YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

November 2004

VOL XII Issue 11, Number 139

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


   Del Corey
      Ah, Luigi!

   Ward Kelley
      ULYSSES S.


   Del Corey
      Remember Me


Del Corey

Ah, Luigi!

At Luigi's little store, we'd buy nickel Cokes,
and sometimes, when rich, dime packs
of cigarettes, Chesterfields, my dad's brand,
and it didn't bother Luigi that we were 13.

Then down by Red Rock, on the Connecticut
River Bank, we'd smoke, and choke,
and get dizzy and throw up.   What fun.

But in the store, our arteries pumping
fountains of youth, while Luigi's 
were clogging to a halt, I recall
his white arm hairs, and I pulled one gently,
until it uncurled to 5 inches.
His smile wrinkled thousands of lines,
his eyes blinked with ancient understanding
past that thick crop of brows.

Today, my grandson tugged one of mine,
which stretched to 6 inches.

So now, I plan to travel back to Red Rock
with a bottle of blood red wine,
to bring back the fountain just long enough
to say,"Salute, Luigi!  Adesso, io capisco!"*

*Now I understand.

Ward Kelley



Drums like freedoms pounded enticement
through my muscles, and I imagined the drum
there at my skinny waist; I felt the sticks
whacking in my hands, the battle, the courage,
rightly there in my hands, so I practiced with twigs,
the twigs of freedom, my branches of courage.
I pounded my path right off the farm
with twigs sounding plump on a sack of seed,
practicing in the barn, hidden from ma . . .
funny, how the greatest journeys sometimes
start with the smallest of saplings.

Dreams like drums pounded my escape
to freedom, a freedom many times worse
than serving a farm.

I was too young for a gun, too young to kill
the rebels I claimed were even younger than me.
But they took me in the Army, they did,
another drummer, another underweight mascot.

My first camp smelled like April
with the canvas sting of a thousand tents
wafting crisp and dry, the tents arranged
as symmetrically as a cemetery, and we all 
simply could not wait, we all tried to cheat 
our way to battle, to trick all the months of drill away,
the best prank being this new trick of baseball,
and we hurried all the way home, all rushing
to find a valiant death in a valorous battle.
I knew I was a child then, but so too were most of my fellows,
most everyone childish in our cute approach to death,
our yearning to engage; it seems so silly looking back,
and I, the child drummer, sometimes fancied myself
to be the oldest of them all.

My drums pounded down our personalities,
the drums, the drills, the hardtack, teethtack,
pounded our escape to the freedom of battle,
a freedom too intense for most of us,
a freedom much more terrifying 
than slavery itself.

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?


Our first battle was a skirmish,
hornets whipping through the leaves,
these bullets slapped the birch bark flaking,
long before we even saw the rebs . . .
the deads . . . with their bayonets
pointing at our crotches, pointing 
at our greatest fears.

I drummed my way to salvation,
hammering that skin like it was Satan's 
own head; I battered it right in as though I could  
redeem us, slapping those sticks deep within the plush
cushions of flesh and tissues, praying my flagrant raps
and brutal taps could win this test, and salvage us all.

Slamming and smashing my sticks and knuckles
into my poor drum, I hammered my boys to run onward,
devilish soldiers, toward those gray ghosts;
I pounded our footsteps toward the real devils,
but quickly thought to put a tree between me
and the poorly thinking rebs.

Have you ever seen a man killed by a bayonet?
Ever watch a friend rammed through like a goat skin?
I sometimes think it can't be painful,
because of the surprise on the dying man's face,
a marveling, a wonder, at the fragility 
of their lives . . . then a keening understanding
of how simply their blood can spill and empty,
slip off and run away, taking them some place bizarre.
But then I comprehend it pains my companion indeed,
as I watch his chin tuck down while his eyes
stab upward, a curse of clouds then wisp away . . .
wisp away and fold up the body inward,
double over, double back over your life . . .
it's all gone now, my friend, my love.

I will beat those wicked drums for you,
and surely get the men to avenge
your bloody grin, the joke that caused 
you to commit the final laugh.

What kind,
what kind
of country
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?


Two months back in Washington City,
back to camp . . . the boredom, the drills
and unending muddy days, much worse
in total than the gnarled fear of battle.
It seemed this repetition of footfall
and sweat would plague us forever,
until McClellan sailed us down
toward Richmond, and we understood
we had again poorly traded boredom 
for battle; abruptly the drills seemed much 
more important, so we all studied the problem  
how we might not be drilled quite enough.

Maybe no one really wanted to fight that month,
because the opposing armies did a jig all the way up
that green peninsula, which was fine with me
because I'd rather march any day, every day,
then catch those searing mini‚ balls.

All the way up we went until Fair Oaks . . .
the first big battle the men took on.

I will always remember the noises, the waterfall
of individual panics, arms and legs pumping tense
on every man, the horses' oversized eyes
galloping from their strident heads, the riders' 
scabbards flopping like toys, like missing plans,
the dashing off valiantly towards the rifled smoke.
The noise of cannon punctured the bedlam,
almost as a relief, the one manly sound,
chasing away for a solitary moment
all the scattering animal peals of battle.

You could nearly lose your way in the smoke
of uncounted thousands of rifles firing blindly,
the smoke drifting innocently like the mist of a new day,
but one that will surely trick you terribly good
and bring you somewhere you never want to go.
It brought me there, that simple smoke,
it cuddled me all the way toward
the one final joke, but I must have flinched,
drumming like a lunatic, I must have twitched
while hammering my men forward inside the mist,
I must have inched my little body aside the final thrust, 
for the ball hit me in the leg, missing the bone, 
getting good flesh instead, yet it didn't come out 
the other side of my leg.

So I had to laugh my own little joke,
you missed me solid that one time,
you tricky one, you sneaky jokester,
thinking to take someone so young 
and newly thinking, when there are so many 
here more deserving of your foul attention, 
so many hoary and withered, noses like leather, 
yet you would think to come for me, a child . . .
I laugh and laugh to think you missed.

What kind,
what kind
of dream
have I become?
And who would have thought
this terrible country?

Two of my men hefted me off the ground,
lifted me from the battle, while a third, Karl,
picked up my drum. I thought he might think to play it,
to hammer the boys onward, but he only saved it, for me,
only toted it behind the other two who wondered
where to carry me.

The worst place to take me was the sawbones tent,
and they recognized this thought . . .  but there was 
no where else to go, so they tried to sneak toward it.
I yelled for my drum, and pleaded for them to return 
me to the smoke. I'm missing the battle and I must be 
with the men; but I really hoped for a better bullet, 
maybe one above my nose, anything, to keep me away 
from the butchers who traded life for limbs.

If one could ever smell true fear, it came to me then,
a heavy smell, as though some reb pressed my face into
an iron cannon, a stink that made my chest hurt,
a throbbing smell, stale blood, I never sensed
before in the two battles I drummed through.

I told myself they wouldn't truly carry a mate, their little drummer,
to the doc's red table, they wouldn't trade me that polluted way.
I twisted my neck to catch all their eyes and I could see
the three of them crying, three men bawling,
and so I knew they meant to deliver me.

This was the minute, the exact time, I became a man.
My body was still a child, but I was now looking into
the black eye of death, and no young boy
survives this moment, this torture;
you will either become a man or die . . .
so in the end, with my friends stepping me over dead
or crying bodies, all those enfeebled men on the ground,
I chose not to die, I decided to become a man
and ride the fury of this pain right over the fence;
I'd jump the wall of agony and spit it out the other side:
for an hour only has a set amount of minutes,
and how long can you suffer the worse?
But damn 'em . . . damn 'em all to hell.

All fine and sounded out like a man,
a real man, a bully, until we hit the awful tent 
and I'm handed me to a blood-splattered, 
red-armed assistant, covered with flies, 
the bugs of hell, the flies being the only victors 
of our battles, the whirling black spots of flicking sins,
frenzied in a feast of gore, and now the cannon's blasts
and rifled pops and horses and men yelling to prove they're still alive,
all these sounds gave way to the screams of one man,
the one on the soaked wooden table.

The weary orderly jerked me to the ground,
and my boys kissed me, both my cheeks,
a foreigner's goodbye, and laid my drum
on my bloody blanket, a muffled klump,
as if it were too embarrassed to accompany me 
all the way to this forlorn place; my boys 
still cried, and they all waited until my eyes
seemed snatched by a mound of limbs aside the table,
a pile of arms and legs - I swore some still twitched - 
all bloodyended, all unhooked and not very real . . .

The exhausted doctors took up the next leg,
an impersonal limb to them, this unlucky man
only an encumbrance to sleep, this joint some barrier to cut through
in order to eventually find sleep for those wielding the red saw.
I told my boys that maybe this was a dream -
but my three friends were gone, snuck off while
I worried over that pile, yet the man I had become
could only forgive them because they couldn't stand
to see me take my turn on that sacred table.

What kind,
what kind of dissociated country
have I become?
And who would have thought
this terrible dream?


My turn came at the table, but I calmly thought
there would be an examination, some medical procedure;
instead they grabbed hold of my leg in the exact manner
as the last victim, the one who had died screaming
the name of God, who I prayed received him
gratefully for lasting out his own ordeal.
I too screamed, but not the name of God,
instead I yelled, "The bone is good!
The bone is sound! The ball missed the bone!"

At last I pierced their weariness, and one of them
sleepily looked into the blood of the wound. 
He must have agreed, for in the next moment
he had me screeching as he knifed out the ball,
then I screamed again, now hoarse, almost soundless
under the searing poker they used to close my wound;
this skin-twisting burn seemed easier to endure
due to its surprise, but its smell, the horrid scent
of my own flesh, unnerved me, made me crazy,
and I jerked in fear when at last they soothed
the fires with suave and gauze, afraid this medicine
was the next torture instead of balm.

The ordeal ended soon enough, and I felt so thankful 
for an end, I could not speak, but only waved a few fingers
of gratitude, blessing my dissectors, as they swung me
into a clearing with thirty others who lived for awhile 
through the table. We all looked into each others' eyes,
trying to see which would soon be closed forever,
trying to catch that thought being thought about us.

I lost my drum. 

I lost it because I nodded off to flee my pain.
I awoke when they lifted me into the mule wagon,
and I fought and elbowed myself a place on the planks,
but I didn't think about my drum until the cart moved off, 
as if motion sets a mind into taking inventory 
of your state of being.

"My drum!" I yelled, but no one heeded,
and I felt treasonous -  
the one who lost his means of battle - 
because I couldn't leave the wagon to search.
"My friend!" I called, but with no reason why
this drum grew to be a companion,
still the instrument gained a part of me.
How has this tool taken on a life?
Why did it make me feel safe and worthwhile?
I thought to cry, but didn't. The drum was lost.

The road swelled as a swamp of mud,
the mush and mash of slithering dirt
sliding like lava, roiling like snakes;
mud is the courier of war.

I watched the mules tugging the wagon behind us,
in slop so thick the animals themselves could hardly abide it;
the asses pulled their hooves out, then hesitated in mid-step,
reluctant to plant them back.

I looked into those weeping fields . . .
the rains washed apart many lackadaisical graves - 
dug too quickly and shallow, too feeble - and the bones
now exposed themselves.

The dead appear everywhere in this mud,
their bones a disrespectful green, the skeletons playful
in the brown ooze, cheering us on, tricking us forward
into the rest of the war, suggestive by their leers,
these skulls, these toothy jaws, jutting chins up from the mud.

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?


I landed in a hospital, back in Washington City,
landed hard since I had not yet attained my old leg, 
and the wound abruptly became a tad infected,
an awkward pus for my young skin, a blight on me.

But I always kept hopes to save the limb,
and became determined to weather out this pesky 
infection, then return quickly to my drum
and friends. I remained still most of the day.

Hospitals, I soon learned, are just one more
kind of boredom imposed by war on headstrong boys 
who want to always run, and I thought I should maybe 
learn some more reading, as the boys with books 
and penny papers seemed to find some pleasures
unknown to the rest of us.
One thing I did study was the coughs, the all-sweeping 
orchestra of retching in the night, a sad libretto of suffering 
and restless lads, yet I found these poking sounds all recognizable, 
and came to distinguish the different coughs from one another, 
a missing leg, a hole in the chest, clearing phlegm, 
trying to turn over in bed, or simply thinking about 
getting ready to die.

I noticed we always call ourselves `the boys' here,
but there in the night I knew no boy could ever find
his way to one of these labored beds . . .
only a man can arrive here, and only through 
the worst of battles, both with the rebs and with himself . . .
only after he learns the dead have no privacy, and sees 
there is no honor in these stilled limbs who would even 
now think to search for movement, or always feel the yearning.
Most mornings there came a visitor to us,
a wild-bearded, white-haired, gentle man
whose hair looked as crazy as his songs, or poems 
or books, according to those boys who read 
those words of his. I don't know for certain, 
but some even said he wrote dirty stories,
yet how could I ever ask him to his face?

Sometimes I think the war brought me to this man on purpose,
for I have never comprehended such a person, and will never again.
His puffy, pale, wild-haired face, with the dark eyebrows,
appeared above my bed and gave me plenty of time to study him.
I rested my own eyes on his, which are softly slanted,
nearly a mother's eyes, but the lids were heavier than a woman's.

Maybe he was someone's older brother;
a tilt to his left eyebrow spoke to a lark, a nightful of drunken
conversation popcorned with irony or hints of tiny illicit acts,
deeds appearing, at first, inconsequential,
but truly becoming chips to use to wager death.

Then I noticed the other eyebrow, and there I found a hammering 
intelligence, so evident that he scared me.

He knew something no one else has ever spoken,
something foreign, a jolting message most people 
could never bear, yet he was not . . . was never . . . overt.

His head still hung over me, his forehead smooth 
for one this age, but then the worry lines could be detected . . .
what would this man find to worry? And is he so skillful 
at worrying that he can keep problems off his face,
keep them from furrowing his skin?
I will someday come to learn he is the master
of hiding the feelings of many men.

The boy in the next bed, a sooner for the afterlife,
found this man's shirt and tugged his name through the moist air,
"Walt, Walt, write a letter to my mother for me,
you have to tell her I'm fixing to depart this place.
Walt can you do it?"

He bent down to kiss my own forehead before he attends to the dying one,
but instead kissed me on the lips: not a father, not a brother,
more like a comrade, like one of the men . . .
but they would never kiss like this,
and Walter would never battle with firearms.

His lips were a tad small for a literary man
as though his own spoken words must always be articulated
with a crafted precision. I thought about him often
as I endured the bed, and I came to understand
he was, in fact, organic . . .
his averted looks were not those of a farmer man,
yet there was an organic manner in his toil with words,
he planted them in precise rows, then kept a relaxed lip
while he patiently allowed them to sprout.

How can I ever hope to peg this man?
He was aside human - not beyond or beneath -
somewhere alongside the human character,
terribly masculine, yet oddly effeminate.

Walter, can you blend your words like two genders,
is your love of opera mixed with the slang of teamsters,
and are you really a quiet man with loudly written words?

I will answer yes for him, he was that type of American
who moves casually, but dreams dramatically.
There seemed always a question on his face . . .
but not one aimed at another human being,
no - I laugh to think him asking - he always 
looked like he wanted to chide his God.

you seemed interested in the bones,
the limbs, muscles, and joints in this horrible place,
interested in the youth that dares to hope through these travesties,
as though there were an inverse purpose to all this dismemberment.
I believe you knew the bodies were really poems,
and the muscles all around this place
were truly the words.

Walter . . . Walter . . .
who could ever touch your face,
who could pinch or who could knead
the right amount of tallow from your burning mind,
who could ever bring you into the fold of all our breasts
unless it were through the fairest portions of our hearts,
a place not many men would even say exists,
no matter how far down the artist peers?

Walter, is it fair?
Walter, does it hurt you?
You have given far more to your country
than you ever suckled back, but then, that is your duty, is it not?
The duty, you knew, you knew, right from the coastal-weaving,
twisted-alley feelings of your childhood on Long Island . . .
you always knew you would perform this lonely duty.

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?


I don't know how many months, maybe years,
I spent inside that ward . . . I do know I spent my youth
inside this war . . . but at last I could walk again,
so I became released, or they requested I evacuate,
since beds were much in need there, although I do admit it, 
I hesitated because I couldn't recall where I wanted to go.

I walked over and over the streets of Washington City,
trying to pick it all apart, my unresolve, for this was truly 
the first time I failed to know exactly what I wanted to do.

I could return to the men; I knew they marched 
with Meade, who himself waited for the next General,
after a long parade of leaders . . .

most people said Uncle Abe was bringing the hammer -
U. S. Grant - east, and this appeared to be the appointment
everyone else in the capital would make,
so it was indeed a yearning of all us northerners.

But I didn't know if I wanted back in the dark endeavor.
My 'listment was long expired, and where I needed
to see the men again, I couldn't take the finding out,
right now, who of them failed to make it through 

My leg might be nearly mended, but my stomach
still churned and rolled over all these deaths,
and where I'm quite happy to be a man from it all,
I did not want to take on any more lessons of maturity;
the growing up rituals have weathered me out.
I am sufficiently old.

Of course there was always the farm,
the sedate way of living, of scrabbling every day
for a little bread, but standing on the warped 
boardwalks of Washington City, out in the active 
world, the farm appeared both too secure and dull,
and I didn't know if I had grown old enough to live 
and toil with dull.

The fourth time I ambled by the front of Willards hotel,
I noticed a distinctive soldier crossing the mud with a boy, 
a lad about the same age as me when I first joined up the army.
They walked toward the hotel entrance, and I saw how this man
moved with a casual authority, a disregard for rules, 
combined with an enamorment of power, 
so I could recognize him as a man of importance.

I followed them inside, the clerk read the register after the man
placed his signature there; I heard the clerk pronounce
the name as though he read off the title of a church hymn,
"U. S. Grant . . . sir . . . and son."

And there he was in front of me, the man
come east to drum on the body of Bobby Lee . . .
yet he appeared an immediate contradiction: 
he looked usual, the same as any other man, 
except his eyes and brow - up there he looked 
like a man intent on getting to the end of the matter. 

Grant, like some glorious mistake, came east
to relieve us all of this terrible event we caused;
he was a failure at everything but slaughter,
but it was this talent that would save the rest of us.
His eyes strained into the future, a visionary,
yet there he found only sadness;
his eyes peered onward and steady, 
looking into some other century . . .
perhaps it was the jugular he saw there,
but was it theirs or ours?

I inspected him closely.
How often can you have the chance to look
at someone who holds the deaths of hundreds
of thousands of men within their mind's embrace?
Grant the Hammer, we boys called him,
but the other boys, the rebs, named him
Grant the Butcher.

Hammer or butcher, hornets nest or bloody angle,
a frontal charge into the massacre of a cold harbor:
it seemed the same man with the same intention,
dealing with the same country . . . and it was the same
people who have created this clerk redeemer,
the only one in the nation to see the way through,
through all the blood and find the end far inside the carnage.
We ourselves created the war that needed the store clerk.

We all applauded his aggressiveness, his stubborn will
for victory, born from all those years of poverty
and disgrace, even though he was a west pointer . . .
he could not ever flourish without a war.

Grant leaned on the desk, the desk clerk amazed 
he tarried with all of us common folks, and I sensed
he had invented a new slouch, a different angle 
for wearing his body and his hat; his waistcoat 
hung open with a disregard for the motives of the past.
Here stood a new kind of man, one demanded
for the coming century, and he was the first one
of us to spot himself, back there in the country's
very own war.

He also recognized the prize of carnage far before anyone else,
and understood slaughter for what it means to a general . . .
some trial to be endured . . . the multitude of deaths
are mosquito pricks on the leader's flesh,
and he cannot veer from the sight of the end of the matter;
the triumph is always there, but it's buried deep within the carnage,
far past the brutality of men, it waits for a man
of clarity while frenzy whirls around his eyes . . .
it awaits the man who will never flinch,
and Grant knew it lurked always there somewhere . . .
only it burrowed farther and farther down 
into the bared intestines of each succeeding battle,
testing him more each time.

As I watched his face in the lobby,
there appeared to be something more valuable
at stake, something more important than who won
or lost this prickly war . . .
perhaps an inner clockwork of freedom,
some embryo of the future working inside our death wish,
where we can only glimpse the powers of time,
and hardly know the face of the clock;
we never suspect why we need to be swept
from the field, brushed away with all our courage
and arcane ideals, erased while bearing 
every one of our sins and all of our honor.
I sensed in his face that maybe we need a land
of machines . . . implements more precise
than our plodding agrarian heads

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?


I followed them everywhere around Washington City;
Grant's first stop after the hotel was the White House
where Abe and southern Mary put on a huge
reception or ball, everyone coming out of their skins
with happiness to see the very Grant.

For two days I tailed them around the town,
one time thinking that if I owned a pistol
I could come so near the great general as to end
all the fears of the confederacy with my own hand,
an odd thought this, because I would never want Grant 
anything but active in this war of our own disgrace.

At last he surprised me greatly by taking his son
inside one of the hospitals, and where I normally waited
on the street whenever they entered a building, 
this time I could not withstand my curiosity.
I knew I had to see Grant take the hand of a soldier
exactly like myself . . . it would be a type of communion
with me, and where I feared this man, and could not 
have uttered a word in his direction, I still wanted to be 
part of the cure, and I needed to feel what the salvation
would be like, the wine coming from this most unlikely
of chalices . . . who would have ever thought this dream of mine?

The general and his son strolled through the wards
and floors, their stride not much different than that they used
back out on the street. Where most people step reverently
in the face of agony, Grant had to traverse these boards
like a general, a man not very circumspect about death.

The long, lantern-flickering halls, crowded with beds
like evacuation ports burdened with too many boats,
and each one of these beds will transport the boy
to a far different destination, whether or not he survives . . .
these beds, unmasting moaning, young soldiers,
clutter the wards of our minds, a bible of our failed trials.
Were there any ballrooms left unconverted into docks
for beds of boys who now question the value
of our past dances, are there any fields left outside
without a battle avalanching down the once green land?

On the top floor, Grant noticed an elder man
in the corner of the ward, bent over the bed
of a dying soldier, and the scene quickly attracted the general.
As I snuck along the wall, fearful Grant would look at me
with those eyes that had beheld so much blood,
I realized the white-haired man was my friend, Walt,
and here was going to be a contradiction of talents, 
a mismatch of callings, the writer and the general. 
Would they immediately cancel out each other? 
Would they fight, as opposite ends of the pole of humanity? 
What indeed happens when blood touches pen, 
when the carnage of the battle meets the armageddon 
of the mind? I thought to run, but my feet were snared.
Like a forward scout, Grant froze to listen to Walt
read one of his poems to the unconscious, dying boy,
and when the writer finished, shrugging the final word,
the general placed a hand on Walt's shoulder to gently ask,
"What are you reading to the soldier, sir?"

Walt looked back and upward, and I saw he recognized
the speaker, but no fear came into his face.

"It's just my own little song, General. The doctors kindly 
tell me the words can help the boys at times, when after all 
the other medicines have been attempted."

Grant sat down at the sleeping boy's bed,
aside Walt, as if this abruptly were a confessional,
then told the poet, "I fear I supply you
with an excessive audience for your songs."

It looked like Walt forgave him too readily,
"And General, I fear I assuage excessively with my efforts here.
I take the fight out of some of these boys who are needed
to go back and help you with your toils."

I could see it puzzled the general, but he continued
seeking a priestly message from Walt.
"The only thing I was ever really good at . . . was war."

With Walt matching him confession for confession,
I wondered if he missed the idea that the general
needed forgiveness. He replied, "The only thing
I could ever do right, myself, was to peer inside my own soul . . .
ridiculous, unless you happen to be a buddha."

They both stared into the air that separated them,
as if together their spirits could make a whole space,
then Walter leaned over, with the audacity of the artist,
and kissed the general on the cheek.
At last he spoke the words Grant sat down to hear,
"Go and do this task, but your kind will need to
someday leave this earth."

I thought the touch at first repulsed the general,
something like a judas kiss,
but he remained the dignified soldier.
"You know, I cannot help myself . . .
I have no other choice but to win this war
by standing on the bodies of all the country's boys . . .
this is of my nature, one I did not myself craft . . . 
because I am indeed a kind man who cannot, ever, use his kindness."
The general leaned towards Walt's watery eyes, and continued,
"I sense I can intuit what the country needs of me
at this ugly point in our history . . . it needs an act of fathoming,
something very much like the poet."

Walt seemed to know the general had charged his mount
right to the syrup inside the forgiveness,
but he could not allow a complete victory,
"I understand it all . . . but I must still teach
everyone I can reach to despise it."

The general nodded, then looked toward the soldier,
"I too, sir, understand it . . .
and someday hope to come all the way around 
to despise it also."

He clasped the poet's shoulder once, then left
while I stayed hidden, more fascinated now
by Walter than Grant.

The poet studied the boy dying on the bed, and appeared
willing to trade places. He sighed, then put away his book.
Now it was he, instead of the general, who looked for forgiveness,
as though the general had stolen his own, for a better use.

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams?

And what kind,
what kind
will I ever yet become . . .
while I'm still sometimes Walt, 
sometimes Ulysses?

What kind,
what kind
of country 
have I become?
And who would have thought
these terrible dreams
of vast consequences 
I must decide?

Outside, back on the street,
the war off beyond the city,
my old farm on the other side
of the war, I stood silent on warped
wooden planks meant to help
negotiate the muddy street,
but the weather made the wood
more treacherous than the mud.

I needed to determine myself. 
I felt the loss of my drum,
yet I wasn't compelled
to find a new one.

October 2004


Del Corey

Remember Me

After I've been pronounced
through a white mask,
and declared asleep at my wake,
and at my Mass a small mass
of you drench your hankies,
then wring them dry as my box
is lowered, don't cry any more,
because I won't be in there.

I'll be with you, as long as
you remember me, I'll be waiting
as though by an invisible phone,
so whenever you sit quietly
by a sunny window, reading a book,
close your eyes and dial my number
in your mind, and picture me,
answering your call, smiling,
scanning the pages there beside you,
basking in the immortal magic of words.

Or if you are rocking your child
to sleep, singing the songs
of your youth, remember me crooning
them to you, jazzing it up a bit,
as I used to do.

Or if you're out frolicking
with your dog, chasing sticks,
teaching him tricks, running, rolling,
remember us with Tuppence,
that wonderful, oh so marvelous dog,
that member of our family,
that was such a symbol of pure love,
wanting only petting and companionship.

And if you're planting a garden,
press the seeds into the fertile earth
with me again, to await the miracle
of green life peeking out at the world,
then growing and flowering to partake
in the sweet partnership with the bees.

If you take a trip with family,
take me with you, so together
we can count those miles and minutes
like precious diamonds,
because children have this cruel tendency
to grow up and out so quickly,
and we grow old and out too soon.

And when you are at a party with friends,
and friends are so important,
keep them like deposits in
The Bank of Happiness,
let me sit with you, telling jokes or stories,
sharing your lives, drinking
from the medicinal cup of laughter.

And when you feel vain,
and want to brag, let me be with you,
to warn you, because you've seen me
as an egotistical fool, for which I apologize,
but let me be your sentry against pride,
to remind you to be slow of tongue
and quick of heart.

And years from now,
should you happen to find a book
of mine gathering dust on your shelf,
open it, I'll be in there, waiting,
with words written for you,
and your future, for they're histories
of your predecessors in the Twentieth,
and, perhaps, lessons for your century,
for despite technological changes, humans remain
the same, with flesh and blood, who hunger, thirst,
need love and forgiveness,
so read, and picture me writing 
in various dark places, and join me
in toying with the mysteries of creation.

And, as the years take their toll 
on you, like bells sounding
out the beginnings of endings,
remember me and my many poems
that spanned decades of living
and ran the field of emotions,
anger, sadness, joy, love,
all that are necessary to be human,
as God created us.

So wipe your wet cheeks
and adjust your lens
toward your final years,
and give thanks, as I do now,
for having lived and loved
on this planet, and whatever
is waiting for me on the other side,
be sure I'll still be here with you,
and also there, preparing
a welcoming party,
so we can be together again.


A New Age: The Centipede Network Of Artists, Poets, & Writers
An Informational Journey Into A Creative Echonet [9310]
(C) CopyRight "I Write, Therefore, I Develop" By Paul Lauda

       Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established 
       just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A 
       place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and 
       learn from all.  A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. 
       Even a chance to be published in a magazine.

       The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. 
       Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such 
       an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon 
       started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin 
       Board Systems.

       We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a
       specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking.
       Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets
       are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a
       writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer
       can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since 
       the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means 
       that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative 
       user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created.

       Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede

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

    * WEB: http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken/ 

    * FTP: ftp://ftp.synapse.net/~kgerken/

    * USENET: releases announced in rec.arts.poems, alt.zines,
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    * EMAIL: send email to kgerken@synapse.net and tell us what version 
         and method you'd like. We have two versions, an uncompressed 
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         version.  These can be sent plaintext, uuencoded, or as a 


  . 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
  the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press.
  YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an
  issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM
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  Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.


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

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2004 by 
  Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
  version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. 
  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.

  All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS


    * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text
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