Friday, December 30, 2016

Truck: After all the hurly-burly's done

Truck set out on its travels in April 2011, and ended this month, in December 2016, in a very different terrain. During those several years, Truck was guided by 69 different editors, each taking a month at the wheel. Those driver/editors had carte blanche and were free to proceed as they liked, doing as much or as little as they cared to, so long as they didn't, as I sometimes told them, wreck the joint.

The results will remain here at Blogger, where you'll be able to read/view them until . . . well, until Blogger freezes over. The archives are organized by month and year at the lower right-hand part of your screen, and this month's listing of editor/drivers by name can be matched to the years and months of the archives.

Feel free to explore. My way is to jump around, reading a few things here and a few things there, but it's your call. Go back to April 2011 and read it all the way through, or find a favorite editor or writer and concentrate on what they loaded the Truck with.

My thanks go to all the editors, writers, and visual artists whose works are here.

Enjoy! And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Phil Garrison's ride, Dec. 2016


When Hal Johnson asked me to edit TRUCK for December, 2016, I said sure.  Only later did I begin to wonder what theme to invite contributors to consider.  When Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency, I decided to ask people to help commemorate, however indirectly, these fidgety last weeks of a long year, these days we spend awaiting a Trump presidency, no less!  Many thanks to those who responded, as well as to Hal for asking.  Special thanks to my wife Patricia for computer help and patience and love.



Last Thursday, in the El Prado Museum, we must have cut quite a figure. Here came my wife pushing me - in that little red wheelchair I inherited from mother! - past all those blindingly famous paintings. One question. How many yards away was Goya's 3 de Mayo hanging from Velazquez' Las Meninas? The halls and lighting are arranged so as to eliminate the kind of space that prevails outdoors, between that last stoplight and the museum front door, between the ticket booth and cafeteria. The one kind of space, what we measure in yards or meters, gets canceled and replaced by another, very different kind of expanse. And the distance, from one to the other, between those two objects made of paint and canvas? It is made of emotions, of feelings about fame and anonymity, about representational art, and representative government, about what is public and what is private - the difference between a royal court exquisitely posed, in short, and a firing squad lit by a lantern on a curb.

The feelings surrounding each canvas are wholly different. So ample is the vocabulary of brushstrokes, you get the sense that nowhere else on the planet are feelings so clearly on display. A study in asymmetrical warfare, 3 de Mayo catches a moment from the popular uprising that gave us the phrase La Guerrilla. Las Meninas, on the other hand, is a study in symmetry politics, with the princess watching the royal couple reflected by accident in a mirror over the shoulder of our painter, who, in order to portray that couple, paints what they look at. He includes himself - isn't he painting the canvas we see before us? - as the ultimate touch of symmetry. Meanwhile. Goya's asymmetry reaches in all directions - uniforms and crumpled corpses, street lantern and dark sky, foreign attack and native resistance - without resolving or yielding or naming anyone or anything except the date on which it happened.

In time yesterday's date, Nov 8, 2016, may well commemorate a similar windshield-splatter of a moment. Yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected to be the forty-fifth president of the United States. The naked, dangling feel of it all is diminished by my rage at political pros who imposed Hillary Clinton on voters like me, only then to wonder, wide-eyed, wouldn't we also like to sign a birthday card to her?

Vox populi vox dei, the saying goes. The people's voice being that of God makes for quite an arresting remark, of course! It identifies our ultimate authority as one we can consult when we need to, a collective voice different from - though certainly woven out of - the individual voices composing it. No need to climb Mt. Sinai. Why lug stone tablets to the ungrateful? The doctrine of vox populi allows for pretty easy access to what we have decided is our ultimate authority: we use a ballot box. A ballot works for us like a drugged priestess perched in a cave worked for our Roman counterparts. But now we have to make sense of comments we knew beforehand would be truly ambiguous. And the world as we know it depends on what we decide. Are we scared? What a stupid question!

Our difficulty owes to the fact that the vox is that of a populus. Different voices get unified by a more-or-less agreed-upon process of reduction. And bingo, we want to believe, authority has been exercised, responsibility has been taken. So let me take responsibility. I voted, last Sunday, for Hillary Clinton. I did so with the same hand that, four months earlier, had lifted bags of rice and beans to Honduran kids riding railroad cars, fly-style, through Veracruz north to certain apprehension and repatriation. The kids were fleeing a wave of murderous violence let loose in their country when Secretary Clinton decided to recognize a military coup. I voted for her to keep out of the White House a fellow who, on his first day campaigning, called half the people I live with rapists and criminals. But that fellow won anyway. Mainly because he attracted votes from other people I live with. And me, I'm caught between those two paintings. Because that is how vox populi works.

By now, it is the eleventh day of the eleventh month, what we used to call Armistice Day. By now it is a few minutes before 11 a.m. So ninety-eight years after all that trench slaughter in France ended, and left in my grandfather's head a silence he never managed to kill with whiskey, I raise a coffee cup to my grandfather.

Donald Trump will never be my president. But pronouns are only a part of speech. He is president.


What We Carry

What we carry, like jugs of water in a desert, sustains us, even as it pulls us down.

How well do I know the things I carry, things I shed? Can I draw them out, extricate each one from the tangle, examine its shape, say its name?

I carry memories, but with no control or much idea of which are getting carried, which dent or warp in the carrying, which spill out from of whatever vessel memory forms. I carry belief and bias, like barnacles, with precious little notion of when most have attached to me.

I carry a confounding accumulation of possessions, and a baffling fondness for them. Some seem more to have chosen me, but a few I’m conscious of having selected. The inclination to purge, or to cull, arises seasonally. And I carry that too.

I carry ties to friends, family, husband, the ties woven from affection, loyalty, and longing. Now and then, enemies get drawn up in the load. And for a time, I carry them too.

I carry, in some way or another—always morphing—my children in cumbersome, shapeless bundles. Aloft, they bring me joy, strength, anxiety, love. Striving to sustain connection, without clinging, I carry, also, a responsibility for this impossible agility, this perpetual balancing.

I carry fears, powerful beyond reason, of wasting things—food, whether radish or roast, paper, water, garden soil, minutes, hours, dollars, dimes. I can't quit running cold water into a jug, until hot water comes—to pour into the back of the toilet, saving two litres of flushed water; at first, bright idea—now more an obsession. I do not, it seems, carry perspective.

I carry this love of the written word. But no memory of the time when I didn’t hold it close. Maybe I carry a love of spoken (or unspoken) words too. Words fill my head, in the way I imagine colours to swirl in the mind of the painter. And, of course, I try to carry the words themselves, sometimes succeeding, though other loads push words off their perch, more and more.

I carry snatches of songs, diminishing chunks of poems. But as many have dropped away. When I go searching, whole pages of Jelly Belly, Dr. Suess. Robert Frost? Gone. Robert Munsch? Intact.

I carry my personality (or lack of it, in my mother’s estimation), my full blown introversion (able to knock an A+ on any test for the trait), my intuiting, endlessly analyzing, judging self, my optimistic, daydreaming ways.

I carry my genes, those ambiguous and tiny coded clusters of chemicals linking me with family back and forward in time. Imagined with cartoon-like clarity, they’re likely at controls of the whole load-bearing endeavor. For thoroughness sake, I can't dodge one final, perverse admission: I carry the body which carries me.

No wonder, then, it can all get so ponderous: my body, in its most literal rendering, is, well… muscled, flabby, aging. Buttressed by an ill-formed spine, piloted by mis-angled eyes, fueled by will and energy, it does push on. But my thoroughness also leaves me wondering: What would it be like, just once, to dump it all on the ground in a heap, and shake myself into a more ergonomic receptacle?

I picture lining myself with cubbies and pockets. What a sweet relief to sort and repack all of it: To balance things and position the most precious safely, between heart and mind. To cast off husks whose significance has faded.


NOVEMBER 9, 2016

Imagine, if you will, a silver-haired, still
bookish professor spot-lit to create the picture
of him standing in a smog-filled void. A sudden
thunder of horse hoofs and he flinches from
a nightmare of Mongols galloping on nothing,
the red-dyed manes of their horses jouncing
as they issue their black and white ultimatum
under glinting swords. “Hate who we hate
or be hated! Join us or die from our revenge!”
The bookworm in tweed hat walks along
a ditch, a brief glimpse into the mind of
an historian: internment camps, barbed wire
fences behind which gaunt farm workers stand
in prison stripes looking blankly as if they’ve
just staggered out from shock treatment. Each
step triggers another cranial-generated hologram:
water-cannons knocking native Americans back
into sloughs of icy mud shown against untold
thousands of swastika flags at Nuremburg rallies,
a contemporary Nazi whose “Hail” was once
a “Heil.” A traffic cop tells the old man, “Move  
along now.” This he knows was first an image
in the mind: the scowled face of human unkind.
He holds his head to shake himself awake. He
hopes another day another dream will come.
The hell of this twilit zone is: when you’re
trapped inside it, it never seems to end.




When sprawled like stars
the stars themselves in milky light,
recall the specs they rounded up
those years ago
that told them, shine and time to time
twinkle hard,
those stars go on to bright real strong,
hunker down, be real stars.

Then, for some,
there’s a recollection,
when knowing deep their specs as stars
they begin to entertain
things whispered at twilight about falling
called shooting. About being total star.

Rankling the known, they
look left and look right
aim a tired awe at the gossamer expanse
and fling themselves
past the edge of what is held.

Pin prick, run.
Let the breath catch,
let the will unravel, spun
far afield.
Drag us scraping and bawling
from ourselves.
Gouge the heavens
and call us to task.


The sportsman was hamstrung.
Bungled blinds and tangled
makings of snares and sundry
entrapments, fully undone.
What conquest,
what dominant maneuver
now is flummoxed
in the wake of broken ploys?
The sportsman wonders,
what becomes of pursuit upended?
The chasing’s all chased out.
The sport is up, and all that’s left is the man.

He mutters plumbed memories
into the landscape,
rakes the known with the busted known.
Renders older stories
stock but sturdy.
The sportsman shimmers.
Something stuck shifts,
a husk uncouples,
leaving bare the right angles
where the sinews meet the will
like the angular serifs in a typeset
spelling out the deeps
by touch, and touch, and flinch.

Now each year as limping seasons
sell bootlegged ambitions
to the easily duped,
the sportsman moves about the gloaming,
his response blooming, fragrant as bourgeoning,
in a narrow space worn true
with shed intentions,
cold remnants,
renegade longings loosed into the wild.




High stone walls and iron
gates assaulted only by bold graffiti
words writ large as though

they could topple these centuries
old walls or regimes.
They shout to the world

often in secret, hidden away:
man’s last squeak.
A pitiful exercise in

the freedom to speak, left
in tunnels, under dark rail
overpasses, in sightless

alleys, in cul-de-sacs, buried
election propaganda, fading
political slogans

to save us: Votez
Therese, Hasta
la Victoria Siempre; here
the revolution begins.
With words: incised
in the blindness
of a prison cell, even
on the wall
behind the last man

standing in front of
the always fresh and ready, aim
firing squad, Words.


Through moorless night
we drift in darkness

holding our breath, waiting
for the saving bump

that tells us we have
gone aground on the shore

of some unwelcome
undiscovered island,

creased the perilous reef
just under the surface or

our keel has sliced the dark
rubbery back

of some behemoth rising
suddenly beneath us.


Got a little something-something for ya - an unpublished steaming new collection. It's a sort of Theosophist heaven, and prettied up version of the Welsh Annwn or the Tibetan Bardo. Anyway, it's a bitter little distillation - all for you. Written on a tobii eyetracker.  Between  2012 – 2016.

California King

I'm over you like the sky
Blanketscape and dust mites sniff the nervous dusk
Sun going down behind my knees
Now I've painted the view
behind Ernest's typewriter.

Take it! This majestic misfolded legend
from which life
some mangled odalisque
stares out, with servants
trapped in amber.

Hit me!
One time!

Cokenail Sundial

By the broken moon
and a cats brown skull-cap
my greatest fear:
a leathery inter-dimensional parasite
Is wrapping parallel paralyzed me
lamprey mouth locked on mind
upside down kite-fright.
These are the last days
but that's alright.

I'll be growing a cokenail.
Namasté, motherfucker
I've got a long way to go
till it clearly gives the time of day.

Dying in public
Buried in my town car
Shame dances the dirt edge
with a rattle of dried pride
Mad props like a dictator
So embarrassing
Exit stage Starboard


The aphorisms come
Building up - like stop-action Lego armor.
First around the feet.
I kick them off.
But by morning they're back.
Sit down and shut up.
Make more lemonade.
I took the road less traveled - like everybody else.

Full-length self-portrait  
reversing, flipping you come
filling space with noise
an overwound hourglass sped up
almost transparent
spinning around its core
hunting its own signal
finding nothing
a jamming station
slurring feedback stuttering rising
connecting imaginary conversationing
leaping quickly
over dangerous chasms
in plot
and my words - permanently encased in italics
bracketed, waiting for a modifier
float not so gentle in front of my ears
[please, please - don't shit in my head]

I ran into Poetry  
I ran into Poetry the other day
After an interval of several decades
Time had been kind
I have to say. I had liked the looks of Poetry right away.  
But one thing I had forgotten
She never would shut up


first thought  
First thought
Clever, I'll, give you that, yeah, that's good.  
Like a respected - but simile-addled poet,  
Who's kinda showing off?
Engaged in metaphor drift - when suddenly
- again - we wanted the skeleton of the perfect layup but
we're getting every path
that anyone has ever taken

it fills the step-up to
a solid corona of description

I will be

I will not cry for Maple
anymore or Aspen
but I will appear pink in the fading light
and in the morning spiral like a pine cone
and blow mist over the southern face
and hold up tiny birds as they please
and curl in the dark whorlpools that fill the trees
at moonrise

in a Valhalla, the Bear-faery drinks patiently

picking rocks  
here's how it's done:

you walk to the end of the coldankled, iron hard dirt
head down
if you see a stone,  nestled in it's shrunken ill-fitting pocket of earth
you're gonna probly need a hammer to pry it out
you're gonna grab it and just huck it slanting
just under the dead sky
to join the wall of rocks
that is twenty times your age.

Revlon rabbit

we need the stinging blur to shout
And I, with the saucer-sized eyes, I think I want to die.
Can we agree - here's a hint
we thought you looked fine.
Could you help me with my eyes, please?  
Once you've seen the truth,  
There's really nothing else.
Yeah, it itches - you could say!
My foot is headed for the giftshop
dance, grad students
I want to see x


What happened
I'm subcommander+z
Sorry man
at your command
Would you have rather...
well I can
travel each fork in the tongue
unspill the clockwork
unring that phone maybe
unravel every knot we've ever rung

high on a probability hill
at the bottom of a gravity well
I don't feel particularly anthropic

test bed  
here I lie
in the bed that I have made
of shit and plastic tubing

it's quite a bed
it's procrustean sure
and adjustable to become smaller
I think its overhanging monitor
has got me by the face.



I have been in the room against my will
underground and naked lightbulb lit
I have been in the room

wave etiquette  

you do not turn your back on the wave
you do not look away for one last glance at the clouds
you do not become hypnotized by the surface

you then run to meet it

X-ray dance  
maybe, maybe it's because the shot is taken lying on its side.
And from a heroic low angle.
The muted earth tones of office plastic
frank tunic, gear-con pouch,
ballistic nylon.
Soft, soft, soft voice.
So far away.
X-Ray  dance, x-ray  dance,
superimposed, superimposed
I'm double exposed.
My perfectly private hi-tech ballet, with multi-axis nesting rectangles and...  
hairy animals in green scrubs and masks
great expense has been taken to learn how these beasts can perform this dance
with this goddess - the trio moves wing and wing

men. He is conscious of us. Don't forget your moves. And. 1, and 2, and 3. and 3, and 4, and 5.

good. Hold on, not so fast. Tilt, 20 degrees x. 2 degrees y.
Activate the ray. Remember what you're doing. Where are your feet? Norman, coordinate. Activate the wiggulator. Ok, fold up. Half turn. Very good boys. Want a banana? I bet you do. Only two more rooms. Watch out for the doorframe.

your high-ness

your highness
I'd better close the windows for you
it's late, and the bats are about
shedding their red-blue stereoscopic
strobes indiscriminately
about the room

I'll call the Spanish jack
your highness
to come and fill your empty core
you'll sleep and tumble
backwards through the dark
the homeostatic dark

Your highness if I may be frank
if I am to speak plainly
you are a Hydrocodone abuser
your auspicious synchronicity is unfounded
your motives derived from
the rules of some splinter universe

to continue, oh most high, and ultra-elevated     
~ redacted~

In conclusion, what can I these miles below you offer?
It's warm down here, and we have almost as much light
there're not so many karma showers punching through
time runs slower in the pocket
you can almost be almost all you can almost be


short sentences
with little
or no
accompanied by florid looseness
of association
and odd parsing
and if you're especially unlucky
semiotic atomization
   unmotivated graphic anomalies
            but not restricted to
           font abuse and illegibility
form of: signifying flag!  
ov (our)
|*1r473 5|-|1p




A Healing Song

You take the bed
and I will stand beside.
These nurses check
The action’s on the
Inside where
their fingers cannot reach.

Bringing you comfort’s
not what an alarm clock is for:
your kitchen’s timer
“Half done, Baby!
From now on it’s
and adjustments.”

Here, now, stop that!
I’ll read aloud
to staunch the bleeding.
We’ll discuss meter-matching
pulses and

That emptiness
where your insides
gave up their stones
won’t stay
empty long.  

Spirit comes to
fill it and perhaps
for free
if you let her.
Dangers of International Travel

I knew myself and you
Beneath Vilnius’
yellow umbrellas
spread under a
Beer-dark sky
Old Town’s
Layered secrets

A mile from my house
In Kittitas,
where F Road crosses
Vantage Highway,
We are lost.

Something in us waits,
Bovine-like, staked
In Lithuanian grass,

The car rolls slowly forward
On its own
infinite white parallels
and comes to rest
wedged against the freeway
at a Mini-Mart.

How did we become
refugees in the state of  
Formica, consuming
chicken strips and  
pop top America in the glare of
illuminated coolers?
Am I the grease?
Are you the paper napkin?  



The business of America is
business, President Coolidge declared
in the Nineteen Twenties. A century
later the president-elect lost
by over two million votes but won
the electoral college narrowly.
Lies Russia’s Putin invented through his
Kremlin functionaries and spread
by Wikileaks from London’s Ecuador
embassy to the eager ears of Trump’s
revolutionary cell stacked the deck
and the U.S. FBI took care of
the woman all who wanted to wreck
the System knew better than to trust.

The business of the family Trump
covers great slabs of the known world
and will be conducted in an office
the oval shape of an egg. The rooster’s
red comb has bleached into orange
and his hens cluck in rehearsed rhyme
as Russian troops wait on Ukraine’s
border and wherever the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization is poised
to defend aganst an attack
and fails once America abandons
the islands of the once-known world.
There Cassandra learned what it was to drown
with those who neither believed nor listened.

copyright 2016 by Floyce Alexander

(25 November 2016)




"suddenly the world changes"
one of those expressions
explaining everything & nothing --
index of inattention
your & my oblivion
following calendar seasons
instead of the air's accents

but hot or cold --should i care?
after days & nights raising reasons
for needless death i could cry for Zion
too --yet the image obliging first mention
of Spring isn't jasmine & jonquils & sing-
song magpie : it's just-visible excursions
of midges drifting into the dangers

of being alive --humans have fears
to conquer but midges aren't persons --
they're born of warmth and take wing
simultaneously --no pain or passion
they're part of the weather --as soon
as cool occurs they're simply gone --
first & last without history's fanfare


always there's been a line
i could follow from the outhouse roof
to the stars

but tonight it's obvious
the night sky's been cut adrift

the yard trails out from the back step
like the day's bedraggled extension --
the day separated from night
is foolish in its enervation

as i am

longing for you

longing for you




None of My Business

I’m not the church you are in.
Don’t come at me with the stars in your eyes
expecting me to see them
or adopt them
or anything.
You’ve been preached and YouTubed to
your pleasure – 
enjoy it but stop pawning it on me.
I’m resolutely beside myself in my own world
and don’t want to be bothered by
your trying to change me or anybody else.
My life is a personal discovery that is too precious
to be cast away to yours or anybody’s
rigid beliefs.
Enjoy your beliefs, that’s what they’re for,
your say-it-all, believe-it-all doctrine,
but don’t argue against my personal pleasure.
My earth presence is nobody’s business,
it is so illustrative, and the journey of my heart
is not to be revealed to anybody else
but these words of soul     that are given to me
from the privacy of my universe.
Stop trying to invade and change.
Take joy in your own invasion, your own change.
"Do as thou wilt" and don’t try to wilt others.
This flower my life dances in -
is the fragile song of nature –
ever to be disclosed in private.
Private worlds should not collide.
Let’s talk about something else.
What were you saying about
going to school?

placitas, nm


for Jim Fish, poet & vintner

he sprung up from the seeds of sound
from a town that had no boundaries
and a state bigger than you can see
at one time or another
and out of that came a heart for the hope
that things good could still be better
by going to an ancient small place
he could build from the fruits natural there
by being a husbandman in the oldest sense
and fostering the land and water
and fruit and work and building
and strength and local commitment
a place he nurtured house office
fields acequia storage space
meetings performances while
the fruits turned to wine were everywhere
and the words and music that accompany
add to the fulfillment of living
for him and everyone there.

placitas, nm

Spicer’s Ghosts

                   (Jack Spicer 1925-1965)

Spicer’s ghosts are tickling my toes.
They’re playing with blocks with no letters on them
and asking me what they say.
I look at blank blocks and try to decipher
but I’m lost in space with no message.
The ghosts are complaining I’m incompetent
and they turn their backs on me.
I squint and try to find traces of them
but they’re good at disappearing.
When oh when, if ever again, will the ghosts
tickle my toes.
When will I ever be up to their standards
discerning along with the elite
what the privileged messages are
on blocks with no letters on them
I can hardly discern, can hardly retrieve
can hardly believe . . . 

placitas, nm



I Come from a Long Line of Women

I come from a long line of women
who silently counted to ten
or touched both sides of a doorframe
before entering or leaving a room.

I do not know if the men in my family
had these psychological tics
or what other small acts sustained them
through the years.

Acts such as taking what wasn’t theirs
and making us promise not to tell,
building walls of secrets
around their privilege.

If they did have visible tics, they kept them
hidden: men neither confess
nor engage in odd behavior, at least
not where others can see.

Among the women, no one talked about
her own suspect quirks
although many told tales of others
as if they themselves were innocent.

Despite my best intention, I still dry every drop
of water glistening on faucet chrome,
do routine tasks in necessary order,
count before answering phone or door.

At eighty, I freely admit to these acts,
their power to keep me calm,
their harmless gifts of comfort
in a dangerous world.

Our Round Heads

Our heads are round
so our thoughts can change direction.
—Francis Picabia or Allen Ginsberg.

Our thoughts like tiny dragonflies
buzz in our round heads
where technology’s latest scans
reveal only synapses
flashing from emitter to receptor.

Their fluttering wings mimic the sound
of a million migrants walking,
a billion dying children,
this language of denial
that cannot survive translation.

What few know is our round heads
are limitless rooms,
unfenced spaces
where our thoughts may procreate
before they change direction.




-- homage to Mexican emigrants

In a Oaxacan village
Your corn stalks and bean
Vines went limp.
Soil worn out, cracked,
They keeled over.

In backcountry Michoacán, your voice
Of corn and chile pinto drowned,
And sleepwalking Purépecha
Water became Lake Pátzcuaro.

In ancient Tenochtitlán
Hapsburg regulation
Turned your gods into Knights
Templar, your neighborhoods
Into street fairs. Gold vessels
Became Spanish piggy banks.
And the green splendor of the land?
Ribbon-bearing deeds
Of sale.

Under that shifty Mexican sky
Hunger and desperation
Left tracks,
An unfinished history
Of missing daily bread.
It flung wide open a door
To emigrant life
And intemperate settings.

Flat huaraches
On steep roads.
Dry and diseased,
You crossed the Arizona desert,
Rivers and canals
Resisting like cold kisses.

Face to face with future ironies,
With the Migra coiled to strike,
Your willpower never gives
Up. Never.

The light of volcanos is a badge
On your chest. Overcome with heat
And confusion, tripping
Over stones and words,
You follow the indications of silence
In each boulder. On the border
Of each new pain, step
By step, your geography
Is all crossroads.

Translation, Philip Garrison


America's Pacific Northwest
Summer irritated my skin.
People's indifference
Erased my edges.

Tell me your divorce
And I'll tell you mine:

I holed up with violets and
Geraniums from the garden,
And ivy.  Mendelsshon’s Violin
Concert in E Minor, Borges'
Labyrinth, Monet's eternity
Of water lilies swinging
Green and mauve
Below that Japanese bridge.

Feet anchored in dirt, soul
Free of tremors
Up and down, all that
Plant life stood guard
Over my little fort,
So I chose a sundress.

I combed my jet black
Hair across my forehead,
Powdered my nose and,
Looking twice in the mirror, tall
And solemn as a heron,
Seized my purse
And went out.

November 2016

Translation, Philip Garrison


11 de septiembre, 1973

Winter took over one
September day, a sinking  
Feel, penetrating skin.
It overcame Chile's soul.

An icy wind showed up
For daily maneuvers.
The military threw out
Democratic doings
To impose a mandate,

Chile's soul melted at the marble
Glance of a soldier,
Door kicked in.
Scratching. Howls.

The light of one September day
Fled, frightened, leaving
A wide open space
Of smoke and fear where hundreds
Of corpses gathered,
And thousands of voices
Hushed their song.

Nobody noticed, ever,
The mass burials
In living flesh.

No one ever noticed those
Dead and buried after a single
Punch of Atacama

Chilean women from field and factory,
Came hunting their sons, their sons' sons,
Pick-and-shovel buddies
Hitchhiking, gunny sack
Over one shoulder, disappeared
Into a dark night
Of tyranny.

From the factory,
From the orchard,
From the entrance hall
Of hope
With unmistakable voices,
Chilean women
Set out walking.

Fabrics of jute and hemp
Made for long workdays'
Packaging, in their skillful
Hands, acquired
Texture and sovereignty.

Chilean sacking,
A clatter of color
With echoing thread
Embroidering its skin,

And the nearness of sons, sons
Of sons, boyfriends, husbands,
Fathers, brothers, lovers,
Kneading their daily bread.

Under a bell-shaped sun
Of hope, simple Chilean women,
From the starry cosmogony
Of their ancestors, defied
The black angels of the west
With stitches
Of love and free will.

Oh Chile triumphant, unselfish,
Your plazas burnished with sun,
Your fields and green pastures,
Your filaments of memory.

*The term arpillera refers to the fabric that, in English, people call burlap.  In this particular context it refers to the patchwork art Chilean women made to memorialize the husbands and sons and brothers and fathers disappeared by the Pinochet regime.  The patchworks were made by sewing, onto a burlap background, brightly colored bits of cloth that often were cut from the clothing of those disappeared.

28 de septiembre, 2016
Ellensburg, Washington

Translation, Philip Garrison


Philip Garrison works in the APOYO Food and Clothing Bank in Ellensburg, WA.  In spring, 2017, the University of Utah Press will publish What that Pig Said to Jesus: On Immigrant Survival and Uneasy Permanence.
Elizabeth Templeman lives at Heffley Lake, BC, with her husband, a dog and cat, and the stuff their grown-up kids have left behind.  For 35+ years, she's been teaching at Thompson Rivers University, in Kamloops. She’s published a collection of creative non-fiction pieces called Notes from the Interior. Her essays have appeared in various journals including Room Magazine and High Plains Literary Review.  She’s reviewed non-fiction for Fourth Genre, and Canadian fiction for Southern Humanities Review.         
Bill Tremblay’s latest book is Walks Along the Ditch:  Poems (Lynx House Press, 2016)

Joe Haferbecker currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and family. He is the Dean of Students and a teacher at St. Stephen's Academy, a classical and Christian school in Beaverton, Oregon. He earned his MFA from the University of Washington in 2003.

Poet and translator Carlos Reyes lives in Portland, Oregon. He is a traveler, and whether he journeys to Alaska, Ecuador, France, India, Ireland. Panama, or Spain, those travels inform his poetry. In September, 2015 he was a fellow at Camac Centre d’Arte in Marnay, France. Latest publications:  Pomegranate, Sister of the Heart (2012),  Poemas de amor y locura / Poems of Love and Madness (2013). His first prose book, The Keys to The Cottage; Stories from The West of Ireland, was published in 2015.
Tucker Stilley calls himself a veteran of the Boston media arts scene, where, with his partner, Lindsay Moffett, he produced works shown at The MFA, ART, BFVF, Harvard, Mobius, Brattle, and Eventworks, as well as on various public television productions, and in the many clubs and lofts that characterized the underground arts scene of that era. He was born in Santa Ana, California in 1961, and now lives in San Marino. Diagnosed with ALS/MND in 2005, by now completely paralyzed, he uses his eyes to control a hybrid computer system to speak, surf and create what the LA Times describes as breathtaking images of the frailty and strength of the human condition. He has a peyotero's sense of direction. Follow him at

Lowell Murphree is a poet, non-profit consultant and pastor living in Ellensburg, Washington.  His chap book Bindings was published in 1914 by Hazard Press at  

Floyce Alexander’s most recent book, Sundown, has just appeared from Lynx House Press.
Kris Hemensley has spent a literary lifetime commuting between Australia & England. He coordinates activities at the Collected Works (Poetry & Ideas) Bookshop in Melbourne. Most recent collection is Your Scratch Entourage (Cordite Books, Melbourne). He blogs at

Larry Goodell is busy trying to catch up publishing himself, and getting his songs, improvised keyboard pieces, voice recordings and booklets online. See some of the duende archives here: and blogs: and
Three new books include Pieces of Heart from Beatlick Press. Check out his website:

Margaret Randall (New York, 1936) is a poet, essayist, oral historian, translator, photographer and social activist. She lived in Latin America for 23 years (in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua). From 1962 to 1969 she and Mexican poet Sergio Mondragón co-edited EL CORNO EMPLUMADO / THE PLUMED HORN, a bilingual literary quarterly that published some of the best new work of the sixties. When she came home in 1984, the government ordered her deported because it found some of her writing to be “against the good order and happiness of the United States”. With the support of many writers and others, she won her case in 1989. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, she taught at several universities, most often Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Randall’s most recent poetry titles include AS IF THE EMPTY CHAIR / COMO SI LA SILLA VACIA, THE RHIZOME AS A FIELD OF BROKEN BONES, ABOUT LITTLE CHARLIE LINDBERGH, and SHE BECOMES TIME (all from Wings Press). CHE ON MY MIND (a feminist poet’s reminiscence of Che Guevara, published by Duke University Press), and MORE THAN THINGS (essays, from The University of Nebraska Press) are other recent titles. HAYDEE SANTAMARIA, CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY: SHE LED BY TRANSGRESSION was released by Duke in 2015. EXPORTING REVOLUTION: CUBA’S GLOBAL SOLIDARITY will be published by Duke in Spring 2017. Randall has also devoted herself to translation, producing WHEN RAINS BECOME FLOODS by Lurgio Galván Sánchez and ONLY THE ROAD / SOLO EL CAMINO, an anthology of eight decades of Cuban poetry (both also published by Duke). Red Mountain Press in Santa Fe will publish her translations of two individual collections by Cuban poets, and The Operating System will do two more. Randall lives in New Mexico with her partner (now wife) of almost 30 years, the painter Barbara Byers, and travels extensively to read, lecture and teach.

Stella Moreno Monroy is a native of Colombia. She received a BA Degree in English and French from the University of Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, and a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Washington. She has taught Spanish language and Hispanic literature and cultures at Central Washington University for 25 years. She is interested in poetry, fiction, and literary translation. In collaboration with Nathalie Kasselis, she translated into Spanish Philip Garrison’s Because I Don’t Have Wings: Stories of Mexican Immigrant Life (Porque me faltan alas: Historias de la vida del inmigrante mexicao, Secretariat of Culture of Michoacan, Mexico, 2010). She has published poems in Spanish in Ventana Abierta and Aurora Boreal. She is currently translating Garrison’s The Permit that Never Expires, and finishing a book of poems.