YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

April 2008

VOL XVI, Issue 4, Number 180

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



   Mark Cunningham


   Rachel Chan Suet Kay
      Conquistadors Kill the Vultures

   Christopher Barnes
      Reshaping A Redress For Molested Shirts   
      Return Of The Maidenhouse Orphan   
      Revolving Lights   

   Jeff Spahr-Summers 
      fear of deadlines
      The Bogeyman

   Fariel Shafee
      The Kaleidoscope
      To Peace

   Gerard Sarnat 
         "America The Beautiful, Spring 2008"
         "Boys Will Be Boys"

   Roger N. Taber

   kevin gallagher

   Lynn Souiedan
      When My Father Died
      I am Frozen
      A Small Brown Bird Speaks
      New Chairs
      The Storm


   David Sparenberg 


Mark Cunningham
I drink from the melted edge of the milkshake first.  The dog put its snout 
on my zipper, snorted, and walked away.  I like the orange-brown iris best:  
it looks already wilted.  In The Last Man on Earth, Vincent Prince, 
the last man, still wears a pencil mustache.
He called to say I lacked physical presence.  "Numb" is the root of "numbered."  
In the land of one-eyed men, would Larry Rivers paint figures with only one ear?  
The quieter the room gets, the louder my breathing becomes.
It took 3,500 million years of amino acids, lava and sedimentation, organic 
evolution and continental drift to produce this afternoon on the rock overlooking 
the five valleys, and there would have been no human witness to it if we hadn't 
gotten high.  When you reach it, the South Pole still points upwards.  
The blurb about the book being a gift appeared right above the bar-coded price tag.  
When he said life itself was a luxury, we knew we couldn't trust him.  I looked at 
my hand to make sure I wasn't dreaming; to do so, I placed it on her thigh.
If you say "Mares eat oats and mares eat oats, but little lambs eat ivy" fast enough, 
it turns into French.  I can't even imagine the person I was when I believed that 
"nothing human is alien to me."  Night waits until the very last moment of the day 
to show up, and then either it's too dark to see it or I see through it clear to the 
stars.  He said it was time to switch topics, but I was distracted by something else, 
so I didn't hear.  

Rachel Chan Suet Kay
  Here the sterile preside.
Out of the order was chaos.
And it leapt and broke you
Out of your silent reverie. Seventeen
inches wide and ten inches long
measured the grieving air.
You worked in distraction. Calendarising
your words. Here and there
droplets leaked from the conversation.
Maybe some of them picked
it up. For they saw you then,
and trembled. With the vermin,
there is a forgiving solidarity.

Camaraderie ~~~~~~~~~~~ And so, this leads to discovery Of the great meeting room. Faces from ages spent Congregate to jest. The dice is folly, coated with experiments that fluked. Hard earned camaraderie mask the workings behind. I ate my memories and they sunk me down to earth.
Conquistadors Kill the Vultures ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Today we're pimping jazz to the whores of condescension. The lily beasts of burden have come to conquer and be on top. They don't realise we Robin Hoods steal back. We smoke their second hand cigars and inhale all their hot air. Then we spread this filth to the city. We lazy natives. Who but we? Surely not the ma'ams who thank you after wham-bam. We're the capital managers also hooks, line and sinkers. What you can stamp with sophisticato -babble we can make here for a fraction of your wages. Silly conquistador, you ain't killed the vultures just yet.
Christopher Barnes Reruns ~~~~~~ (Howard Hughes watching "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane") 04.00 A skillet of soup Spawns two bowls His banquet of the lucid moments, Two trickles nervously gulped Then back to the movie projector. "I made a picture in 1934 too." A duo with sibling blood, Fossilized staginess, longsuffering shadows A first-night-in-the-camp Mansion in Hollywood. "But the studio didn't want to show my film" They're stitched to each other By needles of reciprocating spite. * 14.17 The seasoning is lukewarm, Cavalcaded out to the Parkinson Cowen, Hot enough but not seething, Then a comeback of slurps. "I made a picture" Jane is a dog's breakfast, crash-diving Around the confines, Boozed up for grey dawns. "They were too busy" In the sequence of twelve sweats of soup He commands more chicken, They undo another can, switch chunks, Reheat the goo to the suiting temperature. "But the studio didn't" But then that stickling chemise - Revealing bodice, ash-white bra straps, Skinned-pearl buttons - Ripens her into a time-worn hoofer Plucked and scattered from the seams. * 19.02 ‘I made a picture in 1934’ In the inexact course of twilight, His eyes hover, Drugs puncture, He sees a flit, hears a voice… "ALL RIGHT Blanche Hudson! Miss BIG FAT MOVIE STAR, Miss ROTTEN STINKING ACTRESS! Press a button-ring a bell- And you think the whole WORLD comes running. Don't you?"
Reshaping A Redress For Molested Shirts ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A giddy-paced spasm In the Hotpoint window. Convalescence is a pick-me-up iron.
Return Of The Maidenhouse Orphan ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She’d read about the subduing door, Airmail letters, Downpour, paint streaks Weather-cracked. New barbarians leaving A permanent mark. Quarter to eight Translating the date into Dutch, The first connection. A kafuffle, passengers The cabin, Public Faces seen from behind A dog-eared paperback - Paul Celan, German edition. The train chortled She watched curls burn, A reefer, Binding, a ringlet of hair Tight Loveless nuns, escapes, dark, Motoring to the Left Bank, Meeting Satre in black, Past unrolling Down track. Fluid borders stretch Spilling clumps, earth, Absolute spirit, graveyards Pushing mounds.
Revelation ~~~~~~~~~~ As Antichrist with hair-split mutations Snake head’s branded, Pinocchio strings, - Digits spell The Beast. In shy-of-belief vomit Of heretics Who shoulder shrug at The Incarnation, The blood-sucker completes His blind smudge Ushering dawn From the Neo-Con cabal. But man may be an angel.
Revenge ~~~~~~~ These specifics are a mirror To Alaska. A clutter-litter globe Dares farsightedness. Snow-dust winters A worn-ragged flak jacket And sperm sacs that are not mine Droop unshaped. Aim. The soldier knots And on the mattress Blood-warm, a seepage. Specifics mirror Alaska. Dare farsightedness.
Revolving Lights ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Under fizzles And swoosh-swoosh-shoops Silly Billy the chip shop rat Knits brow storms - flops Into swing No. 11 Of the Trip-To-The-Moon Ferris wheel Flashing his pecker At stomach-churned drunks. Nausea: mustard-yellow vomit, Paint-pot lightning, Perching bristles Up sunburnt backs. A rotated starlet with thumbs erect He claims whirls of applause.
Jeff Spahr-Summers Vultures ~~~~~~~~ I see them circling above me Gliding around Butt ugly birds I would know them anywhere yaka mountain lets bury our dirty little secrets in gods backyard under yaka mountain in the heat of the desert lets challenge the devil lets dig a hole
fear of deadlines ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ in doing this again i stew on submissions i fret over selections i listen to music i smoke and i smote i edit poems i chew them one at a time i make no excuses i wrestle i write i re-write i read commentary i indulge myself i take my own sweet time
forgiveness ~~~~~~~~~~~ for traci is a gift we can only give to ourselves it cannot be coaxed or demanded or expected never borrowed it knows no guilt it knows all things
The Bogeyman ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mother needs a handicap room with a refrigerator for her insulin. Mother comes from fairvale but yesterday we were in Memphis. can i wait in the lobby while Mother gets dressed? Mother loves the room. Mother loves the restaurant you suggested and she asked me to thank you. Mother wants a 4am wake up call. Mother is i am a light sleeper.
Fariel Shafee Serenity ~~~~~~~~ Gravels and damp sand - motes of planet earth and fragments of the soil, slowly slither beneath my feet as columns of tide surge, to scatter into foam -reclaimed by the ocean before they reach the azure above. I sense the moist chill on my open cheek and neck -- the humid wind hurls and struggles to re-shape the scape of the shore that's as fickle as the thoughts of an innocent malleable child. My bare unprotected feet sunken into the sand, - slowly being deluged by the watery salty body of serenity and of greatness and of hope. I FEEL the pulse of the universe and float on nature's vibe. The wind encompasses me touches me and sculpts me into a fraction of a greatness that seems infinite instead of leaving me one tiny fragile being.
The Kaleidoscope ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You and I are standing at the extreme ends of the universe With a pair of dice to roll - and ignorant of the other's existence. My die is rolled and a number is seen on the TOP; so MY rules are made; the pieces in my kaleidoscope move around on the base and the scarlet, blue, green and yellow iridescent fragments of glass form a pattern that's splendid. The image gets reflected in the mirrors of my scope a million, a zillion times and more and tiles to form an infinite world that appears definite to me; so I sense a meaning and I feel I matter as I behold the exact image extending beyond my sight and the rest of the world dissolved behind my impassable walls. Later when I meet you you seem to me to have appeared with a bizarre set of rules and the idea and the conviction of an unknown world I can't fathom - so gripped by threat I am spooked and I long that you were NEVER EVER created in this universe with your VERY FLAWED die, although it is probable that you're AS innocent as I am. Your die might actually have given you a number that is co-prime to my own with no common factors at all.
To Peace ~~~~~~~~ Drenched- Bruised by the acidic showering rain that melts away the outer layer of emotions shelved in the depth of soul. Inflicted by a persistent pain as caused by bitter needles of ice. Gazing blankly at the corner street passed by dashing cars that honk and oblivious silent walkers Some confused and soaked crows fly by. Distant roars of the thunder echo blend with lasting murmurs around The memory of a long lost past No wars, no blood and no flight for life
Gerard Sarnat BICOASTAL USA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "America The Beautiful, Spring 2008" K Street slick-suited pigs with earrings slither and connive how to lobby Congressfolk into their crosshairs dead or alive. Up Constitution Avenue, busloads of sunburned tourists in Bermudas look like hot dogs, sausage burst from pink casings; they dither like deer in the headlights as rainbow babels of locals bid to take them to China Town to the west for smoke tea duck or east to the White House to see lame duck Bush -- or just plain take 'em. The gaggle instead chooses to waddle to DHHS to visit their ex-Senator who now guides the ship. Ushered into a lift where they're packed as sardines, a handwritten revised manifest, recently dated, permits the same number of occupants (20) but scribbles over the old poundage (3000), replacing it with a new decree (3500) -- a fine case in point how Washington DC makes such a difference dealing with the nation's obesity epidemic. "Boys Will Be Boys" Up the hill past the goats stand the boors, Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs' megamansion boudoir eyesores, gaudy new palaces built through the graces of mercenary attorneys who bullied the Woodside Village Council. The good townsfolk -- despite great local uproar and rancor -- were maneuvered into granting one-time waivers to tear down, not save, irreplaceable hundred and fifty year-old farmhouses and millennial Sequoia. I set out on that road of my last four decades, again unsure, abhorring that awful hairpin turn where too many times before I held my breath, pushed metal to the pedal, foreswore safety to soar headlong into Skyline's forest magic. Once more, the scariest part's in front of me, the cheap thrill I couldn't ignore as a kid (then the spill): I see another mangled motorbike ghost, blood on the tracks Dylanlike: yes it was here on Mountain Home Road he too crashed, almost died. This time no body's in sight =E2=80=A6 maybe already tucked in the MedEvac behind hook-and-ladders and black-and-whites flashing red and blue lights. On my way back down to Silicon Valley, incitement now cleared, I pretend as always it never happened.
Roger N. Taber POEMS FOR PASSING CLOUDS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Some poems in the wind only the trees ever hear and even beasts and birds fail to catch the words above the prosaic anxieties of hungry young in spring, butterfly wings in summer, falling leaves in autumn, bin bag puppies in winter Some poems in the wind only the trees ever hear no matter that humankind imposes its own lyrics (poor carbon copies passing for popular reflections in some subway busker's eye) sure to become classics since they make people cry Some poems in the wind only the trees ever hear, and never let on they know or beast and bird give up on a world that humankind likes to make out it knows but can't face the wind with its pathetic untruths, lyrics sure to blow the mind Some poems in the wind only the trees ever hear about nature's secret ways; life, death, misadventure, why it's the good die young more often than not, while the old pressure the rest of us not to forget better days but take a leaf from the trees There's a poem in every tree running rings around history
A SONG OF THE EARTH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If life's journey never easy each uphill step we take carries us closer to an eternity that we, for ourselves, make with every kind word spoken to those worse off than we who have cause to complain about prejudice and bigotry but all the more reason to be glad for a better nature than those whose life history reads like pages of a lecture on the art of that superiority of those taking care to stay on the "right" side of sexuality over any who dare stray beyond the pale of convention (as proposed by who? ) bent on the misinterpretation of all some of us say or do; True, in some parts of the world laws allow us to be gay, to live, let live and get married no matter what the bigots say; true, too, that sticks and stones can break bones, but less so that we are left unhurt by names our so-called betters throw; Let them argue how humanity insists on certain "norms" while the rest of us enjoy eternity in Earth Mother's arms If life's journey never easy each uphill step we take carries us closer to an eternity that we, for ourselves, make
SPECIES OF MOSS UNCOVERED ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Challenging history, moss on graveyard stone defies what we call, identity Traits of a personality but a strategy ancestors devise, challenging history Shades of mystery conspiring to spring surprise; what we call, identity A cliff-hanging story of hope and glory, love and lies challenging history An affinity with mortality drawn from family archives; what we call, identity A feeling for eternity, whatever its ends may comprise; Challenging history, what we call, identity
THEATRE ON A DAMASK TABLECLOTH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A champagne twilight, reflections in a beggar's eye Trees, glittering like chandeliers at some charity gala Dove, letting rip with the passion of a diva to the gods Jack Frost shinning up drainpipes to peep in windows Men and women, running scared of anxious ghosts Boys and girls, keeping company with fantasy fictions Shadows, like missiles homing in on suspect targets Enter stars, ready to cry over spilt milk on our pillows
ROAD SIGNS ~~~~~~~~~~ It was a bright light that led me to this place, as I fought for breath in a mother's womb, painting pictures of peace, glory and grace, wings of a dove on a warrior's tomb Where now the light that led me to this place as I took my first breath outside the womb, painting pictures of peace, glory and grace, wings of a dove on a warrior's tomb? It's a long road that led me to this place, some call it destiny, fate, even doom, and although my sight dims, I see a face, spreading the joy of love on womb and tomb Who watches out for its peace, glory, grace, journeys well from first to last resting place
EMPATHY ~~~~~~~ A bird sang in our garden as twilight fell what species it was, I could not tell but its song filled my darkening soul with light and saw me all through the night Came moon and stars to keep me company and the bird, still it sang, as if just for me, a song showing pictures of us to my inner sight that saw me all through the night Closer the dawn and a fear, come what may, that even the bird could not soothe away; moon and stars could but leave me to a plight haunting me all through the night Among the sun's first rays, I sought a smile the bird, typically, came that last mile till I found peace and hope enough in a leafy sky to see me through till my turn to die Among even love songs heard or yet to hear, none will sound sweeter to my ear than of a bird whose species I could not make out that once sang in our garden all night Come the longest night of all, I'll go there again and, together, we'll give the songbird a name
PEACE ~~~~~ It's a hybrid rose called Peace that carries spring into summer, letting its petals fall in autumn to shield the heart from its winter Coloured yellow, the peace rose Is for remembrance of times past; if love, like roses, fade and die be sure its petals are crafted to last At any time of year, whenever and wherever we ache for a need to inhale love's heady perfume, Peace roses, human senses, invade Too often loved ones go to war never to return or, even if they do, we too, like them, still suffer as only humanity in winter can do If the more ghastly realities of war even ghosts fear, only fools suppose its deeper roots lie but dormant as nature sleeps and nothing grows At such times, we must be strong, take well-worn paths the heart knows for where there's love there's hope and kinder summers of the Peace rose
kevin gallagher I. lastly but not a blue floral moon, incandescent and silently struck the pavement before digressing its directive was somber, says go and be tides sweeping your fatal tectonic plates, forks, knives and spoons, written on a napkin "we will not bother you." we will dismantle the future on sheets of mercury, smooth sharp silvery sunsets, instead stop and slide out of space for a second. rendered motionless, devoured by clams and eels swimming over horizons of fissures and lobes. synapses are buzzing, dendrites reaching out like a man whose had his legs blown off by a mortar. that last piece of friction follows you down to the dead meadow, whispering through the keyhole our wishes are made of plastic. us, we circling the idea of coition like black magnets. above jars filled with coins, seated aside the eternal toothpaste is a prescription for love, the expiration date having passed. take out your pen and copy this word for word, invading me with those sore eyes, what runs through those veins and beats in your chest do you know. inches are just another unit, but exactly how many will it take before i bulldoze your memory. preceding me there shall be a gigantic chasm, hollow winds drifting over and over. far from a meaningless speck, i would be your world if i only tried, swallowing orange laughter, nails bent and cracked. my loving is a bit rusty, but yours is getting dusty. focus, i am a house of rubble, pull out from beneath the ruined pangs of sobriety, set on collapsing your aura clear into an ocean of visual and sonic phenomena. prisms and mirrors abound, buried under the color of headlights in rainwater at night, them dissipating with glassy shadows. swaying with the dashboard, while radios speak and jumbo jets are soaring over lonely motels. there are television towers taller than the highest spire on the greatest skyscraper: i use them to broadcast my thirst for you across the haunted continent. you're a cake coated with acquiescence, i forbid you to eat drink or piss until these threads are untangled. chased down through the wires, clocks that rise and fall and form ghostly walls around the proverbial vegetation. shapes torn to shreds, to cease my sleepy spasms, piles of abandoned effigies are woken by the voltage. currents crash your cartoon character and shimmer against the paper. dark white words, turned and spun through a cyclic pattern, you line them up i'll knock them down. meanwhile oxygen outbursts and warm fears, bodies surfacing like dead jellyfish. it's timely, the spacious tongues rhythmically stirring inside. on hometown streets with starry maps, guiding you are the power lines, parallel like we. rivers of regret run through valleys of desire and over mountains of indecision. spliced our two identities, i am the dynamo of how to calculate the forces and probability of this collision. so, heave your bags of grain to the junkyard, grab your luggage and climb aboard the vessel, this is a one way flight with no stops. put your life in the washing machine. the spark of aquatic mindsets, thawed out of frozen ice, place your appreciations on display it's now or never. preserved the safety pin and cheap cologne, deceased artifacts and the rolls of film erased. chew on this: wallpaper moves by your design, like ripples in a pond, a warped backdrop drenched in apathy. get sucked into the wormhole, released from my stranglehold, throw a lid on your bottle of nervous apprehensions. my heart's under lock and key, the pockets are emptied. i aim to fracture our supermarket rendezvous, drilling perforations in the fabric. surrendered to the throes of disease, annihilated by a single keystroke. my exploits go unnoticed crawling below the radar of your antennae. persistent eardrums, music without bounds, blown up and amplified beyond the astrological divide. multiplicity of exits and entrances, our losses are immeasurable, the names of casualties omitted, carved into the trunks of trees, or just drawn in sand with fingers or twigs, washed up and discarded like dirty wrappers created by ugly monkeys. watch out for sticky magic, hiding in nocturnal alleyways, bludgeoning assertions into a primordial stew. waxen halls lined with bronze figurines preaching their forlorn grievances. everything leading up to now you may forget, easily as unflinching cardboard dialtones. mangled beyond recognition, residual faces upside-down with mouths for eyes and eyes for mouths. effective immediately all your accounts have zero net worth. this is an executive memorandum, a drastic measure, a motion for your existence to hereby be stricken from the record and deemed inadmissible. that jewelry poses a security risk, limited time offer, no down payment, batteries not included. breath taken away like belongings, a beacon homing in on blind intuitions. knocking on the doors all numbered, parasitic and poisonous. the imminent threat of meditation, pure and unadulterated, draining drops of potion sad and diluted, fed by cerebral alchemy. tracked the parcel package in uninterrupted transit. you may strain, you may blink, but notice you will never acutely escape the webs, the nets, ruptured arteries and gills caught on the hook as you eagerly await the next installment. II. turn back now or else proceed with caution, color coded shards shrouded by urban sprawl. a distress signal, save our ship if you will, strobe lights descending on a crazy tripped-out city. warning to all violators and trespassers, the golden age is upon us, your supreme court decisions have been overturned. i guarantee these psychic vibrations to be entirely universal, dangling from saxophone solos, in ancient gardens obscured by too much punctuation. crackling static radiate your forehead, train wreck of eyelashes and arms folded staring at the shoelaces. compounded by kitchen appliances, seatbacks and traytables in upright and locked position. go on strum your guitar blow your horn, so this is what you were talking about. never believed i'd see past the days of chapped lips, brushing cheeks accented by sound of insects buzzing. tropical hemispheres visit me now pick up on your meaning without speaking. on the brink of spiraling staircases, suffering knuckles and fists in accidental harmony. stuttering inaudible verbiage behind native purgatories, useless spectrum of religious typewriters clinging to your blanket, immersed in the sheets. elaborate circuitry and passing lanes on interstellar highways, left to wonder who really has the right of way. standing attentive to an assemblage of tantric trances, bear witness to crimes against humanity, jettison your doubts here before we do it for you. oh feeble firefly, feathers are falling from the firmament. furniture enslaved whole civilizations just as compact discs unveiling a scenario stained, salty suspicions suggesting the synthesis of silence. handheld verses in all their false splendor, layers swelling and swirling with a fleeting inertia. scent of fruitless ambitions anchored to the coral, tied down by ropes in knots, adjust your mast, merely a blip navigating faintly over blue-green sea slopes: who is the captain here? your treasures are all sunken. invoke the sign of eroded pyramids, overture of lepers eating apples and oranges. telescoping distant triangles, lottery predictions magnified our postcard passions. i anticipate your full compliance, as the perfection of zen yearnings and strokes of luck in an air-conditioned room. gentle and terminal constellation, so shy and confusing, each day you make me wake up mindful of the cataclysm of galaxies which will end it all. playgrounds demolished to make way for graveyards, suburbs turned into wasteland. swingset logic and carousel charisma folded in half, fallen crescendos flickering next to exposed genitalia. tapestries frayed at the edges by chance of horoscope destiny. Saturdays slurred in slow motion, photographic panorama captured on camera lenses. pause the tape, open the flood gates, unlocking painful answering machines. elusive convenience and broken escalators, surely this sentence is a disaster, shifting gears into neutral. find yourself a bomb shelter and hibernate, dazing in and out of dim seasons. fire drills only false alarms, teaching me how to shine like a bird in perpetual migration. contrary to popular belief, sleepwalking is the seed of uncharted gymnastics. acrobatic skeleton, scattered upon jet-lagged jealousy. the market has crashed, your dollars and euros and yen are as good as cotton candy. zombies in the unemployment line, bathroom stalls and crowding the urinals. winner of musical chairs, fishing starstruck innuendos i've had just about enough of this styrofoam. dramatic karma dashes in a flash, inner monologues on the megaphone are louder than ever. i'm a genuine cheater with a boring lexicon, using axes rather than scissors. in the wink of an eyelid we have arrived at a maze of pendulums, racing and culminating in brand names or yes/no questions. answering birth gone up in flame and smoke, hunted for sport, Californian zodiacs dispelling brutal honesty. radiator hums into my subtle campfire brain, brooding microcosm of fools grasping mops for sweaty puddle pools. wine under the guise of a standard issue bracelet, bridging the grapes with sacred wrists and flashlight curiosity on dead end roads. exaggerated eyebrow fortress of turquoise and lavender, speak now or forever hold your peace. too much drugs and machinery. bones on the verge of breaking and intrinsically weak, i am retracing all my steps to figure out just where my serotonin slipped. behold my bubblebath tactics, sandboxes and flawless crystalline baseball diamonds. rogue stations popularizing garbage, conspirators of vomit and sewage. fuming smokestacks in contrast to palm trees and a mystical rainforest, a hereditary rebellion. obsessed with oil, dancing dreamless with lollipop lullabies and crayon coloring books. i have been issued a license to regurgitate ultraviolet rays with planetary precision and bow-and-arrow accuracy. there is a misunderstood genius with an encyclopedia mind in every American town, wound up in the gutter next to the sidewalk. paradise of mobile homes in trailer parks, emergency room urgency and bloody bandages, bruised and swollen please call an ambulance. habitually translating chronic telephone poles, it's a suicidal satellite state, allergic to archery, there are revolving doors from coast to coast. monsters under the bed and in the closet, in chains and handcuffs, soul songs sewn depending on whether the weather weeps. denim and corduroy assassin selling you hell for a portal of hours and minutes. we are in obvious territory here, sleeves and collars up, listening to a telepathic chorus of symphonic brilliance. follow the instruction manual exactly, automatic aphrodisiacs saturated and insatiable. my crown sparkles and glistens, rattles like a snake submerged in mud and clay. once right and wrong have skidded to a screeching halt, i was just kidding. III. terrorism a hot commodity, crucified by the illusion of safety. hawks and vultures swooping all around your defenseless body, messengers and spies in camouflage, thrown into a shark tank. addictive as sense impairment, drowned in alcohol and caffeine, the rustle of petals and leaves feeling too familiar. push or pull, add or subtract, either way it doesn't matter. toxic smiles smashed within cave drawings scribbled before history, now in file cabinets. approach of flowing circumstance, ceaseless and incessant usually or often counterpart to exceed the speed of inarticulate arrivals. rushing the end zone and sucked like a spur over the peak, putting stock in notches while unable to gauge or dodge dandelions in bug-eyed bloom. archaic anachronism of anarchy, straddling a balance beam on castle islands, the chaotic establishment grows sour and stifled. bricks gave way to balloons, attacking the sketches with a sensitive vocabulary, saintly inhaling steam like a surreal gypsy who pledges their fledgling submarine. periscope vineyards of elixirs being rationed off and interpreted like model racecars, yellow toy dump trucks and inflatable pools. god has us on a healthy diet, stupefied whipping and screaming from the balcony, landing on the windshield. a genetic mutation resulting in dull fangs, foaming and frothing, homeless wandering and nomadic computer chanting its flailing failures. the tail of a cetacean, intelligently pulsating for echo location purposes. angry at being poised at the guillotine, hung on the gallows with a pungent, potent odor of a blueprint for our demise. in between cellular processes and crevices, a crying creed takes the blame for evil on a blank slate. skating pirouette with dilated hazel pupils and an empty parking meter. i am the champion of lazy enamels, engraving framed portraits all messed up by the boardgame. the floors are lame lately, drunken wheels bouncing over the gravel, teasing me with their moisture in morning, afternoon or evening. a fortunate blessing to be animated by this pencil, catalyst for a spirit made up of explosive dynamite. it goes tick-tock. we are all observers and our stomachs are churning. surfing on stereo sound waves just for survival although tortured by leftovers in the refrigerator. household chores are performed with remarkable dexterity. wounded and vulnerable at an airport you lapse into dehydration. who acknowledges our labor, anyway? with the dawn i yawn and howls escape fast from my headphones. ladies and gentlemen, please place your bets. access granted or denied depending on whether it's in the cards. the taste of minimum wage medicine peeling away third world violence like miserable quarters or tokens in vending and pinball machines. a Jurassic arcade launchpad, savage rainbows tipping their hats to our curvature. turntables confessing something is amiss, unfair apocalypse and nuclear holocaust. might as well be my last will and testament, earthquakes tornadoes hurricanes and tsunami cannot match up to this. traverse a demented swamp in thigh-high boots, pirates with scurvy on hunger strike, like spyware and popup advertisements. honeymoon traveler engaged in cumbersome imagery, counterfeit currency exchanging cashier cleared out the cash register. i'm afraid my landlord hates me for jaywalking with mascara across avenues and boulevards. jump on the bandwagon, for these Xerox copies are all altered and in Arabic. clockwise as the crow flies, aneurysms either chocolate or vanilla, catch my drift? a genocide has been averted, substituted for a faulty euthanasia program. targeted are the physically disabled and mentally impaired. i'm a buoy juggling evangelist propaganda on my shoulders, we all deserve a good flogging. there is no monarch, only kings and queens in corporate monopoly migraine headaches. you can either rescue the hostages or defuse the bomb. taxi-cab drivers in tuxedos told to pay their taxes. holographic helicopter spanning channels for spilled milk. startled by an outbreak of epidemic proportions. led astray by the ashtray's liquidated assets. pawns drumming to their fullest capacity, polar axis made up of stripes, dots and spots. aluminum foil alliteration tilted forever always asking and procrastinating on the task at hand: hyper Mediterranean skies agree with clever conversation and drool over desperate hexagons. my handicapped copilot has retreated for his daily cigarette, the idea of women and pharmaceutical comfort. the aquarium leaks, it's too late, close the curtains and shudder. we're surrounded, bean bag ice cream traps ambushing on equilibrium. blinking bears bare their embarrassing hiccups beside punctual puzzles. a plethora of symmetrical seatbelt swarms, sapphire rubies manic and aligned to the colossal stagnation. volcanic geyser erupting liquid magma unto the terrain while present tense surprising presents wrapped in ribbons are presented to the politician's point of view. a drizzle of crooked gossip travels from trench warfare in the utopian desert. barcodes which were once tangible, now belonging to the excited air. it's too tacky. clean shaven people pacing around their pillows, drinking holy cocktails in a diner, preparations for an invented century. circus sideshow freak rants to the roadkill prototype who is malignant & cancerous. cannot ascertain degraded gradients, graceful extremities of cinematic diversity. romantic criteria duplicating animated neon microphones; evaporated precipitation and an itch you cannot scratch. trying to justify drivethrough traffic, accessories filling the aisles, thorns and briars atop the patio. double agenda repressed by disbelief in perverted metropolis. bellybuttons breached and eclipsed like the velocity of confiscated toxins and delicious sunshine. graceful locomotives volunteer their dominoes for an insane orgy. oh cannibalistic savior, clogged & hypocritical, defending your coconuts, try this on for size / don't take it personally. memories refreshed in blurry text, license plates swiftly switched. the foreign spectacle is severed at the seams, a phantom limb fighting the stigma. i'm glad regardless, a disturbing recipe for immediate digestion. chivalric crusaders excluded from civil rights. reminiscent of deliverance... diagonal winds glitch for complicated diversions and evangelical conversions. inhibiting habitat, domestic mosaic with paranoid limitations. we hold these truths to be self-evident. a biblical error accumulated eccentric calligraphy. my sunburned sweetheart lies near the fire hydrant in a bizarre crosswalk which is a synonym for paralysis. flexible elastics, enchanted and charming to recurring sunglasses while shuffling massive credit-card geography. frantically reciting twilight sequences with the wind-up cars, the jack-in-boxes. wearing weathered sandals whether the wreckage solidifies or not. a steady shade, fixated on fictional selections moving like a Polaroid handshake. the tourist's lightbulb lantern is rotten & lofty. chewy fingernail, rubber rubbish contaminated by polluted wizardry. soapy tiles tempered by shampoo and lotion in a tube. seashell kingdoms defended from the nosediving nightmare who is barefoot, stealth, and buoyant. let the dartboard debut with a fairytale baptism that penetrates and pervades the weekend. choking on exhaust fumes to comprehend the delicate ascent. what i mean is, a hybrid of syncopated perspiration and facial freckles. this requires parental supervision. the trick-or-treat martyr absorbs special lettering and newspaper expectations are shattered. we're in for some turbulence. all dizzy and skinny, with a foggy youth and no progress in sight. starving, i put on an improvised raincoat and situate myself before the subwoofer's feedback. the options are sloppy, so hop on the butterfly bandwagon. Atlantic bicycles achieve recognition in their dysfunctional partnership. it's the whistle express. stuck in an avalanche, a phase reversal. and the redundant minimalist conforms to his stale strategy, sighing. i'm tired of all the volleyball nonsense. obscene consumers keep catching hypothermia!! so i must prevent these etch-a-sketch blues. pump gas, the dishwasher, a glass of tap from a Roman aqueduct. availability is fully assured and reliant on simple breakfast illuminations. agree in the listless conversation & poetic madness. until you run out and go back to the source, via Saharan hitchhiking. make no mistakes, come reckless, relaxed and fabulous. then backlash, gun jumping in a muscular marathon. screwdrivers hovering over a depressed invitation. i vacantly stare at my humble transmitter, receiving the cosmos which is tiny, underlined & hypnotic. you can't do this on the Sabbath. the daredevil's mantra is composed with a little champagne and official humidity. mainstream flavors boring rhetoric, distilled laundry. energetic network of postage stamp collectors unorganized and flying kites. the skillful vision becomes trivial and extinguished among a dynamic interplay of varying altitudes. did you know your shirt is inside-out? honestly the dilemma is imaginary. yin-yang wings and things founded on disposable morning dew. illusory allusions to the convincing metaphor, adventurous and futuristic. the hot rods being polished and buttered is an inapplicable practicality. playful virtuoso is just dilly-dallying with bread crumbs. candid & undesirable rough draft. a burst of prepubescent essences, spread by creatures craving good dreams while the balance is upset. hungry for invisible architecture and fresh pancakes. interference from the hazardous juggernaut which is gloriously spoiled. burnt buttercups leave behind a lesser trail of opinions for good measure. greatest equations solved by automatic temperament, mild climates climaxing in raindrop temperatures. ashes plague. this instance, momentary forgiveness and we recall the login and password lucidly. the discount twitches. downtown cop sirens fade like trend fads having been adequately compensated for tasks. accepting impressive pressure, descriptive & permanent, cloudy storms reeling ears to toes with wicked sickness. juvenile blisters in the mix without knowing why. remember detention, recess, and after school activities - they're harmful if swallowed. hooked by an expanding contract that's totally concave if not unnecessary. these explicit lyrics; replete in honored sorrow or else held in high regard. structurally methodic however barely written weird masterpieces. it's just a land grab, unendorsed, without disclaimer and hopelessly in synch. misdirected assumptions intact. compacted beams outwardly envelop the saddest streams. heads actually nod and bob inadvisably. the predicted configuration is doubtful, its collective formula bogus & precocious. IV. mortality is next in line and fragile... i'm mostly gone. been appointed for a disappointing appointment at an apartment. naked shoulders brushed aside like staged puppets propped up in a strange coincidence. knees frequently scarred & charred but promptly adjusted. the hive has been hijacked and replaced with a windy wharf.. it's laced with darkened angels who are both arctic and wielding fiery bikinis. frightened by messy fights and the idea of a doorknob seems far-fetched in itself. move coolly, no hesitation, spurred on by pink pastels and sandy vocabulary. the sort of cucumber ambition that is kinda fascinating. currently freedom startles slim ebbs, synthesized chimes, premium ringtones acquired by notebook and faith in laptop service. at an artful dock, dual breadths get picked for a duel. confusion's conclusions deduced by lunar landings on such short notice. the waitress witnessed it, she makes no exceptions with her twisted deviations. a strong image and reactions kept & contained, past repair, making love to the peppered pasture. losing grasp of efficient wishes, inverted and boosted by the cipher. a curious reconciliation for sacrificial privilege, among unfavorable conditions. custom modified shoes shielded by furry blankets. creamy faucet of lime, twos refunded in vain, too.. magazines are only pretending. a conquest of bleached beaches, each one of its leeches are screeching within reach. your precious form is adorned.. with traces of what you said: "i'm still not dead." we cry until seeing pieces of the sky, falling ecstatic to the worn reflection, like a spare tire. the English language itself impaled.. a passenger in lifetime's contagious landscape gets chopped up into rows and columns, degrees of latitude and longitude, and then made stylish. my whole childhood scrawled on the chalkboard, with the jazz bells ringing in attendance, grammar absent. come and fetch a backwards graph without the assurance of insurance. the profane sculpture is in a coma. resist business and steal freedom. free to sing noisy falsettos and painted tension, to trust your immaculate scraps to the sons of malfunction. expensive sins of epic caliber: in black and white, true or false. an ordinary folk type serving up a dish of fresh compassion with lettuce. still abbreviated by your reliable and trusty primal instinct. corroded razors distort the fused facts, existing only for amusement. pretentious nostalgia is just a footnote to psychotic discoveries. that is to say, i envy your injury.. with the dimension of a tunnel exchange, sailboat caricature & shuttle archetype, swiveling pivots stay superior to the toilet, which has somehow managed to become obsolete. fruit punch is lush in a hurry and laze rampant. girls are covered with too much makeup & perfume. fringe binges out on a barren plateau, fishnets cocked and loaded in hotel lobbies. what a novel idea. leaflet brochures and thesis dissertations resurrected in the classified section.. on billboard charts, bad ratings and poor public relations. sponsors have been squelched due to squalor. just swerving over the double yellow, no directionals, given to avoid explanations. strictly jeopardized gambling, cartilage in tune to the jackpot academics but barricaded by the shortstop. seagulls perched on mossy dusk, but not obligated to the underpaid rubber duckling. bathtub vagrant keeps whiskey under galloping saddle, harboring frosty chins and frothy broths. tender harvest wreaths shepherded and sealed in solstice's shed, where the maestro worker is slashed. deprived of the depraved side effects of a hazy home. cables crested and caressed on the chest of a cyclone. earn respect, do not detect berries on the ridge, rescued from paying rent by telegraph, a warrant for arrest. from start to finish greetings and goodbyes nothing more than dumpster brims overflowing glove compartments. viable curbs for annual herbs. collecting corrected verbs. the elementary experience of countdown until doom. merely referencing the dejection of tranquility's crescent cascading downpour. salvaged lungs lost and found for hide and seek. blushes unleashed at the junction of holiday antics with ballistic missile trajectories. social prodigy spins effortless wit. the concourse is in accordance with the laws of accordions. sidetracked on a refreshing tangent, bloodshot beverages mythical and legendary. arguably ambiguous, the hassle of unflattering friendship and instant replay.. nursed back to life, snatched up in a tongue-tied twisting truth of tooths. no proofs, just evacuated envelopes. cities confirm individual worthlessness. recognition engenders ideas of competitive successes. brothers and sisters, deposits are withdrawn. floating fluids above a field and radioactive clouds creeping in. the children all random and ungrateful. forward is not at all when you are stumbling in suggestive gestures. the detached introvert quietly contemplates crippling absurdity over a horrible haiku: speak & spell spilled slip-slide splish-splash blood spattered split butter spits acid blotter with spinning gall bladders expressing distress to especially disheveled shovels, lovely.
Lynn Souiedan Clay ~~~~ It sits there, the white ceramic teapot picked from the endless piles and rows of white ceramic ware, the plates all slightly warped, the spaces in between uneven. I could even spin the one on top around. Bargains. My teapot with the lid that doesn=92t want to come off how the shadows light and dress up your ordinary surface, a surface lacquered in ordinary. I want my hands to claim clay, feel its smooth ribbons oozing between my fingers, thick, wet, dirty. I want my hands to pound, caress, mould a chunk of the earth into a white teapot that I can rest my ordinary cheek against when I am tired.
When My Father Died ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ They told me he died on a piece of paper, a telegram that came to an old address of mine. I saw his grave last night, walked there, reading the names and inscriptions chiselled on the headstones of those around him. Everyone was a loving someone in the end and after, if not during. Rocks rising to the eternal. Well, a hundred years maybe. I stopped on the grass by his grave, grass so green it hurt my eyes. Grass that green could only be in a dream. His grave took a length and height those surrounding him didn=92t, the way things in our dreams and lives do in our minds. I never thought it would ever be like this. There were no last rites of the tongue, the heart. Sadly, there was no end to end for him and me. There was nothing but a box I wanted to dig up, pry open, only a man in there I wanted to shake, to hear cry out, say something, anything, to me, I lay the red carnations that filled my arms down as proof of some kind and left my dream walking along the cemetery's cobbled path, imagining how the stones would glisten in a light spring rain.
I am Frozen ~~~~~~~~~~~ I am frozen in the vastness of my kitchen sink, ploughing paths through soap bubbles that have been tinged shades of blue and pink by florescent lights. Plants in pretty pots under raised blinds edge a window in a room across the drive. Shadow sits on the asphalt between us and on hammered wood. Man has exiled the sun. >From behind the upward bursts of green foliage a dark form rises from a chair in that room. A plate slips through my fingers, ceramic on soapy skin squeaking rudely.
Whitewashed ~~~~~~~~~~~ Last night as I lay still, the cool blanket of night covering me, I thought I felt your heart beat. I tried to grasp it, to hold on to it in the darkness, but its pulse weakened and slipped away into the mouth of the dawn. This morning I walked the deserted city streets, somehow oddly comforting, the world around me whitewashed by a crisp, early morning air. I thought I felt its heart beat once, but then it slipped away into the bowels of the day.
A Small Brown Bird Speaks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is very little kindness here, only a raw, savage reality that is heartbreaking in its finality. It is without any compassion of the kind you know. You do not see this. You do not see me. You do not see me scouring the frozen earth for that which will sustain me one more day. You do not see me pecking these meager bits from the hard, crusted snow. I could not leave with the last good days of autumn, escaping this bleak existence as others did. My fragile body could not make that long journey. I was forced to stay behind, unable to flee nature=92s cruelty, unable to save myself from that which birthed me. In a fleeting moment you see me in my quandary, see my small, brown, feathered body fluttering about on the ground in the cold. You watch me from behind a curtained window, for a fleeting instance having substance in your world. You open a door, though you would rather not, and throw in my direction what you have no use for, what is stale and difficult to digest. Yet, I accept your offering thankfully, though stale and brittle it prolongs my survival for one more day. Yes, I am forced to live these truths unseen, trusting my epitaph will be written.
New Chairs ~~~~~~~~~~ It doesn't matter now, The week, the bustle, everything - Oh, how we want as I wanted my new chairs, then heard in a whisper, "They're only chairs." The night is not black. How could it be? That colour never suited you. It fell from the sky with your laugh, and sits on the floor among the shavings of my new chairs.
The Storm ~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday, I walked in a field broken by the fierceness of an autumn storm. The branches from ravaged maples and evergreens were strewn across the ragged length and width of it. The sodden grass oozed beneath my feet Thick, black mud dirtied the polished leather of my boots with each slow, careful step I took. Dandelions lay dead all around me, like brave, fallen soldiers, their bright, yellow heads now a deathly shade of brown, and already, wild mushrooms were sprouting in dark corners.


David Sparenberg 

Two people had the same experience.  It was the experience of the voice 
freedom; it was the experience of the voice of God.  For this, they were 
arrested.  For this, they were detained against their wills and tortured.  
Together—and yet sequestered in terrifying isolation they "disappeared from 
ordinary existence.  From routines and habits.  From friends and family" 
from everyday sight.
Two people.  Named Shlomo and Rivka.  Two people.  Named Juan and Maria.  
Two people. Named Amal and Nuha.  Like Eve, life's mother.  Like Adam, God's 
One of them succumbed to pain and indignities.  He died with the stammering 
bruise of a mystery on his lips.  He died discolored and swollen.
The other, she said, Yes.  Yes, I understand now.  Before was a critical 
error in judgment when I was under a foreign influence.  It was a kind of 
disease, an emotional disorder, a sort of shared hallucination.  That is 
what I would call it: a shared hallucination.  Such things are unusual, 
immoral, but they happen.  It’s pathetic and needs to be corrected.  
Honestly, I needed help; I was quite desperate.  The authorities were 
absolutely right in intervening.  Intervention was responsible.  To the 
State.  To the People.  And…  A hesitation.  A lingering, uneasy silence, 
with shallow, rapid breathing. The suppressed, subtle scars of trauma. 
Then:  I am grateful.  I can now return to normal, productive life.  
Today, I am again a valuable citizen.
Later, the survivor walked away from the anus of Satan on her discolored 
and swollen legs, with the pain and indignity of serial violation aching 
between her thighs. No longer a woman.  A body.  A soul.  And… To a neighbor 
she confided: I loved Juan; I loved my Sholmo; loved my Amal (Amal the Arab); 
but I will never, never be able to forgive him.  I tell you, privately, in a 
secret confession, the stone of a whisper, I feel betrayed.  
© 2008 David Sparenberg
This writing is from the forthcoming volume FLIGHT, A Book of Winged Words: 
Parable, Prose Poems, Reflections and Visualizations.   Watch for FLIGHT, 
available soon through Amazon.com. 


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 - 2008 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.

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