YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

May 2009

VOL XVII, Issue 5, Number 193

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



   David Sparenberg


   Steven Fowler
      angel of milk
      the true story of a man I met in thailand
      the second great bear 

   David Woodward
         A Tall World
         Earth and Sky
         Sexy Darwin
         The Distinct Heads
         Bonus Poem: Stupid Doors

   Peycho Kanev
      through the fence
      black and red
      the secret
      it's time


   David Sparenberg


David Sparenberg


We cannot talk about greening
without talking about peace
We cannot talk about peace
without talking about justice
We cannot talk about justice
without addressing injustice
We cannot speak of injustice with integrity
without talking about the problems of injustice
such as race and poverty, exploitation
and so on.

We cannot talk about the problems
without talking about indifference to suffering
We cannot talk about indifference to suffering
without examining the labyrinth of violence
We cannot speak of violence
without talking about hatred
We cannot talk about hatred
without talking about fear
We cannot talk about fear
without addressing the mutuality of vulnerability
and the given condition of relatedness.

We cannot talk about greening of the planet
without talking about egocentricity and greed
We cannot speak honestly of this awareness
without acknowledging the bitter fruit of arrogance
without recognizing the healing significance of humility
and compassion.

No talking of self
without talking with otherness
No speaking of where we should be
without embracing where we are
No words about the play upon the world stage
without coming to terms
with the global village players
No emotional exchange with our players
without an emotional attachment
to the playing field
No meeting here with our masks on
no falling into the fatality silence
For it is paramount that we speak of greening
and short of extinction
that we talk of peace.

3 April 2009

Steven Fowler

angel of milk

jasmine, I carry books
twenty six, that is my limit
I enjoy reading poetry
I would rather read poetry
than do nearly anything else
not more than everything else
if you understand me

I hate the pear shaped body
worn limbless granite bodice
nubs and bulges
welcome to the city of worn out duffel bags
of giant worms
of men who do better with japanese girlfriends
of water slides in camouflage trousers
of over reaction
specially made plastic baggies for dogwaste

dry my tears, boney cat
make time for me, surgeon
university wasn't a waste of time utterly
I made a list of everyone I met
and drew ten thousand christian fish
it is a long, dry list
as arid as a desert that forces
snakes to have murderous venom
famous I am for my venom
but not through teeth does it seep
you know from where I weep

jasmine, you are like the swordfish
silver, and true
muscular dreary eyed fish
undiscovered in underground volcanic cave systems
that is how it felt
when I came across your luxuriant coat
as though the rich had emerged from their lairs
after the revolution
and the radiation has softened
it couldn't be
a creature like this still lives
and then I had you
I could have lived a hundred years on all the whitefish I saw
was I bloody blind before?

beards have become fashionable again
but come on
watch your fucking kids
jasmine, its a supermarket carpark
near a busy road
I don't even want to imagine

you are gone
like gold down the plumbing
I wish I could scream I missed you
but I wasted my life
with you
I should've stayed with the other one
what was her name?
pear? lilith? dolores?

she would have borne me sons
and typed my envelopes neatly
cooked for me
obeyed my orders, held my hands
you smoking fifty a day
yellowed sour hag hypocrit
I'm glad you're done

how terrible that you fell so freely
smashed your head dainty head
on the concrete stairs
of my publicist's apartment complex
like a pumpkin you burst
though pumpkin's aren't completely empty
I miss your thumb
when it massaged my prostrate, jasmine
but nothing else

enjoy silence and indifference
I'm going to abuse your daughter
sell your sculptures
buy a new wife from brazil
I'll have a doctor inspect her
make sure her hymen is unbroken still
we will name our pekinese
it'll watch our rabid coupling

the wheel breaks its muddy spokes
who would have thought it?
I died too
even after all that surgery
maria assis de andrade
survived the car crash
a race with a white porsch
and a concrete lamppost

I have my legs back in hell
I regret nothing, I whisper
so they let me play cards
everyone cheats and you have to do
   horrible sexual things if you

smug angel babies tell me you're in heaven
its quiet there
you look as you did when I met you
a wyndham lewis painting
a weimar haircut
those nixed teeth and black spectacles
you were so small
white skin and a tiny waist
I hoped I would break your back!
it never happened
well, farewell, enjoy your lonely victory
angel of milk

the true story of a man I met in thailand ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ on a holiday in the wetroads of thailand before the water breaks broke their breeches before the red shirts rose in staggered horse formations before it became a safe place to give recitals when fellows of my plane were there to have sex with children when you might be kidnapped like a portion of chicken what was the oriental motive? to relax the foreign devils so as to get at their bears with coats of silk and teeth of silver they are more luxurious than the thai bears who have rickets and a remote sense of intrigue I met a deformed man at a bar I had recently ceased working for as a doorman because I was attacked by randy american sailors and they slashed my back with the chain of a tack motorcycle he was disturbing an australian girl who made my prick singe when I saw her brown teenage calves and the freckles on her shoulders smelling as she did of soap that was inappropriate in that bar she was scared so I took the bullet with a wink and bought him a drink he confessed immediately that he had stolen a ancient coin from the british museum thailand was his getaway and he was drunk most of the day on spirits that ran generator fuel close for shape two fingers later I had forgotten the girl he told me his father would bugger him with a table spoon he held his fingers apart a good two inches the size of the spoon at its widest reach stitches, he couldn't sit at school, they couldn't have cared about bloody stool caulk me hoot hoot like an owl the song sung straight from the morphine gate we acted as though we were on a romantic date he had severe psychological problems and his eyes bulged out of an awful forehead they looked in opposite directions like he was a blind man and he clearly wasn't born this way they were scars from hitting his own head against the walls I replied to his touches with blunt questions to hear the details of his devastation amidst tender fatherly hunting trips and comas and cancer and buggery he wore a scar like a tapeworm about his left wrist leaning closer to my face he would twitch and fitch spit and shout switch into love again for me a countryman a fellow runner, could I help him find a buyer for the fucking coin? I became scared he cleaned the tips of my shoes with a bar rag conjoined attentions crowded my breathing and embarassed me before my former work colleagues and that girl who reappeared two more drinks he was poisoned pink like a burning pyre of figs so I left him in a gulley outside the bar filling slowly with water I looked to the sky and the sound of asmodeous and asked for him let the man drown, he has floated quite long enough a man is not a cutlery drawer
the second great bear ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ O handsome bear! stand and fight in your pocket burn that children's hair break her spine cluster pain that stands like you, a bear! that lights the sooty human mine that racks and slices care o man o war! The bear the beetle tries to bed you and eat your hair as though it were black bread and olives roar! fear! fight! scare! Do not weaken under the sun do not let them tell you of your dirty claws and nail you to sails to make you all but a seal who barely stares and hoots and shits in its own nest you are precisely a bear! do not forget it you bellow dignified and queer the air you defy sickness! you bull boats and build imperial houses your line is not dying you are proud terror in their eyes for they see you. a bear! the awful thing
David Woodward MY EARTHWORM EXISTENCE A Tall World ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Everyone is so tall. They tower over me like mighty trees; they grow taller and taller, until they can grow no more, until they can feed no more. Cool heads in the blue sky they begin to sprout outward; tall and horizontal, they shade me, an unseen earthworm eaten up by the shadows of their almighty limbs.
Earth and Sky ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I live a horizontal existence. I am an earthworm. Earnestly, I dig out my tunnels to places where no one goes. Between intervals of digging and earthly meals I peer out, skyward, to see what the vertical beings are up to, but mostly, I keep my indistinct head down, in the brown, an earthworm going about its business inside the ground.
Sexy Darwin ~~~~~~~~~~~ They say Darwin was fascinated with earthworms, or was it barnacles? Earthworms or barnacles, I know what he means. I believe he was interested in things of a sexual nature -- which worm (or barnacle) fancied the other? what makes an earthworm beautiful? The earthworms I know don't give a rat's ass about the vertical beings' beauty. We have both sexes. We can be male when it is time to male; we can be female the rest of the time. You should be so lucky. The earthworms I know think Darwin a madman. I don't know what the barnacles think, or believe, for I am not a barnacle. I do so hope he thought of me though, and studied me; oh, if only I had been born a barnacle, perhaps then I would have been etched permanently inside of him. Personally, I think he was a chimpanzee, and sexy, and I take his annelid fascination as a compliment -- a chimp of a man, he was.
The Distinct Heads ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As an underground dweller, an earthworm, I take my isolated existence seriously. I despise the light, blue is the very worst colour, the tall beings' distinct heads always in the frightful blue light. I don't mind green so much for I transform it into you, mush, my favourite fodder. My own father was a mother, my mother, my father, she and he and I would lose contact with another often following conception; it was a game we loved to play; it was only a game, I think; perhaps it explains a few things: hated of light, deep blues so far from browns and blacks _ a touch of grey is okay but don't go too far to blue and those dreadful distinct heads, just like father, just like mother.
Revelations ~~~~~~~~~~~ I found a vertical being the other day. They really aren't so tall; they really aren't so blue; their heads not so distinct. I found it in my garden; I was digging for weeds at the time of discovery. I investigated the body like it was a great archeological find, my garden the original archeological site. Accidentally, I threw up some earth upon my new friend -- I am far from a professional, you see. Some of my old friends stopped by to say hi. Jealously, I wanted to hide my new friend. But they had arrived too many, too fast, a vast fleet of tiny round warriors, and I was unprepared, an unsuspecting fool, a mere archeological tool. When my old comrades caught sight of my new comrade they delighted with cheers and slaps on my old wrinkled corpse, their slaps, body slams, cell slams to be precise. Outnumbered, more organized than I, working together like ants -- a far superior tool -- they took over. I watched for a while as they undertook alterations upon my new companion, modest modifications; but I didn't mind, I knew I'd be back; it was, after all, my time -- the transformation all mine.
Bonus Poem: Stupid Doors ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hate doors that won't close more than I hate doors that won't open; perhaps I just hate doors period
Peycho Kanev Liturgy ~~~~~~~ the circumstances of the survival, the circle called life, from me and you, the rotation and the way and everything else. one woman's name like a drill in my brain, one woman's face put a stone in the heart, one body- lost a long time ago. I open my eyes- in the TV, one creature in red clothes and feet and breasts everything: I am not there what about the truth? what about the way she was doing it? the meaning was somewhere within. ... and as my thoughts circle around one city old enough to be dead, my eyes fly on the streets. I found her the small body walks next to another in this rainy-wormy Monday. and I say its o.k. I know that it's going to be like this until the last woman. one thought one memory one room one bed one moment. the music is over the summer has burnt. I was a man somewhere there and then.
through the fence ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ fistfuls banging on my door and somebody scream: hate is love! hate is love! and after that is quiet again. I get up from the chair and go to the window through the fence I watch the insane men in the madhouse they play baseball. when I am sad the heaven dies a little bit.
black and red ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the roses colour slowly in red as the old men play chess in the park somewhere a child is dying somewhere somebody beats his wife somewhere in this world starts a war somewhere someone falls in love as the old men play chess in the park. the sun goes down one spider spins his web... ....the fly is buzzing. the old men put the chess pieces back in the box and go. the blood is dripping upon the roses red red redder.
bruto!bruto! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ he looked around for his new victim and saw her squat in the dark he approached silent and inescapable like death and attacked... she saw him approaching and did not do anything,did not moved she gave herself,allow him to tie her with barb wire and to take her to his cave... he wasn't expecting such a behavior he surrender crushed and awaiting his future with fear... now he is working every day,give her the whole salary,doesn't drink,doesn't smoke, doesn't hang with his boys,take care of the kids, generally he is exemplary beast. he even loves her a little. she is the new master of the world.
the secret ~~~~~~~~~~ everything is relevant everything is justified if you tear up the wings of a fly you dreams will hunt you like a mad bear everything is here now the night the music the quietness and I kneel and nod at the dark.
it's time ~~~~~~~~~ dark hidden within the dark quiet music empty soul fingers reaching toward the lips of the grave bones dancing among the stones cemetery dance and just one voice above to tell us where to go.


David Sparenberg


Fruited Madonna of the Earth
lays naked in a meadow of wild flowers.
A thousand and one honey bees
have alighted on her swollen abdomen.
Like fuzzy, pollinated angels
they gather in droning chant
to celebrate the coming of life.
(Her child will inherit sweetness
as a power over death.)

First milk, miniatured to resemble rivers of light,
is hotly sucked from heavy breasts
by a smiling sun.  Her
lips part, in panting breath, as
her womb, in mantic rapture, opens.

Another dream of God contracts, is pained with revelation,
and moistens the virgin beauty
of her fire-brown eyes.
Fingers dig and fists clench tight
compressing threads of grass.  Here
will grow an altar of vines.  And there
in leafy mounds
a pilgrim-shrine to venerate Our Lady
of purple grapes and gold-red apples.

19 Feb. 2009


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