YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

July 2011

VOL XIX, Issue 7, Number 219

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



   Karen Alkalay-Gut
      Admit it


   Justin Hyde 
      table b-7
      in a coffee shop submitting poems
      tuesday morning

   Penn Kemp
      Scaling the Colour Bar: for Ecophonics
      Regarding What is Given 
      "Xtra Text/ure"

   Joe Bussiere
      doctor fill
      the wings

   John Grey     
      RESTLESS NIGHTS AHEAD            

   Christopher Barnes
      Love Lust
      Love Machine
      Losing Game 
      Letting Go
      Moon Lore 


   Karen Alkalay-Gut


Karen Alkalay-Gut Admit it There was a reason you picked me up The size, shape, awakened an ache the heft felt true to your hand It’s only a book, so you might Give up in the middle Or the beginning of your browsing But admit it You’ll remember me
Justin Hyde table b-7 little boy chews on a napkin a fork a mustard packet dribbles down his chin there goes the salt shaker everything but his food. little girl has constructed a catapult with her spoon and three sausage links with each salvo of hash-browns she squeals like a pig having an orgasm. mother is a giant buddha shoving bite size chocolate muffins into her mouth with astounding alacrity. father has a john deere cap pulled down low over his face. like a legless conquistador he stares way off out the window.
in a coffee shop submitting poems excuse me sir are you busy? asks a kid with two chipped front teeth and a greasy red jacket. looks about fifteen shaved head c shaped scar carved into it. whats up? wants to know if i'll give him a ride downtown. i lie tell him i walked here. he mumbles something about a movie at the gas station for ten bucks could i maybe give him that? i tell him sit down what's really going on maybe i'll help. she's gonna run off with this bosnian guy if he doesn't get his girl a ring tonight. he's got forty needs fifty for a silver band at the pawn shop. he pulls two purses out of his coat says he grabbed them off women in the grocery store parking lot across the street but all he got was credit cards and a handful of change. totally fucked the whole goddamn popsicle, i think to myself. but no moralizing or sanctifying. i open my wallet give him the twenty. he hits the door at a trot leaving the purses and a very long knife in front of me.
tuesday morning my screen door is torn off the hinges out there a good thirty feet face-down in the dewy grass like a dead elephant. collateral damage from a slut who snuck into my heart through a back window then opened her legs for another man. my downstairs neighbor halfway runs to her car veering off into the grass to avoid the shrapnel of my cell-phone strewn across the sidewalk. my ex-wife pulls up with my four year old son. she doesn't ask any questions she's known me for twelve years. what happened to your door daddy? my son wants to know. my ex pulls away ivan and i walk out to the door squat down beside it. your hand daddy what happened? the first three knuckles are dried blood and the fingers are swollen up like pickles. i got frustrated sometimes daddy's get frustrated and do stupid things. be more careful, he says gently leaning down to kiss my hand.
Penn Kemp Scaling the Colour Bar: for Ecophonics Transchromaticized by love, by palette of constantly shifting grey shades, we intermittently glimpse vivid streaks, flash on the wing. Orioles everywhere this year: bright gleams searing the sky impeccably orange and black. A red-winged blackbird creaks like a clothesline in low gear. The creek it nests by murmurs bubbles of possibility, ignoring frothing eddies of sodden soap for the fun of funnelling spray. Spring’s annual utopia of hope collides with dystopian detritus, shoreline picketed by plastic. As parallel discontinuity, planes scar the blue with contrail puffs crisscrossing innocent as cumuli. Seemingly disparate elements catch the light and loudly soar co-mingling in cerulean expanse. Swimming in ether, Kerouac calls, “My witness is the empty sky.” Earth responds; river replies… “The ground that gives rise to the Word and the Word that articulates the encompassing ground are exactly parallel.”
Regarding What is Given The lyric requests reply in- quiring Why? Plaintive as a choir in plainsong. Empty as a needle eye and just as full. When a line stares at you too long, what is it demanding? Not enough said or too much down in black against white? What lies behind the lyric that lies so flatly on the page? Planes of undifferentiated disparity in two dimensions? Perception shrunk to the length and width of a white sheet for- getting depth for breadth. Breath forgotten, squeezed onto even surface. Plain but not simple. Simple but not easy. Eased into familiar complicity the iterative wanders through uninvestigated realms of possibility not yet verbalized in reams of rhyme and story told, spewing reasons all their own. A patter of cliché recurs at random when the pat lie surfaces all too conveniently, slips into place as if pattern might solve that old puzzle you need to articulate again and again. What springs to mind can be sometimes appropriate, sometimes appropriated. Mind the gap to grasp indifferent reminders of what might remain reflexive difference. A gift of involuntary association demands alert reaction to discern what could be learned, what spurned and what just is. Carried over. To the next poem where Why echoes down the row. Give that piece your best regards. Let it cross the line into icon. Or song. Words, they too can cut through skin, the many layers of meaning, to rest alive in the metaphor of beating beating heart, the rhythm of survival. Old lays, old lies surround and comfort, surround and drown the sound of a voice I wish to hear. I will not call though I have designs on you.. Space, does that convey the breadth, the spread, the clarity, the open heart? Where is the word that meets your measure? Not ecstatic, not elated, none that lift you out Expanse, Expansion, Enthusiasm. A chasm awaits. I’m going, going, not yet completely gone.
"Xtra Text/ure" Leet speak elite a leap bleats peek leave left level well enough alone own won one one State the Play / Play the State Take the aim out of game out of mine out of mind game Time out Time outa mind out of site outa sight Parallel worlds like lines life lines first on second life do not converge. * Select play play for Real for keeps ache Fine Reality Find Reality Refine Reality Define Reality Defy Reality Deafen Reality * Will will the real will the real add will the real avert will the real version will the real aversion will the real adverse chew will the real ah-choo! will the real virtue will the real virtue all will the real virtual you plea will the real virtual you plea sap will the real virtual you please apt will the real virtual you please a peer will the real virtual you please appear? * 'Ave a tar. Half a tar, half a tar onward... Emote, hero of the quest, you who represent an Aeon, an Age, a gent or lady texture, text sure. Simulacrum of self lagged to two dimensions to sell flag. Might a meme emit a moan? Emote a beam in the eye worth two in the sandbox. 'Ave a art.to halve a art * I may be a newb but no fanboi, I can choose the features of my face to interface. stealth spamming. Unconsoled by console, I navigate, manipulate animate the enemy animus emanate mate mate mate My furry prim rezzes ruthed drawing distance. I prefer slurl so TP me please. Here’s a hotfix: wanna cypher? I con if you can. Sim you later. In chunking, I proceed to process not state but coll- ections improv, improve and you thought I was camping? BRB. * No dupe bug, my bot’s no griefer either, out for exploit on easymode though out of Easter eggs. Bots don’t need biobreak. A bot’s a buff to avatar, automated to claim rare monsters for rare loot. But beware the softcore Care- bear Stare: emoticon o.O Chant until you’re buffed w00t, woot, woo, wewt! * Since the time of ship, my game’s been patched, propped and ported. No bug Blue Screen of Death or Crash to Desktop CTD but feature, this dynamic shard Persistent State whirled. Landmark ahoy! Ships gone gold. *
Joe Bussiere doctor fill the new day came ask the nurse there is no such thing so do not ask me there is suck a thing there is such things I see the things that you see this is not a proccess a funeral is not inherently serious television doctor I am no proffessional athlete, drunk the seats are not filled and neither is my tummy, mom so where does the money go all we talk about all we talk I don't worry now because if it happens then it does happen and if not I will not stop the work what is the work even drunken dumbshow can ease pain but are gardens phony? who cares doctors don't
the wings Imagine you are a hawk over the highway yeah yeah like let's be intimate friends. I find sound. I am noon. Australia, there on the map naked and free. This fake room creeps me out but it's not the room really it is my head that is the thing ...variable amounts of light .differen't pahhts diff'rent taipz and now I keep sneezing all the time
strate computer you vote babies every year (mixed race) Feel sorry for Cath though. LEAVE THEM ALONE she drinks straight
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.
Christopher Barnes Love Lust He mastered Able-bodied soft soaping. Smitten readiness In the heart stunt was witless In my rebut. I croak interfering with hoots. A legion, dismantled dunes. The idoliser is triumphal For the animation of his flame. But I had to incite it solo.
Love Machine The he-mannish insurrectionist’s a fribble Namby-pamby pullback From any burden. A Johnny on the spot purpose To be well-thought-of by mistresses But no bloody running momentum. Peek in the possibleness You’ll be treasured for flattery. Steam’s not light-legged in your sheets. You shut off, wrapped in Marx, Thumbs down In a spurious disheartening knockoff Of the alienated immunity of porn.
Losing Game Flame-shot by entanglement Or a side-glance You chasm flaws – Riven to size a disheartening self. I huckster the alley. You grasp what moulds a bulging purse Boxed in by a hosanna of tills. Cold comforted. Labouring the shit drift, Backhoe is what you do. Pitiful goings-on. We back scratch the trick of deference, Listlessly docile to “where it’s at”.
Letting Go Dawn’s look had dissolving views, Disownment of an evasive trace. Oxytocin* unpinked her arm - the foetus should expect a pyre. She deflates the doorbell Emboxed by the transom, Soft-nothinged as breath catches fill themselves. In balled-up hand writing, “Dear Sam,” Shoved kerbward Rolls to a girlish-days doll… *drug that induces an abortion
Moon Lore Bounce-black hair on his impassible face. Footboard screaks. Swing-arm lamp exalts, dwindles, wriggling along the wall, a dismal backdrop for unsolved liars. Bounce-black hair on his impassible face. A cistern's splashed at arms length, swarms, drowsiness baiting me - disappearing on its inevitable swash.
Milksop Cushioner of the fagged out brow, puffer for the depthless ego, I'm the tow-for-a-cent esteemer, the queen who melts on you. You spoil to expire on teats but I shake semen, bent to be the slackwitted errand boy of backup needs. (Spitting distance from a kiss, you implicate nervy intentions.) Violate my integrity: looker, liar, designer, little boy. The battle-axe in me cold-creeps, stuffs you with sulks.


Karen Alkalay-Gut


It wasn’t all bad

There was something fine 
in having a little fire of your own
A little hearth to return to

On your own even in a crowd

You and your cigarette,
leaning over a rail

or the mutual inclination
of two strangers
toward a single match

or the man at the counter -
the port in the storm -
‘gimme a pack of marlboros’
‘crazy weather we’re having,
‘here’s your change.’

It has nothing to do with smoking

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

YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2011 by 
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