocked to grassy concerts Lavishing you with spikenard -- To do To make To conjure I met you in an Ezekiel mobile - And that car wasn't made in Detroit! Did you tell me I was religiously promiscuous, As the desert stars flicked by? It's true. I love god and goddess in myriad forms. Could that be a crime? Then purge me with your touch. Oh you should have been my prom date, My first love -- I could have been the nun Destined to pilot your spaceship -- My spine is your ruby imperative, A fuse, ignited, Kundalini Shakti, Hari Om, Life! Back bending into the dirt, A new set of constellations, Cyberdeities, on-line cathedrals, Saints of Pythagorean esctasies Seducing the mystic Chord by chord - You always get your way - God, Pushing me beyond the Lines so well-dismembered - I am still just Still, a ceramic vessel, Henna-glow, and then blood orange In the sun, My only job: To fill up with light - * 2000
AFTER THE MODELS DISPLAY BONIER SPLENDOR ON CABLE TV ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is me Without curl Or blush In the end Nipples, Rump, all The fleshy texts Ask for mere acknowledgement Sublime pornography Rose hips The body is its own pulpit * 2000
KUNDALINI* ~~~~~~~~~ Love my back trust MY SPINE hold me up until the fish becomes the ocean * Kundalini is the primordial cosmic energy source located at the base of the spine. It can be awakened through yogic practice.
NARRATIVE ~~~~~~~~~ Ink Seeks Paper The Way I seek Yours truly, Your Lips The story We Make Never To be Spoken The same way Again In True or False Embrace * 1999
PACIFIC TIME ~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's too late to see this ocean, Acapulco, your glass-bottom boats, And boundless turquoise, I come from a backward land Where ancient mountains glaze Up only up -- It's too late for me to see the divers Plunging by torch light With bodies I will never have Courage I will never muster Pacific Mother, you swallow me With one great lick -- I am sixteen, I am forty, And still not able to swim The way I must swim For my life * 2000
IN NANO NANO LAND ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I sing nanotechnology Of elvish doctors of electronic fictions- Oh make me a young girl again - On the atomic level They party on the lip of nasty molecule, And then zap it into excretion -- Lost and found from An episode of Star Trek that no one Took seriously -- now Nanoprobes are getting all too Funky serious in Brooklyn? Inject us with those smart atoms And erase the age that aches -- Oh ingenious electrons Of faerie temperament To sweep out the arteries The bloodways that plug up like A bad day through the Lincoln Tunnel The nano ones are here Almost here, oh says The New York Times - And I'm ready To wipe out the pizza That turned to plaque The buttery crumbs that Live to stroke -- I will program my atoms To make to make love to those nano-probes, Wee atomic doctors! I welcome you to my body of too many Earthly delights.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN-IN-THE-MOON? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ An astronaut came to town, his act stopping in the marble hall of the Savings and Loan for show and tell. I suppose my mother wanted the man to bless me: her runt, her orphan, and why not? Hadn't he just returned from the moon? That had to count for something. So Pearl dared a question, but the spaceman grew impatient and looked beyond her, laughing in another language with thin ladies who smelled Channel, and men, who looked, well, entitled. We left the golden hall and walked home through the early darkness, the sharp snow. Had she wanted so much? Just a word, a chunk of hope, a souvenir from a planet we might aspire to. But the moon and its jaundiced light would visit us at home as a solo act, its pock-marked beauty slipping through our living room, momentarily illuminating our bodies, but never sharing its subsumed treasures, always just passing through, pausing only long enough for us to feed it. * 1988-89
MILLENNIAL AVOCADO SUTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let me trouble you I'm here to trouble the way I love you can only trouble make Let me tremble you I'm here to tremble the way out of tremble is to touch the forgotten way Heaven is falling up and out over and beyond our simple pleasures hmm, somewhere a world is ending with every breath, (haven't you heard?) The avocados you sent me are ripe Come, before they spoil * 1999
FOR A FRIEND WHO SUFFERS FROM CHRONIC WRITER'S BLOCK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I would like to grab him by the neck and wring out the words delight as they hiss and scatter rolling into balls of yipping fire and glimpse the transcendental bare-assed drunks tumbling out his cathedral's mouth -- I would like to grab him by the neck and wring out the birds, the dancers, the aardvarks' nuptial moon all stinking deliciously of parchment and ink his blood's jasmine pycho-luminous bags of jelly then claymation blobs that leap up onto his dusty lap crying: " Daddy, Daddy, It's time!" * 1989-1993
YOUNG JOSEPH ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am always calling Young Joseph - But his line is always busy, or he's flown away to Mt. Shasta, where business meets the divine. So I drum my ripe song, shamanism runs in the family, extending beyond our blood. Well, maybe. But this time we're not cracking open the same star. Remember, remember, remember past lives. I echo the drum's ripe song. But he chooses not to remember all the picayune karma, the grit. Young Joseph is always in a hurry, on the brink of flames. Such candles are we. Brother, it seems only the drum-breath supports me now. I'm not your brother anymore. Remember. Sure. But sometimes My third eye weeps. * 1996-ish
I SEE ~~~~~ Skinny-dipping is against the law here- the law of someone afraid to get naked. I marvel at such laws fallen down from God. * 1996
THE VISITING POET ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the high school named Liberty, the principal says I come highly recommended. The principal says this is a microcosm where myriad tongues make one- & Liberty is always in the making. We invite few strangers into our experiment. Beginnings always make me dizzy- I suppose that's because I'm a polyglot who must amuse in the deepest sense. I'd really like them to say: Welcome home, this is Liberty, your university: to enchant is to unchain. * 1992-93
SUNDAY IS FOR FORGIVENESS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This morning my three-year-old said to her father: "Daddy, the words are broken- they're not singing." Not far away, I am soaking in a tub of Dr. Bach's pine flowers, homeopathic essence of forgiveness, wondering, How does she know? Baptizing one day, exorcising another, I pour forest water over my head. And the crystalline stream of pine whispers: I'm sorry, so sorry for the lessons of the flesh. * 1998
GOING BACK ~~~~~~~~~~ So, the feeling is obsolete--- the fascination that pulled us from a duller, safer orbit. floating gems on earthquake plates, the islands of New York promised.. What was it now, they promised? Unsatisfied years add up to balloon payment. I want to go back repaired. We live in anonymous brick stacks. Strangers' love cries bleed through our pre-war walls. Sleep cannot repair this engraved fatigue. And if our bodies have been refuge --- even that is wearing out. A billion lights squeal other urgencies. Where do we belong? * 1987
HAVE YOU? ~~~~~~~~ ever met a woman who has never been called a whore? Now, she, my friend, is rarer than the Lotto numbers of your dreamiest dream. Even virgins wear the word underneath, unseen like a sanitary napkin, soaked to shreds, ready with just a slip to let the dead rose show through for the world's last best guffaw. Even women who have screwed around ever so vaguely to prove they're alive, or something near alive, or maybe to prove they're powerful oh-so-Biblically, wake up to hear the voice of God booming, then skipping like an old '78, in thousand fire-tongues-- well, you know what he says. And have you ever met a survivor who doesn't hold the syllable "bitch" in her back pocket like some lucky doubloon, or the pulsing relic of saint? It tell you, Sir, it's my mantra. Well, tell me now, have you ever met a man who calls himself a whore - and means it? Oh yes, it wouldn't matter because the word changes from tongue to tongue, depending on the chromosomes involved. But if it could mean the same thing, I would want to hear it. And if I ever do hear it, really hear it, played in that same key of old shame, then I'll take that Blue Moon moment like Eucharist on my tongue and write the new gospel of Man. * 1998
INVISIBLE WOMEN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We overflow our skeletons to prove existence. Call it tradition. I watched my mother drowning in her prime until an unloved body resolved, "Enough. Let's end." The devouring took years. I grew larger to fill her emptying space, to reply, physically, I'm here, yes, I'm here. * Late 1980s
DOCTOR WHOM? ~~~~~~~~~~~ Or the Adjunct Professor's Blues Once upon a time, there was my Ph.d-to-be, a tin mythos, or promise of a sweeter home that never ends and still won't happen because I just won't do what I'm told, or whispered to: to do, not yet, but not never-ever, or else, maybe one super-fine or freaked-out day since forever is such a prolonged time to endure the brand of a second class master-slave - call me Mother Teresa of composition class, but not yet, maybe tomorrow when I get my first gray hair, and now it's here, and all this isn't the least bit glamorous anymore when bills squeal to be paid and vacations never quite occur and the rest of the very real world seems to endlessly loop, "But you were so smart - how come you're always living gig-to-gig?" Yes, I am in a bad mood as I write this, angry, bitter, unappreciated, and lonely for success, and they, the system, that is, may replace me with a robot or some facsimile of a teacher, since I haven't written the Great American Novel yet either because I just can't do what my body won't do what my soul refuses to wear, and so the Fates write I may lose my job to some more adorable scholar with quick platinum credentials, too eager to perk nanny for tenure, and mend sentence fragments, like my bones. * 1994
WITH JUPITER AND SAGE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By the light of Jupiter, almost a star, they arrive at love sudden guardians of old secrets as only the flickering sage here can talk their way making sense for now their bodies smoke on smoke smudged to brightness vanish into the caress of ancient stars. * 1994
NOT REALLY FATHER, THE SUMMER OF MARIEL, 1980 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (background music: Tommy Petty blaring :"Don't have to live like a refugee, Don't have to live like a ref-u-gee..") You were a semi-retired spy, half Connecticut Yankee, half stormy andaluz soldier in the campamento against the glory of Fidel, the refugee camp was like a county fair freak show, a vacation, for a man that had maimed and killed many times, for one reason or another, but always for one nation under some sort of God. History cracked open, and by God again, you were there, egg on the face of democracy. Walter Cronkite would narrate the Indiantown Gap riots for the world: a slice of Cuba bleeding in of all places - the gut of Pennsylvania. She remembered hiding under an overpriced army desk while two men prepared to kill each other over a K-Mart sombrero, while war finally happened not on distant TV like your Vietnam, but behind barbed wire, in her backyard. Oh, Mariel! For peace she gave her lipstick and blush to Fidel's transvestites, but in reality she could never gather enough make-up for the thousands of men in dresses, their need. Bamboozled again, of course, Jimmy Carter would never win the election. Imagine Fidel's hard-on! Jimmy Carter could never explain this one. But you said everything could be explained. Murder and war especially, only love knew no dispensation. And anyway, your son was Jimmy Carter's speechwriter; like his father, he could juice the words or all-American hearts for a just cause. And then you said, "The hell with politics, now! Just call me Popi. Come sit on my lap, Querida." Then you gave her box of cheap chocolates, the ones with marshmallow hearts. And she ate them like sugarplums in the Garden of Eden. In the violet darkness of your redemption she could sometimes glimpse the belts, belts upon belts of dead rabbits hanging around your waist -- you wore them proudly, pitched against the northern stars. I suppose you are dead now or heaped high with enough years not to care. And I suppose that she loved you momentarily, the way needy young girls may love and then hate their absentee fathers in war time. * 1998
REINCARNATING THE WORDS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is in and will be out; everything lost must be found. This body teaches me costumes hide the passage, become the books of the dead, hidden in nectars, dream-sap, roots - What's real? I am not the grandmother whose name I pall-bear and recycle; I will not wear martyred bones to be charming. Not anymore. Who are we then back then in that forever past? Perpetual immigrants, nomads, jewel-meat for the auctioneer, and I am a woman on lost clay tablets, extinct calendars, almost always a woman, ripe for the harvest in a manacled world. Sometimes in dreamtime I walk with my husband of these days through the Egypt of Ramses the Great, while other worlds and lives fall and blend behind us. "Are we African, Roman, Etruscan, Irish?" What are we? Some say that this is all imagination. The journey to remember past lives. But I have known the jagged backward trek in a way beyond explanations of the head, and pretty logic. We have always been together you and I and everybody yoked by karma, that old friend. Believe me, or don't -- but it is in and will be out: aching with the knives that killed me - or you, the seeds extinct flowers carried only in the heart's womb. You have done everything here or under another sun, flunking out of time, you and I, obviously screwing up the quintessence of who we were becoming. And now the river we ensoul beckons: It is in and will be out - You may not sense while awake on the boundary, Maybe you dare not feel it, all holy corporeal - And thank God for that because all this living and dying can sure make doom in the heart and wreck a life at least temporarily. * 1994
At the End of the Work Day ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ sober indeed the brain makes its own woody wine come dance with me, take your chances I am not your English teacher! come dance with me, let's see who's nice at the end of the work day I think I'm so smart when five o'clock rolls into my pocket -- survived another solar rotation - rind of the blood orange, juiced, going, going, all gone. * 2000
LIFE AT TOM'S, A LOCAL BAR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In My Hometown A friend of my husband tells me He is looking for a nice Italian girl To marry, Mind you, His shacking up days are over -- He's tired now, He wants A plain factory babe under thirty, With a permanent like fusilli And oodles of Mediterranean hormones. You know the type. Do I now? Just look around you. "Scum," I reply through the third Long Island Iced Tea That another Bygone brother Classmate has given me For anesthesia and wicked smiles. "I beg your pardon?" "We sat in high school algebra together Murdering the same algorithms And now women of our generation You toss away -- like yesterday's condoms." "You? You think I am talking about you? Of course, I am not talking About you, your type." Then he goes on to blubber something like I am not other women: Bluestocking, orchid, hybrid bitch Out of the school of the wild-skirted saints, No way, thank God, It's nothing personal, you're cute, neutral, Well-preserved, almost a knock-out, well A little too hippy, Actually, how do you do it? Is it that Girl-Scout gene? Or one of your old science fair projects Gone all Frankenstein? Who cares? Forget it. I never Liked you in high school anyway. Something like that. "Wouldn't you rather be home Reading Aristophanes? comes a voice From the apricot mists of Long Island?" I lost my wedding band here In the bathroom sink Once upon a similar time And now like some alchemist Version of Josephine the Plumber I slink back there To try to push my hand through Pipes In search of some slender gold. This is Mark's, the "Frozen Caveman's" Place for the moment -- We also murdered algorithms together And pulled generous C's Out of Sister Ann Marie Saint James. That sneer could have uglified Helen of Troy. She knew we wouldn't become astronauts Or engineers. Too bad. She didn't know us at all. The maven of Long Island elixirs Follows me Thinking I've read too much Aristophanes, she's lost it now, Trying to push her hand through Old lead, behind such a thriving party. "Get a wrench then, Cave-man. I've got to pull it out - I am sure It's cradled here in the hook of The drain." I wait outside. My husband shoots darts With his buddies; the score Never matters --- He's transfixed. Truly he reminds me of Ulysses - Nothing female standing between Time and his men. I have never seen such affection, Such glue. Could he be happier if nirvana Were a place where pretzels, beer, And peanuts in the shell revealed Beatific face of God? Soon a twenty-two year-old One of freshest and finest of these Anthracite hills Prowls over to send me the basic Valentine of the place. I horrify him with my birth date And my tales of past life regression In Hoboken Under the pendulum of a former Actor turned hypnotist, Almost a disco rival of John Travolta. But disco died, and poof There went his career. Now he time travels With crazy chicks like me. Baby, you have no idea how old I really am. Is that any way to hit on the daughter of Pharaoh? I mean I am talking about the Pharaoh. Get it? Why in the old days I would have had You mucking bricks for the pyramids, Or worse. And it all works like insecticide. Next time I may not be so lucky. I could very well be home Snuggling with Aristophanes, One appreciative of my languorous caresses Over his mythic parchment, So lusciously brilliant to a girl like me, The quicksilver of his brain Mummified into quantum aphrodisiacs, Iridescent, singing their subtle sparks And subtexts In flasks of tantric eternities. But I swear men are getting dumber every day -- With each Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue Their brains grow more wee and feeble. Come to think of it, I could be a-courting another Dead geezer Who has made it into the Great Books I worship on altared shelves, Dust giving an allure Of Sweet endurance, with Me, the Nerdy witch, all turquoisey-blue In ancient Bobbie socks, A floozy for wisdom When it comes to one of those princes, Responsible for the overall state Of this wreck of civilization. * 1999
THE WONDERING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You lived to see The moon with human Feet and that was enough You lived to see me turn nine -- Now maybe you are born Again in another body A little Boy Or Girl with another chance To fly Or maybe you are still resting In some in between world Watching me Within this life With no angel juice to spare Don't cry The curses will erase Just rest, my Father, Rest. * March 2000
STAINS ON THE CARPET IN MY MOTHER'S ROOM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I scrubbed the bedroom carpet but could never get out the stains - the tracks, of nurses, social workers, an occasional neighbor or priest escaping one downpour, entering another. Years of estranged feet, grinding circles, built up layers of permanent shadow: blood, vomit, spilled bedpans, scarlet Betadine: all a canvas of dessicated roses. After the funeral, I got down on my knees to exorcize the stains; called in professionals with loud whirring machines, used sponges saturated with water from Lourdes. Finally, I covered the most glaring spots with the mottled skin of a lamb, something haggled over at a garage sale. It is unavoidable. I walk over the stains and voices rise through my feet. I fall to the floor and begin to scrub again until my fingers chafe raw, cheddar pink. I want to rip up the rug with my own hands and replace it with something permanently dark. But the stains have texture, being, mind, memory. They are an eczema, poltergeist, cankering blight. Beyond the surface, through the floorboards, they ripen at foundations. * 1987-89
UGLY AMERICAN TALE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sweet William, Awaken, Get up wry And wily ghost! I claim you in the name of Old Bill And his libido - In the name of Hillary's knockout punch, The one that made the Secret Service Hide behind leaden doors, amnesiacs - In the name of that wicked blue dress, Purchased lovingly At the GAP, For whose sake he prayed Out damn it! Gosh darn spot! Out wretched DNA! Sources claimed he wept like Elvis in search of a fix - I claim you, Bard, In the name of this land Forever now: Comedy or tragedy of sex? * March 2000
Sean Connery Crossing the Shit Crik in Weatherly, Pennsylvania (1969) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For Wayne Hollywood needed a creek to cross To make James Bond one of our own: A miner, a terrorist In Jeffersonian style A Molly Maguire ? but Hollywood being what it was not, Sent Sean down the raw sewage Crik and up to his belt In what was left behind As all the Boy Scouts of Weatherly Made roost In the canopy of a forest Still half wild - James Bond crossing your shit crik - Not mine! James Bond not liking it at all, But sensing the Academy Award For histories so well rendered - And if you hadn't been So assbackwards out of your Mind In Awe, You might have laughed, Thrown acorns into The lights, Razzed the stars And worlds you could Have crapped on And fertilized anew Like some great Darwinian critic But for climbing frozen Into their song. * March 2000
For Hillary Clinton ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is tough being a smart woman Married to the most singly incandescent Bubba Of the Ages - Yet he has what you do not - A Teflon@ crotch -- And the power to seduce The multitudes with the Charm of a rich bourbon pudding Served flambé on a Mardi Gras diet: Deep within the cumulative soufflé of Innocuous splurges and legal odes Of not having touched this or that - Ladies of aspartame and volatile spice. What do you say to a man when he Tells you that he has slept with hundreds? Congratulations, my Boy? He confided to Monica that he had bedded too Many to remember their names Because like so many men He just loved women beyond much, so To fret over the details of personality, Spoiled the body count, And such carnal adoration surely calls for its Repository And holy relics. Oh that charm of back room politics Where women lose their equality Horizontal on the pool table of God, While cheap champagne corks pop and pop - He had the power to drop the bomb On you, Dear Lady, But you resurrect yourself Out of habit. As for Monica, she will sell diets And purses that discreetly clench The most radiant designer condoms, Never will she be able to take a lover Or husband without her Clintonesque skills Rudely called to task, The whole world ogling Her boudoir, Snickering, Taking notes.
Monica, Oh Monica ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Only ugly women come to call now: Stern princesses, Frigid ambassadors, Crone-violets sworn to Environmental chastity. Young women are seen only In briefest eclipse Wrapped in force fields And checked for Victoria's Secrets. But Beauty smelled an 8 millimeter rat With the Star Spangled Banner in the Background for encouragement, There was Liberty and free love for all Until he pronounced them dead - Alas, they could no longer send out for pizza With sultry toppings Or any sustenance at all. After that she held her sapphire dress, His essence congealed there: Her proof, The flag of her country, Hanging out the White House windows, A perverse twisting of the old virgin's Bloody sheet test - All For the starving eyes Of a starving planet.
For the Mother of Elian Gonzalez ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I wonder now what you think, madre-angel Where would you send your son? Tell me, madre-angel So that I may cast my vote into the abyss. Surely blood is thicker than politics And a six-year old boy should be with his father, But then why did you drown, madre-angel? Before the eyes of your boy? For what? As your lungs filled up with water, As your spirit left your body, You went behind Elian, saying: Now is Not the time to cry, Just hold on, There will be time to cry after the rescue -- I will chase away the sharks. Stay awake, Elian. Float. Paddle like a dog. I am sure that when his head slipped into The water You picked him up or slapped him Back to consciousness when No rescue seemed to come. He is going back to Fidel, madre-angel, Not to his father. Fidel is now his Father. Fidel will say that Elian is just like the son He never had, oh yes, his face will cover Cuba -- At every event he will be communism's child, A son of the revolution, contaminated by Disneyland and Toy R Us -- He will not be Elian: The angel who would not die. * All poem copyright (c) 2000 Maria Jacketti
Publications by Maria Jacketti "Faith" and "Whatever Happened to the Man-in-the-Moon first appeared in The Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal. "A Coal Necklace" first appeared in Mulberry Poets. "Thirty" first appeared in Poetry Motel. "Madonna in the Mountain" first appeared in Black Buzzard Review. Books -- Translations of Gabriela Mistral: A Gabriela Mistral Reader of Pablo Neruda Ceremonial Songs Heaven Stones Maremoto: Seaquake Neruda at Isla Negra Neruda's Garden: An Anthology of Odes
Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and learn from all. A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. Even a chance to be published in a magazine. The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin Board Systems. We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking. Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created. Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede
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All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is prohibited. YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2000 by Klaus J. Gerken. The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken. No other version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged. All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS COMMENTS * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text submissions. Use Klaus' address for commentary on Ygdrasil and its contents: email@example.com * Pedro Sena, Production Editor - for submissions of anything that's not plain ASCII text (ie. archives, GIFs, wordprocessored files, etc) in any standard DOS, Mac or Unix format, commentary on Ygdrasil's format, distribution, usability and access: firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to hear from you! Or mailed with a self addressed stamped envelope, to: