VOL XVIII, Issue 02, Number 202
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
suck is to down as vomit is to up
balls of glory
it is all the waffle’s fault; the syrup too…
all night dinners & a movie pasquinade
Circus of the Damned
A Farewell To April
After The Fire
Thief of Heaven
to fit and sprout from the palm
of my writing hand.
I switch hands, holding amid
the hand of my most loving dedication.
My writing hand now free, open to construct
metaphors and depict height’s grand appearance.
I write into lined schematics, describe
bark’s appearance of wounds, bark
of sliced and fissured skin
is the beauty of altruistic age, angled
to differ among light’s changing of
I move my holding hand,
as does a mother to her maturated son,
watching endeavors freeform into
improvisation of growth’s undulating
I observed rain’s hands
caress sodden seeds
whose swollen eyes
saw misplaced births become
whole before sedentary mothers.
I saw wind’s hands
bend around deadened grass
holding hair of slim women
combing green strands into
curled sections across soil’s
I saw the flying
of a dragonfly’s physique,
drawing edged sketches
of inerasable jazz.
Listening, I am alone
among what is beneath
found if eyes are in the open,
A drum was rhythmic behind me.
No drum though, its skin of pearl
beaten by musical intent
stood vertical as my back’s swivel
Walking, more rhythm, an eruption
of 3/4 time among a night’s silent
Turning, the giraffe neck
of a street corner’s disembodied light
highlighted a broken section of
sidewalk’s wounded skin.
A spider, glistening, black-back
sparkle of modern crawl to freedom,
spider danced, dug its symphony
of legs into the scampering rhythm
an orchestra could not comprehend.
Of Death, Sadness, Witnessed by the Unknown
I am dying. As is
my masticated city,
by the elderly man
to lengthen the heart
of his aging existence.
No one sane saw his life expire,
body of winds
wearing mauve sleeves
of early morning’s rising.
I do not know my method of dying.
if bodies will surround my last blink
my eyes witness only hours
designated by darkness.
My white tombstone with brown eyes
will look into the crying of mourners’
universal disposition, watching
my body stilled, remembering
my writing a poem describing
the intersection of time and
my body’s never returning.
Often of the Should be, Often Not
Her lips wore
the blue dress of
A dress of handmade
The bruise was an action
according to reaction of the lover’s
final thought. To cover
and blend, to mend and to
above questions causing
interpretation of prior occurrence,
she wore the purple coat of lipstick,
draping all fabricated evidence of
bruise’s flowing fabric.
My past love left
for another’s gilded concentration.
My last gift of gold lies still,
mimicking my body after
her shadow’s scented hair fully
Proclamation of Pejorative Reinvention
The primitive is philosophical.
querying unneeded reinvention.
of a quill’s contoured spine
marries straightness of an alphabet’s
Ability to document
as that of
neoteric pen held
hands of a poet’s
Conversation maintains focus:
which becomes the neon tone of
Her siren voice
wore an oriole dress.
Her tongue, moist,
soaked my attentive listening.
The black-orange dress
indicated tone, notice.
My listening fell in love,
draped her voice around my desires.
My listening’s body grew warm,
acclimated to tonal, aggregated touch.
suck is to down as vomit is to up
we’d been canoeing starkers in our ill fitting cowboy boots
the horseflies snored in their warm free form manure heaps
fat geese panicked on the shore because geese are too flighty
everything was inviolably holy like salma
hayek’s thighs tightening
she let her curvy foot nap on my crotch as she rowed us nowhere
i admired the succulent drupaceous mounds candy she tongue tinkered
thoughts of lit red candles gnawing her figure with liquid swealing flickered
as salma sidled over to nuzzle the chocolate in the watery nook of my
Ma Nature spread her buggy cunt wide
treacherous crows oiled the sky black
the jaundiced moon beamed its piss
on the crappy flight feathers soiling
salma’s perfectly snow white eyes
staring lunacies at the lightning
veining through the cloudy wisps
that stars cut thru like teeth on a rink
genitals jangling oddly
back muscles bickering quietly
sinking paddles until they nearly drowned
wading shallow pond water leaving our boots filthy
collapsing gello bodies on the shore coughing chocolate wads
rush hour breaths gushing from our exigent depths trying to catch up
too late for a swift flashing firmament flopping its bowels open from heights
a wintry shit squall blew through 1 ply city tattooing our abandoned
salma’s angry shouts went hazy
my ears listened for certain oblivion
the snow sneaping them off by ice flakes
dung beetle wings buzz-sawing away noisily
still sinews straining out of her i did not follow
the insults whizzing off with her
tits sassing me
taken aback tears nearly mingled in sewer drizzle
might have precipitated on my cheeks had salma not
leaned forward & given me all that lip
that got me so
hot she made salsa out of my body
with her body while
twirling brown hail churned our chrissy 1 ply city into shit
balls of glory
across the street
the black horseflies
swarming his eyelids that
choose to recur eternally
against his pathetic mustachioed
skull so much they croak from gluing
themselves to his lashes by their guts.
at the newsdesk
hunter s. thompson
frescoes the wall
using only his head,
a clicking sound like
that of an antiquated
typewriter, & a bullet.
the work is entitled:
“this won’t hurt.”
standing in the living room
elliott smith pries the cage
in his chest open to free all
the weary red sparrows that
suddenly plop on the floor:
their wings snapped in flight.
in the car going nowhere
anne sexton sits dressed
for the winter freezing over
the cream in her buttercup
eyes that close like a road.
i lean back in my comfy uneasy chair:
sighing by surgically redone diaphragm
relating to not enough at this moment
telling myself i am an utter failure too
i must admit, it really is kind of nice.
love handles with care those untidy
exchanges we must have with each
other when naked & wanting to be
vulnerable: like making eye contact
with that wily Other as we fastidiously
fill each square in the waffle below us
with syrup so that each bite interrupts
the raw, embarrassing happiness, we’re
jonesing on, with its calculated sweetnesses.
with Belgian waffles so good & love so bad
i do not see how anyone ever…
we can’t stay together breakfasting like
so. we’ll get fat love handles with…o no
nevermind there being only a green chance
of dodging the awful boneyard party sex
awaiting us all till the screams of grandma
and grandpa slap at our ears from the
awful greeting cards as we try desperately
to relish our tunafish lunches; goddamn it!
there should be legislation to keep these
poor, sorrowful fuckfaces from themselves.
why do not they all go start a family already?
they do not even need to fuck. why, they can
all just go by age and decide who will be who
for a long or short while depending on their
fortunes until they all die of natural causes as
the last rehearsed smile comes easy on them
from the face of a well paid hospice nurse who
knows it wasn’t a moment too soon for me.
lest i roam the streets: my teeth grinding softly
like cat turds rolling in a litter box. beseeching
strangers to undo the knot of my back, i’m a pathetic
mendicant with a deathwish & an old knife that leads
nowhere except to an operating table where a scalpel
tries to race the heart failure that beat me to myself as
i tell myself how much it’ll irk me to be surgically gutted.
it is all the waffle’s fault; the syrup too…
blessed are the frill seekers
the goombahs frown: the capo let the gaudy Madonna order Margaritas
for the family as perry como’s “round and round” warbled out on the
wind from the lone balcony speaker: the mobsters’ brows knit worry
below, the men try to enjoy the frilly fucking cocktails. the women
they’re with question them. one of them wonders if hers has ever had
better head: another worry. a nice smile shines wide like a shelf of
ivory bound tomes on the severed head peeking out from under its
perforated bowler hat at the starlight jigsaw in the night sky that’s
reflected on the baggie sitting in the satchel that one of the men
fidgets with to hide that nice icy smile: a third worry.
he straightens in the plush chair, smiles a nice warm smile at the
wondering woman; she smiles a nice cold smile back: her worries end.
two large waiters arrive and ask the men if they want the dishes
taken. the man asks for the table to be cleared, save for the
ridiculous beverages, and hands one waiter the suitcase: one worry
the other waiter takes the dishes. as the waiter with the dishes left,
the men flag him down: the man who had the suitcase asks that his cane
be taken up to the coats in the balcony. the waiter smiles primly,
accepts the cane, and walks into Dante’s: a minor concern, that’s all.
“catch a falling star” twinkles from the balcony speaker as a waiter
dangles a sharp dressed man over the rails, raises the cane like a
blessed scepter, and bludgeons the man repeatedly with the cane as the
blood falls down too heavy for the wind & flecks each cocktail
umbrella downstairs with purpose: no worries to be had here
whatsoever, friend of mine.
all night dinners & a movie pasquinade
o how i missed loving thee my seed, greedy yawning twat of a harlequin
who told she had a sinister workday when the suit dicks crowded so close
she could not identify any of them in a line up because they formed a
rape ring ‘round your firm torso: each prick teeming with saliva slick meat that
butchered itself into clean plastic coated tubes inside of you as some
young girl you once were danced circles giddily in your throat as her
pink tissue paper dress tore open letting the breeze lift the strange clothes
away like the final word in an afterthought lost in the din of a jukebox tune…
1, 2, 3 o’ clock, 4 o’ clock rock.
it’s nearly 5 o’ clock: tears dig down the make up on your cheeks
leaving blue canals that will dry & crack into beige deserts when the
weep shivers rush in on you the way vultures dive-bomb a teetering baby goat
so they can bring their barbed beaks as close as your lips are to mine
in this black tragic moment so precious that the silver screen blasting our
own sadnesses back at us seems rather poorly lit the way an old grin might under
the lightbulb reflection of the mirror that hides the raindrop sized pills that
hold the breath they never had in your stomach awaiting the moment
when you’ll drown the rest of their kind in the sorrow making your lips
quaver on your face so much that it almost seemed that you loved
me when we kissed 5, 6, 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock then you threw
your arms around me & i cradled your shuddering warm shape
to the couch where i set you down so you could crush me by the collar,
jerk me to your sob heavy breasts, & empty beach pails of shit from
your sandy heart
into my ear, that floated with the sound of your breaking voice, for hours:
“let us reverse narrative fuck: i’ll order pizza & we can come for a
minute after the doorbell sounds. we can tell the pizza boy he took
longer than 30 minutes as we laugh at the bill.
please fuck me again. i am wretched. i’ll be the dirty hairy words &
you can be the correction fluid. i see your cock is a racist redneck &
my pussy is southern comfort. drink me, bright eyes.
let us pinwheel in black and white the way people enter the twilight zone.
your dick is a cold pole & the red flag of my thong is touching the
ground. save me from burning. 9 10, 11 o’clock…let us fight fuck so
much they’ll have to make a sequel to this kung fu flick. no matter
how many times your dick whip snaps into my jaw i’ll never go down on
you. i’m hungry again. can we have an in-n-out burger fuck, animal
style? if this next fuck were on the discovery channel your salmon
would jump up my stream & die cold in shallow water. let us fuck like
you know my happy Oregon trail backwards & it is time to caulk the
wagon and float it to save $5 for more porn. let us fuck because it is
okay if you die of malaria & i finish alone. 12 o’ clock…tock.
wow, i am still hungry. we can make so much fuck we’ll have a
potluck…at the rate
we’re going at it we should fuck again later because when we come
again i think we get a free frozen yogurt. let us sweat it off with
overtime sports-fucking that culminates in sudden death, or at least
until we get sleepy enough to log on out of boredom so i can
double-orgy click your social networking tool; o i’ve a billion
requests to lay on your page, friend of my needs take me to bed where
we’ll cuddle-fuck like you’re nerve endings & i am the tickle monster.
let us bang so big the universe suddenly collapses into nothing. you
can start by oozing some jiffy lube onto my hot jiffy pop; it might
not sound appetizing after all we’ve been through together. trust me,
it is bitch. oh it is time for me to rock around your cock all night.”
we fucked one 1 o’ clock, 2 o’ clock, 3 o’clock more…
Circus of the Damned
Ladies and gentlemen,
Boys and girls,
Children of all ages…
You are about to witness the most spectacular show on earth
Hold your children’s hands
Squeeze your girlfriends shoulders tight
And peer into a world of altered reality
Of ghoulish delights and bitter sweet dreams…
Come one, come all; step on in!
A good time for everyone’s about to begin
You watch the woman walk high on wire
And wait while we set the net on fire
You’ll be sad to see our circus end,
But it doesn’t have to stop here my friend.
We wouldn’t like to be thought to deceive
But once you join, you never leave.
You may go anywhere you’d like and more…
Except that final dressing room door.
In there, the biggest draw resides
The girl of many faces hides
With rows of masks up on shelves.
So many, she’s never seen herself.
One moment she’s an angel who protects,
A vicious self-preserver at the next.
But alas her true face she’s yet to see,
It’s faded in her memory.
And she, and we, aren’t even sure
If she even has one anymore.
But it dosen’t matter if its a face not worth showing
As long as her masks keep the business flowing.
You’ll learn all sorts of fine things first-hand
In the clever circus of the damned.
But do not look at us aghast,
Now that you know our tenants’ past.
It shouldn’t matter if you know
The face-girl’s misery and woe.
Because now, with everything you know,
We can never, ever let you go.
So now you finally understand
The morbid circus of the damned.
Welcome to the Circus
Enjoy your stay…
If I didn't have you, someone else would do
There are lots of fish in the sea.
And if I had a different rod
I would concievably land some.
So much of what I feel reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?
The sound of a chair against a plastic floor
or the hole in your shoe when you’re walking in the rain
like the automatic “no, thanks” when you mean “yes”
the moment the party is over
or the twitch of his fingers, wanting to give the hug he can’t give.
Like the thought that went to your head, instead of your mouth.
I am love-sick, enjoying the imagination, suffering the questioning to incessant contemplation.
There are lots of fish in the sea.
And if I had a different rod
I could concievably land some.
Even though I am
Clarissa floats from
time to place
back, and forth
Leonard digs weeds
from their roots
Virginia immerses herself
in Clarissa, Sally
(and the river)
Forging a work of fiction,
A love letter that brands
the protagonist’s hands
Mrs Dalloway – these words are for you
These words written sparesly, in
pepperings of time
faded love letters on pages,
crumpled and unfolded,
where the handwriting spider-dances from each page to the next
sketches, kisses –
hurriedly scribbled in London cafes
(the waiter leaned over to see
what the woman scrawled –
so passionate was she!)
To dinner parties
Veiled in romance.
From Richmond to imagination,
where winding steam trains
And lovers stroll
where men tip their hats
and the women twirl parasols.
And then to the end
settling ungraciously into puroseful steps
with weighted pockets
and bowed head
thick with the memory
memories of conversations had
with friends forged within her
I hope death was what you imagined.
A Farewell To April
with pain or longing,
or the need
to press against
a warm body.
A blue jay singing
in the lilac tree,
soils a car,
freshly washed and waxed.
The faded scent of berries
mixed with guano
in the last rain,
a farewell from April.
Her face in the window
of a cliché
as rapid as memory,
forgotten as the sun
the last puddle,
But later returns,
fresh and unknown,
a passing storm.
After The Fire
Strands of purple
across the blue
of your hair,
sky at twilight
the stars of your eyes,
phantom in my bed,
who are you?
A body I have
I have heard
raised in anger
as well as softer tones.
Who are you,
Who are you?
What are your
What makes your
What is it
that you see?
the heat of passion
to melt us into
Now those fires
and we are left
with each other,
rings on our fingers,
in our minds.
Who are you
in my bed?
peck at the body
of the hanged man,
by the town gibbet,
from the mayor
an act of charity
to help them through
the lord cares
so much for them
they need not sow
the river runs under small bridges
fit only for foot traffic.
from the hills a waterfall
sends its cascade.
trees green in spring
turn white in winter.
a traveler stamps his feet
to fight off the cold.
no need to mow
watch it wave
in the wind
makes eyes itch
the wind is
with the grass
and I want
a man harvests
what he sows,
if the lord be willing
and the soil kind
we sow bricks
and up sprout buildings
cramping the sky
Summer Night, Summer City
Dogs bark in the middle of the night.
Sirens call for backup with blue flashing lights.
The streets glow from a million illuminated moons
Suspended from poles every sixty feet or so.
Old sneakers dangle on shoestrings from the wires,
Maybe marking the location of a crack house,
Or just a remnant of an old tradition
Passed on from father to son
Like alcoholism or syphilis.
It's hard to sleep in the humid summer.
An open window lets in the air and the car exhaust.
A man stands in his sweat soaked undershirt,
Leaning elbows on the windowsill, looking out
At the night and all its splendor.
He listens to the music of cats in the alley,
Metal trash can lids rattling against asphalt,
The sirens and the dogs and the distant motors
Humming like a river on the highway.
A television is still yakking in the apartment above.
The man suspects the tenants fell asleep long ago.
The program sounds like an infomercial.
No reason to watch, even if you're bored.
It would take more than insomnia and loneliness
To get him to view. He'd rather see
A rugby match on ESPN beamed from far off Sydney,
Or an old black and white movie with cracked footage
And squeaky sound, the kind that used to play late or never.
Dawn will eventually break across the tenements,
Turning gray brick and shadows into red brick and shadows.
The hookers and would be tricks will head for home,
Stumbling over addicts and the homeless nodding in dreamland.
The street sweepers might come by if its and election year,
And the ghosts of horse drawn wagons and vendors
Shouting out the names of their wares, voices lost
In the swirl of newspapers and candy wrappers
Dancing in the vortex created by passing cars.
Yesterday is gone. Bleary eyed tomorrow has arrived.
The sun will melt a dozen dropped snow cones
On the sidewalk before it sets again. The stores
Will open and close. The subway will rumble
Under ground. Radios will blast from cars and homes.
Workers will walk or run or ride to offices and factories
To do that work thing for eight tired hours or more,
Constantly looking at the clock and longing for freedom,
Or a cigarette break outside in the smoking sun.
Tonight, on the way home, you will pick up an oscillating fan,
Maybe a window air conditioner if you can find one on sale.
Tonight you wouldn't mind a thunderstorm to cool things down
For life, for love, for money but mostly for sleep.
You can't rest if your sheets are a puddle and so are you.
You can't watch the street or the television every night.
You can't, you won't, or so you say now while the humid air
Rolls off of the river and gets pressed down by the smog,
A warm blanket for another evening of watching summer pass by.
Thief of Heaven
The thief who stole heaven
will not give it back.
It took him too long to find
and pick the lock.
He will not part with it now.
See him run with salvation under his arm
basking in happiness
as the sirens whine.
My days remind me of the endless autumn rain,
The fascinating, charming melancholy.
The sky is crying for my bitter loss -
The loss of one hour's eternity.
And I know the rain is bound to cease,
But my sorrow will shape just another rain cloud,
And the steps on our crossing ways
Will be only for always erased.
And my freedom reminds of a foreign land,
No destination is one, true home
That has never existed at all.
And wherever I go, I will only get lost.
And my love reminds of a wilted rose,
Its eternal beauty is evanescent;
While you're breathing in its light April scent,
Least of all you expect it to hurt you,
But time leaves you just pain of its pretty thorns.
And my truth reminds of an ancient language,
Mystic manuscripts only few can read,
But no one's ever got to the core,
Where the mystery is way too obvious.
So, my whole life's like a chess game
With one possible ending - it's draw.
My pen is bleeding on the paper,
As love is bleeding in my heart.
Each word's the bare truth -
Put these words to music,
Play this music on the strings of my soul,
If you don't tear them, I'm yours.
If you see me dying,
Will you hold my hand through this hell?
Will you save me like you did once?
You know where to find the way
To the temple of my hope.
And I don't know...
If only I had died tomorrow,
Would you've turned back time,
So that tomorrow'd never come?
And if I asked you
To kill me with your bare hands,
Just not with your indifference... would you?
I can't breathe the air of fear.
I'm suffocating... will you hold me in your arms
To chase the fear away?
Will you breathe life into me?
Will you forgive me the weakness of one day
If I'm your shield for all the lifetime?
If I could live an hour of your life,
Dwell in your inner world that's just your own,
I'd turn to real your most precious dreams.
And if you realize
I love you with each ounce of my heart,
Will you ever say goodbye?
You wake up at six: intercourse with your spouse.
You're under the blanket with tightly shut eyes.
At seven a postman arrives to your house
With two printed portions of scandals and lies.
You turn the TV on. Your damn daily dose
Of lies is exceeded with fresh morning news.
You firmly believe global changes are close -
You have no idea they've hidden the truth.
In life you've achieved less than nothing, you're poor
Though you were the best both at college and school.
Well, man, who are you? You are not even sure.
In fact, you're a pawn in the game of a fool.
Deceptive freedom. Honest lies.
A charming, yet so dreadful guise.
Forgotten memories. Two hearts
Are in my chest, both torn apart.
Strong weakness of a wilted rose.
My two reflections, one disclosed.
A shadow of changing shapes.
The sorrow of different shades.
A bleeding wrist of strangers'faith.
A crystal tear on no one's face.
Odd soulless hearts in mystic frames,
You have no voices, know no shame!
Just when you're dumb, your words are true.
I'm hopeless. Well. But who are you??
You're nothingness behind green eyes,
Mistakes that never happen twice.
You're just a riddle for a day
To figure out - and stay away
From all this simply perfect mess,
Where I am hope, and you - are less.
The same nasty job and the same decorations,
The desperate faces of helpless sweatpals,
Bright shouting ads at half-dead metro stations,
Then evenings with you in a dark empty cell.
The price of ten dollars for some inspiration,
Some spirits, some sex and a pointless nightmare,
Brain vomittimg words for another creation,
The words squirting hatred and bleeding despair,
No money for life, but great plans and beginnings...
They hate me for pride and the truth brought them ripe.
I've chosen life with just one subtle meaning,
They've chosen one of a stereotype.
I say what is true and I live what is fair!
I laugh at those dull social-networking mugs
Who tell me: "Young thing, you're nothing in square",
The kids of myspaces and audiodrugs.
The lights in the streets take me back to November -
Complete isolation of heart, blood and mind.
The ones that I loved still forget to remember
A beautiful devil - the one of this kind.
The guise of my freedom has changed. Don't you care
That everything else has remained? It is me!
Alone in the crowd, both here and there,
And fucking damn proud - more sober, more free.
I find myself asked to read
at a theatre for a communal pol
akin to chemist’s meat
I remember now
They drink speak like hairdressers
Rest their hands on my arms and manage
sycophancy before knowing what I do
the family knows its brood
they all know each and corall
into one noise the poet before me is white
but raps his verse or slams he is on a
nationwide tour and lottery funded he records
himself singing loops it over his poetry
cringeing and manipulative the crowd
the applause is orgiastic he
exclaims peace in his black accent
and I am ushered to the stage…
I speak of my affection for sashs grey
and they laugh. I entertain like a frog
stuffed with rice, expanding
I forget my poems and like a chide
rehearse the lyrics of No Remorse
because I am unable to resist parity
the poetess who follows me speaks
of her house how it grows at home
and her mother’s wrinkled feet
homeless, I get a licence to live in a
shopfront and sell car stereos
before teaching english as a foreign language
I’ve given a gift to you of my collected
you didn’t read them
because of the colour of the jacket
so a new colt of colour catches my
there is a different book on my shelf
I do not remember placing
Into a ball all you see is colours
a cavern in which other
In nothingness questions dwell
thank the thought
thank the night
Kaspar’s still dead
the grand piano
in his stead
is missing strings
sitting beneath the baobab tree
eat salte, eat salte he tells me
don’t let them take the mystery
spurn their roots, their purity
don’t frighten away so easily
don’t pay attendance to university
to study in norway will always be free
I see poets, I see sea
Henry Flynt plays out my faculty
selling homes to pay for therapy
(Ensor and child)
he cannot see
that is fine
we are watching
what but cancer
is closer to death
than two skeletons
pummelling each other?
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 - 2010 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
version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there.
Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.
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