YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 2004

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Heather Ferguson; Oswald LeWinter

ISSN 1480-6401


TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

   Rebecca Lu Kiernan
      Moon Blues

CONTENTS

   Josef Lesser
      WELCOME 
      SPACE
      Remember Mr. Munch Remember
      and i will mount............
      Movies of the Mind
      Give me a number between
      A Teacher of Flying
      His Story
      I know what I want to say
      fragments of a letter washed ashore
      innocence
      Words -- Wrestling in a Word World
   
   Clifford K. Watkins, Jr.
      The Helm of Madness
      The Walking Aborted
      The Purpose of Genes
      May River Madness
      Moments to Minds to Madness
      Stone
      To Venture Alone
   
   Marianne Kirby
      Exercise in Voyeurism
   
   Roger Taber
      CHILDREN OF THE CENTURY
      BEYOND BELIEF
      CROCODILES IN THE WATER
      IMAGES OF LOVE
      HEART OF DARKNESS
      HITTING HOME
   
   Steve Klepetar
      1.  April, 1967 - My Father Explains Surrealism in Central Park
      2.  Blind
      3.  Children of Slaves
      4.  City of Lights
      5.  Clown of God
   
   Lorcan Black
      The Old Mill Wheel
      Prodigal
      Sestina on a Starlit Night
      STRONG>After-tow
      Ted
      Mystic Touch
      Homage to the God-born
      Fate of Milo
      Crystalline Shatters
      Terminal Velocity

POST SCRIPTUM

   Rebecca Lu Kiernan
      Ascension


INTRODUCTION


Rebecca Lu Kiernan


Moon Blues
~~~~~~~~~~

What will you give me for comfort
When my time comes?
  
A lock of your gently graying hair
In a ring box?
The seed of a plum?
A foil blanket for Ganymede's nights?
A recording of Mike and the Micros
Reluctantly singing "Summer Breeze" for tourists?
A holding tank for telepathic octopi on Carme?
Photographs of empty architecture
And broken statues of saints
From your rainy, solo trip to Europe?
A syringe for extracting
Immortality microbes on Metis?
Your rhombus, lavender rock star glasses?
A steel jar for gathering brainworms on Callisto?
A barking frog from from Blue Lake preserved in amber?
Intergallactical reply coupons for Thebe?
   
What will I send you for remembrance
When the earth's shadow falls between us?
    
The egg shell, bat-wing shirt you removed
With a whisper?
Tons of unmined, shark's eye silver diamonds
Beneath Europa's icy sea?
One splinter of a weeping willow?
Shape-shifting gold from Io?
A platinum sheet of lightning
From the storm we conjured
Naked on your back porch?
Sleep on it if you can,
And when I am irretrievably deep in space
In that quadrant you sketched from a dream,
Shrug off the sparking ghost of me
Drunk on your reluctant song,
High on your tentative smile,
Arching for your open mouth.
	 
What will you embrace, aging rock star?
A cold post card of shadows
Eclipsing our old blue moon?
A molecule of your affection
Twitching in a formaldehyde pan
You thought about giving to me?



Josef Lesser


WELCOME 
~~~~~~~

Birds
When they dive in the bath
slosh --- dive out
towel themselves dry with a flutter
                                         dive again
repeat
sip the waters
                          pirouette to 
relax on a twig
                          relaxed --- bathed
   somersault to
nibble seeds
                          back to the twig

satiated banter
              dreaming --- meditating
you can be sure the birds have found
                                         their utopia
and presented mine
                  giver and receiver are one

Is there a word in the language?


Jan 03


SPACE ~~~~~ (Columbia) Space ---an elephant absorbs an elephants weight a single ant as much as it can; between trees does it dance, does it run does it skip having fun or just slumber, what does it do between the church pew and the choir, is the space reserved for you know Who; of course He would know, and at sale time between legs on the shopping mall floor I'm sure it develops a migraine, would love to breathe some fresh air in the street behind the exit back door, in our fist tight as vice we have space as we do in our mouth clenched and clamped, in the manicured garden of graves a formal design, in battle on hills between dead and the dying space drops, exhausted silent still this blood-shot place, too large at times injects a fear an overcoat of doubt against the chill, too small robs breath, amputates the flow dictates our need to flee to find and trace our private border our secret face --- our space; as seven once beyond the wall of sound beyond the overcoat flew to search where few have searched before --- found their space then made a pact to stay for evermore. Feb 03
Remember Mr. Munch Remember ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (for Edvard Munch "the scream") Mr. Munch I nearly went insane on the bridge, remember? Remember Mr. Munch remember. You were there as me I had to be you, you me me you us as one. Remember? Tangled in the dripping palette of the setting sun, you as I. When one is another the saw of insanity screaches in the forest lost in the trees of our thoughts waiting to slash our dreams scraping teeth rip highways through bone through trumpet and drum through the throttled cough the saw has reached the lung. Remember Mr. Munch Remember? Parched roses fade, so we witness how the falling petals closed your mother's eye. I spy with the tarot of my eye down side up outside in hangman and jester are one. Loki seduced all your angels charred in the cradle of sin angels and hangman are one Edvard can I call you Edvard, call you back to the cradle back to that twelve in December. Remember Edvard Remember? = Nov-03
and i will mount............ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Darker than danger faithful as light and i will mount the stallion stabled on the childhood ceiling of my dreams, and i will gallop stride for stride the midnight desert wind where hills astonished will part like the red sea time will embrace each flying grain of sand. And i will barter in the market for dates and olives share the wine and share the smoke of pain relief of undiscovered miracles of talk. And i will lead the search for buried books then in triumph present the words and signs to you and you and you and also you. Then will i slash the sails of indifference the rafts of ignorance will float anchorless and lost. And i will sit on the cushion of philosophy handing out wisdom coated almonds, raisins of faith from the hand of truth with the eyes of question and you will seek me out for the answer. For in the house of the answer lives the secret the seeker in the desert the market the hand, the seeker of the flame lighting birthday candles inside the quite oasis planted with the palms of age, palms where now i comfort myself in that other me content to watch the dark stallion graze; Still faithful as light still stabled somewhere on the childhood ceiling of my dreams. June 03
Movies of the Mind ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My mother always had a front row seat in fact the only seat, within the theatre in her Mind. Sat for silent hours watching reels of stolen time and all the yesterdays she had to leave behind. Within her Mind the theft of youth on film, a time when girls could touch the skirt of dreams and look for love, boys could touch the skirt of girls and look for dreams. When it was still fun to skip rope at seventeen. She felt once more upon the private screen the taste of rain, so sweet upon the tongue and strawberries tasted like strawberries should. I know she watched each frame a thousand times could freeze each moment at her will. In every town one day the boots of war, the thieves of time kicked down the doors kicked dreams downstairs kicked all the sweetness from the rain. Strawberries will never taste the same again. My mother sat for silent hours watched the reels unwind, rewind and play again, as others sit someplace alone from dingy rooms to penthouse tops from cells to crowded wards watching watching all the scars of hurt, and a child a child is far removed from such pain, from tears upon the floor like grains of rice. Only knows that boots are laced to score a goal and strawberries always taste nice. All the yesterdays she had to leave behind my mother stored on film within her Mind. July 02
Give me a number between ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (pantoum for Sierra Leone) Give me a number my ears are burning ash falls to the rhythmic blows to crack open a skull My ears are burning a number between blows to crack open a skull like an egg for an omelet A number between the bodies and parts like an egg for an omelet broken discarded and buried The bodies and parts single double and triple broken discarded and buried a nose two breasts and toes Single double and triple a mother two daughters all three a nose two breasts and toes on fire as candles without wicks A mother two daughters all three a father a husband makes four on fire as candles without wicks as their pain dissolves with the smoke A father a husband makes four what importance the family name as their pain dissolves with the smoke and the world finds excuse in the haze What importance the family name their homage to God on the walls as the world finds excuse in the haze and leaders united don glasses of lead Their homage to God on the walls falls in ash to the rhythmic despair and leaders united through glasses of lead Squawk ------- give me a number Jan-04
A Teacher of Flying ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ( for Tintoretto) Eh! Tintore how many angels to-day did you learn to fly? five you say and how many saints one just one. But oh! what a saint you say, ay Tintore. You are the master; I see how devoted your hand is to your eye and your eye to your soul. In your doorway all is revealed all strokes, all tints the strength of wings. How you harness the sun to obey your command; glow this place this face and here for eternity. Learn me to fly! you cannot you say I am but a man you say --Tintore. You are right, but a man inside from the storm; lightning thunder and rain we share the same but only you, yes you sip the wine from the grape from the vine nourished and tendered by angels who soar into time. Jan 03
His Story ~~~~~~~~~ I remember reading his story, days flying kites fishing, wrestling on the sand his father's arms strong from work in the mines, gentle with his son. Holidays hiking sharing jokes sharing fantails sharing father and son. For a moment in my astral zone I watch best friends shaking hands, communion of birds deep inside the rain-forest, unselfish acts on history's stage. Time in reverse through the portholes I travel a voyeur inside the galaxy plane then jump, free-falling falling -- All flows until page eighty two raises the curtain, a scene change develops and a new player enters stage left a drop-out from A.A. the monthly pay cheque ritual; life and whisky transform the miner's arms, hands that yesterday unwrapped the fantail now out of sync break doors break chairs break his day, the story. Reading, I thought of my father and thanked God nothing similar ever happened to me. I remembered once just once he took me to a movie he wanted to see. Jan-04
I know what I want to say ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After the sermon, after the silence After the proverbial crash of the pin I spoke "you are brain washing your Flock, hiding behind obscure cures, Obscure words from some obscure Parchment, you are a fraud". I knew what I wanted to say A PhD. rabbit in language Revealed the way and I said it. Like at the pizza place I know, "Family size house special Extra chilli easy on the garlic". "Return single window seat." "Sorry I'm late plane was delayed". Always the rabbit feeding me words. Take this morning for example, Nudged awake by a poem, an alarm Moving in off-shore balanced on the crest Riding the wave into my thoughts; And I want to say without delay -- "Rabbit, where the fuck are you"? Jan-04
fragments of a letter washed ashore ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 24/12/ ---- my dearest my love are you wearing a watch tell me the time are you wearing a hat are you hot are you cold remember the heat on our ----- ---- moon we swam in waterfalls and drank cold champagne ---------- silver the waiter sang and strummed guitar like --------------------- tell me the time are you wearing a watch my time left can be counted on the fingers of your right hand are you cold in my dream a man the colour of history as old as eyes whispered have faith in the ocean-------- your final words to the tides you loved the waves when----------------- are you wearing a hat reading my letter tell me the time of day tell me a story remember the tale of the child with no name who could ------- develop into a complete person but you my dear ---------------- ------------------ yes so many ways tell me a story how our souls met first and then introduced us to each other we ---------------------------- then waltzed to the tune of the moon are you wearing a ------------- my time left can be counted -------------------------------- cold ---- was the colour of history as old as eyes my final words will ------------ the tides the waves you love the ----------------------------------- and he whispered you will find this letter because our souls met first ----mates always always are you wearing a hat maybe the -------------- you bought from the market in the valley when we lost our way ------- remember the gypsy reading my palm she saw the ocean ---------------- looked melancholic --------------------------------------------------------- and only yesterday like fast foreward video all our days -------------- ---------------- tried to press play but it stuck and flashed and----------- tell me the story one last time how our souls met first then ------------ to each other we kissed under the stars ------------------------------ moon tell me the time any number my mind hears only tick tock ti-- ---- minutes days seconds heartbeats grains of time on ---------------- where are you is it hot is it cold are you -------------------- my feet are cold my ice feel lips my lips are yours my -------------- forever ever ever tell me a story tell me a -------------------------------- tides waves as old as eyes --------------------------- are you wearing ----------------------------------------------- my soul will know yours when next we meet in ------ remember the gypsy glimpsed the ocean a bottle a talisman ---------- words locked in glass my -------------------------------------- are you wearing a watch we drank cold champagne flutes ---------------- tell me a story tell me a story my ice are feet my lips ------------ forever my dearest countdown is over are you cold -------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------- Dec-03
innocence ~~~~~~~~~ (this war on t.v is real Iraq) the seagull understands balance wings from God skim the wind without wings the bird skims only in the past of its mind the young boy understands stones arms from God skim the waters without arms the boy skims only in the past of his mind the whale the cheetah the frog the you the him the her the I try to balance the see-saw understand the wilting stones wings the bird skim the wind arms the boy skim the waters God waits to be understood only in the past of our minds April 03
Words -- Wrestling in a Word World ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Milk is such a simple word, having fallen from that large word puzzle that scrabble in the sky it fell on its feet safe and sound. The trumpet screamed the voice in monotone chanted "MILK here we have milk". But hey! wait on, consider instead if it tangled and landed with a crash twisted and dazed "KILM here we have kilm" a terror chant drumming or think of CROSS missing the target mis-shapen " ROCSS here we --- and once upon the rocss he died. Its a long way to come down to earth, the more strings attached the multiplied chance of a knotted prang. Waking bandaged=20 plastered stitched "BETWEEN here we had --- BEENWET here---" I cried on the table tears in the sink soaked was my mind straining to think. In a word world always put your best letter forward lead from the font, allow reason for others to chase. Do you recall the young days when learning the skill of 'Word Wrestling,' crossing the span as well as the t dotting your presence as well as the i. At times were you betrayed, choking and gasping while that lost letter, the timeless search turned to ash in your throat. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was desolate younger than time older than fire searching for like and like you will find, soon it spread faster than lies grew older than time circled the world tripped over itself in the rush the flag of confusion was hoisted from oceans of rubble and slush. Would "w" repeat "w" please join rong in the front while qotation is puzzled. Do we need you "u"? and once I lost Mr. "x" couldn't play the ylophone. A window looking in A blind umbrella for the sun A trumpet A litany A drum Awesome A radioactive spray Such a simple word is A "A here we ---" Jan 03
Clifford K. Watkins, Jr. The Helm of Madness ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ you're the vision that I'm lost w/out roaming whatever realm the mind seeks out jousting at immaculate skies your eyes like vivid stars illuminate my darkest dreams bedazzling the night sifting what seems your face a vermilion dream so ethereal so divine time is out nothing is in where to begin I'm a coward much to my chagrin with each glance I cower and don't know how to begin I'm a fiend a drunkard a fool for your bitchery mired in misery eccentric and utterly blue there's nothing I can do It's futile I love you you're so lovely and I'm a fiend or something traveling thru shades of doubt roaming whatever realm the mind seeks out only empty recollections season that room roaming whatever mind whatever realm nothing's sacred beneath the helm
The Walking Aborted ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the realest word is pain motorists steeped in a traveler's brain easily annoyed an angry convoy death is the new porn awake reborn flowers wilt a blend with the earth come again what's it worth one sin dancing strangers temptation danger flawless whores with no reason to entertain spotless floor just come again does the orgie end and amid this lunacy fools on passenger trains feasting breeding searching for something without this heaven is nothing eager road is dust full blown towering tunnels a vast cemetery and liberation never known enter the civil forest examine contemplate and complain wisdom is the silent chorus accept relate and remain sane some things can't be explained maybe outer space is god slamming a door in our face forgotten beings maybe we've been misplaced rejected or snorted Maybe we're the walking aborted
The Purpose of Genes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ no one knows why we dream only that we're here for the purpose of genes that are carried on by expedient lives unable to crack the enigma of minds so lost w/out a clue we feast breed and die polish our statues and ponder the sky dying with every subtle hue slowly progressing experimental beings smothered by reality eaten by oneself a feast of finality maybe some day we'll attain immortality some say inconceivable never who'd want the burden of living forever imagine the boredom of a two-hundred-year bender lost with depression tired of being high sedentary sighs and ultimate surrender it would be too much for even the most devout pretender give me a muse a reason to read to write and to be confused the numbing pain of unattained love outshines ample tranquility if only it doesn't kill me we're all so alone numbing the pain so tired and stoned counting the days beneath gods on hour glass thrones I want to go home but I'm carried on by easy lies as colors travel thru my eyes bored with my sins restless depression sighs forget suicide for far greater uncertainty resides death nothing's more perverse don't get any worse but life is the real trip trying not to slip and go cascading down like an overzealous clown atop a burial mound I love life there's nothing more than this only a promise of bliss could be grandeur may be worse mere dregs of the universe trying to rise above the rabble a performer spewing useless babble trying not to unravel I hate the drive but love to travel
May River Madness ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ a fire burns between a circle of fiends bedazzling eyes descending from a sky of strange stars the river's mouth gaped senseless deranged rapidly sparks fly embers lie and reflections linger unchanged souls swirling in the night fools jousting at stars so wishful so bright
Moments to Minds to Madness ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ got my shoulders don't need wings a morsel of knowledge is all I bring so senseless so blind so ethereal so divine this yearning I can't define these thoughts embody all that's mine an existence so lost in mind searching for something that I'll never find tears descend from inclement eyes we're so trifling and skies never clear clinging to shards of life hardly residing here reflections on calm waters distorted by skipping rocks racing the clock another heart stops the functions of feeling thoughts reel and ideas are spilling to think an invitation to sink unknown moments to minds to madness a world abandoned full blown
Stone ~~~~~ we're just stones lying in a hollow all so alone lifeless we reign and rest unknown if only for tomorrow might we shed our bloody bones we're scarred by wisdom it reminds us that we're alive like playing with fire or running with knives for every living head thousands lie hollow for those who lie insane comes the burden of tomorrow for those who die in vain we cling to sorrow I want to be consumed by dreams and madness in motion the rolling of tongues and television screens
To Venture Alone ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ to venture alone a single stone hurled into winds of anguish I can't surrender I'm a void with nothing to relinquish I'm a joke a trivial game I could be anything taking the lord's name in vain a muffled scream a mad dose of reality mere fragments of a dream I'm alive I'm dead the universe swirls in a severed head I'm safety I'm danger I'm your friend I'm the seedy stranger that sows the seed the shard and only remainder
Marianne Kirby Exercise in Voyeurism ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ He wanders through the neighborhood at night using the weightless bounce of astronauts on the moon, ignoring the street signs and navigating instead by the stars. The familiar landscape is different in the dark. Lighted windows call to him, displaying life as it is happening to someone else, but never him. One day, he hopes, he will find himself on the other side of the glass, laughing and loving and happy inside his house. But until then he walks until well after midnight spying on the dreams of his neighbors, watching over the man who mows his lawn at 6am on Saturdays, watching over the woman who walks her dog in his front yard, watching over the children who play their music too loudly making his rest uneasy, his afternoon naps disturbed. He likes them all much better when they are not awake. Because he rarely talks to others the gossip is rich and as full of flavor as stuffed grape leaves. At various times, they say, he has been everything: a used car salesman, a lockpick, a hitman, the mayor of a small town in Alaska, a teacher, a diplomat, a hitman. They like the idea of former danger in their quiet suburban midst. In reality, in his reality at least, he has been none of these things thought once, in his youth, he applied for a job at a used car lot. In some other universe, he has been all of these things as have his neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbors and so on until they all merge with his shadow. Tonight he wanders through the neighborhood and in the morning he will sleep while the people in the houses around him get in their cars and drive to work, exhausted from warding off prying eyes they don't even suspect. He will begin the process again, after midnight, and things will not change -- because things rarely change -- until he has bled the details of their lives into his imagination like a warm blanket on a cold afternoon.
Roger Taber CHILDREN OF THE CENTURY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wandering dark tunnels, lost and afraid; Regulation torch for company, imitation fur for the cold; Batteries running low, heartbeats erratic; Which way to go? (Hard, not to panic); Where there's life, there's hope or so they say; Live to fight another day? Brave words - when the Dark is rising, Styx threatening to burst its banks; Press on, negotiating all infernal terrors; Pinpricks of light - comedy of our errors, played out to the end; Look. Listen. See. Hear rescuers descend? Faith, Hope, Charity, round the next bend reappearing-- Children of the Century found wanting
BEYOND BELIEF ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Some say he sought freedom, preferring martyrdom to a life repressed; Others point to sentiments expressed that expose him a fundamentalist... waging war against the world with Holy Word, and lightning sword; Some say he followed a star, find glory in his bravery; Others name him a Messiah come in peace, driven by fire... to desperate measures conspiring against us; Some say, brainwashed as a child to choose suicide... no conscience for the agony heaped on body bags at a roadside; Death, a prize (some willing) well worth the tears in a mother's eyes... either side of a Great Divide that demands its children take sides; Some call him a Dark Angel that did not know him as well as she... who knew his fears too well, saw tears fall, final choices made, sent alone, small and scared to bomb the world, no one spared
CROCODILES IN THE WATER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A common slaughter, Third World dying for want of clean water Children's laughter turns to crying, a common slaughter Each young-old grafter grown sick of trying for want of clean water At some capital altar, disciples denying a common slaughter A 21st century arena found sadly lacking-- for want of clean water Through gold teeth, eager summit tipplers belying a common slaughter for want of clean water
IMAGES OF LOVE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I sought and hoped to find you, elusive though you were; Each night I'd dream about you, though your image a blur; I'd reach out to you with heart and soul, achieve my goal, only for the cold light of day to expose as nothing more than wishful thinking, hope without real foundation, figment of a child's imagination, a comfort in escaping now and then from the daily toil of trying to survive a growing desperation, find a way to live compatible with such longing, such need On images of love, we feed Each night I dream of you still, your image strong and true; I reach out to you with heart And soul, achieve my goal; When day breaks up my reverie, I retrieve all the pieces, cherishing a reality that makes my own parts complete, savouring the warmth of you since last we embraced, recalling, vividly, every detail in your face, every nuance of our being together even when apart, once-lonely hearts of love and peace assured, compatible with such longing, such need On images of love, agreed
HEART OF DARKNESS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eyes glowing in a premature darkness like cat's eyes on a loping highway during a storm; Padding its way with stealth and guile, brushing past giant leaf and fern, in Brobdingnag; Concrete jungle all around, wings of steel pitted against natural instinct; Paths strewn with giant leaves, secret paths, poetry and prose; Hear the lion roar, rearing and pawing at the sky, unbowed by heaven's eye... flashing like daggers at Caesar's back, taking the Beast through its paces until it drops, exhausted; Apes, swinging here and there, eager to mock a weary lion - but steer well clear; No confrontation, else a feast of claws leave a ruin beyond salvation, torn pages of Darwin; Let the Beast lie still, while it may; Hunters and hunted will find each other out... About to discover moon creatures can never match us eye for eye, tooth for tooth
HITTING HOME ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Flung open the door, smile on the face, fist at the jaw, fallen to the floor, waiting for more; Eyes closed, mind shut tight to it all, homing in on a single happy time before things fell apart; Breaking heart in pieces on the mat, angry tongue making the lips bleed; a bad day at the office; Blows lessen, cease; a thousand terrors and sick with humiliation for this love of ours; You'll go upstairs, slam the bedroom, door, be down in about half an hour for supper - in what temper? Tomorrow, a rose; any tears, yours (on these so-bruised cheeks) - forgiveness again, compassion or passion? If I try to pray, even God asks why I stay and when I confess no idea, a dear familiar voice calls me a liar-- Where I found strength to love you, I must find the same to leave you or be like your rose In a smashed vase
Steve Klepetar 1. April, 1967 - My Father Explains Surrealism in Central Park ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My father sat on a green park bench reading the New York Times. Suddenly an angel appeared, tall and fair, splendid white wings unfurled in the warm spring breeze. He offered my dad powdery white cookies, Vanilli Kipfle, from a crinkly bakery bag. They ate and spoke in German, softly, in civil tones addressing each other formally as "Sie." Later my father explained to me: "That is surrealism. A man in a gray fedora is reading the Times on a park bench when an angel sits down beside him with a bag of Vanilli Kipfle. They speak of Heaven as though it were a city they both knew well thirty years ago. With mutual joy in such unexpected company, they recall beloved landmarks - a clock tower in the center of town, the lovely old bridge and sweet familiar river flowing out toward the countryside, cafes and restaurants where one could eat fine meals, with wine and strong espresso, for the equivalent of fifty cents." When at last the angel takes his leave, rising above Manhattan like some enormous pigeon, sky darkening slowly over the Hudson, my father stands, and gripping his folded Times, marches down steep, hard subway station steps Into the city's roaring underground heart.
2. Blind ~~~~~~~~~ You can only look within. Windows on three sides, of course daylight disturbs your vivid eyes. Snow glints off rooftops, hangs in trees like diamond-studded pears. In the ache of this brightness, you must seem blind. There where you sit, waters burn like oil, shimmering green as snakeskin in the Pennsylvania woods. This silver gray city smells of chestnut smoke and subway steam, copper, sweat and newsprint running like black rain along glass. Sages tumble back from four thrones of gold, empty as night. Shadows seated in the dark, a conference of wraiths. Who will deliver the keynote speech? Who will invite the guests to eat and drink their fill? Who will speak of this when hot winds burn everybody's eyes? Deserts stretch across mountains like golden dragons bleached by clouds. See how busses rumble uptown in their warm, green beauty? So many riders holding money in frail hands, so many going home already filled with glory and wine. Lambs graze on mown grass, awkward camels feed on leaves in the park or bend to drink from clear streams along the avenue. Old men eat dates hung on sweet branches, children laugh and race where puddles mix with sand and broken glass.
3. Children of Slaves ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Her song sounds the emptiness of the beach and the ocean, echoes the distant cry of the sea eagle, calls for the return screech of the black cockatoo." Richard Flanagan, Death of A River Guide She sings to the surf without cease, her mouth a cave leading to halls of sorrow. All around paintings flicker to life on blue-veined walls. Handprints swirl, giant petals like ochre spirals of bloated stars. Her breath smells of vision and smoke. She drinks the salty air, eyes swollen to black pools. No tear tracks stain her cheeks. Seabirds soar and call above whale pods and herds of seal. Slaughtered bodies float near shore. She sings like a scream to the mercy of ears. All who have bled can hear. She sings through centuries. Raising her black arms to the sun, she sings to ancient ships groaning on the ocean's back, to the labor of rivers crashing through hills. Her voice sounds the agony of chains. Before the sacred table, we cry and recall. We too are the children of slaves.
4. City of Lights ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Farewell to the City of Lights. Here at the end of the world, we are caught in this hot breath of wind, moaning from deep southern lungs. Our eyes ache. We stand dazzled at brilliant portals, nearly blinded by steel beam neon streams. Island of beautiful cages, we have entered you, followed musty paths into your roaring iron heart. Pilgrims crouching like strays block your streets, clog metal-green alleys. Hungry as rats, we have learned to want nothing, paid with coins to have our fortunes told. We have placed our faith in glass. Our shins ache. We dodge and swell in the tide of your endless sea of legs. Bodies shine and glisten like beads. Farewell to green and golden air, voices mingled in a smoke of sound. We have come to be transparent as beasts, wise as gray birds cooing, swollen wizards in the dome of sky.
5. Clown of God ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I wake to the mystery of your day. Above my head holly burns, red fruit glowing in black flame. All night I have risen from the plain of sleep. My eyes run with invisible tears. Impossible blue whales sluice through gray ocean of sky. Like giant swallows they fill the trembling air with song. Oh moon, you dead mirror, you aching hole of love! On the mountain of revelation I call your dark face, I who claim nothing, I who am the clown of God. Somehow blessed I have passed unburnt the angel with fiery breath. Laughing in solar winds I have clutched the necklace of skulls in my ridiculous bleeding hands.
Lorcan Black

 

The Old Mill Wheel

A hundred rings millimetres apart,
Lengths by ten longer than I
Decorating concentrically the stump-face
By the Mill wall. The mouth of time has eaten the
Surrounding earth, roots like tentacles showing
Their spidery limbs to the daylight.

I am a particle the mosses cannot match:
I am neither ignorant nor green,
Unclinging am I to the face of another,
Though it passes in an eye blink.
The Old Millís wheel is turning,
Churning stagnant waters into harsh motion.

The lush hush of the foamy streams sifting
Under in a gentle splash, weeds dipping their
Pale green heads to the water edge, gathering
Strength in the churning, this new
Making of waves.
Opaque green, like bottle glass,

Pulling me under with the wheel,
A great timber eye roving round,
The creak and grind, I spy, I spy, I spy.
The wheel cannot keep up with the
Rushing stream, racing through the
Woodlands to the Old Mill,

And already the blackwater laps at my
Stony shore, seeking me with its
Eerie tides. The salt-wash singing
At me from the sandy shallows
Like Neptuneís opportunist sirens.
If I close my eyes there is no such sea.

It is all merely a whisper or a
Vague possibility threatening me.
I am neither ignorant nor green,
It will not have me.       

 



Prodigal

Troublous the black bird ruffles
And rests querulous on a statue of
Saint Jude, the bronze smeared to a dull gleam.
Furiously the planets turn,

Great gas spheres revolving,
Radial stars shudder tremulous,
A crown of novae sparking the stratosphere
Incandescent, strangling agitated this new moon.

It is here the wormwood and vervain grow,
Where the many mad mandrakes scream.
Born to starless black I was, that inconstant
Silver mask drags me after her,

Through the coral reefs to shore
And back again.
During day the burning sphere chars
My elements, I am a crisp waif.

I am scorched to the tip.
My roots of sense smoulder still,
Hellís fires burn beneath, words from
The First Circle etched on my skin.

Madness is a circle round and round,
Blue the brimstone burns
Beneath this umber ground,
Hear it hiss.

I have grown in darkness through
A barren, sulphurous soil,
My roots have burned in the earth,
I am prodigal, prodigal.

 



Sestina on a Starlit Night

Windswept plains under bright starlight
Show off the weaving, feeble ripples
Of the long stalked grain in the sleeping fields.
Hunched on weather-worn fence posts rest black crows,
Their feathers slick and matted by rain,
Falling less and less.

The fish, leaping splashless,
Slicing easily the ripples
Left on the black surface water by rain.
From the arbour over hanging the waters, crows
Caw under the starlight
Sky, of natureís providence are they trustless.

But nature herself is secretless,
Unknown to these selfish pinchers, these crows
Keep cawing, hunched in rain
Like old, bickering men in silent fields
Rowing over whoís to plough. Starlight
Has seen brighter nights, the ripples

On the smooth waters cease, ripples
Of wind uptake the chore, the fields
Are blown dry, and again the grain is moisture-less,
Fit for grinding upon picking but the crows
Are cawing louder still, the rain
Has died and a starlight

Sky sparkles, a certain type of starlight
Which makes the lonely grain fields
Flicker pale gold, and in wind, ripple.
They have strained their throats, the crows,
Cawing as they did, senseless
At the onslaught of rain.

The sky, twinkling with silver starlight
Is raging jealous, fury ices her face, for these fields
Glow resplendent in comparison to her, even the foul voiced crows
Silence meekly at her wrath, her withdrawal of light, and the rain
Keeps coming down in sheets, now restless.
The sleeping land senses her anger for it ripples

Through the rain stroked starlight
Sky, the crows caw peaceless now
The rainís picked up, and the grain fields harder ripple. 

 


After-tow

A lyrical pool collects in my ear:
Your sighs hook me like an eager fish,

I am barbed to the bait.
You reel me in from the deep,

Birthing me into white light.
Salt-raw seaweed and terrible urchins trail after me

And frenzied I cut at the cord,
But this rusted knife drags stubborn - - -

The cutting gritty and caustic,
And the paraphernalia of past crises cling

To me like unwanted children.
With gritted teeth I

Tear the bloodied things off me one by one.
These scars endure.

I am haunted by phantom beings of the deep;
Mouth of dark, the glass edge,
Sharp steel and blood red.

 


Ted

Here is the heart that beat, that beat
With yours Ė does it bleed? Are we the same?
I used to dream Nazis abducted you in a boat on the Seine,
To separate us, to spite me.

But I dreamt you had ordered it, and I,
I was the Jew, the Jew who stupidly mourned you.
On the roll lay my name but the Nazi
Who came was you, Ted, you.
Black boots, black belt and sadistís eye,

With a crooked hooked black-on-red cross
Adorning your shoulder and thigh.
Your dark red runs through my veins Ted,
Since then Ted, since then.
Were we ever the same?

Pack me off on the train to Belsen then,
A lame sheep to the slaughter.
Iím not suited to your black-booted-brute rťgime.
Or perhaps you could ignore me and I
Could rise in the morning and metamorphose.

I could discard my sulphur star, for it ails you,
And don a black shirt and cap.
I could be more like you, with your goose-step,
Your hasty judgement, and whip-crack verbal-attack.
I have a cold, cold heart like a cold, stone beast like you.

Here is truth now, this crippled carcass
Dragging itself through the dust on its
Bleeding fingers, legless, breathless
And a bright white peace flag over
Itís blistering back.

This witless creature is our final trial, Ted.
You stand authoritatively at its end and I its head
Looking it over with gleaming pride,
Itís your latest victim, you said.
I wonder if itís symbolic, mine Nazi, mine Nazi,

But of what, our former friendship?
Your red swastika sting and appals!
And my yellow star makes you sick.
Bludgeon it then, with your brute butcherís cleaver,
Hear it holler and yell.

We buried it under a Cherry Blossom in July,
With harsh words and a dismissive goodbye,
Summer was symbolic: without you I grew.
Your suppression reduced me, you user, you user, you.
But Iím better, being shot of a backhanded bastard like you.

 



Mystic Touch

A dark hearted Caesar
Afflicts me with its bone-white hand
And will not let go.
I cannot see reason,
Only the record less void.

Sense has been knocked out
And thoughts float like atoms:
Boundless and nameless, a space
Unknown and unexplained.
This is the grand Plateau:

Stretching like infinity; the cat claws
Yawning out to scratch, scratch, scratch.
New moons rise and fall,
Faceless deceivers--- they too are stricken.
This is a Heaven shameless and lawless,
A cold chaos

 



Homage to the God-born

How were you chiselled from those
Eternal rocks beneath?
Or did you spring to earth
God-born of your Fatherís shank?
These many months I have slaved like a mad
Penelope, working to break your stone bearing.

Through the stone-chippings I have uncovered a
Brilliant alabaster that so stuns.
Neither man, nor weapon shall your faÁade chink,
Nor aberrant entity hazard.
And I the unborn Lazarus
Wanting aught of covert words ---

Are they held fondly in hock?
Heavenís comets shudder to a stop,
I draw down the moon
With her silvery kisses
Lending me strength
And fighting spirit ---

What unearthly King commissioned you?
With your crown of curls and
Liquid azure eyes.
We bear a cross, splintered and rough-cut now,
Shall we burn it and be free?

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn! Whatever dies shall be reborn!
And oh how the golden calf bleats godless!
Wandering the cliff-tops by a Red Sea,
Casting sacrilegious circles in sand.

 

 


Fate of Milo
For Tim Mulligan

Your fingers are bleeding from where
You tried to tear the oak in half.
Amber and red leaves fall to a callous earth
In twirls and swirls around where you
Stand, defiant and colossal,
An untouchable demi-something-
O do not rip it any further,

The ruin is too much for eyes
To bear, these two halves,
Moulded and shaped through natureís
Marble grew together which no
Manly arrogance should destroy;
Skies go singing with a deafening crack,
I have been struck by lightning shafts!
Shooting me like Icarus out of the light, thus propping me
Here- little daft socialite- where all

Others run careless, who shall watch for waves?
Snaky branches are strangling in the cool hiss of a breeze,
The trembling cobra tails of bark
Sway as though to snap back.
These splinters-- do they catch?
Tremulous leaves are weeping where
They tremble and shake, fearful.
Mindless this is!

The very roots are quaking!
You canít match this strength,
Panicked fingers nervous shake and tremble,
O do not rip it any further!
The laburnum has liquors, try such arrogance on those.
This recklessness is the stuff of sap drippings:
Warm and sticky, clinging like an unwanted mistress.

Nightly I walk careless in a haze around your immense base.
A gift of natureís providence this cool closeness is.
Ridiculous this Cuchulain plan, calculated wrongly.
Ivy trappings catch your legs, there is a witchhazel nest on your head,
The chicks whistle watery burbles, wordless and tuneless.
And you, in vain, still endlessly ringing Pavlovís Bell.

 


Crystalline Shatters

I am a plate of glass:
One whip of wind and
I blast into a thousand shards,
Fractured, little tiny pieces.

My sharp edges are splattered
With masochistic gore.
I am the dual-sided god
Forged in a reckless Fire.

And I rage like un-fanned flames;
Ready to break and destroy,
Burning and
Murderous.

Electrified as a nervous wire
My roots jitter and creak.
A disquieting sea collects at my feet,
Cauterising my nerves to fine red, cinders.

Here are the dust particles
That signalled your leaving.
I keep them in a jar and
All night they howl out to me.

They are a curse, these ratty
Atoms of your desertion,
I have lost the lid and they
Choke the air with their dryness.

I can hardly breathe. A high tide breaks behind
Barren eyes, waking sleeping giants of distress.
Hysterical and flighty I have lain
In the crypt where crouches death,

Your noxious gasses cannot quell me.
I am fragile; there is a fine art to these
Things, these things waiting to happen,
A glass bomb waiting to explode,

Crystalline Vesuvius!
Through prismatic eyes
My worldview shudders distorted:
The reflection could well shatter me.

My barbed edges are a warning
Not to stray too close.
Shinny and attractive,
Lacerating you as they sparkle.

Do not touch me:
My glass front is newly mended
And fragile as a new fracture
Free from its oppressive plaster.

Here are my glacial crevices,
My splintering cracks,
Crystalline shatters.

 



Terminal Velocity

Heaven sang songless as a bell,
Ringing my ears like a landmine
Blast when my thoughts collapsed.

Tunnels of the mind grew dim
Until I was an eye and a voice.
After that, everything outside
The windows boomed loud as brass

During a Mardi Gras parade.
The eyes turned themselves on everyday
Confetti and when night came they
Honed themselves on walls and ceilings,

While the voice muttered on like a frenzied
Shopper before closing time.
The Blackness penetrated everything
Like a fine gloss coat.

When Interest keeled over like a sick dog
There was no funeral. I buried him in a dark corner
Of the mind and hid under my bed covers.
It was then I saw that Mirror knew everything.

Mirror showed me secret things
And I never showed them,
And buried them deep in the Blackness
So they couldnít get back out.

That was before Light died
Screaming like a mad banshee.
Then there was Nothing and Nothing
Swallowed everything when

Blackness took over.
The breaks in my mind buzzed out
Everywhere in all directions,
But kept coming back to the Black.

Nothing knew what to do and
Whispered it to the Blackness who
Snickered but said Nothing.
And I knew like Buddha knows.

I laughed at Mirror and nodded,
It was then I stepped into Nothing
And tried to die,
Only Light clawed its way out,
And Blackness receded.



POST SCRIPTUM


Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Ascension
~~~~~~~~~
Beyond stained glass, hexagon windows
Shadows wilt stargazer lilies.
The moonfire night dares me
To take your trembling hand.
You play your faithful, yellow guitar
In silence in a bar across town.
Bent cobalt willows finger the moonrise.
Thunder rolls violet clouds
To the brink of tears.
Your breath, wet on the back of my neck,
My nipples pulled long in your fingers,
My spread eagle stretch
Keeping your ghost from ascension.


CENTIPEDE

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 ONLINE
  Ygdrasil is committed to making literature available, and uses the
  Internet as the main distribution channel. On the Net you can find all
  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
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YGDRASIL PUBLICATIONS LIST

  . 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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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is
  prohibited.

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

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

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