Poets in the pond:
Elbows, rude on the tablecloth
guide a lazy wrist
over a plate of moon-shaped chestnuts,
quail eggs, jellyfish toast.
Pinched over her plate,
glasses hitched on her face,
I see one eye turning.
A squirrel eyed woman
in the scuffed brown shoes
of a museum usher,
her white crescent fingernails
dig into the air
with each exclamation
around a mouthful of rice.
Outside the restaurant,
rain is throwing itself
over the roofs.
In the trees, mists
drop from an old wound.
I envision a cordial end
in the spiral of a coat
over slim shoulders.
But when we dash to the car
I feel deep sea fish
that swim like first kisses,
carry their bright lantern-lures
up into my eyes.
Trees sway in the parking lot.
When I open the door
a tentacle of wind
loosens my jacket.
That night I find saltwater spots
where she swam right up to the light.
- David Cazden
David Cazden currently lives in Kentucky with his wife, Laura. He began
writing last year after a 20 year break. He has published online
in "Stirring" and "Poems Neiderngasse".
Flying to Saigon
Yesterday's a letter lost before it's read.
Every task counts toward home, we were told,
shuddering in bunkers, all-clear sirens
taking forever to start. At breakfast,
bacon burned, eggs rubber-tough,
sweet rolls and grits before we torched
the huts of strangers we ignored
like slogans--peace follows fires
set to make months pass, to set us free.
Walt McDonald, a former Air Force pilot, is Texas Poet Laureate
for 2001. He has published nineteen collections of poetry and fiction
including All Occasions (Notre Dame, 2000) and others from Ohio State,
Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Harper & Row. Four won awards from
National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
On the Hundred and First Floor
She'd had trouble with gravity before-
not like this, when she'd first get up
as early dew evaporated, stealing drops
from slender stems and delicate new blooms.
This time, her feet firmly on the ground,
suddenly shaken by weightlessness
she grabbed the chairback, gripped her desk
willing herself to hold fast, endure the motion.
It was still morning when she left earth's hold
finding she was floating above the streets,
but not afraid of the consequence of sky
eager to explore this new sensation, serene.
Falling was out of the question, of course,
she was always well-grounded, luckily
the headwinds were gentle at that moment,
giving her time to look at the city below.
She worried there might be something
she should remember, someone she should
be thinking about right then, but the beauty
of the day washed over her like cool water.
There were others floating too, rising
into the glory of yellow sun and starlight-
a perfect piece of lemon meringue pie, beckoning
her to grandma s kitchen, comforting and warm.
She smelled vanilla and baby powder, as if
holding her little girl to her breast, "Emily"
she said, smiling, and then "Jack" as the light
took her into its center, ringing a single silver bell.
Shann Palmer is a performance poet from Texas who lives in Virginia.
Published in print and on the web, she runs poetry readings, and is
Vice-President-Poetry Society of Virginia.
In the rutted street,
under an implacable noonday sun,
the poemfighters squared off.
Tumbleweeds scattered to the sidelines.
Townspeople battened their doors.
Horses snorted, yanked the halters.
Buzzards began a merciless circling.
Spurs clattered against baked mud
as fighters edged toward minimal advantage.
At once --
a blur of lips and hands, flash of pens,
boom of furious voices --
the terrible blows of words
against gray matter --
Two perforated bodies hung crazily,
blood still bagged inside their skins.
The town froze
in mystical quantum paradox.
A bystander small and innocent,
creature of line and stanza,
darted from between two buildings,
climbed on the nearest horse,
- Fred Longworth
Fred Longworth co-hosts an open poetry reading at Twiggs Coffee &
Tea in San Diego. His poems have recently appeared, or are forthcoming,
in *Kimera*, *Maelstrom*, *Pearl*, *Rattapallax*, *Spillway*, and on the
web at *Poetic Voices* and *Words on a Wire*.
In the synapse of an hour,
in the flashing of a lie,
in the turning to the window,
in the softest lullabye.
In the dawn as in the desert,
in the soughing of the day,
with the sickness you had buried
In the merry month of May.
No one captured all the gleaming
on the Annapurna ice
when you filled the room with lotus—
Where the boulder spread beneath us,
where the black boy stood and stared,
where the jarrah could inure us
to the passion that you dared.
In the oneness of the ocean,
In the ringing Khumjung mile,
Om was carved in stone and colored
in the wild Tibetan smile.
- Terese Coe
Dakshinkali is an ancient site in a river canyon in the Kathmandu Valley,
sacred to Kali, the Mother goddess of Hinduism. Both Hindus and Buddhists
bring offerings to the temples there, ring bells, light candles, say prayers,
do circumambulations. Periodically an animal may be sacrificed, but it's
important to understand this as a blessing upon the water buffalo or goat
before it becomes that night's dinner. Flowers can also be considered a
sacrifice, and money may be offered too. Jarrah is an Australian
tree with extremely durable wood. Khumjung is a village in the Himalayas
of East Nepal at about 12,800 ft."
Terese Coe is currently editing a book on Tibetan Buddhism for Keith
Dowman and serves on staff for a poetry site at www.alsopreview.com.
She is the recipient of the First Place Trophy for Parody at the Nyorican
Café First Annual Poets Ball, 1993, and a Giorno Poetry Systems
Grant, 1999. In New York City she has read with the Organization
of Independent Artists, Bob Holman, Allan Ginsberg, and Judith Malina,
among others, in places that include the Nuyorican Café, Cedar Tavern,
St. Marks Church, and the New York State Supreme Court Lobby. In
March 2001 she read at the Indigo Gallery in Kathmandu, Nepal, and in 2000
at the Disk series in Perth, Australia.