YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

January 2004

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


         Walking to Cydonia
         1. At the WINZ Office, Hawera
         2. Pilgrimages to Vogel Street
         3. At the Eltham Cemetary
         4. Farming in the Dark
         5. On the highway to Taranaki before Christmas
         As It Is & Is Not
         Explain It To Me In English
         Alfa Fred
         Gift From the Dragon
      Michael Raffaelli
         Come home
      Ben Passikoff
      cathy hodsdon
         NO MAN'S LAND
      Raghab Nepal
      Rochelle Hope Mehr
         My Father and Cancer
         After the Epidural
         Rip Current
         The Bone of the Hawk
         My Only Refuge
         Shame's Residue
      Michael Levy.
         What If?  
         Never Miss-out On A Good Deal
         The Dance Champion
         The Stars Are Always Shining
      Alisdaire O'Caoimph 
      Michael Estabrook
         Soon Enough
         Remy Jr.
         strangest thing really


   Mars is the next frontier, even more so than Luna, because there's
   tantalizingly terrestrial features about the red planet.  There's water,
   carbon dioxide, iron; almost the same diurnal period, which bodes well for
   our circadian rhythm; and a mythos that piques our curiosity, which is what
   drives exploration.  Mars will be easier to colonize; low gravity means
   construction will proceed apace; those two little moons are perfect way
   stations and observation platforms; the great rift will be the first
   terraforming site; and the asteroid belt, where mining will surely prosper,
   is only one jump further out.  The first stepping stone is our own south
   pole; if we can live there in reasonable comfort and be self sufficient,
   then we can probably live on the furthest shore.  This is in fact happening
   now, albeit still a rugged little outfit.  But the essentials are there:
   power, water, heat, a green house, three squares a day, sufficient privacy,
   tourists--Antarctica is where politics doesnít mean much.  The ice is so
   terrible, so somber, so impressive, that friendship is, must be, implicit in
   every act.  The bottom line at Amundsen base reads: We all go.  It's the
   true proving ground where humanity confronts itself and grows up.  That's
   the way it will be with Mars; we know that monoculture is eventually lethal,
   and only in multiplicity can we flourish.  Trade will come after the place
   is well in hand, when there's young women singing and children playing under
   the domes.  Commerce in metals, artifacts, stories, in the rare and
   fantastic, but mostly in accruing our own mythology.  Exploration of the
   unknown is what fires trade ever since Man stood erect and looked up with
   wonder.  Mars is that kind of place.   Marvelous.  Ancient.  Right now.
   Mars is also our backup plan.  Should the unthinkable occur back home, the
   tall children of that ochre land will continue.  It is always so.

   Walking to Cydonia
   I'll say it to you blunt and unadorned
   because I may not be here tomorrow;
   when this tale gets out they'll hunt me with rage,
   no house will be safe---and I won't be caged;
   I won't even be hounded---do your worst,
   it matters not; guys like me can't be forced.
   The truth is, once you've seen the grace of Mars
   there ain't no place to go except the stars.
   And no amount of holy ghost or plaint
   stops we who've stepped with demon, beast, and saint.
   I approached Cydonia from the west.
   Call it pilgrimage, Canterbury quest,
   call it what you like.  I came for the Face.
   I walked there because it's a holy place
   and it pissed me off that some would hide it,
   refused to go look, and lied about it.
   That's why I walked there the long way, to see,
   to tell what I saw and keep the thing free.
   It's not your private looking-stone to spurn;
   nor may you own it, nor do a book-burn
   number about it.  It belongs to each,
   you may not hold it apple out of reach.
   Got that?  So I walked down across the plain,
   following the track of a monstrous wain,
   apparently not a wheeled vehicle,
   a crawler, some tunneling slick-walled hulk,
   that left a vitrine worm-spoor a mile wide;
   something very heavy was made to glide
   through stone and sand like they were butter-soft,
   a star-stuff mill-race that dug in and troughed
   and then set like glazed kiln-brick, slightly curved,
   dust storm bedrifted once its purpose served.
   For hundreds of miles out from the north hills,
   a sinuous aqueduct whence fire spills
   like from a volcano, a lava chute,
   its magma spent, enigmatic and mute
   about what may once have passed this way long
   before apes became men, a whisper-song
   for us to puzzle out if we got smart
   and right enough to listen with the heart.
   So across iron oxide shifting sand
   along a rift that tastes of Samarcand
   unto carven facades where time has fled
   and then this marvel clad in stone ahead.
   The crawling causeway leads up to a swale,
   ends at a side-wall, a diving whale
   about to sound a desert-deep abyss,
   and disappears underneath the nemyss
   (that cap like the Gizeh Sphinx wears today),
   as equal inscrutably land and clay,
   come forth out of legend, buried by storm,
   sculpted by the spook of an ancient worm
   that we cannot understand by looking
   or poking at its surface, or booking
   scholar-deep with instrumental science.
   So blooms Cydoniaís hyacinth Face,
   whose core-block sooth fares from deep garden space
   to sometimes root in the dirt of planets
   and carve itself a form out of granite,
   smoldering quartz-dome eyes half a mile high,
   a curved smile of mouth that invites you nigh,
   past lips that promise guile, teeth turned to stairs,
   awesome burned and broken where devils lair,
   broad temple steps struck of diorite blocks,
   into a canyon maw guarded by rocks
   embrasured with intaglio sigils,
   keeping half a million years of vigil,
   in this holy place to which I have walked
   to see, and which your priests won't talk about
   because it casts their church-book into doubt
   with its patently hoary bent and craft,
   nor will they grasp the wand, nor know its haft,
   and god forbid that I should bear it home
   to show you what I've seen under these domes
   of crystal-water star-flaring fire,
   or should repeat the zodiac choir
   I have heard singing the scroll of our weft,
   standing here in this clefted mouth waiting
   to find a door and knock on its grating,
   to gain admittance, to crave acceptance,
   body fast riddance in a specter stance,
   join the everlasting dancing of stars
   that are souls, gaze as do our avatars
   on splendor to see how the clock-work ticks,
   and never more be parochial hicks
   chained to a stone on the fringes of things.
   I want to see the Real, I'll have my wings,
   I want it all, get it right now and more
   open up this damn door and let me in!
   I'm sure that door isn't there except once,
   while youíre tracing its hieroglyphic dance,
   the first and only chance you command it,
   face the opaque stone and understand it.
   I trail my finger over the pictures
   till some cog takes notice and the thing whirs,
   turns on an exactly balanced swivel,
   about four feet thick and finely beveled,
   the inside faced with alabaster tile
   like the sphinx valley temple on the Nile,
   with the same look of grandiose stone-turn,
   chiseled with papyrus, ibis, sweet fern,
   each surface exquisitely cut and laid,
   precisely draped (as it's said in the trade)
   with expert, almost casual finesse:
   an olive  grove, a grape arbor, a press
   with vine leaves curling round its barrel staves,
   stone-life dolphins leaping from spuming waves,
   an entire panoply carved in rock,
   a shepherd playing syrinx to his flock,
   all in bas relief surely cut by hand,
   each unique, yet as blue-print-careful planned,
   laid out in a sequence for to follow,
   each alight with source-less fire hollow
   echoing corridor leading inside,
   sculpted figures pilot the way guide-lore,
   fallen silent but still adept as art;
   hereís a quartzite hand pointing to the heart
   of the thing; ah, see, the passageway splits
   and I choose the deosil path which fits
   my bent, down, down to the right, getting bright
   further on, looks like violet sunlight,
   onto a domed circle balcony cave,
   some symbols on its lintel architrave:
   a hand, twin stars, an eye, a lazy eight,
   what looks like a lens, an obvious gate,
   enclosed in a spiral pattern of gold
   ribbon-hatch, fletched with a chain-glyph so bold
   it catches me breathlessóI think this means:
   'Anyone may enter; shop-girls or queens,
   pauper sons or kings, this gold thing is yours.'
   The cave's as much temple to proud-foot Moors,
   a cathedral worthy of dragon-moot,
   or perhaps a dangerous magician.
   A labyrinth tile-work mosaic floor
   which leads to one central chair, nothing more;
   the cavern is bare of further device,
   overhead a dome of basaltic ice
   colored a transparent violet tint,
   massively thick, yet I can see stars glint;
   and there's a spiral glass stairs to the floor,
   nothing else, no lights, no art-work, nor door,
   just the chair.  It whispers: Come, sit, dare, know.
   And so I step down and it starts to glow,
   walking the labyrinth circular path
   as so many thinkers before me hath,
   whence I arrive at the center of things,
   will wander far-forth on pentagram wings,
   of this I'm certain: Fly long and return.
   Journey one-step in the mind's-eye burning
   and learn to wield this machine beyond price.
   Ah, believeth me, my blood runneth ice,
   but my body glows with internal fire
   and I know naught but the wild's desire.
   A few more steps, everything flares with light,
   pale lavender, lilac, violet bright,
   it whispers silent: To sit and to dare
   as dragons do.  One more step-and I'm there.
   The chair is made to fit a human shape,
   with a foot support, soft roll at the nape,
   clever curved hollows for elbows and heels,
   very comfortable; your palms rest on wheels
   that flex and rotate on every axis;
   in all a real relaxing sort of biz
   without being obvious about it;
   that chair's built for you, you cannot doubt it.
   Your head rests in a shallow bowl of glass,
   a completely transparent polished mass
   like an inside-out fortune telling ball,
   without wires or anything at all
   which might put you off, a trustable thing
   of great beauty, worthy of stellar kings,
   a definite invitation to sit
   and for each one of us a perfect fit.
   Beats me how they get that from a quartz block.
   When you settle in it there's a slight shock,
   not unpleasant, just weird, like a silk coat,
   because you don't sit on the thing, you float
   and it conforms to your body contours,
   like you're the pitcher into which it pours,
   a most magick device of fey fire,
   made by hands that play heads like lyre strings,
   like you resonate with the truth of things,
   and while you're into it your eyes have wings,
   any where or when your hand turns the wheel,
   there you are sent, to see, hear, smell, and feel;
   the entire reach of time-flowing space
   is bent before you with fine skill and grace.
   When I did, I thought: This must be god's eye
   which knows only the truth and cannot lie.
   It doesn't matter whether rock or air,
   great skry-glass corneas that let you stare
   out into the deeps as far as you want,
   galaxy-large or little as quanta,
   it matters naught what compass the thing seems,
   youíll see whatever you see as in dreams.
   That good.  Spirit vision; like unto god,
   like with her beryl, and like with his rod;
   you at the focus of a great domed lens,
   a direct line into where-ever-whens,
   that works according to how you want it,
   anything you want, hah!--you can haunt it.
   Now.  Here's the real bit.  Recall the hall split?
   I went to the right, and youíve heard its witó
   that leads to the left eye, which Iíve shown you.
   The left-hand corridor will blow-you-out;
   that leads to the right eye, and thatís power,
   more sorcery than any hell tower,
   greater than Solomon, mage of demons,
   more sheer method than has been done with guns,
   bigger than a poetís pen, than law-writ,
   than treaty-sign, than missile-threat, fool-wit,
   or all earth's emperors put together.
   All with your mind; the touch of a feather.
   That's why some few will want to control it;
   and why I've told it to you.  All.  No.  Shit.
   The lens on the left is incoming stuff
   that's metered exact and always enough;
   the one on the right wears your iron glove
   to project hatred or equally love.
   The faculty of sight is mind's first sense;
   hands are an eye's reach, to whither, from whence,
   hands are the direct extension of sight,
   how spirit explores a stone from the height,
   and the Face on Mars is a hand-me-up
   by which you can brim your seeing eye cup;
   everything that you can see can be done
   from the eye in the face of god as one
   with you, one and the same, an archive book
   that records what so much a mind can look.
   Itís the first paramount machine we own
   and each one of us must use it alone;
   -to see- is a solitary magick,
   the universe as -thing-, a candle wick
   whose burning is a construction of soul,
   the two a hysteresis loop made whole
   by their interaction; both are needed;
   neither works without the other, deeded
   in a covenant-writ that precedes time
   and I can only see in pantomime
   because there's limits to infinity--
   something god put there so we can be free
   to do exactly as we want it done.
   Be glad this is so; the alternative
   is to live in no-place.  Oblivion.
   Whatís it like sitting in that chair, you ask?
   Itís like falling; like you've blown a gasket
   in your head; like dropping a vast distance
   without stopping for breath; like listening
   to a symphony played straight to your thing;
   like following a rainbow and finding
   a mythical elvish hoard that's all yours;
   like sickness and in health, patenting cures
   for all of that; wealth beyond your dreaming;
   an infinite fountain that flows streaming
   into your head through that burst gasket ring,
   with enough room in there for everything,
   and each treasure gets a catalogue card
   so you can measure and keep it warded,
   never to be forgotten, lost, nor sold,
   to guard and hold till you're right and old
   and ready to get outta sight with god.
   How long do I think it's been and behest?
   Probably since the planets coalesced
   and showed promise that someday there'd be us;
   it could be like a black-hole abacus
   playing with the pretty pebbles and suns-
   but I don't think you're ready for that one.
   Underneath it's a warren of tunnels,
   huge penstock valves and drainage tube runnels,
   from when the planet had free flowing creeks,
   spring river run-offs, snow-crowned mountain peaks.
   Then, irrigation; deep drilled desert wells;
   and around, an austere thousand bare cells
   to house those monks who saw to the seeing.
   Enough room for ten-thousand star beings
   who went about their business each in turn,
   to see what there's out there to see and learn.
   A considerable city outside,
   with plazas and parks, bronze statues and pride,
   all on the surface now cast into ruin,
   home to whispers and crescent umber dunes.
   Almost invisible except for shards
   bestrewn with ochre and the skill of bards.
   But down below it's still working intact,
   our galactic archives ready racked up,
   waiting for you and me to add to it,
   to make us real, write us down, and prove it
   to those who surely will come after us.
   I can hear laughter as there never was
   not heard half a million years in this place,
   and that's, I think, why it's a smiling face.
   Go thou, and feel this thing as I have done;
   maybe it's the scion of man, the real one.
   Could be, you know, could be as legend told
   mouth to ear, as itís been tended of old...
   In all, I spent twenty-six martian days
   at the Face; did my best bit with its ways.
   When it felt done, left the same way I'd come,
   tried to find where the crawl-way started from
   up in the hills; it kept getting smaller,
   narrowed in, lost its vitrine smooth color,
   dwindled to a sine-wave snake-snail spiral
   filled in with dust.  I finally lost it
   in among some tumble-down fossick bits
   that looks like a beach between sand and space,
   where I laid up a cairn to mark the place.
   So.  Now I've told you about why I walked
   the plain at Cydonia, and I've talked
   enough.  The stuff is there,
   and if you care, and dare,
   go thou likewise
   and take up where
   I left off.

TREVOR LANDERS 1. At the WINZ Office, Hawera ---for my former colleagues On the way to work the morning silver cloud greyed, the sky heavy and falling ashen the doey eyes of Monday glazing over it will be raining soon & our clients will stay away, dozing in bed all filing shiftlessly through the door twenty minutes late; Union Street full of puddles and patinas, as we scurry across the road to the Chatternook Cafe for morning tea five minutes away from a hundred lives, and the browning papertrails of Government. 2. Pilgrimages to Vogel Street the crush underfoot, treading gravel in her driveway lined with yellow hedgerows and the neatly manicured rosebushes. the bristled starch of robust furniture the tang of lavender in the air & the Leed Lemonade stowed in the drinks cabinet. she, with her velveteen hands the lines of her life giving her the import of an artifact, living like a personal heirloom, a talisman of kindness, tender to the touch, and wily and wise as only those whose hearts are measured in interplanetary terms can, her stellar eyes, and vast galaxy of love. 3. At the Eltham Cemetery Thank God you don't tell me to stop crying, thinking of him that I am grieving, not for him, but for my loss --for, though that's true my grief is also his celebration of me what I think of him now what I remember are gifts I cannot give to anyone all I can say of him to the outer world is no more than a scribble in the margin of a manuscript left in the Public Bar. The laughter and the singing are our memorial cairns & through grief's dark ugliness I saw the beauty and stillness he would have & he could stand gaunt and jocose now I am proud to give him a language of words and narrow spaces, in which, without knowing it we meet on a regular basis. 4. Farming in the Dark when the earth is quieted the soggy soils sing sodden laments the howling winds lashing the Waimate Plains hearken to a time when the people were silent; angry tongues were stilled and only the storm governed forest and field the voices of dissension, Maori and Pakeha, were dumb and awestruck before the cabbage tree and the elemental winds, the warble of long grass carried the hopes of people future & here, we are farming in the dark perhaps, we will grow lank and like the swathes of grass that mock the uselessness of man it is people that blight the planet. 5. On the Highway to Taranaki before Christmas searing sun on black seal, roads unpeeling winding into green lush oceans there are memories, hill rambling and cattle foraging in emerald verdance and the mountain as navigational beacon. the river escarpment south of Patea gouging pathways seaward the torrent of nature, unsurpassable the mountain carving a road to the brine and only a half hour journey left.
LARK BELTRAN THE LIGHTLESS ONES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (England, 1700's) Back in that ocean of darkness When night held a deeper dimension, A candle gave cottage coherence, A lantern kept gaze at attention. The walls of a hut oozed with shadows, And spiders swung down from their laces In the blackness untempered by flashlights, To scurry across sleeping faces. The wee hours must have seemed witching. The fearful saw demons in corners, Felt eyes of the dead watch from graveyards The homeward procession of mourners. Then, beauty was such a frail flower, For childbirth to quell with its anguish. Teeth loosened, hair whitened - no fixing! Strange fevers caused thousands to languish. God loomed like a judgmental parent Who frowned upon parties and pleasure. As The Way was a test in denial, The Church held out Heaven as treasure. No talk shows enlivened the evenings - Just life unadorned was the issue. Suspense of precarious futures Gave weight to the sad words "I'll miss you!" Keeping noses to neighborhood grindstones, Men herded their sheep and their cattle, Untroubled by globalization Of politics, earthquake or battle. Today's world is raucous and radiant - Overcrowded, and less moralistic Compared to in days of the lightless, But wanting their touch of the mystic. To be back in that ocean of darkness When night held a deeper dimension! I'd love to have spent a week wand'ring A landscape before light's invention.
BANQUET HALL ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Each takes his unique serving of this world. The shares of life presented are consumed. And if, beforehand, any might have quarreled About their portions, thinking them predoomed, The palate warms to decades of bland years Or pungent; through all we crave the cream - Brewed with sweet spices 'mid the tang of fears - That rich and slow decoction of a dream. We linger over passion's demi-tasse, Find bitterness which gags, or choking sorrow Salty as blood from swallowing cut glass ... Until the healing tonic of the morrow. Small comforts and delights round out our bowl: Nourishing fruits in season for the soul.
APRYL FOX As It Is & Is Not ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am afraid of the dog. What is he I don't think he's a pit bull but he sure looks like a plum. Where is my cane I hope I didn't leave it at the Bingo Hall. I've won seven matches this month the prize is a sour watermelon. I don't like the watermelon seeds so I usually spit them out in the can they set out for us elders. Am I an elder? I don't feel like one I feel like I could bench-press fifty pounds or maybe fight a gorilla if they was up to it. Hold onto your hat I think it's going to rain in Spain maybe not in Maine but let's see what the weatherman says. He sure got a big honkin nose don't you think his name is Frank or Joe or maybe it's Ernie I don't know those weathermen are all alike to me.
Explain It To Me In English ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let me explain it this way. There's the sky. There's the ground. Can't spin it like a top, can't make it go upside down like a roller coaster. I've been there before, you know. My hand hurts. Sometimes I see more than one thumb in front of me, glittering like an eye. The fingernails are cut just so, but I've never had a manicure. It's in the rhythm, the wind knows what I'm talking about. Just ask. The sky. The ground. The grass. Flowers. Breakfast at Denny's. It's all made of matter, and all of us are billions of tiny atoms that could fit on the head of a pin.
Alfa Fred ~~~~~~~~~ I'm afraid of Alfa Fred. I'm doomed to know the gloom for the rest of my life--heck, for the rest of my existence. The sugar bowl on the table is always mostly empty; the doggy bowl by the back door is mostly half full, though sometimes it's empty unless Brewster is out for his noon trot. I wish I could be more like Brewster and less like myself, so bleak, so blanched of life I'd put down my roots just to get a few moments of bliss.
Gift From the Dragon ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ she who was born in the year of the dragon did not know of her gifts until 1988, when her husband pulled into a rundown gas station she sat in the car while he pumped the gas and suddenly said, "wait, wait, i am picturing it now, picturing it as it could be," and then came a poem she found beauty in that rundown gas station, found beauty in that nothingness a year came and went and the beauty was still there she wrote poetry about everything and nothing, about the clouds and the grass and the birds and the people, she found beauty in the simplest of things "everything and nothing is beautiful," she says she always asks God, "Did You make poetry? Am I the beholder?" she did not receive an answer, but still she writes-still she finds beauty where beauty could not be found, in rundown things and rundown people, she who was born in the year of the dragon.
Michael Raffaelli Siren ~~~~~ Only I could create this dream Tip-toeing around the possibility of my means Standing at the gates of speculation she calls. An artery clogged and over flowing All that is known is lost in the shuffle of impatient clowns Lay my head in the soothing arms of my siren , she calls
Come home ~~~~~~~~~ Dam the river of impossible absolution The wind blows of broken hope Shattered , cascading into an oblivious void She calls me here And sends me down Baited into viscous calm Backed up and bottlenecked Open the flood gates She calls But I can't hear her any more The sky is falling, on my knees Engulfed in a rapid of inconclusive persistence I've awoken a monster Cant find my home Her siren fades to a whisper I'm lost I'm lost With out her I'm lost
Ben Passikoff ODE ON TWO GRECIAN URNS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Such a crying as Orestes in pure Greek poured to his robed relatives is not given to soap opera afternoons of popcorn coma. His individual holocaust, wetly sistered by Electra in whirly white outweeps whatever screendeep misery is ordered in moments of tomato blood. Let us therefore honor the earned ashes of amphora-compacted Aegisthus and Clytemnestra (pre- Hamlet mother), twined writhing final in separate dust. So, watch worried Orestes forever centered in stone circles of descending theater, sandals slipping in the slow blood and, red on the knife, Electra lipping nix.
I THAT SPEND LIFE, SIR, UPON THY CAUSE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "We are not necessary," said the rabbi, whose blooded words spat off the walls of temple empty where old echo of he and God were dialogue. One hand pulsed his Moses-model beard, the other friended aged Talmud resting on the 34-sectioned Sunday Times. "Wooing owls bless branches knotty with old love. Liongold gilds the veldt, pawgrace multiplying grass. Vultures simplify the hectic flesh, beaks tearing to the underlie, the cunning join of bone designed for doom by third-rate architects, like Florida condos skeletoned for hurricanes. The single scurry of a cockroach repeating species like wallpaper; the tundras of unrolling tires harmonic to eternal rust of Chevy cemeteries. Truth is in the changing mirror," said the rabbi in rap with God, however who was busy counting urns.
UNURNED INTEREST ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The fourth Brother Karamazov became angel chinning by twitch a hairy rope, neck growing new inches, blue tongue a lolling dog's, in tune with desperate nails now talons. Moon wandered in old pity to this window. A shudder of cockroaches carpeted the floor in revel of the stench of released sweat rivering the winter of his skin. A wind from nowhere spins the closed body momently inside history. Servile boots remember smell and dance, then equalize with the rotated earth. A posse of vultures hunting bone throng past the moon in white mourning, throat discordant song to the fourth brother depending from old eaves. His cold mother remembering him loud between her idiot thighs, her head Medusa- rich with wormsquirm whispers to her issue: only the dark is true.
cathy hodsdon NO MAN'S LAND ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the moon hung over the ocean like a dimly lit parlor lamp. clouds acted as curtains blocking the stars reflections rolled with the waves curious onlookers waited for something to happen chaos in the town was mounting dark spirits were filling the homes resistance was met with fury the ocean became a no man's land representation of the endless dream ships embarking for the edge flat or round was the endless debate. sail to the giant waterfall under the moon fall to a watery purgatory. a test run would be made. only a fool would dare take on this challenge ignorance has removed all sensibilities not many frontiers left to conquer pitting one government over another cultural attaches fill the airline terminals heading for the newest boundary. ideological conquests with omnipotent authority to achieve the desired action; and reformation to the extent each of us becomes the same. revolts squelched before they begin lost souls flounder at the rectory doors hoping to attach their limbs so they can begin arduously pumping blood back into their hearts. stockpiling rocks and sticks for the next assault.
MILKING TIME OUT OF RABBITS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ milking time out of rabbits: which are nearly impossible to catch, by the way rummaging through the garbage looking for seedy magazines and a cheap thrill holding on for dear life when the Big Dipper makes its first plunge blinded by a loss of vision when all that matters is the cashmere sweater at Macy's you saw on your lunch hour; which made you 20 minutes late getting back to your work cubicle racing through the rain not to miss your facial fountains of youth on every street corner, making commitments difficult for fear the furrows in your brow will deepen by the minute finishing touches on a house no one visits Mother Nature patiently waits the return of new spring growth after old growth burn children wait for someone to rescue them from day care. the Vatican is scrambling. systematic plans are still transcendental schemes pressing the forecasters to narrow the margins and inhale when required.
Raghab Nepal CHILDHOOD DAYS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The story is of two young girls Who met in the road and stared at each other. One was jealous to see other's ring The other stared at the other's shoe And at last they could realise That they were unconditional friends. They shared their laughter And poured their tear, Talking about their childhood days When none had rings In their delicate ears, When both ran bare-footed And enjoyed their plays.
CITY ~~~~ Piles of hoarding and neon signs Lost me from myself beneath The skyscrapers where Crowds of men found a way of life, And to my disgrace, I lost one. None seemed to care Even the arrival of dawn, Since the difference in night and day Were none and still like fools All loved the joy of being artist Of the unending drama. Dollars and pounds, Dollars and pounds Love lost existence in the far off ground Which had sunk so deep that only few fairy tales Could name, and it 'just seemed Interesting' To hear the same. Losing all hope in the polluted air, I dreamt of beauty I could find in love Till a sound of coins woke me up Thrown at me by passer-by Thinking me to be a beggar, Calling it to be a token of love. At last I realised love's existence still remain But the way of loving has met an unprecedented change.
BELIEF ~~~~~~ Far high in the sky a dim cloud looked Like a shy princess adorned with smile And which turned me blue. A mild wind changed the very view; the princess To a scary witch. My face turned black . How do we cling our belief in things When our eyes start Singing the song of betrayal When so long history Which we've learnt and admired Turn out to be a story of a drunken man!
JACK WESDORP Kashmir ~~~~~~~ The stranger came hiking over a hill, while our valley knelt fragrant in flower, drank from the mill race pond-ward, watched its wheel turn fleet water into wheaten power. Been sleeping in hedgerows and pasture sheds, backpack heavy with tinker's trade purtance, ragged vagabond sheen about his thread, eyes aglint with Imperial purpose. Stood a while viewing a baptismal rite, fiddle-paraded down at our lake side, waiting unassuming that it be done according to our custom. Let it flow, he thinks, let it flow on to sand and sea as it has been done of old everywhere in my fatherís Reach, flow on, let it be. Quan lays his fiddle in its case and stares up beyond the crowded party revel at the disheveled stranger, sets his staff of office aside, walks up, looks level in his eyes and knows their glint, knows the haft of the manís arm, knows their lives will be changed by this solitary ranger past hill into their midst, has heard the bird whirring its steel silent rotors last night follow the new man's track, felt the heat-ping of neutrino motors, feels his hackles stirring along his nape. Quan's no fool, hears a hollow ringing as of many echoed voices coursing across the Reach of royal might, and his sight is accomplished as his hand. "Come to my home," he invites, "that we may talk of what was, and is, and is about due." So, thus they walk unnoticed by the throng, the tinker gets dinner, a decent bed, and next morning they speak long of what's to be. "I am Hwei, the emperor's youngest scion, I swear you to secrecy my Judge Quan, do you believe?" And he shows forth a coin of tachyon brass, to prove heís the one, worth a billion credits on the black bourse because it contains a brain of its own, enough crunch to buy a galactic curse, or endow heaven by a royal clone. "Which is it, prince?" The fiddler flinches back, knowing a frigate cruises high above. "Fear me not, Quan, I bring you what you lack, not my father's fire, only his love. He has waxed aware of your feudal fate, that fell city bankers control your tilth, he won't meddle with your provincial state, nor does he wish you soiled by their grasping filth." "Hwei, my prince, I believe; my folk will doubt of one attired such as your out-land kilt." A princely shrug, "I can solve that, too. This noon-tide call them out; you've had a murder, I shall prove its guilt (Quan blenches obvious) without duress. Have that childís parents present in the square; her father has saved a piece of her tress, bring that along, a snippet of cherished hair, and I shall hold the killer before you." At the appointed time they are gathered, a silent watchful crowd awaits the truth, Hwei mounts the chapel steps in his tattered motley cloth, and proceeds to tell his sooth. He points to the bell, and it tolls once, twice, three times, no visible hand on the rope, he speaks: "To slay a child exacts a solemn price that canít be turned aside. But there is hope even then for the bereaved and the guilt. Step forth, you three, her family and you!" He points a dirk, old-blooded to its hilt, at a boy staggered to his knees. "And do as you wilt with him," to the victim's brother breathing heavy vengeance, ready to rage, and then quiet to the dead girl's mother: "There is another way, another page on the scroll of life may yet be written, nor need the crime be paid in equal kind. That kneeling trembling boy is want-witted, and I can turn him from his wailing mind. I cannot recall your Leisha to life, but I can give you another like her almost exactly. You, sir, take your wife before the altar in this church, and do you spike her with a will while ye pray for a daughter, and I tell you before these witness eyes that you'll baptize her Leisha with water brought to this font from your lake. No one dies, truly, the girl you buried lives, I swear it by all the chovani lal which I keep. Go thou, take your child's tress, do and dare it, do it right and proper and do it deep." Then tinker Hwei takes up the kneeling lad, touches his brow with an iron spindle and says, "be thou no longer waif and mad," packs up his purtance in his bindle staff, and quits the square as any good gypsy would to best effect, full-sure with the haft of his spell-bind. Those with the wit to see urge the act to its completion at once and dance their vigilance about the chancel door. The farm boy who kneels lurches then erect, flees into the forest byways fleet-foot, and none there ever doubt that he's been hexed, nor is he pursued, or named, nor beat about with dogs, just left to wander to the strand where he partakes a fisher's life of some judicial skill, a well-fathomed man with a tinkerís brand hidden in him. Within the chapel it's uncannily still for those who vigil unto breaking dawn whence all but a very few slip away to work. Quan retrieves the dirk, samples its blood stain, strikes its point in a portico pillar for all to see and understand the bane placed by a mage upon a simple killer. Hwei lies in coma sleep a day and night, then meets with his host to breakfast at table and lays his fabulous coin direct in yellow light, then commands: "Dobloon, which is a banker we can trust?" A metallic voice, "none here, sire, all are usurious scum who'd trade their kin-folk for a profit sum. Only off-planet the nearest I wist is an Eridanu Eight surety, Braithwaite & Sons Real Estate heads my list." "Right, then, Dobloon (a bright coin, eh, Quan?), make it them; bid them open a branch here in this town, supply them with specie, precious, and gem, chase the owners of this valley down, and buy them out in silent partnership, use whatever blackmail dirt you can dig, and rig a way to cripple them for good, make hoarding gold illegal, raise a hood of writ over each, yes, bankrupt the bastards." To Quan, "scribe two lists of who deserves what, and we shall separate the lean from its fat, see this land beholden to its owner workers.Ē Quan the village Judge sets to with a will while Hwei plies his tinker's trade door to door, the cities' banks get sold a bill of goods that evaporates while they clutch for more. Among the farm-steads it's tacit understood that something awesome unheard of goes downóno more taxes, no rent, no interest sums, nor scraped leavings, nor stale crumbs, nary threat to foreclose an unpaid debt, and the women sing over their shuttle-looms round about their bridegroom town. In the spring nine months hence a girl is born, baptized Leisha with gypsy mill-race fount, the valley flowers fragrant even more so than before, justice has been done and it is fitting. And far star-leagues away an emperor smiles, well pleased with his youngest son, Hwei the Wayfarer, whose secret name is Miles. So it is written.
Rochelle Hope Mehr My Father and Cancer ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The man is shriveling away into nothing. He doesn't want to speak to his niece on the phone. What do you say when you're wasting away Into nothing. His pants keep falling off his sunken waist. I have to help him fix the belt Tighter, another hole closer, tighter To engird, to secure the security Of walking unencumbered By fallen clothing at your feet Tripping you up When it's already so hard to move just a few feet On matchstick limbs which used to be legs, Sturdy legs which used to support a sturdy frame Engirded by a belt bulging a little flesh -- oh how You used to love to eat!
After the Epidural ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Recovery Room nurse said she could tell you were a great man by the way you looked at her The light emitted from the eye may be deceptive luminescence not befitting a luminary She also said she knew you would not have passed her in Organic Chem You smiled at that and I remembered blue books, blue books tossed asunder blue ink in blue examination books running cold in my veins as I observed how meticulously you corrected how demonically you slammed shut the blue covers and proclaimed that this one would not pass your scrutiny and make it to med school that your course determined the course of so many lives And I shuddered at all the power emanating from the blue eye scrutinizing the blue ink between the covers of the blue book The blue eye atop the scowling face The red pencil scrawling corrections The gleeful energy emitted from the eye Scared me And I cried
Rip Current ~~~~~~~~~~~ Another Christmas has come and gone But this year we haven't spent our Jewish Christmas at the movies. I haven't dispensed the bittersweet chocolates Which you used to request as soon As we hit the seats. We probably would have seen the last Of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. You so loved epics. Now I do the Chanukah lights. I hear your voice As I recite the "HaNairos Hallalu." You sang it but I can only stammer over the Hebrew Although I try to preserve some of your inflections. Bach is on the radio And I wonder what that has to do with Chanukah Or succumbing to cancer. The brightness of eternal optimism In the face of inexorable odds? You loved epics and hated weakness. In your last days you told the Cantor, "It isn't easy being eighty-three" Before he played you his new Recording. You must have recognized Some of the tunes from your days in the choir. You didn't have much of a voice But the vitality ripped through.
The Bone of the Hawk ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I do better approaching objects obliquely. My directness warps me into tunnel vision And I miss the crux of the issue. I misled you, but not intentionally. I was in the wrong path and bid you follow me. I was able to swerve when the storm clouds gathered. You were already past And I could not draw you in. You told me to go away As the veil of death compassed you. I saw the shroud, The headstone, The bone of the hawk.
Finality ~~~~~~~~ It's strange how the eye is drawn immediately across the room As if nothing is gone. Is it that the space has shrunk? Collapsed into itself? Before it held a bed. The bed held a man writhing in despair. The man's breath got stuck in his throat. His eyes fixated. What did he last view in that last huge, blue stare? The man is gone. The bed is gone. The space is gone, too. As if it were never there.
My Only Refuge ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The old, familiar world is gone. I need a shawl to keep me warm. To shield me from the blasted rimes Which pellet me across the times. No refuge find I save this scrawl Which shelters me inside its sprawl.
Shame's Residue ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eternal longing, magnificent desire Let thy fire consume me And subsume me So that all particularity is lost And all my flaws No longer suspire Let thy lash Seduce me to ash
Differentiation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Why does it bother me? I shall have to read what the psychoanalysts say. If I resemble her physically, does that make me her clone? My father, as he lay dying, called me by her name as I tried to feed him. Does that make me a nurturing Mom? He died, after all, and I don't think he knew what hit him. Could have been a wayward tree. Could have been a bomb. Why does it matter, this business of differentiation? This matter of falling far from the tree. I'd like to be the apple that falls so far And sounds nothing but dead air.
Michael Levy. What If? ~~~~~~~ What happens when you give a gift and it is faulty? Should the recipient have the bother of returning the gift? Or should you offer to get it exchanged? Is the giver giving grief? Or; is the recipient responding awfully ungratefully? What if the shop has a no return policy? What if the shop goes out of business? What if the recipient is your new wife? And what if the ring you gave her turned her finger green? And what happens if she finds out you bought the ring in a hardware store?
Never Miss-out On A Good Deal ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On his travels he bought an old dusty lamp in an old dusty flea market, The old crone that sold it to him cackle as he walked away........ Goodbye and farewell! He considered he had a good buy and fared very well, so he thanked her. Wasting no time when he got home he began to polish the ancient lamp, Poof! You guessed it! Out pops the Genie, Wow! this was one mean, ugly son-of-a bitch (perhaps it was the old crones son?) He began to bellow....... I am not you everyday Genie for I am going to take your life away I will grant you but one wish How would you like to die? Without hesitation he replied In bed...Aged 104... With two 18 year old flowering virgins, And; please wait until I pluck the second flower before you take my life!
The Dance Champion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ They gave the artful-dodging-politician the dance championship award of the year For nobody could........ waltz around the issues and quickstep over the truth more effortlessly 'n smoother.
AT-Ish-oooo ~~~~~~~~~~~ I recently came in contact with a very orthodox rabbi, He was coughing and sneezing I asked him; Tell me please oh wise rabbi, Are kosher germs more acceptable than non-kosher ones?
The Stars Are Always Shining ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stars are always shining But; it takes the cloak of darkness before the brilliance can be seen, Joy and Sorrow are two opposites, Life and death, seemingly, are likewise, But: many times...... Things are not always as they seem, You see, death is always present, even in life, The light of living, hides the darkness of death, But; it is always present, always here, When there is silence, When there is darkness, When all thought is resting, Death can be experienced in life, It contains but two true feelings..... Love & Joy, Life & death Love & Joy, Never can they be separate, For both are one, Infinitely, eternity enmeshed, In the authentic essence in all things seen and unseen. In the known and unknown Love & Joy transcends time & space And; The Stars are always shining
Alisdaire O'Caoimph Cliodna ~~~~~~~ Aye! Here in all truth she be, Her form that e'er invades the mornings dew and dances upon the soft whispers of thrush and robin and her voice that lightly filters through and between the soft daisy, Awakens ever the sacred wants and dreams of home and time. Tis here, Aye! where the ancient roads gather and meet between her perfumed haven and the Twilight's call In fields of rich purples with tender lilac undertones, Sweeps upon my mistress of the dawn and Summons from me, as too she did my fathers The longing embrace of her fairy dew. There are some moments when between this and the other realm I hear her call that welcomes me too The true Home of my heart. That I e'er set sail upon the Clyde's sweet waves to her, to that sacred site where love to love resides fills all that within me pains forth its expression and bursting outward, inwardly contracting I fall against her bosom of life and fade my breath to hers while the hoolet cries. Such be love, Such be what she inspires in me, That by leap and bounds of faith and constant care My eyes never leave her, My mind never drifts but all that is this flesh and bone of me, Finds but sole expression, entangled dialog of passion and last but not least, the devouring gasp of loves perfection. *** Alisdaire O'Caoimph (Cliodna, Irish / Celtic Goddess and the beansidhe of the O'Caoimh family) I am a Scot from Ayr Scotland, that now lives in the US
Michael Estabrook Soon Enough ~~~~~~~~~~~ No lawn to mow. No cleaning or laundry to do. No walking the dog or checking voice mail or email. Only time for sitting out on this summery white wicker furniture on the porch of the Roberts House, reading The Nantucket Times and a new book (In the Heart of the Sea, about the Essex being rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale way back on February 23, 1821). Only time for waiting until night settles like a dusty dark blanket so I can take my beautiful wife out for a fancy French dinner. And why not? Monday will be here soon enough.
Remy Jr. ~~~~~~~ I've never thought much of Remy, my cousin's husband. Sure, he's a nice guy and all that but our lives and interests have always been as different as lamas and lions, and I find his conversation and "philosophic insights" into life sophomoric, shallow, and insipidly pedantic. But those feelings about him changed just like that as I was talking with his son, Remy Jr., an adult now, at Uncle Johnny's funeral. Remy Jr. told me all about the things he does with his dad, how they go out to dinner routinely and take in a ball game or a horse race now and then. I said, "Sounds like you get along really well with your dad." And he looked me straight in the eyes and said so matter-of-factly and unembarrassed, "I love my dad."
Details ~~~~~~~ All that has gone on before us each of us as individuals, all of our ancestor's lives, their plans, fears, hopes, and follies are part of us like our blood and bones and brains even though we may not know the details, even though the details may never be known by anyone anywhere, the facts of their lives lost, washed away forever in the incessant impersonal tides of history, their lives while they lived them had just as much poignancy and urgency and meaning as our lives do today, or maybe not, I'm not sure, really.
strangest thing really ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In Strasbourg, France, on business, with a free evening, manage to get a ticket to Gonaud's Romeo et Juliette, truly splendid production, music full, big, fuller than life. Juliette is gorgeous, not one of those robust, portly sopranos, that's a nice bonus. The seat next to me is empty, until intermission, when a beautiful blonde sits in it, her silky hair flowing like rivers of melted butter down over her neck and shoulders, in a long black gown, with pink beads, and dark nails like Medusa. At the end of the performance I let her out ahead of me, of course, (trying not to stare at the thin black straps crisscrossing her smooth white back), and as she brushes past me delicate as a cloud in a tree, she says, more of a whisper really, glancing into my eyes, "thank you" with this pretty French accent, making me feel (romantic idiot that I am) as if I hadn't been alone at the opera after all.
timelessness ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Brewster's Ladies' Library started by two ladies 150 years ago is still going strong. My mother is a volunteer there, holding the record for the most volunteer hours worked during any single month. "I love this place," she says as we leave the book stacks and wander into the newspaper reading room with its musty newspaper smell. An old man in a heavy brown coat, slouched down like a crumpled walrus in a big leather chair, doesn't even glance up from his newspaper as we enter the room, but I can see the slight smile as he overhears my mother's reverent voice talking about the library, with its quiet corners and sacred spaces. "I love this place," she says again and takes me by the arm, the color rising in her cheeks. My dad would be proud of her I think, taking such good care of all of these books.



   Once there was only the land
   with hunters following game.
   Then there's the same tattered band
   hauling a cart full of hope.
   After that the slope gets steep,
   the road turns to flint defile;
   out on the deep lateen sails
   probe reefs and foreign lagoons;
   under horned moons we heard tales
   of how it would be with wings;
   and then we could see us trek
   to the farthest shore on earth.
   So we venture ever forth,
   because there's more horizon
   and the future bids it so.
   The eye beholds what's promised,
   and the sons of pride are bent
   to ride bold with high intent,
   go where none have left a print
   on the weft of ancient gods.
   Nor any bane or worm spoor
   shall deter us from our quest,
   nor storm, nor burning eye-blink.
   And now we have our sight set
   on barren planets and stars.
   All of space will be your fief,
   accolade and telling song
   we would as lief be with thee,
   wherever you are, thatís home.
   May you roam long, and well, and far.


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

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