December 2001Café Society's Poetry News Update
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An Interview With  Christina Sng
Christina Sng

Christina Sng is a scribe of dark verse and disturbing fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous venues including Black Petals, Dreams and Nightmares, The Edge: Tales of Suspense, frisson, Mooreeffoc, The Pedestal Magazine, and Southern Gothic, among others.

Background Information
Writing since childhood, her verse then composed mostly of rhyming names and trips to the market. Her mother filed them all in a clear folder proudly till Lego captured her interest and she focused on more exciting childhood preoccupations. She found inspiration again in teenhood where she voiced her angst in dark verse but was put off writing when she was told off by a friend that her work was too disturbing and she should never write again. Alone in Canada during her college years, she started writing in part for a college assignment and garnered high praise from her English teacher. Encouraged she continued writing but never sought publication after a Toronto journal never responded to her submission (possibly due to an absence of proper manuscript guidelines!). In 1999, when a creative job failed to hold fast to its promise, Christina returned to writing poetry, this time submitting her work to the horror and science fiction genres where it has found a home till today.

She was runner-up in the 2001 Raven Electrick Halloween Poetry Contest, and winner in the recent Tapestry Poetry Contest.
Official Website of Poet and Writer Christina Sng

Latest publications online:

Latest publications in print:


Poetry L & T:When and why did you first start writing poetry, Christina?

Christina: I remember writing short verse as a preschooler about children who had rhyming names. I was obsessed with making everything rhyme, being inspired by the children's poetry and nursery rhymes my mother used to read to me. At that time, it was more about creating something of my own.

Poetry became an emotional dumping ground at age 15 when I wrote to express emotions I didn't know how to deal with. I kept them in a notebook and was very shy and sensitive about them. I stopped writing after a friend told me my work was 'disturbing' and that I should never write again.

At 22, I was given an injection of confidence by an English teacher in college who gave my poetry rave reviews following a creative writing assignment. I seriously considered publication but gave up after my first submission was never responded to. After graduation I stopped writing, led astray by the boundless world of web design.

In mid-2000 the Internet bubble was bursting and I was disillusioned and searching for a creative outlet. I wanted to continue creating something I could call my own; place on a stamp that said: I made this. And then one day I pulled out my old poetry notebook and decided I was ready to share my poetry with the world.

Poetry L & T:How would you define "dark" poetry?

Christina:To me, dark poetry reflects the darker side of nature - our dark thoughts, feelings, longings, and bad things that happen to us in our daily lives where anger, rage, depression, and other dark emotions are the catalyst. In comparison, horror poetry is dark poetry without the emotional catalysts.

Poetry L & T: You have enjoyed recent success in getting published in a number of ezines. Do you study what others have had published to see what kind of thing they use, or simply go for ezines you like?

Christina:I usually study a zine before I submit to it for two reasons: to see if my work will fit, and if I would want my work to be published there. In general, I do submit to markets I like and continue to work with editors I get along well with. Both parties know what to expect from each other and the familiarity is a comfort.

Poetry L & T: Who are your favourite poets?

Christina:Sylvia Plath, Scott Urban, Bruce Boston, and Anne Sexton.

Of all poets, Sylvia Plath has had the greatest influence on my work. I always carry a copy of Ariel in my bag to read whenever I can. There is so much power in her words. Her poetry is the epitome of what good poetry is to me.

Poetry L & T: I was very intrigued when I read your poem "Cocoon". It has some imagery in it which is both grotesque and strangely beautiful. Was there a particular story behind that... or do you prefer to leave it to the readers' imagination?

Christina:I was very intrigued when I read your poem "Cocoon". It has some imagery in it which is both grotesque and strangely beautiful. Was there a particular story behind that... or do you prefer to leave it to the readers' imagination?

Christina: "Cocoon" was written when someone I loved very much hurt me deeply and throughout the time of extreme sadness, I felt like folding myself back into my mother's womb and unravelling.

But as the poem goes, you can strip everything from yourself but your mind, which is the very thing that is perpetuating the pain. It is usually very likely that the antagonist himself could well be unaware of the damage he has done, and the self-flagellation unnecessary and if extended, damaging.

Poetry L & T:Another poem of yours that caught my imagination in particular is "Dawn of The Shapeshifters". Do you read a lot of dark cartoon novels, science fiction and horror?

Christina: In fact I grew up on a staple of horror and adventure. As a child I read all of my brother's superhero comics - Batman, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, as well as my own Misty and Tammy annuals - I loved them all!

In my school years, I read the entire series of both Dark Forces and Twilight, as well as every single Dean Koontz and Robert McCammon novel, over and over.

I returned to comics rather recently after discovering Death, The Sandman, and Leonore. Till today I still favour horror novels and comics above all others.

Poetry L & T:I like the sharp, business-like design of your website. Did you design it?

Christina: Thank you. Yes, I did. I used to be a web designer several years ago, and at the end of the day still prefer a fast-loading text-based site that is neat and delivers content straight and to the point.

Part of the reason why it looks so business-like is that I'd originally planned for the site to be used also as a portfolio for my non-fiction writing. However, since many of my articles cannot be reproduced online due to rights issues, I shifted the focus to poetry and maintain a publication list of my articles.

Poetry L & T: Why do you think mankind often has a fascination for the macabre?

Christina:I believe it is inate in all of us. We have the capacity to commit terrible things - look at the things we think, feel, and act in times of war. We need the dichotomy to remind ourselves what is good and what is bad, and why we must always choose the good even though the dark side will always be infinitely more appealing. This is reflected in our mainstream consciousness through influential stories of today: Genesis, Star Wars, and any archetypical story of good against evil. But we must remember that life isn't black and white. Most of life is coloured gray. Indulging in the dark side should be limited to the imagination - that's why dark poets and writers write: to express and to indulge the fantasies of others who enjoy the macabre so that they do not translate them into real life. This is, of course, assuming that all who read dark works are able to exercise discernment between fantasy and reality.

Poetry L & T: Have you ever suffered from bad dreams which have later turned into brilliant dark poetry?

Christina:Oddly enough, I rarely have bad dreams or at least I don't categorise them as such. I do get the occasional thriller dream where I am being chased by some monster and have to figure out ways to elude it.

It is more of things that happen or I observe happen in real life that translate into dark poetry, brilliant or otherwise! ;>

Poetry L & T:How has the internet helped you in your work and ideas?

Christina:How has the internet helped you in your work and ideas? The Internet has been integral in bringing me to where I am today. Without magazines publicising themselves on the Internet and accepting email submissions, I would be still unpublished.

I applaud editors who accept esubs but I also understand and respect the reasons why many editors don't accept them. In either case, having their websites online conveys this information and saves poets a lot of time and postage money for a query or a submission.

The Internet has also given poets and writers alike immense worldwide publicity. Online distributors like Project Pulp have made professional, semi-professional, and small press magazines international, and offer an alternative to traditional distribution.

The sharing of advice, ideas, and perspectives online has been the greatest boon for me. Newsgroups like The Rumor Mill have given poets and writers a place to congregate and to network, share successes and failures, cheer each other on, ask for advice, and in turn lend advice.

The Internet has levelled the playing field, giving otherwise brilliant unpublished poetry a chance to be shared.

Poetry L & T:What do you consider to be bad habits in writing poetry?

Christina:The worst habit is neglecting to read the work of other poets. When a poet stops reading other people's poetry his or her work becomes stagnant. Other bad habits include not writing regularly (writing is like a mind: use it or lose it), and failing to edit or sufficiently edit.

Poetry L & T:Finally, Christina, do you have any advice for poets who want to improve their work?

Christina:Keep writing. Write every day if you can: on the bus, before bedtime, anywhere you can squeeze in about 15 minutes.

Edit. After you write a poem, edit. Leave it aside for a few days and then edit again. Repeat till you are satisfied. For now. (Technically the process never really ends as your writing is constantly evolving.)

Join a writer's group - The Rumor Mill and Critters are both excellent groups - for support, advice, companionship, and a sense that you are not alone in this.

Listen carefully to what editors tell you about your writing and learn which are the ones whose opinions you respect and adhere to. Don't take criticisms personally. Instead think about how the criticisms can help improve your poetry.

Read poetry. Read widely and try different poets. Read everything from a poet you like and study his or her style.

Get your poetry out into circulation. Each acceptance will boost your confidence. If a poem is rejected, give it a onceover edit and a pat on the back and send it out again.

Don't give up. Ever.

Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Christina.

CLICK HERE to read poetry by
Christina Sng


Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with Christina Sng, from Singapore. Christina is a writer of dark/gothic poetry. I first read her work by following links from her page on AuthorsDen, recently. I enjoyed what I read, so invited her to be interviewed.

Featured Poets this month include Barbara Crooker, Averil Bones, Liam Guilar, Richard Vallance, Ian Thorpe and Jan Sand.

Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Please indicate whether you would like the comments to go into the Letters section. Announcements are always welcome, you can also promote poetry books here.

Poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg author picture attached, also a bio, with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. This increases the chance of inclusion, especially for late submissions. Pictures are best at a maximum of 520 pixels across, otherwise they take ages to arrive by email, especially in bitmap or TIFF format. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

Best Regards,


Click title below for this month's Vallance Review feature

Richard Vallance reviews sonnets, both classic and modern.

Featured poets this month are Featured Poets this month include Barbara Crooker, Averil Bones, Liam Guilar, Richard Vallance, Ian Thorpe and Jan Sand. Many thanks to all contributors.


The author of almost 900 poems published in over 100 anthologies and prestigious magazines, along with 8 residencies at the VCCA; Barbara Crooker's work has made her one of Pennsylvania's favorite poets.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, five residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a prize from the NEA.

A three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, she was nominated for the 1997 Grammy Awards for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along With Me--The Best is Yet to Be (Papier Mache Press).

More recent news - Barbara won the 2001 Byline Press Chapbook Competition with her book "Ordinary Lives". She has also had a brilliant new collection of poems published called "The White Poems" - visit the Irish site Electric Acorn to read three poems from this collection.

See also publisher's websites for more on Barbara:
Miller's Pond and H&H Press

© Barbara Crooker

A rectangle of light spills in the high window
over the porcelain tub in our small hôtel,
and a blackbird, a merle, is singing his strange chanson,
r's swallowed in the back of his throat, those palate-
ringing u's: dur, truffes, du fluide, tu penses.
At the rue de Varenne, Rodin's Thinker is still stuck
in the rose garden, his bronze thoughts lost
in translation. Across the lawn, in a smaller version,
he broods above les Portes d'Enfer:
Abandon hope, all ye who enter.
Underneath, eternity's lovers twine
about each other, the embrace of the damned,
yearn and long but never touch, all that unattainable
flesh. The twisting lovers try to hold on even
as they are torn away or melt backwards
into the liquid bronze night, condemned to writhe
in tortured high relief. But we are here, in our
middle-aged imperfect bodies, walking hand in hand
under an allée of plane trees in the dazzled light,
and my desire for you, even after all these years,
is a marc, an eau-de-vie, hot and heady
in the blood. High above us, chimney swifts,
les martinets, take up their nightly chorus, shrieking
as they swoop and dive for insects in the long dusk.
Praise the small cage of the elevator
that carries us to our chambre. Praise my four-
chambered heart, still beating; praise your gall
bladder, unremoved. O Paris, city of café noir
and vin rouge, where even the subway signs
are works of art, city of rapturous light,
ghosts of Hemingway and Stein at the Closerie,
Simone and Jean-Paul at the Café de Flor,
you and I, our little story nearly over,
singing loudly as we can, in our tone deaf voices,
against the coming rain and the following dark.

© Barbara Crooker

She asked me to bring her back a stone
from Paris, where even the dirt is historic,
but I wanted, instead, to find her the color
of l'heure bleu, the shimmer of twilight

with the street lamps coming on, the way they keep
the dark back for just a little while, the reflections
of headlamps and taillights, red and gold, on the Champs
d'Élysees wet with rain and a fog rising.

And there's the way the past becomes a stone,
how you carry it with you, lodged in your pocket.
The blue light deepens, evening's melancholy shawl,
the wide boulevard of the Seine, the way the stones

of the monuments become watery, ripple in the currents
and the wind. Everything seems eternal here,
to us from the West, who have no memory of dates
like 52 BC, 1066, the fin de siècle

as we barge on past the millennium,
history's crazy swirl, oil on pavement,
a promenade down les Grands Boulevards.
This is what I'd bring back: shadows of stones,

twilight longings, a handful of crushed lilacs
from the bar at the Closerie, some lavender de Provence,
Odilon Redon's chalky mauves, a jazz piano playing the blues,
Mood Indigo; just a condensation of blue,

distilled in a small glass bottle with a stopper,
as if it came from an expensive parfumerie,
musk of the centuries, the gathering dusk,
a hedge against night, the world that will end.

© Barbara Crooker

The amaryllis bulb, dumb as dirt,
inert, how can anything spring
from this clod, this stone,
the pit of some subtropical
atypical likely inedible fruit?
But it does: out of the dark
earth, two shoots, green
flames in December,
despite the short days,
the Long Night Moon
flooding the hard ground.
Nothing outside grows;
even small rodents
are burrowed in
the silent nights

Then, one morning--
a single stalk,
then a bud
that swells, bells
full sail, full bellied,
the skin grows thin,
tighter, until it splits:
heralds the night
will not be endless,
that dawn will blossom,
pearly and radiant,
and two white
trumpets unfold, sing
their sweet song,
their Hallelujah chorus,
sing carols in the thin cold air,
and our mouths say O and O and O.

© Barbara Crooker

It's been four years since my father died,
and it seems like I'm becoming him,
driving my mother to this sandy spit
where we vacation with their friends
of thirty years, go to thrift shops
and lobster roll lunches at the white
Congregational church, admire the blue
hydrangeas bobbing along the picket fence.
This year, death's been busy as a surfcaster
on a moon-filled night, blues and stripers
running wild, reeling them in one after another:
Dottie talking on the phone, Merrick dozing
in his recliner, cancer's heavy weather
taking Jean and Clare, and only Mom and I remain.

We're sitting at our favorite restaurant, stirring
sugar in iced tea, hearing the little cubes tinkle
like wind chimes. I want to skip the next chapter,
stay here like this, life rolling on predictable
as morning fog, or thick milky chowder, the sun,
a pat of butter, melting through. Our waitress,
in a white apron and pink uniform, her name scrolled
on her left breast, waits with a pad of paper:
"The meltaways just came out of the oven," she says,
"Can you smell them? I can put them in a box
if you don't have room for now."

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
© Barbara Crooker

Psalm 11, v. 2-3: for lo, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?

Ground zero: Rodin's Gates of Hell, twisted steel, concrete
tossed chockablock, cascades of debris, thousands of lives
erased in a minute. Hiroshima. Beirut. Nagasaki.
Beyond the worst disaster movie Hollywood could conjure.
The mayor says, Whatever the numbers, this will be more than we can bear.

A group of young firefighters, ghostly in their coats of ash and dust,
make their way exhausted down the ruined streets.
One shoe, with a silver buckle. A snowstorm of résumés, faxes,
time cards, worksheets. The river slides by, pulling its load.

A backdrop of smoke and crushed cement rises higher
than the vanished buildings, the forever altered skyline.
A small woman stands on a rocky island out in the harbor,
her arm raised, a lamp held high.
And the darkness is not complete.

[email protected]


Averil Bones lives in Sydney, Australia. She has studied journalism and native bushland regeneration, and is currently working in the publishing industry.

Averil's work has been included in an anthology of new Australian poets called Sensory, and she is a regular contributor to Poetry Downunder.

The most influential part of her life is the ocean, and she tries to remain an active environmental campaigner.

© Averil Bones

Rubenesque she called my curves,
perhaps with a little envy shading
her cool gills green as she smiled,
Mona Lisa style, and her whippet
legs, spindle arms became a cradle
for my lush bosom and my thighs.

I marvelled at the care she took
to straighten the lovely curls
out of her long hair, blonded
without sun, wondered at the
cheeses she ate that would slip
through her like water or rain.

She loved the hand-me-downs
I tossed her - those girl clothes that
wouldn't feel my dewy woman's frame
under their fibres again. I grew fat
on the goodness of life and love,
grew happy to frolic naked,

wend my way through furniture
strewn with paper and perfumed
by the scent of our bodies where
we sat and ate celery soup, minted
with peas and buttery toast that
slipped through her so that she said

"I'm still hungry," and made more
buttery toast I did not eat, weighed down
as I was by envy of her figure, trapped in
bulbous flesh which, with a flick of
straight hair, she labelled "Rubenesque"
handing me my beauty in a cup.

© Averil Bones

At first we are twelve
as the numerals of a clock.

Time passes, and we become
eleven and one, then
ten, and a couple
in the corner.

The flame that lights a cigarillo
makes us two and three
and a patch of seven
which divides
with the passing of time to be
three, two and two as four.

Then we are seated
even as twelve.

© Averil Bones

He hides his fetish in plain sight,
and it is ugly, painted with a master's hand,
scraped across burly bitumen with a flick
of the wrist that comes back to him through
sleepless hours, brings him endless pleasure.

Cradled on a cot of filth in a remnant
of Australian bush that comforts his child mind,
he hunkers down with a simple trap
made of wire bent back so that struggle
will make for slow death and panic cruel cutting pain.

Sitting so still that even his shadow grows restless
he waits hours from day into evening
until the ratty things that own those quiet hours
rustle from their homes, and his stillness
shows as a bold silhouette against a slate sky.

Some nights he catches himself muttering
something of a race apart, whose chariots
run daily rings waked by the smell of petrol,
something he remembers of white bread
and a silky strap on a woman's shoulder.

Snap, and a trap is sprung and the rustling
becomes a roar in his mind, and a cry of pain
in a small mammal's throat. He is up with a
creak of his knees, and his rough hands with
white moon nails close around wide eyes.

The creature struggles in his grasp, gasping
and he puts his foul nose close to its fur.
It is young, and alive, wriggling
with a will to live that puzzles him. He lingers,
takes a moment to squeeze it almost dead.

Its blood is his. He plays doctor with sticks,
nurse with poison leaves, cuts and hacks
at the creature's limbs. He is not hungry,
has no interest in this small thing as a meal,
but while it is warm he will play rapt.

Alone, lost to his mother, sister,
he twists cruel shapes into the creature's bone
fascinating those huge eyes watching him from the night
so that they bring their young as a lesson, a lesson,
stay away, smell the blood and leave.

Once done with the carcass, he spreads it carefully
in those quietest hours of the night (or are they
of morning?), sometimes across double lines,
but mostly on well-worn tyre tracks where the
first tiptruck of dawn will erase all trace of his crime.

[email protected]

Liam Guilar

Liam started writing poetry with a blunt pencil when he discovered that cat and mat rhymed. Somehow this is far more memorable than much else that happened at primary school. Thirty years later his first book of poetry, "The Poet's Confession" was published in Canberra by Ginninderrra press. He never bothered trying to get the poems published before that. He just assumed no one wanted to read them. Since then his poems have appeared in various places, though he is proudest of its selection for a book of world music, edited by Allan Allexander. (Apart from his excessive love of books my other main interest is acoustic music.)

Inspired by a childhood reading of Rider Haggard's She, he's traveled to places too obscure to make the Lonely Planet Travel Guides. (Coventry, Halesowen…) He is the only lute playing, kayaking medievalist known to have been "smuggled" across the Kazak border in an apple truck and "arrested and deported" from Samarkand. The story is on the Idaho State University Website:

Born in Coventry, England, Liam studied Medieval Literature and History at Birmingham University, and moved to Australia in 1986. He has a Masters Degree in Medieval Literature from the University of Queensland, and currently lives on the Gold Coast, where a version of himself is Head of English at a private girls school, a fact he often finds incomprehensible.

Lute Recitals.
(for Allan Alexander, in praise of Castles in the Sky)
© Liam Guilar

Here's Dowland, drunk, performing for the King.
His Majesty is fondling his Queen and dogs
wondering if a war is in the stars.
The Crown Prince, spewing in an ornate bowl,
calls out "More beer, bring me more beer!"
The music muscles up; it's rude, alive and wild.
It's Dowland saying; listen to my tunes.
Get off your arse and dance. Get up.
You're dying soon, get up, enjoy yourself.
Tomorrow I can make you weep
you pompous self-important skeletons with flesh,
tonight I choose to make you dance.
Your rank and power, your fashion and your pride
are my music's to deny.
The sweaty dancers leap and laugh.
The music meddles with their lives.
It belts the bishop's conscience.
He stumbles through the dance steps,
sees the drunken dandy on his right,
thinks he should have found a better use
for the heretic he burned tonight
than kindling for the greasy flames.
The dancers leap and sweat,
the King forgets affairs of state,
wonders if my Lady Hammond's
famous figure's worth the risk,
while Dowland laughs.

To hear Allan’s version of Castles in the sky and other lute pieces:

© Liam Guilar

"For the Wonglepong dance on the last night in June
We will hire you to play by the light of the moon"
Such a strange invitation, I read it through twice
There were fifty two pages of close packed advice
"No loud blasts of Rock and no funky rap songs
Just acoustic dance music that goes on and on.
You can make it a reel or a stately gavotte,
You can play how you like, but you must never stop
Before they stop dancing, because if you do
the ones who aren't finished will be dining on you!"
I need some brown paper and Fred needs new strings
So I said that I'd play for these Wonglepong things.

Such cuddly creature, shame 'bout the teeth
They dance round the fire on their huge floppy feet.
They shuffle and chuckle making small happy sounds,
As I strike up Kemp's Jig and they hop up and round.
Then I play a gavotte and they dance heel and toe
Then an Alman by Dowland, um, I don't know
Perhaps they'll like tangos, so I take my chances
At making them tired with some fast Spanish dances.
They burgle and wiffle, they coo and they chirp
While old Fred and I settle down to the work
Of making them tired, of moving their feet
and keeping their minds off guitar player meat.
A few soon stop dancing, so I pick up the pace
And notice a few wipe the sweat off their face.
Then they're leaving the firelight, ready to drop,
But two Wongelpong lovers, they just can not stop.
They chirp and they cackle they hop and they leap
While the Wonglepong elders look ready for sleep.

My fingers are bleeding, my hands are on fire
but whatever I play they just don't seem to tire!
They skip and they tumble on huge floppy feet
and if they keep at it I'm admitting defeat.
My left hand's gone spastic, the notes are all wrong
so I'm finishing now, with a pitiful song.

"Please don't eat me, let me go
I just can't play this anymore"

They stopped and they turned cos I'd ruined their fun
And I saw I was trapped with no place to run.
They started towards me, licking their lips
I never believed it would happen like this!
Then the biggest and baddest of all Wonglepongs
The one with the claws that were longer than long,
Said," Please don't be scared. It was all a big joke
We just wanted value, you see, the last bloke
That we hired to play music at the last dance in June
Only played for an hour by the light of the moon.
So we're sorry we scared you, the dance was a treat
and Wonglepongs never, but never eat meat.
So here's all your money, please come again soon
Cos we like how you play by the light of the moon
And when the young couple have their wedding day
We're hoping you'll be there the music to play."
So I whistled Kemp's jig and, to end this romance,
Gave old Fred a rest, and joined in the dance.

Editor's Note: I heard the MP3 version of the above poem and loved it - this is recommended listening. Scroll back to previous poem for a link to the site.

Stranded at the bus stop, late one Saturday night.
© Liam Guilar

Between perhaps and maybe
there’s an empty late night servo’
where weariness is stale
as the pale florescent light;
where nothing’s as it should be,
not even as it could be
and lonely is the only place,
you get to sleep tonight.

The girl behind the counter
was sixty eight last Friday.
The hot chips that she’s selling,
don’t even start out warm.
Floor sweepings and chicory
masquerade as coffee.
The future’s in a coffin,
The past’s refusing to be born.

Stubs smoulder in the ashtray
to prove other strangers stopped here
Ambitions fade like smoke
to a stench which haunts your clothes
You wait for the bus out of here
The one that goes to certainty
Suspecting the last one left
Not so long ago.

No such thing as safe sex.
© Liam Guilar

I showed the doctor my discomfort
Son, there’s nothing I can do
You’re turning into gold
It’s the way she looks at you

Go home and take some asprin
Relax, you’ll be alright
The next time that you kiss her
You’ll both turn into light.

© Liam Guilar

Even though she’s spent the year beside you,
you wake to find a stranger in the dawn.
Nothing you can do or say will keep her,
You can break the clocks, time will stagger on.

Hand in hand you wandered by the water
Between familiar yachts and café lights
She moved away and said, “I took their offer”
And tore the moon and stars out of the night.

Now she combs her hair out in your mirror
This face you loved, how could you be so wrong?
Not poetry nor any other magic
Will resurrect the certainty that’s gone

“You said you loved me for my independence,
integrity, you said the rest was dross.
So now we face love’s basic contradiction
I go, you stay: there’s neither gain nor loss”

She calls it love, it feels more like indifference.
A strategy to keep her heart concealed?
You watch her taxi leaving for the station
and wonder what exactly is revealed.

Jessica's flute
(For Jessica Walsh and Allan Alexander)
© Liam Guilar

The Great Shakerags replies to Cavilero Kemp

God, how they used to laugh
At dancing Dick and tripping Will.
They'd throw their sweaty caps into the air
And clap each other on the back
Until the tears rolled down their cheeks.

But there's a subtle order which permits
So much disruption and no more.
The fragile glass I'd hold to nature's face
Is threatened by the stumbling clown

I'll tread the line of balance
Above the endless surge of anarchy and order,
I'll measure everything in moderation.
So farewell Cavilero Kemp
And farewell laughter.

Kemp's Jig

Those marvellous pentameters
march us to the charnel house;
that final scene where everybody dies.
A mirror held to Nature's face?
I'll show him nature's face, it's split wide open,
snaggle teeth exposed in helpless laughter.
Body bent as Richard's back, like Goodwife Gossip's
convulsing in the act of giving birth
to laughter.
They don't do laughter now, they do
Macdobeth and some boring Danish Prince
who feels compelled to lecture us
about the role of clowns.

I'll not be dragged upon the hurdle
of character development and plot
to butchery at some dramatic Tyburn.
I'll take the music, toss it to the breeze,
and follow it no matter where.
Through mud and rain
and laughing, dancing, spinning
go, not to the death of friends,
but to their making.
the Tabrer strikes alarum.
Tickle it good Tom, Ile follow thee

Jessica's flute

Smoke rises from the houses by the river
The strangers stop and smile as he skips past.
Abandon, if you can, the myth you're in control,
Your fears of disappointment, let him take you
Beyond the city walls, to places you have never been.
No passports are required, you'll need no phrasebook
For the welcome by the fire at journey's end.

You can hear Jessica and Allan play Kemp's jig at:

[email protected]

Click here for December 2001 Featured Poets page 2 --> link for second half of featured poets....

Welcome to the WEB's newest bilingual Canadian poetry E-Zine:

Bienvenue chez la toute nouvelle revue bilingue canadienne portant sur la posie sur l'Internet:

Poetry in Emotion
la poesie s'mouvoir

Volume 1, no. 1, Autumn, 2001
of this Quarterly E-Zine is now online (See link following parallel French text):

Vous pouvez enfin lire le tout premier numro de cette revue trimestrielle (celui de l'automne, 2001).
Pour vous y acheminez, vous n'avez qu' cliquer sur le lien suivant:

The featured artist for our first issue is the American poet, Mykael-Eagleton Mize.

L'artiste en vedette de notre premier numro est un pote amricain, qui s'appelle Mykael-Eagleton Mize.

Should you have any comments or suggestions,
please feel free to sign our Guest Book.

Si cela vous pique de nous faire des commentaires ou des suggestions,
n'hsitez pas signer notre petit Livre d'or!

The 14th St. Y of the Educational Alliance
The Center for Cultural and Performing Arts
Wendy Sabin-Lasker, Director WhY Women Poetry Series,
Wendy Sabin Lasker, Director, Veronica Golos, Artistic Coordinator for Literary Programs


CEREMONIES OF LIGHT~ Dec. 6~ Thursday~7pm~$7 with ENID DAME, author of Anything You Don't See, Lilith and Her Demons, and On the Road to Damascus, Maryland; editor Home Planet News


three emerging writers: Ritu Kalra, Jelayne Miles, Lee Schwartz

344 East 14th St, corner of First Ave.
to RSVP: 212-780-0800x255

For more information about eventsl, or to join the mailing list, write to:
Victoria Golos [email protected]

344 East 14th St.
New York, NY 10003, USA

212-780-0800 x255

Time is running out to get your work noticed in the


anthology, by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, coming soon!

Enquiries to Elaine Davis at [email protected]

THE PERILS OF NORRIS cartoon, #7 - last in the current story. Spot Reginald The Rat and win a prize! Email [email protected] and say where he is and what he is doing...

The Perils of Norris started in August 2000. To catch up on past episodes, click the links below, then your browser's Back button to return.

#1  #2  #3  #4  #5  #6  #7  #8  #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16

Click here for BACK ISSUES page

Mail me on: [email protected] with poems, letters or poetry news,
by 14th December (latest) for January 2002 issue, as
there will be less time to edit the pages
with Christmas coming up.

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