YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 2003

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



      Del Corey
          Marching On


      Kenneth Rosen
          GREEN FLOWER 
          THE LIVING RAT 
          A DAY AT THE BEACH

      Louisa Howerow
	  Do You Find Me Beautiful?

      Jorge Lucio de Campos 
            THE MYTH OF DEPTH (Transl.) 
            ENIGMA (Transl.)

      J.B. Mulligan 
         painting the sky
         watching the river at Mobius Point

      Alexandre L. Amprimoz
         The Secrets of Saints

      LB Sedlacek
         Abandoned Car  
         Asphalt Picnics  
         Beneath the Surface   
         Car Interiors   
         7-11 Connections   

      Vladimir  Orlov 


      Del Corey
          Georgia Rejection



   Del Corey

   Marching On

   When I was a private in the army,
   forced to march after no sleep,
   pushed many miles beyond endurance,
   with the road taunting me, throwing
   gritty dirt clouds into my eyes,
   stretching to forever, up hills,
   just when my ten-ton legs
   were about to declare bankruptcy,
   the sergeant tenored,
   "You left your girl at home!"
   and we responded like robots, "You're right!"
   just as our right foot landed.
   And in rhythm he'd sing, "By the telephone!"
   "You're right!"  "But you don't give a damn!"
   "You're right!"  "You work for Uncle Sam!"
   "You're right!"  "Cadence count!"  "One, two!"
   And on we'd go, our sore eyes opening,
   our brains taking off their strait-jackets.

   "I know a girl who lives on the hill!"
   "You're right!" and our legs sprang 
   like rabbits, the fire in our feet cooled,
   the "I" of us became "We" with the cement
   of songs, and our voices rose along
   with our sprits, so we knew, even prayed
   we could go on forever, together.

   How ready am I now for that tenor
   to energize my steps again
   so I can sing to that wild girl on the hill.

Kenneth Rosen GREEN FLOWER ~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was a subtle, leaf-colored blossom, Four-pointed and simple As the cosmos, each chartreuse, thin But not limp, heart-shaped Petal lightly veined and joined at a violent Green knuckle where its tip Narrowed into a swallow's wing, Its subordinate sepals Darker green than the abundance Constituting the trees' Top-heavy gravity, pale leaves Threatening to bend Its slender trunk, against which these Green flowers crowded Demurely, yet without cowering, Dressed for their first Communion with the envy of heaven All their April, May And June lives they had dreamed of. The air was clear or blue, Mother Hera off in a cloud sleeping Somewhere, infant Heracles easing loose the infinite stars Of her anger, the Milky Way, Were all still invisible, so as if instead Of a witch wiser than The sky you too were a green flower, I feigned bravery And mindless of consequence and truth, Picked one for you.
NOAH AFTER THE FLOOD ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ That night the ocean glistened on the planet's belly As if spilled liquor in starlight, Cactus in the deserts of the world gulping with gratitude- Glub, glub, glub- Barn that was once an ark now beached on a mountaintop, Yet settled down okay. A wordless bird with a branch in her mouth, the eponymous Olive-bough dove, Conveyed the pledge the flood was done, Noah Should go back home and rest In the sun, that a pot of gold at the end of God's rainbow Which loved most To bore Noah to death or disappear after exerting Its gilded allure On the old sailor, drunk but not dead, humming obscene tunes Of periwinkles and baboons, Checking the neighborhood's upstairs windows for housewives In gauze peignoirs As if scanning the heavens for stars with the unwieldy Astrolabe Of immortal male hunger and curiosity, fallen asleep beside An earthworm drowned On concrete, until the sun arose roaring, yellow with blue Rings, a tiger in red weather.
THE LIVING RAT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The living rat is reflexively detested, which it Conceals from itself By its ferocious commitment to an obscure Quest, squeezing through cracks Beneath doors holding its breath under water For hours. Only its mate Could endure let alone adore its doughy tail And colorless fur, This clearly calculated injustice of birth Its skittering heart, By blunt and frenzied fascination with waste, And intimacy With fleas and disease, can never transcend. A rat with a stomach As fat as a coffee can, swam through a Portland Woman's plumbing, And emerged in her bowl: she screamed, leaped, Slammed the lid, Flushed the john, and the nothing-if-not-philosophic Rat swam through her pipes And traps back to the sewer and all the way home. Why was it a woman On the john, not a man? And why does it seem To fit in with God's plan?
BEETHOVEN'S TRIPLE CONCERTO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We know the tune, the ugly little recluse, Riddled, rattled with genius And disease, fiery-furry acne And the malignant spirochete that turned Hearing into a dull wall, An all too explicable infatuation with an orphan Nephew, the infamous Carl. Remember Charlus' Morel, Their Cities of the Plain and angel-of-death Mushroom soup? In the tutti, A-flat minor, the terse repetitions that are Its inexorable beauty, catgut Whines and brass complains To an orchestral complement unimaginably Remote, and yet these solo Endeavors in C-major, according to my Liner notes, are fatuous Crescendos, rustic jokes. What's a tutti anyway, some kind of toot? I heard that John Fahy, That boyishly bold artist-guitarist, died The other day in a Bay Area Homeless shelter, Blind Joe Death, His nom de guerre, blind drunk in the end And deaf as Beethoven, Who plink-plink-plunked silence into an echo Of desires' always otherwise Ineluctable disasters, Harmonies the mind recognizes instantly Or gradually as true.
A DAY AT THE BEACH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The ocean swallows, then abandons Pebbles after banging their heads Together as if gambling with stone bones, Uttering a preference for roundness never Satisfied. The little things Dry in the sun far less interesting Than when its work Was begun, but at least relaxed, restful, Ready to take things for granted. But then the water's At it again. Glass is its litmus test: It starts off clear and with Sharp edges, yet by the time the sea is done Whip-sawing and changing its mind, It's a chunk of smoke, A solid blur: like what you get diving in, Making a big splash, holding Your breath and trying to see things whole, And at the critical instant, the crise, The mind lets go As if an ocean itself, which like us has to Do this again and again, For one more chance at pleasure or the false Light of revelry, enter a crisis of ecstasy And gasp for life.
Louisa Howerow Do You Find Me Beautiful? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It had not rained for two weeks. The grass was beginning to yellow and the weeds were invading the garden. Sometimes, in the morning, dark grey clouds would form on the horizon, but by midday the promise of rain would disappear and another layer of humidity would be added to the already hot, heavy blanket of air that pressed down on the town. The weight of the air divided the town's inhabitants into the screamers who pummeled the neighborhoods with angry cries and the sprawlers who retreated into semi-consciousness waiting for the heat wave to pass. Susan was the latter. Pushing aside the newspapers at her feet, she reached for the box of baking soda. Simple, all-purpose, cheap. She liked that. There were boxes of baking soda in every room of the house. When she had the time and energy, she used the powder to clean the bathtub; when she didn 't, she showered without looking down. She pushed her small belly against the cool rim of the sink and poured the baking soda onto her toothbrush. It was too damn hot, by far. His voice rose from the kitchen below and hung suspended at the bathroom door. "You don't give a damn about this place." It seemed incredible that after all these years, he hadn't learned the simplest things about her. When they first became lovers, she found him with his tongue down her sister 's throat. She could understand the attraction, but had cried and screamed, called him names; he had called her unreasonable. It was a drunken response. A party. Not a commitment. That night, in bed, she had asked him if he found her beautiful. He thought she was talking about her sister, when he realized who she meant, he had laughed and said no. He was right; she wasn't, but it hurt to hear him say so. She had believed that people in love stretched the truth, found each other beautiful. She could hear the sharp clash of pottery against glass as he tried to find a clean cup in the sink. "You're always too tired. Too tired." She wrinkled up her nose and silently mimicked his voice, the same irritating voice children use when they taunt each other. Too tired. Too tired. Too tired. A door slammed downstairs. Let him carry on. She would sleep on the couch and she would wait. After a time he would come to her, as he always did, hug her hard, put his hand between her legs and whisper, "Come on, Susan. Let's make up." And she would not ask him if he found her beautiful.
Jorge Lucio de Campos O MITO DA PROFUNDIDADE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ a Mark Tansey Manhã contém certo balido algum corpo intraduzível Às vezes, posta pela casa fica entre os livros - tempo de acordar (de novo deitar) e dormir THE MYTH OF DEPTH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ for Mark Tansey Morning has a certain bleat - some undefinable body At times dispersed by the house it stays among the books It´s time to wake up (to go to bed again) It's time to sleep
ENIGMA ~~~~~~ a Wallace Stevens Eram dois répteis contra os grãos daquele deserto de poros e arestas O maior me odiava com insultos e salivas - unhas, espinhos rabos sagitais - O outro me amava seus olhos de couro brilhavam na noite lembrando os cartazes de Las Vegas ENIGMA ~~~~~~ for Wallace Stevens There were two reptiles on the grits of that desert of pores and edges The big one hated me with insults, spittles nails, prickles and arrowlike tails The small one loved me: his leather eyes - shining in the night - reminded the posters of Las Vegas
J.B. Mulligan chronographies ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ i The plains of time, the oceans of event, the certain, inexact topographies of past and future spread, the fall and rise of ant and empire, each specific point as far away from what is equidistant in the latitude and longitude of days, each arbitrary measurement precise through all the scattered vistas of occurrence. The nomad wanders, disturbing antique sand or stirring dust to be: his footprint fades before the step of memory or dreams occurs. So, on the endless highway, crowds detect an echo, in a second's sound, of travelers gone, or here, or still to come. ii The waves of time, the oceans of event, the push and countercurrent as a boat tacks port and starboard, grunts to come about and face the storm - or, as a calm descends, worries a wandering breeze to lend a hand. The end is not for voyage or for port, for one is endless, and the other waits in undiscovered countries of the wind. The waves and rings and ripples surge and swell, large and small, and mingle, bearing off in a third direction influence of both, so days erupt and wither, echoes of each other, and the flow and flux of all is bound together in a single breath.
unmasking ~~~~~~~~~ When all the masks have fallen like leaves to the side of the road, the mask of the skull is left white and smiling, like a moon we have never seen, though it pulled at all our tides. We must wear it, smiling, before we can strip it off, revealing what might or might not be the end of masks, the final skull that will, like a snowflake, dissolve.
Laocoon ~~~~~~~ They came across the sea, light a shifting filigree on sinuous, urgent coils. They seized my sons and I; I threw my curses at the sky above my sons? weak wails of terror. "Bitch!," I roared. "You?d hurl this raging Grecian horde over us like a wave!" They dragged us down from light - Troy rippled slowly out of sight - to history?s brute grave. (The rest has not been known: the goddess turned us into stone and left us alive inside to dream of home, to hear their dying cries inside stone ears, close by, and always loud.)
painting the sky ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The sacred venom of the secular dream. The flashbulb eyes and expertly painted smiles. The cut of purity's cold, precision blade through unimagined meat, and all the while the lie strides into the spotlight, assuring the crowd, "The truth is nothing more than what it seems." Cheers like tickertape. A mosaic of signs and fists and faces, lettered crudely, and clear: reality awaits a stamped approval. And comes with a toggle switch, for if the stars oppose the chosen sky or interval, all heads will bravely turn, they shall not shine except as fits the theory - without this, the world would just be running in reverse.
watching the river at Mobius Point ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The river flows; the shape stays, but changes. Trees ring each year, slow, crooked roots grope for water. Even the continents? planetary yawn moves us further apart. We wander through the valley of our bodies toward death, and dream there is a stillness there. Some sort of a hub. There is only one wheel, with a center everywhere. We are only mathematicians or we would know this.
Alexandre L. Amprimoz The Secrets of Saints ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I En la noche dichosa, en secreto, que nadie me veía, ni yo miraba cosa, sin otra luz y guía sino la que en el corazón ardía. San Juan de la Cruz Daring distortions lead to great work, but in art no one finds the edge of the divine without the secrets of saints for they only turn the mind to the vast precision of Byzantine basilicas. El Greco in Venice drank the wine of Titian. Later, too proud to deal with death or even carry on the study of minor miseries, he nailed spirits on canvas. II The inner gravity of icons gives that holy twist toApostle St. James the Less. Others called it mannerism. But Domenicos knew how hard it is to pass from one tempest soul to tornadoes that touch the eye with the blinding light of mystery, for this is the drift of elongated figures, ever straining upward, into eternity, harder than passing passion and restraint into hurricanes, with the gaze of poverty. III He must have known of men as Rilke was to know of angels; those catastrophic architects of castles on quick sand. And what did the Torquemadas hear in the rumbling of mystic souls, those elongated, taller lovers of God? He must have considered across some suicidal spring Juan de la Cruz in dark toledo dungeons; and in Valladolid he must have felt the torment of bleak prisons where Luis de León burned like a meek candle consumed by a fever asymptotic to the eternal. IV After the Golden Age, after his best work, he was Toledo and he was Spain. Like an angel, he saw the dead as everlasting, the stark spirit Of his old age, his best art. V Finally understanding echo as his path to that infinite called aleph, he painted St. Francis in Ecstasy eighty times eleven. Always gathering light, Like Theresa of Jesus he built an inner Castle. This is where the question must be asked: what did he leave us? Perhaps the sweet confusion of The Book of Splendor and the splendor of books. He must have seen what begins to glow in moments of meditation and wondered if it was yours or if it was mine.
LB Sedlacek Abandoned Car ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ An abandoned car by the side of the road sits in wait of gasoline or a battery -- or the return of its owner. If it's lucky enough to get towed to the nearest gas or service station it may have a chance to live again. Dark blue with a wide trunk for a heavy load it can carry just about anything, and maybe it already has. An abandoned vehicle sits on the side of the road question is - will anyone return to claim it, or was it left by the highway for a reason.
Asphalt Picnics ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wide open back yard Green grass a blanket Sunlight a cap Red wine, Sandwiches Waiting to be devoured Like a rookie at a Unwatched baseball game Or public apologies -- Whispered, accompanied by Red faces, sweaty palms And plastic knives, spoons Paper cups Boiling with sneezes, Sighs, smiles Or beeping alarms Signaling summer's end.
Beneath the Surface ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jellyfish soul wrapped around seaweed hearts squeezing with spaghetti fingers fueled by roaring winds, and turbulent tides carrying driftwood, sea glass ships, and life beneath the surface hidden behind sand castles of beige and gray blending into blue, green the clean depths becoming vapid pools of debris that turn and change with the tide that can only reach so far for so long before returning in the same direction as it came releasing its watery fingers upon the sand until it inches forward and tries again.
Car Interiors ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A new face at the window is Unexpected, but welcome As steaming hot cocoa Or imported tea or soft Cloth comfort and bucket seats Taking cruise control for Granted, neglecting mileage, Avoiding oil changes Or the same old arguments About why some live in Mansions while others Sleep in cars.
7-11 Connections ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My parents stayed in room 711 while they were in San Francisco but they didn't get the connection -- see we don't have very many 7-11's in the south where they're from although they do have some in Virginia 'cause the last time I was there -- right outside of D.C. (the District of Columbia) I stopped in one off Quaker Lane and I bought a Coke, a Ginger Ale and a Peppermint Patty plus 3 scratch tickets for the lottery; when I scratched the tickets with my quarter I didn't win at all 'cause the odds are against me as they were for the men who escaped from Alcatraz - a.k.a. the Rock - in the icy water not far from the Golden Gate Bridge -- my parents got to Alcatraz by ferry on a tour with their friends from home - North Carolina -- since they bought tickets in advance by phone after getting the phone number off the Internet which holds the key to lots of information but not without a doubt proof of whether of not any Alcatraz escapees ever survived - lived -- but if it were you and you made it off the Rock would you tell anyone just so you could go back to jail albeit as a famous criminal -- probably not 'cause I don't know about you but I like having the freedom to buy Slurpees or whatever at 7-11's whenever I please, wherever I please even if I have to cross a state line to do it.
Vladimir Orlov BUSINESS AS USUAL ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The world omnipotent tyrant called business interest is so single-minded about his daily work of sinister oppression that he wedges the floodgate of human conscience shut, closed off to splashing cataracts of drowned scruples and bubbling thoughts of charity, repentance and affection, of all those natural human thoughts which ought not to play second fiddle to business avarice and savagery as usual.
NEVER WAKING UP ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wake up! Wake up! The whole world is up and running! This unrelenting cry of a century-long tritely jarring slogan unloads itself into the deafness of our locked ears and dies away in their resonant sepulchers of slumber. This cry of a shrill despair saps our waning vigor and gnaws at the backbone of an evaporating resolve, as we walk in the centenary garden rustling with blossoms of cherry gold, flowers of chamomile silver, stalks of fern emerald, leaves of dew-drop diamond, in the garden which is yet to grow from the ashes of the fire-scarred waste dumping ground.
THE BELLS, THE BELLS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A poet called them quirks of fate, his gifted critic termed them a bestowal of heaven too sacred to be leased to those playing dirty games. As I rush through my meager mind, I feel inveterately obliged to own up to falling into an obsessed demeanor of a self-invoked ridicule bordering on awe and reaching out to the depths of my puny though aspiring soul. I call God's vengeance on my own silly and unrighteous self used to falling so easily for other people's shallow thoughts. Feverishly do I grab at the evaporating integrity of my managerial mind and mental vision. Meekly do I clutch at what is left of it - but only a waft of whistling wind makes me grasp at the empty air and wallow in it. Its tosses now float all around and a jingling cry degrading in a wow's whisper is all my wounded soul's bells are capable of tinkling forth. The bells, the bells.


   Del Corey
   Georgia Rejection
   Last evening, again, you rebuffed
   my shy touches and nudges,
   and, again, your sharp elbow
   punctuated your no, your boundaries,
   your circumference of trespass,
   so resentment and internal tears
   flooded my separate bed, and my dreams
   converted it to a coffin, like those
   that floated down the streets 
   of Albany, remember?
   So all night I was this stiff corpse,
   escaping my shallow grave, reeling
   downstream, thumping doors
   of strangers, spinning in currents
   of self-pity, out of your city limits,
   escaping your influence, ready to rest
   anywhere away from you.
   And then the sun ribboned through,
   pearling your smile with promises
   of today's enchantment, enticing me
   to rise, and come alive again.


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

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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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  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.

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