|TABLE OF CONTENTS
XVI:3 October, 2001
|SOLO WORKS OF
THREAD & WILLOW NOTE by Khizra Aslam, A VALENTINE GHAZAL FOR ROSE by Gene Doty, THE GAME by Giovanni Malito, THE SHIFT OF MAGIC BY Giovanni Malito
While you cut and sew and weave my gown,
I thread a garland of reeds for you;
You paint my cloak in autumn colours:
You knit long strands: my black hair in plaits;
When you dance around your wheel, khizar,
Soft unspoken words; you wrote in my night;
You quietly flit and whistle a tune,
You fan my passions, then calm with your hands;
Come see the colour of my wound is green;
Did you cut your flute from a willow tree?
Why, wear your black willow rosary, khizar,
A VALENTINE GHAZAL FOR ROSE
cosmically less than a speck--asteroid Eros;
Venus swings too far inward: Mars can not woo her
how your eyes descend, near to my surface,
the thunder lizards raised their snouts sniffing
space opera arias elaborate the drama out there
held on earth, gino, hear the silence born
A cough cracks the earnest silence
I see them look up, a flicker
Your lips quiver but only slightly
This time I clear my throat
and its guttural report could be
Once again you look up but only
It is a stalemate, only 64 moves to go
but we can guiltlessly clear the board.
THE SHIFT IN MAGIC
See how quickly flesh
See how quickly blood
See how readily the give
do we see who sighs first, or
once our breath has returned
IN THE EYES OF MY CHILDREN
Mid-summer and the moon is full. The night, a dark, sweet liquid, pours out to coat my senses. By the moon's light, in the middle of the road, we see scores of migrating turtles tuned to an ancient memory of eggs and the heat of a full moon on a sandy beach. My children carry them off to the other side as if they were gifts laid at the feet of an unseen god. We stand by the lake which, in this moon light, looks like a bed of satin, black and shimmering, and always shining, forever shining in the eyes of my children.
sky of shooting stars
DIARY OF FOUR LARGE SUITCASES
My daughter and I went on a trip. We started on The Queen Elizabeth 2 and therefore needed formal as well as casual clothing. So we ended up with four large suitcases The concern was how to deal with the suitcases as we traveled.
In London on Petticoat Lane we found porcelain dolls which we could not resist. So now it was 4 large suitcases and 3 large boxes of dolls. At the London train station, the porter took us to the VIP room for first class travel and then put the dolls, the suitcases, and us on a cart and drove us to the train to Cornwall. Great! But when we got to Plymouth, we were told ONE minute to get off. WOW! And we made it. Pat (our hostess) met us with a very small car. She was startled when she saw the luggage.
We stayed at a haunted pub and the suitcases had to be carried up stairs. The girl in charge said "no problem. I am a farmer's daughter" Traveling back, again we found a porter who put us on the train. From Paddington, we took a cab to Heathrow.
awakened from a dream
AFTER ALL THESE CENTURIES
Look at them! All these signs. A palm in the red light telling you not to cross the street. An encircled bicycle with a line struck across it to say, no bicycles. Same for a truck. A stylized man, a stylized woman, to designate the gender of the restrooms. A crossed-out match; a crossed-out P; to indicate no smoking, no parking. And then there's a plate with fork and knife to tell a restaurant by. A camera to say, here is a view. Well, you get the idea. So what I'd like to know, after century upon century spent in the development of an alphabet (not to mention standardized spelling, which is a dirty trick in my book, Shakespeare didn't have to contend with it), what I'd like to know is this: After all those centuries spent in the development of an alphabet, are we going back to hieroglyphics, pic by pic?
along for the ride
so little difference:
a head, two eyes, a thin shell
to house a soul-
the snail and I
How is it that a road becomes etched into our minds as acid draws upon an artistís copper plate, building upon itself in detail after detail until its familiarity clings to us as water to the body?
There was nothing at all remarkable about this road; it led through a rural neighborhood where people I had never met lived their lives it seemed only during the day, as their only evidence at those late hours in which I cruised like a submarine would be the occasional glimmer of a dim kitchen light. At times a streetlight would find the sleek skin and chrome of a new car, or a skinny tree which had been planted in the center of someoneís yard, trashcans neatly arranged and ready for the morning pickup run.
But this is the thinnest of veneers, for it is only when we are poised for transcendence that the woodland gods of the night will emerge from inside the evanescent landscape and present their world to us intact in their firm hands.
Each night and all that summer after the factory noise lay miles behind me on the graveyard shift, I would walk alone on the long road home. The stillness and each fine detail of shadow and scent was exquisite and I never tired of this walk which invited me into its realm whenever I chose to be attentive.
At first I walked briskly, shy of becoming known to another life that lived beside me in the night.
About half way home there was a barn that had been built many years before on a small hilltop surrounded by field. Its secret life lay hidden during the day when its wide doors were opened and daylight was allowed to penetrate its interior.
When the moon was full on these walks, the sloping field behind the barn would flow in a calm ocean of tremulous light. At times the moonís great celestial weight appeared to rest there in the sky on invisible scaffolds made only of sound latticed into the most gossamer of structures by cricketsí voices venting out of the cool wet grass.
On nights such as these when I lingered to participate, the darkness would rise inside me like a slowly ebbing tide, filling me up with the silt of its motion, replacing me in a gentle erasure.
On one particular night, I paused to watch the moon weave its light over the field and the barn. Each line and scar on the weathered boards etched in by shadows now became veins and arteries; the texture of its clapboards, strange sinews of muscle. In the black void of its one window, an essence pulled at a chord inside me that I could not name though I had ached for a very long time to recognize.
It was a transfiguration that I wanted, though before the self could be launched away as a heavy ship achieves its true buoyancy, it would need to be freed of the many lines that were still attached to it in layer upon layer of thought. Indeed my ship was burdensome, ungainly, and ill-fitted for sleek passage. What it envied was a thin, liquid impermanence that could move among the shadows of the nightís dream unhampered by my gravity that could only claw at the door to be let in.
I stood there waiting for the awkward galleon to slide down its ways and begin the transformation, but it never did. For only on that one night did all the mysterious entities conspire to frame a window through which I had no eyes to look. This I mistook then as a blindness in the soul, and as I watched the mist and the moon invite the field and barn into its willing circle, it occurred to me in a flash of insight that the ache of remaining merely at the edges and never to be grasped in the "godsí firm hands" had grown out of a deep melancholy Iíd wrestled with since adolescence, and probably even earlier in childhood.
And now it was as visible as if it were made of flesh as I was, disarming me by its immutable presence out of which the sentient skeleton of an entire life had been slowly constructed.
"Letís be clear. This was not, this is not a longing for death. No, nothing could be further from the truth," I told myself as I stood there alone on the hill. This was its ironic gift to me for having failed in the end at what was doomed from the start, a feverish hunger to know the "things in themselves" and the profound erasure that dwelled somewhere in the space behind Rilkeís shifting curtain, a hunger to move through the world like water, to go deeper, even down into the gaps between quarks, if that was where being and essence began.
After the gears in my temporal clock began to grind forward again, I looked at the lone window whose Cyclops eye now dryly offered only a harsh and ordinary silence both within and without. I realized I had a home to go to and a young boy whose sleeping face needed one more gaze to complete the timeless cycle of his day, and a wife to whom I could not confess the sin I had just torn out of my head on Hansonville Road.
Wielding his sword
Fall 1997, Summer 2001
the night is empty
I have breathed the wind
only the rose knows
throughout the night voices
emergency vehicles scream
out the hotel window
Forty-five to fifty years ago, one of my chores was to see the cattle had water. In bitter cold weather the ponds and stock tanks froze; I took an axe and chopped holes in the ice for them to drink from. In hot weather, I pumped water from the well into a stock tank for the cattle. Often the pump had to be primed. A one-pound coffee can (Folger?s or Maxwell House) was kept by the pump; I dipped water from the tank and poured it into the pump. When I first began to pump, the mechanism, being dry, screeched. A crowd of thirsty cattle is not especially polite, not even herefords with good breeding.
arctic air freezes the stock tank; cattle huddle out of the wind
On the stage of the western sky
Day dawns gray, dark clouds drip rain;
THE COMING OF ANTS II
Among the veteran archaeologists, a story is passed around about a team of diggers that disappeared from a pre-Columbian site when there were driver ants in the vicinity after heavy rains. Only a few artifacts and scattered bones were found.
On the hardened faces,
It was the same
Statues with stained feet
When the first black wave
Lock saw train room
watching leaves fall
all these years
in autumn sun
TANKA FOR JR
I do not know
you've done so much for me
I have not heard your voice
I pace the empty rooms
there are many roads
POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES
alive to everything
leaning on my rake
one gust of wind
an empty can
this chestnut leaf
muse of these five lines
those who sat
how the kids
nest flooded -
bronze ax lies where
an amber vial:
you touch my arm
a russet sunlight
The traffic light speaks
How ordinary it is
Resting on a bench,
I stop just in time,
Ah, such joys in spring,
Four, three, two, one - zoom!
Two arms and two legs -
mid-summer heat wave
outgrowing its pot
a bumble bee
in his backyard
in the summer
how can I dwell
the stalks of long grass
tattered white coat
all the more because
a flow of paper
my worst fear
in this wind
We'll sleep a dancing sleep
We'll sleep with mountain arms
We'll sleep there
My crooked fingers -
I can live with
Across the lawn
The child-sized table -
The garden darkens
flood of sunlight
birds of my hand
how can I sleep?
Wrinkles on the skin
Stray fungi grow
a young woman
when a heart breaks
LIVING IN THE G-7
she said her mother
aching for food
your jacket - collar points
ALIVE AND THRIVING IN OUR GLOSSOLALIA
We refuse all but
Netherskens elapse in memory as points
First time worn, a fragrant cloth
His eyes have shadows of missed sleep,
Each day the body is a found thing
Even glossing over night, the twill comes vastly as a broom of lace across
Whittling conveyance of a spruced, interpretive massage in contrast to the wooded blue tetrameter defining lines against and lines in rows
The parallelogram of inference requires no moat
Stillness suppressed recedes into the negative tangential mauve kissed into being by naÔve few cinders
Touching down bemuses stature of the rare breed left low on the horizon
Plenitude seems often soft
A wizened hue, a staunch, young plunge into headrest at the close of day
The tocked-off metronome that follows vigor in assembling of an evening meal
Response time varies even among triplets stung by fated views
Pronunciation damages the vineyards now imbued by clues
Retort after receivership of repertoire
In moments, closeness is marred by temple vest
The priest has shoesprings while amending tables of equations that define an attitude
One ceases wearing blue
One blends into midnight stowed with overwear and fibrous wood unevenly exuded
Birth implies retort of psychic offspring who will be fluffed into less realistic carnage as to offer sacrifice
Pure amendment safely washes custom
Square meters of breath collide with grief as yet unspoken, even in the gluey margins where opinion lies in state
Commencement always fortifies what would be naked to sure vision
Nine of ten imaginary blasphemies decry the magus on a personís mind after infancy has rescued some incessant video about to be rewound
Apiero, we lived near the crossroads
The caught you
scared I am not wrong
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|Poems Copyright © by Designated Authors
Page Copyright ©Jane Reichhold 2001.
Table of Contents for this issue.