Christine Choi Torture And Culture
they'll probably tow my car away and
 Steven White Old Glory
While we're talking in the rain
 Joe Napora Puke, The Atomic Alphabet
A melt begins
Susana Thenon Why Does That Woman Scream?
why does that woman scream?
Otto Orban Chile
The MP tramps emptyhanded down the stairs.
John Minczesky Daylilies
They start out
 Tom Tammoro

Sweeping The Rain
When it is over, they are sure to come

Visiting Pittsburgh After An Eight Year Absence
I spent the afternoon with my sister,

 Norman H. Russell The Young Person
I say to the young person
 Rainer Kirsch Delay
So that we can speak in the future, we are silent.
 Pablo Neruda Birth
Born a man
 Mark Sargent American Myths Come Down To The Sea
Only To Discover They Can't Swim
These men
 Tadeusz Rozewicz The Poet At The Time Of Writing
the poet at the time of writing
 Ann Chandonnet Ten Days Before Christmas
Anchorage, then days before Christmas.
 Dian Million

I. The Highway
All the way down I-5 I hear the wheels

II. The Call of the Wild: He Went To Town
I woke up

III. It Gets Done
they are arresting men and women

 Grzegorz Musial Czarina's Fear And Fury
if we could only
 Margot Fortunato Uncle Tonio
My uncle's black chest hair lifts








Christine Choi

they'll probably tow my car away and
that poet who bored me to death
last tuesday night is sitting next to me
the one on the stage is rubbing his cock
other hand stroking the curly
head of humanity
awkward lines of peasants
central american
parade by
out of their pockets come
torture scars
passed around the audience
we run our fingers along the ridges
and remark "m-m-my god"

dozing, waiting for levertov
slipping my shoes on and off
to stay awake
counting women in torn tee shirts
looking freshly molested, drinking
wine and discussing

change, ah, change
peasants grab up the torture scars
stuff them into bazookas.
starving children leaping
from some poem take
up guns and eat.
torturers can be seen
hanging from the lamp posts.
the astonished poet
zips up his pants
and talks about trees




Steven White

While we're talking in the rain
by a spring river that will outlive us,
a hand reaches from the future
searching for what we were.
It finds a flag and follows
a long, red thread
until it reaches the mouth
of a river of blood. A woman
gathers her wet clothes there
and runs from the sun
that pulses with helicopters.
She is from a country
where the cities and streets
will soon be renamed.
Through trenches, smoke
and human flames,
a hand reaches from the future
and touches a flag where a woman runs
along white roads rutted by jeeps.
She runs toward the house where she died,
where her shadow remains on the wall.
Our conversation goes on in the rain.
A woman appears before us screaming
from another world, this world,
from the silence of the past.
She has made up her mind to live.
A hand reaches from the future,
finds a flag
and rips the stars from the sky.



for Xlebnikov, and the traces of his butterfly

Joe Napora

A melt begins
And a melt begins
Against things solid and
Antagonistic like stone
Angels words right
Angles for the
Bomb is
Boy o boy is
Big time is
Bang bang and suffer the little
Children do not escape the
Conflagration for it is
Crucial at the

Culmination there be this
Crescendo of
Cries that
Continues that continues but
Death is only a big
Disappointment if we all are
Damned we lose the
Delight of
Dividing gods from
Demons though
Everyone weeps while the
Evening continues to
Envelop the

Entrance to the
End the
Envisioned as an
Excellent moneymaking
Enterprise as the
Fierce voice calls
Foe Ho Hum the minister
Gee the
Giant has a

Here is
How it
Invent an
I that

Killing and killing and
Last but not
Least the travelling

Levelling not
little by little but
Less and less and less with
More heat than
Most imagine with
Molecules and
Money forever fixed in a
Montage of a commercial
Message repeated by a privileged
Minority we can now call a
Monster of greed's

Nerves and
Neutrons shadowed into a
Nothing so profound with
No one remaining to
Nudge the sleeper
On to better things as
Proud males
Posing in
Particularly menacing
Propelling meaning of
Pricks swollen and
Pointed to

Pierce to
Quiet don't tell on them
Quit complaining you will be
Quite handsomely
Rewarded with
Real and
Red fragments mixing a
Roar of crazed
Reason proclaiming the
Rush into the abstract
Sell your

Soul it's gone
The body's
Thrust propels it against
Thin glass
Tinkle tinkle muffled in blood
Up against the wall
U r de wall
Very much gone
Whiter than
X-ray for free for ever
Yes it is all ground




Susana Thenon

why does that woman scream?
why does she scream?
why does that woman scream?
who can tell

that woman , why does she scream?
who can tell
look at the nice little flowers

why does she scream?
hyacinths    daisies
why what?
why does that woman scream?

and that woman?
and that woman?
go find out
she must be crazy that woman
look look at the tiny little mirrors

is it because of her steed?
who can tell

and where did you hear
the word steed?

it's a secret     that woman
why does she scream?
look at the daisies
the woman
at the tiny little mirrors
at the tiny little paper birds
that don't sing

why does she scream?
that don't fly
why does she scream?
that don't bother
and the woman
and that woman
was she crazy that woman?

she doesn't scream anymore

(do you remember that woman?)

Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel




Otto Orban

The MP tramps emptyhanded down the stairs.
This is the third time you've been here,
the woman says, and you've found nothing.
See you around sometime, the Lieutenant says
to the kid, we're not coming back.
Then you saw Daddy in the attic? the child asks.
So we did, says the Lieutenant, going into
the house, bringing the man down, and shooting
him in the yard, right before the mother and
child. Pupils the size of the world: Earth,
its seas and springtime, green-gowned amongst
the burning stars

Translated from the Hungarian by Jascha Kessler with Maria Korosy





John Minczeski

They start out
in the morning
in June
like baby birds
where the sun
gets poured
right down
to the tubers.
Their thirst
is orange
like rooftops
in Italian villages.
Every day
new ones blossom
like forest
fires into light

and invite bees
and wasps
into their powdery
yellow centers.
They are like factories
with the most
silent machinery.
They are factories
with no need
of middlemen,
without factory
outlets, without
ledgers. These day-
lilies are factories
with only profit
and no loss.
They carry weightlessness
two and three feet
off the ground.
They rock in the wind
all day
like Tibetan monks
in orange robes.
A half cup of rice
a day,
a full cup of sun.
little sails unfurled

at the end of day
when it is time
to close up shop
and the workers
go home
there is almost
nohing left
of the color.
The sun
has sucked it
dry, leaving
only a pallor of
and then
as the blossom
little worker,
closes up

like a solar eclipse,
like soldiers
forever losing
minute battles
for the sake of
some larger




Tom Tammaro

When it is over, they are sure to come
From their houses, the old women in their aprons
Smelling like the insides of old trunks.
It is a dream of cobblestones,
Wet with rain, that calls them:

The Ferranti sisters who never married;
Mrs. De Sanzo, whose husband lies buried
In the shaft of an old mine in Lombardi;
Tia Carafino, the Butcher's wife, whose son
Carved his wife's lover into a bloody eunuch.
And all the old ones bearing the names
of their villages to the new world:
Ferrara, Garda, Gubio, Tillia, Tullio, Napoli.
They have come to sweep the rain:

Gripping brooms like a ball of fresh dough,
The skin of their forearms tight,
They gather rain in puddles at the edge
Of sidewalks, and in one stroke swish
Into the street, a spray of silver beads
Drizzling into rainbows.

Then they will gather for talk,
Their voices drifting through the clean,
Wet air of summer, remember family in Italy,
The small alleys of cobblestone
They will never sweep forever.
If I could give you their faces,
They would have the look of souls in limbo,
Lost forever between two worlds,
Carrying their grief inside their hearts,
Without curse or sorrow --
Old coins wrapped inside kerchiefs.




Tom Tammaro

I spend the afternoon with my sister,
Walking the streets of great banks:
Mellon, Seneca, Federal, Pittsburgh National.
At Station Square, where once a hundred years ago
Workers with foreign-sounding names
Stepped from trains, walked through these
Same doors and saw for the first time
The smokey skylines of their dreams.
Inside, we walk through shops
That glitter chrome, mirror, and light --
Colors that ease into your pockets.
I buy a pen and ink sketch by a local artist
Of the old J and L Steel Mill.

"The Pittsburgh district annually produced 45 one-legged men;
100 hopeless cripples...45 men with a twisted useless arm;
30 men with an empty sleeve; 20 men with but one hand...
70 one-eyed men -- 500 such wrecks in all."
Crystal Eastman, "Work, Accident and the Law,"
The Pittsburgh Survey, 1910.

So this is what it means to have risen
Above your working class roots:
Sons and daughters,
The tips of their fingernails
Clean and shiny as polished steel,
Eating in restaurants with ferns hanging
From the rafters, walking past you
Staring straight ahead
Into the silvery skylines,
Eyes cool as ingots,
Gazing into their own hearts
Hollow and cold as an open hearth
Shut down in winter.

"Throngs of greasy, unkempt Italians standing around
in front of crazy little grocery stores, jabbering and
smoking while white slovenly women with filthy youngsters
sit on steps or parade up and down in the streets strewn
with old vegetables, filthy water, and rubbish of all kinds."

H.M.Phelp, Pittsburgh Leader, 1905.

Walking across the Smithfield Bridge,
I look toward the Ohio, think of Bessemer Converters
In Homestead and Braddock, the coke ovens in Connellsville.
Old men dying from illnesses contracted from loading barges.
Who can say if the one-legged fathers and slovenly mothers
Might be turning over in their graves under the hills of western
Pennsylvania, far into the valley of West Virginia and Ohio?
It takes a long time for the dead to die.




Norman H. Russell

i say to the young person
you are beautiful you are brave
you are wise you are happy
you are intelligent i see for you
many strong summers many short winters
you shall succeed in all you try
it is my own pleasure to know you
to watch you as you grow further
into the bright and lovely world
which waits for you each morning

the young person smiles a happy smile
do not flatter me old man he says
he strides away still smiling
his head is held higher
his shoulders straighter
his arms swing free his eye darts
from side to side he is looking
to see if the world is ready for him
he is looking to see if the world
wishes him to change it in any way.




Rainer Kirsch

So that we can speak in the future, we are silent.
We teach our children to be silent
So they can speak later.
Our children teach their children to be silent.
We are silent and learn everything
Then we die.
Our children also die. Then
Their children die after
They have taught our great-grandchildren everything
Even silence, so that they
May speak some day.
Now, we say, is not the time to speak.
This we teach our children
And they theirs
And they theirs.
Some day, we think, the time must come.

Translated from the German by Jutta Donath




Pablo Neruda

Born a man
among men
who were born,
he lived among many
who lived also,
and that has no history
except earth itself,
central land of Chile, where
the vines uncurl their green hair-dos,
the grape feeds on the light,
wine born beneath the feet of the people.

Parral they call the place
where he was born
in winter.

Now they don't exist
the house or the street:
the cordillera freed
its horses,
its profound
mountains leaped
and fell on the village
in earthquake.
And so walls of adobe,
pictures on the walls,
rickety furnishings
in darkened rooms,
silence punctuated by the flies,
all returned
to be dust:
only some kept
form and blood,
only some of us, and the wine.

The wine continued living,
rising in the grapes
by the errant
humbled through deaf winepresses,
into barrels
which are stained by its smooth blood,
and there under threat
of the terrible earthshake
went on naked and alive.
And I have no memory
of landscape nor time,
nor faces or figures,
only impalpable dust,
the tail end of summer
and the cemetery where
they took me
to see among the graves
the sleep of my mother.
And since I never saw
her face
I called out to her among the dead, trying to see her,
but like the other buried ones,
she didn't know, she didn't hear, she didn't answer anything,
and there she remained alone,without her son,
shy and evasive
among the shadows.

And from there I am, from that
Parral of the trembling earth,
earth loaded with grapes
which sprang to life
out of my dead mother.

Translated from the Spanish of Memorial de Isla Negra by Walt Curtis




Mark Sargent
in memory of Richard Brautigan

These men
They come West or their fathers do
but no family can contain them.
They do themselves into an empty space
and call it consciousness of mountain
bird and water,
a man with the world
and against it,
a longing reversed through myth
to sad nobility with a fly-rod
and a bottle of bourbon.

Beach house in Bolinas
a cabin in Montana      2 ex-wives maybe
a child somewhere
and a loneliness contracting
drawing in the edges of the world
to the working end
of a shotgun

to a heavily decomposed body
several weeks in process,
to his ability to compress
emotion into such a small space




Tadeusz Rozewicz

the poet at the time of writing
is a person with his back
turned to the world
to the disorder
of reality

the poet at the time of creating
is defenseless
it's easy then to surprise him
to ridicule
to immobilize

he emerged
he left the animal world
on the migratory sands
you can see the tracks
of his birdie's
little feet

from afar still come
voices words
the grainy laughter
of women
but he's not allowed
to look
behind him

Translated from the Polish by E.J. Czerwinski





Ann Chandonnet

Anchorage, ten days before Christmas.
It's four degrees, with an iron wind off Cook inlet,
eight inches of new snow.
He has a black mustache, drooping at the corners,
a long bowl cut to his black hair,
no hat, his bluejean jacket open to the weather.
"I'm a native," he shouts,
whacking his ungloved hand hard on the frosted metal pole
that supports the Walk/Don't Walk sign.
He growls like a bear disturbed in its winter den,
"Grr, grr, grr."
Pedestrians cross to the other side of Fifth.
"Grr, grr,
so much tension."
Whack, whack.
The upraised red hand comes on as if in response
to his whacks.
"So much tension all the time. Grr, grr."
Now the ghostly white walking man
takes the place of the bloody hand.
The man wanders up Fifth toward the Chugach
reeling just slightly,
So much tension.




Dian Million


All the way down I-5 I hear the wheels
the concrete we follow

they tell me the ice had barely retreated
from the northern hemisphere

in the last millenium
when our people came to the river

in the spring we sang to the fish
between the Tanana and the Columbia
each leap of
wild water
a rain of silver so infinite
we believed
it could not end

we followed what the river told us
murmuring in our sleep, answering the
answering each whisper from winged and
and antlered brethren into
all the seasons
all of our spirits mingled
on the banks;
imprinted on the sides of
countless gorges and crevices
where the scaffolding
clings like spider webbing

old names
we are parked along 84
on the Oregon side across from
Cooks Landing
we can almost hear the dam;
we can hear the diesel trucks
from a long way off but i do not
think you can hear
the salmon

my mother looks up the river
and I know she is listening;
she hushes my little brother
who is playing with a toy diesel truck.
we get back into the pick-up
and return to the highway.



i woke up
thinking that i was in sitka:
it was the rain of course, the cold
intruding into the minds and lungs
which in Oregon
falls in heavy fine mists; great sweeping hands

of spray
that eventually reach in and
envelop you
while freezing under the bridge, huddled next
to the peach box kitchen table,
or standing up next to the wall at Gus's or Club 101
waiting for the light to filter through
the fine beautiful cold rain.

he dreamed
and i dreamed of the fish
silver and light
he said
its the holidays
take one good shot fire in your mouth
and promise the ground a swallow
and what does wanting get you

what was wanted
of oneself
of wanting so tense that it
became a vision
changing the grey rain into the
indigo sky.

he could remember celilo
and i would think of fairbanks
whatever we saw
it was more real than

who says what is real



they are arresting men and women
on the river now
they say it is for selling illegal fish
i don't know what is illegal
since it is what we do to live.

they don't arrest the white men
who come to the river with their greed
and their alcohol, and their expensive
it is a sport to catch the salmon
they say
i just know
that the salmon doesn't come up the river

the men and women go out to the river at
their faces are grim
the men and women tie themselves
to the scaffolding on long
days and it gets done

we untie the kerchiefs from our heads and wipe
the sweat down
but sometimes it is mixed with tears

we make camp and listen to the river

i walk to the edge

what if the river called
and we were not here.




Grzegorz Musial

if we could only
flog the poems on
the scaffold in front of the roaring
crowds make them wail
spit out word after
word deny the senses
admit hidden meanings

betray the address of the head
they were created in and the hand
that stroked them smoothly in the lamp's
light the briefcase with a false bottom
that carried them from flat to flat the mouths
that passed them on O!
if we could only make them suffer like poets bleed
into pools of blood if we could only
pry open
their muzzles with iron
and tear out their tongues at least O!
at least silence them

Translated from the Polish by Richard Chetwynd




Margot Fortunato

My uncle's black chest hair lifts
bulletproof from his undershirt.
Morning now. He sits at the mahogany table
tense as a bantam smoking Winstons.
Last night circling in from Chicago,
this youngest uncle made it through
to me, rose up dark and square
on the landing. My eyes x-rayed
through fly and underwear to the prostate
that's giving him hell. "Soon I'll be
a cow in your china shop," he quipped.
Female hormones make his breasts grow.
Morning now. Inside the breakfront,
china clinks with every footstep.
He'll eat a lot, I know the hunger of
wet lips, pointed teeth.

I know the strut of this youngest brother.
My father's a pullet compared to this
cock of the walk who spun whores
into officers' beds throughout Naples.
OSS air-dropped him into the Vatican --
if you can believe him -- he lit
enough Amontillado under a prelate's cassock
to filch secret papers for Roosevelt.
Champion emissary with the gutter's argot
he didn't learn the lingo from my father
who traces his lineage from Dante.
Nor from the patriarch, though
the Papa performed great feats: followed
four professions, wrote letters home
for a thousand countrymen.

No, this crower descends from the strega herself,
Grandma Philomena who dove into the American
orb but never converted to daylight English.
Instead, on the backstairs, she built a cabal of
four grandsons court-martialed from the table.
She put to bed, fed from her magic apron
and schooled to know evil eyes and the moon's
countless horsemen. Some squirmed free. My father
made solitary obeisance to collars and parlor music.
But Tonio, who knew her longest, she blessed
with the least shame, the most Italian.

I should have known he wouldn't last,
soon would drag his weighty tool to bed.
But who could have said as he lay failing
he wouldn't kid of half masts or soggy carrots
but with my father, squawk like their boyhood crow.
Who could have guessed long after his juice was cooked,
Faith, his vegetable daughter, would still
stew in rancid broth outside New York. Or imagine
that his son would chase demons on a cycle, shove
a bottle to his guts. And my father survive
such foolish disorder that every noise he says
is false teeth dropping.

Even now, dead five years, Tonio,
you cackle at us. How we decline your jest,
beg you to keep it quiet when the whole uproarious
load has overturned, the songster brays
like an ass and I am left holding a flower
no straighter than the penis you said
would never again come "al dente" to the table.