All contents from this back issue will be included.  The first installment is the poetry. 


by Earl Coleman

Most gormandize on love,
A fiery Tabasco in their veins,
And relish what chance dumps upon their plate,
An overseasoned stew or yesterday's remains.

A few, abstemious,
Sip only of ambrosia or refrain,
Eschew the fallen fruit and culls
And keep their hunger sharp as love's sweet pain.


by Earl Coleman

For pleasure's sake
God, publican
Of his own devise,
Testing our retort
For imperfections
He may yet put right.
He makes plentiful
Potatoes, barley, corn,
Although some sullen
Crave tequila's worm.
Out bellies to the bar
We are intemperate or wise.
For these few hours
We may choose between
The rot-gut and the wine,
Dependent only on our will,
Until that designated time
Too soon, He closes shop
And sends us home
To sleep it off.


by Robert Collins

Though he tried to hide it,
we all knew him as the drunk
who slashed the mayor's tires
on a dare--blackest sheep
of a clan with too many secrets,
rising once a year during mass
to recite the pledge again,
shaking, staggering on sea legs,
the greasy suits he sweated through
stinking of whiskey and tobacco.

Then late one spring he vanished
like a man who's fallen overboard
in darkness three days out of port.
Only a long time later did I learn
he's started disappearing years before,
drifting out alone during funerals
for a shot to take the edge off
or cruising from bar to corner bar
trying to forget while his wife
and kids trolled down foggy streets,
black after block in a borrowed car.

Ten years after he was banished,
dying slowly on the Bowery, alone,
washed up, beyond rescue or remorse,
his liver swollen big as a football,
he prowled through padlocked doorways,
out of breath, crazed on Muscatel,
trying to find a passage in the wreckage
he was trapped in on the bottom
that might lead back to the surface,
a hunger mean and lethal as his own
alert behind each door he tried to force.

Before he sank beneath contempt,
shitting his pants and vomiting blood,
on Sundays I'd ride beside him
in the huge back seat of our Buick
submerged in the stale aroma of wear beer,
listening to the stories he coughed up,
and wish I had a father who talked to me
like he did, believing I was drowning
while the world outside swarm by,
holding my breath, holding myself under.


by Jeanette M. Cox

Her baby was
born without a brain
just outside Matamoros,

She buried the
baby on the banks
of the Rio Grande
just outside Brownsville,

The police were
and brought her in for questioning.

"The way I see it, it was a fair
she said, dragging her
fingernails across
her forearm.


by J. M. Cox

Rain splits the sky

my eyes catch misted thoughts

walking upon corpses of leaves.


by J. M. Cox

Arms out
I walk
toe to heel
from the center
of the rug,
following the braid.
My ragdoll is at
a distance.

Mama sits before
the mirror, twisting
hair with crooked fingers.

Daddy had broken
her hand
the day I received my doll.
had hit Mama in the
and threw her
against the stove.

The rug beneath my feet
blends from green to

The day I was given my ragdoll,
Billy had tried to
help Mama
but Daddy was stronger.
Now I wear his overalls and
The blood from Billy's ear
had ruined Mama's
hand-braided rug.

I watch as Mama wraps her
hair upon her head.

The day I
was given my doll,
Mama had wrapped her
with rags
to save money
to put Billy in a box.
The men in uniforms
came and took Daddy

At the end of the rug,
the braid is tucked under.
I can reach my ragdoll
but turn and follow
the braid back
to the center.


by J. M. Cox

each age produces its own poetry
and unvaried
the unconforming
must conform
to a norm
of nonconformity

I seek

by slicing the unexpected
with the unexpected
and separate


from the separatists,
and the post-modernists,
and the retro-spectralists,


for it is within
the duality
of banality
that we find our true



by Holly Day

as she lay there, bleeding
helpless under four hundred pounds of
quivering flesh, he smiled
a toothless grin at what
he'd done.

nausea screamed "hang ten!"
again she tried to turn her head
so as not to throw up on herself
he held her with flabby hands so
she swallowed the bile
and pretended to be

but this Quasimodo clone was smart,
smart enough to lure her into his
tiny slum apartment, smart enough to
recognize the slow pulsing in her
chest as life

life to be tortured
for yet another
unpleasant hour.


by Jim DeWitt

such terse poetry was never red
until today, dropleting quatrains
tossed away for some scarlet time bum
to catch, as the trilled tome
he'll hum comes perverse
but approving to
the swell trickle of verse
as when a puppet laughs
resembling too well the fickle academics
of Hell, yet soughing
a soft-enough touch for moves to
jock-o-lanterns baying at
the moonbody's memories of illusion
till those of a
de-crayonified goblin's ilk
cast tibgles faded enough
for a crystal swaying-back glass
of milky non-confusion


by Jim DeWitt

the thicker air of this Alp valley
hums heavy
with incipient stories
but the bard in me is determined
to climb higher
and somewhere there stumble onto
an unknown alphabet
to write them in
shaking a furious flurry of words
out of my pen--
then what care I if I ever get back
to Hackensack to mow the lawn
and take out the trash . . .
ho, see over yonder
a snowflake's just landed
smack on that black cat's back


by Jan DiVinvenzo

Lowered a sawblade
faster than sound
to make an incision
straight down the spine.
I whirred him in half
specking the white
collar with fine
invisible blood.
To others
it seemed
he sat unharmed,
thoughts uncleaved
in a quaint cafe,
but so swift was I
in doing the deed
that like a candle
after Zorro's sword,
years down the road
he fell in half.


by Paul A. Hanson

Their daily arguments peeled
the living room wallpaper; they
cured their illness with alcohol
which saturated the floor boards,
as they exchanged four-letter
words, and fists beating on the bones
of the house.

"Your tricks are no treats,"
he shouted from the basement,
setting fire to old newspapers.

She panicked
when the smoke

"I loved him,"
she told friends
at the funeral.

The landlord felt differently.


by Scott C. Holstad

apparitions of people
shaved bald
like circumcised
penises torment me
of skeletal phantoms
walking in rain
deathly dead stick arms
upraised to the gods
knew one such
apparition once
cheated of life
by a diseased society
intent upon deprivation
of body and soul
identity as we would
have it
am haunted
at times
by what could
have been.


by Scott C. Holstad

they come at me in
my dreams smiling
dysfunctional smiles
gap toothed grins
in summary
socially distorted
at live in
a non acceptable mode
tunnel vision
so to speak
of useless ideologies
and utopian dilemmas
barrel chested dreams
of new identity
poses little
threat to the


by Scott C. Holstad

Scene One

here we go
      by teams no less
the world marching in
to this tiny
      battle and decide
things permanently

half of us take seats
the other half goes on

i'm in the front row
      velvety cushions
      aisle seat too
only 12 in my team
i've got a
            15 Inch
sawed off double
barreled shotgun
pointed straight at
the cheeky throat
of some unlucky
            m-o-therfu-c k-er (hopefully this confuses any search engine)
also gotta grenade

action starts when
(sun)light goes down

Scene Two

light leavin town
      fleeing on a
      low note

seats start to rotate
guns go off pop
i squeeze my trigger
            miss by a ton
feel hard thud
and bloody soccer
ball head lands in my
wide white eyeballs
glarin up at me
blood running down
my legs
sweaty itchy fingers
rotating seats
people dropping
surreal victim sequence
of carnage twitching in
            time lockout
state of mind smell
shit in the air

lights go up

Scene Three

only 2 left on my team
bodies somehow
(don't feel guilty then)
from view no smoke
on bloody joints just
a few left and
eerie naked people
sprouting hairy leers
adopting post PC
      position themselves
accordingly and
we all know
this will be it

so i check my gun
no more grenades
and wonder why me
can't move from our
seats feel a little
trapped can't run
spot na-k ed b-it c-h
crouched and gurgling
on all fours and
we lock eyes
      wider with

            this is it

bring my gun to bear
(can't shoot till the
lights go down)
see cold barrel
looking at me
sweating hard now
this seems crazy
it's all suicide
we're less than
      15 Feet
from each other
we're gonna cancel
each other out

she licks the barrel
of her hard steel gun
points it straight
at my head
nerves twitchy
dancing defecation dance

Who Put This Play On

what sh i-t he ad thought
this is why are we
killing each other
what's the point
knowing fear will
come when light
goes down and
seeing movement
of the senses
thinking senseless
thoughts anymore
in oblivious state
still we must
kill in order to
survive another
day i guess
and now it's
time and our
guns are locked
in people the
lights are

Scene Four



by Li Min Hua

Vowed I would not let another week pass
           before I wrote.
Back from Charlotte for my last checkup for my eyes.
           I had surgery there in November.
    Did not realize I could not see colors correctly
           until the first cataract was gone.
                      I see fine now.

       Don't know from whom you hear in town,
           but I'll try first to list those
    of your Mother's friend's who've also died:

    Evelyn (57 yrs.), died Thursday after a
           three-yr. valiant battle with cancer.
    Ralph from cancer about a month ago.
           He had a lovely second wife.  Harriet,
           his daughter lost one of her sons in
           the Service before Christmas.  She is
           divorced.  He dropped a bomb.  They were
    Mary Francis was found dead in bed last fall.
           She was Van's stepmother.
    Fred and his wife were brutally murdered in March.
    Mr. Mill is gone, Garvin gone.
    Clarence is still here, in body only.  Poor thing.
    Virginia (Mrs. Fred Sr.) is gone.  Her house,
           in front of Clarence's is vacant still.
    Sunny Sr. is gone.  Poor Tommy, his wife, is
           senile, and so pathetic.
    Dr. S. (Donald) has Parkinson's Disease.  They
           don't talk about it, but you can surely tell it.
    Marvin has cancer all over him.  Pitiful.
    Thomas is in very poor condition.  Rose still
           hangs on.
    Doris is gone, as is Catherine.

My garden is very pretty now, but so full of weeds.
           I've spent today watering it.
          And they all have Baptist appetites.
          I can't work in it like I used to
       because of a bad back and foot and 80 years!
Get the fellows from the Fellowship House, alcoholics,
to help me and they are pretty good for the most part.
          I enjoy it, and so do my friends.

          What do you think of all the Methodist hullabaloo
                about deleting "Onward Christian Soldiers"
                             from the hymnal?
                       And the Baptists quarreling
                about what is and isn't true in the Bible?
Two August bodies spending precious time on such silly things.

                             By the way,
                   our minister resigned on Sunday.
                       For my part, I am delighted.
                Wish we could get a little more mature fellow
                          than we have had.
And in Charlotte, the minister of the largest Baptist Church
has left the Baptist and going to become an Episcopal priest!

    Oh yes, Justin R. Is in London with a liver transplant,
                         doing very well.
                Poor Hazel is here on needles and pins.
She was over there for three months.  Just returned , in fact.

                What are you doing during the vacation?
        I'd love to see you.  I'm home for good, I think.
            Can't take all this running around any more.
I'm surely glad I did all my gadding when I was younger.
                 Let me hear from you.

                         Mrs. M.


by Douglas S. Johnson

I have no reason
To leave here,
No plane to catch,
No train to ride.
I have no wife
At home
With wifely hands
In Chocolate chip
Cookie dough,
Kneading me
When I get home.
I will stay here,
Safe as a rolled-up
Nestled in the slick
Morning grass
Of April,
Blank and white
Without news.
I will not leave.
I have no reason.


by Douglas S. Johnson

Broken smiles
Lie on the ground,
All around,
Gathering near
Our clumsy feet,
Looking like
Shattered china,
Looking like
Fragile, quivering moons,
Leftover words
That we try in vain
To speak aloud
Fall like bits
Of weary lead,
Sounding like sad,
Sugary plums
That meet the earth
With sound
That spreads forever
Into dark
Like rings in water.
Forgotten shadows
Wander the ground,
Worn and tattered,
As ancient women.
Moths of light
Swim over us,
Fluttering flowers
In a brief magic trick.
I take your hand
And remember the million
Web-sticky eons
Since last year.


by Douglas S. Johnson

There are certain capricious ways
About some women
Who carefully pluck
Their eyebrows out
Only to just as painfully paint
Them back again
In wild, wide arches
Of constant surprise.

And there are undignified things surmised
Of fifty-year-old men
Who will restlessly prod
A hornet's nest
With canes and gasoline
And then curse the stung child
For getting in the way.

There's a surly shade
Which hangs about the swollen feet
Of slavish cooks
Who work endlessly to engineer
Lavish nine-course dinners
And then complain about the food.

And then there's a curious fashion owned,
A honed, fine elegance,
By couples, bedecked in Munnsingwear,
Who walk down the aisles
At the movies
With bellies full of greasy food
Paid for with hot cheeks.



I ran down the old streets in my dream again last night.

I knew the houses and the doors,
but no one was home;

no one is ever home when we run the old streets,
looking into the windows, shouting on the steps,
searching for afternoons of baseball,
pleading for an extra evening in the tent,
another hour in the yard.

Someone at the door should tell it
to stop the racket
and go to sleep;

everyone must go to sleep.

There is little time,
and there is work to do
again tomorrow.


by John P. Kristofco

Before the weather goes too far
and October's short sun
steals the day away,
I go back to finish
on the ladder,
back to brushes
in coffee cans
and white rimmed tins
of paint in the garage;

four weeks now to finish
this business of deception.

Beneath the tiring maple
I spread a thin veneer
on drying wood
to hide
the gnats and mites,
the cracks and lines of seasons
in their cycles.

It goes on just like philosophy,
theology, or logic,
covering the quirks of autumn,
shielding the creeping dark
of winter.

It stretches like a skin
across weathered bones and blood,
the relentless simplicity
of each subtracting day.

At night
I fall asleep
before the crackling of the fire
while the cold rain
begins to fall
on the fresh dried paint


by John. P. Kristofco

Artificial reproduction
in the north wing,
oscillating oscilloscopes,
white-robed drones
flit about the hive.

She sits alone.

Women at the desk peer above their glasses,
and she wonders if they've ever been upstairs,
or if they've just the hounds at the gates.
Her hard brown eyes move across
the orange and metal room,
people with clipboards, cards, and papers.

She is silent

in her blue print dress and sweater,
her babushka in the canvas bag.

Beads repeat contrition;
she has faltered, failed, stumbled til
she finds herself huddled here, alone,
washed up upon this carpet shore,
immigrant again.

She left the kitchen window open some,
for the air,
and Mrs. Konoczek will be by
for the plants,

but she knows it doesn't matter.

She still smells the must
of marigolds,
embroidered things,
the hallways and the closets
of home.

But here it is the plastic
and the gauze,
muzak and muted voices
mocking the ceramic silence.

Here it is
the slide and slap
of elevators
that will snap her up
and take her
with a jolt and metal hum
up to the room
she has never seen,
the room
where she will die.


by Peter Layton

14 and observed a rape
back a weasel's semi truck stop
East Rosin, girl skipping
screaming in busted down
tule reeds off I-50 didn't
Help caught each step in the
drum of dust magnets
drank all my Coke, veined licorice
gobbling it all little thing
crying like waste dabs her
pulled clothes back
pass two truckers saying nothing
kick on to frame bike
these different assaults since
brutal always
cover my face

I want my own . . .

by Pete Lee

I want my own electric chair
I want it old and creaky
I want it big and wooden
I ant it square and clunky

I want a shaved head
I want a last meal
I want a priest there
I want to walk the last mile

I want leather restraints
I want official spectators
I want one reluctant reporter
I want it to happen at 12:01 a.m.

I want to smile weakly
I want to hyperventilate
I want lawyers running about unseen
I want their actions to be in vain

I want candlelight vigils
I want to give a shaky thumbs-up
I want to take one last look around
I want it burned into my pupils

I want someone to dim the lights


by Frances LeMoine

In another setting,
the density of your innocence, inevitable and clean,
could be gauged.
Its gravity could be appreciated, its rhythm sung, its dignity
The warmth of its eloquence could heat the tongues of the
still disciples.

In this setting,
It is ignorance and imperception.
It is ridiculed in malicious whispers by these sophisticates and
Ignored in boredom.
Your boredom.
Your bullet proof oblivion invites assault
and in this setting you are our sweet enemy.


by Kenneth Leonhardt

Stephen Collins Foster deemed
(Oh!) Susanna fair . . .
Until he, of Jeannie dreamed,
With the Light Brown Hair.


by Kenneth Leonhardt

Necessity may be
The mother of invention . . .
But she has aborted
Many a good intention.


by Duane Locke

Although not a diva,
she was as jealous as Floria Tosca.

Any blonde that chanced to walk by my house
was thought to be pacing the street
to see if I were alone.

The edges of my curtain were worn and dirtied
by her constant gripping and peeping outside
to see what woman was seeking me.

I tolerated her outrages
because they were flattering
and supplied subject matter for my dreams.
She was the only lover I had.

Once some girl by mistake knocked on my door.
She with scissors stuck her in the face.

The police carried her away,
and I'm still alone.

But now I understand her jealousy.

She thought everyone lived as she lived.
It was revealed that she had five other lovers
at this time.

Now that she is in jail,
her other lovers have found others.
I'm the only one alone.


by G. C. Mahan

The point behind this, he says,
Gesturing down at the woman pristine,
Held hard on the porcelain table,
Glistening sterile,

The point is, it can be done.
Snap!  Elastic worm fingers push,
Stretching into gloves.

A dark slow moan begins,
Scalpel elegantly held, relaxed
In long fingers, gestures.

A smell of iron slightly rusted
In a bone dead auto yard
Rises slowly as he, in one
Ballet arch, cut across . . .

Cherry red fingers work swiftly.
Concentrate now,
Pure focus;
Intent on removal,
Intent on proof.

Nobel stuff, Laureate stuff;
Prizes received; speeches made;
Fame, fortune:  immortality.

Now, he whispers, now . . .
It begins to rise up, out.
Slowly, slowly now . . .
One slip, a breath out of place
And it's over . . .Now, slowly . . .

He sees the Prize already won.
A background cough-ssssh . . . !
Pure concentration,
Pure focus . . . The Prize . . .

Slips, squirts, misses . . .
A groan throated by an
Intense, impatient audience
Concentrating on failure.

It ends quickly; she dies
Shuttering ever so slightly.
An imperceptible glint of defeat
As he snaps the gloves,
Tossed into the bright red heap.

Next time, he says, next time
I want better nurses: more light
And better nurses!

In the outer room a small man waits.
In concentrated unfocus he lifts his head,
Nervously fingering her well-worn purse.

How is she?  He asks.


by G. H. Mahan

I stand washing my hands.
A smell of iron rusting all around.
Crimson speckled walls turning black.

In the heat of a quiet August night
Father, mother, sister, brother,
Strewn throughout.

Calm, dead calm,
washing my hands.
Thoroughly American made murder.

I will be another of the undead,
Rusting, wasting, waiting, tasting
Madness.  Let the court decide.


by Chaz Murray

There is no where left to run

when the eyes see darkness,

when there is no sun,

for sooner or later

the seeker will find

that memories will fade,

and eyes go blind,

for whether in shadows or in depths,

our lives come to sorrow

and many regrets,

but sometimes, in the stillness of time's expanse,

there is a distant glimmer

of moving stars; so intense,

rising above the stifled inane,

                                                           bringing the soul the essential flame.


by Nancy Nicodemus

I, flat chest and Dutch bob,
sleeping over
with green-eyed Gloria.

Older sisters, in their white swimsuits and red lipstick
strike Betty Grable poses as they pin up Bogart and Gable
on studio-bedroom walls.

Slipping off their wedgies, laced well above the ankles,
they sit cross-legged upon the bumpy pink chenille
amid Screen Play and psychic ouija board,
passing the lone Pall Mall between sips of green-bottled Coca-Cola,
as Sinatra croons from the wobbly 78.

Katherine, Claudette, and Veronica--
leaning over the orangecrate dressing table into the oval mirror,
they flutter-flirt their lashes

pluck their brows into Crawford arches and
pat pancake makeup in orange fingerprints upon their cheeks.
They brush under one another's pageboys--a full one hundred strokes
and, once again,
rehearse being suddenly discovered
by a midwest talent scout.

Eavesdropping, we lie on the adjoining silver-screened porch,
stretched head to toe along the narrow metal cot,
sighing our fantasies and following

with our star-gazing eyes
the neon of the Indiana fireflies.


by Simon Perchik

This bridge as if before its crash
it strafed the river, cut the tide
in half, the fog
heading back, the waves
looking out in terror--how much lower
till what's left from this plane
finishes its dive
let seabirds sweep the surface
for thermals, for engine sounds
and when the air is right
there's a sense I bailed out in time

though the river has this stench
this bending over my body
and close to shore one foot
more than the other cringes, sweats
stumbles upstream--under that shoe
the throttle touches down
--I'm walking home, washed
and what's left from the river
flows without a name
without my arms held out.

Dead of a friend

by J. P. Pochot

i'm losing it
through the halls
where I can still hear
the dead heartbeats

the walls too clean
the faces too pale

smelling of acid
and damp
their eyes
in a stare

to tell me

you are no more


by J. P. Pichot

i savor
the white dust
through cold stainless
sit down
suddenly so weary and old
cut at the root
my life
an itching of nothingness

a brutal pain
in the gut
the desire
to throw it all up
but too troubled
by anxiety
to call you
so I run
to the toilet


i'm considering
suicide again
the only way out
and final escape
from all of this

but I must admit falling
to apprehension
of that after side

i'm not as strong
as you imagined
and if I die tonight
i might cry for you
or reach for your
strange blue eyes


and you will
never know
how much
i miss you

i'm dying again
but for a little while
to ease the pain
that emerges from

i catch a long glimpse
of my foot
and white
i would cut it off
but i just
can't quite move yet

red moons over me now
i do this night away
throwing it up
in endless nausea
of pain
anger and hatred

and for you
far away friend
i'm not sure
to be able to reach
that point
beyond insanity

i'm caught
inside the hungry armchair
with no will
even to light up
or change the turning disc


with a few more
more hours
to bear
until sunrise
or sunset

until the lasting end
and until you vanish
forever from me

week end

by J. P. Pichot

strange illuminations
come to mind
as we drive
the highway
to new york
searching for death
or was it something else

there is no fear
in our eyes
no panic to last
across endless bridges
visions flying
green and yellow
over our heads

strange illuminations
in your eyes
my friend
as you watch me
the dusty mirror
and sword
from your bleeding hands

bursting vividly by
off walled shadows



of mankind


by Tom Riley

No eyes in sight but mine.  Why should I look

if the world, self-absorbed, will not look back

at me?  I hate the task I undertook.

No eyes in sight but mine!  Why should I look?

Within my heart, I hoard a better book,

a blank one:  emptiness keeps me on track.

No eyes in sight but mine?  Why should I look

if the world, self-absorbed, will not look back?


by David Robertson

Sea urchins, brine faces,
              sing for the child,
for the star, the bubble afloat,
the shadow
              or wave under the trees,
wind swept
              from a star.

The leaves hear it;
        their single greeting
            rushes from a chorus of mouths
And the boats begin their journey
              spinning on a tide
                            in the depths of the bath tub.

Then the soft teats are sucked
              the tales are told,
the wolf, breathing at the door, goes by
            and flowers spring up
                            winking as he passes.

Goat on the bridge
        rap-a-taps home,
           what a hard head,
                            no worries on the green hill.
Then goodnight and goodnight
and a wave of the handkerchief
        to the glass mountain
                            only one can climb.

And the bubbles,
the colors still running around them
        as they spin
            up into the arms of the trees
float away,
        to rest
            on the glass mountain

while green shadows
snuff at the grass roots
        gathering the crumbs up--
the animal crackers,
        their heads and tails go first.

Now give the coverlet a pull
        make every hill and valley

And in the night,
        bed pillows rise and fall,
             stars touch the windows,
and in a corner under the bed,
        the troll hides with empty hands

And a sea
        filled with whispers of salt
              stretches into the dark.


by Peter Roemer

Canyon of rock:

spires spear the skied circumference

hung with clouds

grey as lava:

kited wings
flirt with freedom
over the myopic depths

or jet-propelled

where we rush past those breaking petunias

where slowly death has come

to that body burdened with feathers.


by Nanci Roth-Natale

Running running

Falling falling

Blindly running

Calling calling.

Running running

Further, deeper

Throat constricted

Night time creeper.

Intrepid follower

Nearing nearing

Running running

Fearing fearing

Gasping, tiring,

Losing ground fast

Calling calling

Branches scratch past.

Blindly Blindly

Crying Crying

All caught up now

Dying dying.


by Lladoow S. Shevshenko

Scale the mountain, a promise to be kept
water softly slipping, falling as it wept
these gentle tears, making tools so round
from echoes past, a call, a softness found
in hillsides deep they're still--
churning up the ground . . .
near Manitou

Smells of light, in the midst of night
flies on fire, tiny stars, burning bright
I hear the hoot owl whispering, through a window wide
no-place left to roam, on this mountain's hide.
The red-tail plays, above the road in sky
in trees, a cool breeze blows, across a gravel drive . . .
of Manitou

Deep inside of Manitou, are these spirits eyes
ghostly souls that I once knew, that used to hurt and cry.
Leaves made now, of soft pine dust
that hurt my eyes, with a sudden rush
makes me smile now, at the end
below cool water, a softness now descends
down Scaly Mountain, there I roam--
in dreams, today, my need is shown--
by Manitou, through another door I'm blown
Where I do steal away.


by John A. Youril

My songs,
Let us be faithful to the seasons,
Let us endure the quiet applause--
This is a poetry not of passion but exhaustion,
And such splendor does not intrude itself,
Does not seek to rise above the noise.

Let us be content,
Let us be like moonlight moist and radiant,
In the grave and in the bed equally comfortable--
For they please us still but do not concern us,
Now that both youth and age have left us,
Now that we speak not to the crowds but to ourselves alone--
To understand little not misunderstand much,
To put aside all vain erudition,
And converse with folly as gracefully as wisdom.

Let us empty ourselves in celebration,
Not measure the libation:
If there is but one who drinks well,
The night has not been wasted.


by John A. Youril

You look out from the window as if expecting your own death to be
        foreshadowed in the snow,
I wait yet another hour while you fashion a word from your wholly
        unfashionable thoughts,
You sulk, and I judge the hour to be unpropitious for this
        forlorn undertaking.
Each in their turn your recollection have shimmered for a
Have soared and then fallen,
Have revealed their emptiness and now take their place in these
        annals of harsh season.
With bitter breath you tell me that I too will come to this--
I nod and wait for some distant clock to strike the hour.


by John A. Youril

I repeat that it is all one whether any of us survive the season,
Yet you brood upon the pale steps as if salvation itself refused
         your invitation,
You make too much of the matter:
Invent curious reasons to postpone that which alone is desirable,
Follow your own shadow through the garden,
Knowing there is no one else
And that even I grow tired of waiting.

                                                     POETRY -- THE SURVIVAL OF HUMANITY

                                                                           by Raymond Fenech

    "Art, more intimately, deals with and forms the emotional and spiritual climate of our experience," asserts American Poetess May Swenson, adding, "Poetry can help man to stay human."

    This can only mean that man is losing, or has lost his human part and hence his identity. Perhaps poetry is the last remaining link left between the physical and the spiritual in man.  Poetess Sr. Marcella Holloway in a short essay asserts, "Perhaps of all the arts, poetry has the closest relation to our spiritual life."

    As poetry can only be created by a poet, poets must be given more credibility, respect and attention, otherwise mankind risks losing them altogether.

    As the world moves forward into the year 2000, books are being replaced by computers, videos, audio visual gadgets and other sophisticated scientific discoveries.  This can only mean that very few people if any, would prefer a good book to any of the mentioned entertainment.  What's to become of poetry?

    If man wants poetry to survive, he must start teaching his children to love and appreciate poetry.  Poetry must no longer be merely part of a school syllabus.  Children must be taught that poetry may as yet save man from losing their souls among their own robotic creations.

    Man is already at a drawback because of the limitations of his mind and the brevity of his physical life. Stendhal says that man is like a fly, born in the summer morning and dead by the afternoon.  How can he understand the word NIGHT?

    But unlike the fly, man is sorely conscious of the vastness of the unknown beyond his consciousness.  The poet's task is to trace the outline of this mysterious volatile world, making it visible to the rest of humanity so that they may learn to appreciate life more and thus live it to the fullest.

    The experience of poetry is to suppose that there is a planet half the light of which may be seen by any ordinary eye--the other half is in darkness.  Poetry can throw light on this other side, its invisible energy can take man to It.

    Let us hope that American poet Gregory Corso was wrong when he said that "everything today seems to work against the poet, he is always in danger of being wiped out.  The way the poet is treated today I doubt any future poet would want to be a poet . . . "  If poetry survives, mankind will survive with it.

Reprinted by permission of Raymond Fenech

Originally published in Verses Magazine, 1992.