YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

May 2011

VOL XIX, Issue 5, Number 217

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



   Dave Shortt
      The Sleep Whoever Sleeps Toys With Distant Interests   


   Ricky Garni

   Lori A. May
      "Last Kiss"
      "A Hot Debate"
      "Port aux Basques"

   Daniel Gallik
      Same Old Song
      Promote The General Welfare
      No Waste Of Time

   John Grey     
      RESTLESS NIGHTS AHEAD            

   Francesca Castaño
      Shaking Loose the Blues

Post Scriptum

   Dave Shortt


Dave Shortt

The Sleep Whoever Sleeps Toys With Distant Interests   

remember memoriless,
without special relative,
what is homogeneous, old trees
dream of running around their circumferences
to stay warm
(very clean houses
without owls,
food everywhere exposed in the rooms
a caged bird saying
'we love hollywood,
in the flesh
wouldn't be the same'

a native land where
laws were born
jaws were born to nod
off under
slack vertebrae, spine sure
til hurricanes blow
roofs off but
'we left there long ago'
returning to debt
every move a debt, or
smell the air
along the way, the children
endow each flower with
prevention or
into puberty's silences

travelling west, some hours
were gained, the sun
collaborating with jets sowing
the sky with deals
to create this frontier of
varying mass, where
the sunset's colors tell
who's younger, who's older, whether
a kid'll happen along
resetting the clocks before deciding:
should it compel deer or
leave them alone?

every word a mannerism
nowhere near a bath in the river,
animals consumed by appearance
let furs stiffen,
surface runoff from flash storms
flows into the first layer
of a new mountain range

(something barely human can still be suggested
beyond the formalism of violence & war)

things slow down into
permanent alliances with 'non-renewable'
resources & bodies,
tons of motor vehicles get flagged through,
excavated pipes deviating ornery weather
are just spit
shining the antiques

the moon was made an icon
of religious wars,
but in company of
a simple supper
no spacecraft or alphabetical order
or abortion
would use it for an additive,
an extra,
so it's nothing unless
it's a stone roughening the function
of a kidney

the million-&-nth zen patriarch
slipped into her womb
'a force field in want of nothing,'
down the white tunnel
knew he'd be evicted or
he wouldn't've,
clot hiding immortal wave functions
galvanizes her mama dharma, can it
swing in the trees?
(it didn't seem planned that way
it was just how they met)

radios break morning
with descriptions of violent & soothing dreams,
fade to
sound of crickets continuing all day,
in alarm

Ricky Garni DAYDREAM BELIEVER The tree I see is a birch tree projected onto a pink wall and it is waving in the wind. I know that if I try to climb it I will fall down once I am half way up because you can't climb on a tree that is projected onto a wall, you will fall down, once you tell yourself I can't climb on a tree that is projected onto a wall, about half way up the tree, and therefore you can't even say it's a birch tree, but you can say that it is windy--the birch trees say that all the time, and you can say you fell down, if you don't believe in trees when you fall down like so, like the birch tree that I fell down from I think it was your fault really, if you can hear me, you are definitely guilty and you are definitely a birch tree.
CANDLES People put candles on tables and light them and then eat dinner. They used to place to very large candles on the table. There was one on each end. Now they put 20 candles on the table. Or more. They don't pay attention and sometimes the tablecloth and linen catches on fire and blazes throughout the room and eventually burns down everything including the old photographs and love letters that contained things like I Love You yes they did they burned until there was absolutely nothing left to burn except air. Everyone thinks it was better when people put two candles on tables and lit them and then had dinner. And there were more things. And it was also darker. Everybody that is still alive, yes. They say yes, more things, and it was better and darker.
THE FOUR SEASONS So close to winter and so deep into autumn, I think of the word "Renée": a difficult word to spell at first, and a difficult word to pronounce if you have only read it. No -Michael Lookofsky- of difficulty to pronounce, but difficult to pronounce, nevertheless. This deep in autumn I want winter to go away. Already. That's why I say Renée. Just walk away, Renée, I say. A aching melody in the pop rock milieu. Michael Lookofsky: please tell me to walk away, said Renée. Michael Lookofsky said Walk Away, Renée. Michael Lookofsky wrote Walk Away, Renée. His hands shook so badly in the studio that he could barely play Walk Away, Renée . There she was, Renée, looking at him and smiling. The studio was dark and she was smiling and tall and blonde. And blonde and smiling and tall. Michael Lookofsky really didn’t want Renée to walk away. I know you love someone else, Michael thought, but what could he say? Please stay, Renée. Please stay. Must you go? Don't walk away. And then he changed his mind. How I wish winter, not Renée, would walk away!
PIZZA What do I think of when I think of pizza? I think that it is fulfilling and wonderful if you don't eat it too much. If you wait for months, or even years, you eat pizza and it's like hearing the wind and seeing nothing. You look towards the left: there is nothing; you look towards the right; there is nothing. And then you look towards the horizon WAIT you see a saint coming towards you, ever so slowly, bathed in a pearly light. The closer he comes the more you feel his warmth and goodness; it coats you in its celestial beauty, Soon, but not as soon as you might think, he is close enough to touch, and it is then that he extends his hand towards you. No, it does not have a pizza in it; he is the pizza. He smiles, hot peppers and pepperoni, anchovies and salami, crinkly onions turn upwards. At which point you have to decide: do I eat? If I do, what will it cost me, in the long run? Yes, you say, I do think I will eat this pizza. It will be satisfying and delicious. And I will have done the right thing, and so will have he. After all, every man is just a man, outside, waiting to do something new, and every saint is really just a man inside, waiting to do something new, each holding out his hand towards the other, each glowing in celestial light, wondering what to do when they are close enough to touch it has been so long.
NOTHING IS WRONG History is so much more beautiful when you are a baby. Ben Franklin: flew a kite: that's all you need to know. Now you like Ben Franklin. Jesus said: Do you know how tiny a mustard seed is? It's tinier than your pinky. Jesus was funny. Napoleon said: My muscles are big. Were they? That's enough for today. Tomorrow let's go outside and see the sun. It is bright and shiny like a ball of something. It goes everywhere and it doesn't rain. If it did something would be wrong.
Lori A. May "Last Kiss" She doesn't have the strength to love him. Even now, before their breaths intermingle in a second date kiss, she feels herself slipping away. It is enough of a challenge to trust in the self, never mind another. Moist breath lingers against the humidity of summer's night; intoxicating heat stirs a place between sleep and dream, wake and reality. He gives her life, exhaling his into hers, hoping this moment will resuscitate a memory too pure to let slip from her lips. Stars glimmer down in spotlight cueing opportunity on this stage. His thumb whispers against her ear, calling out her name into the darkness. She has heard it before. The chitter chatter of night creatures in the playground of June ground her, comfort her against their betrayal. This is the place where decisions are made, where the tick of time takes a toll measuring consequence in a proactive stance. Sly solstice rolls through like liquid, delicate and deceptive, widening space and time, closing the distance between lovers. The hush against breath, the drumming beat keeping time, she weighs possibilities in the split of a second, on this second date kiss. Heat shivers through her skin blending sweet summer sweat with saltiness. He wants to tell her it's just a kiss. Cross-town church bells ring in twelves, echoing heartbeats abruptly closing the minute. His lips find a home against hers as she accepts their parting ways, the moment sliding down beside her as her mind is infinitely set. He takes life from her, stealing her breath into his, knowing he is now a step behind darkness as he feels her slipping away on this sultry summer eve. Years of contradiction formulate her argument. She wants to love him, but she hasn't the strength.
"A Hot Debate" When she preaches, she is never at a loss for words, knowing which passages to quote to validate her theories. She praises Paul and John and sometimes Jesus, but mostly she just assigns her belief to the pages, clinging to her relationship with Him, keeping the faith that some day she will be at peace. But today, like any other, the verses don't do me any good. I try to tell her the rent is due or the car broke down and she nods, as usual, with a glimmer of hope in her eye, as though she is saying that's the way it's supposed to be. I ask her if she loves me and she says she loves all God's children, as does He, and I wish it were the seventies again so I wouldn't feel so bad about wanting to light a match. Then I think of Gutenberg and Salinger and Steinbeck, too, and regret my silent wish to silence her pages. The pages aren't hers though, and the fire pit wouldn't solve anything as Jacob and Wilhelm could share a grim tale. After the fire, the memory sticks and words that come to life are never really bound between the covers. I know better. But today, like any other, her words are ironic. She knows them and quotes them, but they aren't even hers. I want to tell Milton this is not her Reason, but regurgitated thoughts she remembers because she believes her intellect is not free.
"Port aux Basques" The ferryboat is coming; she comes from away. From away she comes, settles into Port aux Basques, sets free the seamen and wayward, the travelers; brings home the Doyles and MacDougalls brings home the boys and bouys. A new found land, a 'scape like no other, an escape to understand. The ferryboat comes and goes, but the folk always come home. Into Port aux Basques she settles, brings home the Doyles and MacDougalls brings home the boys and bouys.
Daniel Gallik Same Old Song My sweet new, new love, Nancy & I attended our kid's ensemble & choir concert this evening. I got to meet my ex-wive's new boyfriend. My ex-father-in-law has always been sweet to me. I won't comment on my ex's mother. The concert was dedicated to a kid who is battling cancer. Ex's mother gave a check. I didn't.
Promote The General Welfare Irv got a call. This lady from this church was telling him no, that they didn't have money for obese people to get help. That quote, "These are tough times to find money for them." Unquote. Irv laughed at the lady over the phone. Asked, "Guess the fatsoes need less help cause they're fat? That maybe they'll get thin if they have no money?" The lady quipped, "Well!" And they both left it at that.
Outlets She yelled at the kids. They weren't even hers. Told Ohio Edison they were wrong on their meter reading. Said her divorced hubby had ringworm once. Questioned her current hubby, you don't know how to hug me, do you? Cried a lot about famine. Ate way too much after supper. Said, I drink a beer a day. When really, she drank much more. Her doctor told her what to do. She told her pastor that she was going to hell. He winced, said, I don't know.
No Waste Of Time "This seems to be a sunny, quiet area of the house. But why are the lights on?" She did not bat an eye, said, "This is where I sleep during the day." He asked, "Which means you need your rest?" She smiled. "I am wondering if I am made for you," he laughed. She said she was happy right now, but maybe she needed to laugh more. He took her number, said, "It was nice meeting you, you just so relaxed."
John Grey EXPRESSIONLESS So it is my job - to find the expression in expressionless, to scan the face reading the magazine to see if anything in words on paper can get through as a twitch of the nose, a widening of an eye. Later, when she moves, I will closely examine the dent left in the sofa cushion, like a forensic scientist. Does a deep dimple imply happiness or sadness? The books on the subject are unclear. And so to the kettle though I sometimes read too much into its shrill whistle, ferocious head of steam. But her fingers on the handle, that's a clue. Does she flinch at the heat or welcome it into her flesh? Now, it's time for her to sip and her mouth, surely, cannot be solely apathetic when pressed to swallow. Are those welcoming lips? Is that a tongue that condemns all coffee to its stomach grave? "Would you like a cup?" she asks me. So she expects me to endorse her indifference. Then is my "no" my way of saying "yes" to her.
RONNIE BACK FROM IRAQ He's not back until he's stripped naked and diving head first into the lake. He's not home until he's swum across to the other side. The hugs, the kisses, at the airport are mere prelude. Even the sight of his bed, his pennants, his posters, is one more stepping stone to his true return. At rest on the opposite bank, he looks back across the rippling surface. "Come on in America," he says, "The water's fine." Sure, a kid drowned here once but no country ever did.
RESTLESS NIGHTS AHEAD sleep my head won't be joining you it's hanging cock-eyed from a bough today we learned lynching in the deep south no not how to lynch but what an evil flicked-up place this country was back in the nineteen twenties if you were black and from Mississippi and looked twice at a white girl I can't help but imagine what it must be like to be dead and swinging by the neck while an angry mob below cheered you to your grave so how can I sleep and then I can't avoid being in the heads of that blood-thirsty crowd celebrating like crazy when the life bucks clear out of another human being so how can I sleep I wish I'd never heard of lynching in the deep south either that or I wish I never had to sleep
TWILIGHT OF THE DEAD The dead, days pass, then years, even more dead, approaching nadir with the lengthening times between visits to the grave. It's all this living's fault. The dogwood is in bloom. Wildflowers are so gaudy in the fields. Must pick one in hopes the ones who see me blossom pluck me. I'm tired of death, that's my problem. I've no longer the will to hunker down at the gravesite, announce my memories intact with a wet eye and a handful of flowers. Living people come to my door and even the strangers among them are more welcoming than bodies buried six feet below. I'd rather tell a kid why I don’t want to buy a magazine subscription then talk forever in the past tense. Even the dead, I'm sure, would agree that they don't belong. If they had hands and matches, they'd burn the photographs, incinerate the letters. If they'd the will, the reasoning, they'd get inside my head and empty out all traces of themselves. Those wildflowers, they're everywhere. Why should I bring them to the ones who have no use for them. It's a short life and existence counts for everything. So forgive me if I touch myself just to prove that I can do it. Or I get out in a crowd because there's breathing going on.
Francesca Castaño Poem We believe in the religion of love when love has no religion. History goes on determinedly disobedient of countless anxieties. Such a river of lives under the water of what remains invisible. But we search for Radiance too trying to locate the love where in.
Shaking Loose the Blues To Karen I often envision you as a tree, dense and substantial. Hands spreading like roots, swimming against tides. Sustaining castles with clenched fists that build words. Removing thorns with patient fingertips that collect dreams. Holding out against the obvious, climbing up a hill and down again. Writing with persistent wit onto a lined manuscript. Jumping over metric certainties, beholding the breath of affliction. Filling the cup as it spills down; steadily shaking loose the blues.
Smoke One thinks about little other than his own complaints, seldom determined by rational understanding. One rambles among abstract fires now illuminating, now growing somehow mechanical. One survives labouring among the crowds, absent-minded and dreamy. One imagines a little chrysanthemum and sees death ahead, persistent. One hopes for the miracle of the day, stripping the skin of innocence, vulnerable. One shifts the focus from the implacable to the useless, constantly swallowing. One ponders, rushing to get somewhere within the emptiness of telephone wires, burning condensating, evaporating into smoke, consumed by patience. One lives like a solar arrow, flying past windows like music.


Dave Shortt


the stars burn as sugar,
winter is stuck facing the stomach
& bloodstream,
the dinosaur moon
grazes the sky in
one uniform chew,
time is all that heats its path
across eyes ancient in carbohydrates
endocrine sunrises stored in animal tissues
illumine inorganic opacity
of night
with energy, til tomorrow
catalyzes new between-meal insight
gutache in which cloudcover
depresses earth's potential to ingest
stamina, pass it on in uninterrupted momentum
to a bear or tree
icebergs of fats are mooring
hands tremoring like sails
voyaging on from
peachskin waters barely broken
by the body swimming
in its secretions

sluggish ego
enters vascular systems of society
from its gastric past
& chyme of forming galaxies

sweet surges desire,
'meteor non-assimilation'
(guesses the soul),
brotherly in its metabolic reserves,
scientifically open
to the Craw
a celestial event is craving consciousness
before swinging away from
trace metal moods,
its glucose geodetic
weighs on planetary inducements
(molten bands & hyped colors)
to alcoholism & sleep
oozing soil where
a cane cutter's machete works the rows,
up & down monotonously, autonomously
hearts accept insulin,
an arcanum
in the circulation of clotted wealth

starched heightened feelings
crash with a profit of fatigue,
love may yet over-
achieve a fasting spirit
charging movement
 along an electrolyte route,
in the heat of work
the gland of molar smiles
is a dehydrating battery
imagine desserts every night
in different locations,
of fructose or café au lait
a waterlogged & gullied
isthmus between candylands &
prickly pear deserts
in a hyperactive act,
reaching down through the solar plexus
(the sun slipping on that pulley)
& with both hands tightening the Islets of Langerhans
 like bolts

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these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

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