24 December 2007

Featured Poet: Adam Fieled

Adam Fieled presents five poems from What Is and What Should Never Be, his newest manuscript. He is reading at Kate the Great's Book Emporium (5550 N. Broadway, Chicago) on Thursday, January 3. The reading also includes Larry Sawyer, Lina ramona Vitkauskas, Melissa Severin, and the editor of this blog-journal.

The Rain Song

It is constrained by water-wheels

It is beneath a tide of shorelines

It is in this way I reach out to you

I give you a seal made of pillows

I give you a pledge made of sheets

I want to be buried beneath you

as you move mountains off of

all in us exhausted by rain fall

all in us exhausted

all in us

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Can I see through miasmic

swamp of “I,” until I am all

alone with you, wrapped in

green clouds, tapping leafy

veins, rooted deep in an air

that is nowhere, & is endless?

Your deep cuteness makes all

things possible, probabilities

aside, & I want you, heavily.

In the Light

I was sunken in steamed

clarities, psalm-pasted, &

I rose from water-coffin

distances, skin wrinkled,

hair damp, sleet-grey sky,

naked bodies open arms,

I found God a towel, I

knew creation a bitches

brew, & saw for miles

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

I take the weight of white out,

spherical wrinkle-coated burdens,

lay them down (whitely) in a big

blast in a cul-de-sac hieroglyph’d

shelter that stretches like melted

glass coated/slick, enact a vague

sun rising/disappearing on a vast

horizon, yes all this just to see you

open your mouth, daisy-glazed to

be used this way (I mean when it

happens you bow to it), then leave,

& I’m ready to leave you now


I split apart from you

I say you are not me, or

you are an old version

of me as a blues song,

but just as the universe

does not fit into 12 bars

or three chords or a pick

plucking a minor third,

my mind’s purview, big

enough to bust a dam,

takes you and rolls you

(roll, baby, roll) into no

ball but a baseball and

hurls you at a slugger

who bats you in an arc

over a Green Monster—

that’s how we’re split

© Adam Fieled 2007

01 December 2007

Featured Poet: Michael Anania

Michael Anania's most recent books are IN NATURAL LIGHT and HEAT LINES,both from Moyer-Bell. He is Professor Emeritus at UIC and a member of
the Faculty in Writing at Northwestern. He lives in Austin, Texas and
on Lake Michigan.

Acting Up

“I have been having great doubts about the
current emphasis on Space.”

Fumiki Takamatsu (1973)


the point is
no space, just
mere location

the line, ex-
tension without
breadth; neither

exists, of course,
as you and I
exist, or I

exist proposing
you, a mere
location, the point,

you pass without
incident, locus

of all those

as in or for
example, wavelet,
bouy, drift-

net or crystal
lattice, its
coarse, courses

by landfall,
soundings in
feet and fathoms

sudden as ever,
the seaway

so your foot
strikes pebbles
or crunches white

sand, the salt marsh,
itself an ordinary
occasion, sea flowers

treeline, granite
another horizon

tilted in its own slow
time; “take it back,”
she says, “take

it all back,” as
though the speech
balloon could be

sucked back into
your mouth like
bubble gum, thought’s

fair weather cumulus
cloud vanishing with-
out consequence, so

much happens; this this
is one day, this the next,
moment to moment,

the neurons flashing
like neon, words or mere
breath, sigh and sigh

again, just for effect
(there is no audience),
Bravo! Brava! instances

of operatic virtuosity
amid such predictable,
occasions, sickness,

betrayal and death
rumors chorusing
around us once again;


location, locus of
all points, though
when you spin a thread

around your finger,
the weight at the end
speeds and spirals

inward; self, then,
the point, pointing
outward and centering,

plié, as though what-
ever moved toward
you curved inward,

however slightly, as
your attention
moves toward it, space

in all its contingencies
bending its own shape
to your slightest touch.

Spruce Canyon Studies


in or around
this afternoon’s
quiet, Block or Bartok

proposes a sudden
urgency, as though
things were more likely

or more fully lit now,
their edges sharpened
in the trembling air


the image of self
is coinage, merely,
an arbitrary marker

whose value changes,
though its denomination
remains the same, so seems

permanent and reliable:
can you stay a while or leave
some token warming in my hand


it is terribly brief, isn’t it,
the duration of sound in air,
and yet there is always sound,

the steady hum of things,
wind, wave, traffic, the sixty
cycle murmur of light bulbs

and transforms, armatures
spinning their own tunes,
coils and magnets vibrating


these words are occasions,
disturbances in air, cats’ paws
rippling across rippled water; still

it’s the tune that proposes
the sentence, its melody,
implicit, though incomplete,

always; you sing along,
word by word, within another’s song
drawn by the satisfying arc of melody


it was Bartok, I think,
“ measures drawn past endurance,”
Leinsdorf, his hands reaching out

beyond their reach toward flight;
the bird feeder in the live oak swaying
with the push of departing birds,

leaves as sharp as laurels, branches
scaled with green moss, light, as well,
and shadow and cloud-rush and sky

This and That

In January, a slight rain in the air, more mist than rain, really, though
enough to accumulate, in time, into droplets that run down the windshield,
the wind out of the northwest, steady and chilling; elsewhere and at another
time in his life, this would have been snow, spinning on, rather than falling
through, the air;
the announcer on the radio, which had been playing nothing worth mentioning or
even noting, announces Julie London’s “Hot Toddy”; or does he announce it or
merely say, “Julie London’ and play the song, the coolly scatted version—
one one-two-three, one one one-two-three, one two three, though she says
do do-do-do, do do do-do-do do do do, except midway through the song
when she, quite poignantly, changes to oo oo-oo-oo, oo oo oo-oo-oo, ow
ow ow;
those among you concerned with narrative, as so many seem to be these days,
will notice that the shift from do do’s to oo’s and ow’s is manifestly
narrative, as all changes, even in music, inevitably tend to be, and
referential— oo and ow as parts of pleasure and pain or pleasure edging toward
pain or pain superseding pleasure, as a droplet exceeds mist, though it proceeds
from it, offering a sense of direction to what had otherwise seemed a mere
condition of the air;
questions of attraction, he supposed, were generated out the peculiar puzzle
of desire; how is it one thing, out of so many, takes on such importance, as
though life without it would seem less than life, or perhaps, in the moment,
at least, less complete;
it would be simpler, he thought, to suppose that desire, itself, is a condition,
rather, that is, than an occurrence, since it manifests itself so broadly and at
such diverse times; if it is mere absence, and absence is the continuous
companion of presence, then to perceive presence would be to perceive absence
and, therefore, desire, as something more significant than mere appetite, or
perhaps not;
whatever is missing, as a general fact of presence and absence, would not account
for desire’s specificity, a desire not for anything or any one member of a
category of things but for one thing, one person, receptive, in a similar
state of unaccountable need;
does it matter, he wonders, that Julie London played a nurse in a 1970s television
program about paramedics, called “Emergency,” that she took down vital signs
over a short wave radio and said things like saline, D5W, and lydocaine, that
she wore white, as nurses still did in the days before pastel, flowered scrubs,
that she seemed, even there, in costume, larger than life, that her husband,
Bobby Troup played a doctor on the show, which was produced by her ex-husband,
Jack Webb;
it is easy to image her on the set, then, microphone in hand, haloed with desire,
Webb’s pushed, we suppose, into the past, Troup’s more recent if not as
persistent, Webb reaching across time to dress Julie in stiffened white cotton
and polyester, saying pulse and blood pressure, or oo oo and ow ow in the
thick, low, desire-laden voice she was famous for.

© Copyright 2007 Michael Anania

19 November 2007

Featured Poet: Jennifer Karmin

Photo credit: street performance of Walking Poem, downtown Chicago, 10/25/06, photo by Daniel Mejia

Jennifer Karmin is a poet, artist, and educator who has experimented with language throughout the U.S. and Japan. She curates the Red Rover Series with fiction writer Amina Cain and is a founding member of the public art group Anti Gravity Surprise. Her multidisciplinary projects have been presented at a number of festivals, artist-run spaces, community centers, and on city streets. Jennifer teaches creative writing to immigrants at Truman College and works as a Poet-in-Residence for the Chicago Public Schools. During 2008, she will be a guest writer in Kenya with the Summer Literary Seminars and in California with the Djerassi Program. Recent publications include WOMB, MoonLit, Bird Dog, Milk Magazine, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century, and Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces.

bananas keep us all alive

i have a dog
i have a cow
i don’t eat meat
i have no food in my apartment

is not catholic
i am not catholic
am raised jewish
in a suburb where
almost everyone was catholic
but me

mom was catholic
was put in a convent
when her mom died
she was four
was afraid
did not like nuns
they did not believe
what she said about her father

catholic is christ
is a man
first a man
many people could believe/know
the same thing about god
answer creation
rules of society
why it’s raining

you are hiking
in bryce canyon
no water
no people
no roads
a rattle snake
red dry hot stony
take off your shirt
and wet it in
the little bit of water
left in this stream

kill bison
kill indians
build roads
build railroads
we can move on we can move on
we do not need to know
we do not need to think

yellowstone is roads
is 30 people taking pictures
of a lone moose
that has stumbled towards
the road
we drive through the park
not a forest

i spent $326 on monday
to fix my car
i bought a couch
for $20
i am slightly dyslexic
i hate math but
i think algebra is ok

knowledge of self
of others
to know how i work
to feel like i am doing something
to get by
to travel
to buy groceries
to buy a new pair of socks

you don’t know
i have been lucky

crabs parchment a favor
or gertrude and i go to the beach

crabby crabs
the sea the ocean
found paper

you and me
we got crabs for a favor
i’m the favor
for you and me
to write right (?)

pack me a favor with crabs
crab me a parchment with a favor
your favor has crabs
on my parchment

to favor (she)
to crab (he)
to parchment
you and i and a crab

i favor the crab i favor me

your parchment
(non-gendered pronouns)
to favor
your crab
to write on parchment
to keep in the sand
with the crab

for a favor
for me
buried away

© Copyright 2007 Jennifer Karmin

Editor's Note: Poems were previously published in the chapbook Myth of Me (ragamuffin press), a project funded by the SUNY Buffalo Poetics Program through the Samuel P. Capen Chair (Robert Creeley) and the Melodia E. Jones Chair (Raymond Federman).

11 September 2007

Featured Poet: Lea Graham

Psyche & Eros, After Closing

& beyond Keno flash
& bounce, urine whiff from the johns & shit-
talk. Beyond the vacant barstools, neon

Michelob drained of color, Orbison
silenced, then the boys upstairs in booze,
chess, the blue light of late-night screens; 290
from windows, its soft humming possibility;
above Millbury Street, the Square itself
quiet, still Tony’s lit & cop cars before
lamplight—Worcester-- this city of work itself
idle, in deep sleep or at some edge

:Comes to her
where dark is tension
of bitter & sweet,
a spell wrought from out,
hooded lids, bitten
lip, feels his way, edge
then curve, as fingered
groove, then string. Or her
journey to hell &
back. By heavenly
origin. What they
don’t say. But –O
when he pulls her
hair. Some arch. And then.

From “9 Days & 1 Night at the Vernon”


I write a poem about eating eggs with you.
One month passes and you tell me
you hate eggs--

even scrambled.

A woman comes in who loves the word gorgeous.
She says, "gorgeous blonds,"and "We three
are gorgeous,"

& "This is a gorgeous day."

She has lost a son, a house, land in County Cork.
She pisses herself standing up.
I forgive

your dislike of eggs,

recall your arms, fingers poised, before “Sweet Thing”
& the Ship Room’s golden lights, your
perfect pitch:

gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous


There is a man who plays
Rachmaninov on the untuned
piano. Otherwise, he howls
at noon.

Allie & I scale
fences & pick out crack whores
from the rooftop. Brianna, in
a mu-mu, throws down a 40

We drink. Watch
cars lattitude night and the lights
of this square blink on & off
& on at the turn of
a head


Hibiscus inked, blooms
her lats & she lifts
a dress to the room
as a Catholic
boy, filthy with yearning,
pulls her to him, some
great lover-- & this

barroom a terrace over

the Adriatic, below
pine trees mark paths for old men
& bicycles, purposive
on their way into a future—

& the ships at horizon’s lip bound for Cyprus


The two large ladies at the bar
ask Pete what he's packing. He
tells them to estimate his height
by his shoe size & count his Jewish
heritage. They ask him what he
would do if he were with them--
as old as his mother--fucking

his brains out?

He says: I'd call
my girlfriend, tell her I'm sorry.

09 August 2007

Featured Poet: Matthew Guenette

Editor's Note: Matthew Guenette reads this Sunday, August 12 at Myopic Books (1564 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago), 7 pm with Jason Bredle.

Newlywed Poem

That summer’s cramped
humid alphabet, tree-shadowed
street, shadows shading
each day’s motion
syllables slow-finning forward
& back as enormous
impossible-to-catch muskies
slow-finned & flashed
in the current where
the power plant’s outflow
warmed the lake green
that first red morning, the punk
plucking his bike
from a dumpster & smoking
a joint trailing funky
sweet & sour seahorses
of smoke, our sublet’s vague
gas-leak smell, faded orange
plaster music pumped in
from the 70s, jumping spiders
living like monks in the sills
the next door couple’s
moans sapping through
our sleep, the underwater
sound of TV, black & white
canned laughs sinking
through the ceiling, the surprisingly
soothing aluminum blinds
in a breeze, the schizophrenic
xylophone of chimes
& somewhere a drunk singing
Sinatra from his porch—
remember how we slipped
naked down the alley
night’s cool breath on our necks
how careful we were
not to wake, our bed rafting
onto the lake, drifting out
like a new sentence.

Heather Bar Sonnet

The night is an urging of non-Heathers
until in walks Heather
with her fistful of Heathers.

Either we saddle the horse of un-Heather
or we Heather the horse
of unreason

or we unsaddle the Heathers
through the eye of a needle.
Fortune bumblebees toward Heather
who sashays with her look-alikes.

To Heather or not Heather?
To Heather (she stammered in the drunken beauty queen fashion)
her meditative equipoise
and the queens she hides up her sleeve.

His Mind was a Backseat

With stains and a funny smell


Emotionally disturbed brother and I
at the drub diets
enjoying bottles of the latest biter duds.

We’re looking out over rib dusted

Beyond the stub dried, big Ed ruts
where the special ed dirt dusts up like bed turds.

You know what should go there, says emotionally disturbed brother.
A summer bicep camp. Rows of machines for every move.
Dumbbells, preacher bench, nautilus isometric shit.
All biceps, all the time.
A parking lot full of crotch-rockets and Camaros and Z-28s. With special guests
Carrot Top and Governor Schwarzenegger motivating the skinny-legged campers
to sculpt their biceps until their shirt sleeves strain
and the biceps practically oil themselves.

Later we’re watching big eds rut
a bride stud on TV.

A tubed rids with a birds duet
buried in his bust redid gets dragged
to the tribe duds by his drunk bastard friends
who want nothing to do with this debt rudder.

Emotionally disturbed brother says, will he be okay?

All biceps all the time.

When Lightning Struck the Festival
The Lights Strung in the Trees Popped like Ladyfingers.

He was auditioning for the role of Man Hit By a Bus. He had to wear Coke-bottle glasses
and was asked to walk as if on a raft rocking in the middle of a lake.

Smile, they said. Round your vowels like a Wisconsin housewife.

Except they had no script, so he had to improvise.

He decided to say whatever had happened: “When lightning struck the festival,
the lights strung in the trees popped like ladyfingers.”

The words wrote themselves out in the air before him, finishing themselves off
before he could speak through them fully. Time was moving on
without him. Something electric and heavy.

He nailed it on the second take.

Playing Poker with the Gods

The Gods say raise your hand and repeat after us:
drink this kool aid, wear this fig leaf,
try on these rockets and missiles for size.

Is everything wrapped in a womb of red velvet?
Even the hedgehog? The Must-Be Gods.
The Gods of Bit-by-Bit.

These gods are killing my teeth
like a tray of revolving sweets. The insect’s
mandibles should be reminder enough

not to tip these undertakers on our way out.
Is every god a stranger? Are they just
wanting money as the seasons demand? One god

says you’re a big sissy, another wears a cologne
called Tourniquet. Look: there’s calcium bicarbonate
on your new white shirt. The gods

fat and stupid change their minds like pigeons.
Fortitude: testicular. Coleslaw: stolen.
Here among all creation, I get a splitting headache

because every night I have to come down here
and devour all these ashes.
Please, what am I supposed to do?

He Lived in X

Its oligarchy of mayors.
Its shitty country music.
Its backwards hat wearing riding around with gun racks and rebel flags.

He thought X was trying to erase itself because it preferred parking lots and fast food
20 oz. refill chicken bucket strip-malls plowing relentlessly through.

Like preferring no history at all.
His any given night riverfront casino desperate and despondent drunk wandering.
His grotesquely gurgling carp thrown up on its muddy banks.

He didn’t go to church.
He didn’t think nailing the Ten Commandments to your lawn was a good idea.
He wasn’t into morbid obesity or brain sandwiches or lovers with exes with restraining orders out on bail.

The only time he felt suicidal was in X. He went to the pawnshop to see how much
for a gun.

Then he went to the emergency room.

What’s the problem?
I want to kill myself.

You need to make an appointment for that. The earliest we can see you
is in three weeks.


Nietzsche had a mullet

Finally, The Printer

Finally, the printer decided just to drag, jig-saw, Swiss-cheese, or otherwise mince and shred in its jaws every memo, resume, and refusal-of-credit letter to a stubble-mulch lettuce.

Something had to be done.

Debbie distracted the printer with paper clips and a fresh ream of paper. I dialed the company’s emergency hot line and whispered the code word: hamster.

I’d barely hung up the phone before the SWAT Team was there, rappelling down from the roof in a shadowy flux.

The printer sensed something was up.

Black ink and toner fluid drooled from its cream-colored face. Its digital readout was speaking in tongues. It flashed a seizure of red and green lights.

“Debbie,” I said. “Take my hand.”

This was the go sign. The SWAT Team came swinging crashing through the windows, their laser scopes trained with terrifying precision.

In no time they had the printer blindfolded and unplugged.

The grizzled CO lit up a cigar. He set his jaw and gave a look of deep reproach while in the storeroom two of his boys went to work on the printer old school, one with a pipe, the other with needle-nose pliers.

“We’ve seen this type of printer before,” he said.

© Copyright 2007 Matthew Guenette

01 August 2007

Featured Poet: Melissa Severin

Ars Amatoria

Though the mysteries of Venus are not buried in a box,
nor echo in the wide air to the clash of cymbals,
but are busily enjoyed so, by us all,
they still wish to be concealed among us.

--Ovid, Ars Amatoria

My life repeats,
bobs in and out
of water, misses night's

seaward drag against stomach.
Lungs won't take prisoners
but this mouth that sops kelp
slush, an open window on my face.

This is the thunderhead.
Hurricane. If the ocean turned
to snow we'd have an avalanche
of pine needles to sew shut out jaws.

with breath, lassoed
voices, deteriorated word ropes.
Against the molars,
Morse code
of my name once spoken.
Becomes it, once spoken, untrue
for the grave love made; soliloquy
stuck in the tongue pit, monstrously

Said yes too much,
licked clean plates clean,
watched skin go slate,
made specious excuses

for failed concoctions
best left to chemists,
undertakers and impressionists. They see
a thing distantly: heart beats in calligraphy
on a compass, the measure of a termite wing
ductile and trapped among cilia,
taxidermied dromedaries just to show us
what they're made of. Sequels
scalpeled into the skin like secrets
now obsolete.

Call brush strokes obvious,
the use of plastic, morose.
When he gives you a rose,
do not knit him a blanket.

Unsleeping Fragments

(collaboration with Jared Weber)

It's not when but
you come to it, mutable;
a conversation suddenly shifted
to a foreign language.

that knowledge no one really hears
what they can't comprehend, just fragments hung

between elevator doors. Panic
sounds like a ring
for each floor, a sentence
rising in the throat, a choke
on a cherry pit, aril sweet
around the stone.

Nervy taste
on a broken tooth, tart,
the pain of pushing
a hangnail, the red swell,
infection at the root.

Doesn't exist
until flesh-a hand
against a neck-accidentally
means yest.
Arms become
drape the wall
of a back. In this light
that t-shirt looks like a cast
holding back the chest;
it buckles with a heavy breath
And "it" and "how" are never
or in lowest terms all setting

and take back the take back
as cotton hold whatever well

you get it don't you right?
More or less
a game a technique being entertained,
privacy alleged as mystery extensive unabridged
lyrics so-called mystery as detained
answers writing ars in the arse
we lie down,
we wake up,
we never rise,

we uncover our legs but stay under
the blanket like it's a body almost
holding what is preset
and inherent to out call
and answer
is he who begins holds response
control in the breathable epic

blanket we hold on
glad for the grip.
But did you hear my sleep,
its oak grasp my mouth

wishing it could kneel
next to night,
hands in ribs

because we're just sleeping
I venture

I hear clinically taste preliminary

slumber in committee but what has the discovery
of groups ever brought about
but the expense account? Important to my listening

is my anchored protocol an asset
accredited meaningfully to a groundbreaking emotional screening:

staying in our suite to identify
survival's flexing muscle
express tower * The bed

is a bell tower chimes
on the hour. It's better than water,
the rain in the attic, counting off thunder
counting eyelashes, coffee grounds
and phases of the moon multiply
sex in unnamable numeric succession

leaving blanket on body body covers false ribs

& double rib equals rain
the universal metaphor
for everything except wetness.
When you're

ready for it, there's a wing I keep

with me, I wake it at 5am.

Take it. Then take me with you. This summer's spine

turned to butter;
what melts is made stronger
by the stranger lying here. In another time zone
communal grammar aerates your lumbar,
tips off the amorous suitcase:
the moon likes to build a utopia & immediately
burn it down
I've told the truth
I've believed in the low
value and elevated fee of wings unique

to my wishes but you * how much lowing and license can you take?

How much now can I pack
in my fist?
There's a silver grief trailing behind:
a comet's tail or trace of bullets.
And I've asked lord
willing to wear uncomfortable clothing @ 6AM

I do not believe memoir
will uncover a prologue toward a god
a god who if it
was truly intelligent would've offered
more than an interlude,
the second a mirror cracks,

the dryness of an elbow is the burden of want.

Taste the slack of ropes. There is a coast for me to wash toward,

a dark I've not slept in yet,
a sleep I've not slept;
because my hair is a wick and I'm unlit,

I'll take a bit
and harness, a lantern,
flourescent overhead. Tonight,
the radio on my sash is the moon,
a Japanese economist saying,

There's an unconscious risk in the world.


I love unplugging things. When I
unplug the lamp the light comes on
and I don't think of it as confusing
but more of an airplane or a zeppelin
in a tiger's mouth, a plaything.
When I play, when I see a play,
when I block backs
to the audience, you can see
their faces better. Your back
gives me my back, back.
Giver. Give me my money back
because it's too tight around this wrist
and I can't make a fist without it.
Cut off my circulation. You're circulating
the room, searching for a torso
to climb. Sun in the shutters
shelters your face from looking ugly
but you're ugly anyway. You're
my type of ugly. On the inside, I'd ask
why you're sitting here
except that I see your ugly
and plug in.

© copyright 2007 Melissa Severin

01 June 2007

Featured Poet: Simon DeDeo

Simon DeDeo is a scientist and poet. He lives in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Chicago, Illinois. He edits rhubarb is susan and co-edits absent magazine, where he has written on anarchist poetics. His work appears in Gut Cult, Moria, Shampoo and Typo, among other places, and is forthcoming in the horseless review.


The Ø-dimensional King
(the Executive's apostrophe to his Secretary)

The ecopoetical world -- the pale blue dot
the doggrel of language, self-limited visible,
O O O that . . .

phenomenal sensation, this blue machine
to be all eliminated tout suite,
what a put-in-wonderful tremulous

mind convergent! Those salad grammars,
fractictious murderous all-plain-burning
caesuras at the center of the mind.

Who will sing this fragile computing thing?
Step in to my office as into the filtered
light of the transaction, the pattered

expressions of wealth on wealth on wealth.
I hurry papers to their destination and you
my gorgeous courier, my lesbian amanuensis

take desire on desire from my bleeding nails.
Do you think of me -- when you think of me --
as a perihelion? As a slow glissando into fire,

a recalcitrant memory or two burnt on entry
into my corona, but no matter : the drive
to be understood, Love, is satisfied here

by the passing of bills, the marking-up,
the tracklights over my wife and fiancée
scraping garlic from the press in Schamburg.

Mind! That very world is like a toll,
a scansion of the table, elaborate
molecular residue on the combine blade

of the Business Community. Scan this desk, cast
one knee-high stockinged leg across the green,
green world. I live

in mutuality, I am the docent of the fiducial
pathway to a woman's heart like yours,
I am large enough to contain the desire

you do not pass. Do you enjoy to shop?
Michigan Avenue, what does it not contain,
what fictions can't it sell, what Borges

grows unknown behind its counters? It is
a man's hand on yours now, as we look -- Look
towards the rising Sun beyond the Lake,

beyond the reach of man as you will never be,
satellite -- of love, yes, of bone --
persistent pattern in the water of my eye.

And then, what end? In marriage or in death
surpassed by capital, one languorous anorexic thought,
this wealth of now, this long, long, dragging skirt.


©copyright 2007 Simon DeDeo

Featured Poet: Tony Trigilio

Tony Trigilio's newest books include a collection of poetry, The Lama's English Lessons (Three Candles Press, 2006); a book of criticism, Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics (forthcoming, July 2007, Southern Illinois University Press); and an anthology, coedited with Tim Prchal, of literature on the immigration experience, Visions and Divisions: American Immigration Literature, 1870-1930 (forthcoming, Winter 2008, Rutgers University Press). His poems have been anthologized in The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for a New Century (Cracked Slab, 2007); Digerati: 20 Contemporary Poets in the Virtual World (Three Candles, 2006), and America Zen (Bottom Dog, 2004); and recent poems are published or forthcoming in journals such as Big Bridge, Black Clock, Denver Quarterly, Diagram, La Petite Zine, The Laurel Review, MiPoesias, and North American Review. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago, where he also serves as Director of Creative Writing--Poetry.


American habits,
sleeping in.

military parade,
all the workers.

I visited
the Zigers,

We dance
play around
till 2 in the morning,

chanteuse Anita.
Sunk in the glint,
her slip,
almonds in the ashtray,
the spell of vodka,
my head dropped sideways,
radiator hackling,

her voice
a dignified thing --
the man who stepped
quickly past us
this morning
as if balancing
a plum on his nose
when he heard
my accent.

Ziger advised me
in a way
that comes back,
to go back,

first voice
of opposition
I understood.

Ziger respects
the world --

says numerous things
and mentions
things numerous
I do not know --
I start to feel
inferior, difficult,
it is true!



On the dance floor, they dip like swimmers.
The people.
I perch, the foreigner -- distant, unreal,
a saint looking down
from the rafters of the Palace of Culture.

They swivel, run away from their own bodies,
catch the light like fireflies.

In the future, houses get bigger,
their men keep themselves alive
till their children are born.

Nothing rises unless someone gashes the soil.

I’m bored -- no nightclubs or bowling alleys,
only trade union dances.

U2s fly in circles, protecting
milk truck routes in the suburbs
from the Red Army --

anyone can put in school books
that tea was dumped in the harbor,
anyone can skim the grass with blab
and call it revolution.

Their shoulders dark, touching
dialectic sway, waltz time.

It’s obnoxious, the future is a style.

The savior appears as the belly
of an army in the last stage of history,
seer and seen the same,
the people go forth
in the hurry tumble of waves,
become what they behold.
A hawk, bloody wing-print
on the rafters . . .

The girl I tried to meet
when she came into the hall --
her dress, red Chinese brocade,
puff French hairdo á la Brigitte Bardot.
White slippers.
This is not Ella.
Eyes burnished, an exile’s. Lips drowsy.
Tells me her name is Marina.


Oswald Translates The Queen of Spades Playing Cards with Ella

The Russian names
for things belong to her.

I am ready to do anything
for your sake.

I am ready to be I vow
not only to be your husband,

a servant
in different indefinitely forever.

Ella deals a hand.
A gambler is a beggar

for perfect love,

thinks he can pull
the magic card

from its fix
in the limbics.

One card you can't play
by the rules.

I love you, love you
immeasurably. I cannot imagine

life without
you. I am ready right now

to make perform
a heroic

deed of unknown

for your sake.
But do not

wish to restrain your
freedom in any way.

I am ready
to conceal my feelings

to please you.

The women of Minsk
twirl their skirts --

we are a society
of rich men

who never lose
our heads

but go on

I am willing
not only to be

your husband -- I am
saddened by sad with

your sadness
and I weep

with your tears.
How feeling. How remote.

Ace beats Queen.
She winks at me.

Marina's pregnant
and Ella makes

my stomach hurt.
She can
't understand me

because of my accent.

I am ready right now
to perform a heroic deed

of unprecedented prowess
for your sake



Punched out, lids sunk in whirlpool, Oswald
heard that day about a visit from Hosty,
the FBI agent, who questioned Marina
about their marriage, why she lived with the Paines,
the Castro leaflets, the Book Depository.
She didn’t give him her husband’s address in Dallas.

She didn’t know he lived in that boarding house in Dallas
under an assumed name, O.H. Lee, not Oswald.
He visited weekends from the Book Depository,
but the rest, even his own name, was mystery. Now Hosty,
sniffing some kind of trail, phoned Ruth Paine
for the address he couldn’t get from Marina.

Hosty noted: "He keeps secrets. Worked radar as a Marine,
learned Russian fast -- too fast? -- lies low in Dallas,
keeps a Soviet wife (forbids she learn English) at the Paines'
in Irving. He’s a defector. Can I be sure Oswald
stopped agitating for Cuba? That he’s really a laborer hoisting
cartons -- just a warehouse clerk at the Book Depository?"

Oswald wrote down the phone number for the Depository
so Ruth could give it to Hosty. But he told Marina
to memorize the agent’s license plate next time Hosty
came to call in Irving. That’s when the Dallas
FBI got their own visit: a tired, angry Oswald --
worn down, wave after wave upon rock, the pain

of sticky warehouse work, his dependence on the Paines.
Shit labor with school books. His paychecks deposited
in a dry well hiding O.H. Lee, A.J. Hidell, Oswald,
all his fake names, and Alik, of course, as Marina
warmly used (since Lee sounded Chinese). Dallas
in 1963 beat him: a nest of John Birchers, fickle host

for an FBI double-life. He delivered the "Hosty
Note," fabled to have said: Stay away from the Paines
or else I’ll come for you. I’ll blow up the FBI and the Dallas
Police. I’ve done what the Bureau asked at the Book Depository.
From now on, you better stop harassing Marina.
This will not end in tragedy for me. Signed, L.H. Oswald.

When Ruby did his part, Hosty shredded the note he’'d safe-deposited.
He painstakingly lied under oath, said he questioned only Marina --
said he never met Dallas FBI informant #179, L.H. Oswald.



After failing to obtain a Cuban visa in Mexico City, Oswald crosses back into the United States at Laredo, Texas.

Wrist scars, bad hospital food and I wanted to be a Soviet citizen.

All over the headlines in Forth Worth. Famous U.S. Marine defector works at a radio factory in Minsk. In the hospital, violins.

They scrambled the U-2 codes. I joined a hunting club.

German girl, seat in front. Sign up ahead: Importation of fresh produce into the U.S. without a valid permit is prohibited.

Marina says you go hunting in Russia, you catch a bottle of Vokda. I shot a duck once.

Take the banana from my bag. Spot of yellow in my eye, black-pocked, soft. Sweating cheek against my palm. I’m not a smuggler.

Delicate, the swale of my heart. Neck is wet. The German girl -- her hair a handful of hay washed up on white sand.

I wrote: I think to myself, "How easy to die" and "a sweet death (to violins)." Rimma finds me half-dead (bathtub water a rich red color). Somewhere a violin plays as I watch my life whirl away.

Night of the violins, a Soviet folktale: a man shoots a duck but comes back with a banana. That’s crazy.

The puffed-up cloud in my sleep -- the petty official who tried to send me back to America. Balding stout, I wrote. Tells me, "USSR only great in literature."

Pushed away the drone, the heat inside my head, the temperature of Rimma’s face. My undershirt was spicy, wet.

[Note: Poem adapts source material from Lee Harvey Oswald's Soviet journal, titled "Historic Diary," which he kept from 1959-1962.]

©copyright 2007 Tony Trigilio

05 May 2007

Featured Poet: Michael Antonucci

Michael Antonucci’s creative and scholarly work can (or will soon) be found in publications including Arkansas Review, African-American Review, Callaloo, Cortland Review, Byline, Cold Mountain Review, Near South, and VIA. ) A selection from his longer poem “BAKER BOWL” was included in The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century (CRACKED SLAB, 2007). He is part of the Jimmy Wynn Ensemble, a Chicago collaborative writing experiment and currently working on a series of poems called “Halogen Martyrs.” His favorite element is Hassium.

“The H-Poems”

“My mother played the piano beautifully.

She really wanted me to become a concert pianist.”

--Edward Teller, Ph.D.

“Father of the Hydrogen Bomb”


"Niagara” from the Iroquois word,

Onguiaahra: “the strait."

(before film

tourists sketch the Falls

in charcoal,





( barrel hoops

feather pillows

lost lives

trying to conquer


Edward Teller, Ph.D.



Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

makes it


to know



the present

If, for instance,

in 1914 Sarajevo,

a certain vehicle


a Crown Prince

were delayed,

there may not have been a world war.

We, however,

had precise

understanding of

the hydrogen




visitors flocked to

the Falls

in winter


beneath it

on the

ice bridge

locals built



tourists liquor & curiosities


the Falls

ice bridge


(February 4, 1912

three (tourist) lives lost.



Ten miles from zero-point

I was sure it had misfired.

( the sand, our heavy welding glasses

I thought: “too late”

tipping my glasses,

I removed a curtain,

and light


as sunlight entered

I was impressed.

I saw its brilliant flash.

Oppenheimer Bhagavad-Gita

"I am become death the destroyer of worlds."

H 1 Hydrogen

a great no glop bubble

fizz up (fizz-sick

monster head layer cake

home some (no)where:

Niagara, Sarov

(Dunkirk, Crete, Bopal

a land





acid fire foam

cooper’s hoops pop rivets

a pocket watch


the city



ink, chalk

paper and slate

©copyright 2007 Michael Antonucci