Ygdrasil: A Journal of the Poetic Arts -- August 2002

YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 2002

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

ISSN 1480-6401




         The Waiting Room
         The Examining Room
         Final Picnics
         Upon the Threads of Slivered Glass
         Chore of Mace
         Tea Leaves
         The Highway of Skin
         Parts of the Soul
         They Will Alight
         Eclissi di Luna
         Pagliaccio di cuori
         Quella notte
         Il mio gioco
         A chiunque 
         Diluvio bianco
         Alato novembre
         Il giorno dopo
      E.J. MCFALL
         The Case of the Zealot


         Fragment from a Lost Poem


   No matter what I do or where I go
   merchants keep giving me
   too much change
   I give them a twenty
   and they give me change
   for a fifty
   The best one was in the
   Mahane Yehuda market
   gave him twenty
   and he gave me change for a hundred
   I told him
   I gave you twenty
   and he shouted at me
   You are in the clouds
   you gave me a hundred
   I discussed again
   until he noticed it was the man near me
   who gave him the one hundred bill.
   The big chains always make mistakes
   and forget to debit for this or that
   always in my favor
   It's like of the whole world
   wants to give me money
   and I just don't know what to
   do with it.
   I made a deal with God
   a few years ago
   and told him
   "This is it!
   until the end of this year
   I return the money
   if they give me too much,
   from then on
   I feel free to keep it."
   The year ended and things got somehwhat better
   for a few months
   but then it started again.
   I divided the world into two camps
   the small merchant
   and the big sharks
   I keep the money of the big ones
   but my god I am sorry
   I can't live with the money of the small ones.
   I go into Zcharya's yemenite restaurant
   in Tel Aviv,
   One of the best and cheapest restaurants in the world
   where you eat a meal for less than 30 sheqels (6 $)
   and he keeps giving me too much change
   his wife always forgets to count something in my bill
   and they are always fighting with their son
   and I say to Zcharya
   who has come all the way
   from Zan'a in Yemen
   and should be given the Israel prize:
   " Aiwa Zcharya
   you are cheaper than anybody else
   your food is better than the others
   and still
   you keep making mistakes in my bills
   and always give me 10 sheqels
   more change than you should.
   I hope you don't do this too often
   and it's only with me."
   And he says to me:
   "You are a saint! 
   a saint!..."
   and I feel
   a round cloud 
   above my head.

JANET I. BUCK The Waiting Room ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I pull at my husband's arm as if that tug will tether a strand of my hair to a braid. All eyes shift to us and lock. He strikes me as walls that bodies were born to lean against. An ocean of braces, crutches, and casts. Unwelcome props in a show that will close. Those rolling chairs. I'd walk a mile just to clip the sight of those wheels in a photo tarring my face. My skin has slipped like puffs of white alyssum seeds succumbing to the passing spring. Wrinkles write maps under my eyes. I stare at a book, a tour of 9/11's hell that makes my snake pit seem like pillows propped against a paradise. For a moment of grief, the words of a worser pain act like oblong pills. All of us here -- the brittle plate. It's a train wreck of twisted knees, injuries crying for hope's reverse. Pain is a callus to sand, but quitting the dance is out of the question of will. The healthy are taking notes. As if their sentence is next on a page that will turn to their trials. Life is a cold church but we pray as hair rises on arms to blanket the thrust of the chill. Lipstick is a little game I've forgotten to add to my purse.
JANET I. BUCK The Examining Room ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On the trail of the white med coat, a student follows close. Head dipped, courtesy plain, the curious bubbling froth. And the x-rays show pipes, screws, weird shapes, plastic balls, lumps and valleys that should be bones like diagrams in posters nailed to the gloom of walls gone gray. A bit of the dove's wing ivory pitched in for a lie in retort to gaining age. This child has cherub cheeks. Chipmunk round. Is he gathering nuts of savior plans? I laugh at such audacity. :Where are your crutches? Your cane? A walker?" "All in the closet," I say, for the time when the crescent slides to the tip of the cliff. The thirteenth commandment, a smile pasted firmly in place. The doc pats my steel shoulder. Its literal pipe tucked beneath these trials of flesh marked by an ocean of scars, the crusts of the going bread. A nurse's arms grow weary from the weight of my chart. Too many notes on seasons doing their thing. A little bad luck mixed in. I hurry to leave. Live on. Counting on a butterfly to burst in bolts of will from the harbors of ancient cocoon.
JANET I. BUCK Final Picnics ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I want to go!" was all you said, as if you were slamming a book. So I laid out your hat, a tube of pink lipstick and blush replacing the color drained from my cheeks. Death struck me then as pottery with handles loose. To you it snapped like fingernails -- a casualty of brushing up against the hardness of a life. "You don't need eyes to see a forest. The picture stays in your lungs." I packed a red checked tablecloth pretending the dice weren't close. At the edge of a grave, even the desert looks green. Country roads spit gravel back like bacon cooking in a pan. You needed the custard of clouds while I busied my triggers shooting at hail. The end was soft alyssum grains finding the gust of a faithful breeze. Sweat on your brow could have been streams, could have been rain licking the moss. A stone divided by will is still a stone in reckoning. Innocence was telling me to drive around the avalanche.
JANET I. BUCK Upon the Threads of Slivered Glass ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "The attack was intended to break our spirit. It has utterly failed." Rudolph Giuliani I've bought a dozen books by now -- opened them like dry cocoons. Binding broken by the pull of sadness looking for escape. The benediction of a poem is pigeon-droppings on a square. I need to wear the massive grave as padlocks on my liberties. Aflame with fear that I'll forget, slip on sandals, comb a beach, without my eye on acres of rubble and ash. The art of living on requires the blending of survival moves, waltzes of remembrance upon the threads of slivered glass. As freedom plays its orphaned song, an orchestra is warming up. A monarch tarries on the lips of crimson tulips in the spring as I recall the vapor trails of heroes twisting into dust. I can't forget these puppets of terror grafted their faces with skin of our own. Days of Armageddon gloom, eclipsing suns, calling matches to our candles quivering in brutal wind. Someone shaves a bright green lawn, paints the beaten, leaning blades blood red, moon white, navy blue. Taking back the dawn is hard -- pasta slipping from a spoon. For lack of fitting syllables, a brick just forms because it does, because the sand is wetted by unspeakables. Words must be that olive oil which floats above this vinegar.
JANET I. BUCK Chore of Mace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I climbed the reticent stairs. Each step delivered a sigh and a wheeze. Every other bouncing plank ordered me to turn around. The air was mace not simple dust. My stride was clogging syrup slow. Castaways of solid silver turned a shade of black espresso lingering in cobweb sheets. I lit a peg in candelabrums, marched my mission, ducking from the moonlit beams as if their twisted wood were steel at temperatures that melted soul, as if their ribs would come alive. I knew my thighs would never match ruts of music in these streets. Tiny triumphs played their songs in what I found: your husband's favorite Sunday tie beside your weathered apron strings. A pile of photos curled in heat like bygone bacon no one ate. All bookmarks in a manuscript I wanted back for tissue in the trying years. Each box was a beached whale too heavy to lift, too precious to not. A story of razoring tides. Goliaths of the rinds you earned, lemons now a memory. I desired a pedestal, a palimpsest that spat on grief. So this is how it really feels to handle sonnets in the raw, then emerge as lifeless prose -- aware the rhyme and ligature float in buckets of a grave.
JANET I. BUCK Hospice ~~~~~~~ Rolling in by wheelchair, rolling out by body bag. No orgies of tulips abide a sidewalk of stone. Here is an earth where visage, echo, mirror, and skin reflect gray pelts of flat raccoons. Here is where the road grows short. Curious eyes of lark and crow questioning this nark of death who spells out what is left of life -- sadness bolding thin italics, underlining clots and ink that make a letter into words. Rows of heads like mothballs on a closet floor -- sun bears down as if it is pouring a beer in a pub and no one is ready to sip on the truth. Hands are all feathers and wings, temporal pillows at best. Touch is moats with sacred juice; zippers catch flesh of a thumb. All the nurses ever know -- lightening will split the cedar fence. Then, by proxy, strike the eyebrows of a child who thought the cricket's song and clef -- perennial music, permanent score. The dinghy goes pop on slivers of piers but the sea just stays -- a jellyfish beside the sting. Indigo fluid just smiles -- broad and full of licorice teeth. Milk becomes the ash it was, mounds of whipping cream white dissolving in cups of the bitterest black. Foam was borrowed anyway.
JANET I. BUCK Tea Leaves ~~~~~~~~~~ Captions under CNN read tea leaves of blood, a crapshoot of corpses and coffins of dust. I need you back to tell me that hope can get ripe despite how hard this world seems. Words of your eyes, a brief siesta from hammering storms. Repeat your chant, which carried us through wicked times, called thunderheads a gravy boat. I'm six again, drawing a picture with crayons that break because I am pushing too hard, playing the muscle against the bone of my death. As surf beats its lace against the broom of a shore, I recognize I think too much, insist that the moon could be square. I'm watching as you sip black coffee, expecting the sugar and cream to come from the plank of your tongue, in a rush to go nowhere but here. Glass of an August lake works its way toward dry. You would consider what needles stayed green on the trees born of heavenly mint. I'd listen as you named the birds cradled in a fallen log. Their songs, you said, are perceptible even in tin rain. How Whitmanesque - to know you are "solid and sound," to walk with the "tender and growing night," to call the darkness a star -- rumba on grass as if it is dill and a step will release perfume.
WARD KELLEY The Highway of Skin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The highway of skin, the golden leg of life we hurtle downward, never seeing the true horizon, never seeing farther than the skin in front of our hands, the skin we turn into a prayer, the highway now a church whose speed is in its truth. We think we cannot live without skin, but it is speed that has us locked onto the steering wheel, the speed of time, a lust that can only drive itself faster; skin in fact slows it all down. For an interlude it will make time flow beyond slowly, but we speed back up, indeed pray for speed to lift ourselves off the highway of skin, into the air of time, so we can fly right past our death -- nice if we don't know it happened until we realize it is a highway of naked ice.
WARD KELLEY Parts of the Soul ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are parts of bodies that compel our attention, just as there are parts of souls more attuned to our carnal imagination; in both cases intercourse lies at the bottom of such great interest. I have never been with a woman who was completely at ease with her body, who ever thought her beauty sufficient; yet I do not know a woman who lacks faith in the righteousness of her own soul. I think I can conclude the source of my lusts are spiritual. I always believed a new woman held all the secrets of the universe in her body; true, true, but they are within her soul that cannot be reached by my hands. The parts of her spirit that lured me to her body flash then hide, never to resurface, and always I am left with the toes or earlobes of the soul, parts for which I have little interest. The breasts of her soul . . . this is what I wanted.
WARD KELLEY They Will Alight ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I believe in the words, forthrightly, and worship the ability in us to create the word; and I believe, more, in the poem, the unity of words, and how they create the mirage that is this art where truth will shimmer in the distance yet disappear under the grasp of hands who wish to possess it. As it should, for truth cannot be possessed for long, only revered, just as wild animals lose their truth once tamed. And now I must admit, that even more than the poem, I adore the process of the poem, how these reverse prayers will come in, if unbidden properly, and how the pounding of the poem will free the spirit to swirl in the gyre of the words, only able to capture the words by not taking possession . . . they will alight on the page themselves, nearly unnoticed in the pounding.
RITA STILLI Eclissi di Luna ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Notturno incanto che del giorno il nulla annulla. Stregato il pensiero la dea d'opale del tutto s’appropria. Se bisogna c'era della verità rinnegata a costo di spergiuro alibi sarei stata. Ma ahimè la giuria al rogo l'ha condannata e il suo velo di luce la fiamma alimenta. Strega sublime e testarda. Mio il tormento e mia la bestemmia che per timore d'esser fraintesa un sogno ho taciuto. Dietro un cristallo inventato ti guardo morire dalle Muse contesa. Il silenzio crepita e in una favilla di buio precipita. (notte 9 gennaio 2001)
RITA STILLI Furtivamente ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Senza fine nell'ignoto l’antica strada sempre si rinnova al cammino e nell'eco dei perduti passi si trascina. Nel buio rinviato di notti dal ricordo corrotte s’inoltra il rimpianto - scorciatoia per il domani - il respiro per primo il traguardo afferra.
RITA STILLI Essenziale ~~~~~~~~~~ Presagi di mimosa arrischia il profeta che il mondo con parole di gelo da sempre incanta. Non teme d’essere sconfessato e l'unanime disprezzo sdegna. Dei germogli l'albore nell'attesa non indugia e di quell'inebriante essenza si compiace. Fraintesa messaggera del presente quale sublime effimera assenza!
RITA STILLI Pagliaccio di cuori ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tue le parole, il racconto di una vita recitata. Del tuo Teatro, il domatore anche una lacrima si pagava. Mio il silenzio, la storia di una vita ad un Circo celeste consacrata. Da Pagliaccio di cuori - la tua carta vincente - mi vestivi. Alla soglia della fine, solo alla fine, mi giocavi. E d’un altro petalo di sorriso mi hai sfogliato. Ma dietro un sipario di ghiaccio rido canto e danzo. Vestita da sera come si conviene al tramonto di un Pagliaccio di fiori appassiti.
RITA STILLI Quella notte ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Noi - stelle accaldate - la rosa notte sul letto di maggio spogliammo. Mentre lo scarlatto nostro ansimare - da se stesso inseguito - fuggiva un cielo spinato la nostra passione al di là dall'alba tratteneva. Prigionieri al sogno ci consegnammo. E liberi ci rese - infine - il nostro ribelle pianto. (14 maggio 2001)
RITA STILLI Il mio gioco ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Quando all'Alba a nascondino con gli Angeli giocavo invincibile divenni per la Sera ché le celesti assenze la mia ombra all'Invisibile affidarono.
RITA STILLI Repliche ~~~~~~~~ E insolenti pensieri la mente sfoggia sullo sfondo della mia stagione senza canto. Cala il sipario sulla replica del silenzio fra intervalli di porpora e di dissenso. Finalmente sulla scena senza senso mi rappresento.
RITA STILLI A chiunque ~~~~~~~~~~ Parlatemi di me e il silenzio forgiate nel candore. Dal mio prato cogliete quelle parole e regalatemi un fascio di dolore. Lasciatemi a me stessa uguale che non possa accettare. E poi fingete che io sia nata. E infine lasciatemi morire.
RITA STILLI Diluvio bianco ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Si esaurisce sulle sponde della sera quella che scambiai per un'ondata di primavera. Plenilunio di neve sui miei arsi vascelli arsi e tanto mi bastava ché della deriva avevo fatto la mia casa. E poi la verità di un randagio dopo che - inesorabile - al candore le sue catene scioglie.
RITA STILLI Recital ~~~~~~~ E insolenti pensieri la mente sfoggia nascosta dietro la quinta di quella stagione che - privata del suo canto - all'aprirsi del sipario alla platea s’inchina e l'ultimo inganno rappresenta.
RITA STILLI Alato novembre ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Il vostro canto ascolto e uno sparo d'invidia al silenzio sorda mi rende. Inutile trascorre il suicida istante che prezioso fa il seguente. Ascolto il vostro canto e una pausa di vita al volo al vostro volo appesa mi prendo. Il vostro canto si fa foglia il vostro grido la nebbia impegna a dissolversi nel nulla che la morte annulla.
RITA STILLI Il giorno dopo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sublime l'errore si rinnova e del dopo il ricordo contempla all'alba di un vecchio stupore che in favore del primogenito rimpianto ha abdicato. Suddita del principio alla fine non m'inchino e cittadina mi proclamo dell'infinito! (12 dicembre 2001)
E.J. MCFALL The Case of the Zealot ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A Play in One Act Characters: ALBERT : A Frenchman in his late 40s. A bout with TB in his youth limits his activities. He is an optimist with faith in man's ability to redeem himself. FYODOR: A Russian, age 60. Years of gambling, debt and epilepsy have left him in poor health. He is a devout Eastern Orthodox Christian who is familiar with man's darker side. SOREN: A Danish man in his early 30s. He suffers from fatigue and depression, but he remains hopeful and faithful to his God. FRIEDRICH: A German in his 50s. His eyesight is poor and he suffers from severe migraine headaches. He is either a nihilist philosopher or a madman. JEAN-Paul: A Frenchman in his 70s. He has poor vision and a short temper. He is a pessimist who has a practiced aura of despair and existential angst. JUDAS: A Judean in his 30s. He is haunted by guilt and remorse. Setting: A long table with 5 chairs is at center stage. A smaller table w/chair is isolated a few feet away. The larger table is set up for a meeting - water glasses, file folders, etc. Time: There is a feeling of timelessness. Fyodor, Soren and Friedrich are dressed in clothes from the 19th century while Albert and Jean-Paul are dressed in clothes from the later half of the 20th century. Judas wears simple clothes from early Christian days. The meeting room itself has no specific period feel. JUDAS sits at the small table as lights come up on stage. ALBERT enters, checks his watch: Morning, Jude. Hope you haven’t been waiting long. JUDAS shakes his head. ALBERT (Busily straightening up the papers on the table.): The others should be here before long. Care for a glass of water? Fraid I don't have anything stronger. (Laughs.) We'd never get through the agenda if we gave this group alcohol. JUDE: There's no need to concern yourself with my welfare. I'm required to be here. I expect nothing from this court. ALBERT: I wouldn't call us a court. More like a motley collection of malcontents. JUDAS: As you say. ALBERT: There's nothing to worry about, Jude. You know the routine better than anyone - once every hundred years... JUDAS: Yes. I have been here many times. I shall be here many more. ALBERT: Well, confidentially, I'd say you have good reason to hope. JUDAS shakes his head. ALBERT: Really, I think you can count on the committee's objectivity this time. SOREN hurries in: My apologies. I was engrossed in a book and nearly forgot what day it is. ALBERT: As you see, you are not alone. SOREN takes a seat at the far right of the table, addresses JUDE: Please don't interpret my tardiness as a lack of seriousness on my part. I have spent hours in meditation on this matter. You may be assured I will render a fair verdict. JUDAS: I have never questioned the fairness of the previous verdicts. I accept my fate. JEAN-PAUL (as he enters): I create my fate. ALBERT: Ah, Jean-Paul. A dramatic entrance, as usual. JEAN-PAUL takes a seat at the far left of the table: Ah, Albert. How fitting that you are chosen as moderator. The center is the perfect position for the man with no opinion of his own. ALBERT: This case is not about us, Jean-Paul. JEAN-PAUL (glances at JUDAS): There are similarities. ALBERT: Another day, Jean-Paul. We'll meet at the Eternal Cafe and talk about our differences. JEAN-PAUL: Not while I am master of my own destiny. ALBERT: Then there is nothing for us to do but maintain a civil silence. JEAN-PAUL: Pity you couldn’t do that while you were still alive. ALBERT: At least I never spread lies about you after death had left you helpless to defend yourself. JEAN-PAUL: Only because fate never gave you the chance. SOREN: Gentlemen, please. Let us rise above our personal concerns. We have important decisions before us today. ALBERT: Of course. You're right. (Consults a packet of papers.) We have a full docket and we're already late. SOREN: Perhaps we should send for Fyodor and Friedrich. Fyodor enters. SOREN: Ah, Fyodor Mikhaylovich. It’s good to see you. I've saved you a place next to me. FYODOR (moves slowly towards the right side of the table.): I'm an old man. Am I to crawl over you to my seat? SOREN (quickly slides over a chair): My apologies, sir. Please take the aisle seat. FYODOR grumbles as he sits, glances at JUDAS: So that is what all the bother is about. Not what I expected. JEAN-PAUL: Would you prefer he had horns and cloven feet? FYODOR: One should appear as one is. JEAN-PAUL: At least he doesn’t have the reek of hypocrisy about him. FYODOR: Or the stench of nihilist debauchery. SOREN: Please, gentleman. ALBERT: Let us remember why we’re here. We’re sworn to give Jude a fair hearing. FYODOR: Fair? With his friend as moderator? ALBERT: I try to understand everyone's point of view, but Jude...Judas...will get no special treatment while I'm moderator. JEAN-PAUL: Don't worry, Fyodor. Albert isn't one to compromise himself for something as absurd as friendship. ALBERT: Jean-Paul. SOREN: Perhaps I should go for Friedrich? ALBERT (distracted): Yes, that might be best. FYODOR: You won't have far to look. He's kneeling out back, holding his head and raving about flogging horses. JEAN-PAUL: And you walked past? Very Christian of you. FYODOR: The man had no use for Christians while he lived. Why should he expect kindness now? SOREN: I'll find him. (Hurries offstage.) ALBERT: Perhaps we could use this time to silently read over the agenda. We have quite a few cases... JEAN-PAUL: Your little joke lacks humor, Albert. ALBERT: Joke? What joke? I didn't... JEAN-PAUL: You know I can't see well enough to read, but you can't resist the chance to humiliate me. ALBERT: I didn't realize your eyesight had become that bad. I didn't keep track of your affairs once I died. JEAN-PAUL humphs. ALBERT: I'll read the cases aloud for you. (Quickly.) It's my job as moderator, anyway. JEAN-PAUL: Then since it's just your job ---there's no need for me to thank you. SOREN enters, assists FRIEDRICH to the left side of the table. FRIEDRICH: The cruelty. Evil loosed in the world. SOREN: Yes, I know. But it's through our suffering that we find enlightenment. FRIEDRICH: But an animal. A dumb, innocent animal. Such cruelty. JEAN-PAUL: The only abused animals here are in your head, Friedrich. FYODOR: They have always been in his head. SOREN: Come, Friedrich. Take a seat. (SOREN gestures for JEAN-PAUL to give his seat to FRIEDRICH. JEAN-PAUL ignores him. SOREN helps FRIEDRICH around JEAN-PAUL to a vacant chair.) There. You'll feel better in a moment. FRIEDRICH: Thank you. You are most kind. FYODOR: Thanks for a Christian? (Dramatically looks at his feet.) Do I feel Siberian winds coming from the Pit? ALBERT: Alright, if we're all ready.(Looks at his watch, takes his seat between Friedrich and Soren.) This session of the Purgatorial Review Board is now in order. The first petitioner is Judas Iscariot, condemned for betrayal and self-murder. Per rules of order, the petitioner speaks first and then is questioned alternately by members of the right and left sides of the panel. Are there any questions to this point? JEAN-PAUL: Just get on with it. No one's judging your performance for another Nobel. ALBERT: Your comment is out of order. (Turns to JUDAS.) The petitioner may now address the board. JUDAS: I have nothing to say. I am guilty of my crime and deserve my punishment. FYODOR: Well, that was easy. Next case. ALBERT: Your comment is out of order. (To JUDAS.) Your have the right to present your case. There is no time limit. JUDAS: I have no case. ALBERT: Very well. Questioning will commence from the left first. Friedrich, are you well enough? FRIEDRICH: Yah. It was merely one of my demon headaches. (Collects himself.) The petitioner was one of the founding Christians? JUDAS: I was a Jewish zealot. I wanted to free my people from the tyranny of Roman rule. FRIEDRICH: But you conspired with others to create a myth to be used to control the uneducated herd? ALBERT: The petitioner's religion is not on trial here. JUDAS: It's all right. (Pause.) I followed a gentle man who loved everyone, even criminals and harlots. He even loved the Romans. (Pause.) I didn't understand. I thought He'd come to raise an army to free our people. I thought He was the Messiah. I didn't realize what He planned to do until it was too late. Far too late. FRIEDRICH: You considered yourself the Ubermensch? You believed yourself beyond the morality of the masses? JUDAS: I considered myself His friend. (Brokenly.) He was causing trouble, stirring up the rabble. It was only a matter of time before He drew the Romans down on all of us. I thought I could save Him by stopping Him. I didn't know...I didn't want... FRIEDRICH: The situation is clear to me. I have no further questions. ALBERT: Very well. Fyodor your questions. FYODOR: Does the petitioner admit to betraying Our Lord and Savior and sending Him to His death for a handful of gold pieces? JUDAS: I betrayed my friend, but it wasn't for the money. I... FYODOR: You betrayed Him with a kiss and watched as He was flogged and crucified? JUDAS: They said they would stop Him. They didn't say how. FYODOR: He admits to the crime. Let him endure his punishment. ALBERT: Please withhold your judgement until it's time to vote. Jean-Paul your questions. JEAN-PAUL: Does the petitioner believe that he was predestined to play the role of Judas Goat - so to speak - as part of a Grand Plan? JUDAS: I blame no one but myself. JEAN-PAUL: And if you were paroled? What would you do if you were sent Above? JUDAS shakes his head emphatically. I could never go there. I could never see Him again. This is where I belong. JEAN-PAUL: It's common knowledge that you've been forgiven. You have been for several centuries. JUDAS: Yes. He met me Himself, at the Gate. He stretched out His arms to me, His hands bleeding from their nails..(Breaks off with a sob.) No. Forgiveness isn't possible. Not for what I've done. I loved Him and I killed Him. I should have been sent to the fires of Hell. JEAN-PAUL: But you were, for Hell is truly other people. (Pauses for dramatic effect. His quote is unappreciated.) I have no further questions. ALBERT: Then we more on to Soron. SORON: First I must say that it is not our role to judge this man. That job belongs to One greater than us. (Looks upward briefly.) But I have prayed on this matter and I would like to know if the petitioner truly regrets his action. JUDAS: Yes, for all the good that may do now. SORON: And has the petitioner taken the leap of faith necessary to change his despair into hope? JUDAS: Hope? What hope can there be for me? I am the destroyer of love. What do I have to hope for? SORON: Peace and contentment through union with the Divine. JUDAS: No. That can never be. Not for me. SORON: You must fight your despair, Judas. It's the sickness unto death --and beyond. ALBERT: Any more questions, Soron? SORON: No. As I say, this is not a matter for our judgement. We can only tend to our own souls. FYODOR: That is creeping nihilism. There are right and wrong actions. We have a responsibility to judge other's behavior. It is the only way to keep the evil within at bay. ALBERT: Since none of us are guiltless, I believe we must be moderate in our judgement of others, -- (hastily as Fyodor begins to object) -- but it's not my place to tell you how to vote. I'm only here to break a tie. (To JUDAS). You are not required to remain while we vote, though you may if you wish. JUDAS: I know what the vote is. I've been here too many times to count. ALBERT: Those were different Boards, with different members. We are a unique entity and should be treated as such. JUDAS: As you wish. I choose to stay. ALBERT: Good. Let us begin with Friedrich. FRIEDRICH: He followed his own will to power, as is required of the man who wishes to rise above the herd. It is only fitting that this stale, corpse of a religion be opposed by one of its first disciples. I vote yes to parole. JUDAS (shocked): No! ALBERT: Fyodor? FYODOR: When the wall between good and evil falls, we are all abandoned to chaos. I vote no to parole. ALBERT (ticks off the votes on a pad of paper): Jean-Paul? JEAN-PAUL: We can devise no punishment for him more torturous than that created by his own inescapable guilt. I vote yes to parole. JUDAS: No! I'm guilty! Don’t you understand? I must be punished. ALBERT: Soren? SOREN: He has already been forgiven by the One he offended. It's not our place to punish him. I vote yes to parole. JUDAS (leaps to his feet): No! FYODOR (to SOREN): You call yourself a Christian? Why don't you free the Devil himself? SOREN: If he repented of his sins and made peace with his Maker, I would. Gladly. FYODOR: Traitor! Blasphemer! ALBERT: Gentlemen, enough. The vote was fair. Three to one - Judas is paroled. FYODOR: Bastards! The Devil take you all! You stacked the cards against me, but your names will be cursed by true believers till the next millenium. You won't have a moment's peace by the time I get through with you. (Exits while cursing.) ALBERT (waits for commotion to die down): Not that it matters, Jude, but my vote would have been for parole also. Congratulations. JUDAS: You don't understand. I'm guilty of my crimes. I never asked for a second chance. I accept my punishment. ALBERT: Now it's time to accept your forgiveness. JUDAS: No. It's not possible. I don't want your parole. JEAN-PAUL: We are all condemned to face our freedom sooner or later. (Preparing to leave.) Come join us at the Eternal Cafe. We'll face the nausea of reality together. FRIEDRICH: Until the shadow of God vanishes and we with it. JEAN-PAUL: Your denial of the situation shows bad faith, Friedrich. We were premature in proclaiming God's death. FRIEDRICH: Mankind created God and will one day succeed in killing him. ALBERT: Accept the limits of your fate, Friedrich. We were wrong about this whole afterlife concept. Cie la vie. (Follows JEAN-PAUL and FRIEDRICH as they prepare to exit.) You forget. We have other cases to hear. JEAN-PAUL: Not till Fyodor recovers from his righteous rage. Until then, I do my best thinking in the Cafe. ALBERT: Well, perhaps we have time for one drink. (To JEAN-PAUL: ) Don't worry - I won't invade your territory. (To Judas as the group begins to exit.) The world no longer requires your guilt, Jude. Forgive yourself and move on to the next level. JUDAS shakes his head. ALBERT: I wonder if Sisyphus would have been so loyal to his rock. Hmmm: something to ponder. (Holds out his hand to JUDAS.) Good luck. I'll miss seeing you at the Cafe. Perhaps in a few decades I'll be able to join you. JEAN-PAUL, FRIEDRICH and ALBERT exit. JUDAS: Has the Universe gone mad? Has the Demon himself been loosed from Below? SOREN: The world is diseased, but there is hope still. Always hope. (Takes Judas' arm.) Come. I'll walk with you to the Bridge to Above. He'll be waiting for you. JUDAS: Waiting for me. With love and forgiveness. No. (Returns to his chair.) I'll appeal the Board's decision. I'll hire the best lawyers. I'll make you see reason. SOREN: I only see the fear and trembling of one fighting a relationship with the Divine. (Lays his hand on JUDAS' shoulder.) I wish you peace. JUDAS: Not for me. No. Never. SOREN shakes his head sadly, exits. JUDAS lays his head on the table in despair. Lights dim. End.



   Fragment from a Lost Poem
   I am the solid ghost of yesteryear                                     
   If only I could bring good cheer                                       
   My friends say: You are so severe                                      
   I answer them with aching heart                                       
   "It's not death, but life I fear"                                      
   But you are living: can't just fall apart?                             
   I say: But death is just a state of mind                               
   Living has to be an art... 


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
  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
  Ygdrasil on the Internet at: 

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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

  All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to
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  YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an
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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

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2001 by 
  Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
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  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.

  All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS


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