INTRODUCTION ALAN KAUFMAN *AN OUTLAW POET MANIFESTO CONTENTS JOHN HORVATH, JR. *DOMUS *TENDING FATHER'S PLOT *A KIND OF A KINDNESS JeanPaul Jenack *Dust Jacket *nightmare peanut *Silver Lining *The Unopened Present *Things of Value JESSY RANDALL *Sensitive Girl, Affected by Mouse *House of a Million Rooms *Bed Song *The High School *The Green Bed GALE SPRINKLE *Judging LYNETTE HALL *every Junkie is a recording *No Contact *Practicing with fire BESS KEMP *Some Other Time Perhaps *Resilience ALAN KAUFMAN *THE SADDEST MAN ON EARTH... *WHO ARE WE? *MONDAY AFTERNOON IN HAIGHT ASHBURY *ON READING WHITMAN'S SONG OF MYSELF AT ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING *LET US POST SCRIPTUM GALE TOUSIGNANT *Stones
AN OUTLAW POET MANIFESTO To be one from whose ashes someday truth shall arise -- a troubadour wandering the byways of America, traveling from coast to coast by its railroad tracks and highways, stopping off to recite your poems, to stay with a lover, visit friends--to walk the streets of cities and towns, searching for the ghost of something that may have never been but had only promised to be, and hoping to crystallize this phantom ideal through the power of your language, the sheer force of the rhythm in your heart, fire in your belly, vision in your head; to live broke and unknown but admired by other poets who are equally down and out; to watch others go that same road and come to ruin and yet to courageously continue on your way; to watch the decades pass and others less gifted then you get ahead because unscrupulous and yet to pen your words anyway, paint and hang your pictures in empty rooms and sing your song to an audience that at times is no more than just a handful of drunks who are only half listening, and to wake them up, stand them upright, watch their faces brighten and backs straighten and heads lift high because of the hopeful truth of your poems; to need people yet feel eternally a stranger; to try and reach out anyway and, with that painful joy that comes from knowing you are never truly with anyone but your Maker and the wind in the trees to live as one who believes in such crazy things as Truth and Justice, Dignity and Beauty; to be all this is to be an Outlaw Poet and to live as the Universe intended. And if, my friend, you are such a one anywhere, in any land, a writer in any language who believes in and performs such things, then you too belong to the lyrical brigands who have assembled here. Let us hijack the ship of Poetry and set sail for a new vista, a vastly different horizon then the one looming all around. What do we see as we pass the coast but the burning neo-fascistic world ruled by Corporations and Gingrich's, Gates and Gay Bashers and Paparazzi and child murderers. And over there, in their own sleazy corner, are the cowed arts administrators, the soul's assassins, and those slick editors and producers and huckstering dilettantes and critics who squeeze the life and meaning from American letters by pandering to what is cheap and annihilating about our culture and in ourselves. This manifesto is a pledge to write poems of profound decency and passion in the last days of the Twentieth Century; to be poets who share a belief in openness and freedom, excellence and democracy in an era that is without virtue or honor. For us, the new millennium just ahead promises no better then more ruin unless somehow we change for once and all the hearts and minds of the people we live among. This and nothing less must be our purpose. And yet, in doing so, we should not be just prophets of dishonor, rigidly dogmatic or politically correct, nor permit mere cant to pose as poetry. We must be first and foremost poets who will not compromise our beliefs, our art, and who will continue to act as though our words contain the seeds of change, and in the certain conviction that poets are yet the most dangerous persons in society, the bottom line threat to tyrants and fools. Signed, Alan Kaufman, San Francisco* *Editor "The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry" (Forthcoming, April 99' from Thunder's Mouth Press)
JOHN HORVATH, JR. DOMUS ~~~~~ He loved no place for what it was but what he could make of it I recall a wondrous instant: father planting trees around two stories tall a dwelling of brick brightened with roseate windows made of glass, and hard-wooded floors parquetried; neighbors that would be from birth till death gathered and we sang, we sang sweet airs-- the last time such airs were sung--for traveling, whose rhythms were for wagon wheels and ocean waves. he made a strange form as if roof and wall; it shelters people, and it is called "house" nor loved he a man for who he was but for what he might become I recall a wondrous instant: father planting trees-- plum, almond, peach, and apricot--around that house of brick two stories tall with windowpanes of glass and hard-wood floors while neighbors who'd announce our future births with pagan song and Christian toasts gathered and sang sweet airs that none might sing again, rhythms from the roll of wagon wheels and ocean ships. He met people--with bulky shoulders, massive necks, broad-chested, full of toughness, health and strength like animals and trees of the North. but each face is like the country: plain, an open and a wild waste. He loved no place for what it was but loved for what he could make of it; nor loved a man for what he was but for what he could become--a wondrous instant, I recall I was among the guests; mead and wine drank I; and, what I saw, I put into these very books.
JOHN HORVATH, JR. TENDING FATHER'S PLOT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Among the quiet here at this niche of Zion's bones and old beards still full years after vanities one learns the knower seldom makes the known and the doubter often generates the doubt ex nothingness; one comes to feel a truth in faith, that it breeds heroes of us all far better than an unbelief stillborn, nothing worth heroic death, and better than knowing something known. These many little garden plots attest a long such faith occurred, occurring, shall continue to occur among the quiet here, this niche of Zion's bones and old beards still full years after vanities. I am surprised by love--as Miriam surprised by God accepted her conception state, they too forwarded silly in faith though time would unbud--no matter how surprised--the dream and I will also find myself alone, sure of death, like these many beards and bones are sure of loss though remains attest to something of a permanence among the quiet here, this niche of Zion's bones and old beards still full years after vanities, and sure of solitude always in the present days that are coldly saddest of the year. Perhaps so (No. I am unconvinced though by love surprised that should I treasure live no life lives after. A place is but a place, these monuments persist). Here the simple trim the well-kept monuments; their faces care precisely, a measured love that gives a share to flesh, another up to faith among the quiet here, this niche of Zion's bones. Love is a surcharged life, a weeding of our doubts. Father is dust and I am dust; I've nothing more. The headstone is a stone; there is nothing more. The knowledge that I gain is only doubt as beauty in the garden plot is weeds torn out. Among the quiet here at this niche of Zion's bones and old beards full still after years of vanities weeds flourish on that part reserved to him and his tree spreads its shading branches out toward empty sky. Like arms outstretched in agony of prayer never to be answered, these his branches thin where they meet the air, and these his leaves will fall as surely as did hands. A small rustle then will pass among the gardeners who note me on my knees as if attending to someone who is no one at all, serving something not a thing at all. They hear and curse parched leaves rushed across their garden plots; they know I love the leaves. Children ought not remind the living that there's death nor curse the dead for something left of life. What falls is nothing more than uninvited mulch that feed the garden and its weeds--it is a garden and nothing more--and so is faith. I tend the garden, love the seed, the bud, and love the blossom, all parts that are or were the flower; and the weed, I love the weed her among the quiet in this niche of Zion's bones and old beards still full of vanity after years where is this surprise of love and love of doubt there's also something about worms that tunnel earth as if the garden plot were air and only air. So much for what I learn and make and generate-- a heavy breathing on my knees must set it right. Love yet amounts to something I've not said. Practiced gardeners have faith that when I rise I mean by going that I shall come again; that serving as I've served I serve an end, that each to his own father's plot must tend and, if he does, harvest of its fruit he'll earn.
JOHN HORVATH, JR. A KIND OF A KINDNESS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Children, it's nightfall; please hurry to bed the spectrum of color is replaced by the dead in white robes and black, they'll steal you away if when they come looking you see what they are. For them you must be the color of one or the other else they bleed you and crush your bones for their damnable dinner, your fine flesh for their feast. Thus remember who we and whence we came; or, die. Tell me a story, daddy, It is a hard scrap of road--gutted like young men's dreams of women left discolored in the gutter begging peace for their world. From the belfry sparrows erupt bringing no more news of shriveled leaves; as if foolish, embarrassed, selfish, under covered glorious hair in the pews is a stretched scar of an old wound. I do not understand; Tell me in my words, papa; Tell me a story, daddy, about another world different. Evening. I was twelve, dear child, be patient. Who did not serve, deserve their hell, the beat of the sun on softening flesh. Had I been a Nazi, the world would well with Thee in America; I would have said to the Inquisitor, I've no love of red. But I was an honest man; most are dead. I was never young, daughter, The world dislikes its young. Tell me about old ones, their country of lovers far away; before lights went out, tell me a story-- I'm afraid of the dark. Form of the goddess Diana. I am the youngest of men, in the country of blindness I have seen far away sights that burn in my memories-- and I'm afraid of the dim. Daddy, can I be a hunter? I asked. The deer and sparrow will be mine enemies, and I will overcome them through my prowess with the bow, I will devour their loose sky. If you promise me the bow; I promise riches. He delivered his promises. It was hard times. We saved--we waited our turn. Bought a weapon I would never have the youth to use. We've no banner, no crown. Nor cross of gold, no wooden shield upon which to bear me homeward. Lay me amid tall grasses, an acorn in my fist, at a crossroads that I might help others decide. We've no banner, no crown. Nor cross of gold, no wooden shield upon which to bear me homeward. Mother, tell that I loved them too much to hurt them with lies lied me when I was a youngster already old Here, young boys--the finest to stand that might be taken in this land of opportunities-- all ten to forty of them were alive, bound together walking along the roadside, chained to their labor. And as I was passing them, the cattle-cars I recalled. Here, you work in the loose air alongside the tracks leading to places where you never or might have been or where crimes more sordid than yours have happened unaware of your wishing them your own. When you are at the end of your labor, will there be a cooling shower for you to cleanse you of your memories. If the Indian here and I abroad, then why not you? Be grateful. I will tell their children how I brushed those tits so near to death; dragged the almost bones of women to the gravesite to avoid the baths. I kissed their living lips and buried them alive skirted shards of tiles and pots, window and mirror among the bomb craters to be at the side of those I had left behind. Where had they gone? Where? Answering his breath growing heavy, A man whose destiny is slavery can overcome a Count but empties while the petals unfold; thus slowly to whence he came he travels. Now that I'm older, old man in his bones, the urge to move elsewhere is a kind of a kindness (God, let me move from this Land of Nod). Tell me a story, daddy. --So my father, the gypsy, had said. drawn from houses (half of them empty) to run while women and the weak die as the men watch-- looking for gold cobblestones. Escaped the past or went back to bright sounds he gave and watched me while they wait the sun to pass and we would run through tall grass forever evading the past. For me, there are grasshoppers, oxen, church steeples, Over and over on the wide mothering belly of time I suckle the rich bitter juice of my history my mother's milk from a dry breast I pass to you Did you know, father, in early morning, after dew collects in the flower, there you find water sweet as honey of bees I'm the kindest of men. but for what I might become I would prefer death, a kind of a kindness. I love the tall grasses We live among the androphagi beware their smile, daughter thus they will come for you, with a smile hiding pointed teeth, their tongues like ripe fruit sweet beware their smile, daughter, harvest its fruit into your story over and over among the androphagi
JeanPaul Jenack Dust Jacket ~~~~~~~~~~~ He already had a hundred titles selected for his works: exquisite words, turns of phrase so cutting in their cleverness that heads would turn, and pages would turn -- and with them his fortune. He would write them down, one by one, on index cards arranged in some imaginary chronology as if copied from a library card catalogue. Later, he would glue them to the spines of old books bought by the pound to line his long-empty shelves -- the proud author, knowing in his heart that through this act he was entitled to the moment, and that you can judge a book by its cover.
JeanPaul Jenack nightmare peanut ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ some days you feel completely unstrung an amnesiac elephant, looking for a lone moment of refuge among vacant faces around the circus ring the music blares, and one foot goes in front of another without the assistance of fugitive brain-cells down for the count within this lumbering gray existence the world's a sick joke, and you've been had -- become a punchline -- then you remember: "where does an elephant go when it's mad?" "any-fucking-where it wants to, that's where!" so you bolt up the aisle, breaking the fetters between your legs, and feel much, much better
JeanPaul Jenack Silver Lining ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Every window in the house thrown open shutters flung wide, still it is not enough. Light streams inward through every aperture in pursuit of missing pigment amid two hundred and fifty-six numbing shades of gray. To be known only by shadows, each object defined by its darknesses -- a negative state of cruel contrast drawn by the Midas promise of rainbows. Fifty-six reds conjoined on my palette: all of them illusions of blood, mud, rust, dust. The colors run from bone-dry to ash. Above, a dull vapor accumulates: it's time at last to appreciate clouds.
JeanPaul Jenack The Unopened Present ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Although not really lost he has chosen to be: maps useless to him, he won't even unfold one. A dozen friends gather like wayward compass points, to tell him "we're here too." He stares at them blankly, responds "Do I know you?" -- returns to the bottle where he has been before and will be again. It is far, far easier when everything is strange and new, wrapped up tight like the unopened present left behind with no card about whose contents one can only speculate.
JeanPaul Jenack Things of Value ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I always loved that scene in The Godfather -- you know the one -- where Clemenza turns to Rocco after Rocco shoots Pauli and says: "Leave the Gun. Take the cannolis." It reminds me of that scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus -- faced by two men begging for their lives -- without pause kills the priest, and saves the poet. But these are just scenes without truth -- literary contrivances -- drawn from movie and myth in which things happen for a reason and people instinctively recognize things of value.
JESSY RANDALL Sensitive Girl, Affected by Mouse ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the edge of the apartment complex beyond the force-field of the white curb was a woods, and in the woods, mice. My brother and I found one, injured or sick and took it inside to nurse it back to health. We failed. And mom said, "that mouse would be happier where you found it." So we took it back, and left it there, shivering with -- fear? cold? a sense of magic, to be home again? And when we went back, days later, it was still there, in that exact same inch of dirt by a dandelion, frozen, dead, I'll never know why.
JESSY RANDALL House of a Million Rooms ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let's go in here. This room is another room. This room is huge. This room speaks French. That room is for books -- no people can go in there. Here is the tower. The tower is very boring. Let's go down these stairs. They go in a circle. Are we getting anywhere? You are breathing. The house has a stutter: it moves forward and back. In the tall corner there, under the slant, is another house, for magical creatures. No, don't touch anything. Here, come in here. In this room you can touch everything you want. There's nothing out that window. This room is for you alone. Come back.
JESSY RANDALL Bed Song ~~~~~~~~ "If I were an insect," you say, "I'd live in your hair. I'd hide, here, on your forehead, under the sweep of your bangs." You are a kind of insect. So thin, with glinting eyes, and legs that kick out, spilling a glass of water on the floor. And silent. Like a bug. Perhaps a few whimpers, some cricket sound, in the center of the night, to measure the time or tell how cold it is. You are very cold, your feet, your mind, you don't answer, and then you sit far away from me the next morning.
JESSY RANDALL The High School ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The high school is there -- a huge fat naked baby with main doors white and open even at midnight with metal grates to block off the halls and gray-green lockers lunch box soldiers and the ghost of Mrs. Winthrop telling you to get to class. A mythic place the loves you have here will always return, will not let you alone, climb out of the lockers like an extra pair of shoes you keep for when it snows.
JESSY RANDALL The Green Bed ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The green bed of poetry is an empty bed -- you have to sleep on the ink spot. Do not put the cat in the poem! Throw your ex-boyfriend's trumpet out the window and stop eating potato chips.. I am not what he thinks. I am far more lovable. Why doesn't he love me more? I am filled with sorrow, with hope, with blackberries. There is no ocean anywhere near here, just the subway, cold and deep.
GALE SPRINKLE Judging ~~~~~~~ I never thumped my Bible. Watermelons, yes. The leaves whisper as they turn. I read. I do not pretend to understand the word fully. John's gospel speaks forgiveness. Jesus had time for Mary Magdalene- prostitute though she was. Echo after: I will not judge. I will not judge.
LYNETTE HALL every Junkie is a recording ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ -phillip K. dick 1977 Click hi we're not home right now so leave a message and we'll ignore that too Beeeeep... slide the needle in the vein pop the downer in the mouth snort the candy up your nose toke the wild mild weed smoke the slow death plant push the button for the tube tilt back your head and take a swallow play the doctor for a fool put the coin in the plate wack the ball another score pump the abs just 10 more give yourself the perfect O dance with music on the floor lean back relax and take a wallow join the shrouded misty dream swim in rose petal comfort scented sweet as smooth toffee reality slipping through you butter and a knife spread life thick let's drift south to sandy beaches on a springfed river bake our bodies brown and smooth and warm as hard toffee then enter the coolness of dixie's mouth and seamlessly dissolve. don't worry ... I'm sorry nobody's home I'm sorry nobody's home I'm sorry ....the machine will get it. July 22 98
LYNETTE HALL No Contact ~~~~~~~~~~ eight by ten four steps five steps four steps five steps circular motion in this room squared food comes soon Wish I had a chain to rattle a bar to beat on this sterile monkey's cage Another line on my arm two more lines and I will go for exercise i think twenty paces twenty paces twenty paces twenty paces look up for sky it's not there only more fluorescent I wonder how long I have lived here in this false light July 1998
LYNETTE HALL Practicing with fire ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The citronella candle has good flame for burning pine needles My young son testifies I like to burn stuff mommy I like to burn I like to burn... --I like the way it smells-- says my somewhat older daughter as the fire dies along a curved line turning the needle to incense sunglow of flame dance of fire down to cigarette glow becoming scent of deep forests in gathering dusk our eyes bright June 1997
BESS KEMP Some Other Time Perhaps ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Mrs. Murty took a long nap where she sat. She didn't realize she had drifted off until her own snoring startled her back to her livingroom and away from that place too close to permanent.
BESS KEMP Resilience ~~~~~~~~~~ There's an old barn on that hill near the apple orchard. It isn't used much anymore like most forgotten relics. But still it stands, defiantly, against the long winters, like an old-timer not quite believing he's past his prime. And the apples fall from the trees in quiet sympathy.
ALAN KAUFMAN THE SADDEST MAN ON EARTH... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ...ignored how the rain felt as he left home for the last time Wore down his boot heels searching for the woman of his dreams, but never understood that life is a woman Lived in a town where sadness was illegal and where grinning cops ticketed his face so often that he lost his license to cry The Saddest man on earth tuned guitars but couldn't play them, cheated the IRS of his own refund, fathered a child who thought she saw him in perfect strangers yet didn't recognize him face to face I met him once in a bar toasting the mirror with his stare He had come south to start life over He was a Mozart of silence
ALAN KAUFMAN WHO ARE WE? ~~~~~~~~~~ Into the past I go like a stranger to discover why at night I lay alone as a child waiting for the front door to slam, my father gone to night-shift work, and my mother, Marie, to enter, unable to sleep, and tell me tales of childhood war, pursued by those who, as she spoke, seemed to enter the room, Gestapo men in leather coats who ordered me to pack and descend to a waiting truck, for I am still going to Auschwitz though a grown man in 1998 I am still boarding the freight, crushed against numbed, frightened Jews and Gypsies and Russian soldiers and homosexuals crossing frontiers to be gassed I am her, in my heart, though I am six feet two and two hundred and ten pounds and have played college football and served as a soldier and have scars from fights with knives and jagged bottles smashed on bars I am still her, little girl, hiding in chicken coops and forests, asleep on dynamite among partisans I am still her, brushing teeth with ashes from the ruins of nations gutted in war I am still her brown eyes and black hair of persecution foraging scraps of thistle soup, a star-shaped patch sewn to my shirt I am still my mother every day in the streets of New York or San Francisco, the chimney skies glow and swirl with soot like night above a crematorium, or the Bronx incinerator chute where I threw out trash in a brick darkness shooting sparks I am still her in the streets of Berkeley, walking among sparechangers, dyed-hair punkers, gays in stud leather, Blacks, Mexicans and Asians I am still her rounded up among poets and thieves and politically incorrect social deviants on sun-drenched sidewalks in the Mission and the Haight, Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, or anywhere the weird congregate in tolerance And every day in this age of intolerance, in a mental ghetto affirmed by the homeless, I pass the dying with the loud ring of my boots, ashamed to think that perhaps my heels are the last thing they heard Every day I am a survivor of AIDS and poverty Every day I sit in cafes watching tattoos turn to numbers and I grow angry I want America back I want America to be the home I never had And you, who are you if you hear my voice? Who are you, stranger if you read these words? Who are we who stand threatened in these times of darkness? Who are we, condemned to die, who do not know ourselves at all?
ALAN KAUFMAN MONDAY AFTERNOON IN HAIGHT ASHBURY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You're in a sidewalk cafe in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco but unlike New York your coffee cup isn't bussed the minute you've drained it They let you sit from morning to night, undisturbed Your cup refills at the pace of your thirst You can bag a big table for yourself and sprawl You can write poems a single line in a day or five pages in one hour You can read free alternative newspapers go out back to the garden to bake in the sun or stare out the window at the endless procession of slackers Or you can stare at your hands as you're doing now thinking of the daughter whom broken marriage led you to abandon She lives abroad with her mother How, you wonder without the bucks to send a gift six thousand miles away, will you fill the void you've left in her? Or, you can take out her picture, study it, the one of her in profile staring sadly through a window, imagine that she is wondering where you are or you can visualize her waking startled at night crying: "Daddy!" But, you're not there You're in Haight Ashbury, in your thirties, recovering from alcoholism, writing poems You are like so many New Yorkers who ran aground in bars on bad marriage hard labor, mindless consumerism You made one last ditch geographic to California to remake yourself like a sixties movie hero of mid-life crisis -- but it's the nineties so you're dressed in black motorcycle gear, not headband and sandals and Tracey Chapman is teasing tears from your eyes When your forty she'll be ten and when you're fifty she'll be twenty and if you can live to sixty with your booze-damaged guts there'll be a reunion, gifts, letters, phone calls, sure, and even a book or two dedicated to her and maybe you'll have dropped in one weekend and meeting in the kitchen over a midnight glass of milk, she'll tell you that nothing you do or say makes it better "You were gone," she'll say "I needed you then I feel so empty" You miss her cries of glee, others reassure her fears there are times when none but you can help but you do not hold her you cannot hold her now you will not soon fill your arms with her softness, her blondness her blue eyes, her face like yours It is Monday afternoon in Haight Ashbury you are alone and you say her name aloud
ALAN KAUFMAN ON READING WHITMAN'S SONG OF MYSELF AT ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ An image or two stuck: the swimmer tossed into the sea and surfacing with damp curls, reborn, beside himself with joy, and further on you enjoin the student, me I guess, to destroy you, the teacher, and that will spread your breast BANG! You're dead I'm out here, Walt, rushing broke down Mission to beg Unemployment to cut me a check I'm out here in dry dock, spilling my guts like a dweeb to a bunch of drunks whose names I don't know, and I'm thinking I'll have these narratives from Hell tattooed on my skin, so I can step up to cops, rip off my shirt and shout: Read this! Because underfoot, Walt, is not grass but flames I'm living the private American inferno where anguish is something you do at home, behind locked doors; terror expressed to strangers in rented rooms anonymously, and late at night over telephones to friends, who sob in turn of their own HIVs of incurable hepatitis enlarged livers secreting schizophrenic genes of utter emotional drear, shame success tumors, and harrowing despair at the ghosts of their walking fathers I am laughing by kitchen light, Walt, bent with rot-toothed grin over your most famous poem, watching my reflection in the night of ashtray eyes and lips shaped by the vowel of Oblivion, and tonight, Walt, I am James Dean on the day of his death, I am Marilyn Monroe's baby grown, the second one she lost, and all that I have been is falling down like a house of cards in this room by-the-week, with my iodine-dabbed gangrenous leg like a seated shriek I am shrieking, Walt, for a drink, for a fix, for a mother, for a God, for a kindness, for a child, for a prayer I can say without sneering in my guts I'm asking, Walt, have you got like me slant eyes, hook nose, black skin and Spanish lips, do they let my type with dick, one ball, big tits, mascara, wig, pumps, two wombs and cocktail dress into Heaven? I'm, sick of Wonder bread, Walt Have you got democratic steak for me? Have you got red-blooded boneless shoes for me, without holes, a lot of ketchup, size twelve? Because I'm years in the alleys in the garbage cans in the rain laying for you with a poem like a gun I don't know what's got into me I'm trigger obsessed Must be the Bronx where I grew up Must be Bronx make me hard as an aerial snapped off a car, as a packed Saturday night special, and I wanna rumble, Walt, I wanna mix it up I'm infected with the virus of the poor who never read the Norton Anthology of Modern Verse Who sing madrigals of bucked teeth, harelip and rickets, recite sonnets of executed eviction summonses for unpaid back rents, and job applications to Macdonalds, and critically deconstruct stab wounds painted with Mercurochrome I've got a vision, Walt, of savage love for the one-eyed drunk, the limping thief, the unshaven cabby in drag I've got a vision, Walt of the cosmic benefit of sound nutrition of medical attention of housing and of voice in a truly democratic society on the filthy piles of flesh dying on the pavement I've got a vision of extended hand of lifting arm of healing souls leafing and loafing in winter coats and resoled shoes and of their lonely power to destroy you, once and for all, old teacher, and spread your breast a billion-fold, to absurd bursting point, like gout, and not just your breast, old fella, but your neck and cheeks, guts and buttocks and knees will swell, inflamed with their angry joy And the poor will not drown in the sea Their deaths, for too long given over to God, will return to us with restored trust in the thriving intimacy of the earth and from love we will come and with love we will see even in the hour of our greatest blindness that to an even gentler love we go
ALAN KAUFMAN LET US ~~~~~~ Let us take ourselves aboard a bus and travel to the dispossessed and let us praise their dreamless eyes and hardened smiles with rogue words of truth in the killing fields of their hopes the slum wards and ragged towns and stolen farms Let us take to them the carnival of our mad and scattered lives Let us bring them the mountain Let us give them the vision of an open window, an unlocked door, a bed to sleep in, a plate of food Let us give them the keys to the house of our love Let us bare our throats tattooed with roses our breasts sequined with diamonds our loins hot with dragons our hands and feet pierced with beauty Let us come to their dusty squares and drinking holes with canticles of magnificent defeat Let us deliver in their mangers of pollution and penitentiaries, shopping malls and tenements the hard, beautiful birth of the heart Let us bring renewal Let us declare the death of despondency and tyrants For I have seen our campfires pitched beside the roads like fallen, still-burning miraculous stars I have seen our bus voyaging to innocence I have seen us poet-dogs tossed the last decade of this century, like a bone, after ninety years of science and war, reason and corporation, art and Auschwitz I have seen my vocation descend like a pen to a page that can never be filled with enough truth I have crossed a continent of despair with a summons much older than lies, and I swear to you, Poets, I live for greater than myself You street-latin Elizabethan hustlers, I tell you time has come to deal death's passionate kiss to kings Time has come to bare our asses in Paradise Time has come to strip for freedom Time has come slut dogs, drag queens, sadomasochists and criminals to be Tom Paines, Franklins and Jeffersons Time has come to write the Constitution with our poetry and flesh Time has come to costume up for Liberty and ride with words like steel-tipped whips into the soul of America and rage there and sing till the mouth of every starving child is fed
GALE TOUSIGNANT Stones ~~~~~~ I want to see the hand that set the stone to rolling. * * * Just crazy enough to make up a fable about stones. It goes like this. As the summer glimmer passed in dewy haze, Patience's mother walked the slow and weary road to death. Sundays only could Patience shuck the chores to sit aside the stream. First she went to church walking the five miles to town, swimming the road in small taste of freedom. Yellow through green leaves, patches of blue, bee humming breeze running its fingers through tree tops unfettered air and her heart pumping in synchronicity. She was not lonesome though alone. Christian would accompany her the journey home, as he had for nigh three years. They would tarry at the farm gate to read the future promised in each other's eyes. She would tease the laughter from him solely to feed upon the liquid sparkle joy spilling waterfall from his soul. The stream-it burbled along much the same way. Patience marveled at the beauty of the wet stones. As smooth as the skin of her breast, little rivers snaking the surface like blue vein rising toward nipple. When she fished them from the bed they took on another face as they dried. Their secrets stopped shimmering, held in cold gray arms. This is when she started breathing into them. She told of her wanhope for her mother, the cruelty of her father, the wish to marry Christian and bear his children in a city, far from farms, cattle and drudge. Autumn trudged its stubborn way upon the land. The North wind sucked the last breath from her mother. Her father sucked at the teat of a bottle long into the starless night. He would not, could not, run the farm alone. He had scented the flight desire on his daughter. So he crept into the loft and did what no man should do to daughter. Sunrise saw Patience rolling the drunkard from her body. She slipped barefoot to the stream unaware of the frost reddening her soles. Wind snarled, snow spat upon the path. Like Elaine, Fair Maid of Astolat, Patience dug her grave in water. Naked, she piled the secret stones on her breast in the shape of a cross, praying for mercy from the God whose law she was breaking. Amen. It took three days for sotted father to find her. The crows had been there first. * * * " For sweet Lord Jesu, said the fair maiden, I take Thee to record, on Thee I was never great offencer against thy laws; but that I loved this noble knight, Sir Launcelot, out of measure, and of myself , good Lord, I might not withstand the fervent love wherefore I have my death. ...And while my body is still hot let this letter be put in my right hand, and my hand bound fast with the letter until that I be cold: " - Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory * * * Christian stole the cross stones from her casket, and swallowed them. Her breath lingered within. He and his wife named their first daughter Patience. * * * You can throw them, you can skip them, scrub off the moss and set one to rolling. Or hold them, like shells, to your heart and listen.
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 Ygdrasil on the Internet at: * WEB: http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken/ * FTP: ftp://ftp.synapse.net/~kgerken/ * USENET: releases announced in rec.arts.poems, alt.zines and alt.centipede * EMAIL: send email to email@example.com and tell us what version and method you'd like. We have two versions, an uncompressed 7-bit universal ASCII and an 8-bit MS-DOS lineart-enchanced version. These can be sent plaintext, uuencoded, or as a MIME-attachment.
. 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 All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press. YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM or Mac), as well as disk size and density. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.
All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is prohibited. 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 version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged. All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS COMMENTS * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text submissions. Use Klaus' address for commentary on Ygdrasil and its contents: firstname.lastname@example.org * Pedro Sena, Production Editor - for submissions of anything that's not plain ASCII text (ie. archives, GIFs, wordprocessored files, etc) in any standard DOS, Mac or Unix format, commentary on Ygdrasil's format, distribution, usability and access: email@example.com We'd love to hear from you! Or mailed with a self addressed stamped envelope, to: