YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 2007

VOL XV, Issue 8, Number 172

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401



   AE Reiff
      Gardens and Grapefruits


   Lydia Shutter
      Ask me
      Back Door
      make it through
      faded memoirs
      A Smile
      Final Page

   Don Coonrod 
      Fading Light
      Trickle Down
      Of Lords

   Papa Osmubal

   ayotunde ademokun

   Santiago Villafania
      A Country of my Own
      Stairways of Pay-yo

   David Sparenberg

   Corey King
      Like An Ocean of Red... 
      The Genesis Reveals
      Ion Hand


   Anthony Nannetti


AE Reiff

Gardens and Grapefruits

	When our neighborhood sold like lemon plat on fairy tale it came time to pick. 
The grapefruit turned unusual colors and our block went on alert. We drew 
straws. Assigned to watch a moo cow guy named Penn I can reveal no more. The 
names are changed to protect the innocent.

	Penn Paulsen was a professor of religion caught in a lie about vegetables. 
You think it venial if he doesn't know better, the tomatoes aren't hurt, but 
if he fibs about the garden what else hides under the surface? 

	I don't know how the neighborhood turned all professor, art, religion and 
poetry on one half block. We didn't have any scientists so I tried to fill 
the bill, gave aloe to botanists but ruined experiments. I'm scared of ruining 
them all. It is a diatomaceous earth.

	Over years we had a friendly competition. He nicknamed his garden Jack Perk. 
I ordered email lilies from Jorge Borg. Argued out of lima trees, he planted 
Ricinus vine. Had you been in his kitchen, kibitzed in the breezeway, you'd 
know.  He gave me a Bauhinia. I give him the benefit of the doubt. 

	Our neighborhood holds the garden principle:
A golden crocus fills the cup of ox law and ranunculus.
Looking out the window now I see butterflies flutter his manganate. Maybe it's a sulfate. What about the brown spots, tags on the citrus? Why does the aqua vitae look weather proof? I should have been suspicious; I thought it was the mulch. The choices are simple enough. Get exposed to vagrants rafting the canals by night or kids lingering at bus stops, mariachi music at three AM where the neighbors clean their yards up once a month, or ice cream trucks that play Beethoven's Fifth when the Gold Convention comes. It ain't Holland. You think the choices better further out, fine, go ahead and move. We stick with pizza delivery and graffiti here; we live in the cannibal zone. At one time or other our mayor, governor and sheriff have all blamed the siege of Hezekiah on Babylonian hordes. But this is America not the Andes! You're safe unless there's digging in the yard. John and Nathan took a warning to strangers when animals disappeared: "Penn'll eat cha." But no one hears. Local forensics did a stage two check, searched for footprints in soil overturned near walls, checked indigenes and indigents, left these clues: 1. Incidence of street people down? Little changes in ozone tip this off. 2. Door to door salesmen, itinerants down? What do they know we don't? 3. Look out, they said, for aberrant behavior, dogs walking backward, stray limbs on the ground, people drinking irrigation water, grapefruits turning brown, anything out of the norm, city workers who dig the same street over again. Finally the non sequitur came when we realized the problem. Moo Cow was eating his students. They went in, but none came out. Our teenager argued this activity protected, that it was an eating disorder at which we wink. He brought up chaos theory, the genetically predisposed, said victims were willing accomplices. For the sake of science I installed see-through curtains the better so to see. You can take it as a reference if there are problems in your yard. Is there barbecuing? Consider what is known. J. D. Salinger is a good example. That's his real name. Everybody knows. This grad visited his prof at home. You ever visit your prof at home? For dinner! It hurts to live and let live. I saw J. D. coming down the street, ominously named for body parts, for feet, turning the drive. He parked over by the neighbors to not call attention, hedged up against the curb. Pretty soon characters began to appear in white socks. Where's it safe to live at these days of spare parts, Kidney Lane? Great mounds of earth were being moved, pitched in the alley and carted off. Penn was eating by the planet load. But what's under the surface? One night when he was at dinner I went over to look, took core samples, ran my pencil down the soil, smooth as peanut butter to the top. Gas chromatographs are being done on lemons. Something will turn up. The suspense was great; then I went over and asked. He didn't deny it all, said he'd done a chapter on the Abenaki, cannibal giants with hearts of ice that lived at the bottoms of canyons. If you want you can get a copy.

Lydia Shutter

Ask me

You expect the answer
to a query never quite vocalized.
Oh, it hangs on the precipice
at the tip of your tongue often enough
but you never quite allow it to jump, do you?

Questionable quotations
are easily exchanged by warm lips
in the mouth of a dark evening
but the answer you seek stays hidden
in the oxygen between us
refusing to strip naked and run free.

Do you have a desire to know - -
or perhaps you have known the desire?
My muscles are tired of tensing
when you are near
it is time to burst through facades
and face reality.

Ask me

Back Door ~~~~~~~~~ Dreaming a nameless-faceless fantasy unexpected crumbs of love create a path straight to your back door. It is there your words drop like gentle kisses on my heart and mind. Spicy innuendo scatters in the breeze since it matters not what others believe. Our unlocked rapport puts the flowers in my hair and the sweetness of candy in my mouth. Knowing your back door is open just for me makes my heart sing a tune of fragrant familiarity!
make it through ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "vulnerability is not a viable option" you told me that years ago and it still rings true today so this morning I tucked my heart into faded denims hoping my motion was not transparent and forced myself to skip through the day though my weight was nearly doubled by burdens your words were with me to help me smile and soon I was whistling your happy tune tonight thoughts of you will fluff my pillow check neath the bed for ghoulies and turn out the light just before cuddling neath the covers bed bugs will not bite and I will dream sweetly confident dark thirty will grin at me once again and your memory and I will make it through.
faded memoirs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the water gently ripples as if protected by the bridge posed above the air is delicate cowering from the vibration of the whip-or-will's call there they float the faded memoirs of her heart navigating to a world unknown
A Smile ~~~~~~~ Mirth and merriment fade just as last week's hair rinse. Empty words she can barely hear have reached their expiration date. The void of her life is now filled with slow footsteps in the ever lengthening hallway. Tying a ribbon of regret round the core of her soul she is an unwilling passenger in a car driven by assumptions. Her self esteem and humanness lie buried at the depths of life's mountain till she excavates a smile to mirror mine.
Final Page ~~~~~~~~~~ I drink in your laughter aware tears may be the result listen to the eloquence of your silence when words would communicate more look through the foggy window to your soul realizing clear glass would not show me more. Yes, imprinted between the covers of your book I find pages well worth turning and a spine that will not often bend. Oh, how I take great care never to reach your final page.
Don Coonrod Closeness ~~~~~~~~~ It isn't in Webster's dictionary, but closet is there a recess, locker, cold storage, storeroom. And sometimes a storeroom is closest to what closeness really is-a heavy burden of truth weighing down, in or outside love. Closeness can be plebeian, an old Blanket thrown across the back of a mule on a long, joyless journey. But I see closeness as twins celebrating, swirling on clouds of cosmic dust in a world of uncertainty, their only reassurance an undefined love, a destination unknown, a mutual choreography they cherish.
Fading Light ~~~~~~~~~~~~ When you lie down in darkness, don't be concerned about life-at its best living is a foggy algorithm of getting from day to day. As to cremation versus burial, well it's nonsense of course, souls already afloat somewhere, bereft of cognizance, if they are busy, are just riding chariots upward or the reverse. We lie down finally in beds we've made, a lovely grove of black tulips perhaps, or a chorus of softly rounded dahlias, good season after season, their grey shadows appointed somehow by fading light.
Trickle Down ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Numb, then thawing icicles melting drop by drop-pure aqua chastened by Spring, flowing into the ground. Sun follows it, and if I could rise in lovely air, float in its joy somewhere among the stars, I'd be the first to volunteer thawing slowly, dripping, drop by drop over a desperate, dry earth.
Eels ~~~~ Slippery eels in water, I can imagine their feelings- But it's an atmosphere few would want to call home. Slithering about, ingesting red worms and algae-they're fascinating. But I wonder, does God see in them what he sees in me?
Of Lords ~~~~~~~~ I have been in your temples and rode a bobbing camel next to you as a youth; your glowing eyes, burning with foresight, converted me. Your tears shed in twilight are quasars where my lovely dead live now, congregated on wishful stars, waiting and waiting for tomorrow. They'll come yet, just listen to that roar of the unimaginable-oh they will come!
Papa Osmubal, of Macau, South China INTERPRETATION OF A PAINTING BY AN UNKNOWN ARTIST ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ His work declares him and his freedom so let him create his own universe, his own dwelling place. His pond (Critics, please, to him that is a pond, his pond!)-- his pond is teeming with koi in frozen motion. The bubbles are more than just tiny bags of unneeded air: they are worlds suspended in their own time and space.
THE DUTCH INVASION OF MACAO. 1607* ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The wind knows exactly what to do: it smells of blood and the waves are angry claws pouncing on boats and crags. The fishermen are not out tonight. This night is not like any other nights: children are told to sleep early, mahjong players are all home, theaters closed and actors are night watches, lamps are all off and the city is an owl sitting and waiting in the dark. The wind knows exactly what to do: the sea will roar when we shout, lightning will burst when we shout. We are fireflies in the storm. We are jagged shards ready to blaze. *Note: 'The Dutch Invasion of Macao', was previously published in #15 The Journal 2006. Thanks to Sam Smith the editor for informing me of this. http://members.aol.com/smithsssj/index.html
CHUNG CHAO CHIT: MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL. MACAO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is past midnight, and the moon is lost in the dark clouds of a threatening typhoon. The fireworks are exploding in chorus with the mute lightning. The wind is heavy with the smell of melted candles. It is dark all around, and now our candle has died out too. Now the only light I know is the flame of your hugs and whispers.
FAREWELL ~~~~~~~~ The boat to Shenzhen has left. Now there is only winter before me, and fog, thick fog. From this moment on I'll start living in yesterday, for today and tomorrow are sure without sun. The ripples that wounded the waters are tamed and stilled: the boat to Shenzhen is gone, its sound haunts.
BARD ~~~~ I grew wings: and that is harrowing Because wings are soul's savagery made manifest And when you grow wings (which seldom happens) Fire becomes your language Like birds like wind
FLOWER ~~~~~~ A flower's artifice is its fire, so wily, so sure, so artful. It begs you with its infantile innocence. Then it hypnotizes you with its savage eyes. And in a sudden it makes you blaze, sing. Before you know it you are already its total slave: it owns you, it commands you, and you can never fail it. It never stops taming you, and you may call this poetry, but I call this tyranny! O that Despicable Despot whose gaze is an accurate spear, a lightning aimed perfectly at the heart, at the soul! O that worst of all liars, of all impostors!
BEGGAR ~~~~~~ (Avenida da Praia Grande, Macau) You possess only the gray shadow of statue of Navegador Jorge de Alvares-- your home, your shelter against the sun. Its raised left hand, rigid and commanding, mimics your lame and mute rebellion. Heavens too want to shout for you but voiceless. And shall we bless and praise this city's fathers and their laws, they erected bridges to arch above your head when rains and nights send fever and cold? And why should punishment and pain come in the guise of love and charity?-- coins offer no value in this Eden of luxury and gold.
MACAO ~~~~~ (In the morning of the last visit of Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, prior to the city's revert on December 1999 to the Chinese authorities. The city is the last European settlement in the East.) The fog is on the roofs of the ancient Iberian homes. Say, it is the hair of the city- or veil to its trembling face? This city is an old man wearing white hair, gaping blankly at the silent sea, reminiscing its childhood. This city is born to songs and flowers, but tonight there is none: only its vast shadow, only the non-rhythmic rustlings of curled dried leaves falling and rolling on the avenidas. Through the fog I can clearly see the sleepless eyes of this tired city blinking, vague, deep, wondering, asking.
DAY'S END: MACAO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The city is an owl muted, deafened, blinded by the heavy rain. Drenched, perched on its nest of granites and crags. Soaked laborers walk slowly while sipping their Tsingtao beer; they are much like lazy turtles enjoying the comfort of rain and tardiness of time. They look unloaded- water and sweat wash away their worries and pains.
CHASER ~~~~~~ Where, where am I, who glide like a comet, going?- I chase Death to make him bright. He the poor, the gray, who possesses naught but dust and rust. I will lit him will burn him will introduce gems to him will make him immune to darkness: a bird, flaming, yes, a burning bird whom to welcome with relief, not with tears nor fears nor heartaches! I will anoint him with rainbows, with springs, with fragrance! I will hug him, own him, keep him: he, my brother, so colorless, so forlorn.
POET ~~~~ A licensed assassin and arsonist- his only weapons are flower and eye. He, the mercenary of gods! He, the sacred anarchist whose fury and pain are as primeval as Parnassus!
IRONY ~~~~~ the king abdicated his throne- he is now free
DEMISE ~~~~~~ Why can we not accept death?- because death is unknown; or maybe because we have not come to know our selves. And death is always with us because it knows us so well. For if death does not know us it can not ever conquer us. Death does to us what sun does to flowers. Death is today unlived and tomorrow unachieved.
ayotunde ademokun My name is ayotunde ademokun, i am a girl of 24 years from lagos nigeria. i am a final year student at the lagos state university studying french language. LOVE ~~~~ It makes the able man, ill The sane man, crazy The reserved man, free The quiet man, wild The happy man, sad The handsome man, haggard The wise man, foolish The cool man, aggressive The great man, small The rich man, poor Love It makes all right, wrong.
THIS HEART I SEEK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This heart i seek is not my own This treasure i desire is not for me This pearl so beautiful belongs to another One whose eyes cannot behold its beauty One whose heart does not appreciate its value One whose touch cannot caress like mine This heart i seek is not my own This love i sought belongs only to another.
WAITING AT THE ALTAR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eyes, swollen and red nose, wet and running head, heavy and spinning i am a bride waiting at the altar head in my hands confused and worried down on bended knees crying out my heart but i am still waiting for you i am a bride waiting at the altar.
WHEN THE NIGHTS GROW COLD ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When the nights grow cold And the sky becomes grey When the streets lie quiet And look deserted I lie on the bed And stare at the ceiling Longing to take your arms When it feels so good When the nights grow cold This is what i do
A THOUSAND TIMES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A thousand times I have wondered what you feel For me in your heart I have wondered if i live in your heart And in your soul As you do in mine A thousand times I have wondered why you have Never told me you love me.
Santiago Villafania A Country of my Own ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ and i measured your symmetry with a gaze or a look every curve and every contour a slope or a mountain that i have conquered i transversed your horizon with just a blink of an eye tamed and rode the four winds galloping in your green stables i crossed your rivers on carabao's back and lured the muses to know the secrets of your first name and orient beginning i learned your folktales and legends by heart mythologized the loves and lives of your sons and daughters in my verses as if they were written a thousand years ago i have lied to add colours and lease of life to your golden age and renaissance i have lied a thousand times even more for your histories to be heard amongst your own people who are losing their legacy and the salt of their tongue you are within my grasp Caboloan Camelot of my imagination you are the country of my own right here in the province of my heart where syllables palpitate like the breathlessness of turtledoves where words are red wine flowing like the blood in my myocardial arteries let me hear once more the bamboo songs the lover's sonnets and serenades the manag-anito's orisons O let me hear even the silence of your hillocks before i fall into my darkest night before i soar into my dreamful flight rise up Caboloan and speak through my words speak in your language dying for rebirth until your children learns to lend their ears listen to the voice of their inmost selves hasten to the quickening of their disquieted souls speak before i fall into silence before i give away my existence and/or turn into a reed or a blade of grass
Stairways of Pay-yo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ i climbed the hills and mountains of scaled earth the emerald stairways of Pay-yo where the ancient ones tamed the storms and thunders with words with songs with dances and rituals communed with the unknown and the (un)dead with the guardians and spirits of the place O my ancestors! you all lied to me where is the woodhenge that crowned solitude? here i can feel the warm fingers of dawn and the cold embrace of westering sun but where are the anitos and the gods who dwell on this terrestrial land or lair? where is the stargate of Apolaki where you can bend time and change hi(s)tory? *Pay-yo - Rice Terraces
Renascence ~~~~~~~~~~ my poem anchored on a page unworded like an angel nailed and naked on a cross some critics wanted it dead because it is the bastard child of my elegant brain some poets unpoemed it with rage because it mirrors the truth about their lycanthropy but it will not be silenced my poem will feed their hunger with fire and beautiful pain till I is risen unscathed from the depths of oblivion
David Sparenberg RED PATH PONY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Red Path Pony Dance of the Sun Wind Song Dancer I do not need to be told what loneliness is. I have shared the feelings of the Earth, when her children are taken away. Everywhere men grow like anger and worse than choking weeds. There is a way of life that is a cancer. We are part of this disease. Red Path Pony Dance of the Sun Wind Song Dancer There is a sickness that extends from the flesh to the soul. It is the pathogen of war. It is the wendigo, the monster-cannibal devouring its kin and kind. We are not only victims, but we are carriers as well. Do not try to tell me about the madness of addiction. I have looked into the mirror of time and seen the future of global violence. Red Path Pony Dance of the Sun Wind Song Dancer I have consecrated my heart to the Great Spirit. I will not walk in the way of thieves and murders. I want no part of those who poison everything and given no healing in return. Purity is not possible, but integrity cries out for a guiding vision. A person does not need to be innocent to take the road less traveled, to step away from guilt. Red Path Pony Dance of the Sun Wind Song Dancer I am not other than the place where I am. I am only an Earth-walker. But I do not need to be told what holiness is. I have seen the circle of the red tailed hawk in the summer sky. I have watched the black tail deer in the autumn sanctuary of trees, on the slope of the mountain. I have come to understand what the prayer of greenness is. We all know that peace is a blood word. We know that peace is green. Red Path Pony Wind Song Dancer 19 June 2007
JOINS ~~~~~ Man of the south: Burning Man, he burns in the wind. Wind from the sun burns skin of the earth. Fire-man belongs to her, his blue skinned lover. Her hair is dark, her legs are long; brown eyed, spotted like a fawn: golden pollen. The wild sage of sun cries out like a singer; far to the south, a love song thunders. Everything the heart holds, the wind burns. And paints on the naked skin of life. We are warpaint to be eco-warriors; Ho! we are lovers. The southern cross wants our suffering. And the southern fire our desire, to round the circle and enclose us, sacredly, in this intensity of creation. Siyo, we Cherokee say: Greeting to sun and wind, blood and fire, and this offering of smoke and prayers, where the body, breathing, joins the dance-flame of the soul. Ho, Burning Man says, his face spirit-ward, his eyes closed: This is freedom and it is good.

NOCTURNE ~~~~~~~~ How tenderly the starlight and the night. The sounds of violins are long haired in the trees. The hour is quiet with the wealth of linden; the white damsels of enchanted birch, and the virgin ghosts of weeping willows. How I am longing for seasons of the sea: the tidal pulse, in nocturnal waves, the scent of a liquid infinity. The next time the moon is full, I will feel your name painted out of moonlight. Now violins are playing. Winds whispers over like the shy caress of a gentle goddess. Still, I am forlorn in the shadow of a long night, holding a dream.
Corey King Hello, my name is Corey King. I am an 18-year-old poet who has been writing poems and songs for many years. In this email, I would like to send a few poems to you for consideration in your magazine. The following are some poems of mine that I have selected. Like An Ocean of Red... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Secret Prisoner War smoke wake steel morning Like ocean of red Pierce stream, only here will you remember Rot surrounds Dying heart Bone fresh above the breeze Men haunted by lingering bellow of broken decay May this wet grass kiss my life away
Flora ~~~~~ How beautiful is The everlasting earth Though dark and dirty To many flowers and trees it gave birth I gaze admiringly upon the lily How pretty and how fair! She doth dine on sugar And breath the purest air I sit in great comfort Under the boughs of the oak tree How calm and cool is the shade That falls down upon me! I roll around In the green and fertile field I sustain my thirst on the morning dew That doth rest on the grass and the farmer's yield The flora died When old man winter came I really shouldn't be so blue Because my dear flora will return again
The Genesis Reveals ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tell me, in detail Of our long, long Past, which i hear is full of Hate and war and lacking love Does Every Shot In G-Force Noise Stop Moving?
Ion Hand ~~~~~~~~ I saw you walking out of the nuclear plant Glowing like a plutonium rod I saw you hold a light bulb And make it flash into life I saw you walking like nuclear fission And the very air was charged I saw you reaching out In order to shake my hand You've got a nuclear handshake You've got an ion hand Just let me take my Potassium Iodide So that the radiation doesn't hit me I saw you walking into the nuclear plant Radiating like uranium in its half-life I saw you hold back the doors When the meltdown occurred I saw the people cry "Hero!" When they carried your body out I saw the people wearing Hazmat suits When they walked by your casket You had a nuclear handshake You had an ion hand Now you have a nuclear grave And the flowers glow like plutonium rods


Anthony Nannetti


Junior's unruly arithmetic leaves numbers
out of the equation --- integers not
integral  --- and replaces with ambiguity and
imprecision theorems all.
Accountants balk, but the thing
has some appeal, with its whimsical
devaluations, abstractions by the score, and
Rorschach flash cards all the rage.


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 - 2006 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.

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