Thursday, October 31, 2013

I as Gulliver: Desire (Anny Ballardini)

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Anny Ballardini

The Amalek Poems (David Weinstock)

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La Fourmi (Virginie Colline)

Les Fourmis (The Ants) - Salvador Dali
"Les Fourmis" (Salvador Dali)

"La fourmi"

We will dance over
your dead bodies,
an ant told me.
I'm already dead
dance, dance, dance
all over me

—Virginie Colline
(previously published in Mad Swirl), March 2012

Nine Mysteries (Russell Kesler)

Milky Way Rising over Hilo

"Nine Mysteries"

The pupil is always open.
Pleasure stings.

Granite is heavy,
hickory burns for a long time.

The window beckons,
starlight can't burn our eyes.

The dog knows your face.
Blood carries memory.

Empty, the hand is supple.

Russell Kesler

Sniffing Arizona Perfume (S M Martin Russell)

Deep Warm and Sensual

"Sniffing Arizona Perfume"

The serpent beguiled her, and she did eat
Lady of all truths
a trade unionist
Stuck here
learning everything
risking no generosity
Red lips and black eyes
in love with the why of things
turning her face away from what life seemed to be.
Absent of love
no longer a woman
Victory but a moment bonded by time,
unable to distinguish
herself from a stranger,
art and artifice -
vow privately to govern the clock.
What I love
does not belong to me.

—S M Martin Russell

Five Hagiographs (Nick Humez)

St Jerome

"Five Hagiographs"


Holy Dymphna from green Erin
fled with just what she was wearin',
followed by her dad, the rotter,
bent on messing with his daughter.

Catching her, with sword he struck her
dead, because he couldn't pluck her
rose. Now, in the Norman boonies,
Dymphna's patron saint of loonies.


St. Jerome, a classicist,
Paula loved, but never kissed.
Fonder still of Cicero,
dreamed for this to Hell he'd go,
so became a hermit wild,
got himself a lion mild,
cursed as sin a woman's touch,
though he venerated much
Mary for virginity
trumping crass anatomy.
Pauline gynophobe or not,
Christendom owes him a lot:
Scripture then was just for geeks
who read Hebrew, or for Greeks,
but when St. Jerome was done,
could be read by everyone
who knew Latin (not barbarians),
Whence he's patron of librarians.


Catherine declined to wed
bold Maxentius the Caesar,
got a ring from Christ instead,
Whom she knew would better please her.

This the emperor much vexed,
On a wheel he tried to break her,
but it broke instead, so next
sent her headless to her Maker.

Happy saint! If man's a beast,
you were better off beheaded.
Yet fond girls who keep your feast
hope by Advent to be wedded.


Gauls thought Denis good and dead
after chopping off his head;
he then schlepped it (least of whiners),
six miles whither now his shrine is.

If your brain is frenzied, or
your poor head is aching sore,
do not blubber, howl, or  curse:
Tell St. Denis. He's seen worse.


Close chum of St. Francis, Clare -
old, infirm, and sick abed
Christmas eve - got grace to see,
as she lifted up her head,
on her wall a vision rare.
Thank her when you watch TV.

Nick Humez

On Home Maintenance (Carol Dorf)




"On Home Maintenance"


There is a stranger washing the windows of my house. I close the curtains, hide in our windowless bathroom, in the tub as though there were a fire, and there probably is a fire somewhere, except it is raining, so fire season is pushed aside. I had meant to wash them myself but ladders are another thing I’m afraid of, like the cars of strangers when they unload their own ladders as though they were moving in. I want to direct them to the house across the street; don’t see this one. How come children’s books are full of heroes who can turn invisible, when that power would be so much more useful in adult life? Some people are meant to care about homes, and others are the kind where strangers show up to wash the windows or mend the fence. Those kind of people are the ones who hide in the porcelain tub, leafing through a magazine stolen from the shrink’s office.



Carol Dorf

Nelson Ticket (Barry Southam)

Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand

"Nelson Ticket"

The number five tram
clanks along cashel tracks
no more. Milk truck cans
now grace museum spaces
instead of gurgling a foamy
chorus to waiting neighbours.

The child selling eggs outside
a Linwood gate garnering
ticket money for the Liberty
Cinema, now bumps his way east,
the past crumbling even faster
as quakes rip sanctuary apart.

Turns into his old street, salutes
the family bungalow still standing
that once housed youthful dreams,
then drives north, photo albums
on the passenger seat, rescued
from rubble, blank pages waiting.

—Barry Southam

Espresso (Jerry McGuire)

luwak coffee


The java joints of Lafayette are landmarks
of the Land of Buzz, smoky as beehives
but sublimely lazier. All by themselves they inhale
and exhale, huff and puff, and generally jazz
each other like competing hipsters,
everybody prettying and skinnying themselves
into cardiac collapse like so many stockstill
runners. PJ’s, CC’s, the Rise ’n’ Shine, Les Joies Manquées,
the Coffee Crutch, Cup d’Etat, and Cafe Cut the Crap,
these are places that diss New York and glum
Seattle, seashore cities floating so unjustly cool
that coolness can’t matter as it does here.
To be the new joint on the block and quick
with a cup of jeaux au lait, and overflowing
with a beatdown air of sophisticated third-hand bull
means more than all the put-on eyepatches and canes
of Grammaw Europe. No one here has ever heard
of absinthe, or wondered if the squinty fellow
in the corner was James Joyce. No one sat here
and wrote Godot, Woyzek, or Good Soldier Schweick.
No one has to. It’s already been done by someone
sitting on his ass drinking coffee in plain view.
He knew how great it was, but he was far too cool
to get excited. He just yawned and got up, and went
and bought a Coleman Hawkins album, and made love
to a girl from Senegal for the rest of the weekend. Then
they both went back to the coffee shop, saw separate tables
of friends, and parted company forever. That’s for me,
boy. It’s all mine, part of the service anywhere
in the world I sit and have six cups of coffee. I say,
let’s have another Ethiopian Harrar. Let’s have
some orangepeel espresso, like in The Godfather. Sit down,
I say, this is a lot better than ever going anywhere. Everybody
sit down, there’s time enough for everyone’s best story.

Jerry McGuire (and don't miss: Venus Transit)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Graceland (Laura Van Prooyen)

Graceland Cemetery in the Snow


Even as you inch along with the throngs
wearing audio tour headsets,
and shuffle silently through the memorial garden, you know

that to sneak a photo of the man dressed as Elvis,
pausing at the grave of Elvis,
is in bad taste. But having just passed through the mansion,

the shag-flanked jungle room, and the mirrored basement
with three TVs, your judgment might be off. Besides,
it’s quiet here. The air is still. You remember

that hot August afternoon, the newscasts,
the weeping fans. Your mother frozen on the footstool
two feet away from the screen, covering her mouth. You kept close

as she told you about Elvis. About faking sick
to skip church to see him his first time on TV, right there
in the den where she held your head in her lap. Where

as a teen you lounged in the lazy-boy
with a stolen can of Stroh’s and a lit cigarette. Last time
you were there, wood still paneled the walls and your mother

hovered in her anti-gravity chair, angling
her nerve-damaged leg in the company of photos
and spinning pendulum of an anniversary clock. You linger

on the edge of the semi-circle of graves to gain a clear view
of the man in jumpsuit. You put your camera away
as he adjusts his costume, hangs his head before his own tombstone.

Laura Van Prooyen

news of thaw (Jack Darrow)


I'm in love with the crack

of lake ice 

when it breaks

the news of thaw

to the fish.

—Jack Darrow

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Late Beethoven Fugues on West 86th Street (Paul Howell)


"Late Beethoven Fugues on West 86th Street"

Late Beethoven  fugues  are  strong  boys  wanting  to  and  going  in  and girls wanting to be wanted following running up the stairs and the girls dashing in and rushing up the stairs  to  keep  a  distance  between  them  and  the  boys  who dash in and rush up the stairs after them not knowing wanting or the chase just flitting like bees  to  the  next  shiny  buttercup  no  more  deliberate  than  unavoidable and a third wave of boys wanting to and going in and girls wanting to be wanted following running up the stairs. That’s what was going on on West 86th Street last Sunday. The May flowers were pollinating little accelerandos all over the place. You can’t shape better Old Ludwig Van than that. Old Ludwig Van Old Ludwig Van Old Ludwig Van Vaan Vaaan!

—Paul Howell

Night Ghazal (Tad Richards)


"Night Ghazal"

All over. Wish I had never written. Tell no one.
—E.M. Forster, Howards End

All over. Wish I had never written. Tell no one.
Many things are best understood by no one.

They have eaten parts of you, and smoothed you over
With glaze of spun cream. Tell no one.

He sends her clods of earth from different countries.
She buries them in her garden. Tell no one.

She takes her silk dress off, swims the lake,
Keeps going. Will not be back. Tell no one.

We meet at the exact spot where the war ended,
Exchange small tokens. Part. Tell no one.

Two girls and a boy saw you later that night.
They've secrets of their own. They will tell no one.

It's best to assume Tad Richards never wrote this,
But if not, who? You know. Tell no one.

—Tad Richards

Poem in Common Words (Tad Richards)

Parole perdute


Top 25 Nouns from the Oxford English Dictionary: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

There comes a time in every person’s life,
When he or she must face a crossroad, joint
Or several: a career, a husband, wife,
Serving the Lord, if you He doth anoint,
Or brigandage, the pistol and the knife,
Or pure sloth. To take a case in point,
Consider Olaf: we’ll give him a voice,
The Everyman who has to make a choice.

Consider Olaf: by vocation, plumber,
When first encountered, chauvinist and jerk,
He’d be the second lead in Dumb and Dumber.
He figures, what’s a job without a perk?
—Takes several, but at last they’ve got his number,
It’s One too many. Now he’s out of work.
Perhaps, he tells himself, it’s for the best.
I’ll take a year off, and I’ll start a quest.

What have I never tried? His first thought’s group
Sex, but it turns out that presents a problem.
His abs and biceps long have flown the coop,
He’s left with a physique approaching blobdom.
He sighs, and dips himself another scoop.
Were he a master thief, perhaps he’d rob them,
But chocolate marshmallow and licorice
Leave him with none but Hershey for a kiss.

His next solution is to overthrow
The government—he’ll start his own conspiracy!
He calls Pat Robertson to raise the dough—
It doesn’t work. He’s just accused of heresy.
Maybe Bill Gates? No luck for our poor shmoe,
He has to face a rap for software piracy.
He’s sentenced to a year and then a day,
He knows there’s got to be a better way.

He vows his malefactions to atone.
His sentence up, he’s tossed out on his rump and he
Bounces in the direction he’s been thrown.
Then, skidding to a stop, he hears a bump and he
Swivels around to find he’s not alone,
In fact, our Olaf’s got himself some company.
A soft, warm hand is holding his, a human
Touch, a sympathetic eye: in short, a woman.

The thing is, Olaf’s found that life’s not part
Of anything—it is the world, the cosmos is
Enfolded in the place we call the heart.
A home, a child—we find it by osmosis,
Not once a week, but every day—we start
And end with just this thought; it’s more than gnosis,
It’s Zen, it’s karma, everything we’re hot for,
Our Olaf has become a bodhisattva.

—Tad Richards

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Like You the Best (Marcus Bales)

"I Like You The Best"

Of all my readers I like you the best.
You're sexily well-read, and very smart—
Oh, you're the one; the rest are just the rest.

Though most of them will think I speak in jest,
It's you, I know, who's read into my heart:
Of all my readers I like you the best.

I'm feeling better now that I've confessed
That it's for you I struggle with my art.
You are the one—the rest are just the rest.

I see by your reaction you had guessed
I liked you more, and liked you from the start;
Of all my readers, I like you the best.

You get me—and I like how you're impressed
That I know Horace comes before Descartes;
Ah, you're the one. The rest are just the rest.

I like you very much—I'd be distressed
At anything that kept us two apart.
Of all my readers I like you the best;
Yes, you're the one: the rest are just the rest.

Marcus Bales

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What to Prepare For (Skip Fox)

what to prepare for

I didn’t call him daddy from the age of six or seven
in anybody's presence, including his, if I was that kind
of poet this would be that kind of poem, abundance
of little in the face of presumptively abiding under-
standings though of course neither of us believed
the other knew what was or wasn’t the construction
onto which we were so inclined much less the operative
intelligence behind existence,  “Your head must be
swimming,” he said the last time I showed him my work,
he was my first pronoun, last night the most lonely and lovely
of my life I helped my mother wipe his ass held him up
damned near carried him from recliner to wheelchair then
to bed stroked his hand and cheek rubbed his shoulder helped
my sister change him enlarged the hole in the retractable
penal catheter massaged his abdomen until the helmet appeared
pulled it out checked for redness at the slit placed the head
and as much of his cock as I could through the hole
into the bag pressed down on the adhesive round the base
“window-paned" the diameter hooked him up talked
to him listened carefully down the well of his distress
as he responded in gasping exhalations of from one-to-four
syllables to sounds or shapes out of the mirror-glossy horror
window after sundown and chemically-induced slumber proves
transcient turns turn into rolling over in the shallow surf
of sleep-distress scratching his head turning up his blankets
in fists and fits pulling his pillow to his side then pushing
it over the rail grasping my hand with his surprising strength
scratching his arms or the backs of his hands eyes barely
closed jumping to voices apparently out of the glittering
blackness telling him in effect that it was over except
for the misery     “No, no, no         no no"       "Oh my God,
Oh my God"       once        "Forgive      me          Forgive me"        
"Okay     Okay           Let's go          Let's go"         multiple
"I'm ready's"      once      "I wanta          die          I wanta die
I just         wanta die"       twice         "I don't          know     whether
         to shit           to shit         or  get off          the pot" at least
one time of which he could actually have been referring
to what was occurring once something like "I'm stuck          I'm stuck
I can't go           forward          and I can't          go back"
all this time I sat in the wheelchair beside him or occasionally in
the living room's recliner and tried to sleep in the four-to-fifteen-
minute intervals between outbursts or activity with pillow and blankets
Nan coming up the stairs saying "Poor Daddy" so sweetly sad and soft we
changed him and then she sat with him until nearly five when I
relieved her for an hour and a half during which period his cries
and pleas and groans of despair came in supplements of approximately
three every five minutes sometimes more in the hour and a half
before we got him up then an hour later responding to his cries
I said "It's okay Daddy I'm here"      and he      "That           helps
       That helps          Really          helps"     thinking the tone sarcastic
I said      "Well I am"     or maybe     "Regardless"      and he looked
at me through a hole in the cloud      "No no           I mean it Skip
           It really       helps          I'm           glad          you're here"
gasping for breath congestive heart failure and Alzheimer's
the wicked double whammy though profound physical breakdown
and sudden decline may be a mercy disguised as suffering cast
into a cause terrible to die from an existence worse than
continuance lost to himself for forty minutes out he asked
demanding agitated      "What are we doing          What are we
          going to do"      and      "What are the plans          What
are the plans      I just wanta           know           what are
           the plans"       "Well Daddy in forty minutes Nan and I
will get you up and into to your chair and cover you so you'll be warm
and then we'll get your tea" which with Mom and Judy's help we later did
and more and he responded calmly      "Forty minutes          I can do
           that"     and twenty minutes out in response to general agitation
probably moaning something like      "Oh shit          Oh shit          Shit"
or      "No    No       No no" such flashes every minute or so I told him what
we'd do in twenty minutes using the same formulation and again it
calmed him fifteen minutes before we got him up I asked him
to be patient and he said        "I don't wanta          be patient           I
don't wanta           be patient"      I said      "You can try to be patient.
     Remember the patience we had when we used to fish"     he nodded
his head so I went on to the cleaning bench by the pump-shed two
guys scaling two filleting and one running about cleaning up
carrying packs to freezers and pulling more fish off the lines
such was the magnitude of our catch occasionally rock bass and
perch      he said in his short bursts     "We sure had          some good times          didn't we          didn't we          Son"     and I said something like 
"We sure did"      he said      "And there'll       there'll be        be more
        in         the future"     weakly waving his hand             as I turned
to the wall           and he fell into      a sleep that lasted over three minutes

Skip Fox

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Le taxi et le Kalachnikov (Jaap Stijl)

i shot the sherif

Le taxi et le Kalachnikov
(Sarko Darko)

Quand il se hisse
enfin sur la scène
de la dette, du doute
et du déclin,
les images
en noir et blanc,
resteront à jamais
comme l'un
des documents,
les plus fascinants
de l'histoire.

Si il y a une chose
qui les habitants
ont en commune
c'est la misère.

Je n'ai pas hésité
à abandonner
mon taxi
pour une Kalachnikov.

Les militants
à plier
leurs cocktails d'urgence
qui mettront
très longtemps
à porter leurs fruits.

Ici on dément
toute flottement,
parce que si il y a
une chose
qui n'existe pas,
c'est moi,
C'est moi, pas l'état.

Samedi alors
que je pouvais
de l'occasion :
     j'ai laissé l'annonce
     d'une baisse
     des prix carburant
que c'est une question
pour reaffirmer
mon autorité.

 —Vladimir Kopf (translated by Jaap Stijl)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Speed Dating in the Large Hadron Collider (Jaap Stijl)

Tape library, CERN, Geneva 2

"Speed Dating in the Large Hadron Collider"

She is distant.  Two tables
away.  Roman candle eyes
verify what she might be
seeing; never directly
being observed, seemingly
electronically detected,
anatomically respected;
the ongoing autopsy.

I do not stand.
We do not speak.
We seek more precise
measurements with magnetic

We must learn to travel in
opposite directions
at the velocity of life
in order to collide, drenched
in liquid helium to
ease our cryogenic hearts.

Thousands of strangers, who differ
in variety and size,
in knowledge and opinions,
tinker with our future and
refuse the coming Big Bang
hangover, dictate to us
the trajectory of dreams;
the contents of particle
beams as she, at a distance,
might verify that she has
gathered for the reunion
to witness the collision
in our ultra-high vacuum.

Tonight was a harrowing
week of courting.  Too much is
left to chance.  The outcome is
strictly theoretical.
We eat in a fractal of
candlelight protest, enjoy
nothing, silently chewing.

I do not stand.
We do not speak.
We seek more precise
measurements with magnetic

We will not be the world's first
doomsday machine of black hole
self-sacrificing; two wholes
subdivided into one
lost calculus to protect
us from the dazed eyes;
fates and couples, finalised.

 —Jaap Stijl

Friday, October 11, 2013

Footnotes to the Great Poetry Wars (Barry Spacks)

lights from outside II

“Footnotes to the Great Poetry Wars”

Three flaws in her complexion, yet  still
she's lilthe.

 The mud ducks refuse
 to climb the hill.

 Mud on the canvas
 confuses the art-lover;

choose your next word
(ANY word).

Arma virumque, not sutras of snooze.
Deceits delight, and perturbations.

Barry Spacks

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Appearances (Jack Darrow)

Last Rites

I should not continue
the swell and fall
of black embroidery
beneath his widow’s breast.


Inadequate glow
beneath the dome light,
a cheat pecks
through spare change
for his wedding ring


Beauty took the vacant seat
beside me on the bus.
I ignored her
so people would think
we were together.

—Jack Darrow

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tell Me a Story, Weathered Soul (Barry Spacks)

Cleaving the Earth

"Tell Me a Story, Weathered Soul"

among the bamboo
simply sitting, while crows caw
simply cawing

the curve of the hills…
the way the  clouds love to
touch down upon them

walking Hendries Beach
low tide shows the jagged rocks
we so soon forget

meditator's tangerine:
emptiness as form,
color scent taste bliss

the yellow pistil
erect in the lily’s cup—
absolute androgyny

across this calm sky
if only he wouldn’t paint
his mud–ugly name

Barry Spacks

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

lauds (Bruce Harris Bentzman)

The Aloof


a frenzy of bird songs wake me when it is twilight
your familiar body is dawn lit through venetian blinds
slats of soft light accentuating the curves of your back
an island amongst the waves of sheets tossed aside
you are my bora bora to sail back to after the war
i gently kiss each buttock trying not to wake you
i kiss the lagoon in the small of your back and next
the shoulder nearest me and finally your face which smiles
eyes peering at me you groggily ask what and i answer
in all the world you only are my homeland

Bruce Harris Bentzman

never to be met again (Anny Ballardini)

never to be met again by Anny Ballardini
[click image for larger view]

Anny Ballardini

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chimney Swifts in Athens, Georgia (Gary D. Grossman)

First group descends

Chimney Swifts in Athens, Georgia

As dusk unleashes
the ebony bones of night,
sleek chimney swifts
slide home
to roost,
gusts of
black confetti,
they flutter,
into the
of the red
brick mill,
that fed
our town.

Gary D. Grossman

My Dead Father Speaks (Michael James Erdedy)

Broken bedroom mirror, Bodie ghost town Calif.

"My Dead Father Speaks"

I will
the un–
wound music
to sound
through its
dusty lid

—Michael James Erdedy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Battle Tank Truck (Christopher Miles)

Big Fuzzy Aperture

“Battle Tank Truck”

Like a battle tank the truck he sat in,
pocked with rust around the wheel wells,
propped by a lift kit and oversize springs;
from whose cab heavy metal poured,
driving away beetle-eaten maple leaves,
tinted windows on federal buildings,
hammers without handles, cats. The first
time I saw him, parked on the shoulder,
the last thing he touched was a crowbar;
pincered it like a pencil, scored his name
into tar. The last thing: a pint-sized bottle
of poison; its odor not like smoke or fog
closing in from the edge of a distance,
but a high-pitched ringing, a quick tap
on glass, the crystal ping of gravel
on his quarter panel when he drove off.

  —Christopher Miles

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Ozymandii

Many people don't know that Shelley's famous poem "Ozymandias" was composed as part of a contest with Horace Smith. Here are both poems side-by-side. Shelley's poem is clearly the greater—it's a bit of a case study in the difference between good and great writing—but Smith's sonnet is not without its charms.

Click the image for a larger, readable view...

Ozymandias Diptych

The Vague _She_ of All the Volumes of Verse (Maxianne Berger)


The Vague She of All the Volumes of Verse

   All these things reappearing before her
   seemed to widen out her life; it was like some
   sentimental immensity to which she returned.
                        Flaubert, Madame Bovary

At this point she knows she isn’t the same
she as the she’s who inhabit those other
poems. But possibly the nurses assume

she is. It’s even conceivable they suspect her
name to be Emma—“Emma” the homonym
in French of  “she loved.” Though she’s sure,

well, she’s fairly sure she did love him.
Briefly. Those evenings they spent together.
Tangled in bed sheets, lights dimmed.

Or the sunny days they floated, arm in arm,
through the rippling, purple fields of Drôme,
heady with the fragrance of lavender. 

Once it’s uncapped, memory’s perfume
will cloy or repel. Now she’s in her eighties, either
can serve to relieve the daily tedium.

Not that she’s bored with habitual fare.
It’s simply a truism that anything unaccustomed
will spice the day with its flavour.

In retrospect, she is the synergistic sum
of all the she’s she ever was, and quite aware
these she’s are distinct within her life’s continuum.

But in her forties she didn’t consider
she might, in fact, no longer be the same
she as when she was a girl.

Occasionally, the passage of time
will mock middle age with perverse humour
by allowing vanity to cloud wisdom.


He was eighteen years her junior, the flirt!
She protested eagerly and succumbed
eagerly to this dashing, long-lashed flatterer!

They met in Grignan, at the Clair de la plume,
twenty minutes of wagon-rutted roads away by car.
(Her husband, it happens, was conveniently in Rome.)

He kissed the angle of her neck and shoulder,
led her to the oak four-poster that filled his room.
Shy at first (or was it coy?) she shivered.

But when she unbuttoned her dress for him,
let it fall, she was the blue lagoon of summer.
He slipped in, swam in her warmth.

Because he was her first amorous adventure,
she couldn’t simply revel in eroticism
without construing some affair of the heart.

But just a few months later, alone at a museum,
it dawned on her: she keened from medieval armour
that the tarnished, empty shell he’d become,

he’d always been. A mere flutter of sighs. He’d never
been substantial. All along, it was her own dream—
damsel and knight and forever after.

Forever after. Hmpff! Forever be damned!
That initial, long-ago tryst is just a blur
posted along memory’s grey-scale album.

Like a death notice in the morning paper.
From a coronary, it says. And he was handsome, 
still, in his sixties, the photograph confirms.

Strange: though he was her first, he’d seldom
crossed her mind since that dalliance, years before.
The fantasized re-imaginings, now, are welcome.

Yes, quite heartening for a dowager,
these visions and revisions of herself as a vamp—
visions even cataracts can’t obscure!


She knows she’s seen in this nursing home
as a sweet old thing with fine white hair
dozing and sleeping in a clutter of heirlooms.

She’s lived with a benevolent calendar,
is satisfied with her life’s outcome,
and doesn’t mind that she isn’t young any more.

Because she has a past. Because after the prim
sheltered girl of inhibited desire, came a year
of volupté and the passionate Madame.

—Maxianne Berger

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pineapple Friends (B.A. Keogh)

"…for he is the very pineapple of politeness."
    —Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals

"Pineapple Friends" by B.A. Keogh
[click image for larger]

Thursday, October 3, 2013

and but so but back we go (Steve Lawson + David Foster Wallace)

And but so
And But So by Neven Mrgan

and but so but back we go
a poem in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, found by Steve Lawson.

and but so
And so but since 
And but even though
and but also
but and pretty soon
So but when

and but so but back we go

and but
and but
so but
but and

So but yes, guilty,
So but so
and but Gately doesn’t know

and but
and but then
And but
'So but
'And but so the point is
So and now
and but then
And but as of that moment,
So and then

and but
and but now
and but even then
and but you still can’t stop
and but now somehow aren’t anymore

and so but anyway
and but so

So but like e.g.
and but now 
And but then
But and plus
So but also know
and but this time
and but so eventually
and but

and but finally
but so now
and but finally
So but last night
and but so the reason he’s here
And but
And but
And so but what if,

And but then
and but everyone
and but little Mario
and but
and but anyway dead as a rivet.

and but since
and but
'So but
And but
So but he knows all but
and but then
So but
and but now completely up-front

And but most
‘—and but except now
and but how
and but
But and so the idea of a person
and but driven by unjust circumstance
and but
and but
'And but your passionate love
and but
and but
and but so
and but
and but he's missed the duck,
And but
And but then
and but still
and but somebody out there
And so but
So and but
But and so and but so
'So but
But so but
and but also
and but when
So but was he insane.
But so but then so
and but anyway

‘And but what do you think would happen after a while, though? Without something you need?’

—Steve Lawson + David Foster Wallace

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Poem, Null Again (Bob Grumman)

Poem, Null Again

The sun was bright                                                                  
                                   but gray.
Poem tried to color a path into
some dream about King Arthur
a drunken Supreme Court Justice
was trying to escape,
but no color would take, the sun
he now realized, was only the idea of
the sun, the poem he was in
the idea of its light.
He tried to sing a path into the dream,
but his notes turned to snow
long before achieving sound,
and buried both the Justice
and the dream of King Arthur.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Know You (Jessy Randall + DFW)

"I KnowYou" by Jessy Randall (and David Foster Wallace)

Two Rules for October Trucking

Welcome to the October edition of Truck. Our route this month explores the area where there be dragons.

To paraphrase something someone said somewhere some time ago: there are only two rules for Truck this month:
  1. There are no rules.
  2. See rule #1.
If you don't like the rule of no rules, you can also head over to the Truck rule generator: and let the page automagically dictate a theme (of sorts) and/or a form. Consider these dictates from on high. Feel free to commit heresy and ignore them.

If you have a poem, prose poem or poemy like thing for Truck, send it my way:

Truck's new driver/editor for October

Many thanks to Philip Meersman for his yeoman service during September.

During October, Chris Lott will be at the wheel.

Truck's driver/editors past, present, future and future perfect, as of Oct. 9, 2013


Chris Lott


Nov. 2013 -- Alex Cigale
Dec. 2013 -- Catherine Daly

Jan. 2014 -- Maria Damon
Feb. 2014 -- John Oughton
March 2014 -- MaryLee Bragg and Colin Morton
Apr. 2014 -- Lakey Comess
May 2014 -- Glenn Bach
June 2014 -- Bill Pearlman
July 2014 -- Gloria Avner and David Gitin
Aug. 2014 -- Jerry McGuire
Sept. 2014 -- Karri Kokko
Oct. 2014 -- Márton Koppány
Nov. 2014 -- Burt Kimmelman
Dec. 2014 --


Apr. 2011 -- Kate Schapira

May 2011 -- Wendy Battin
June 2011 -- Frank Parker
July 2011 --  Skip Fox
Aug. 2011 -- Ken Wolman
Sept. 2011 -- Michael Tod Edgerton
Oct. 2011 -- Kelly Cherry
Nov. 2011 -- Andrew Burke
Dec. 2011 -- Lewis LaCook

Jan. 2012 --  Larissa Shmailo

Feb. 2012 -- Gerald Schwartz
Mar. 2012 -- Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Apr. 2012 -- Lynda Schor
May 2012 -- David Graham
June 2012 -- Lars Palm
July 2012 --  Elizabeth Switaj
Aug. 2012 --  rob mclennan
Sept. 2012 -- Georgios Tsangaris
Oct. 2012 -- Douglas Barbour
Nov. 2012 -- Dirk Vekemans 
Dec. 2012 -- Erik Rzepka

Jan. 2013 -- Alan Britt
Feb. 2013 -- Mark Weiss
Mar. 2013-- Mary Kasimor
Apr. 2013-- John M. Bennett
May 2013--Orchid Tierney
June 2013--Victoria Marinelli
July 2013 -- Volodymyr Bilyk
Aug. 2013 -- David Howard

Sept. 2013 -- Philip Meersman