YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

October 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





         Through Drowsy Eyes
         A Mouse in a Top Hat
         For Sale
         Overheard on OC Transpo
         Behind the Scenes
         Narcissus Observed
         The Blossoming Spirit
         The Survivor's Gift
         War Games
         Notes for a Blue Sunday
         Meditations on a Wishbone
         Autumn Cat
         Classical Love Poem
         Bird of Paradise





   So you want new eyes!
   Take a chunk of emerald sky
   (evening's depth compressed to a gem's hardness,
   a gem's cutting edge ...)
   and chisel unforgiving fact
   into light.
       - August 1985

   A Mouse in a Top Hat
   The following texts were first published in chapbook format in 1987 by the 
   Rideau Review Press, in Ottawa, Canada, and are reprinted here with the gracious 
   permission of publisher Stephen Brockwell. "Autumn Cat" also appeared in Sounds 
   New, edited by Peter van Toorn and published by the Muses Co. in 1990.

Fishing ~~~~~~~ Not torn? Dusk closes over the slash, over the claw and over the crimson lure as the swollen horizon drains and darkens. Dark sky and darker lake, slow swells and shifting boundaries with a feather in between. A carp brushes the bait and a hand goes suddenly tense on a distant reel.
Edges ~~~~~ Cold coffee, set aside, old ... ... chipped rim ... Your sorrow eases into the jagged space its back against the knife edge between the turbid, brackish drug and blinding light. Her smile. The cup has printed interlocking rings across the window sill.
Through Drowsy Eyes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Through drowsy eyes, I see my bedroom door rimmed with light. Brilliant warmth is warping the wood, curling fingers round the frame like tongues of fire, like solar wind bending under the earth's pull. The corridor is forcing its way into my room, is turning my house inside out, is seeking entry. This is not fire that blasts the heart, no silent flash of summer lightening, but deft probing, I swear the rays are moving the door ... Or is it my hand, half knowing, half dreaming, reaching out for the edge?
A Mouse in a Top Hat ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A mouse in a top hat! is dancing: complex gyrations, little bows, nervous trotting steps along a picket fence between two window sills. The cats are most attentive tensed under soft fur, tails scything the grass watching the twirling, trembling mouse. Thinking, this time? What draws him back to totter between two worlds? Knows he the price? The jerky dancer knows not, thinks not, cares not, but lives for the scent of rhododendrons carelessly flowering along a garden fence.
For Sale ~~~~~~~~ Alone on the wharf, a fishmonger waits, waits and smiles as stray dogs nose through offal, as screaming gulls peck at garbage. He sniffs the air, and runs a practiced finger over glistening curves, plump, firm, glistening curves: see, what lovely flesh for sale! But sells no tragedies. These fish are gutted, quiet and still. No torn nets, no heavy seas, no oaths, no slipping feet. He smiles, and touches the sea secondhand.
Overheard on OC Transpo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I told her she can't have it, no way!" "Just kick her in the stomach, hard." "I can do it with a coat hanger." "She's fourteen" "My mother knows." Night bears down, chisel point in the earth. while ice cracks and water wells up anesthesia fans out in the widening starless gap; The sun floats like a deadman's face, for this is no eclipse. (Ah, for that airless caress, dark kiss unhurried swing through friction-free ether unequals made equal by distance: rare, but predictable.) Not so here; chisel point in the earth. Pavement breaks and shoves apart; people scatter like ants. Towers smoothly unroot and topple perfectly as if for the evening news. Turn it off! Lights! "I don't want to get married. When you're married, you're finished, man." "The boys and me, we understand each other . . . live like slobs, drink beer." "I don't want to get married, not for a long time."
Roots ~~~~~ This is a world of sweet dank hay and borrowing mice a twilight world shot through with memories. Spreading tunnels undermine the soft half-light sink like roots into musty air ... weakening the fear of wings. In and out. A barn owl carries a mouse into the searing light and the old barn wavers and fades.
Behind the Scenes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A re-run this, scratched and spotted; no comedy; these painted actors never knew the gift of speech - they gesture through the jerky, fading light slipping back and forth through unimaginable loves, as through doors, as through the mouths of strange beasts. The scenery a skilful blend of wobbly memory and hazy dream warped by hate, and warped still more by love. No comfortable abode, no place at the inn, no rest, not even in the stable.
Narcissus Observed ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Your face is etched in my mirror our features do not coincide.
The Blossoming Spirit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dawn. A spider's web has captured the rising sun in its sparkling strands. . . . Rolling to the shore, a wave breaks, and green water turns to pure white surf. . . . A leaf is torn free. Not to die; see how it rides the wild autumn wind. . . . I build a castle out of sand, then watched the tide carry it away. . . . A splinter of ice glows in the sun like a prism ... noon in the far north. . . . At long last, the sea. That night I lit a campfire with my only map. . . . Light splashes from leaf to leaf, bathing the dreamer under the maple. . . . Fragrant, rain-drenched boughs ... drops are rippling the still heart of a garden pond. . . . Between the budding and the leaf, a tranquil space where time holds its breath.
The Survivor's Gift ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Charred stumps and silence. ... But ah, what a rich harvest of brilliant flowers! . . . Layers of nacre form Around a grain. Thus it is: beauty out of pain. . . . A sweet sacrifice: as if from wounds, sap flows from the plundered maple. . . . Such large, sweet apples! The tree that we had grafted bore the finest fruit. . . . Look, a wisp of silk! A milkweek pod opens, splits, and opens to the wind. . . . Under the chisel, the shattered stone releases its living fire. . . . A harsh winter passed, Cold beyond silence, and yet ... the apple seeds quicked. . . . In the warm spring sun, an icicle turns to flame then plunges earthward.
War Games ~~~~~~~~~ A strange war, this; there are no guns. Just your piercing eyes drilling their shrill vibration into my skull. Cities crumble behind the impassive blue; fingers tally off the fallen states. Gevena goes before you end your cigarette. The tip glows red and burns to ash Before you stub it out.
Notes for a Blue Sunday ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's easier under the influence of notes, luminous notes, bittersweet ripplets, the finest narcotic pushing me gently toward the darkroom door. My heart shall have its chemical bath, yes, to bring out the images throbbing raw and redly in the darkroom light. I will not look. We dance like fencers using naked blades feint, thrust and parry, rapiers slashing the negatives; twisting coils entrap us. Multiple celluloid monsters, we foil our own attacks, trip up our own steps; each time we score a hit, we bleed. Back to cold clear light and savage indolence, I edit: snip, snip, snip, then sudden ripping. But the hole will not blur, the body waves its arms, shrieks silently; I see my fingers through the gaping tear.
Meditations on a Wishbone ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Insatiate white rush of twin arcs shooting forth like keening crescendo of winds whistling down the jet stream and yet buttress-strong and rooted both in the same pain. Irreducible as stone cleaving doubt as shining swords to ride the sky in triumph. ... How then this sudden deadstop in mid-flight? (Like a bridge obscured by fog just short of the other bank.)
Autumn Cat ~~~~~~~~~~ A cat slides across open lawn, belly low shorn of shadow, glancing sideways, naked under enemy fire. The dizzying space yawns and rolls; distant shrubs loom like banks of fog snipers, perhaps ... No fish here and certainly no mice - none daring the antisceptic frost-white stage: a ruler rules but briefly in this tiny realm. This chessboard with space dissected into quarters, into eighths, into hundredths hundredths stretching into quarters ... The cat clears one mark, slowing clears another, ... yet another ... freezes Ah death, you have such clean hands!
Classical Love Poem ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is a day when flowers hurt me when birds fall to earth transfixed with song when the moon ploughs serenely backwards through the sky. Your unwritten letter rests in my hands like a Chinese scroll unfathomable brushstrokes, yet beautiful... the sweetest rose has fewer secrets than this.
Bird of Paradise ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ - for Jorge Etcheverry No prison so sumptuous; this canopy replete with stained glass orchids filtering out the dust and dew and light amid the olgives petals exhaling the perfume of exile. The prisoner splashes calligraphy across the sky - broad lattice?work of leaf, arabesque of vine - and tolerates the orchids which twine around his ankles seeking alien earth. fit company for treetop apes, he bellows street songs, scratches, sweats, and yawns; weaves a nest each night and ponders slowly ... to become a bird ... One day unscrews his head! - watching as the world revolves around - then tucks it squarely under his arm like a brooding hen til the damp feathers break free in an iridescent surge towards the light.



   A circle is perfect, they say
   so I bent time into a ring.
   Simple, simple!
   Uninvited, almost unwanted
   you walked through the charmed wall
   and snapped the bond like a curious child.
   I watch the years go snaking away
   down into the Garden of Eden.
       - June 1985 


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
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  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
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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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  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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  All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS


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