Microscopic Surgery

David W. McFadden

copyright ©2012 David W. McFadden

Going to stay some time before hopping
on the train all the way to Como.
Disoriented in London. It’s so warm,
humid, but human, overcast and muggy.
Joy’s not well, she got sick in Egypt.

String quartet at St. Dunstan’s in Fleet Street.
Violinist cut her finger in a kitchen
accident and hadn’t played for a year.
Microscopic surgery. Cut nerve.
But now she thinks she’s going to be fine.

After the wine and cheese reception (tacky!)
(but nice) took picture of an old statue
of Queen Elizabeth (the first) that had just
been discovered in somebody’s basement
and installed over the sacristy door.

Walking all through Westminster buying slides.
Weatherman on BBC-1:
Today most wet spots will become
dry and most dry spots will become wet.
Of course he said this with a smiling face.

The Strange Hours Travelers Keep

August Kleinzahler

copyright ©2003 by August Kleinzahler

The markets never rest
Always there are somewhere in agitation
Pork bellies, titanium, winter wheat
Electromagnetic ether peppered with photons
Treasure spewing from Unisys A-15 J mainframes
Across the firmament
Soundlessly among the thunderheads and passenger jets
As they make their nightlong journeys
Across the oceans and steppes

Nebulae, incandescent frog spawn of information
Trembling in the claw of Scorpio
Not an instant, then shooting away
Like an enormous cloud of starlings

Garbage scows move slowly down the estuary
The lights of the airport pulse in morning darkness
Food trucks, propane, tortured hearts
The reticent epistemologist parks
Gets out, checks the curb, reparks
Thunder of jets
Peristalsis of great capitals

How pretty in her tartan scarf
Her ruminative frown
Ambiguity and Reason
Locked in a slow, ferocious tango
Of if not, why not


Brenda Shaughnessy

copyright ©2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy

Love comes from ferocious love
or a ferocious lack of love, child.

A to and a from, and an urgency,
a barefoot sprint in the high snow

for the only sagging shack in sight.
No doctor runs through the winter

woods at midnight to bring placebo.
But when he does it’s just too late –

the house all fevered, grief the very
gifts of milk and stew and hearth

offered anyhow. How many tree
limbs are amputated by the self-

important sudden surgery of a gale –
those same limbs tortured further,

re-galed, as spirit-dancing fire?
But the trees don’t experience it

the way it seems to me, like how
all that individual snow clumps

together because it is lonely
and trusts its kind. To be home

is to go somewhere, is velocity,
the same urgent comfort

of your name. You’ll lack nothing,
child, and I will never let you go.

Hotel Lobby

Alan Shapiro

copyright ©2012 by Alan Shapiro

Light the pursuer, dark the pursued.
Light wants to fill dark with itself
and have it still be dark
so light can still be filling it.
Light pours from the massive shining of the chandelier
over the bronze boy bending beneath it
to the bronze pool where a watery face
is rising to meet his as he bends.
Light the pursuer, dark the pursued,
along the naked back and arms,
the hands, the fingers reaching
for the rippling features, just
beyond, just out of the grasp of
into and out of, and across
the marble floor and pillars,
to the tips of leaves, and up
the lion claws of chair legs and sofas and
over the glass tops of tables in the lounge,
light losing dark by catching it,
dark giving light the slip by being caught,
on elevator doors, down every
blazing hallway to the highest floor,
the farthest room, and through it
beyond the pulsing colors of the muted screen,
from hip to hip in a loose twilight
of sheets no longer shifting.

My heart has an Embassy

Jennifer Maiden

copyright ©Jennifer Maiden 2012

My heart has an Embassy
for Ecuador where I will seek
asylum. Earthquakes
and aftershocks undermine
my hope and my means to work
and the Americans
have wormed into my psyche
with their black knack at fear.
My heart has an Embassy
for Ecuador as rare in air
and sumptuous as the Andes,
as clear as the Equator. There
will be in it waterfalls
and jungles like salvation.
There will be friends
whom I owe nothing, no
famed bail, no knotty
knowing sexualities. My heart
has an Embassy for Ecuador
where there will be no secrets
and the truth falls down like water
from giant granites of despair.

An Enemy Comes Down the Hill

Fady Joudah, translated from the Arabic written by Ghassan Zaqtan

copyright ©Translation copyright 2012 by Fady Joudah

When he comes down
or is seen coming down
when he reveals to us that he is coming down.

The waiting and silence

his entire lack
when he hearkens before the plants.

His caution when he comes down
like one postponed by a hush,
and by his being not “us”
and not “here”
death begins.

He bought a flower
nothing more, a flower
that has no vase and leaves no will.

From the hill, he can spot the military checkpoint, the paratroopers,
he can spot the squatters, the mountain edges, and the only road
where their feet will leave a print in the rocks, mud, and water.

Losses also will appear from the hill
abandoned without effort.

And the fragility in shadow,
the Jewish man with a long mustache
who resembles the dead Arabs here.

From the mountain edges, all the caves will appear peaceful
and the road will seem as it were.

While he was coming down
the caves continued to stare
and blink in the cold.

Missed Connections: Walmart Automotive Dept – w4m – (Lunenburg MA)

Ian Williams

copyright ©Ian Williams 2012

You. At the Tire and Lube Express. You said lube
and I – did you notice? – revved. Your name tag
was missing so I read your hair, curled like a string of e’s,
your forearms drizzled with soft hairs like a boy’s
first moustache. Apart from that, you were built
like a walrus. The kind of man that drives a Ford
pickup. Black or silver. You said, ‘There might be a gas leak
and We can’t fix that here, but don’t worry, we’ll get you fixed.
By fixed you meant hooked up, by hooked up you meant
in touch with and meant nothing beyond touch.

Me. Volvo. Smelled like gasoline: I overfilled the tank
before the oil change. I took the package that comes
with a filter replacement. Have you already forgotten me?
I had trouble with the debit machine. Remember? You said,
Turn your card the other way – remember? – and took my hand,
not the card, took my hand with the card in it
and swiped it through. Remember. Please.
The gasoline. The woman almost on fire.

The Museum of Death

James Pollock

copyright ©2012 by James Pollock

In the Museum of Death the guests are eating lunch
made from a dead man’s recipe.
They use knives and forks invented by the dead.

Everyone sits in a room
built by those who are no longer with us,
everyone speaking words the dead have made.

Everything is archaeological:
prayer, toilets, table manners, cash.
Even the air was once breathed by the dead.

Look how impatiently the curator taps
his fingers on his desk. It’s getting late.
Very soon the guests will have to go.

32. Funny Country

David McFadden

copyright ©2012 David W. McFadden

In a funny country with no name
the dead are embalmed in such a way
they keep as fresh as a fallen log.

The living carry them here and there
to picnics or to the cricket match
and they engage them in dialogue.

In this lovely little land success
is all that folks are left with when
they don’t try hard enough to fail.

Success goes hand in hand with shame
but failure has a nobler sort of name.
Success is something to condemn.

For it makes a fool of them and it
chokes them in their dark and dirty sleep.
Failure’s grand and it’s hard and deep.