YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

August 1999

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Martin Zurla; Rita Stilli; Milan Georges Djordjevitch; Michael Collings

ISSN 1480-6401


         Excerpt from Fred Bason's Diary 1933


         the hellraiser who wrote poems about clouds
         big cats
         Us lazy slobs
         OFF A BODY
         Mister Loos
         MONODRAMATICS, 11
      C.E. CHAFFIN
         To My Manic Self
         What the Swami Said
         The Highwayman*         _italics_
         Show Me the Way Back
         Searching Within
         The Reader
         A day in the life of Coogan by the way of poetry.
         "Oh Heavenly Father"
         In the Garden
         The Glass Hat
         Saturday Afternoon croon
         seeing things for the first time
         Thinking of You
         My Ignorance
         Can We Ever See?
         Ask Me No Questions
      KEN POBO
         Fugue (8)
         Fugue (14)
         A Cracked Statuette
         Proud  Heartworm 
         The Fragrance of Mignonette


         "The Weed."


   Excerp from Fred Bason's Diary, 1933:
      I am seated at this desk doing my diary and at a loss quite what to
   record.  Baroness Orcy is coming to tea next week--but then again she
   may not--engagements permitting.  I recall Madame Tetrazzini, the old
   girl with a canary voice, writing me once, 'Engagements permitting, I 
   will sign your photograph of myself at three precisely'.  And my reply:
   'Engagements permitting, I'll be there at three absolutely'.  And when
   I got there she wasn't there.  She's been to wash her hands!  Well,
   even the famous have to do that.
      As I await customers (if any) I glance at the shelves.  No Shakespeare!
   Not a single volume.  Did I ought to be ashamed?  I feel that most folks
   get their bellyful of Scott, Shakespeare and Wordsworth at school, that
   it's not for me to tempt them with more.  The shelves look rather untidy
   and there are gaps, but I made the gaps myself to lead folks to think
   all the gaps are recent sells and they are just in time or the lot will
   be gone.  I do not care for the bookshops with tightly packed shelves
   like a line of soldiers.  Gaps and odd sizes lead to a friendly
   atmosphere and that's what a shop like mine needs--warmth.  I always
   smile and welcome a client.  I do not say, "What do you want?" but
   "Can I be of help?"  It means the same but it's nicer.
      There's a nice row of Richard Jefferies.  No one in Comberwell	
   will buy them, but I think Bowes and Bowes, of Cambridge, will jump
   at them.  I see six by Mrs. H. Ward and two by Mrs. H. Wood.  They
   are only 6d each (6s edition) and will not be there long.
      Did I tell you the woman who offered to scrub my floors and shake 
   my one mat in exchange for R. Keable's Simon Called Peter?  I let
   her.  It had not been scrubbed for weeks and weeks.  2s the book.
   I got a nice clean shop for 2s.  Both of us satisfied.  Hope she 
   calls again.
      My little shop is in New Church Road, Camberwell, S.E.5.  It is
   ten minutes walk from my home in Walworth.  I get to the shop by
   passing through Albany Road over Wells Street Bridge which crosses
   over the Surrey Canal, which should have been filled in by Camberwell
   Council years ago.  The Canal is seldom used and it's smelly.  All
   the dead dogs and cats are thrown in it.
      Once in 1920 I saw a youngish woman throw herself into it.  She
   was a tall, fine woman of around thirty-seven.  I couldn't swim--I've
   never been able to do so.  So I shouted out loud and a public house
   owner at the corner of the canal bank came running up.  He jumped
   in.  She fought him and wanted to get drowned and nearly drowned 
   him as well.  I kept on yelling and a couple of men and women came
   running from the other side of the canal over the bridge to where
   they were.  It is very deep in the extreme centre of the canal, but
   the sides are not more than four feet deep.  One of the men got into 
   the water at the side and the publican, who had knocked the woman
   out, got her to the man at the edge and between us all we got her
   on the bank.  When the woman came around again she kept on crying
   that she wanted to die, and it took the men all their time to stop
   her throwing herself in again.
      She had been very nicely dressed in stylish black and had a 
   nice row of pearls and rings on finger.  She did not look poor at
   all or ill.  There were bits of weed and stuff from the canal over
   her and she looked in a mess but she looked quite a healthy woman.
   One of the men went to the pub and got some brandy or whiskey in
   a glass, and one of the women tried to comfort her.  It turned out
   that the woman's baby had died and her old man had turned against 
   her and said it was her fault, and now he had left her and she
   wanted to die.  And it occurred to me then that we was all trying to
   make her live and I'm sure she wanted to die, and had nothing more
   to live for, and I thought well, hick, it's her own life she's trying
   to take, what are we putting our noses into her business for?  And
   so I left'em to get on with it.  But I did think at the time that
   her old man must have found a proper glamour bit of stuff in order
   to leave this jolly handsome woman.  I was about thirteen at the time.
   I remember it so well because it was the first time that I think I 
   saw a woman cry.
      The next time was a couple of years later and that was when a
   bloke was bashing a woman in a little alley off East Street, 
   Walworth.  He had her up against the wall of a church (of all 
   places) and he was bashing her in the belly and she was moaning 
   and crying.  He was a big bully bloke of nearly twelve stone.  I
   couldn't do anything at all.  But I ran fast and at the corner of
   East Street I found a copper--the only time so far I've found a copper
   when wanted--and he came back with me because I said a woman was
   being killed.  He didn't hurry no how.  When we got back the woman
   was nearly out, moaning a bit and holding her belly.  The bloke was
   walking up Bronte Place. I told the copper that was the bloke,
   and the copper run and caught the bloke.  The bloke called the copper
   a bastard.  Of course he might have been for all I know, but you
   don't call coppers bastard, if you have sense.  The bloke said, "If
   you take that uniform off, I'll fight you," and the copper did.  And
   they had a lovely fight and me and five other blokes watched it.  It
   was lovely--only the copper got a black eye and had to resort to a
   few tricks to keep the other bloke company, and in the end the copper
   gave him a lovely kick right in the right place and laid him out--and 
   then blew his whistle.  I didn't wait no more--but I reckon that bloke 
   got a nice pasting when they got him to Carter Street, and deserved it.  
   And here's me remembering all this when I wanted to record something
   of interest on my bookshop and I've filled the page!
   First published in MCML by Allen Wingate (Publishers) Ltd.

   who wrote poems
   about clouds
   Barry was a hellraiser.
   Barry once told me that vengeance
   was an art.
   I never understood Barry
   until we shared space alongside a shitty neighbour
   and Barry
   grew tired and dumped a putrid beer-shit
   into a newspaper and
   flung it against the neighbour's
   Barry followed through with paint stripper
   on the
   "pride-n'-joy" land-rover and by that
   stage the shitty
   neighbour had quietened down.
   Barry went up north for work,
   frequenting the clubs.
   on some Saturday nights the coppers found
   him totally pissed
   staggering along the median strips
   of freeways,
   after a spell in the tank,
   he would
   pay the
   coppers 50 cents bail.
   the last time I saw Barry, he began
   while he picked glass out
   of his face
   told me that he wiped out a highway patrol car
   two years ago
   while drunk at the wheel.
   Barry was a hellraiser.
   I never understood Barry,
   he always liked to write
   poems about
   the sun
   and the clouds.

BRAD EVANS big cats ~~~~~~~~ let alone roar, if he could muster the action of crying in the rain, I would understand but the lion, the leopard & the panther sit here - facing me, boxed up, in this what some people call 'a zoo' there are holes of concrete, hills of cement bars to make a prison blush enough to comfort the tourists
BRAD EVANS Us lazy slobs ~~~~~~~~~~ on that day the private company took about 7 of us, sat us down in a conference room told us that the community had grown impatient with the 20% of us and that we were nothing but beach-bums, bludgers, lazy slobs they told us that the community had lost faith in such people as lazy slobs and that they were a complete pain in the ass because the lazy slob couldn't land a job and needed special assistance. the private company convener wore a business suit and was very motivated, he was on Prozac and his voice wavered from a high to low pitch while he threw down some forms he asked the lazy slobs to sign their names. he said that this private recruitment company was a virtual Superman and that it was going to rescue all the lazy slobs from their slobbery by training all of them for guaranteed future employment one lazy slob didn't sign his form at the time he had a 5-day facial growth, and the appearance made him a juicy target for one of the conveners to win the other lazy slobs over. she told them that this slob wasn't going to go anywhere in his life. that he was a loser, a drop-out, and that there was no hope for him - most of the group signed so that they wouldn't be seen as lazy slobs she pointed a chubby finger at the lone slob and said that the DSS was cracking down, that it was going to weed out all suspected lazy slobs she waited for those who weren't lazy slobs to hand in their forms and then asked the lone slob to stay behind while the others were ushered out by the convener on Prozac. the female convener face grew puce as she paced around the room, she threw the lone slob questions on how long he'd been on the dole and what a miserable life he had as a lazy slob. She mentioned that he was turning down his final chance to cure his deeply-ingrained slobbery. The interrogation lasted another ten minutes before the lone lazy slob was released. those who were no longer lazy slobs didn't hear from their private recruitment company again. the board of the private recruitment company had been given an 800 dollar revenue government handout per signature and were now shit-faced on rum in Barbados. the staff who'd convened the meeting are now on the dole, with the rest of us lazy slobs.
BRAD EVANS tally-ho ~~~~~~~~ I'm looking at all these gorgeous women, I flick to Kris on p.24. check out her bust, all tucked up and in tight I look at her legs, her calves (love those calves) and then I'm off to Veronica, (back again from the last issue), she briefly wears a blue skirt and then off it comes leaving little to the imagination. disappointed, I turn to the faces as they look at me, their reader, they parade a confidence as if they know what the reader is doing well, girls, you've got it wrong this time, my partner's just returned and I'm now stuffing you under the mattress tally-ho
BRAD EVANS trapped ~~~~~~~ they've discovered what they thought was happiness, but I see them with money and with appealing partners: husks propped together as some kind of cruel display, they attempt to smile and their smiles never arrive, you can tell that love has been pushed aside for a little security and they have found themselves in an uneasy "grown-up's- kind-of-love" I can see that their childhood has been rooted out or stomped under. their togetherness is killing them in ways that only they will find as they try and search for things that they can relate to and I wonder why they've let this fear of losing something grip them, when losing something might be all they need to be set free
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC OFF A BODY ~~~~~~~~~~ of a body to the other the solitude will eat this city desire by desire lovers in own exchange their addresses imaginary metaphysics the emptiness answers with joy to the telephonic calls of the big erotic silence
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC BON-BON-A ~~~~~~~~~ All that's left is figures. And frostbitten fairy tales (in the heart!) in the Book of Nonexistence. A Poem created, for the first (junction of two bodies!) morning bus. Who am I? I identify a reflection in the spectral murmur. I see the stalactites (in the heart!) in a cup of tea. We, restrained, from astounding (junction of two bodies!) dance of virtue. Who are we? Nervous readings repeated...Deflowered K. (in the heart!) in the fluid of crinkled rhymes. Or, In Our case: amourous of (junction of two bodies!) giggle of the reason. All that's left is...some fairy tales?
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC Mister Loos ~~~~~~~~~~~ he says in her world of the Number two one thousand five one thousand ten thousand deaths in this last war of the Balkan bombarded exactly as if it was about chocolates of the white stones of the fine slices of ham rotted he says to show her civilized mind and he lives - you are small - impotent in your minuscule country - you cannot send on the March - a contraption of big size - the atomic machine on its four wheels - same not a needle - you are anything on the Earth - you will never be strong as us he says and he lives
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC MONODRAMATIQUES, MONODRAMATICS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have the longer sex that the song of the white cat it seems that red is the dog sulphurizing rotten still ready-to-eat my money all my possessions even the pocket-size neighboring dogs to kiss the bitch of the Destiny *** j'ai le sexe plus longue que le chant du chat blanc il semble que rouge soit le chien méchant moche toujours prêt à manger mon argent tous mes biens même les chiens voisins de poche pour baiser la chienne du Destin
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC MONODRAMATICS, 11 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ she is the wisest politician in my vast green room salt! - shouts the polluted soul as a gone into ecstasies animal still to hair I masturbate day and night on his economic ideas in short a strong subject longer than my tortured sex more beautiful than the Taxation
MILAN GEORGES DJORDJEVIC MONODRAMATICS, 4 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ one makes all to succeed why? - laughs the Me everybody succeeds in dying they left forever as if they were hurried to see - to touch - to feel to taste the beyond my grandparents Dobrivoje and Mileva it is necessary to philosophize again
C.E. CHAFFIN It ~~ Does it blister your eyes to read it? Does it sink like a dental filling into your marrow, touched by a spray of cold air? Would you trade it for enlightenment? For gold? Will it sing you to sleep like your mother did, who was too shy to sing with the lights on? Would you love it if it didn't look like you, if it had gills and fur? Is it better than drugs, would you snort, inject, rub it into the capillaries of your lip? Would you recognize its sound, whether a night bird screaming in the jungle or the distant, ironic chill of a train whistle beside the Iowa silos bent like toothpaste tubes above the too-green, knee-high cornfields while Judy Garland waves good-bye? Would you want it if it cost you everything? If not, what are you willing to pay?
C.E. Chaffin To My Manic Self ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I see you in the sky, a runaway balloon bent on another try to penetrate the moon. Your flight inflates my mind like I was born to rule, so I rise above mankind (mortal and immortal fool) to trail your Cheshire grin into the stratosphere where I am born again as Jesus or King Lear. The problem is collapse. You always do deflate and leave me holding maps to places I was great. So am I the puppeteer? I thought it was always you! You with your confident leer, jeweled cane and retinue, You, ready to hog the stage and bask in cheap applause to camouflage your rage against the cosmic laws. But when the show is over it's me that they arrest while you go undercover inside my empty chest. So which one holds the strings? I don't know who I am-- but I wouldn't have crowned me king if they were in my hand.
C.E. Chaffin What the Swami Said ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "There is no cure for life-- not even death," the toothless swami hissed under his breath. "Go to the rice fields, muddy up your feet if you would join the spiritual elite." Brushing a fly off from his crinkled nose, he sniffed the air, as if a scent of rose Had lingered where the cow dung lay instead beside his rusting, penny-nail bed. "God is not God, for as we speak the word the image decays, the immaterial bird of faith instantly finds another tree, which ceases to be holy once we see. Be blind and let the world's senseless noise disturb your overconfident equipoise until you crave the stillness, like a pear in a still life, forever _ there_."
C.E. Chaffin Pseudovillanelle ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Two days ago I woke up fat. I'm not gonna hate myself for that. I did indulge my appetite like a starving rat, so I avoid mirrors and dress in black. I'm not gonna hate myself for that. I may be fat but I'm not blind. I did indulge my appetite because depression savaged my mind. You see, it's not easy to be easy on me. I'm all spiky inside like a cactus. Two days ago I woke up fat. I may be fat but I'm not blind. If I did indulge my appetite, it was only to distract from the vacuum in my gut devouring me, too paralyzed and melancholy to react.
C.E. Chaffin The Highwayman* _italics_ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here comes the King of Oz, bearing bottles of bleach and Canada Dry, his blue guitar strung backwards for that imaginary garden where the moon recedes to the singing of toads like the yellow tablet of the sun you watch as the horizon swallow. Where is the emperor of ice cream, lost in his beautiful loops? And Mr. Apollinax? And the carrot-topped dandy from Idaho? All buried below the Kennedys at Arlington, upstaged by frescoes at Forest Lawn-- poor cans of cultural tuna beneath the tabloid caviar. Who told Williams to speak in breath? Or Eliot to digress? Or Frost to notice inner weather? Or Sexton to confess? Or Auden to speak in measure? Or Ginsberg to undress? Or Plath to lose her tether? "No _poeia_!" cried the social scientist who took a red-tipped slide rule to a fly and dropped it in a pickle jar for Reverend Malthus-- "No things but in things, no fetish of commodities!" he pleaded, ignoring his tautology like a werewolf's nightmare of dogcatchers while Lenin grew teeth. II I had a dream where I was booked to read inside a tony auditorium while my poor bladder whimpered like an infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing. Mike Wallace and Morley Safer were there with water pitchers and cameras. The audience cooled themselves with funeral parlor fans bearing King's face. I found the men's room locked so hammered on the women's, pushed past a mother and whizzed into the trash. I never got to read. Instead I woke up and peed in a half-sleep, thinking nothing sadder than my allotted fifteen minutes purloined by my bladder. _And your old men will see visions_ _and your young men shall dream dreams_ _for those were bladder stones that caused _ _a stretching of the seams_. "Don't dismiss the dream so cavalierly," the doctor intoned through cancerous lips well-camouflaged by nicotine-stained beard, reeking from stale cologne like an old queen in an elevator, overpowering as narcissus. Rocking endlessly he droned on and on and on about the unconscious as if he knew it better than his waking mind-- a paleontologist of anodynes! So I asked him, "What is the color of fishes in the dark?" He said he didn't know, that he was only hunting snark but not to tell a soul-- then promptly shrunk like a parade balloon of Saturn V punctured by the militant blind elderly to protest the Apollo conspiracy. III "Don't bet on greyhounds," my bookie says, "those silent wraiths that chase a platonic rabbit around the track to get a Ph.D.-- It happens even to smart people if they're not careful. Choose something that splits the hoof for a backbeat-- if it chews the cud you can always eat it when you lose." "But it's all going to the dogs!" I say and start around the track myself on all fours in my high-heeled ruby sneakers but the asthma of miasma slows me *The highwayman came riding, riding, riding,* as I wheeze toward London Town *the highwayman came riding* *over the purple moor* IV The judges, two freaks of polarized nurture hang an albatross of damask roses about my neck, though I'm not sure this is the winner's circle. He yells, "Don't be a loser!"-- jealous of everyone he launched. His suicided after he gave up scotch. She admonishes me, "Be careful," smiling shyly from her crossword as if surprised by the tension between her face-lift and her grief: a brain tumor grants relief. Good night, Dad. Good night, Mom _Good night, moon_. In my end is my beginning _The highwayman came riding, riding, riding,_ _the highwayman came riding_ while at my back I hear _over the purple moor._ times' winged chariot drawing near _The highwayman came riding, riding, riding, the highway came riding and nobody knows what for, what for, nobody knows what for._
COOGAN Show Me the Way Back ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Touch me ever so slowly and softly, with my eyes closed Allow me to wonder in my mind, and to be poised For when your touch reaches my breaking point, of no return I do not wish you to get heartburn I want you to be ready, and willing to continue And take me on this ride, of love's venue The ups, and the downs, and the all arounds Is near us, in heaps and bounds Just give me this hour, of your loving time And let me show you what it feels like, to be mine Hold me, squeeze me, kiss me, and rub my back That'll most certainly keep me coming back.
COOGAN Searching Within ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Look with your wonderful eyes And you'll hear absolutely no lies Touch with you heart Feel the ground and breathe the air as you sit in the park I have sat there before and do know of your pain I know from where you came Help you? No sweetie only you can And it sounds as if you have began So you see it seems that you do care And no longer do you have to shed a tear However, if alone is what you wish You I shall truly miss....
COOGAN The Reader ~~~~~~~~~~ You read my lines of prose about nothingness You reach inside and see the loneliness I lead you on a journey into your mind Letting you see the highlights of time If only I could instill a spark And take you on a walk in the park Sitting on the blanket Eating from our picnic basket I'll give you fruit Always tell you the truth Read my lines and never blink All I ever need you to do is think
COOGAN A day in the life of Coogan by the way of poetry. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I woke up early this morning, Yes I'm a typical male, I was horny. I thought of my wife, Then changed my thoughts to all my past girlfriends in life. I became somewhat greatly excited, And every sex scene I had had with them, I could recite, You want me to say if I masturbated and confess? Let me just say my hand was a mess. I hurried to the bath room so as not to drop, Because this morning I had no time to mop. I grabbed the towel and dried, Now I felt guilty and could have cried. I Looked in the mirror and saw myself, I wondered why that I did what I'd done. I asked God forgiveness. Father forgive me for I know not what I do I guess all of my life I've wanted to screw But now that I'm married, I seem to have committed adultery But the women in my have fantasies have all been awesome and sultry I ask that you help me get through my day And I'll earn my way I'll do what's right and not whore around And act like some idiot clown Look at me Father, how silly I look Please let me off the hook I realize that my unfaithfulness is the blame I ask forgiveness in Jesus' name I saw that I needed a shave but first I had to brush my teeth. Tooth paste on my shelf, have you seen my geritol? I grab you and squeeze the last drop that splashes on the wall Now my brush is empty Today my breath will not smell so niffty But I brush anyway with hot water As this morning I will have to barter With the store clerk as I am out of money That's it, I'll sweeten my breath by eating honey My wife walks in, good morning honey, how are you? Not so great hon, I have the flu I'm so sorry to hear, do you have any cash? Nope, to the super teller I shall dash. Well now I have to hurry because I must go by the store before work, I need tooth paste and the wife needs medicine, I need to shower fast. Cold water, hot water decisions to make? At either extreme of temperature I can not take I lather up and the suds look appealing to me on my hairy chest Sometimes in the shower I look the best And I feel my singing does for sure The wife says my voice needs the cure Oh well another insult begins the day Now people I'm angry already, so stay out of my way I'm out and the air is cold I'm naked and very bold But quickly I dry And get dressed and say goodbye I exit the house to go to the store and the newspaper is laying in the yard. the moisture has soaked it bad. Now I'm really mad I make a nasty note on my memo pad To call the newspaper company later in the day To tell them I am not friggin' goin' pay The radio calms me down But when I see my hot, hot neighbor in her gown This silly old boy becomes heated again Between she and I, I wish a conversation to begin To hit the brake would be tacky Thinking this way is making me whacky She's on my mind all the way to the store If she's on my mind tomorrow when I awake, she'll be the one to make me sore. I arrive at the grocery store, 5 minutes to wait before they open. I sit in the parking lot waiting and watching. Wow, what a broad! She looked my way and I gave her a nod I just love short shorts Someday those shorts will have me in the courts Judge will say to my wife Are you going to put up with him all of your life? No your honor give me his pay Judge will look at me and say OK Yes I've decided not to act Because I know I would get the ax Anyway, my old lady has a nice butt I'd be better off to keep my eyes shut. Once in the store, the lights are bright, I wasn't ready for so much activity this early. Oh little grocery store I see all kinds of goddies that I just adore But I must purchase just my tooth paste And not waste Oh yes, some medicine for her Before she has to seek a doctor for a cure All kinds to choose from Let's hear the roar of the drum As I make my descision to buy So she'll get well and not die Yes there it is, that'll work just fine Hopefully it'll stop her whine. At the counter the cashier is rather sexy, here I go again, I'm always thinking about women to hear my wife say it but,,,,, Good morning you sexy thing I wanted to say I've been thinking about you all morning today But instead I stared at her blouse that was slightly open Wondering if I should take this little token Of a slight flash Maybe I should offer her cash And dinner She certainly is a winner Now the truth comes out I noticed her arms were rather stout All of a sudden her womanhood has become a man How was I to know he was in drag? Damn.On my way home I'm starting to think, could I possibly be gay. I mean I did think he was attractive for a minute or so, until I heard his voice. He did have sexy eyes and those lips, ooh they were inviting. Perfect eyes That never cries Perfect lips That kiss guys with lisps Different lifestyles Where you'd better watch those smiles For one just never knows What lies between them toes It's ok for him But not for this tiny Tim I'll give him his right to be his way But I'll be damn if I'll ever go gay I get home and tell the wife that I was about to make a move on a gay fellow and she laughed. "I could have told you" she says. Well thanks a lot for your help Maybe I should just run around in a kilt I would like for you to tell me secrets like that After all I was after his cat Not his tomboy If I had only known that his name was Roy I wouldn't feel so silly And tried to shake his dilly Oh well, maybe I'd better hang up this chasing women fetish And get my mind in gear here and get dressed and finish So I can get my behind to work And quit feeling like a jerk.
DESMOND NAATEN O'KEEFFE "Oh Heavenly Father" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Oh Heavenly Father, Where were you when they put us on trains while Sonderkommandos scavenged remains? And where were you when they tightened the screws till the joints in my body screamed with abuse? Belson or Bosnia, Transvaal, Ukraine, Uniforms change but the wire is the same. A man with his bundle, a women with bags. See the old, first to stumble, and why Children? Why Rags? So where were you really when we prayed to the cross or maybe a star or some symbol now lost? Was it your Son who's help we should seek? Now he was the one who spoke for the meek Or was that a joke? Some celestial jape? Did he lighten the yoke? Uncrush the nape? And if we are puppet, why such c r u e l games and must we all play? Yes, must we ALL play? Heavenly Father, can't we just talk, I'm sure that you're there in some heavenly walk. About all this suffering, Father you see I wouldn't allow, if it was up to me, I wouldn't want to see all this pain. Not to My children. It doesn't seem sane. And if you are laughing then all I can do is say 'God-forgive-you' if there's One above you.
GALE SPRINKLE TOUSIGNANT In the Garden ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Who can weigh the heart heavy fault lines in crackling summer morning? Those brave orange flowers out front do not flinch- possess the courage to fold in sleep. Open to the light. Scritchy scratchy my eyes close for moisture only. Pretending oblivion to hearing sobbing under silence, the sweating fast beat of dream tucked back into itself. It will not save for rainy days. Somewhere peripheral the fright freight will unload itself. Sure as the wind will shake loose the dew from petals.
GALE SPRINKLE TOUSIGNANT The Glass Hat ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ this is me, perched on a leatherette stool; telling myself it was the back forty "noxious" weeds i couldn't mow that drove me here tho the car you bought from the lady who runs the place had something to do with it it doesn't matter that my hair is brackly tangled sweaty on my neck or that when i get here i could spit glass your old landlady and her Jim sit at the round bar where you spent so many nights the polkas shuffle silently to the back of the jukebox so Jim can play me Boz Scaggs n Stevie Ray, and we talk about Texas music: Bob Wills he says it's worth dropping anything to drive myself to Montana and back. Shari is telling me the dr has been trying to reach me to discuss the autopsy report he wants to talk to me so bad i can interrupt him with a patient. when you used to live above here you'd come down and talk about books to folks who didn't read, Jim says i am extracting pieces of you in the eyes of strangers drinking beer, waiting for you to sit beside me humming.." i waltzed up from Texas for you in my arms.."
JOHN BUSH DAWN ~~~~ That nature of a blue shirt hanging limply under outstretched arms of a crucible like lover, whorling a flame a whirlpool of a sun a moon, a galaxy of stars that stir into the center of you, greater than all before and after, the past, the future than any constellation.
JOHN BUSH Saturday Afternoon croon ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mass wisteria purples the lattice and days like this one, that is, steamy, pressive, chipped days, choose my mind my pulse my punch, which sours like sweat from thinking, laughing, fucking. it's a dry gene pool of mine + Alice naked that pressures me. Christ what a day. my head bitters, my lips crack. sugar deciphers fermenting thought into sex waves that crash like flies into gummy paper, like severed fingers crooked rigid shocked caught in the middle of a death grip and thrown down onto a linoleum floor sticky with the throb of a sex sense.
JOHN BUSH PLASTIC PIECES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sustain this point, that is, the one I'm about to declare------ She's in Indian garb opening out to me a vocal waxen circuit, her fugitive tongue stirring words splitting the air like a whistle breaking stratum and I like it. Her moon nails scratch-slap the plastic air and her breasts, artificial raptures of ruthlessness, jerk abruptly lightning charged and eternal. She nods her head, fumbles her words in slow motion and halfway closes her eyes, halfway into the impact clinging of her… then she faints into my tegumented actuality, falters into my electricity, my concupiscent world, which is intense in sight and taste and smell. Her tinkling laughter and symbiotic thoughts pinch me haunt me caress my funneled heat and search me out from the distant howls which echo faint faint faint into LOUD SLAP turn around frozen eyes wide like her mouth wrapped around a hot cry shhhhhhhhhhhhh once more again again again. a round the time circles empty space and spit parasols forever in inspissate pitch benighting all but… wait cut me out me open me wide flay the shadowed caved mind sun the laminated thoughts of that you are and then everything else that lies like simple music make metaphor that smooth heat on the brain is a radiant surly song
JOHN BUSH seeing things for the first time ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here four fan blades turning on a ceiling fan appareled with gray lint blowing counterfeit wind in the bookcase in the wall twenty six encyclopedias each volume with abbreviated words daring me to search for an absolute ten photographs on the paneling suffer from nongesture vacant stares disregard hanging by forbidding webs that catch... then the wedge of gloam, dusks the room and now and again I glimpse the flash of last light from a plastic gilded blade blinding the lonely eye that searches for some truth, any truth from the empty books; however, this is only how it seems, Here, I imagine.
JOHN BUSH Cusping ~~~~~~~ In every jar of clay there is a secret sound, an arcane silence, a molecular soul mildly uttering the reaches of a space of a time caught between two forms of becoming.
DON BARBERA ALWAYS ~~~~~~ Truth is a judge without mercy. It cares little for our sorrow and pain. It is as unfeeling and cold as the dead. Yet, it is alive and offers solace to those whom falsehood has driven to the ground. At its most noble truth cuts a mighty swath laying insincerity and pretension bare to the bone. As an avenger of righteousness, it is a weapon for the weak and scourges the abusers of men. Truth sometimes is a thing of beauty unsurpassed that hides the misshapen monstrosity of reality behind a guilded facade. When the truth is near home, it is ugly and hideous. Nonetheless, it is the truth. It is the same truth that is beautiful to those who view it from a more pleasant perspective. Truth is no discerner of person. It does not care about tender feelings and misplaced belief. Even for those seeking it, the truth is sometimes an unwelcome and unwanted guest especially when it does not reinforce or buttress preconceived ideas and thoughts. The truth is wild and it is free. Truth has killed just as many lies. There is no reward for truth unless those giving rewards recognize its value. However, the messenger of the truth is just as likely to be chastised as a liar. It seems that the truth can be handled only in small portions and select situations. Truth and death are absolutes. Never is truth anything but the truth. It is immutable. It is on going. It is permanent. What was true yesterday is true today and will be true tomorrow into infinity. Mountains will become beaches beneath our feet, the oceans will evaporate before the truth changes, and that has been its attraction over the ages. Its immutability and steadfastness captures that part of our psyche that longs to know things. Truth is the salve of the inquisitive mind. Truth provides an anchor in the seas of self-centered chaos, political turmoil and skepticism. There is no gratitude for those who strip away comfortable myths and cause others to think. Necessarily, truth is its own reward. It wears many cloaks and can be found almost anywhere. It is hidden in the cold depths of a killer's heart, as well as, in the first breaths of a newborn child. Truth has a reputation as a healer of wounds, a soother of troubled minds and a provider of purpose for the individual. Still, the truth, like a bullet fired blindly, is no respecter of rank, privilege, religion, philosophy or emotion. Although it is a neutral force, it can be a destroyer. It bursts unsuspecting bubbles of belief with cold and calculated precision. By itself, truth is pure, untainted and universally clarifying, but not to those who refuse to see. The search for truth continues.
DON BARBERA Thinking of You ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thinking is important as breathing. Without thinking, deaths awaits as surely as we stopped breathing. Too often, we accept blindly the way it has always been, but inconvenience is no excuse for not seeking the truth. Searching hones the mind and opens new pathways to thought. We cannot take things literally or on the word of someone else; occasionally, it is important to veer off course and explore the truth for our selves. It is too convenient and comforting to believe all think in the same manner as ourselves; when reality tells us conceptions are as varied as grains of sand and just as numerous. Literal thinking is the refuge of the unchallenged mind willing to accept without listening to realty's call. It is a form of intellectual dishonesty to ignore the world's reality and substitute fiction to have a comfortable mind. Sometimes the degree of difference in fact and fiction is infinitesimally small as the proverbial mustard seed but as the mustard seed grows, so does the chasm of difference in reality from individual to individual. Unwillingness to honestly assess an opinion or belief different from ours is mental in-breeding that prevents accumulation of knowledge and thus, ultimately, the gaining of wisdom. Simply, wisdom is nothing more than understanding that every story has a beginning, a middle and end; and, that every story has a perspective that is dependent upon who is telling the story, who is listening and how the story is understood. If understood, excuses for narrow-mindedness, bigotry and intolerance become void and is solely the choice of those receiving the message who alter its intent to fit their needs and biases. If we are to understand, then we must listen. Understanding is an active process. It requires activity from those who wish to be understood It also requires attention from those who wish to understand. Those who do not seek to understand by necessity are ignorant, intolerant and superficial, as well as cowardly, depthless and dangerous. Condemnation without understanding is tyranny. Perfection is the only true measure of man anything less is not a true instrument. Though it may be an unachievable goal the quest must be undertaken to live in truth and strive toward perfection through knowledge. Searching and understanding opens the world for people. Often, searching for truth raises the ire of the status quo especially when that search leads to frontiers reaching far away from what one has been taught. However, that doesn't make knowledge invalid; instead, it should make the searcher curious and more willing to go further into the question to refute erroneous and misleading information; otherwise an argument based on sand is an argument that will not hold water. Each day we are fed misinformation by the very leaders that we love and trust. It is not out of hostility they do this, rather, it is misunderstanding and their own unwillingness to test the waters of reality. It is easy to deceive ourselves, especially when we have no experience, contact or knowledge of anything other than our own closed environments; making us the equivalent of blind men trying to describe the tiger's stripe through our sense of touch. Not only is it impossible to do, any attempt is premeditated dishonesty and intellectual avoidance of reality. The mere thought of intellectual activity is frightening and often considered subversive. Intellectuals frighten people because they have the temerity to ask why, but we were all intellectuals at one time. When we were children, "why" was a favorite word in our young vocabularies. We wanted to know everything. Instinctively, we knew if the answer was not apparent then we must ask. Some say we are not meant to know everything but that is hearsay and more of a medieval excuse that avoids honest assessment and the search for knowledge. Still, that is no reason not to seek an answer to a valid question motivating one to seek the truth. I search because I am always seeking answers. Sometimes my search is disheartening and futile and other times it is enlightening and instructive. Never take answers as they are, find the truth for yourself and the answer will greet reality. Searching is fuel that powers thinking, and thinking brings knowledge and through knowledge we gain wisdom, which is the ultimate reality.
DON BARBERA My Ignorance ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Today I am ignorant. Tomorrow I shall be even more ignorant for I will have collected another day of knowledge. It is only through the acquisition of knowledge and understanding that one realizes the depths of previous ignorance and the amount of ignorance yet to be erased. That I am ignorant, I freely acknowledge. And, I see no way that I'll ever recover before I die. There is far too much to know and far too little time to know it. If I have any qualms about leaving this life it is because my inquisitiveness tells me there is going to be a future that holds new and wondrous wheels and gears, spinning out marvelous technology and science beating back the forces of ignorance, superstition and blind allegiance. I regret that I won't be here to continue absorbing the universe. I regret that I must leave, but leave I must as we all must do. I would like to be here when ignorance is finally laid to rest. I should like to speak at its funeral where I would eulogize it as a death that was far past its time. Perhaps there will be enough room in the grave to bury all the superstitions, false doctrines and priestly prevarications that have haunted humanity since the first man found himself in the grip of the unexplained. Of course, it will not come to pass, but it is something that I wish for the world because of the damage that it does to those who are two lazy to think for themselves, for those who search for pogroms to follow and those who reject the ways of prudent reality and reason.
DON BARBERA Can We Ever See? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To accept words blindly is to negate our seeing eyes. Chameleons hide in righteous clothes and deceive us with their lies. We are not to question but that doesn't make it so. When we keep our eyes closed there seems no place to go. Questioning and asking why can make a life turn rough, but when there are no more questions means we haven't searched enough. Societies costumes
ACE BOGGESS Fugue (8) ~~~~~ Imagine a season of balance without the genetics of risk, the unusual depth & complexity anguish grows from frustration & doubt's scattered seeds. I search through clustered calm & chaos, looking for self-discovery in a desperate scene, echoes of an image etched in glass. Simone, we live like marigolds & morning glories, brilliant for a time however brief. Hera, we live on: dried potpourri that radiates fragrance enduring death & disharmony. To step outside the obsession, the thickness of this powerful interpersonal culture of will, is to recall & recognize the conceptual symmetry of animated scenes from a sexual ploy like Dizzy Gillespie complicating jazz with life. It's a perplexing fairy tale, shapeless like inexperience, or a madrigal of solitude emerging from words of love.
ACE BOGGESS Fugue (14) ~~~~~ When dancing on a wayward line with Hera, all words had meaning. We found our poems in translation, read Neruda. Brodsky, & Ho Ching-Chih, as well as our blessed Americans. The absence of familiarity long since absent from our transactions, we craved the unique politics of poetry as if every phrase were foreign, as if painted in cryptic hieroglyphs on a cave wall. We became archaeologists of undiscovered dreams, explored the boundaries of color, texture, tone within a word, learned to share an ageless impermanence, another's love hidden by stanza, rhythm & cadence.
ELISHA PORAT A Cracked Statuette ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the summer of seventy-nine, Sheltered in the shade, on a step in Market Street, in the shop of a Christian Arab, While my hand was storking the halo of hair Of a graven statuette - A starling voice suddenly broke out, A young announcer begging, pleading: hurry, whoever is able, Whoever is near, run to the tower Of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher - Through the lattice you may know her: Wrapped all black but her hair is fair, And her car still pulses below her. And when I arrived - I was late - With those who were called to her aid, The helpers, the radio was screaming, And all the city was frozen, holding its breath - Already she lay there, stretched out in the square: Innocent, beautiful, and wrapped all about in the shining Radiance of a cracked statuette. translated from the Hebrew by Asher Harris, 1999.
ELISHA PORAT Proud Heartworm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hush now, proud heartworm, stop your gnawing, leave off chomping. I've suffered enough because of you. Down girl, down. Stick to the bottom of the pit; and quiet there, you arrogant thing. Maybe if you shut up in time, it will hurry, pass over us too, like it did then, and again nab, grab and take down with it those who aren't careful. translated from the Hebrew by Vivian Eden, 1999.
ELISHA PORAT The Fragrance of Mignonette ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Until I smelled the fragrance of the cut grass, I didn't believe I was home again." said the young soldier back stricken from the battle on the Canal. And I, who was stricken after him, fifteen years after him, did not believe I had risen from my bed: drunk as then climbing to the clay hilltop, flattening myself on its grass. And reviving in its good warmth: like a child coming back wrapped in the sweet fragrance of Mignonette. translated from the Hebrew by Vivian Eden, 1999.


   "The Weed."
   I am designated weed,
   Denied the right to coexist.
   Uprooted, removed, expunged on account
   of my eagerness to grow in ways not pleasing to your sight.
   I am designated weed,
   and deemed to be devoid of worth.
   And yet, do I not have flowers, and greenery and seeds?
   Aren't there little creatures that thrive off weeds?
   Or is it this very progeny you fear,
   lest we disturb the tidiness, spoil your growing year.
   Know then this great Masters of all you see
   You are not God... and you will not master me.
   For I will grow in ways more cunning than you'd dream
   and wait you out in the folly of your scheme.
   Underneath in crevices, in unrewarding soil
   gain each year in vigour though hardship of the toil,
   Steal my glimpse of sunlight, keep company with tare,
   learn to live off  Nothing       and multiply on air.
   And,  when you fall exhausted by the futility of your plan
   Unhindered,   we'll run RIOT,
                           'cross the neatness that was man.


A New Age: The Centipede Network Of Artists, Poets, & Writers
An Informational Journey Into A Creative Echonet [9310]
(C) CopyRight "I Write, Therefore, I Develop" By Paul Lauda

       Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established 
       just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A 
       place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and 
       learn from all.  A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. 
       Even a chance to be published in a magazine.

       The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. 
       Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such 
       an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon 
       started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin 
       Board Systems.

       We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a
       specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking.
       Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets
       are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a
       writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer
       can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since 
       the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means 
       that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative 
       user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created.

       Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede

  Ygdrasil is committed to making literature available, and uses the
  Internet as the main distribution channel. On the Net you can find all
  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
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  . REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings

  . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken
  . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken
  . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken
  . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken
  . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken
  . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken 
  . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken

  . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp

  . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy
  . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy

  . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena
  . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena
  . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena
  . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena

  . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn

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  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, 1994, 1995,
  1996, 1997 & 1998 by Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
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  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.

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