Issue 22 — 

Clifford Browder
Lolette Kuby
Bryan Roscoe

Clifford Browder



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Genesis


Secrets of wheat
Wrens nesting
And a small boy
Friendly with stars report
Theology dissolved
In a faint whisper
Of wind on water
Brooding a ripple or a world.



First appeared in Galley Sail Review.
Copyright © 1961 by Clifford Browder.



Combustible


Donít bury me
In a hardwood casket
Or one of those metallic jobs
Polished, cushiony, expensive
Guaranteed to last a hundred years
That morticians con you into buying.

Soft pine should do the trick
Bugs and worms are my friends
Let them take what they want
Theyíll just pass it on.

Yes, bury me
In a crumbly coffin
I want to be roots
I want to be leaves.

Better still, cremate me
Quicker and cleaner
Less fuss
Ought to make
A good crackle.

Burn me
I want to be light.



First appeared in Heliotrope.
Copyright © 2002 by Clifford Browder.



The Language of Light


The language of light
Props up space
Spits forth time.

It makes coherent the rumpus of forms
Sustaining spiral nebulae
The tonnage of continents
Smoke
Sticky eggs.

The language of light
Is curvilinear and rectilinear, dry
As the odor of sawn wood
Fantastical yet true
Like green herons with orange legs.

It sweeps away the opinions of the wise:
Desanctified droppings.

How it teases the accumulators
Trips up the adjusted
Mocks the competent.

How it unhinges
The technicians of greed and expedience
Murderers
Of the soft luna moths of our dreams.

I would learn this shining idiom
But who would teach it to me?
I have written eminent linguists:
They know nothing of it.
Physicists perplex me with their formulae
Gurus would enroll me
In expensive seminars
Opticians are no help, mystics
Those ruminants of glory
Have unlisted telephones.

Therefore
Beyond data, beyond symposia
I shall wear sneakers and tread softly.

Determined
Not to think
But to be aware
I shall sniff out
Its subatomic mysteries
Caress its paradoxes.

Through mazes of the mind
I will scuttle downward
Into worlds of small things
Musculature of eels
White snakeroot
Dancing bees
And coax from them
The word of life.



First appeared in Pivot.
Copyright © 1992 by Clifford Browder.




Dark Mother


Donít say life, say wiggle

Donít say worm, say communicant

Donít say grass
Say green dream

Donít say tree
Say thick-barked water-pumping
Deep-rooted fixity
Ramified
That eats the sun

Donít say mind, say
Mystical telephone

Donít say matter
Say multiple interactional
Space-time mass-energy
Curved helter-skelter particle jig

Donít say me
Say dancer

Donít say sperm
Say pathfinder, big shot, golden motorcycle

Donít say God, say tease

Donít say death
Say dark mother
Black hole
Star-sucking
Light-eating
Time- and space-disintegrating
Deep throat of the universe becoming
At its other end
Dawn
Spitter of worlds.


First appeared in California State Poetry Quarterly.
Copyright © 1992 by Clifford Browder.



Biography:

Clifford Browder is a writer and retired freelance editor living in New York City. His poetry has appeared in Heliotrope, The Main Street Rag, Runes, Snake Nation Review, The Bitter Oleander, nycBigCityLit.com, and elsewhere. Excerpts from his long novel Metropolis have been published in New York Stories, Quarter After Eight, and Third Coast. He is also author of two published biographies and a critical study of the French Surrealist poet Andrť Breton.



 

 

Lolette Kuby


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Your Soup


But where are the carrots?
Bright phalluses forged in the netherworld sun?

You must not draw too soon
Or wait too long


And where is the salt?
The flavorful gold, the licking stone?

Beware unbandaged cuts
Pinched or poured it cannot be undone


And where the onion?
Solidified tears?

Embracing itself. Unfold it you find
Nothing, a socket sans eye


And water? There must be water.
Secretly tubed from the top of the mountain?

Mine it like diamonds
Wrest it from daybreak


And where is the meat?
On its way to you?

The meat is dozing in the sun
Swatting flies with its tail


The meat is grazing in the field
Running in its own wool


It must be blindfolded and gagged
It must be silenced and tamed.


The meat is still eating.

Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby. Your Soup first appeared in The New Laurel Review.


Just Watching

Imagine a bird flying a flower
up to decorate its nest. Or Giraffes
ignoring laden fig trees to gawk
at a sunset. Imagine a whole tribe
of chimpanzees on a Saturday night,
wheeling their old, hoisting their children,
and thronging in feathers and shiny shoes,
halooing and touching hands along the way,
to a dedicated spot where they all
will sit very still, doing nothing, just
sitting, like the surrounding trees and the rocks
they sit on and the convexed air watching
one of them whistle. That we can may save us.


Copyright © 2003 by Lolette Kuby. Just Watching is from Inwit, published by Pearl's Book'Em Publisher, 2003.


Chair

Here it stands
as Luther would have
his Articles standó
an incontrovertible
conclusion.
Let a child clamber
on its singular upholstery
with gloves of jam;
let pornographers
perform in its lap;
shroud it a hundred years
and it will wait
to be unshrouded
until time deposits new warm
bodies and appraising eyes.
Let a madman rage it to splinters,
it will coruscate in infinity,
dancing toward zero
like any other star,
utterly obedient,
utterly passive.

Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby.


Floor Meditation

Nothing, no skin of water
Without mosquito wake
On most windless of days
So quiet as untrodden floors,
So patient as girders in dusky basements
Bearing the whole house over them
Except in their seasonless dockage
The dead,
Between floor and ceiling
Crossing their hands
Over their heart.

Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby.


Craftsmen

The carpenter
bees,
hairy,
thick
across the thorax as my thumb, quick
as electric,
drill
perfectly round
holes for homes, perfectly
sized to their
bodies.
I stand
my ground,
paint hurriedly,
drip red on daffodils
until
they come within
inches, then leap
and run, spill
red on my jeans.
I calm myself
with the wasps that lined the walls of Thoreau's cabin,
return to where
my ladder leans
against my house, and speak
to these:
if we can't muster
love, I say,
let us keep
harmless and respectful distanceó
you keep your distance
and I'll
keep
mine. But come night, I sent
a hit-man with a long-nozzled spray,
where they live,
while they
sleep.

Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby. A different version of this poem first appeared in Hiram Review.


Our Gift

Make small cuts in male viaducts,
nips and tucks in oviducts
and it is over.
Little pain, little blood.
Everything done for estate will stop.
Everything done for monument will stop.
All reasons but the reasons of grass
will stop.
After a brief yesterday, all
will be mosses, feathers, claws, clouds.
Rain will be rain, wind, wind.
Absented of us
all will be a holy rolling,
a whirling, a quaking.
After our compassionate abandonment
trackless as a flight of birds.

Copyright © 2003 by Lolette Kuby. Our Gift is from Inwit, published by Pearl's Book'Em Publisher, 2003.


Biography:

Lolette Kuby, an expat from Cleveland, Ohio, now living in Toronto, holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and taught at the Cleveland State University. She now does freelance editing. Her book publications include In Enormous Water; Set Down Here; Inwit (poetry collections); An Uncommon Poet for the Common Man: A Study of Philip Larkin's Poetry; and last year a short story collection, Out of Cleveland.
 

 


Bryan Roscoe



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City of Strangers


In the service they gave me a new set of clothes.
A new set of valuesÖa new set of goals.
They trained us well all morning, noon and night.
God love them, send me off, and canít wait for my first firefight.

We were bound together by the thousands as a city of strangers,
Some brothers and sisters served as Navy Seals and Army Rangers,
We come to you in the deserts, jungles, mountains or beaches.
Tell me son; tell your grandpa what do our past wars finally teach us?

Veterans lay waiting as if they were on guard duty
for eternity in fields of green pastures, strategy in formation
with their concrete namesakes and a monument unto its own.
I speak to those we have lost on the fields of battle.

And the military hospitals fully occupied of amputeesóthe sick and disabled.
Mothers weepingóchildren sleeping co-existing, yes barely surviving if they are able.
The horrors of war are no place for idealistic impractical desires.
Tell me, son. Now does this quench your youthful fire?


Copyright 2008 by Bryan Roscoe. City of Strangers first appeared in Veterans' Voices Fall 2008, Vol. 56. No. 3, sponsored by Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, Inc.



The War Within


No medals were given-
No heroes were made.
All rules were broken.
Only victims- still victims,
remain.


To the War that wasnít won.
To the War that wasnít lost.
To the War that didnít end,
only begun.


Beware-of the War Within.


Copyright 2008 by Bryan Roscoe.


Biography:
Bryan Roscoe was born in an ambulance on route to the hospital in Neptune, New Jersey and was raised in New York City.

In his own words: "I volunteered to go to the Army in 1974. I studied as a Radio Teletype Operator. I was stationed at Signal Training School Fort Gordon, GA. I met a lot of high-quality people in the service and some I keep in touch with like my good friend Ken from California. I wrote a book itís called Majestic Restoration. Itís about my two near-death experiences. I take immense pleasure and benefit greatly from writing poetry and short stories. It helps me to communicate in abstract ways other than using the five senses."

Roscoe retired from the Atlantic City Police Department Traffic Division some years ago.