YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

January 2012

VOL XX, Issue 1, Number 225

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

   Bob Ezergailis

   Len Kuntz
      All of My Favorite Colors
      Torch Song

   Anthony Nannetti
      The Riverhead

   Christopher Barnes

   Gary J. Shipley 

   Michael D. Brown
      Swan Lake 
      Taking a constitutional

   Michael Ceraolo
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #12
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #32
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #38
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #41
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #55
      Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #109


   Boghos Artinian 


David Sparenberg

On a late December afternoon, with outer world somber and withdrawn, one conceives that

the only way to give definition to a poem—convinced that the utterance moans piteously if beautiful 
or cries out in tortured protest over time and parting from one feeling in afterward of flight and drowning—that
the only way open to flesh and wound of heartache is to break the forest into trees and the worded lines into short
suspended pieces—like
plucking feathers patiently from wings of blackbirds or pulling petals from the soft self-holding of a sacrificial 
scarlet flower.
On a late December afternoon, the sun possessed by leaden darkness and landscape quiet under chilly shadows, one
conceives that
the only way to speak of life at all is to begin backward with a Tango Tree in autumn when
leaf colors are catching fire because of coldness and the winds bring steadily a lovely torment between earth 
and emptiness: winter’s promise.  On
one – hand - there
is love the messiah and on the other death the fated.  Only both hands are forever eager to subdue in union—only 
now they are prayer, now they are wrestling.  Ah—and…
the only
way to
speak of
this is
one by
one or
short of
breath and
poem burns
into kisses
deep (oh—oh))
palpitation of the spirit”*
David Sparenberg

30 December 2011
*Antonino Machado 

Bob Ezergailis

The way it feels,
to be tossed 
onto a heap 
of decomposing corpses,
unable to move,
or to utter a sound,
but still alive. 

No one hears
anything you say,
and every effort
to break free
has you sinking
deeper and deeper
into a sea of dead flesh.

The whisperings 
of all of your enemies,
crawl along the surfaces
of your skin,
insects entering your orifices
and as you try to spit them out,
they suffocate with little sounds.

You crawl towards morning,
pushing aside blankets of earth,
splitting open the darkness,
watching for signs of life
as the faces melt away,
candle wax melting in the flames
of your eyes.

251010B Ripping the shutters from your eyes, to let the blinding light enter. Battering hard questions against the walls of the skull, until it throbs painfully, and something breaks down spilling the grey porridge from your bowl as if any of your thoughts ever had any significance. They litter the floor, in between spatters of blood, a vomit of ideals, that you coughed up leaving nothing recognizable other than boot prints seeking something to kick at, providing the punishment for guessing when there are no answers to memorize and repeat. It was always a would be lover who led you into the trap, denying you any real comfort for your loneliness, always taking more than you could ever give, then drinking your blood and swallowing the last of your wafer thin flesh while putting out the candles you had so carefully lit. The sleepless night renews its relentless attack, gouging at the hollow places where you once kept vigil, giving out unwanted blessings, to anyone who came along with the slightest promise of information, leading to any worthwhile plan for a quick escape from mediocrity and pastimes. It was too late, immediately following it was too early. They always capture one where there is no time, somewhere in between pulling everything down, that tries to rise up, breaking anything that bravely refuses to submit to failure. Leaves a muffled scream to be heard for centuries, in between the deafening sounds of endless armies of marching feet, ceaseless volleys of guns, leaving nothing much of anything for anyone to hide behind, everything having fallen between this and the other side of that no man’s land of endless deceptions and lies.
011110A Wings of demons fluttering among gold leaf Waving fingers of wind and the bared limbs of trees. Battered faded flags, and torn red pennants. The ground growing cold, strewn with the fallen. Winter will send angels to cover them with white wings.
031110A Waiting for answers, haunted by the one fact that anyone can become dead bones while waiting for answers. The desire to keep digging for answers makes an empty hole large enough to bury a man.
031110B I looked for you everywhere, never knowing who you were. I left too early, I came too late. There were no introductions, and there was no letter in the mail. Everything I knew had failed. I followed the rumors that always took me further but never brought me near. I was told there was a great mystery, but found only an ugly device between the boredom and fiction. I hate to look into mirrors, afraid I might see what was spared from being seen by your eyes. I don’t know where the others have gone, looking for something better, knowing I have become much worse. I meet all the lucky people, who never have any luck to spare, and none of them know you. Seems it ends that way, and the words are the ghosts of the chance that never came.
031110C When you were young you believed in what proved untrue. When you were old you failed to believe in what proved true. In between there were exaggerated rumors that something could be done.
031110D If one looks for angels to take them to heaven, they look for a way to die. You told me you were the angel, I should hold in my arms, but I knew it was a lie. I would rather see the devil somewhere in your eyes, than be looking for a way to die. I want to know you in that night of never having dreamt that we could go so far and high.
Len Kuntz Lit On Wednesday I wrote you a poem. It was honest and sweet and would have made you smile. I described how shy you were those first few talks. I mentioned your eyes quite a bit, the way their color shifts in the light, shimmering when wet. I even admitted how much I miss you as well as some of the things I’d do just to hear your voice, smell your hair, feel your skin. But by the time I got to the last word the paper combusted, alarms when off, and I sat there while sprinklers doused every stitch of this room. I had a hard time explaining it to the firemen. I had a hard time explaining it.
Alchemy You are turning inside me, coiling and unfurling the way a fetus might if it was wearing razors. A few more weeks of this and I’ll have it mastered. I’m only tin now, but soon, very soon, I’ll make myself steel.
All of My Favorite Colors Yellow ropes my neck. Black beats me blue. Green smothers with a pillow. Brown flings broken bits of dirt inside my eyes. White wants to cut me. Orange is shooting acid. Purple punches hard. Gray has a slingshot. And, red, well, red has had enough and cuts my heart out with a butter knife.
Torch Song She is trying to open me up, rip off the hinges and root around, scrape through the dim ether that inhabits who I am or who she thinks I am. We need more light to do this proper. We need kerosene and matches. Yes, a good old fashioned torching.
Intuition Beneath the couch cushions I find your torn tickets and a receipt for salted clams. It doesn’t take much to end blades whirling in the air, walls ready to collect blood splatters. Even your old cat looks frightened.
Anthony Nannetti The Riverhead Brave Hasdrubal, poised to awaken from an elemental enervation or death, sees first the monkey bread of the baobab tree. He conjures a broadbill bending to the spray where pangolins bray to hear themselves above the current and emerges at the riverhead, neither squama nor flesh, without legions to command.
Christopher Barnes SEA GRAVE Dragging a gulp - lampblack; no beacon bobs to snuffed-out eyes.
THE STATE FACTION In a deadlocked train de luxe I crooked clear of The Specialist. I wouldn't absorb his crushed despair. He knew we were floored at the preambling boom of hobnails. "Visa," I breathed, "set off, scutter!" I tacked his something-or-nothing elbows, hinged at the vistaed door. Then the station shattered, lock, stock and barrel. A backdoor crash-pop-slam - eight sleeping compartments dovetailing us. A rattling crackle. "Guess who's behind this?" "A Lord of Creation in the call centre has pressed out a maxim pretending to be The Acolytes of Terror."
THE ASSASSIN She's cryptoanylitic, neck bent over ruffled-silk animal heat, (rip-cord, hook, eye, combination lock, knotty bliss) flip-flops the awning from their bed into his parachute. In a twinkling death-deal he quicksilvers to a splatter. She spirals triumphantly, a golden-dyed head, purrs an obsolete lyric remindful of love, warps and guides a vanishing trick into curly clouds.
THE PROTECTOR HERO OF COMICS A bleeding-hearted galactic circle orgasms a brass-backboned fetishist the fall-out to shelter us all. * Grasper of muscle brochures (he has impertinence for bobby soxers) and pulp serials, he's nylon-crotched, flashier than gold. Colourably he'll riddle the foe (of his dollar-dyed oasis) with an inexplicable catch-fire liquid or skim an atomiser torpedo to neutri-blast shaking fists in a fizzle of Sure For Men. Clap-clap-clap-clap and magnifications for the he-hero in freedom-web tights.
THE BELL METAL CAGE MUTANT Prime-time dazzle sun chars me where I opt. My torso invokes dare-devilish jailbird garb. No ballistic'll have over 50% longshot at slugging me. I bask in surveillance a soft spot for slant wind on firing lines, vertebral bars. Not a treecreeper doodle-dooing, this swing doesn't woo me. Whispered mentions and inaccessibility are mine.
THE 'LET US' MASS Pastor This is the propagation alterpiece, newfangled. Inhale a canticle exalting our Lord. Between acts stake out steps backwards to the tabernacle. A Geneisis-delivered lad, HIS endowment to us induces the faithful - rumba of the impotent nativity shadowed by the infertile chorale. Congregation Bygone we were quids in, no Easy Street interminable. Eyes on the inner we sit tight. Our opening's a spare day - an other-worldly cell levitated in prayer-heated miasma.
Gary J. Shipley THIS HORSE-DRAWN RIBCAGE Their theology turned into an operating room With nimble interns suffering disorders of blood And fingernails releasing The tendon of your religious clubfoot. This is a history of leeched contaminations Mass-produced in the lubricants of sleep. absorbed in our room full of our heads shot up with Oslo gloom our interiors transformed into sweat and hair. Your face was always a banal slogan of permanence. I can see the lightbulb wear your death like a burka. Your corpse is the colour to be seen in. The air is inflatable and so We buried all our children (deep) in the future we didn’t want. There are some that blink inside the rooms they made blinking And this is their way of blurring the shapes they do not trust. The eggs we sat on hatched such drowsy machines So full up with dough and fatigue They reminded us of the days when reality was a science. So I became methodical with the lacquer on your hair The black eyes ashtrays The mouth slaughtered lipstick The voice a mongrel incantation And me an amateur gynaecologist wrist-deep in sadistic rumours. The faces were insects The newspapers were anti-freeze The clouds were holes The traffic was mould The wife was flies The street was dawn The gore was smiling
ANTISEPTIC GROPING This garnish of rattlesnakes and child porn just don’t fizz like it used to. And so instead I watch horses gallop in the white rot of the sea, their gimped mouths boiling spores, and listen to my bacterial solipsism yapping after distant uniforms of smoke. All my proto-perspectives peddle in murder and leave their murky souvenirs like apologetic fizzlings of cramp in formulaic displays for others to find and untangle into me. A eunuch looks over his priapic merchandise And sees only the geometry of an exorcism Repeated over into his embalmed intimates. And then back to what I know: the protocols of women tilted back and fucked in the throat, their white faces bleeding rendezvous of black floodwater.
EMBRYO SLAB Stink of derelict hungers Bleached inside my niggles Develops me an institutional swagger. They told us we were corruptions of 3-D Pulling confessions from me – Questions. Can death be anything but the presence or absence of light? Are my imperfections chic enough to poison your womb? And what is the life expectancy of this continual act of heroism? The holes were our versions of transit, The growling cut-lines piecing us together In the sartorial fungus of matrimony and all Our babies tiny catastrophes of oxygen.
INVERTED ASPHYXIATION There’s always someone wanting a manicure, here now for this orphaned metal, and her contents exceeding the span of my gloved hands. Binging on the relics of her glamour, sexualised with screwdrivers, my immune system’s a claw of dismantled syntax. It’s only a year since the morning turned her to soot and rustled mummified banquets from her gawping mouth, and if I look away I’ll never look back, so I’ll just keep breathing out till the nails through her hands are dry.
Michael D. Brown Swan Lake Hunting often haunting, You seek what you do not know -Intuition the only sure voice… You hunt, others hunt you: you seek You are sought. Night unveils what the day Conceals: we are seldom what we appear to be… Is the swan more beautiful than the woman, Or the woman more beautiful than the swan? Some curses, a blessing: some blessings, a curse. White swan by day, the night transforms every woman discarding the mask every swan wears: the white feathers, angel wings: - Concentric circles in the water, -halos from the reflection, of the lovers’ swan lake.
Taking a constitutional The rush of bees forming a swarm Hum in chorus, the arrangement close to classical music, a symphony I cannot identify: I move slowly without Disturbing leaves liberating their stems from the territorial nature of trees: I belong here nothing in nature interferes with my claim: animals welcome me to the community as a committee, as a neighborhood watch: -you can never be too careful with people…
911 For the victims and their families The screams are not silent In the terror of memories past; But it is never only the past, There are days that take on life in its own infamy Reports come to make news undesirable forever. Death separates itself from life As if they never were related, as a beginning, As an end: Making sense of it all escapes every explanation That the heart accepts as rational. Every new day, in the wake of this day, laments, In hope…
Michael Ceraolo Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #12 When I do see the clock that tells the time I give thanks that the game can last all night, That the clock does not dictate its prime When a game itself is tighter than tight. Extra innings march along one by one, When oh when will this game ever be won? Both are playing for the game-winning score: Every pitch fraught with dramatic tension, Special strategies to plate one run more, Those left of the crowd paying attention And doing little things to keep from sleep As our team tries hard to avoid the sweep. But the game is lost: failings on defense; I and the rest of the crowd beat it hence.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #32 If I survive the season's closing day When that churl Death the fields with dust shall cover, And shalt by fortune once more re-survey These poor rude lines of a baseball lover, Maybe they will have the bettering of time And not be exceeded by every pen, And not have the forcing of any rhyme, And I'll be among the happier men. But if the poems do not improve with age, That will not keep me from the game's next page, For all the joy that to me it has brought, All the times it has stimulated thought; Even though some poets better may prove That won't change a thing of the game I love.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #38 How can my Muse want subject to invent, While the game lives and pours into my verse Its own sweet argument, too excellent For vulgar cable networks to rehearse? I give thanks to the game if aught in me Worthy perusal stands in the game's sight; For who's so dumb that can't write about thee When all of the game gives invention light? Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth Than those old nine which rhymers invocate; Not least among many things bringing forth Eternal numbers to outlive long date. If my slight Muse do please these curious days, The pain's mine, but the game's shall be the praise.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #41 Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits That are sanctioned within the game itself; One, the stolen base, speed full well befits, A piece from the pitcher's and catcher's self. But not speed alone allows it to be won: Beauteous is the art that is assailed When failed at by any mother's son Or daughter, when the defense has prevailed. But ah! when the attempt is a success, Experience, and/or the speed of youth Slides safely away from the tag's access, A thing of beauty that is also truth. A steal's beauty is tempting to thee: The game's legitimate larceny.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #55 Not marble nor the gilded monuments Of stars shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone, besmirched with sluttish time. When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And destroy all stadiums' masonry, It will still be one of the world's concerns, The living record of your memory. Against all the other activity Stands the game; your praise shall find every room, Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom. Till the judgement that one day will arise, You live on, and dwell in your lovers' eyes.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #109 O, never say that I was false of heart, Though absence seemed my flame to qualify, And many a night I did so depart From the game's sight; of that I cannot lie. But I always, as if pre-arranged, Return to the game again and again, In time before my sanity's exchanged, Despite the sight of its promoters' stain. Hundreds of years the game's nature has reigned, Seemingly in spite of its ruling brood, With good qualities that cannot be feigned, With a certain something for every mood. for no sport in the universe I call My favorite, save this game of baseball.


Boghos Artinian 


The miter, the turban, the cap and the gown
Are not the implements of a circus clown;
They are the universal passports
To all earthly hurdles and to all earthly ports!
As in histocompatibility microscopic
They are for sociocompatibility macroscopic;
To antigens that coat the membranes of a cell
Headgear and gowns are the perfect parallel !

All selections are 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 - 2012 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.

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