YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 2000

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Martin Zurla; Rita Stilli; Michael Collings

ISSN 1480-6401


         We Haven't Always Gotten What We Wanted to
         Because You Snore, My Cantankerous Love
         Captain Temple's Trunk
         Great Black Fuzzy Mama Speak
         Giving UP
         Scary Words
         The horoscope
         The Professor
         Cream of the book
         Celebrating humus
         Close enough to smell the rye
         Hands on a gun
         Holding the earth
         How illusions are made
         I learned to be cunning
         Looking for the Source
         This month
         When the shore was empty


   Two edged words,
   Slice through the brain,
   As a two sided Sword,
   Cuts in vain
   And Maybe life's a parody of rule,
   An intellectual Touche'
   A comedy of fools,
   As each dogs day gets more cruel.
   Type's in print,
   Mimic lifestyle Types,
   Editors pencil in, egos squint,
   Out to lunch, flying kites.
   Long lines in verse
   Meander behind the poets Hearst,
   Fine words the critic now does nurse,
   Strange how life is so perverse. 

   June 2000

   The same mistaken words
   We didn't know that we did it
   But we came into this world poisoned --
   Before we were born
   In other bodies
   The sins that were common
   We considered just bread
   And with that we carried it all,
   Took notes in akash.
   They come with great erasers
   Like super heroes 
   Like janitors, angelic
   With pure leaves
   To scrub away
   The stinking graffiti
   The words gone all wrong
   March/April/May 2000

MARIA JACKETTI We Haven't Always Gotten What We Wanted to ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (for G.M.) A garden but no bath A birdbath and a shower, A manor with walls to speak the grit And girth of years - This old house was a very very fine house Until bad neighbors moved In And accused us of all of sin, witchcraft, Premenstrual syndrome, And last but not yeast - menopause - Something borrowed Always blue The cats incommunicado A husband born again On his way out there, He still believes in happy endings, His way -- With children a world distant, Held in the embryos of thought - It was not your fault, The apocalypse of marriage - I, a cryogenic friend, Perhaps, years between phone calls Understand only parts of it, The way we have grown older, Sadder, bolder, wiser, The way we continue to survive On different maps And we meet like solar eclipses - Dancing past each other, Making the world take notice, Momentarily, saying: you take my light For granted, Well maybe the sun will never shine again Unless we lift our skirts, And awaken the oracles. What do you think? 6/28/00
MARIA JACKETTI Because You Snore, My Cantankerous Love ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Luck Is sleeping With out a pill- Ow, owl-light to beyond Midnight burning , ouch I you owe I owe you, we both snore like criminals So that only we could love Each other, sonorously, tuneless, In mutual understanding Of nasal congestion and tortuous Snore devices and sleep clinics That never work - We owe pills In dainty boxes, Camelot hats Unrabitting , pulling each other Out of the womb of Each other, that's magic! Something Besides The Sticky past, the snot That gets stuck in mid breath Somewhere before sleep Is consumated Luck is When neither Lover Mate Snores Worth a damn, Just a zen's-worth of opium In a kiss enough To induce dreams Of lynx-lovely silence A winter's sleep of luscious Wool on sudden peaches ! Luck Is what We make When When we made our minds Out of the mud The sun The scrambled ovum Infinite sperm A life together That finds another way To forgiveness, quite like The old math, the it of us That we are continuing to be But differently Refuses to roll over, sleep on The couch, tone down a decibel And that cures that. So, Good night. 7/8/00 wee hours of the morn
JACK WESDORP Captain Temple's Trunk ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Our Captain Temple was a privateer back when the land was wild-wood and stripling, pursuing a part-time pirate's career, and given to occasional tippling. When he retired to his Boston croft, he brought him home a brass-bound bowtop trunk, and spent his end-time dreaming aloft, memoried tales of the ships he had sunk. Now it's ten generations...that...are...fled, and the trunk comes delivered U.P.S., left up to me to unravel its thread, and to ponder over his ghostliness. I've got it set on the living room floor, fetched an old three-warded skeleton key that just might fit - I can smell the salt shore, and faint echoes of sailor ribaldry run round my headroom in storybook spell. A "click"...the hasp creaks in its upward swing... the first thing I see is a scallop shell carefully laced with a pearl signet ring, and a feather (maybe of albatross?), which would seem fitting I thought me somehow, all on a chain with a plain golden cross, and lovingly laid on velvet in vow. "Hi gramps," I said, conscious of rheumy eyes, "guess you figured one of your heirs would get your stuff, huh? Left it all nice and neat-wise for me to fool with and maybe forget for a while how banal my rut has rift. Might be nice at that to spend some day-dream in whiling away the week-ends adrift on the Caribbean gulf-tropic-stream, planning my next port of call with due care, (never know what former "clients" of ours might be lurking about the docks to swear out warrants inconvenient and dour)... (or the king's nayvee readied halyard strop, aye, an' ye wonder that I be drinkin' just to imagin' the neck-breakin' drop...) and then all of a sudden I'm thinking: "Geez, all of this from a scallop shell charm. Got some serious obeah here gramps... how's `bout that cross...maybe keep me from harm? Put me in good (right?) with the popish camps..." And then I'm whirled to an Inca town square, where the sun's beating down to booming drums, and I'm looking up a blood-reeking stair, while gold is heating in millionaire sums, to be poured in ingots and stamped with names, destined for Spanish coffers bought with lives, to be disputed by crown-headed claims, with mercenary foils and widowed wives... till the gold is cast in cruciform molds, somewhere in a cloistered artisan's mint, to be worked as icons, sold and resold - and nowhere does any know that this glint has cost more than even I in my dreams can account for...least of all the priest dudes who've used it in their power-hungry schemes, to confer a succession of servitude among their congregated kow-tow mob, in apostolic Inca-cursed commands... till their church is robbed by a simple swab, and westward fell into my avid hands (ah...nope, my forebear's crew's the ones to blame - thievin' sailor lot they is, cain't trust `em - better take this cross an' absolve its shame by callin' it bewitched an' disgust `em)... and then I'm back on my living room floor, with a buzz in my head and salted tongue, full to the craw with this sordid gold lore, knowing that something's seriously wrong. "Right, gramps, that's enough for the church," I think, "like, let's get into some mellower space. What's with the ring and the pearl?...", an' I blink at its sheen and its incised runic face done in some reversed intaglio art, like a photograph left in negative, whose craft tugs strong at the strings of my heart like a puppet, long and con-sec-u-tive- - - - so's I can't ignore its fugitive pull. There's something...someone here I really want, who will make my incomplete life so full of wonder that I'd suffer any haunt to get there...and just SO, my course is laid with the vision of a like-wrought signet, but carved of black-sand pearl that will not fade throughout my years, and this dream, this...figment, shall carry me to bustling foreign ports, to quiet beaches where a whisper wind always promises exotic consorts, black-tressed doe-eyed princess feet moccasin'd and searching alike for me. There's no doubt that I've got it like good an' proper bad. Later, I pursue this like a devout athlete training for his olympiad; like - the helm lashed, my wake so straight and true - looking for nirvana I guess - like that. Meantime there's other things I've got to do, and I sit there on my fireside mat musing aloud, going: "Right gramps, that's cool, you've got me by the balls - full attention - my undivided lust - but I'm no fool looking to abrogate my abstention (big words, eh?) out in the real-time places... surely there's stuff I've got to learn and do before I can venture after traces of hidden loot (that's it, right?) or pursue the lady of my dreams - so teach me well all those things I'll need out there in loot-land." And he says in my head: "Aye, ye ken sell that doubloon sewn into the waistband of me pantaloons ye'll find in the back of this chest for starters. That'll get ye some ready cash-flow, a neat little stack of hundred dollar bills, an' I'll bet ye ken use `em to good advantage, me boy. Go ahead, lad, an' then we'll talk some more." So I ripped the seam in his corduroy pants and found the coin, stumbled out my door forgetting to lock it, down to Mott Street where this ancient Chinese dude took one look and called his bookie - gave me a receipt and a neat little bundle of green. I shook his hand (sorta furtive like) and scrammed it outta there, hailed a cab and rushed on home where the open-door-fear made me slam it. "Lesson number one: wherever ye roam, don't panic or hurry - there's lots of time. Now let's get on with preaching number two!" And then we did this mental pantomime thing for about three years for to subdue my insecurities and short-sighted twentieth century do-it-now! thing, carefully learning all the mid-nighted arcane lore my gran'ther'd worked in his ring, reading the faded feather-scrawl pages of his sealskin-bound diary...and the map, (yeah the map!) that I found seeming ages later wrapped with care, hidden in the gap of his portrait painted on-board, between the canvas and its backing - just like you'd expect on an Erroll Flynn movie screen - it'd been falling apart, coming unglued hanging in the wet of New York's weather... and all the neat stuff in that chest like the sextant and scope...and the feather! Yeah, the feather story - that was the best part of the whole carefully-stored-up deal, and I've got to tell this tale down-home right, so let me set easy down on me keel, an' take ye up for an albatross flight. Remember what Sam Coleridge told us `bout how the albatross never lights down? How the ancient mariner's men hold us when they hung it round his neck like a crown of decomposing thorns in malign spite? In truth, the albatross embodies Soul - and a single quill from such-phoenix'd might rewrite your spirit form's entire scroll, if you've but learned what you're really doing in this here-and-now - so with the feather, this very same plume with which the hewing of me reborn course is held together, (an' I've got this strange double vision scene happening while I tell you the story), some sort of self-swallowing serpentine ourobouros heading off to glory. Anyway, I started to keep a log of all this fabulous movie-screen stuff an' gramps an' me in mental dialogue finally get it together...enough! Let's get down with it an' cut to the chase - the map says the coast of what's now Belize. I close down the house, marine steeple-place visions and daunting aborigines dancing in my head. I call my lawyer, leave a key with the delivery dudes, beg off with my stuff-this-job employer, heading for single digit latitudes, where I've got it on expert accounting there's a treasure troving awaiting me, to be dug up in secret, amounting to Fort Knox hoards, testing my bravery and my resolve - for it won't be easy to get to, out across low-land salt-marsh, where it's hot and the company's sleazy, following the inlet up through its course. "Yeah, it's adventuring I'll go...hi ho, hi ho...and damn well about time, right gramps?" "Take it slow, me lad...we're in for a blow...." Windshield wipers swing hypnotic...fog lamps from oncoming trucks boring in my skull an' crossbones-jolly-roger-flapping-gent up on the yardarm...finally, a gull... an' by that time I'm really good an' bent, looking for a harbor place to plunk down my last few remaining Ben Franklin smiles on a houseboat (found one in Stann Creek town - left the car in pawn)...an' then there's the miles of lush jungle lagoons an' uncharted sand bars festooned with flights of water fowl... an', yeah, sometimes I get chicken hearted when I hear a far-off sepulchral howl... always pushing south, counting the rivers, seeking to bolster me courage with gin - an' then there's a bad case of the shivers... `gain...got this boozy pirate in me skin... good thing we's friends...we're almost like one dude... an' startin' to think in nautical terms, sinkin' low in out one-time turpitude, an' I'm...uh, we's git them nightmare like squirms "avast!"..."belay that!"..."heave to!"...Yo, heave to? Holy mother McCree, I thing we's here! "Aye, aye, captain sir, have I your leave to get down with playing real live buccaneer?" "Down boy, this not be time to git air-head. We need a solid night's sleep. Tomorrow you'll need to unload all that thoroughbred scientific stuff that we, ah, borrowed." Oh, yeah...so a short interlude later I'm...uh, we's sloshing upstream like damn fools down with the spiders an' alligators, with our...hell no, my pack stuffed full of tools. Takes us most of a day to get up there, where the limestone crags peek above the trees, an' by that time I ain't got me the air - down I goes, an' all I kin do is wheeze. "You better found the right place, gramps," I hiss, "`cause I ain't moving for a good long spell." "We-ll (uh oh) things have changed...might be amiss. This stuff's so overgrown it's hard to tell. I think, maybe, it's up this gully...wait... nope, that way...nah, cain't be...here's what we do..." (I know what we'll do, we'll procrastinate until dawn, an' gramps'll make some voodoo stuff an' pull the fat outta the fire). Which is exactly what goes down out here; I eat my Spam an' listen to the choir of a million little bugs chanticleer... circled by a hundred glittering eyes, by snuffling and hooting sounds in the night, an' indistinct mountain-echoing sighs ...last thing I see is a meteorite... "Ha! Dawn at last. Whaddaya figger gramp?" "It has to be uphill. Let's check that cleft. If it's the right one, we can pitch our camp in a cave mouth that should be on the left," No sooner said than s'done, whacking away at the creeping vines that shroud everything, the pirate grampa and his protege - an' we'll not be put off by anything. Then, quite sudden, I notice a cool gust coming from the left and slightly behind, an' gramp says: "Something faintly phosphorus'd back down there...I can see it in my mind." "Good hooraw Godfrey, I think this is IT!" we both exclaim in unison singing, an' sudden it's quiet an' definite when I spy a bat coming in winging. Then I'm hacking to the mouth, moving rocks, making like John Henry with his hammer, clearing off the ledge, ignoring the squawks of nesting birds, improvin' on me grammar with non-lexicon words an' queer phrases that sound vaguely like hottentot-injun... an' we're off into one of our dazes crawling in a gold-hazing dominion. "Slow down, boy!" Gramps...he's got it together. "Over to the right an' up that flow-stone," I've got me flash-light an' knee-jeaned-leather, "past the formation that looks like a throne, ...now down this little side tunnel...it's here! They're still here - three chests, just like I left `em! Check it out, boy." Ri-ight...I wax real sincere an' hernias just trying to heft them. "Gramp, if I should ever doubt you...kick me so I'll notice, all right?" He leers, "like hell I will do just that me lad. Now...quickly, strike off that lock an' we'll set here a spell admiring these ill-gotten royal goods." Which we do in sumptuous languid style, (took me weeks to get it out of the woods, an' every step was a godbedamned mile), savoring the moment and the planning of our course, how we'll buy a two-master, an' how we'll go east a'courtesanin'... an' I'm thinking...now, who is the master. Already tainted by feverish gold. "Gramps? Hey gramps! We's got some talking to do. Before I haul this swag out, let's uphold some honor among thieves." "Misconstrue me not, me lad," says he, "my part is done. What ye do with all these sparklin' baubles is your affair, an' you're no simpleton who'll just mire ye in deeper troubles. Relax, me lad. All this loot represents Great Power, an' most of it sore misused. It needs someone with your temperaments to set it all aright. I've been accused (in higher places - do that surprise ye?) of perpetuatin' its directive channel into continued misery, an' secreted here it's ineffective in its purpose. Wealth must be circulated; especially wealth beaten into art, lest the artist's wont be desecrated... this is all so nebulous...but you're smart, an' we've confidence in yer helmsmanship. If ye want, when ye get it home...we'll moot?" "O.K. gramps..." I thought that was pretty hip. The trip back was a smuggle runnin' hoot - traded the houseboat for a yawl up north, an' wrote the dude back in Stann's `bout the car, (You own it -here's some pearls for what it's worth with your boat an' all...). By that time we's far out into the Gulf makin' knots for home, an' all we saw us was an albatross hoverin' high...an' miles of scudding foam. An' finally we is safely across what old salts grouse are most perilous seas, up the inland waterway amblin' on, dreamin' dreams of island-eyed destinies, wakin' soft not to attract attention... up through the Chesapeake where we heave to, gazing at glorious sunsetted spells, musing a treatment in quiet-cove-blue, a Fred Church painting with midnightly bells... planning out the procedure of our spoils - what's to be sold off or museum cased, and how to avoid the tentacled coils of the I.R.S. (how not to be traced). An' when we've got that together I weigh anchor and head up Henry's river banks, up through the harbor, a Palisades day, salving my homesick on the Storm King's flanks... passing by spook-inspired light-house keeps... running silent past Poughkeepsie an' Oakes, ghosting through mist whorls while townspeople sleep, slippin' Esopus...an' nobody spoke - not a word, not a whisper...victory, the chariot come home to its stable, dock'd at the only mooring I can see... an' uphill-town, a Saugerties gable brooding in the morning fog...like frowning at me, who's weathered storm an' jungle bugs, an' I wry-think: "This must be the crowning laurel wreath, right?" An' then...then something tugs at my strings from so very far away, like...a rich man should have a proper wife. I fall into a dream...a shadow play (an' that's the dawn of the rest of my life) all about a scallop shell that's a boat, an' a golden cross cast of peoples' grief, an' a white feather that's life's antidote, an' a gold ring of pearl-inscribed bas relief... an' in that dreaming is it told to me, how far-off there's another awaiting - of jet-black pearl-eyed tress, bold and fiery, who's ready to end my celibating... Ah, the waking of that dream...melody beyond compare, symphony drawing me to ever go far...an' forever dare. 3/18/1994
JACK WESDORP Great Black Fuzzy Mama Speak ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stevie Hawking comes trundling to my door, a banshee trembling glint off his eyeballs; plows right past me, throws himself on the floor, drags out a stub of purple chalk and scrawls brilliant circles about his lolling form. Once, twice, three times he struggles round my court. Then rises young and virile, upthrust arm entwined in the Worm's ourobouros heart, his right hand surging with starstuff and night. And in my mind his pictures and meaning: "Got it!" (things), and "Ma'am?" (me), and "Holy shit!" (that'd be the rest of It). All while leaning rather negligently on infinite space and time. Then he turns to me and spins some cosmic starcocktail prospects by me, immaculate math with impossible things, crazy scrolled numbers to codify me and define the glory of stone in time, images in flowstone as dawn-skirling, a calculus set into arcane rhyme, spellbound on the altar, worked to whirling a spark from the void. By this am I moved, and indeed all else follows Hawking-wise, every-when at once and all; like we grooved behind him for a loooooong ride on his eyes. And finally back into the black point that is me. All in One. And for this, Steve, for this great questing by which we are joined, I grant thee thy wish and bestow thee leave--. "Anyone and when and where?" The god stirred inside his purple scoring, cast a gate of obsidian fire, was a bird winging high above the abyss as straight as a mason's plumb line to his own place flying very fast, and I know not where. As for the ash left in his temple-grace, I have destroyed the ring and swept it bare.
JACK WESDORP Bob ~~~ And now the Hippies mourn for all our voice lies dead, the spindle of our song is woven-out and fled. Jimi so long ago, Janis, of drugs and booze, eternal gypsy acts all paying heavy dues. John shot down by a fool, Abbie, champagne and reds, forever clowning free in our collective heads. Uncle Jerry's dark star and merry prankster Ken, freed from the wheel at last... you will not come again. Spaced kindly doctor Tim, yea, all the priesthood scene; and now this day gone by, man, mister Tambourine. Let the child bear our torch to far meadows and halls; fair wind to thee, pilgrim. Write it on temple walls, in roadside water holes, out among shifting sands, amidst galactic swirl, and burning Neverlands.
JACK WESDORP Sir ~~~ Ali, this is what I saw: no pretense; No false Hollywood face; that was all you. In a brilliant clearing in a forest. Sir, you are the Heart of the Warrior. The essence of struggle; a perfect act; The ring, a sacred stage where gods cast forth The legends and scripture of our heroes. I was listening real close for the truth When the man went, "You going to Nam, boy." You said, "I'm a fighter; not a killer." And it was decisive then who was who In the public politic arena. That basalt wall in Washington is short For what you said. We all were much heartened when you took up vows, Embraced church, started a family; You were flawless as the champ Jogging Mugger Central Park at midnight; You are now of the priesthood; and we beholden Ali lighting the Olympic Games cauldron Wherein burns high our tribal hope and faith. I saw Ali pass that selfsame torch to some kids Knowing full well his time with us fleeting. Oh so much yet to do. And last, I see Ali shadowboxing across a field Ablaze with the colors of his passage.
MOSHE BENARROCH Giving UP ~~~~~~~~~ So many times I said I couldn't take it but I took it The dirty dishes, the screams, your silences, my tensions, my always being right, so many times I could have left if you just said so, so many times you could have left if I said it. Our departures never met, and I wonder was it out of fear, or just the belief that there'll be better days like these, sunny days of calm, wonderful days when our bodies meet and become one, these are few but aren't miracles rare? So many times I wanted to give up and I gave up. Each time I did, something filled the hole something new and unexpected, giving up is believing in miracles.
MOSHE BENARROCH Counting ~~~~~~~~ I am always comparing. at my age my father was married two years he had his second son, me. I am married 16 years have three children. at my age Kafka was already dead. rabi Nahman, Ytzhak Louria all were dead before they reached 40. Bukowski hadn't published his first book yet I have published 6, not bad. My son is 14, at his age I had already lived the most important event in my life I had emigrated from one country to another I became a migrating bird without wings my poetry takes me since then from Europe to Africa, from South America to Canada From Israel to Spain and back, and to the land of poems, that's the land where I build my nest until the next migration
MOSHE BENARROCH Scary Words ~~~~~~~~~~~ Some words scare us the same ones that could release our fears. Words, like monsters lying dormant in lakes waiting for the big day to wake up. Words, mantras of lost arms rivers no one can see prayes our souls most need shoes to walk with on the sea.
MOSHE BENARROCH The horoscope ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The horoscope said that these days I will be prolific, will write anything I want and I am here quite dry looking for words not the best of poems not the best of days fighting with languages mother tongues father lips words that don't exist, a sentence no one can skip and I really wonder because all the horoscopes I read about me are right always right sometimes they are the only real thing in the weekend newspaper, the news they seem like science fiction to me.
MOSHE BENARROCH The Professor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The professor wrote half page saying that my poems aren't worth anything in the biggest paper in Israel my novel, he said, has no literary merit but has some sociological value, thanks. Now, if he could he would put me in the zoo write below "Morrocan Poet" the last that they couldn't brainwash. Once I dreamt this would happen, many articles against me but as all dreams when they become reality deception strikes. I wanted a fair fight and he just gave his own fears on paper his own psychopathological fear that these niggers want to conquer his literature, well, Kafka received the same treatement at my age, surely Bukowski and all the good ones. When you break a wall you have to expect that some stones will fall near you, just hope it's not on the head.
MOSHE BENARROCH Cream of the book ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's the book month and the small publisher is trying to sell me a writer that was banned 40 years ago as if it was something new, it's the same publisher that is banning another writer that 40 years from now someone will ask how come nobody understood his genius, but I dont say anything, I just listen a book about Eichman's life and moral problems well, I don't have the appetite, I must tell you I'd rather have a Bukowski's biography, a Felafel or an Italian ice cream, even if these were not banned fourty years ago, spinning cream.
ROCHELLE MASS Celebrating humus ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In Acre, by the sea, Yusuf makes it coarse with cracked kernels crispy as pecans. A man called Kobi serves it to me smooth as velvet in the last row of the Tiberias souk. On the highway, near the number 80 Army Camp they fill the center with tehini, lace it with olive oil. The Ahmed brothers, in Afula, run a place with a kosher stamp, a Rabbi sits at a table near the kitchen inspecting what goes in and out. The brothers pile whole buds in the center, add bits of parsley big enough so I recognize the shape of the leaf. Just past the memorial to fallen fighters, at the Golani junction I ask for hot fava beans to fill the middle , with paprika sprinkled over the steam till the surface glows. On Yermiyahu street in Tel Aviv, my serving arrives ashkarah style with a full radish, green onion stalk, an egg boiled brown. No matter the recipe or the service, humus is to be wiped. I tear pita quickly, twist firmly into the taupe mass, reach for cracked syrian olives and diced salads that parade the humus till the table swoons in peppery sharpness till pickled aromas challenge the minted tea till my celebration ends.
ROCHELLE MASS Close enough to smell the rye ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I met a man at a party. I'm Irish, he told me, and as he drank he told me that passion is unchristian there. I was close enough to smell the rye watch the words tumble damp, catch his fingers on my breast. As the night pulled on, he looked like an old house, all shadows and I pressed against a window. He was telling me that Paravans in India are not allowed to walk on public roads, not allowed to cover their upper bodies, to carry umbrellas "not allowed" was what I mainly heard. But what he really meant was that Christians would not defile themselves by accidentally stepping into a Paravan's footprint. He was touching me, talking about untouchability and suddenly the back of my legs went sweaty and his lips flapped like yam leaves. Dead insects floated round the base of the candle. Then like traffic freezes passage on a highway, I was sure I had to go. The Greeks, I know, say you never enter the same river twice: that returning, like moving on, is coming to another place. That night the sky was black and thick.
ROCHELLE MASS East ~~~~ The house faced east. The architect intended fresh light, the first stream of morning. He placed long, wide windows in the kitchen wall, was sure facing east would bring her the spirit of Jerusalem, David's wisdom. For her, east was green and white license plates, white-scarved men at road blocks unloading chairs and carpets with plump women who squatted, staring at their feet till officials ordered them to move on. The mozein from Sandalah, just over the hill whines first prayers. Jenin, further east over the green line, fills the horizon with brooding intentions.
ROCHELLE MASS Flames ~~~~~~ sprang from bough to grove carving new boundaries. The air was sick with smell. Police talked about arson torching pioneer dreams while the fire scaled the slope seducing one row of twisted pines after another. We could hear the heat wide as thunder. The green was banished, then the roar of collapse. Flames took the shadows with them. Evacuation someone said. We went home. What would we take if we had to leave? Money, jewelry, papers? What does a person need? A neighbor has 40 dunams of olives on the Gilboa just where the fire started. He can't take that. Should I stuff things in a box? Family photos, a favorite painting, the computer? Or do you leave it all together? Part of that time and place. Turn your back and run. The wind died down after midnight then the flames. The next morning light and calm filled the house but the terror hadn't passed or the questions.
ROCHELLE MASS Hands on a gun ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The soldier has slipped onto my shoulder again, his breath skips with the road. His head falls to my chest, I straighten, tightening the part of my back that usually goes sore on rides long as this. His knee hits mine, then flips away as the bus rolls, returns to mine, stays there. I feel his muscles. Hills are drying in the June sun. Goats and two camels pass on my side and dark children sell eggplants from plastic crates. The soldier's head falls almost into my arms, I lift his face. His hands stay on the gun, a scar goes from the thumb up the arm. Swollen and red. The bus makes a sharp turn. The low area between the hills is filled with black tents; wide women herd sheep and children to grass left after winter. The soldier has slipped again, I lift his face, saliva runs on my hand, then I touch his hair. The bus stops. Three soldiers push duffel bags in. The last eats cherries, spits out the stones. An old lady with parsley in her lap shouts at him, the next stone rolls under her skirt. The bus revs up and my soldier shakes himself like a dog out of water. Shalom, he says. Shalom I say and feel the sweat each time I raised his head. Where are we? He asks and leans over to see more tents and goats. Almost there? and answers - long way yet. I want to look straight at him but study his hands on the gun, want to know if he's afraid. There's so much more I want to say, but you can't talk like that to a man you hardly know.
ROCHELLE MASS Holding the earth ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A sharp wind brings Golan voices down into the valley where I can hear them. Sounds like a rockslide, coarse scrub of grain and the spiral of fissures. A frantic undertow. The voices want no change, want to keep their place in that massive reach of land. In the early years, groups of children, my daughters too, were trucked up there to clear rocks and boulders smooth the surface into a welcoming place. Pears and apples are picked now through fall and winter brought south to local markets. The trees are woods, throw shadows dark as grief. Crops and cattle are rooted there. Soldiers have fallen keeping that place safe. Golan voices spike questions hurl them at anyone who'll listen. People there seem to be lying low like leaves coming down, animals at bay waiting for the chase, stirring trouble holding the earth.
ROCHELLE MASS How illusions are made ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On days when I feel very married I don't wear my wedding band. I slip it over a hook alongside the keys for the back door and the storage shed. When that knowledge shrinks, I only remember part of my husband's face, where he lowers his eyes into disappointment. I do remember our passion as lovers then how I had to get used to him when we were married. There were times in those years when we were strangers now we're saying more in less words. Heat rests on the road near our house. I can see how illusions are made as I drive over the wet circles watch them disappear into asphalt tongue. That's how it feels with our marriage. It seems real clear and then I continue on to find that what was there has gone maybe wasn't there at all. Today our home is full of light, intense. I can't refuse the morning that spills in.
ROCHELLE MASS I learned to be cunning ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I used to think that a piece of sky was enough to tell me where things stood, what was going to happen; slices of sky between the mountains, parceled into triangles told me what I knew, the way plants shiver when the temperature drops. Predictions came at me the way cold rushed in late November. I learned to trust like laying a fire: layers of balance, order, weight. Or it wouldn't work. The air between the twigs had to be kept light, not packed, nor blocked. In those years I wanted to learn to love from those who could, but none was ever as good as I wanted. Sometimes I remember the residue of a smile, the warm place round a man's eyes. Enjoy his face stare, like watching ants climb over a leaf, in between the mountains of West Vancouver, where the sun gives off no heat, where motion seems to settle where the day cools, when the sun drops leaving only streamers. Autumn baffled me then, pumped me with memories I didn't think I had a right to. I learned to be cunning like fabric in a market, twisted from the bolt, edges pegged to overhead wires to catch a shopper's eye.
ROCHELLE MASS Looking for the Source ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Time-stops, she called what she did. This was doing something important, stopping time. Sheets floated in acids, birthing figures into existence. It's the wet pictures she remembers, the movement as it roams from below, as it convolutes, evolves. He blows nervousness into her shoulder when he lifts her dress. The other women fade into other time, other rooms. Air is heavy as he comes toward her. She prepares for his weight, his shape, feels between water and sky. Remembers stones and flowers and for just a second, the dream where she lost her legs. Then he empties. She was his field of wild rice, tall corn, fat tomatoes. He pummeled her, told her who she was, but sometimes he just takes from her. Sometimes she follows him, memorizes his hand, his eyes. She tries. It's a slow ride into her body. She remembers planning her death. In water, deep in, never rising, no more sky. But he's taking her to better now. Don't cut me in half, she pleads. It's night. The cold stays round them till they push at it. Cover themselves with each other. She is tired, moves back to her self, can only see what she didn't know about him, the way he shook his hand, how his lip twisted. She waited like a cat under his leg, like slippers. There was a pattern here: she fragments, phrases. He open doors, thrusting her ahead. I went to a lady healer this morning, he tells her, to get peace. Here, he says, placing his hand on his chest, too much pain, wild pain, he says waving the flat hand back and forth. The healer touched my neck, held my shoulder, steadying me. But she was pushing me into weeds, swamps, marshlands. I shook like a weather vane, spun round myself, I left, ran out. His coughing woke her, he was rolled over himself on the sofa, she walked round him till her hands were damp, flashing, snapping, rolling the focus. Leaned over to the contours of his cheek, arm, down to his ankle. When she dropped the pages into the acid bath, the shadows blurred, then became exact. Finally, there he was, she had locked him in, closed a fence round his pain, simmered him down. He looked like an iris felled by heat, a heavy boot or an anxious dog. He lay still the way he wanted the healer to make him, like the iris when it was unaware of being otherwise. Didn't look ambitious, almost looked discarded, left in a dusty place. She refocused the camera, tried to think him out, get at his totality, moved over him again, frame after frame. He would always be bigger than her, but with the lens she reduced, minimized, so that he could fit her. When the images moved up into the page his face was stained with a splash of light. She hadn't seen it then, would look for the source every time she came back.
ROCHELLE MASS This month ~~~~~~~~~~ Like trains re-tracked, governments have been replaced, left and right changed places. Black-clothed missionaries serving God threaten to tip the political scales to what they know to be His will. Tomatoes redden on my window, beginning to blush. Heat lies low forcing me to water my plants extra. I watch the leaves dance. An Arab client invites me to his house in a village above Afula tells me proudly that Arafat's adviser has been appointed to our new government's Security Council. Someone startles me with x-rays of torn knee tissues sent through electronic mail. Deer sprint across our friend's yard at the foot of the Kumi Hills and cotton is plumping along the highway replacing sunflowers that were stalked in steady rows just a month ago. I wait for first rains to wash down the olives, so we can take them to the press. The New Year preoccupies me with more questions than answers. Hope surfaces, convincing me it must come from within, spread evenly till it fits me as I want to be held. I taste possibilities like medicine, catalogue what I can.
ROCHELLE MASS When the shore was empty ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I remember back to when the tide vanished, how the shoreline re-appeared when I was young, gulls slashed through fists of clouds over the empty shore. I had a bag, picked up shells brought them home. Low sounds flew from the sea. I couldn't penetrate the place completely so I collected lined up shells and wood when I got home. Could only see the parts and they were few enough, so I kept adding, waited for more than I had known. When the tide left I walked as far as the sea. Sinking sand would ride my leg like a boot. I put my imagination into the line where the sea meets sky, where one blue lightens into the other, houses and streets left way back. I'd turn my face to the wind, then watch the sea twist round the land into clouds leaving seaweed, shredded ribbons over barnacles.
ROCHELLE MASS Winter-trapped ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When it is half dark I stay nowhere - winter-trapped my head's in a shawl. All I can do is think of wood drifted into shapes I used to bring home put near shells on the sill, try to find what I'd never seen before. Late today the light lowered and faded rounded into dull tones then snapped shut. The sun is losing heat, not like before when it wiped the front of my house leaving surfaces flat and final.
DUANE LOCKE A STRANGE PERSON IN A BOAT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is someone alone in a small boat In the middle of the midnight lake Who does not fish. He sits still, watches moonlit ibis asleep in cypress. He is the person Who gives us hope.
DUANE LOCKE SPIDER ~~~~~~ Mother of pearl and rainbow lights float Between the fronds of cabbage palms And the elegant fingers of cedar trees. I had heard of angels descending from heaven, Coming to earth, creating splendid lights in spaces. I went closer to the splendid lights, Saw no descending angels, But saw the web of a spider.
DUANE LOCKE NIGHT ON THE BEACH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Night has its rains, But only the lightning can see The sinuous curves of falling water. Only lightning can see The naked rain dancing As it joyously sinks in the earth The lightning is confined To stay forever in the sky. Lightning can only send an amputated finger Down to skip a few moments over grasses. Lightning is sad Because its whole body Cannot come down to the earth, Dance all night with the naked rain, Sink into the earth, Make the earth dazzling.
DUANE LOCKE CROWS ~~~~~ Crows flying home in flocks Write black poems on the blue That stay for less than a second, But are immortal.
DUANE LOCKE WINDOWS ~~~~~~~ My windows are shabby, Glass had slipped out of its frame. Frames are termite bitten and warped. The frames have lost their prim, precise, geometric shape, But when I look out, I see chickadees scurrying in cedars.


   The songs of my youth are with me still. Golden arias forever lost in the
   echos of time. They fill my heart with unforgettable memories, sometimes
   happy, sometimes sad.  Listen and you will hear...
   The soft whir of a brightly colored hummingbird's wings
   The murmuring leaves of a medlar tree in a high wind
   The angry roar of a stormy sea
   Nonna's fervent prayer to St. John the Baptist, as the fury of the tempest
   reaches a high crescendo
   A mother's sorrowful wail at her son's funeral
   The family children reciting a Novena in lyric, unsure voices
   The lanquid chant of the evening Rosary
   The majesty of the Gregorian Mass at Santa Rosalia
   A churchbells' plaintive ring, thin and far away
   The sing-song dialect of vendors, hawking their wares in the market place
   Enchanted hours of play in the Greek Temple at Segesta
   The laughter and whispers of passionate vows between young lovers
   The clip of a peasant's sharp curved knife, as it cuts away a bunch of ripe
   grapes from the vine
   The squish of grapes crushed under heavy boots, and the gurgle of golden
   liquid as it pours into wooden casks
   A rooster's crow at dawn, heralding a new day
   The soft chirps of newly hatched yellow chicks
   The pitiful bleating of a lamb as it's being slaughtered
   The tinkle of bells signaling the goatherder's arrival with warm foamy milk
   for the morning coffee
   The melodious sound of mandolins at weddings and Feast Days
   The merry rhythm of an accordian playing the Tarantella
   The nostalgic folk songs sung at family gatherings
   A farmer, in his vineyard, singing an aria from Cavalleria Rusticana
   The lusty songs of fishermen as they haul in their nets
   The lonely bray of a donkey echoing through the still night air
   The rattle of cartwheels on the stony road to my grandparents farm
   The loud hum of bees gathering honey on a hot, sleepy summer day
   A brook, sparkling in the sun, racing its way to the gulf of Castellammare
   The sharp clip-clop of a mule's hooves on cobblestones
   The sweet voice of Sister Caterina as she recites the day's school lesson
   The animated stories old Don Nunzio told about his adventures at sea
   These are my memories of Sicily...the songs of my youth.


A New Age: The Centipede Network Of Artists, Poets, & Writers
An Informational Journey Into A Creative Echonet [9310]
(C) CopyRight "I Write, Therefore, I Develop" By Paul Lauda

       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

  Ygdrasil is committed to making literature available, and uses the
  Internet as the main distribution channel. On the Net you can find all
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  . REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings

  . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken
  . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken
  . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken
  . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken
  . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken
  . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken 
  . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken

  . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp

  . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy
  . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy

  . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena
  . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena
  . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena
  . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena

  . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn

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  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995,
  1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2000 by Klaus J. Gerken.

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