October 2000Cafť Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news or comments for the Readers' Letters section? If so, mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. Competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free.

An Interview With WILLIAM PECK
William Peck is a person comfortable at the helm of a publication. Currently, he works as the General Manager and editor of The Daily Record, a daily newspaper which serves Kansas City's legal community, in addition to his duties as the Publisher and Webmaster of Friction Magazine, an Internet arts and literary publication scheduled to come out in print next year.

Peck's poetry has appeared in numerous online and print publications. He hosts a monthly poetry slam in Kansas City, and his gritty, cutting verse has earned him a reputation in both street and academic literary circles. As a journalist, his work has appeared in The Kansas City Star, PitchWeekly, Explore Kansas City, and many other local publications.

William Peck, Publisher/Webmaster of Friction Magazine - a journal of writers and artists
http://www.frictionmag.com/

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

William Peck:I remember writing poetry very young. In second grade, to be exact. Of course, it was all very unsophisticated, but I was writing in rhyme before I really even knew what poetry was. I was in my mid twenties, though, before I really began to think of myself as a poet, and started taking my poetry seriously. It was an overnight transformation. Years later I wrote a poem about it called "The night I changed."

Poetry L & T:Who are your favourite classical and/or modern poets?

William Peck:That's a tough question to answer. I like a lot of poets. I'm inspired by Whitman, because he wrote bombastically, gave American poetry a name, and wasn't an academic. I also like all the beat poets, but I have a special place in my heart Jack Kerouac. Bukowski is another one I really enjoy.

Poetry L & T:How did you first come to publish Friction Magazine?

William Peck:That's a long story. In 1996, me and a couple of my friends published two editions of Friction Magazine out of my garage. We printed 10,000 of them, and blanketed the arts district and the college campuses with them. I loved doing it, but didn't make a dime. We had just enough advertisers to break even. So I shelved it to take a position as Editor-in-Chief of the University News at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 1999, I took a position as the General Manager of a small daily legal newspaper in downtown Kansas City. This position affords me more free time than my position at the University ever did. I used that free time to bring Friction Magazine back to life. Only this time, I published it on the web, and it has been enormously successful. More so than I had hoped. We are currently switching to 501c3 (non-profit) status, and plan to revive the print edition by the first of the year.

Poetry L & T:As a typesetter and graphic designer, I really like the fresh, modern look of your site. Who designed your logo?

William Peck:(blushing) I did. Graphic design is another one of my skills. I do all the layout and design for the entire site. That may change in the future, but not anytime soon.

Poetry L & T:What is your criteria for good poetry in your poetry section of Friction Magazine?

William Peck:Ironically, our Poetry Editor, Allen Heinrich, just wrote a column on that subject. For me, I want to see fresh images with unpredictable adjectives. I want to see rhyme, but not too much end rhyme. Above all, I want there to be some metaphor. Good poetry, in my book, has layers; the lines are charged with meaning.

Poetry L & T:Is there anything that you dislike to see in poetry submissions?

William Peck:Too many would-be poets think that anything that comes out of their brain can be dissected into line breaks and qualify as a poem. Writing a good poem is usually harder than that. Writing a good poem requires skill. Skill comes with practice. Good painters don't just shit on a canvas and call it art; they work at it. They blend colors, and tinker with shading. Sometimes they will let a bad painting dry, and re-use the canvas. Poets should do the same thing. If I get a poem full of spelling and grammatical errors (that are clearly just errors and do not add meaning to the poem), arbitrary line breaks, predictable language and imagery, poor word choices, or extraneous syllables to facilitate a sing-songy rhyme, I lose interest quickly.

Poetry L & T:Which famous poem has made the biggest impression on you?

William Peck:That is an impossible question to answer. Too many poems have made big impressions on me.

Poetry L & T:Have you ever suffered from "writers' block?" Do you have any thoughts about how to overcome that problem?

William Peck:There are two easy cures for writers block. The first is to sabotage your life, and send every aspect of your existence spiraling out of control. There is nothing like heartache, pain and tragedy to keep a poet writing. If you don't like that option, then I would make poetry something that you are, not just something that you do. Look at everything around you in terms of its poetic potential - sunsets, relationships, careers, kids, heavy traffic, overdue bills, hairy cheese in the fridge, or whatever. Then, when you find a hook you like (a metaphor, or a clever phrase, etc.) then write it down, and build on that. Never go anywhere without a pen or pencil.

Poetry L & T:Which, of your own poems, do you feel the most satisfied with?

William Peck:I'm not completely satisfied with any of them.

Poetry L & T:Do you think that sometimes big publishers close their eyes to new talent, just to play safe with the work of established poets?

William Peck:Yes, but I don't think they're trying to play it safe. There is no safety in publishing poetry. Most BIG poetry publishers are non-profit organizations or Government subsidized University publications. They are much more interested in protecting their clique than they are in recognizing the work of talented poets without MFAs, PhDs, or any publishing history.

Poetry L & T:Have there been any big or traumatic events in your life, or in the world, which particularly inspired you in your poetry?

William Peck:I don't know if Inspiration and influence is the same thing, but my second divorce really shook me up. It was the most painful experience of my life. I won't bore you with a discussion of it, but that experience changed everything about me, including my poetry.

Poetry L & T:Finally, William, do you have any advice for new poets who want to improve enough to get their work noticed by a reputable publisher?

William Peck:

Yes. Read. Too many "poets" write and write and write, and never bother to read much poetry other than their own. No one will ever achieve excellence in their writing if they don't take the time to read other people's work. And I don't mean your lover's poems he/she has written to you. I'm talking about the classics, and I'm talking about publications with a reputation for excellence like the Melic Review and Pif, etc. Oh, and Friction Magazine too. Learn from other poets. Steal their ideas, and mold them into your own.

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

William Peck's Poetry

A poem to my flower
© William Peck

Always, even if only
in some small way,
I am conscious of you,
your petals and perfume,
like money earned and spent
long ago, before the turning
of a verdant, prosperous spring.
Those memories are precious
and easy. Which brings me
to wonder at the countless
coming seasons and dividend
payments on our mutual
investment in the prolific
production
of be's.


Wrote memorization
© William Peck

I cannot escape alarm-clock mornings
with clever spelling tricks
rolling me out of bed, still sleeping
so I thump my head on tomorrow.

But at night I can feel my hair
brushing my face and neck,
and smoke-filled air sticking to skin
and thoughts like a blood-hungry tick
tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

We all know that life is more
than semi-weekly paychecks,
net-worth, insurance, credit-ratings,
savings plans, inheritance
necessitating death.

Life is something that nothing understands;
all we can do is live beneath the sun
and contaminate our hands
with lofty goals and doctrines,
indecipherable systems.

Some have become so acutely aware,
they have forgotten how to listen
to the growling bowels within themselves
that tutor their survival.

There's nothing I can say
you cannot say yourself,
but I'm compelled, no less,
to look into your eyes,

and continue my recital.


Every man for himself
© William Peck

Am I to unfold a chaise lounge
on the deck of a sinking ship,
and sniff the thick ocean air
through nostrils and lips destined
to dance with salty, stinging water?

Iím in a God-damned frenzy
to find floating flotsam sufficient
to ferry my weight,
and freeze-dried foods
to fight the foreboding aqueous famine.

So fuck off with your peace and calm,
because I am abandoning this ship,
and not only will I not go
gently into this good night;
if I play it right,
I think I just might survive it.


Losing sleep
© William Peck

My home is dark tonight
with the lights of long-sought city scapes
draped with the pitch of skies over highways
unseen between Neverland and Heaven.

And I am that stone in the riverís bed,
colored like any other once proud boulder
growing older and rounder, smoothing at the edges,
destined to retire under feet on crowded, sandy beaches.

But what I never know can never be forgotten,
and the dead, from the evidence I have,
do not bemoan their outcast state,
or debate the wording of their epitaphs.

If there were no rivers, there would be no cities,
no power to wear down stones
or make neon glow like misplaced hopes
in the most divine of lies.

And eventually I, like everyone else,
will be sentenced to the standard punishment
for daring to defy the evidentiary odds
merely by virtue of my present need

to somehow, someday die


To contact William Peck, email: [email protected]



ANNOUNCEMENT FROM WILLIAM PECK:

New material is online at Friction Magazine, including new poetry, fiction and audio readings from Friction Magazine's Midtown Poetry Slam, recorded live at Blayney's in Kansas City. Be sure to cast a vote for your favorite poet.

We are also actively seeking fiction, art, photography and nonfiction submissions. We currently have more poetry than we know what to do with, although you're welcome to throw your work into the heap if you want. Submissions close October 1st, so don't wait around too long.

I also want to invite everyone to visit our forum, where users are welcome to post their poetry or fiction for comment, as well as post comments on other's work. No username, password or registration is necessary.

See you between the lines.

Sincerely yours
(from under the floor),

William Peck, Publisher/Webmaster
Friction Magazine - a journal of writers and artists
http://www.frictionmag.com/



EDITOR'S LETTER, OCTOBER 2000

Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with the poet William Peck, editor of Friction Magazine. Anyone wishing to submit poetry to Friction Magazine should address their submission to Allen Heinrich, the poetry editor. Visit the Friction Magazine site for further details and submission guidelines.

Featured poets this month include Janet Buck, Averil Bones, Elisha Porat, Ward Kelley, Ric Masten and Jan Sand. Ric Masten has a special announcement, near the Norris Cartoon, where you can also find news from the Kinte Space Site, Janet Buck, and Marek Lugowski from A Small Garlic Press.

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 such comments to be included in the Letters section. Announcements are always welcome, you can also promote poetry books here.

Any poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg picture attached, also a bio, preferably with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. This will increase chances of inclusion, especially if a submission is sent late in the month, as it saves me time to get a picture and bio at the same time. Pictures are best at a maximum of 520 pixels across, otherwise they take ages to arrive by email, especially if they are in bitmap or TIFF format. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

If anyone would like to send their Chinese, Japanese, Urdu or Hebrew poetry in its original script, please send the English version in plain text with a jpeg or gif showing how it looks in the original language script, no wider than 400 pixels in width so that the English version can appear in a column beside it.

Best Regards,

                  



Featured poets this month include Janet Buck, Averil Bones, Elisha Porat, Ward Kelley, Ric Masten and Jan Sand. Many thanks to all contributors.



Janet Buck

JANET I. BUCK
Janet Buck's poetry, poetics, and fiction have appeared in A Writer's Choice, Born Magazine, Stirring, The Melic Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Kimera, The Rose & Thorn, 2River View, Southern Ocean Review, Disquieting Muses, Urban Spaghetti, Perihelion, Mind Fire, San Francisco Salvo, Apples & Oranges, Ceteris Paribus, In Motion, Pogonip, Peshekee Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Suisun Valley Review, The Red Booth Review, The Poetry Kit, Miserere, Niederngasse, Lynx: Poetry from Bath, The Horsethief's Journal, Salon D'Arte, Pif, The Dragonfly Review, Morpo, Recursive Angel, Big Bridge, Eclectica, Pith, La Petite Zine, EWG Presents, and hundreds of journals world-wide. In 1998, 1999, and 2000, she has won numerous creative writing awards and been a featured poet for Seeker Magazine, Poetry Today Online, Vortex, Conspire, Poetry Cafe, Dead Letters, the storyteller, Poetry Heaven, Athens City Times, Poetic License, 3:00 AM e-zine, Poetry Super Highway, Carved in Sand, Poetry Magazine.com, Beachfire Gathering, and Cafe Society. Two of Buck's poems have been nominated for this year's Pushcart Prize in Poetry and she is a recent recipient of The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence. Janet was also one of ten U.S. poets to be featured at the "One Heart, One World" Exhibit at the United Nations Exhibit Hall in New York City in April, 2000. Her poem "Acrylic Thighs" was translated into five languages and paired with original artwork. The tour will travel to France, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil, and Japan.

Buck currently has three poetry collections on the market: Calamity's Quilt, Reefs We Live, and Bookmarks in a Hurricane. In November, she will be a featured poet at The Hugo House in Seattle. Art Villa is soon to release her cd entitled Before the Rose, a collection of poetry laced with music by the talented David Jackson. Desideratum's Doggie Dish, Buck's first collection of humor, will be available in print very soon, courtesy of Word Wrangler. To read more of Janet's work, purchase a book, or schedule a reading, go to http://www.janetbuck.com

Active Amp.org--Features Janet I. Buck
The Part-time Postmodernist (August 2000)
San Francisco Salvo
Offcourse
The October Country
Cafe Society: Poetry Life & Times March 2000
Desideratum 's Doggie Dish
Wired Art from Wired Hearts
Kookamonga Square
The Adirondack Review
janetbuck.com

One World-One Heart Exhibit
(click on "On Site Report" and scroll down to the New York Exhibit; then click on "A message from one of the authors, Ms. Janet Buck")
Ygdrasil: Issue 9 September 2000

Ginger Root Not Lavender
© Janet I. Buck


When the buzzer of your death
blasted me out of bed,
I sat in that electric shock
of disbelief for days on end.
Wrote nothing of that nothingness
before my eyes, vacuumed
bread crumbs of my tears
until the sack exploded
in the morning light.

Greenery of loving you
was bags of lettuce
full of worms I had to wash.
Collection plates
and choir pews
and all the leather books
you bound had saddle sores
of wishing I could warm
the chill, reverse injustice,
kill its virus, stomp its grapes,
bite its languid, pouting lip.

Pillows on your empty chaise,
a mass of birds
God had taken rifles to.
Paper was a thimble's meat
without a tip.
Your house coats
had that dusty smell
of Sanskrit tomes.
I owed it to your memory
to run the furnace till it cleared.
Pungency of grief revived
is ginger root, not lavender.


The Autumn Rose
© Janet I. Buck



Last edge of summer's bloom
in vulva of a pregnant rose.
I never embrace quite long enough.
Leaves lose emerald tinge;
my gardening thumbs
are checking into winter's smug,
stacking all my sleeveless shirts
and trading them for sweater time.
Too soon the colors dissipate.
Too soon the painter's brush is dry.

Knotted hose upon on the porch;
nothing pumping through its vein.
Sunburned logs of furniture
sit upside down,
so rain can rinse their dirty backs.
I totter on assuming cliffs
that Spring will raise its hand again,
both my eyes will focus then--
gentle turns of microscopes.

Each maple trace that falls
to earth--a sequin falling off a dress
I'll soon outgrow or give away.
Did I cut the tags from hours
and wear them like a pink corsage?
Did I miss a hummingbird
that pounced upon a drop of sap?
A dangerous leap of faith I am--
fingers near a paper cut.


The Grasshopper
© Janet I. Buck



Shuffling through
glass slippers
of morning dew,
there is promise
pending, hovering.
My prayers this year
met scales
of broken rosaries.
A man I knew
and loved
erased in a blur
of waning youth.
Staccato grief
punctuated,
heralded by deep
bassoons, his
widow's sighs.

She can't paint
with dry brush
of longing's tongue.
Her womanhood
an empty beach.
A crust
that ruins endings
to a poem.
I dream of
doubted possibles.
Count my rows
of blessing lace.
Run my toes
down forearms
of our braided thighs
in ways pianos
chase a note.
Own myself
and grab for reach
as grasshoppers
rule wayward lawn.


Frisk Me
© Janet I. Buck



I am archive--
you are power.
Frisk me and
you will find
fish hook ribs--
tangled in
unbuttoned fire.
Thorns around
a holly berry--
pain constrained
by smiles intact
like rainbows
in a nursery rhyme.

Festering madness,
owl trace of
heaven's fall.
No lady, just time
alive and well
in steam.
Groping
ice-cube--
God perceived
in off-key tone--
fingers stuck
upon the freeze.
Placing spine
inside a verse
as flowers
seek a
wetted vase.


Allergic to Silk
© Janet I. Buck



You give me silk
in a ribbonned box
at Christmas time,
but sexiness hides
in cool closets
where it's safe.
A victim of old severance
(of scissored limb)
allergic to insipid risk.
Some sense of femininity
is wild onions growing
in a wayward field.

Not yet.
The salt of difference rules --
the page a screen for
clawing cats.
Dalai Lama's blood in veins
and prayers for self--
uncleansed by
trite confessionals.
I want to cut the tags from clothes
and secrets of identity.

You'd think that galloping
labyrinths in a poem,
airing cloying artistry,
would free the seaweed
sense from rock,
but womanhood
remains eclipse.
A starfish in an ocean's grip,
not yet washed
on aching beach.
Light, a layer all its own,
sui generis and slow.


[email protected]



Averil Bones

AVERIL BONES
Averil Bones, 27, 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.

THE VANITY OF THE MOON
© Averil Bones


Looking down at the sea from a dark pith of sky
the moon saw her face pitted and scarred
and could not bear to carry her countenance.

So, times when her misery was at highest ebb,
she would hide her pitted and scarred face
and the ocean would mourn in its bed at the loss.

He would toss and turn, a wounded creature, crippled,
deprived of heaven's flight, lost to half the world,
and (with his clutch of lost souls) to his love's abode.

He would coax the moon's eyes down with a vast upheld mirror
so she could admire her long tendrils of silver hair
which she would throw down over his blissful skin,

His eye showed her face gold and bright, hued honey-gold,
its profiles lifted to leap into the pith of sky;
only for her to look down and see again the pits and scars

that formed her cheeks and brows, her silvery lips,
(so fine and beautiful to her watery lover
in whose face was her own brutal ugliness).

* * * * * * *

The sounding stone of ocean's soul would follow
as she passed, night or day, faint-hearted or bright,
and his heart would rise and fall at her mood.

When his spray-tipped fingers touched cruel shore
he would rant and rave that he could not follow
as she skipped past the silver breakers to grassland

to make love to ponds and rippling streams,
in forest glens where her face was not so well-reflected,
but her sinewed hair neither so deftly combed.

* * * * * * * * *

He would wait by the shore, frothing and raging,
until he saw again her burnished face appear from tree tops,
and his vast soul would slowly calm and his surface sheen

that her fingers of light, tendrils whose silver caress
were his favourite fire, would throw shades deeper into his body,
and her hair lay longer, cooler on his skin.

But she would look down only to see the mirror he held,
and that hated reflection of her own face (pitted and scarred),
and would flee to horizon's light that her ugliness be hidden.

The ocean would take a deep and shuddering breath;
dash his anguish against cruel shore in looming breakers,
slowly crumbling the renewing land which held him from her.

His tortured temper would roil, thrash, throwing great splumes
high against the pith of sky, that he might not have to bear
her downward gaze a moment longer, not a moment;

never knowing, not thinking, that in the glory of her own light
(in deep darkness), she had not once paused in her eternal passing
to see past his mirror, had never even noticed his face.


THE NIGHT YOU CALLED ME HOTLIPS
© Averil Bones



Standing in the dark outside your house,
mosquitoes ravenous on bare legs
making you wallaby skip.

Cool clouds covering hot afternoon summer;
rustling possums in undergrowth,
looking, laughing, along with kookaburras.

It was that feeling I always get with you,
not wanting to leave without touching you,
my heart in my throat and
reaching out towards you.
Our arms meeting in wrist-lock,
lips in fresh love-lock,
eyes slitted half-closed.

At parting you smiled and said
Hotlips.


[email protected]



Elisha Porat
picture used with permission

ELISHA PORAT, the 1996 winner of Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Literature, has published 17 volumes of fiction and poetry, in Hebrew, since 1973. His works have appeared in translation in Israel, the United States, Canada and England. The English translation of his short story collection "The Messiah of LaGuardia", was released in 1997. His latest work, a book of Hebrew poetry, "The Dinosaurs of the Language", was recently published in Israel.
He was born in 1938 to a "pioneer" family in Palestine-Eretz Yisrael (pre Israel); his parents were among the founders of Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, a Kibbutz on the Sharon plates near the city of Hadera. Today Porat, devoted to the community ideal, still make his home near the original tent erected by his parents back in the early 30s. In 1956 Porat was draft into the IDF (the Israeli army) and fought in three wars: the Six Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the War of south Lebanon in 1982.

Short anthologies from the author's works:
Ariga: 4 poems by Elisha Porat
poems and short stories.
Unlikely Stories: Elisha Porat feature
poems, fiction, interview, reviews.
The Poet's Haven: Elisha Porat
poems, fiction - scroll down to P for Porat
Funky Dog Publishing: Elisha Porat
collection of poems.

Fall 1999
© Elisha Porat
translated from the Hebrew by Asher Harris



Now in the fall the curlews assemble
In the orchards, and the grey conies
Are already changing their colours, while I
Too rub on my heart the cream
That protects from summer heart, to keep it
Safe on wintry days as well.
And in my room which darkens in the cloudy light
I go up to the wall: I tear off papers,
Pictures and reminders of the last two thousand years.
I stand in front of the empty rack
And once more take a pledge:
No bungling now, you treacherous body,
You have to bear me still
All of me, into the next thousand.


As Things Stand
© Elisha Porat
translated from the Hebrew by Asher Harris



Nice of you to phone, it was good to hear
Your voice. And how are you? Well done, you've
Come on. I saw what you'd had published in the
Magazine. Too true, quite a few years have passed since then:
And they've had their way, a few grandchildren,
I won't say how many. You're really not supposed
To count. And what about me? the same walls
And forty-two square meters. The ground
Shifts, and round about everything is cracked, and at night
I tremble: sudden fractures, the plaster
Flakes, and on the roof bats spew out bursts of
Fruit squishy with vomit and seeds. And if
I tune my ear to the silence that comes
From your telephone, I can clearly hear:
Droves of yearnings galloping away to the distant hills.


WITHOUT A EULOGY
© Elisha Porat
Translated from the Hebrew by Alan Sacks.



What he wanted was
to hide among the simple
or among the small
whose greatness
he had always craved.
To be at rest with friends
cloaked in the pride of the meek without words,
and without even a eulogy.
And after that, only this:
To lie below tender shoots
sheltered in the shade of thorns
and to hear nothing
but Blackbirds singing.


© Elisha Porat, All Rights Reserved.


[email protected]


Ward Kelley

Ward Kelley has seen more than 600 of his poems appear in journals world wide since he began publishing in 1996. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelley's publication credits include such journals as: ACM Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Sunstone, Spillway, Porcupine Literary Magazine, Pif, 2River View, Poetry Life & Times, Oblique, Offcourse, Potpourri and Skylark. He has been honored as featured poet for Seeker Magazine, Physik Garden, Poetry Life & Times, and Pyrowords.

Ward says: "As for me, I'm a 49 year old business executive with 3,600 people in the division reporting to me. I only mention this because in a sense the daimon that propels my occupation also propels my poetry. For instance, Gertrude Stein once said,
"If Mr. Robert Frost is at all good as a poet, it is because he is a farmer -- really in his mind a farmer, I mean."
So in my mind am I a businessman who writes poetry, or a very minor poet successful at business? Who knows? Yet I tread carefully with this balance for fear my daimon will leave me, or my greed will taunt me for decades.

Formerly I managed distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Illinois. My wife and I now live outside of Indianapolis and are currently toiling with much determination on our second crop of children, having adopted four wonderful girls and fostered several others."

POETRY COLLECTIONS

"Comedy Incarnate," forthcoming on CD ROM
by Kedco Studios (Las Vegas, NV)

"Histories of Souls" forthcoming as an ebook
by Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc. (Montana)

"Comedy Incarnate," forthcoming on audio cd
by Artvilla (Tennessee)

Of the 648 published pieces, some have found their way into:

PRINT MAGAZINES

ACM, Another Chicago Magazine
The GSU Review
Limestone
The Listening Eye
The Lucid Stone
Mad Poets Review
The Old Red Kimono
Porcupine Literary Magazine
Potpourri
Rattle
River King
Skylark
Spillway
Sulphur River Review
Sunstone

INTERNET

Ariga
Big Bridge
Lynx: poetry from Bath
Oblique
Offcourse
Pif
Poetry Life & Times
Poetry Magazine.Com
Pulse
Pyrowords
Renaissance
The Rose & Thorn
San Francisco Salvo
Sonata
2River View
Unlikely Stories

The Shortcoming
© Ward Kelley


The senses, oh how powerful
they are in the evaluation of
truth; they would have us

romp and swell, pound and
inflate, and spin our logic
on a carousel of carnal

swoons, yet they will only
ever lead us to the fulfilment
of the senses or mourning

the lack of such. Logic
too will only ever take us
to philosophic conclusions,

for step by step, conclusion
by conclusion, we can only go
where reason deems it proper.

So then, the only path to truth
that will not lead to a self-fulfilling
end is intuition. By this you can

know of the truth, I am certain,
but the shortcoming of intuition
is you can never prove it to another.


Artist's note:
William Blake (1757-1827), was an English poet, painter, and engraver. The son of a hosier, Blake was self-taught and a voracious reader. He numbered, among his many intellectual friends, Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecrafft, the mother of "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley. From his childhood on, Blake spoke of visions: angels in a hayfield, monks at Westminister Abbey; some he engaged in conversation, such as the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary, and various other historical figures. He even once spoke of seeing -- as he climbed the stairs to bed -- the devil watching him from behind the banister rungs. Blake died in poverty, at the end saying, "I cannot consider death as anything but a removal from one room to another."


Dying
© Ward Kelley


A radiance. There is no fear at the end,
for finally this cumbersome body finds
the right hormones to kick in, kick in,

and in comes the sensation that for once
all is right with the world, really the same
wondrous feeling that pumped through

this body at the moment of birth, but who
can remember this primitive point in life?
At last there comes a moment when the letting

go matches the pulling off, for someone just
as wondrous is pulling, pulling, and the moment
of astonishing death is the realization it is you

who is doing the pulling, the other half of your
soul who is pulling while this living half decides
to let go, let go, and you at last see this half

who long ago pushed and pushed you into a birth.


After Several Renditions
© Ward Kelley


The splattering, the roiling of blood
and skin, the shaking and pounding
that commands the fluency of thoughts

that come shattering the paper endured
by the eye . . . there is no sane prescription
to insure a proper splatter, for the essence

appears to be an unprescribed flow of atoms
charging from the ephemeral to the soul
to the paper, placement unrestricted but

measured, measured, and at last the sense
comes in, and can be seen quite clearly
after several readings; perhaps a component

of intuition where the actual logic is not
readily spoken, but might appear after
several renditions of the same oddity.


[email protected]



Ric Masten's "One-liner"
blacksmith cartoon

RIC MASTEN
RIC MASTEN was born in Carmel, California, in 1929. He has toured extensively over the last thirty years, reading his poetry in well over 400 colleges and universities in North America, Canada, and England. He is a well-known conference theme speaker and is a regular on many television and radio talk shows. He lives with his poet-wood carver wife Billie Barbara in the Big Sur mountains of California. He has 13 books to his credit. (see amazon.com)

There is a special announcement from Ric Masten near the Norris cartoon further down the page.

BLACKSMITH
(for Francis Whitaker 1906-1999)
© Ric Masten



to children
Francis was a redwood
towering - hammer on anvil
shooting stars against leather apron
iron bending to his will
glowering
when we edged in too close
then as we backed away
softened his expression with a wink

called the cops on me once
I deserved it - a thoughtless teenager
taking pot shots at pelicans
Francis knew the shock of an arrest
would make a more indelible impression
than a good "talking to"

feeling crowded he left our town
for the higher ground of Colorado
his Forge in the Forest a restaurant now
the clink of glass - click of cutlery
replacing the wheeze and clang of creativity

returned for a visit a year or so ago
nearly 90 - the conquering hero
announcing that his art didnít start
to come together till he was over 70
I was 65 and thinking of retiring

heís gone now
passed away "hammer in hand" they say
had it with him in his hospital bed
the nurses tried but Francis would not
let go of it until he died

which leaves me
part of the anointed cyber-smart
"Communication" generation
with the pointed question: "When I die
what will I be clutching to my heart?"


"POOR DEVIL!"
© Ric Masten



in my early twenties
I went along with Dylan Thomas
boasting that I wanted to go out
not gently but raging
shaking my fist
staring death down

however this daring statement
was somewhat revised
when in my forties I realized
that death does the staring
I do the down

so I began hoping
it would happen to me
like it happened to the sentry
in all those John Wayne
Fort Apache movies
found dead in the morning
face down ó an arrow in the back
"Poor devil."
the Sergeant always said
"Never knew what hit him."

at the time I liked that...
the end taking me
completely by surprise
the bravado left in the hands
of a hard drinking Welshman
still wet behind the ears

older and wiser now
over seventy
and with a terminal disease
the only thing right about
what the Sergeant said
was the "Poor devil" part

"Poor devil"
never used an opening
to tell loved ones he loved them
never seized the opportunity
to give praise for the sun rise
or drink in a sunset
moment after moment
passing him by
while he marched through his life
staring straight ahead
believing in tomorrow
"Poor devil!"

how much fuller
richer and pleasing life becomes
when you are lucky enough
to see the arrow coming


A SNEAKING SUSPICION
© Ric Masten



I have given my pets the power
and let my little dog Amazing Grace
get such a grip on me
that more than once Iíve folded maps
and called off an extended trip
it becoming more than I can bear
to watch her napping in the sun
so unaware
trusting to the moment
oblivious to the desire of man and flea

the side of me that lags behind
and drags its feet
gets hold of my imagination
till I have myself confined
in the wire world of the kennel
waiting in canine limbo
brave and stoic
with pricked ears listening
keeping watch on the door
expecting each moment
to be the moment
the master reappears

and I do this to myself
till I must cancel travel plans
deciding not to go
unable to stand the thought
of missing myself so

that
and the sneaking suspicion
that once on the road
Iíll forget her as quickly as I
will be replaced by something
alive and moving in the brush

[email protected]


Self-portrait by Jan Sand

JAN SAND, poet and illustrator from New York, is a regular contributor to Poetry Life & Times. and the newsgroup alt.arts.poetry.comments. A great deal of his work is about animals, or science fiction.

Recently Jan was published by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, on their latest CD ROM e-book, "A Way With Words (Poetry Real and Surreal), which also includes complete books by Dale Houstman, Sara L. Russell and Keith Gabriel Hendricks. Jan's illustrated book on the CD is called "Wild Figments And Odd Conjectures", which is also sold separately, in a limited-edition "single" CD.

To see an illustrated article about Jan's poems, visit the November '98 issue of Poetry Life & Times, and scroll down past the Editor's Letter. He also has his own poetry pages on Charlotte's Web at Artvilla.

Just one poem is featured this month - an epic-length ballad called THE JANITAUR.

THE JANITAUR
© Jan Sand



There came a time, at last, for the race of man
To pack itself into a huge tin can
And, puffing plasma, set out for the stars.
With a sidelong glance at Mars they fled
From off their planet, which they'd made dead.
For a million years they'd picnicked on those grounds,
Then left them, bleak with blacks and browns
Of ragged rocks and rotting wrecks of trees and stinks
And oozing slimes and burning fogs smoke out of chinks.
Off to find another place on which to plant the human race.
Three quarters of a century it took to far Centaurus.
A multitude of winking beer cans marked their daily trail,
And stubbed out butts and bottles; a cracked recording
Of the Anvil Chorus. They'd scribbled on the firmament
With several hundred million miles of toilet paper
In jagged lines across their spoor of ion vapour,
And tastefully distributed along their run
Were gobs of dog and cat shit by the ton.
Four hundred trillion cockroach corpses
Tumbled in a cometary tail
To advertise man's glory
In departure from his sun.

On planet four, Centaurus Alpha, lived a race of crystals.
Pristine, cubic, pyramid, cylindrical, prismatic,
Airborne, groundbased, and aquatic. How they shone
And twinkled in the sun as they rolled across the stones
Of their tesselated highways, threaded
'Round their crystal flowers
Reflecting intersecting rays of light
Connecting glassy towers.
Catching, tossing, juggling light beams just for fun -
But then...their huge reflectors duly noted,
Since they had been vacuum coated,
The approaching garbage complex fleeing from Earth's sun.
Facets flashed with fright and horror
At this disgusting Earth explorer
Come to desecrate their purity,
Violate their clarity, security,
Rain detritus down on everyone.
So, with haste and hyperspacial radio
The crystals sent a frantic call to Scorpio,
To the Cosmic Cleaner Consultation Center
Complaining of the coming filth fomenter.
"Earth," they screamed, "has done a flit.
And now is wildly flinging shit.
Frankly, we are in a snit.
By your oath, you must stop it!"
And the Center answered, "Cool it kid,
We'll make it quit."

In Scorpio there is a place between the stars,
Stuck out in space, a place with bars
Which tight entombs a monster out of death and doom.
When the center acted on the call to banish
Earth's star ship and make it vanish,
It initiated mechanisms to enforce the ostracism
By directing cataclysm of the very fabric
Of the geodesic of its trace.
One parsec tall colossal doors on this place
Parted to divide and free the thing they'd kept inside.
It took six months to open wide at speeds FTL
And wake the beast that snoozed inside this convoluted shell.
The Janitaur pricked up its ears,
Wiped sleep from off its sensors,
It yawned a yawn and belched a belch
That squelched three nearby suns
And turned them into meteors
The size of hot cross buns.

"Janitaur," the Center spoke to now evoke
An action in this thing it woke,
"You are assigned to launch yourself
And search and find, eliminate
A new distress. Sector five, quadrant eight
Is the place you must address.
A steel ship out of Sol contains
All that now remains of humanity.
And with pandemic, systematic
Quite erratic antisanity
They've trashed their Earth, despised its worth,
And now they've quit their native sun
To litter up another one.
So..sic 'em baby, bite their tails
And knock their blocks right off the rails!"

At this command, the Janitaur unrolled its lacy wings
Which spanned out to a million miles, composed of cosmic strings.
Its flashing eyes - two neutron stars,
Pulsed out with spinning beams
With evil glances, left and right, from out of horrid dreams.
Grinning wide gravitic tide, its mouth a large black hole,
Each wicked tooth, bereft of ruth, a pointed monopole.
On winds of stellar fields it soared in hyperspacial mode
And gathered speed in looping glides and gyrals, so it rode
Swooping down galactic spirals hewing to its plan
To intercept and countervail the garbage can of man.

It gobbled moons like salted nuts
And sailed through stellar clouds
As cosmic dust streamed off its wings
In trailing ragged shrouds.

At sector five, quadrant eight, the Janitaur soon sighted
Where Earth's ship had left its trail
And thoroughly had blighted
The calm sterility of space.
With its black hole, the Janitaur
Swept clean the dirty place.
But this act could not console
The fearful driving force
That held it to its destiny in its destructive role.
At once, the human ship appeared,
The monster twisted, swerved and veered
To watch in fascination
The Earth ship unfailingly perform its aberration.
Spewing out with gobbets, with gigatons of garbage:
Apple cores and orange peels and leaves of rotten cabbage,
Worn out scraps of rubber heels,
Corroded chunks of rusty steels,
Dented trays from TV meals
And mashed up cars with wiggly wheels.

It flapped its wings and moved in close.
So much garbage made it savage,
Lachrymose and bellicose.
Confused, bemused, enthused by so much mess
It all induced internal stress.
It curled, it twirled, it whirled, became delirious,
And swooped in flopping manic arcs
Exploding out in corruscate displays
Initiating strange atom decays.
Bright beams of ions, neutrons, quarks
Flashed and fizzled, squirting sparks.
The edge of its event horizon twitched.
The space around the Janitaur became bewitched
With garbage boundlessly enriched.
It rippled out gravitic tongues
To sweep debris at all degrees
And would have laughed if it had lungs.
But these wild enthusiasms
Convulsed in waves and jerks and spasms
Causing cracks, fissures, chasms
In its black collapsar core.
Into itself it deeply plunged
And was, peculiarly, expunged
From this known universe of time and space.
And so, garbage, all of it,
Dogshit, catshit, mainly bullshit,
As before, and ever more,
Was the savior of the human race.


[email protected]




SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM RIC MASTEN
Ric Masten is currently using a very effective Chinese herbal treatment, called PC SPES, for his prostrate cancer, which has now become officially classed as "metastatic" (meaning already out of the prostate capsule having invaded the pelvis bone). He found out, earlier this year, that traditional treatments would no longer work.

PC SPES is helping a lot but is very expensive - $420 per month, not covered by insurance or as a tax loss, as it is an alternative treatment.

Enter Ric's long-time friend Ron Cook - most recently involving Barbara March of the Carmel Publishing Company. They have talked Ric into bringing out a special limited edition of his Words & One-liners (poems illustrated with single line drawings).

This is a limited, hardcover edition, numbered and in a box with some handwork by me Ric, at a cost of $100 per limited edition copy. There will also be an accompanying cheaper paperback edition for general public consumption. He has had an encouraging number of enquiries already.

To order your copy email Ric: [email protected]


Haley's Comet news from kintespace.com Saturday, September 23, 2000 Contents: * Fumilayo Bankole: Zoom Zooms n Wham Whams * Bryan Wilhite: Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman * Runoko Rashidi: Hanging With The "Blackfellas" Down Under * Fumilayo Bankole: Zoom Zooms n Wham Whams http://kintespace.com/p_fumi0.html
FUMILAYO BANKOLE has self-published her chapbook Zoom Zooms n Wham Whams. This effort was somewhat influenced by the lively commentary provided Michael Datcher's poetry workshop in Leimert Park here in Los Angeles, California. However, I feel that Fumilayo has a strong sense of her own voice and can intimately articulate her visions of the world. To be awake and alive in African America is a very difficult way to live. To speak from this literally strange place requires considerable discipline and focus. On one extreme, the African American writer can live in the past, celebrating the days before Columbus---or further, during the Moorish occupation of Spain---or even further, before the Greeks set up that trading port at Miletus. On the other extreme, we can write about the ruins of our civilizations and pastoral cultures---and each Portuguese bacterium that caused the downfall. We can come of age and discover European concepts of slavery and want to tell the world of our discovery. Fumilayo is nowhere near these states of Blackness. With Zoom Zooms n Wham Whams she looks and sees the world as it is---now. * Bryan Wilhite: Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman

    http://kintespace.com/p_honey0.html
THIS IS THE THIRD poem wrapped in Macromedia Flash technology that was converted from the Authorware presentations that appeared on AOL before 1998. At the risk of taking you away from the literary art of English-language poetry, I feel that I must place Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman in this somewhat sterile context. Behind the scenes here in the kinte space there has been a great deal of computer programming and what may look like just another Flash file on the web actually punctuates a three-year journey from 0.5 the Sisters, Night in Nijinsky, to the work presented here. In this context, Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman is a personal triumph. Now, I placed these demands on myself: I had to make the paper as well as the pen before I could write the poem so you could read it from any location on the face of the wired Earth-wrapped in as much "proper context" I can muster.

One way I become inspired to write (in the English language) is based on what I call the "abstract confrontation." Perhaps later I will write about this in more detail, but for now let me say that Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman is based on the desire to confront certain women with a mentality/spirituality that may be familiar to them. If my territory here is unfamiliar to you, then this particular "confrontation" probably is meaningless to you. And, oh yes, I must mention that this piece has very little to do with that wonderful singing group founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon. All I ask is that you grant me a minute or two and let me show you this space and the words in it.

* Runoko Rashidi: Hanging With The "Blackfellas" Down Under


   http://kintespace.com/kp_rashidi0.html

With the Olympics being hosted in Australia this year, and with a descendent of the so-called "stolen" generation competing with much fanfare, it seems appropriate to take another look at Runoko Rashidi's 1998 visit to Australia. His unique and engaging record of this journey helps us remember what is really "down under."


NEW From Janet Buck: Desideratum's Doggie Dish

Desideratum's Doggie Dish, her first book of humour, is out in PRINT and available for ordering from Word Wrangler Publishing,
ISBN: 1-58630-073-3.

Order on the Net at: www.wordwrangler.com/desideratum.html

Order by Phone toll free: 1-877-733-2865
(7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. PST)


Order by Mail: send title request, your address, and a check for $18.95 (includes postage and fast delivery) to:

Word Wrangler Publishing
332 Tobin Creek Road
Livingston, Montana 59047

What Readers are Saying:

"Janet Buck is the next Erma with an edge."

"There's a laugh a minute in this hilarious collection of essays on the roles of men and women, the hubris of academia, the headaches of bureaucracy, and the foibles of human nature."


"A SMALL GARLIC PRESS" - ANNOUNCEMENT

At A Small Garlic Press we just closed Issue 12 which is all haiku, by 9 authors, multiple items by each haikuist. And we are close to finishing with Issue 11, which is a regular mix.

The entire site is now html-4.01 validated and a model of hand-coded and accessible (to people with disabilities, for example) html - in case people wish to learn these aspects of web design.

- Marek Lugowski


THE PERILS OF NORRIS cartoon, #3
SPOT REGINALD RAT and win a PRIZE! Email: [email protected]

The Perils of Norris was started in August 2000. To catch up on events leading up to this episode, see the links for back issues, below. Any poetry ezine editor wishing to run this cartoon can do so in exchange for a link to the Café Society index - mail me to ask first.



BACK ISSUES OF POETRY LIFE & TIMES:
September 1998

October 1998

November 1998

December 1998

January 1999

February 1999

March 1999

April 1999

May 1999

June 1999

July 1999

August 1999

September 1999

September 1999

October 1999

November 1999

December 1999

January 2000

February 2000

March 2000

April 2000

May 2000

June 2000

July 2000

August 2000

September 2000

Mail me on: [email protected] with any poems, comments for the letters page, news about your poetry site, or poetry events.


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