• Robert L. Giron

Issue 22 — Clifford Browder, Lolette Kuby, Bryan Roscoe

Clifford Browder


Genesis



Secrets of wheat

Wrens nesting

And a small boy

Friendly with stars report

Theology dissolved

In a faint whisper

Of wind on water

Brooding a ripple or a world.




First appeared in Galley Sail Review.

Copyright © 1961 by Clifford Browder.




Combustible



Don’t bury me

In a hardwood casket

Or one of those metallic jobs

Polished, cushiony, expensive

Guaranteed to last a hundred years

That morticians con you into buying.


Soft pine should do the trick

Bugs and worms are my friends

Let them take what they want

They’ll just pass it on.


Yes, bury me

In a crumbly coffin

I want to be roots

I want to be leaves.


Better still, cremate me

Quicker and cleaner

Less fuss

Ought to make

A good crackle.


Burn me

I want to be light.




First appeared in Heliotrope.

Copyright © 2002 by Clifford Browder.




The Language of Light



The language of light

Props up space

Spits forth time.


It makes coherent the rumpus of forms

Sustaining spiral nebulae

The tonnage of continents

Smoke

Sticky eggs.


The language of light

Is curvilinear and rectilinear, dry

As the odor of sawn wood

Fantastical yet true

Like green herons with orange legs.


It sweeps away the opinions of the wise:

Desanctified droppings.


How it teases the accumulators

Trips up the adjusted

Mocks the competent.


How it unhinges

The technicians of greed and expedience

Murderers

Of the soft luna moths of our dreams.


I would learn this shining idiom

But who would teach it to me?

I have written eminent linguists:

They know nothing of it.

Physicists perplex me with their formulae

Gurus would enroll me

In expensive seminars

Opticians are no help, mystics

Those ruminants of glory

Have unlisted telephones.


Therefore

Beyond data, beyond symposia

I shall wear sneakers and tread softly.


Determined

Not to think

But to be aware

I shall sniff out

Its subatomic mysteries

Caress its paradoxes.


Through mazes of the mind

I will scuttle downward

Into worlds of small things

Musculature of eels

White snakeroot

Dancing bees

And coax from them

The word of life.




First appeared in Pivot.

Copyright © 1992 by Clifford Browder.





Dark Mother



Don’t say life, say wiggle


Don’t say worm, say communicant


Don’t say grass

Say green dream


Don’t say tree

Say thick-barked water-pumping

Deep-rooted fixity

Ramified

That eats the sun


Don’t say mind, say

Mystical telephone


Don’t say matter

Say multiple interactional

Space-time mass-energy

Curved helter-skelter particle jig


Don’t say me

Say dancer


Don’t say sperm

Say pathfinder, big shot, golden motorcycle


Don’t say God, say tease


Don’t say death

Say dark mother

Black hole

Star-sucking

Light-eating

Time- and space-disintegrating

Deep throat of the universe becoming

At its other end

Dawn

Spitter of worlds.



First appeared in California State Poetry Quarterly.

Copyright © 1992 by Clifford Browder.




Biography:


Clifford Browder is a writer and retired freelance editor living in New York City. His poetry has appeared in Heliotrope, The Main Street Rag, Runes, Snake Nation Review, The Bitter Oleander, nycBigCityLit.com, and elsewhere. Excerpts from his long novel Metropolis have been published in New York Stories, Quarter After Eight, and Third Coast. He is also author of two published biographies and a critical study of the French Surrealist poet André Breton.




Lolette Kuby


Your Soup



But where are the carrots?

Bright phalluses forged in the netherworld sun?


You must not draw too soon

Or wait too long



And where is the salt?

The flavorful gold, the licking stone?


Beware unbandaged cuts

Pinched or poured it cannot be undone



And where the onion?

Solidified tears?


Embracing itself. Unfold it you find

Nothing, a socket sans eye



And water? There must be water.

Secretly tubed from the top of the mountain?


Mine it like diamonds

Wrest it from daybreak



And where is the meat?

On its way to you?


The meat is dozing in the sun

Swatting flies with its tail



The meat is grazing in the field

Running in its own wool



It must be blindfolded and gagged

It must be silenced and tamed.



The meat is still eating.


Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby. Your Soup first appeared in The New Laurel Review.



Just Watching


Imagine a bird flying a flower

up to decorate its nest. Or Giraffes

ignoring laden fig trees to gawk

at a sunset. Imagine a whole tribe

of chimpanzees on a Saturday night,

wheeling their old, hoisting their children,

and thronging in feathers and shiny shoes,

halooing and touching hands along the way,

to a dedicated spot where they all

will sit very still, doing nothing, just

sitting, like the surrounding trees and the rocks

they sit on and the convexed air watching

one of them whistle. That we can may save us.



Copyright © 2003 by Lolette Kuby. Just Watching is from Inwit, published by Pearl's Book'Em Publisher, 2003.



Chair


Here it stands

as Luther would have

his Articles stand—

an incontrovertible

conclusion.

Let a child clamber

on its singular upholstery

with gloves of jam;

let pornographers

perform in its lap;

shroud it a hundred years

and it will wait

to be unshrouded

until time deposits new warm

bodies and appraising eyes.

Let a madman rage it to splinters,

it will coruscate in infinity,

dancing toward zero

like any other star,

utterly obedient,

utterly passive.


Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby.



Floor Meditation


Nothing, no skin of water

Without mosquito wake

On most windless of days

So quiet as untrodden floors,

So patient as girders in dusky basements

Bearing the whole house over them

Except in their seasonless dockage

The dead,

Between floor and ceiling

Crossing their hands

Over their heart.


Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby.



Craftsmen


The carpenter

bees,

hairy,

thick

across the thorax as my thumb, quick

as electric,

drill

perfectly round

holes for homes, perfectly

sized to their

bodies.

I stand

my ground,

paint hurriedly,

drip red on daffodils

until

they come within

inches, then leap

and run, spill

red on my jeans.

I calm myself

with the wasps that lined the walls of Thoreau's cabin,

return to where

my ladder leans

against my house, and speak

to these:

if we can't muster

love, I say,

let us keep

harmless and respectful distance—

you keep your distance

and I'll

keep

mine. But come night, I sent

a hit-man with a long-nozzled spray,

where they live,

while they

sleep.


Copyright © 2008 by Lolette Kuby. A different version of this poem first appeared in Hiram Review.



Our Gift


Make small cuts in male viaducts,

nips and tucks in oviducts

and it is over.

Little pain, little blood.

Everything done for estate will stop.

Everything done for monument will stop.

All reasons but the reasons of grass

will stop.

After a brief yesterday, all

will be mosses, feathers, claws, clouds.

Rain will be rain, wind, wind.

Absented of us

all will be a holy rolling,

a whirling, a quaking.

After our compassionate abandonment

trackless as a flight of birds.


Copyright © 2003 by Lolette Kuby. Our Gift is from Inwit, published by Pearl's Book'Em Publisher, 2003.



Biography:


Lolette Kuby, an expat from Cleveland, Ohio, now living in Toronto, holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and taught at the Cleveland State University. She now does freelance editing. Her book publications include In Enormous Water; Set Down Here; Inwit (poetry collections); An Uncommon Poet for the Common Man: A Study of Philip Larkin's Poetry; and last year a short story collection, Out of Cleveland.




Bryan Roscoe


City of Strangers



In the service they gave me a new set of clothes.

A new set of values…a new set of goals.

They trained us well all morning, noon and night.

God love them, send me off, and can’t wait for my first firefight.


We were bound together by the thousands as a city of strangers,

Some brothers and sisters served as Navy Seals and Army Rangers,

We come to you in the deserts, jungles, mountains or beaches.

Tell me son; tell your grandpa what do our past wars finally teach us?


Veterans lay waiting as if they were on guard duty

for eternity in fields of green pastures, strategy in formation

with their concrete namesakes and a monument unto its own.

I speak to those we have lost on the fields of battle.


And the military hospitals fully occupied of amputees—the sick and disabled.

Mothers weeping—children sleeping co-existing, yes barely surviving if they are able.

The horrors of war are no place for idealistic impractical desires.

Tell me, son. Now does this quench your youthful fire?



Copyright 2008 by Bryan Roscoe. City of Strangers first appeared in Veterans' Voices Fall 2008, Vol. 56. No. 3, sponsored by Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, Inc.




The War Within



No medals were given-

No heroes were made.

All rules were broken.

Only victims- still victims,

remain.



To the War that wasn’t won.

To the War that wasn’t lost.

To the War that didn’t end,

only begun.



Beware-of the War Within.



Copyright 2008 by Bryan Roscoe.



Biography:

Bryan Roscoe was born in an ambulance on route to the hospital in Neptune, New Jersey and was raised in New York City.


In his own words: "I volunteered to go to the Army in 1974. I studied as a Radio Teletype Operator. I was stationed at Signal Training School Fort Gordon, GA. I met a lot of high-quality people in the service and some I keep in touch with like my good friend Ken from California. I wrote a book it’s called Majestic Restoration. It’s about my two near-death experiences. I take immense pleasure and benefit greatly from writing poetry and short stories. It helps me to communicate in abstract ways other than using the five senses."


Roscoe retired from the Atlantic City Police Department Traffic Division some years ago.

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