Yes, Poetry

Issue 1: March 2010


The same rain falling on us 
with dreary sincerity 
fell on the Great Dead, so-called 
despite there being nothing 
great about being dead. 
Write every day, I was taught. 
Better yet, the rain said, 
trigger various car alarms, 
and whatever the point of two 
or more exclamation points in a row is, 
browse the pawnshops 
and the green spray of hills, 
forgetting, if you can, the children 
at the gates of the orphanage. 


ice already, 
hiding in the damp. 
in the spent orgies 
of starfish leaves. 

shreds of birches 
the cerecloth; 
and too the frayed gauze 
of shorn aspens. 

the lake lapping 
like a mule under a load. 
crows at the flanks 
cackle into a ring of char. 

a cloud, turgid and mean, 
with a double chin 
of despots for a hide, 
hogs the swimming hole, 

inflicting the weight 
of its doppelganger; 
and hardening the monocles 
of ten thousand 

petty puddles. 


my hands folded, boney. 
corpse-still on my lap. 
the fingers not 
clog dancing over keys. 
only a still ridge 
the dark side of the moon. 

at two a.m., the dim lamp 
is hitting them that way. 
shading the bulk of the skin 
to pale the knuckles. 
each round bump 
a bloodless face 
of a solider lying near the Marne, 
late september. 

if they moved now, 
it would be sweet magic. 
make their fiancées 
in distant homelands cry. 
but the lamp is heavy. 
cold as a gibbous sky 
soon to cast sleet. 

it’s hard to think under its siege 
of anything the dead 
want to say. 


depthless quietus, 
guzzling like a drunk, 

vision gets sucked 
into your unborn navel, 

then whirlpools of torsos 
and a nova of dreams. 

you ride bright landslides, 
snaring creatures of stars: 

red mammoths in yoked orbits, 
clydesdales of plasma 

tethered to a feverish pace. 

your sharp cusp 
butchers worlds down to gluons. 

no blood left, 
not even a twinkle. 

whatever they saw, 
hoboing through the light years, 

stretches into a fast-forwarded 
movie of everything― 

then vanishes like a rubberband 
that takes no time at all to snap 

and never be. 


I have walked the plains of sand and piercing winds 
Seeking the places carried upon the winds 

The dry desert speaks through a silent darkness 
Of the mystery within the hollow winds 

Caked river beds reminiscent of the sea 
Ache for freedom from storms and surging winds 

The moon in coolness like steel and pearl aflame 
Rides the mystery of change within night winds 

Here in this complex silence, the mind and heart 
Speak of momentary stars and ancient winds 


Moss on a cypress. 
Clouds in a dream. 
Setting suns. 
Yesterday’s thunder. 

Silence, the messenger 
of love. 
Silence, the most eloquent 
of liars. 


To talk like the rain. 
Words the color of oneself. 
This is poetry. 


Either road is fecund, 
ending in wide tables: 
one lined with pastries 
the other only flowers. 



No-one seemed to notice as you shuffled by, 
past the white coats in the office, 
through the green swing-doors, 
that winter’s afternoon, on your way to the river. 

And you’d left your cigarettes 
on your bedside locker, 
like a man not intending to be gone for long. 

Later someone told me he’d passed you on the road, 
left side rolling, pushing on, 
like a man with an appointment, in your leather mules. 

It was almost spring when they found your body, 
washed up on the sandbanks, a bloated thing. 

I think about you often. 
And of the things men leave behind. 
I kept the faith you gave me ─ may it see you home. 


I have been here a month, 
sitting in a circle with others, 
reading copy and writing heads. 
Today I’m convinced 
crime in the streets 
will never stop 
as long as 
someone can write 
and someone can read. 
I spell “ukulele” for Ulrich 
and a strange continent of sweat 
breaks out 
on the back of my shirt. 
"It’s as big as Australia," 
says Ulrich. 
At that moment I know 
I’m letting another July 
die in Chicago, 
reading copy and writing heads. 


Each morning, 
he sits at his desk, 
lights a cigar, 
starts looking around 

like a bear on a waterfall 
looking for salmon. He growls 
for raw copy, anything typed, 
anything with errors in it. 

Each day he comes to the office 
honed to rectify wrongs. 
Suffer the little stories 
to come unto him. 


they sat by the water 
languid bodies on bored sundays 
eye frames and red soup cans 

they spoke of school yards 
bent golf clubs 
the price of gold 
and the weight of kissing 
measured by silver 

they spoke 
and wallowed 
and rubbed their wrists 
all right. 


after the golf and champagne glass game is over 
empty soda bottles, crumpled cocktail napkins 
and the food musters 
disposable plates 

there is no use, for hands to hold 
under running water, you say 
ten speed bikes 
and long scarves 
are trademarks 
you bare 

with laughter 
and missing steps, buzzed 

i turn, shuffle 
thinking of the empty bottles 
the wet book of matches 

and you ring my telephone 
in the morning 
like a classified ad 
or looking for a lost pet. 


My foolish existence 
flows through the river waters 
with plastic bags 
dancing on it’s head. 


As if he didn’t fly toward that sun when the sky was sliced in two, 
Choosing instead to turn north toward colder climes, whereupon 
His wax and feathers froze and Odin spoke saying “all curious boys 
Commend themselves to wrong turns sometimes, but you flew 
Right and straight this time, handing off the burdens of avarice and 
Infamy.” Icarus, not knowing what to say really, surveyed the heights 
To which he had aspired. He counted one: I am going to cast out all 
My hopes of warmth, and two: freedom’s just another word for 
Nothin’ left to lose. The song ringing true in his head, Icarus looked up 
And saw his blood blue number written on the sky. “When I am 33,” 
He said, “I will die then and all the world will love me.” 


Far away, you dream my belly 
The one with the line down the middle 
Through which babies came sprawling into the world 
The one you’ve neither seen nor touched 
Years ago I went to New York in spring 
And bought you a book, first edition 
Signed by a poet you loved and emulated 
Your lines like his held out only so much 
Until restraint took over 
Secrets back in the box, yours, his, mine 
The book my small offering to what you wanted 
As March took over from the longest winter of our lives 
Now we walk such different streets, you and I 
My drum is syncopated to the only rhythm I know 
Yours to everyone else’s 
I like my drum better than yours 
Now when the sky streaks toward the West with cold pink fingers 
Pointing “come home” I will think of you and the book I put away 


Contributor’s Notes:
Sarah Ahmad lives in Pakistan and is a photographer by profession. Poetry has appeared in Mad Swirl, Full of Crow, Otoliths, Stone’s Throw Magazine, and elsewhere. Chapbook, Unfulfilled Doubts, has recently been released by Artistically Declined Press.

Chris Crittenden teaches environmental ethics for the University of Maine. Much of his writing is done in a hut in a remote spruce forest. Acceptances reinvigorate him now and again, among the hurdles and pitfalls of his obsession to express. He blogs mordantly as Owl Who Laughs. 

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 18 print and digital poetry chapbooks as well as a full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick (2009). His second full-length collection, Heart With a Dirty Windshield, will be published by BeWrite Books. 

David Kowalczyk lives and writes in Oakfield, New York. His poetry and fiction have appeared in seven anthologies and over one hundred magazines and journals, including Istanbul Literary Journal, California Quarterly, St. Ann’s Review, and The Buffalo News. He has taught English in Changwon, South Korea and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as well as at Arizona State University. 

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press, and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Poetry Friends, Poetry Super Highway, Pirene’s Fountain (Australia), and other publications. 

Joe Montalbo enjoys mint ice cream, naps, and poems by Sharon Olds. He is 22 and currently working towards an M.A. in creative writing. 

Christina Murphy’s poetry has appeared or is forthoming in a number of journals including, most recently, ABJECTIVE, Pool: A Journal of Poetry, Splash of Red, Counterexample Poetics, and Blue Fifth Review

Patricia Murphy received her Doctor of Arts in English from Idaho State University in 2003. She is an Assistant Professor of English and the Writing Program Coordinator at the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, NY.  She teaches Freshman Composition, Business Writing, Analytical and Research Writing and Creative Writing. Originally from New Jersey, she lives in Clinton, NY, where she spends her spare time organizing creative readings, supporting the After Breast Cancer Group, and participating as a proud member of the Mohawk Valley Peace Coalition. 

C.P. Stewart lives with his family in North Yorkshire, England. Formerly singer/songwriter with the cult band Laughing Gravy, his poetry has been widely published in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States . He was a former poetry editor for Sotto Voce Arts and Literary Magazine (U.S) His first poetry collection, Taking it In, was recently published by Koo Poetry Press. 

Stephanie Valente lives and writes in New York. One day, she would like to be a silent film star. She can be found at her blog: