april gale :: heidi mordhorst

Oh, how the wind howls,
howls the blossoms from the boughs;

Oh how the boughs bend,
bend and willow to the ground;

Oh, how the ground wells,
wells with blossoms blown to hills;

Oh, how the hills sound,
sound a whisper pink and loud.

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the mosquito :: d. h. lawrence

When did you start your tricks
Monsieur?

What do you stand on such high legs for?
Why this length of shredded shank
You exaltation?

Is it so that you shall lift your centre of gravity upwards
And weigh no more than air as you alight upon me,
Stand upon me weightless, you phantom?

I heard a woman call you the Winged Victory
In sluggish Venice.
You turn your head towards your tail, and smile.

How can you put so much devilry
Into that translucent phantom shred
Of a frail corpus?

Queer, with your thin wings and your streaming legs
How you sail like a heron, or a dull clot of air,
A nothingness.

Yet what an aura surrounds you;
Your evil little aura, prowling, and casting a numbness on my mind.

That is your trick, your bit of filthy magic:
Invisibility, and the anæsthetic power
To deaden my attention in your direction.

But I know your game now, streaky sorcerer.

Queer, how you stalk and prowl the air
In circles and evasions, enveloping me,
Ghoul on wings
Winged Victory.

Settle, and stand on long thin shanks
Eyeing me sideways, and cunningly conscious that I am aware,
You speck.

I hate the way you lurch off sideways into air
Having read my thoughts against you.

Come then, let us play at unawares,
And see who wins in this sly game of bluff.
Man or mosquito.

You don’t know that I exist, and I don’t know that you exist.
Now then!

It is your trump
It is your hateful little trump
You pointed fiend,
Which shakes my sudden blood to hatred of you:
It is your small, high, hateful bugle in my ear.

Why do you do it?
Surely it is bad policy.

They say you can’t help it.

If that is so, then I believe a little in Providence protecting the innocent.
But it sounds so amazingly like a slogan
A yell of triumph as you snatch my scalp.

Blood, red blood
Super-magical
Forbidden liquor.

I behold you stand
For a second enspasmed in oblivion,
Obscenely ecstasied
Sucking live blood
My blood.

Such silence, such suspended transport,
Such gorging,
Such obscenity of trespass.

You stagger
As well as you may.
Only your accursed hairy frailty
Your own imponderable weightlessness
Saves you, wafts you away on the very draught my anger makes in its snatching.

Away with a pæan of derision
You winged blood-drop.
Can I not overtake you?
Are you one too many for me
Winged Victory?
Am I not mosquito enough to out-mosquito you?

Queer, what a big stain my sucked blood makes
Beside the infinitesimal faint smear of you!
Queer, what a dim dark smudge you have disappeared into!

lychees :: meena alexander

Terrace deep as the sky.
Stone bench where I sit and read,

I wandered by myself
Into the heart of the mountains of Yoshino.

In one hand a book, in the other, a bag made of newsprint—
No weather-beaten bones here

Just lychees bought in the market,
Thirty rupees per kilogram.

Stalks mottled red tied up with string,
Flesh the color of pigeon wings—

Sweet simmering.
Sunlight bruises air

Pine trees blacken.
Where shall I go?

The Dhauladhar peaks
Are covered in snow.

homage to the h & the speedway diner :: bernadette mayer

It’s alot like a cave full of pictures
& black & white checked flags
you may overdose on caffeine
it’s the closest restaurant to our house
maybe five miles, it’s very cheap
you can go there when you have almost no money
they let you use the telephone
i can get steak tartare there for $2.25
but i’ve never called it that
just raw hamburger with an egg yolk,
pickle relish & garlic powder plus
the celtic salt i bring along
the owner, h (after whom the h-burger is named)
is loquacious, surprising, has a santa claus belly & wears suspenders
there’s ashtrays everywhere & a great old pinball machine
it’s like east nassau but it’s in west lebanon i think
you can always talk about the weather & hunting
the clientele is open-minded as are the waitress & waiter
who kneels when he takes your order
during hunting season it opens at 4:30 a.m.
it’s for sale but that’s not quite serious
h’s wife thinks he spends too much time there (which he does)
so she started calling him by their dog’s name, peaches
h is a big fan of northern exposure, oh & i
forgot to mention the biscuits & sausage gravy
which are genuine, greyish & great. recently
h got a smoker & this year we’ll go to the new year’s
eve party & eat stuffed shrimp and/or lobster

adam and eve’s dog :: richard garcia

Not many people know it but Adam and Eve had a dog.
Its name was Kelev Reeshon, which means, first dog.
Some scholars say it had green fur and ate only plants
and grasses, and that is why some dogs still like to eat grass.
Others say it was hairless like the Chihuahua. Some
say it was male, some female, or that it was androgynous
like the angels or the present-day hyena. Rabbi Peretz,
a medieval cabalist in Barcelona, thought it was a black
dog and that it could see the angels which were everywhere
in the garden, although Adam and Eve could not see them.
He writes in his book of mystical dream meditations,
The Sefer Halom, that Kelev tried to help Adam and Eve
see the angels by pointing at them with its nose, aligning
its tail in a straight line with its back and raising one paw.
But Adam and Eve thought Kelev was pointing at the birds.
All scholars agree that it had a white tip on its tail,
and that it was a small dog. Sometimes you see
paintings of Eve standing next to a tree holding an apple.
The misinterpretation of this iconography gave birth
to the legend of the forbidden fruit and the fall from grace.
Actually, it was not an apple, but Kelev’s ball and Eve
was about to throw it. One day, although there were no
days or nights as we know them, she threw the ball
right out of the garden. Kelev ran after it and did not return.
Adam and Eve missed their dog, but were afraid to leave
the garden. It was misty and dark outside the garden.
They could hear Kelev barking, always farther
and farther away, its bark echoing as if there were two dogs barking.
Finally, they could stand it no longer, and they gathered
Kelev’s bed of large leaves and exited the garden.
They were holding the leaves in front of their bodies.
Although they could not see it, an angel followed,
trying to light up the way with a flaming sword,
And the earth was without form outside the garden.
Everything was gray and without shape or outline
because nothing outside the garden had a name. Slowly,
they advanced toward the sound of barking,
holding each other, holding their dog’s bed against their bodies.
Eventually they made out something small and white,
swinging from side to side; it seemed to be leading them
through the mist into a world that was becoming more visible.
Now there were trees, and beneath their feet, there was a path.

ink :: michael shewmaker

Is there a canvas crueler than the body?
The ink is permanent. The skin is not.
I have no patience for the lover’s gaudy
heart—swollen, pierced—a hackneyed blot
beating against the odds. I’ve seen them all:
straddled by seraphim, or torn apart—
on women, men, the lesser parlor’s wall—
hallmarked MOM, or skewered by a dart
from Cupid’s quiver.
                                   But enough of love,
I work in monochrome. I deal in skulls.
Behind each piece a brief, familiar story.
It ends in bones—the sort of plot that dulls
the point. My needle’s steadiest above
a stinging script that reads:
  Memento Mori.

taken up :: charles martin

Tired of earth, they dwindled on their hill,
Watching and waiting in the moonlight until
The aspens’ leaves quite suddenly grew still,

No longer quaking as the disc descended,
That glowing wheel of lights whose coming ended
All waiting and watching. When it landed

The ones within it one by one came forth,
Stalking out awkwardly upon the earth,
And those who watched them were confirmed in faith:

Mysterious voyagers from outer space,
Attenuated, golden—shreds of lace
Spun into seeds of the sunflower’s spinning face—

Light was their speech, spanning mind to mind:
We come here not believing what we find—
Can it be your desire to leave behind

The earth, which even those called angels bless,
Exchanging amplitude for emptiness?

And in a single voice they answered Yes,

Discord of human melodies all blent
To the unearthly harmony of their assent.
Come then, the Strangers said, and those who were taken, went.