LUCIPO Anthology

Sunday, October 02, 2005

sonnet 4 (from "the children of the poor")

First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string
With feathery sorcery; muzzle the note
With hurting love; the music that they wrote
Bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing
Threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing
For the dear instrument to bear. Devote
The bow to silks and honey. Be remote
A while from malice and from murdering.
But first to arms, to armor. Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin with grace.

Gwendolyn Brooks

—selected by Evie Shockley

The Best Way to Be
as with Lorna Simpson's backs

The best way to be open is to be complicated, not vulnerable.
The best way to be reliable is to be distant, not weak.
The best way to be revelatory is to be impenetrable, not open.
The best way to be accurate is to be closed, not effusive.
The best way to be sincere is to be firm, not delicate.
The best way to be naked is to be raw, not impressionable.
The best way to be fair is to be tough, not sensitive.
The best way to be chaste is to be cool, not passionate.
The best way to be frank is to be aloof, not tender.
The best way to be genuine is to be reserved, not fragile.
The best way to be faithful is to be sharp, not flowery.
The best way to be blunt is to be coarse, not excessive.
The best way to be true is to be abrupt, not expressive.
The best way to be harsh is to be cold, not permeable.
The best way to be pure is to be sturdy, not transparent.

Mendi Lewis Obadike

—selected by Evie Shockley

The Autumn Alphabets (3)

When they put him to work
he wrote that fatigue is holy.
When they wouldn't let him sleep
he wrote that insomnia is a kind of love,
an unwilled attention to the world.
When they took away his city he fell
in love with his wife. When they
took away his wife he fell in love
with his overcoat, and every dawn
before the guards whose work it was
to wake the Jews awoke he danced
through the papery stalag with his cheek
to the cheek of the overcoat's collar.
He named the overcoat Janine
after his wife and in October
when his lungs began to fill with a nebulous joy
he wrote an alef in the margin
of a postage stamp meaning "Janine,
Janine, I will die without you"

Joshua Clover

—selected by Brian Howe


In all those stories the hero
is beyond himself into the next
thing, be it those labors
of Hercules, or Aeneas going into death.

I though the instant of the one humanness
in Virgil's plan of it
was that it was of course human enough to die,
yet to come back, as he said, _hoc opus, hic labor

That was the Cumaean Sibyl speaking.
This is Robert Creeley, and Virgil
is dead now two thousand years, yet Hercules
and the _Aeneid_, yet all that industrious wis-

dom lives in the way the mountains
and the desert are waiting
for the heroes, and death also
can still propose the old labors.

Robert Creeley

—selected by Tony Tost


_daimon_ diamond Monad I
Adam Kadmon in the sky

Ronald Johnson

—from ARK

—selected by Tony Tost

Only in connection with a body does a shadow make
sense. I called mine a dog, the way it ran ahead of me
in the dust, breathing rapidly and sticking its small
head out in front--though there are intervals where
the light stands still, and the air doesnot resist.
Abandoned in my body, the memory of houses at a
certain distance, their roofs, and their chimneys for
the dark to flow down in arbitrary conventions. This
is why you don't like me to get drunk. I fall asleep
in the street, without even a shadow to lie on, and
crowds gather, afraid of being disappointed.

Rosmarie Waldrop

—from Thinkable Pictures

—selected by Tony Tost

The Killer

(after A'yu'ini)

Careful: my knife drills your soul
listen, whatever-your-name-is
One of the wolf people
listen I'll grind your saliva into the earth
listen I'll cover your bones with black flint
listen " " " " " " " feathers
listen " " " " " " " rocks
Because you're going where it's empty
Black coffin out on the hill
listen the black earth will hide you, will
find you a black hut
Out where it's dark, in that country
listen I'm bringing a box for your bones
A black box
A grave with black pebbles
listen your soul's spilling out
listen it's blue

(Cherokee Indian)

—from Technicians of the Sacred (Jerome Rothenberg, Editor)

—selected by Tony Tost

The Travel Companion

Your mother's soul hovers ahead.
Your mother's soul helps sail around night, reef upon reef.
Your mother's soul lashes the sharks on before you.

This word is your mother's ward.
Your mother's ward shares your bed, stone upon stone.
Your mother's ward stoops for the crumb of light.

tr. John Felstiner

Der Reisekamerad

Deiner Mutter Seele schwebt voraus.
Deiner Mutter Seele hilft die Nacht umschiffen, Riff um Riff.
Deiner Mutter Seele peitscht die Haie vor dir her.

Dieses Wort ist deiner Mutter Mündel.
Deiner Mutter Mündel teilt dein Lager, Stein um Stein.
Deiner Mutter Mündel bückt sich nach her Krume Lichts.

—Paul Celan

fr. Mohn und Gedächtnis (Poppy and Memory), 1952

Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan
[New York: Norton, 2001]

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

The Cat

In my house I want:
A reasonable woman,
A cat passing among the books,
And friends in every season,
Whom I cannot live without.

--Guillaume Apollinaire (translator unknown)

—selected by Gabriel Gudding


as a form
of telepathy

my first
nuance toy
deadbolt singer
of old torch songs


yes we marvel
at its stability

and the clinical way
it consumes
almost as if
it were the opposite
of desire

--Elaine Equi

fr. *New American Writing* No. 4, Fall 1988

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

I am a horse

I travel in a train
that is overcrowded
in my compartment
each seat is taken by a woman
with a man sitting on her lap
the air is unbearably tropical
all the travellers have an enormous appetite
they eat without ceasing
suddenly the men
begin to whimper
and long for the maternal breast
they u
nbutton the women's blouses
and suck the fresh milk to their hearts' content
I alone do not suck
nor am I suckled
nobody sits on my lap
because I am a horse
immense and upright I sit
with my hind-legs up on the train seat
and comfortably lean
on my fore-legs
I whinny a raucous neigh neigh neigh
on my breast glitter
the sex buttons of sex appeal
in neat little rows
like the glittering buttons on uniforms
oh summertime
oh wide wide world

--Hans Arp

tr, Harriett Watts
in *Three Painter-Poets: Arp, Schwitters, Klee*
[Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1974]

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

La Belle Saison

Starved lost frozen
Alone without a cent
A girl of sixteen
Standing still
Place de la Concorde
At noon August Fifteenth

—Jacques Prévert

—selected by Jon Leon

the night was clear and the moon was yellow

the night was clear and the moon was yellow
California was out the window and inside
the old car too as you and I slurred down Hiway
One without a care, the radio reception was
great, Stevie Wonder was singing another great
tune, we both believe in God me and Steve
although he sees Him a little clearer than
me but no matter, I'm the Flint, Steve's from
Saginaw, we've both come a long way thank God
I'm not still back there like all those creeps
I went to Hi School with driving around in
Corvettes and having ugly kids. This car's from
Detroit, Michigan, no coast, no mountains,
just wall to wall snowmobiles and mom's 10
thousand worries. O and I guess I got about 10
thousand threats but you're not one of them. You're
fresh, like the first night we met, like California,
I picked you up hitchhiking, we smoked some
great dope, and you gave me a hand job as I
tooled on happily.

Jeffrey Miller, from The Heart is a Quarter Pounder,
Farfalla Press, 2005 (probably written around
mid-seveties and not very long before Jeff died.)

—selected by Julian Semilian

A Boy's Head

In it there is a space-ship
and a project
for doing away with piano lessons.

And there is
Noah's ark,
which shall be first.

And there is
an entirely new bird,
an entirely new hare,
an entirely new bumble-bee.

There is a river
that flows upwards.

There is a multiplication table.
There is anti-matter.

And it just cannot be trimmed.

I believe
that only what cannot be trimmed
is a head.

There is so much promise
in the circumstance
that so many people have heads.

Miroslav Holub

—selected by Heather Christle


The meadow is poisonous but pretty in the fall
The cows graze there
Slowly poisoning themselves
The saffron ringed and lilac-colored
Blooms there your eyes are like that flower
Near-violet like their rings and like this autumn
And my life slowly poisons itself for your eyes

The school children come up noisily
Dressed in jackets and playing the harmonica
They pick the saffron flowers which are like mothers
Daughters of their daughters and are the color of your eyelids

Which move as flowers wave in a demented wind

The shepherd sings softly
While slow and lowing the cows leave
For ever this wide meadow evilly blooming in the autumn

Guillaume Apollinaire (translated by Roger Shattuck)

—selected by Heather Christle

Questions and Answers

What's inside the moon?
There's hot water inside.
What's the sky made of?
It was made out of white snow.
If you cut the sun open what would you see?
Terrible looking enemies.
When you write you look at your words. Have you thought of cutting open a
letter to see what's inside?
No. But if a person was crazy the answer would be yes.
What's inside colors?
There's pink stars.
Where is the end of the universe?
In back of the swimming pools.
How old is adventure?
It is 60,000 years old.
Which color is older, black or white?
Black because you can outline me.

Questions by Vivian Tuft
Answers by Fontessa Moore

—selected by Heather Christle

Constellations fall across

late field hour toward the green

wood unknown quiet of you

Distance is here to go home

to visit the country early

Morning coming everything home

because love is in the mind

—from the dedication page of Pierce-Arrow by Susan Howe

—selected by Lance Phillips

Purples of Barley

And all of the time you are seeing these things she

sings “not

loudly but with authority”

—from Notes for Echo Lake by Michael Palmer

—selected by Lance Phillips

stripes of blue lilies

Do you know of the work

Of artists alone or like

The stag rambling in the heat. Not

Without limitations.

—from Hymns and Fragments by Friedrich Holderlin

—selected by Lance Phillips


like a thread

as if part of me were leaving

river amid the river

rose no rose


—from Time and The Tree by Roger Giroux

—selected by Lance Phillips

Subplaintive : Quick one supplies in movement and the crows lift

—from my notes this morning for Caduceus

—selected by Lance Phillips



The bird is definitive -- :
we do not seek it:
it will elect us.


If it were the hour of the bird
you’d open and know
the eternal moment.


It will never be the same,
our atmosphere:
we uphold the flight
that holds us up.


The bird is lucid
and lacerates us.
We bleed. No possible
scarring in this


This bird is plumb:
it architects the real and is the very real.


We’ll never know
such purity:
bird devouring us
while we sing it.


In light of full flight
we will exist in this bird:
it lives us.

—poems by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


And while we bite
live fruits
evening declines.

And while we fix
clear signs
silence flows.

And while we suffer
the intense hour

slowly time
wastes us.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


Those who are born at night
and, among bones, watch
over the fire
those who watch the stars
and, oppressed, breathe
in caves

those who will live despite
darkness and light
in their eyes clandestine

those who do not dream, those born at night
did not come to play: her breast
guards a single word.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


If you come to a strange land
bow down

if this place is outlandish
bow down

if the day is all strangeness

-- you are infinitely more strange.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


The savage will not
the savage will not
the savage will not
bow down

(mythological savage.)

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


In the blind root of this wonder
there is a crystal: whomsoever stares upon it

ah, whomesoever stares upon it
eyes in blood
hands in blood
living blood

whomsoever stares upon it will not sleep
but will be a crystal of wonder

-- will remain lucid forever.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


In this all
all is missing


and in this

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


There are no questions.
Obdurate silence grows wild.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels


The evening star is
and without any perfume.

The evening star is
and most high:

after her is
only silence.

—poem by Orides Fontela, Brazilian, female, 1940-1998 (translated by Chris Daniels)

—selected by Chris Daniels

Bach, Winter

Bach must have known—how
something flutters away when you turn
to face the face you caught sideways
in a mirror, in a hall, at dusk—

and how the smell of apples in a bowl
can stop the heart for an instant,
between sink and stove,
in the dead of winter when stars

of ice have spread across the windows
and everything is perfectly still
until you catch the sound of something
lost and shy beating its wings.

And then: music.

Jane Mead

—selected by Helen Losse

Better to be killed by stoning in the public square
than tread the mill that grinds out into nothing
the substance of our life,
changes eternity into hollow hours,
minutes into penitentiaries, and time
into some copper pennies and abstract shit.

Octavio Paz

—from Sun Stones
—selected by Nancy Jewell

The Blue Hydrangea

These leaves are like the last green paint
in the color pans, dry, dull and rough,
behind clustered blooms whose blue is not
their own, only mirrored from far awy.

They mirror it tear-stained and vaguely,
as though they wished to lose it once again;
and as with old blue letter paper
there is yellow in them, violet and gray;

washed out as on a child's apron,
the no-loger-worn that nothing more befalls:
how one feels a small life's shortness.

But suddenly the blue seems to revive
in one of the clusters, and you see
a touching blue's rejoicing in green.

Rainer Maria Rilke

—from New Poems (translated by Edward Snow)

—selected by David Need

The Heart of the Rose

Where is the outwardness
to what lies within?
Whose wound was ever dressed,
bandaged in such fine linen?
Reflected here, what skies
lie open and at ease
as in a lake within
these open roses
in which all softly rests
as if no accidental hand
could shake or make it spill?
Unable to Contain
the riches that are theirs
they pour out the excess
sharing their inwardness
to enrich the days; until
the whole summer seems
one great room, a room within a dream.

Rainer Maria Rilke

—from New Poems (translated by Stephen Kohn)

—selected by David Need

Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shot out from the law of the stars.
The inner--what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.

Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

—selected by David Need


If you will . . .
Picture yourself, sitting on a cold
Stainless steel commode in a cage,
Head bowed, waiting to grieve.

When suddenly, a rat and a cockroach go by,
Scurrying along in their train come the warden,
The prison commissioner, the governor,
And the attorney general.

Bereft, you continue the process of grieving
As these. . . .break in their contemptuous, yet
Fearful stride through the facility, pausing
To stare fascinated at this particular cage.

. . . be dignified, as you complete those personal
Rituals of grief.

Darrell B. Grayson

—from Against Time

—selected by Helen Losse


Trust me, Brutus, in agonizing thirst
In the night's constriction,
Shining deep within
In seminal light,

From on high and downward
This soulful regeneration,
Spirals to cleave this madness---
In Temple, Synagogue,
Fleeting Celestial plight.

I'm here, Shining One,
Come ply your divinity
On us shimmering beasts,
On old days and lights.

Darrell B. Grayson

—from Against Time
—selected by Helen Losse


With arms outstretched, in death in as life,
he floats above trench-rows he walked
long ago. Now the raged, undernourished
child, with November mucus dripping from
his nose, runs to his assigned field
and rips heads from green shoulders
placing them in burlap sacks. In remembrance,
this is weighed and surrendered, as the
miraculous hands caress tearful puffs of
cultivated white-gold.

Darrell B. Grayson

—from Against Time

—selected by Helen Losse

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes

—selected by Helen Losse

This is the poem they are praising as loaded

This is the poem they are praising as loaded. This is as it
is loaded and thrilling. Loaded with death's kingdom which
is meaning. Loaded with meaning which is gathering the
former tenants. Loaded with the former tenants speaking
which brings weeping and fulfilling. Loaded with fulfilling
which brings crises and then wealthy associations. This is
the poem loaded up without shooting which is an eternal

The sadness of the threatening makes a poem in the poem's
increasing. This is not an increasing in mere size but a more
and moreness of pressure and precedence. An explosion
that does not come but makes a partial exposure as
a disclosure that substitutes for its period.

This makes an imposing poem, an imposter pretending to be
what he really is, makes a great poem in collecting. This is
the passing of the collection face. An anthology of human
beings. A loaded folding up in which history is folded.

Robert Duncan

fr. "imitations of Gertrude Stein 1953-1955"
in *Derivations: Selected Poems 1950-1956*
[London: Fulcrum Press, 1968]

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

Two Meditations

1. Niagara Falls

She paused amid the kitchen to drink a glass of water; at that instant, losing a grip of fifty years, the next-room-ceiling-plaster crashed. Or he merely sat in an empty study, in March-day glare, listening to the universe rustle in his head, when suddenly the five-foot shelf let go. For ages the fault creeps secret through the rock; in a second, ledge and railings, tourists and turbines all thunder over Niagara. Which snowflake triggers the avalanche? A house explodes; a star. In your spouse, so apparently resigned, murder twitches like a fetus. At some trifling new assessment, all the colonies rebel.

2. Lake Erie

The wisdom to recognize and halt follows the know-how to pollute past rescue. The treaty's signed, but the cancer ticks in your bones. Until I'd murdered my father and fornicated my mother I wasn't wise enough to see I was Oedipus. Too late now to keep the polar cap from melting. Venice subsides; South America explodes.
Let's stab out our eyes.
Too late: our resolve is sapped beyond the brooches.

John Barth

—selected by Brian Howe

excerpts from Glossolalia

I Cripus, a man of Corinth, yesterday looked on God. Today I rave. What things my eyes have seen can't be scribed or spoken. All think I praise His sacred name, take my horror for hymns, my blasphemies for raptures. The holy writ's wrongly deciphered, as beatitudes and blessings; in truth those are curses, maledictions, and obscenest commandments. So be it.

Ill fortune, constraint and terror, generate guileful art; despiar inspires. The laureled clairvoyants tell our doom in riddles. Sewn in our robes are horrid tales, and the speakers-in-tongues enounce atrocius tidings. The prophet-birds seem to speak sagely, but are shrieking their frustration. The senselessest babble, could we ken it, might disclose a dark message, or prayer.

John Barth

—selected by Brian Howe

Bo-beh-oh-bee is the lipsong
Veh-eh-oh-mee is the eyesong
Pee-eh-eh-oh is the eyebrowsong
Lee-eh-eh-ay is the looksong
Gzee-gzee-gzeh-oh is the
On the canvas of such correspondences
somewhere beyond all dimensions
the face has a life of its own.

Velimir Khlebnikov

—selected by Tim VanDyke


The man with the red hat
And the polar bear, is he here too?
The window giving on shade,
Is that here too?
And all the little helps,
My initials in the sky,
The hay of an arctic summer night?

The bear
Drops dead in sight of the window.
Lovely tribes have just moved to the north.
In the flickering evening the martins grow denser.
Rivers of wings surround us and vast tribulation.

John Ashbery

—selected by Tim VanDyke

Golden Bells

When I was almost forty

I had a daughter whose name was Golden Bells.

Now it is just a year since she was born;

She is learning to sit and cannot yet talk.

Ashamed -- to find that I have not a sage’s heart:

I cannot resist vulgar thoughts and feelings.

Henceforward I am tied to things outside myself:

My only reward -- the pleasure I am getting now.

If I am spared the grief of her dying young,

Then I shall have the trouble of getting her married.

My plan for retiring and going back to the hills

Must now be postponed for fifteen years!

Po Chu i (translated by Arthur Waley)

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

Remembering Golden Bells

Ruined and ill -- a man of two score;

Pretty and guileless -- a girl of three.

Not a boy -- but still better than nothing:

To soothe one’s feeling -- from time to time a kiss!

There came a day -- they suddenly took her from me;

Her soul’s shadow wandered I know not where.

And when I remember how just at the time she died

She lisped strange sounds, beginning to learn to talk,

Then I know that the ties of flesh and blood

Only bind us to a load of grief and sorrow.

At last, by thinking of the time before she was born,

By thought and reason I drove the pain away.

Since my heart forgot her, many days have passed

And three times winter has changed to spring.

This morning, for a little, the old grief came back,

Because, in the road, I met her foster-nurse.

Po Chu i (translated by Arthur Waley)

—selected by Gabriel Gudding

The Hair Club

Mike G.

High Low Middle All. The cat has a habit of swiping. The Bald has a mullet of diapers, and a sense of nothingness to toy with (in the joint?) Uncoiling a roll of crows, some bray about the perforations. Others send a cable to the brain saying "staysfreshlongerstop. If I were a rhino you'd be a cashew." The sugars muss the air inside the mirror ball. It's early dawn and even division champs feel fractional. One cure has us eclipsing the sun with a popsicle [see fig 1] as if any cherry eyeshade could save our skeletons from Srebrenica or from pick-up sticks. Vultures playing vibes on safety devices. The oscilloscope in us is careening down a beam. Under duress, prepositions melt. Mourn or adjust your loss and then they're there again, whistle adangle, pressed sweats and thrillkiller stopwatch thumbs, barking out the playbook into misty mongrelizing dawns like this. I'd put in for a Nocturne here but real darkness is difficult to come by. I'm the man from Alsace, and whenever I bend over, I swear I've seen the light.

Rob S.

Dear Me, your inner news reader rolls up his tinteds as he's passing the Museum. It's gummy with Annunciations and there's public art in People's Park —The Statue of Memory Loss, a multiply decapitated equestrian, and some old half-bloated Oldenburg— and that's across the Pike from your usual touchless wax job at Golden Nozzle, and Compos Mentis Burger's fabled Few-for-One. The Army-Navy there hangs a Clothed For Lunch sign at siesta time. Dear Me when you are in the know, how can I reach you? Are there pay phones? Is acculturation like a collapsed lung? The manual doesn't mention if I own my own film rights and I scarred up the glovebox searching. If only Live to Tell, Madonna's B-minor Fantasy, wasn't playing in the lobby of the Probably. Some Canuckophile cashier changed a fifty into useless loonies. That means nothing from the Sprite machine when I take the ex-professors to their story hour. There are what I overheard a cousin calling "worser hungers." Point of View can become pretty painful: at least while sitting.

Douglas S.

Visionary seeks seer for nights scraping ectoplasm off the beltway. Must have a dozen dimes and a devilish crush on sincerity. Intimate knowledge of the laugh muscles — the risorius (of course) and he mentalis muscle, which wrinkles the skin on the chin— reminds us that without tongue in cheek there'd be no speech. Fantasies include Piloting Walt Whitman's straight razor, Feeding Sweet Tarts to the collective memory and Unresponsive Talkshow Dogs. Please send along a homemade acronym for U.F.O. and a bulleted abstract of your abrestness. Photos welcome, but not of you — of yours, rather. Got a Do/Am thing going, with self-portraits a creamy quandary. Someone dead said "perversions purify our dimestore dailiness" — please write thirty words. I like a little hype in my automaton, will you edit my acceptance speech?

Rob F.

Pasolini's Mamma Roma was screened for a flotilla of botox-softened needle noses last night at Easthampton's Guild Hall. Someone from the Ladies' Village Improvement Society sucked a scary lolly as the nips and tucks and husbands found their seats in a Stalingrad of politesse. The introducer, airlifted in from Film Comment magazine, appeared to ape a stutterer, heimliching a few filmschool filberts off the lectern and pronouncing nineteen nineties ironies with a gala lift of lips.

Mamma Roma means the history of human suffering is laid in the landscape. Beautiful Ettore's body, whoreson and consumptive, is the ballet of Jimmy Dean in weeds. Lest we forget let's us remember that the Romans invented suburbia, and it's meant overlit midday exile since. Out the windows of Visitations workers are aware of walls. Can you recall just standing there, racked out in fulgent joy somehow feeling FIGURE/GROUND? You are the history of art. Ciao, Ettore!

Canyon S.

To hug Shamu. The nosecone of a Boeing cold in God's Cincinatti quonset. Roll call among Dalai Lama lookalikes. The trillionth pair underpants' wearer searches the map for the pandas. Those conceived during cease fires; and during heavy shelling. The fall descends like an infomercial for Edvard Münch, shimmying the thoughtful of us up a skinny tree where we're prepped to meet and greet a cannibal.

I love thought, but thought loves Dot, dashing Dot of the Morse Agency for Inhalations, dressed in Tartan Sherpa Shirt and abalone inlay Jewish star, her State Department crampons aglitter. All hail whoosywhatsy! Thought may be able to beat up belief. But belief owns the pay-per-view rights, the lines and wires, and the satellite that last sabbath starting sickly tilting. Who gives a bucket of being here? I do. A bunch of gearheads approach a folded paper menu. Dot, I'm giving you this opening. What do you think?

John & Jim O. & T.

The word 'photograph' is a Greek three cheese pizza with all of its shortenings vegetable, castoff and cute--'frisco's and 'philly's' bossed on those metropoles of willed detail and monocular nonplus. For the sake of safebox brevity let's call them posts. Or beams or bouts. Still, walls and P.O. drawers and envelopes and talent and memory are filled with photographs. And the very air, as any distant Reuter with dig. back and sat. phone can put back. Many have men's hair. All contain gray. It is human nature to encapsulate. In the old one about a half a crumb, "you've got two crumbs." Discretion is the better part of on and on. To think a thing is to wean it from the milk of the world and fix it in gelatin forever. Portray A, the original exile. Go ahead. In any old moment in history, figures batter backgrounds. There is only one way to know your limits: start talking. Though "don't strain after poetry, it penetrates unaided through the joins" Robert Bresson said to Friendly Formerly. 1. The skiffs speed towards the battleship. 2. The people of Odessa wave 3. All is not lost, though all evidence eventually is.

Seth R.

Your cat fetches gaskets. You built a darkroom on a sun deck. Your father is buried near Eunice Cahoon. You stole ivy from the Modern wall. You wear an Egyptian ring, it sparkles before you speak. You've sued and been sued. You acted in a feature film (where you photographed Picasso). You spent an afternoon in a Sikh-owned hardware store choosing paint chips, and emerged onto First Avenue dizzyingly moved by color everywhere. And then rolled out the living room in "Grassy Knoll". You love nature and cultivation. You love art, too, deeply and absolutely, like arithmetic loves fingers, or jello coagulation. You've got iffy nerves and steady hands. Let this be a list for you. It's way less than the least I can do.

Rod S.

The-ists depict trees! It's hot as Christmas overwintering in fricatives and here's how Sparky came to hold that stick to the sky and crown it Miss Measured Man. Wind never howled, storm never struck. Gringoes went about bowdlerizing Lascaux. Sparky got a job "changing light bulbs at the Days Inn in Gradual." You could do it with a walkman on and it was sexy with improprieties. Anyhow the walls of sameness started closing in. Like any default animal lover he figured there were gloried jobs at Sea World, maybe spreading rancid muscle butter on the porpoises, and meant to head for Tampa. But between meant to and did do there are many scary offramp loners. Ill-gotten belief seeds the medians. The-ists abandon barcaloungers in run-off gullies already diapery with their silverpoint sketches. Keeping your head about you is like a postcard saying "think of me."

Peter D.

Thank you for telling me in such a nice way. You've an evenness woven through the godgiven odd, a nap moths must collude to chew on. A child's acreage heard you call it in a fog, and for once the details aren't riled. Son of Bride of Rerelease, the Sequel, again, but this time, it's personal. In a fog, a cardboard box, isn't in a fog, a fire. Evenness bespeaks Interstates and dice. The Wall Crimes tribunal searches for a place to purchase purchase. An ice sculpture of a typist thanks you for telling me in such a

nice way. Slippery when connected, the river calls from its hands-free, halfway home from a gig. Glug, love. Gilt quanta of needy air served on a pursesnatched platter turn a bandwidth into a banquet. And when we're over toasting 'here's hum in your ears' eyes on radio silence quake someways together, and must pull over.

Brian S.

Good morning. I slept on the remote, Ramada. My eyes opened to a steak-sized lay of light on the veneer, as if this hotel room had bought a few worthless shares in an old master --how about a Rembrandt? --and misplaced the certificates. I got a corner room and it's clean if not shop vac'd or fantastick'd. It's more like the spiders got bored with torque, and dust and dander shuffled off to Brest-Litovsk, pledging non-aggression. Have you noticed how the hands will wake up last? Was it William Carlos Williams who admitted "extremity's a mystery to me?" Hell, I'm horny for a glint. I have got to somehow struggle up, give the Charybdis of CNN the slip, get downtown and eulogize a Ludens. I may be up now, half an ad man in a Red Roof Inn, Continental Breakfaster indebted to his pillow mint, solid sender who flirts with the felines in receivables, roll-on, safety razor, overheard in prayer in turbulence, jams a little light jazz on the imitation strat, half full of bright side (some would say half-sick) --it's all coming back. Culture abhors a vacant room and there's no place, really, for a mess. Oops. Here comes Headline News. Here dad forgot to put the safety on. Some emeritus insists the congress should. Congruities are tiring.

Jeff W.

When I find a niche I scratch it. His wife and he to Halloween as bad Evangelists, with a mezzanine of irony and revolving restaurant of bottled baptized ire, symbolized by the Crispix bibles and the fifth of Maker's laying hands on and pissing into perpetuity. Darwin was a wookie. Of course you and I are eewoks, reproducing like cuddly marketable rats and battling the dark side alongside Oprah, Art, and a flamethrower full of charm. It's darkest in the niches. A lime with that? A median strip planted with palazzo poppies? Grand Dragons of Democracy selling us our white sheets cheap. And under cover of them, we scour Stalin's moustache after

babka scraps. The only chain store name containing the letters DEATH is Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips. The number of registered clowns fluctuates with birthrates. Only hunger stays the same. Eewoks give up cuddling long enough to suck the marrow from a bunch of zeroes, then lie back, greasy mouthed, in the weekend places of their agents.

Graham R.

The science fiction cover illustration with its burnished strontium breast plates reflecting red and green giant sunsets; the fleet of cigarillo-shaped oxygen harvesters needling back to xKlak with the catch. In the middle ground a blonde child leads a freakish deer on a leash. Their hair is Louis Quinze. Their reader is asleep on a barrow of Vic20s and Commodore 64s, the gay divorcees of the 70s, OD'd on the golden age of live TV, are acting like the parents of a patch of dappled light. Divorced with your thoughts. And hooked on baby aspirin and conceptualization. This essay is meant to bless your own fist-sized inner O2 harvester. You're a good guy with an armoire of queer deer collars. Calculus and LSD save lives. A special pocket sewn into your letter jacket to save eraser shavings, for failure (as they say on xKlak) is the monkey in the moonlight.

Tim Davis

—selected by Eden Osucha

Nine Inch Will Please a Lady

Come rede me dame, come tell me, dame,
My dame come tell me truly,
What length o' graith, when weel ca'd hame,
Will sair a woman duly?
The carlin clew her wanton tail,
Her wanton tail sae ready
I learn'd a sang in Annandale,
Nine inch will please a lady.

But for a koontrie cunt like mine,
In sooth, we're nae sae gentle;
We'll take tway thumb-bread to the nine,
And tha's a sonsy pintle;
O leeze me on my Charlie lad,
I'll ne'er forget my Charlie!
Tway roarin handfu's and a daud,
He nidge't it in fu' rarely.

But weary fa' the laithron doup
And may it ne'er ken thrivin!
It's no the length that maks me loup,
But it's the double drivin.
Come nidge me, Tam, come nidge me Tam,
Come nidge me o'er the nyvel!
Come lowse and lug your battering ram,
And thrash him at my gyvel!

Robert Burns

—selected by Brent Cunningham

**Glossary (for Nine Inch Will Please a Lady):

rede: advise
graith: gear, one's member
ca'd: driven
sair: serve
carlin: old woman
koontrie: country
tway: two
thumb-bread: thumb-breadths
sonsy: jolly, fair
pintle: prick
leeze me: how I love
daud: hunk, lump
nidge't: thrust
weary fa': damn
laithron: lazy
doup: ass
loup: jump
lowse: loosen
lug: pull
gyvel: gable, gateway

Pollyanna at the Crossroads

who feeds the park dogs
who celebrates their perfect paws
birds learn to fly by instinct, error, coercion & trial
as we learn to keep living
joy pulls us
the bright day pushes & the dark recesses comfort
we move into a period of poor nutrition
burning burning burning the old rose of disappointment
waiting on the platform
not sure of the schedule
will the helper be kind
or will he issue an official statement
will he press your hand & answer questions
with his eyes
or will he say you have succumbed
to your own path of deep deep sadness

Lisa Cooper

—selected by Amy King


A group of people look into the well. I lean over too,
we stare at each other upside down. There's a man
mannequin in the water. One of the people says
we should rescue him with a spear gun and rope, another
that we should ask a woman mannequin to make the first
feel lonely and capable of flight. But what if he's gay,
someone asks. I remind them of the oppressive condition
in which our hero lives, being, not even wood,
but a plastic designed to keep clothes from snagging.
As is often the case, we soon resent his misery,
lean back in the short grass and talk of angora sweaters
we've loved, of the expression mannequins perfect,
the one that says, my smile, I owe my smile to this shade
of burgundy. When I wake, the man mannequin
stands above me, dripping, his smooth crotch shining
in moonlight. It occurs to me we may have ruined
his privacy, and I want to sing him a song that says
how sorry I am, but the only sounds that come to mind
are of two cars smashing on the highway, and I wake
the man beside me, and we run head first at each other
to sing this song.

Bob Hicok

—selected by Amy King


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