WINTER 2005-2006 (FOUR)

WINTER 2005-06 One | Two | Three | Four | Five

Stacy Braverman
Claire Nicolas White
Kim Bridgford
Tracey Erin Finnerty
Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan
Kathaleen Donnelly
Lori Chertoff
Marty Abramson
Chris Bullock
Daniel J Langton


Stacy Braverman

Two ants trek across the dusty floor
Wind chimes jostle on the porch
And the windowscreens pulse with impending storm.

In here, though, all is warm and right
Bare feet and bread dough and the scrabble game
You have laid out on our broad table.

A precocious child with a virtuous name
Sits chin propped in small hands to see you across the board
And me, in the background, scrubbing out the fridge.

You tuck your toeringed feet up under you
And call me over to bemoan your fate,
A long string of consonants and no relief in sight.

That’s just how it feels when I try and talk to you
A million words and none of them possible,
A willing heart but just sawdust in my mouth.

Thunder cracks around us now
And we bracket the child, a symmetry of comfort,
As we cluster at the window and watch all the birds fly off.

This homestead kitchen feels like the world’s core,
Its safest place, its beating heart.
We could last a long time here, us two and the child.

The kitchen stocked with sacks of beans,
A world of spices, four dozen onions, and all the carrots you could dream of
Frosted still with our sleepy valley’s soil and just yearning towards the stockpot.

Ingredients and ovens, the means and the motive
And we are full of imagination and the possessors of strong hands.
A new world could be born here, this thunderstorm its creation myth

With the potential of a single tile, i or u,
A warm meal made from food we grew
Or from the look you give me now,

Smiling somewhere out the window above the child’s thoughtful gaze
Arm draped round his shoulders to my waist
A tableau I’d like to press against the already clearing sky.


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Claire Nicolas White

The young men come, beautiful as trees.
They fold me in the embrace of their branches.
They ride machines that can lift houses
and oh the labors, the landscapes they clear!
I am in awe of their strength, power saws
that erase forests. Young men
in huge trucks invading my precincts
play God, performing miracles,
jugglers of the solid and immovable,
the only form of love-making to which
I have access. And every lift and haul
I pay for with money. The beautiful young men
wear out. They serve me well.
Their blades grow dull. They leave.


I am bereft.



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Kim Bridgford

I can't begin to write this poem for you.
I heard that you were dead; I couldn't cry.
Somehow, I know you wouldn't want me to

Give in to what is sentimental. True,
The genuine does not need hyperbole.
I can't begin to write this poem for you.

You taught me what a poem should try to do:
Reach for the real inside reality.
somehow, I know you wouldn't want me to

Say more than the shy student that you knew.
I've thought about your influence every day.
I can't begin to write this poem for you.

Some things can't say enough: Goodbye. Thank you.
And yet they have a melancholy beauty.
Somehow, I know you wouldn't want me to

Make all this fuss. You'd take that as your cue:
Donald Justice died in Iowa City.
I can't begin to write this poem for you.
Somehow, I know you wouldn't want me to.


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Tracey Erin Finnerty
for John Weber

Our friendship is like a large seashell found on the floor of a deep forest
but I don't know why. It is cool & prehistoric in my dirty palm and when I bring it
up to my ear I can hear your distant laughing as if under my dormitory window.
Once we drove straight through to Salt Lake City without saying a word because
We were naming the mountains that would come between us.
I went back to the ocean a stubborn window, pacing the roof, squinting the horizon.
We've peeled away our flannels and Doc Martins to sit in rooms where the windows
won't open. You married a natural blonde. I left my ghost standing at the altar.
Count the states between us! Orange Ohio, pink Missouri, yellow Colorado...
Maps are Valentines on microfiche. From your porch facing the valley you see
Things as they are. "Hummingbirds sound angry," you insist.
I'll hold the shoebox of letters in death like an important Egyptian.



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Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

I know you have been searching for the words,
the sounds, the bridge of conveyance as you
suffer in your silent cell,
rejoice at the birth of your child,
toil during your work-a-day,
mourn the death of your mother,
read your favorite poet's work,
yearn for your lover to return,
lay prostrate in front of your god,
awake from a dreadful dream,
watch your grandchild ride her bicycle,
rescue the trapped beetle in the bookstore,
march in demonstration of an unjust war,
breathe in the sweetness of life...

I will be your voice.
I will let you rest in the cave of my mouth.
I will build your bridge to the world.


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Kathaleen Donnelly

Winter ended on a Friday.
Through the night
under stars and slither of moon
ice could be heard thawing
snow melting, puddles evaporating.
Spring presented herself early
on Saturday morning as if a gift.
Purple and yellow appeared
in shades of green grass.
The sun bright in a pale blue sky
provided warmth that allowed
for coats and sweaters and thick socks
to be put away in closets.
In this old farm house in Nissequogue,
the heavy weight of cold air disappeared
and an untended garden called from the yard.
Weeds that lay dormant needed pulling,
seeds sent for now needed planting.
I lazily lay in my bed
dreaming about when to start my day,
glad not to have to begin to the sound of an alarm,
knowing that the changes that took place overnight

also took place in me.


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Lori Chertoff

"I would use clay
go to the river and
collect the soft red stuff and
it into something of My own

but then I figure that I was not the
who put clay in the river

I could go on forever manipulating words
into musing constructions

but then I figure that I was not the
who first fabricated words
I can only rearrange

I would use music
to say what words can not

but I was not the
who created sound

I would use My body to dance
to react to the music
but I figure My parents are the
who created
My body

I know from lessons
that they too were not the
who created themselves

I would use your love
to return me to My most tender state
but I figured
you too
were born of parents and ancestors

I would lie down in indifference
but someone gave Me instincts and reflexes
and senses
which I can never full control or change

the thought that perspective is a stagnant matter
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me
makes Me

tense and tired

yes, I am tense and tired
from seeing myself through so many languages
none of which are capable of capturing
in good light

I would create a new language
but then I could become

yes, it is rare to create something of the self
if it is only used
to display to others."

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Marty Abramson

poor Eurydice
supplicant to his song's
prismatic streamer
in her gray-scale world

where even sardonic Death
granted his boon

following, following
fated to die again
knowing that on the very
brink of light
he will look back.


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Chris Bullock

even if i die
i will dance under the earth,
imagining what thoughts you're thinking.
i'll make them
lyrics to my song.

even if i die
i will dance under the earth,
imagining how you move
and i will dance with you
underneath you.

even if i die
i will imagine you in dreams
as they were stories
i'll read in my coffin.

even if i die
i will remember how you sleep,
and i will sleep with you
when my dancing is over
when my dreams are forgotten
when my songs no longer float
on my exhausted voice.

even if i die
i'll imagine your breath
i'll ride it throughout your body
and bombs will drop above us
and landmines will burst below
but death will only absorb
as many as we allow.

i'll discourage death from taking you.
all the suicides of the day will not
take you with them into their hell.

driveways are empty and flags are floating above them.
night passes over and i will wander under the ground
listening to adventures and collecting shadows.

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Daniel J Langton

I had your dream. You remember, you walk
on Samson's dock at dawn and you meet me.
But this time, in my dream, I'm already there
and you come toward me, holding your dress
flat against the wind, and we start to talk
in some way, even before you greet me,
though there are no words, just your face, your hair,
a muffled moment, then your eyes say Yes.

How often do lovers sleep in a bed,
entangled as nets, commingled in trust,
before a dream can cross the flawed abyss
and share the other's dream? I've heard it said
that riding high is all. Well, we've had lust
and I know better now. I'm adding this.


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