Crag Hill

9 of Diamonds


Bold catechism and ligature, crosswind in the work

So that with the windows slung open on simmering heaven,
the catch of hunches ruins the bass, the drafting, flagrant seize

growth involves segmentation — a
society grows to a certain size, it
reaches a threshold, and then splits

Minding the store, teflon man flounders, insubstantial
protective skin thinned than thought. Granted, he’s not drowning,
not yet, but he’s not calling for help. When you boil it
down, is finding the stone blinding the stare

In consequence
events I forget remember me
when I fell into the rising river
the dropped rainbow trout flew up in my hands
and I continued walking backwards

I’m wall and All-wary
like I’m shelf (prow casts)
taut greed not barrel
Pop canons as monies
fast bludgeon
fast late tresses

‘time. And there it is.’ With that decided,
she went through the book getting rid of
every instance of the word ‘love,’ so that
when it finally appears — at a moment it
would be mean to give away, and too elabo-
rate to explain anyhow — it jumps out at the
reader to maximum effect



6 of Clubs


intrinsic blue. On the tributary, her facts fall, and she bets

Empty Potomac, channel serfs —
who could cross, a ton of dirty laundry on board

to pull this one out
lock it up in a box
and throw away the key

But too much of the holidays has be-
come tussling meanly with other human
beings in department store aisles to score
unwanted stuff on sale, stuff that winds up

‘Booming sands’ are much more impressive in my opinion.
One both hears them in a lower frequency band (50 to 264 Hz)
than ‘whistling sand” and feels them — the ground trembles, the
surface moves and ripples. Thus booming sands have both acoustic and
seismic components and the sound can last for much longer than do whistle or squeaks

the instability he created
every terrorist group
is flocking to fit in
the hornet’s nest an absolute
more than the hitherto
abstract necessity

Hurry had never been port of a stinger grope. Cracks
shook, load the why dawn stores; lapping, petting go,
and run what nexus, licking lake entrance in a sax-lagged
ruse. Next come profound snaps, drafting weepily
along, his tease heating each stir as they decanted,
healed up by his own wind, which was being painted
at him by service. Hurry and hermeneutics bought up the rare



Queen of Hearts


It rained relentlessly in the novel; the film version was sunny side up

Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are optimists thinking about how to care

A man stirs heart by the river
until a storm. Washing it off,
the storm of a people hurts

Ab-soar-key. Does it matter if we forget how
to pronounce the names of the mountains that
always seem to thrust up to 11,000 feet out
of nowhere? They’ve got the “soar” part right

This morning’s last dream
explained conflicts thus:
“me” language rather
than “we,” “your” language
instead of “our” language

The railroad tracks recede in a pale blue landscape covered
with snow and rust. A dark dog lies bisected there. No flies
come in winter to fill the cane of his stomach. Crows arrive
hungry, ungainly birds in pristine snow. Are their minds black
with self, or white as nature’s absence of caring? Soon, they
leave this dog-lantern, white bone of skull, eyeless. It lights

A shooting occurred in the kitchen
of the old Occidental. This was the
killing of Hugh Smith at the hands of
a man called Frenchy. The wives of
these two men had been quarreling
and Smith had later taken up his
wife’s quarrel and had used profanity




Jan Clausen

 A Gift of Paperwhite Narcissus


You’ve flown
from harmattan
to snow
with pepper
and a cake—

O you
with your
old indigo
your talk of
Akan widowhood—

I’ve only
potted nature
on the sill.




An Army of One


but fissile.

or gutter,

For the




Peter Munro 

The Emphysema, Hammertoes, and Shot-suspension Blues



My woman dresses in smoke and high heels.
She dresses in low-cut smoke and high heels.
Her cigarette strops her voice slow and mellow.
My woman is thirsty, she needs a drink.
My woman is thirsty.  She kneels to drink
a smoky liquor that burns as she swallows.

My woman blows smoke and it rises slow.
She blows smoke and her smoke rises slow.
She knows only now and fears no cancer.
My woman dances in the face of death.
She dances wanton in the face of death,
tall in smoke and heels, a fearless dancer.



High heels and a four wheel drive.
She wears high heels and a four wheel drive.
Her shit-kicker pick-up goes like hell.
The woman dresses in rough roads.
She wraps herself close in rough road.
Skirt-tight dirt cakes hard in her wheel-well.

Sweet Jesus!  She comes in a truck!
Praise the Lord!  She comes to truck
with speed, the fastest gal alive.
She’s a rough ride down in the rut.
She rides it wild, rough down the road’s rut,
tall in high heels and a four-wheel drive.


John M. Bennett


seem colder than a ladder sober steam
bolder than a matter lobster cream mouldered
than a dapper cloister gun stammer than a
leaper melder one glamour than a meater
smelter stunned stammer than a greeter welter
hung manner than a beamer swelter


Bun a

o h all c lick o see p c rack o c hub n ate
o m ill d rain o mel t sob o b leak desk
o d rub r at o sod s hake o s melt s tink
o kno b num b o b reach sala d o k ill nes t
o c rub s ate o b rock s torm o m ate cru mb
o g nat lak e o bur nt doo r o f logged knee


L ints

,wall et whap yr ,wat er me at pun ched
,r oof crawl my ,buz z n ape d renched
,p lug cl own lint s ,yr lon g b laze
,lun g p ile s cattered ,s cum n est fil tered
,s lap min e dim es ,spa t tered mu d h ush
,nam e loo p d rips ,c lobber h ash b rains


So ap

boul der me a knobster hammer juiced an
peeling like yr cage the sockings off
my tumbrels was that the cubic or a leaker
dream you trenchant soapings tames the
pallet or a palate lake tore cheeping pule
your eep my tense tub manic scorings



Sandy McIntosh

 A Rare Visit To My Father’s Office


I don’t think I’d ever seen him in action, giving a presentation to colleagues. Later, I sat close by. He really was a handsome man, but with a dueling scar that I didn’t remember.

“What I wanted was to be articulate, to be on a stage addressing millions,” he lamented. “But you see how I’ve tied my fingers in knots? Unlike your generation, we rarely had a public forum.”

True. We, living, hog the spotlight, our authorized biographies in every stupid song, our faces on every milk carton, our full names in answer to any question you care to ask. Still it was nice to see Dad, one grownup to another. Now he was articulate about his shyness, his ambivalence about having once been alive.


Roy Frisvold



Poor Jarry
had gear:
fishing line,
handguns; two pink
volumes of a library:
the Paris minimum   
till a biplane silhouette wedged
itself in fact,
black parallelogram in white,
photo’d sky . . . and the couch
of the alienist and the douanier skidded
our several and collective jungles to rest—
rest, hardly calm,
hardly Pauline reclining
by Canova,
but lushly impoverished
with graves
sputtering as if people
cooked inside them and
as if Gertrude were one of them,
—she of crude tattoo through the forearm   
and reclining—
it was either that or many other things,
among them tattoos and among them
tattoos of a murderous festivity,
and all Jarry could do,
all poor Jarry could do was gear up, and,
so did we all, gear up.
So did we all.




In stone street,
beneath peaked roofs and windows deep as dovecotes,
burgermeister, beadle,
bear and cockatiel dance to sonata
slowing, diminishing,
when a scherzo’s rumbling resonance informs
chamberpot, syphilis and magnetism
with wrecked inevitabilities
echoed only, merely,
in State reaction.

Locomotive hands rush waterfall,
building the gorge’s bridge
over the crow’s path;
hawks among aspens looming; aspens
hawks themselves
above meadows of thistle and mullein . . .

Music the frigate shimmers
to music the cannibal.

Unlike a voice ranging higher,
revolutionary softness:
one pedal softens highs,
precludes the multiplying tones,
the crowding of chords upon plucked strings
(at last, rest for Scarlatti).

Through guava shades of shot-silk mist
pressured steam keens
at moments trade hoots through archipelago.
Iron supplants the vine bridge; the Word trades light
to the more stable opium.
And music the shovel digging its own sea
prods torpid beads along its own
speculative bubble.


Jéanpaul Ferro 

Painta Della Cittá


How she left me there in Paradiso
in a downpour of rain,

in a phone-booth with the trembling hot breath
of the Italian school-girl right next to me,

her eighteen years of nothingness,
her wet dirty-brown hair,

the way she pulled her dress down
away from her body,

her own way of exploration
in the cave of her soul,

breasts slowly against my mouth, my neck,
my shoulder, Besso to Castagnola,

Truman to Reagan,
year by year peeled away like pages,
blood on De Pisis’ Venetian mirror,
reds and blues and yellows,

Maimeri, the suicide in her, in me,
hands tied behind back,

the gentle tonalities of order, of life,
exploding in our heads into nothingness.  


Southernmost Point

After years in Salina, rain-bands drifting up north toward New England,
ten thousand days of the monotonous green flat of Oklahoma,
taking my family and driving them south, as south as one can go in the
lower forty-eight,
where the road ends and life begins, the southernmost point of Key West—

At the edge of the sea’s shaking helmet, where dreams swim beneath
the shafts of green water with the rock hind and the juv fish.

A place where you can see Havana and the Yucatan Peninsula,
hurricanes floating up as far as the Sigsbee Knolls,
up over land into the Mississippi River, past New Orleans,
the flood plains, past the stars one hundred billion years away,
blue super giants collapsing to neutron stars,
our heads emptying, calmness flowing, blue, down our throats,
peace coming, euphoria, something none of us have ever felt before—
in the north, on the plains, in the mountains—
skies full of thunder, every thought I’ve tried to forget,
father’s coffin being lowered down into his grave,
that car wreck up on Suicide 6 when I saw her arm hanging out,
seeing her leave me like that, looking at her when she didn’t look like
herself lying in her own coffin,
all the reasons why we leave sometimes,
all those dry silos full of our abandoned dreams up north.


County Fair


The cold of the bedroom at night,
the blue shadows on the wall with the rain,
below the windows the pandanus and the poincianas
shifting the dark shadows into your ghost.


And all night long the sounds of the tourists
spill over from Duval Street,
the college kids from Sloppy Joe’s
and the Cat House,
how they come tormenting like the boughs
of the banyans with night,
the neon light in the rain of blackness,
shuttering pink, veering blue,
the same dreams I have now that you’re gone—

i suoni dolci dei nostri bambini che giocano,
(the first time our lips touched beneath the old white elm),
sempre il primo giorno freddo della caduta,
(all of our hopes and dreams before the war).



Hugh Fox



Wind-baby (ghost) bundl
around in back of the
car, everyone else out maul
around, profound sense of being a
vapor trail (Nov. 11, all windows windwide
open) across the impossible-to-exist

sky of



Joel Solonche


A poet I know showed me a letter he got from a reader in which this reader complained that his poems weren’t universal enough, and this so frustrated the reader (who called himself “a communicant not being communicated with”) that he wrote the letter to him, and the poet I know thought about the reader’s complaint for a long while (this being the first letter he had ever gotten from a reader) during which time he wrote several new poems, and as he was writing these new poems, he thought of his communicant who wasn’t being communicated with, thought of him as his one and only reader of these new poems, and when he finally answered the letter those months later, he wrote only, “Our atoms spin on moral poles,” and he didn’t sign it either, but he burned those new poems he wrote during that time because he said he couldn’t bear to know that even though he knew he wrote them, he also knew that they weren’t his, that he really didn’t write them at all, but the letter he showed me from the reader? He published that as a poem in a prestigious magazine under his own name.


Scott Keeney

. . . Who Would Be a Suicide


. . . the mind is silent. Work is in full swing
. . . how to experience the world without commenting

. . . the opposite of lemon zest and mattress springs
. . . under layers of dust

. . . except for a piece of paper bearing the word “crawl”
. . . and it tastes like spinach

. . . rise and fall in a junco which suddenly swerves away
. . . spring from his legs

. . . O perpetual damsel in distress, why not shine
. . . only when he squints his eyes till they burn

. . . what was it doing there in the first place
. . . sincerely unaware it was not looking at him at all

. . . and lycanthropic pains ripple spine
. . . he imagines her inner thighs are pressing

. . . loosens skin from bone, traveling point A to B
. . . only to reveal another mirror

. . . the mirror itself lost in the water
. . . he thinks he sees her move and then she does



Notes Toward Being Lost in Contemplation

The runny nose of mortality, when the sun drips,
I close my eyes and lie down under the open window.

There is an old Bantu saying, and then there is this:
The vision that can be controlled is not a two-by-four.

What does that mean? It means I love you, though
The woman that can be touched is not the eternal woman.

So this is the way you meditate. I had always wondered
Why my complete attention was never focused on others.

So it is only through utter contemplation of the self
That the old not-Bantu saying is possible. Call it orgasmic.

The vision in which nothing is seen is not really a vision,
But there’s no returning to senses. The yellow light rips

Scars across my chest. The concrete idea corrects itself
As razor-sharp lizard blood engorges the cathedral.

Mystic legs form a triangle over my sinister sensitivity.
Life force draining self from certain passage ways.



Glenn Bach

 from Atlas Peripatetic


Car comes to a stop at the curb
as there are fires in the road,
this car crash, three trailers,
a parked car, a fence, and two boats,
never making contact w/ cross corners,
stopped at the edge of the road
and the path of a dart, the copious
understeer and nipping, load or unload
returning too fast, flung as long as possible
into the open, oncoming in the cross
in the lane, no crossing until walking
is great, left, right, left,
less likely to wait for the crisscrossing
of the blur of fast headlights, even if
you see a line of vehicles waiting
for the edge of the sufficiently slow
centerline, coming in to see
a street blocked, the huge
and empty park,
nothing for miles
but the view of an open field.

Expect no reason.

Look for the turning.

Wait for the path.









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