Friday, January 1, 2010

Third Anniversary Issue
Eidtor's Note

Welcome to Issue Thirty Six of CSR! By now, you regular readers know my child likes flesh-colored radio frequencies and hates pretentious hula-hops. It craves Dolimite cupcakes in its Eiffel Tower and makes cute little sounds at the first sign of a tsunami. Baby has an uncanny ability to detect lupus disease then add a tablespoon of salt. We both like halos in our sock collection. This issue tests both Amway samples. It is filled with hybrid roof gardens and container cargo in the art. Add to that, a group of sword-swallowing poets, intriguing window-trimmed taxonomy and a sauteed book review and you've got the possibility of a longhorn roundup. Trust me, when you finish this issue you'll long to bed down with health-care legislation. Or hospital bed bugs. Either way, this issue will make you itch. So forget about the warming planet and get busy...
CSR: Issue 36 Contents/Contributors

Christine Klocek-Lim

Ken Gurney

Nabina Das

Stefan Nielson

Richard Wink

Nydia Benetti

Jill Williams

About Art - "Le Pouce"

C. L. Watson

About Books

About Music - Matisyahu

Luca Penne

Maurice Oliver

Contributors Biographies
Christine Klocek-Lim

The anatomy of birds

It is not winter but it is raining
and fog has fallen on the garden,
blurring the sparrows’ feathers.

You didn’t call today. I did not think
of you sitting in the kitchen, chafing
against the solid cage of the table.

The garden is still dead. Hollow
stalks of grass bend over the wet
dirt like sabotaged fences.

At my desk the papers are not stacked
neatly. Perilous to think I have any reason
for melancholy. Mother, I am not you

though the urge to classify my choices
lingers. I imagine you moving away
from the table, tucking the chair neatly

underneath. I leave mine askew
like the words on my desk, more
of a question than insistence.

It is not winter but it is not spring
either. Outside a sparrow balances
above the dead stuff, one foot down,

the other lifted above the wet,
both choices imminent. I look
away before the bird decides.

Learning to Speak American

He scattered post-its on the ceiling above his bed,
basic yellow, bedraggled corners pressed flat
like the petals of a strange flower. Each note
cupped a word, the kind that murmurs
in dreams: fear, impossible, expectation.

At first, he didn’t speak of it. Only the lost scraps
concealed in old books explained his past: escape,
realization, regret. He discovered my language in small pieces.
He wrote in the margins of “Cry, the Beloved Country,”
that it took six months to learn the word freedom.
Such things do not settle lightly into place.

We studied friendship for a year
before he described his escape from Poland.
When he asked for help, unable to define disquietude,
I had no words to offer that could explain it.
I wrote new combinations hoping to stumble
on the answer: un-harmony, dis-repose, im-peaceful.
Each day he brought me more blank paper,
white sheaves bare of metaphor, ready
for my hand’s inscription. Months later,

like blossoms, I pressed between my palms
the words he left behind: remember, courage,
heartbreak. Some things are impossible
to read. Words can only do so much.

Twenty-year love poem

I want to remember, but not too clearly.
More like remembering falling in love
than falling in love―the past spread
out behind us in a comfortable distance,
the hardships forgotten. The truth is
we were starving and lived on loose
change and vending machine pretzels.
The excitement of finding a quarter
in the hallway would sustain us all day
and sometimes into the night. Surviving
was learning how to jump when the elevator
refused to stop at the right floor, then prying
the doors open until the darkened space
of the shaft lay revealed in front of us,
emptiness below and above, a little fear.
Now I understand that only the very hungry
could get through that small opening between
floors. I remember your face in the darkness
of that small box, smiling like the shine
on a new coin. The richness. Wanting
to stay there with you forever.

“Twenty-year love poem” first appeared in Quay,
A Journal of the Arts, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Sept-Dec. 2007.

How to perceive red

Consider the persistence of memory,
how once seen, a red moon lingers
with a cinnamon tingle.
Remember the black widow’s
crimson hourglass in the garage
behind your cherry-bright bicycle.
Conjure the blood-lost wrench
of miscarriage: how the rose-
leather sofa, too soft for sorrow,
held the cast of a ruddy sunset.

Then there’s the leaden weight of rust,
how the muffler lost its battle with snow
and salt and dropped unexpectedly
because the pipes were rotten.
Your scarlet gloves sponged
the road’s grime and never washed clean.
Bleach was not a good idea. Fuschia
is not your favorite color.

Recollect the paint of death
on the ocher mummy, her curled
fingers stopped over the heart
with tragic calm. You could
not bear the quiet and fled
to the paintings, found Rubens’
Samson and Delilah.
There is no forgetting
the abandon of reason for passion.

“How to perceive red” first appeared in The
Guardian Poetry Workshop, Sept. 2006.

Into the quiet

I dreamed of my grandmother
and in the silence she died
again. And my brother held
the casket which cut his hands.
Again we walked down marble
steps to the uneven ground
where tarps covered
the peeled skin of the grave
and we stood witness.
My brother’s fingers bled
from the weight but he said
nothing. In the dream I knew
already what happened:
how I would try to follow her
for six months into the quiet,
how her voice lingered
on the answering machine.
I called each day to hear
the final click and beep
of the tape on which I left
no message.

In my dream the rain hid
tears. Mourners filed past
the glimmer of a shovel
tossed beneath the tarp.
My feet did not stay dry.
In dreams death moves
ahead too fast, too suddenly
for remorse―
I walked outside my home
and again I saw the flawed rigor
of a corpse on the side of the road,
the deer’s head thrown back
above a casket of exposed ribs,
no heart. I saw the tarp of skin
sunken into the ground.
I held my breath in silence
and moved forward, sideways,
because the wind blew into me.
Still, the smell lingered.

“Into the quiet” first appeared in Quay, A Journal
of the Arts
, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Sept.-Dec. 2007.
Ken Gurney


Yeah, I got a few bucks left. Don’t worry.
I noticed how you managed to not pay
for a single drink all night long
and a dozen guys refined their acceptance techniques
of your subtle and blatant and constant put downs
without so much as meeting their eyes.
At some point it is time to go home
and continue the flirtatious talk in private.
I mean, there is a twelve-pack in the fridge
and I can heat up a can of chili,
since you refuse to palate Denny’s cuisine
and that’s your tummy growl I hear prowling.

Election Returns

Last week the Pope arrived in Albuquerque―
well, at least a guy wearing a funny hat arrived,
who probably was not the King of Catholics
as the local entrepreneurs failed to promote
his arrival with T-shirts and coffee cups
and other pontiff paraphernalia.
He did get three girls down on their knees
in a prayer-like fashion and their tongues stuck out
expecting something like a communion wafer,
but this is only a rumor, as I was not there
and my glassy telescope was pointed
at the night sky, not the neighborhood windows
so as to reveal such privacies.

I heard the rumor from those women
addicted to grocery store checkout tabloids
who effortlessly spoke of black rituals and pagan frenzies
and the unredeemable acts of clenched fists coated in butter,
and how the snow of one of those globes sprays
about the room when the glass breaks against the wall,
but I filed that blue gibberish into the void
between stars in the blink of an eye,
but it was my ears that should have blinked
to save me from this recounting.

I Dance Silky Spokes

I dance the silky spokes
my eyes draw between stars:
my web of light to keep
the darkness in tow.
I sing the planets’ great circles
and ovals and eccentric orbits:
black night and blue day
above the spinning whorl of clouds.
I dance on the green grass,
the brown grass, bare feet stained.
I sing dream threads that bind
while I spin and leap and move,
connect the heavenly distances
that separate lively points of light.

Empty Rainbow

I feel the pierce of the hoop
through your lip. Your humid
torso sheds the moonlight.
With ice tea we wash down
the metaphors we consume,
the spoonfuls of fiery poetry
ingested like medicine.
I know you will leave
without sharing your name.
There are no rituals for this
feigned romance. The octaves
we mixed in the bedroom blender
leave a scribbled trail of black notes
as the wake of your footprints
scuff the doorway path.

From the second-floor window
I observe the plague of your parting,
your count of green leaves pocketed,
your indelicate walk through
the partly-cloudy rain fall
that should produce an arc of colors
but does not.

Missing The Boat

With head down and eyes averted
you approach the altar
with the wooden cross
attached to the resplendent
wounds of the dying Christ.

The entire English language
falls away from your thought
as you reach back
to a pre-Tiberian Latin
spoken at the base of the seven hills.

The library contains
millennia old vellum, bright pigments
of forgotten illuminations,
which pale when compared to
all the monks’ transcription
and translation errors.

You wanted to say some prayer
or something profound, but the vision
of the Virgin Mary statuette
always gives you a woody
with old testament prerogatives.

The baptismal font remains dry,
unable to drink even the slightest
shot of whiskey, so much so,
it wonders if it really is Irish in origin
and sailed one day before the Titanic.
Nabina Das

Othello’s Path

Butterflies dropped dead from branches
Where they never grew
Dewdrops of nights that stifled dawns
Lay on your path
Or were they tiny handkerchiefs
Outlining a long sorrowful track?
White of courseBlack with guile
Wordsmiths calledIt green, envy
But when the foliage died
No one was left to pry
So, don’t walk that path dear Othello
Don’t wipe your eyes with
Those thunderstruck fingers, they’ll teach
You rage and us a loss forever to linger.


In very hot weather
Flowers wilt like bouquets
As do kneeling gardeners
But no one hears them.
It is fashionable for us to
Take bouquets – not words -
To happy or sad rituals where
No one deciphers the flowers.
We can shade the buds
But that may deter buzzing bees
Heavy with the delusion of summer
And the ensuing calm

-both poems previously published at Lit Up Magazine

"A Face Like Ours"

Poetry is a face inviting a peek

A thought that carves the Ajanta grace – a smile, a pause

Poetry’s guest. Liberated words.

"Airborne, We Sing"

Our times is a kite for our hands

To say nothing of the birds. Alphabetic. Soaring

The face, this poetry, defy disbelief of metaphors.

The Message Tree

You'd passed on some words to me that
quickly got splayed on sunny clotheslines
washed crispy clean like new handkerchiefs
stiff at first, starchy, then sudden wind floats

kites that were eyes, your eyes.

I tied words around your wrist, threads from
archaic ceremonies, unknowing how I tied
up nerves in jasmine bunches hanging over
our garden shades as you casually chewed
sugarcane sticks taking back lost letters or
words that meant a new beginning for us


Our love story was like growing up in a
house with no telephones just soft knocks
true, I had a home like that far away from
glossy shop magazines, no sudden ringing
tones of familiarity that jolted my listless-
ness when I rested under a pool of sleep

tasting sweat with my swoon.


Look, I've grown branches now like it
happened in a Bollywood tale once upon
a time! I'm a message tree, my twigs just
hang where white post-its make a beeline
at the showroom flat-screen that belches out a
song and we dance around the message
tree talking in un-said tones.

-all 3 poems from her blog, Do You See?
Photography by Stefan Nielsen

Jill Williams

Recycling Station

Old washers. Used heaters. A sink full of taps.
A rubbery mountain of tires.
How quickly one’s dreams can erode into scraps.

How easy it is for the time to elapse,
For boredom to outlive desires.
Old washers. Used heaters. A sink full of taps,

And somebody’s atlas with half-shredded maps
That used to light wanderlust fires.
How quickly one’s dreams can erode into scraps.

A box full of glassware. A bag filled with caps.
A Dean Martin tape at `The Friars’.
Old washers. Used heaters. A sink full of taps.

A three-legged crib where the fleas take their naps.
Great jumbles of cables and wires.
How quickly one’s dreams can erode into scraps.

And change from true love to a memory lapse.
Will time turn us all into liars?
Old washers. Used heaters. A sink-full of taps.
How quickly one’s dreams can erode into scraps.


‘What does it mean to you, my thoughtful friend?”
He hesitates then offers this reply. “
I’d hate to think we’re nada in the end―
That we live once and then we simply die.”

I contemplate his after-life reply.
I have my own beliefs about this theme.
(I do think we just live and then we die.)
I’m into Now, not some amorphous dream.

I have my own beliefs about this theme.
It’s how we live today that gives us worth.
I’m into Now. Not some amorphous dream
Where one repeats new lessons on this earth.

It’s how we live today that gives us worth.
It’s what we do or what we leave undone.
Who cares if I return one day to Earth.
I’m here. It’s noon. I love the feel of sun!

I do not share these views with anyone. “
I’d hate to think we’re nada in the end.”
He shields his eyes from too much noonday sun.
‘What does it mean to you, my thoughtful friend?”

Sharing Food

I will not tolerate a roving fork
That dives like hungry dolphins for my food.
Go on and call me crass or super crude.
But no one spears my sweet and sour pork.
Not even Royal Andrew, Duke of York.
You say I’ve got a lousy attitude?
Well that’s my salad. Get your own plate, dude.
No stolen nibbles here, you greedy dork!
The shrinks might say I’m slightly paranoid.
A basket case whose mama didn’t care.
But I don’t need Carl Jung or Sigmund Freud
To analyze why I will never share.
A meal, like any mate I choose to wed,
Is strictly mine. (Both in and out of bed!)

Suicide Threat

Same old, same old….
Bridge-jumping this time, is it?
I’ll be the lookout, if you like.
Letcha know when there’s no cars.
Then you’re on your own.
Splattered on the deck of a dirty tugboat
like a giant squid.

When I was a child
I threatened to eat worms.
All the other kids were going.
Mary, Paula, Juliette…
What’s so bad about a sleepover?

When I was less of a child
I threatened to drink poison.
Sis barged in, grabbing
the iodine bottle.
Jack hadn’t asked me to the prom.

When I was in college
I threatened hanging
But the paislies wouldn’t hold
and my hands kept shaking.
Another goal shot to hell.

When I was married
I threatened with carbon monoxide.
I wanted him to find me,
to wail and tear his hair.
(What was left of it…)
But the car wouldn’t start.

Today I feel like a starfish
stuck in a seagull’s gullet,
being eaten alive.
When you phoned,
Lions’ Gate Bridge came to mind.
Me, perching delicately on the ledge.
A wingless angel, ready.

Letcha know when there’s no cars.

Highlands Hammock State Park

The swamp is calm, a shallow black,
As shivers quiver down my back.
There’s ‘gators here, both young and old.
A mama with her pod to scold.

If she gets angry, she’ll attack.
The cypress knees seem out of whack,
Like feral dogs without a pack.
Despite this sudden spate of cold,
The swamp is calm.

I hear the egret flap and clack.
He must have speared a mid-day snack.
Its end is silent, swift and bold
I hope my own will thus unfold.
Ride’s over, folks! Stay off the track
The swamp is calm.

-all poems previously published at Real Eight View
Richard Wink

Quarter Century

There appears to be some magnificent characters
in this world
but I haven't met any of them.
Because they exist behind red brick walls
I would be delighted to speak to them
but their mouths are wrapped by gaffer tape

There seems to be endless fields of possibility
green and fertile
but I've never walked across them
because my shoes are white and spotless,
besides I have a television schedule to follow
and my bulbous hands cannot grasp the key to my front door


We forget the road and retreat into ourselves
me and the other guy
whilst the flash of rash thinking takes us back
to the living land

Sadly all I can remember
is falling from the most comfortable seat.


I walk the tightrope of cliche
with the ease of melting chocolate,
ook down on me with your designer coal miner eyes
which quell surprise are hidden
by pretty pink Ray Ban's

I haven't ever seen a hand gun hold up a post office
though I've come across a few butter knives
coating scones and tea cakes.
I've watched saliva dribble down many earnest ruddy faces

All over
empty pockets prevent us from running
our tip topes kiss the pavement
stretched muscles gurgle and creak
red raw elastic bands washed down
the storm drain after a heavy downpour

No More Pix ‘N Mix

Woolworths is closing down.
Never mind people burning their own cars
and filing false insurance claims
Never mind new brides pawning their
wedding rings
Woolworths is closing down

I suppose the recession is real now
not just a far away threat
like Heroin addiction, terrorism
or mad cow disease

All our seductive splendour needs to be
sucked up and stored with
cheap tins of food. Every breakfast
served with baked beans


Voyeuristic devils
look for hell,
and the glory of gold

- all poems previously published at Laura Hird
Nydia Bonetti


girl, get up!
ordered me to poetry

(holding me by the hand)

got up
and I began to walk

Old Trees

watching the old tree could see as clear (clear)
it has body and soul (and all living things)

body (matter) that rises towards infinity (sun)
branches (arms) that extend over the avenue (life)

and the soul


Unlikely Sun

the bird that lives in me and insists on singing
sensing suns


fool, did not realize yet, that night
abysmal living in

never dawns


owls pram

the rooster crows and the earth heart


is appease delusions
and desires

the night calls

the sun the sun the sun ...


Blue Elephants

time does not stop it. it is hopeless. retraced running,
lately. stampedes. stampede. herd
__ Blue elephant

lava flows. rapids. tsunami. waterfall. avalanche. mixer

us, surfers on waves unstable. wax hair, golden skin
__sob the sun is dying

us, tourists on safari in Kenya. flying low over the
red mouth
__de a volcano

climbing Everests, facing the Sahara sand storms

the distance life: mirage. oasis

-all Poems from her blog Longitudes

About Art - "Le Pouce"

"Le Pouce" (The Thumb), was originally cast in 1965 and made for an exhibition at the Galerie Claude Bernard on the theme of the hand, allow Caesar to experiment with new materials for synthetic resin molding of his own thumb extended pantograph, followed by iron metal in different sizes . This work by the artist from Marseille is also present in the lobby of Acropolis (the Palais des Congres de Nice). Edited by postage stamp at a price of 6.70 francs, representing the thumb will be sold at 5 188 850 copies in 1997.

This sculpture has a huge weight of 18 tons and a height of 12 meters. Estimated between 900,000 and 1.2 million francs, this incredible artwork was auctioned as part of a sale in the prestige Drouot-Montaigne area in Paris at the International Fair of Contemporary Art (FIAC). One of the three creations was recently purchased by a collector for a cool US $1,745 million. This is the highest amount ever paid for any of the Cesar’s works till the date.

The artist, César Baldaccini (1921 – 1998) was born to Itallian parents in a working-class area of Marseille, and by 1960 was considered one of France's leading sculptors. In that year on a visit to a scrap merchant in search of metal, he saw a hydraulic crushing machine in operation, and decided to experiment with it in his sculpture. He astonished his followers by showing three crushed cars at a Paris exhibition. Baldaccini was at the forefront of the Nouveau Réalisme movement with his radical compressions (compacted automobiles, discarded metal, or rubbish), expansions (polyurethane foam sculptures), and fantastic representations of animals and insects. The thumb (which was copied in bronnze from his own) is one sculpture among his casts of sculpted breasts, female torsos and clenched fists. César's thumb sculptures are exhibited in many big cities in the world, including e.g.: Paris, Marseille, Shanghai & Seoul. Find out more at:
Artwork by D. L. Watson

About Books:

Title: How God Ends Us
Author: DeLana R.A. Dameron

Description: “What a refreshing range of vision DéLana Dameron shows in the splendid poems of How God Ends Us. Ever rich with the arresting image, ever graceful and yet refusing to look away from a suffering that calls grace into question—from the ‘assemblies of the shattered / in Harlem’ to the steady inevitability of how the flesh must fail us—these poems argue for witness as the only way of knowing—of being somehow grateful for—a world that is always leaving us, even as we ourselves must leave it. ‘Whose ghosts are haunting us?’ Maybe it’s history itself, these poems suggest—a history of, variously, suffering and of a sustaining, defiant belief in joy.” - Carl Phillips 

Product Details:

Printed: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches, 96 pages
ISBN: 1570038325
Copyright: 2009
Language: English
Country: USA
Publisher’s Link:

About Music - Matisyahu

Matisyahu was born Matthew Paul Miller on June 30, 1979, in West Chester, PA. Miller initially rebelled against his traditional Jewish upbringing, considering himself a Deadhead and a hippie by his early teens. But at the age of 14, during a camping trip in Colorado, he reconciled himself to Judaism and visited Israel shortly thereafter. He dropped out of high school and traveled the country to attend Phish concerts. Back at home again, he agreed to let his parents send him to a wilderness school in Bend, OR, where he became enamored of reggae and hip-hop, and began rapping at open-mic competitions. He returned to New York at 19 to attend the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, but also joined the Carlebach Shul, a synagogue where his musical interests were encouraged. Meeting a Lubavitch rabbi, he became interested in the strict Lubavitch Hasidic sect of Judaism and renamed himself Matisyahu.

Continuing to perform, Matisyahu assembled a backing band consisting of guitarist Aaron Dugan, bassist Josh Werner, and drummer Jonah David. The group recorded Shake Off the Dust...Arise, which was released by JDub Records in 2004. While touring in support of the album, Matisyahu recorded one of his February 2005 concerts and released the material as Live at Stubb's, which was issued in April courtesy of Or Music before getting picked up for national distribution by Epic Records. Epic reissued it on August 23, 2005, as Matisyahu toured around the country and prepared a second studio album with producer Bill Laswell. The final product, Youth, appeared in March 2006 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album. A simultaneously released dub version of the album was made available to mail-order customers.

Meanwhile, Matisyahu's backing musicians chose to release additional material on their own, adopting the name Roots Tonic for the side project. Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell marked the group's debut in May 2006, and by the end of the year the EP/DVD combo No Place to Be was also released. Jonah David dropped out of the band in June 2007, however, and Roots Tonic effectively disbanded, despite the enlistment of replacement drummer Skoota Warner. The entire group (sans David) turned its focus back to Matisyahu instead, and Lights marked the singer's third LP upon its release in August 2009. Find out more at:
Luca Penne

Haunted by the Word Micturate

Haunted by the word micturate, meaning to urinate, yet
not meaning that, I face the silence of the house after
New Year's, the creak of heat in the pipes, the contented
hum of appliances. No language forms naturally, but out
of need. I need to communicate with things rather than
people, and the word micturate, meaning the hing-ness
of objects, inorganic passions will help me fight the gusts
of fear blowing from the east. The face of a dead ancestor
presses to mine, presses so hard the skull aches and blue
light wheezes from cracks. By this netherworld flare I read
sorry inscriptions, plush old slogans, cris-de-couer etched
in bile. Later these will solidify to words meaning micturate,
not at all to urinate, to discreetly excrete one's minor poisons,
but to drive a stolen truck miles into the sodden north and
finally crash-land on the surface of a frozen pond where
the engine dies and one begins the long walk to Canada
and a firmer grip on all things Canadian. Having read those
inscriptions, I'll relegate that ancestor to the cruelest realms
of memory where childhood suffocates in shame and I'll
write on a lined tablet the word micturate again and again
until that bladder-full of syllables seems too familiar for the
untrained ear to blame.

Arrangement in Steel and Flesh

When despite the clammy autumn chill you leapt fully
clothed in the river and swam with big overhand stroke
I stood amazed and rebuked, watching. Later when
you stripped and lay naked on the riverbank to dry,
indifferent to stares of passersby, I admired both flesh
and mind. You looked so untouchable, sleek Art Deco
machine, stainless and gleaming. That was years ago.
Surely now you're old as me and as indifferent to history
as you were to your own lean flesh. If we should meet,
say, in a mall surrounded by consumer goods in popular
but dingy fall colors, taupe and olive drab, we'd address
each other in tones we've learned from John Updike
stories. I'd lose forever your naked image, the windmill
of your stroke, the disdain that formed an aura around
you clothed or otherwise, and be forced to replace it
with glib matronly humor I always knew you'd gladly
grow into. Why leave you with preposition deployed? I
revert to that cool afternoon when I gazed at your goose
bumps with reverence, afraid to touch. The river gurgled
in contentment. People on the further bank stared,
amazed at how much of you there was to bare, and how
little the sky-blue of your eyes seemed to care which
elements coincided so long as the scene included you
while excluding everyone else.

-both poems previously published at The Furnace Review

Devil Enough For Anyone

Rain varnishes the plate glass. A chickadee mashes against
it, breaking its neck. I open the slider and pick up the little
corpse. Half a fistful of reedy bone and fluff. I regret having
polished the glass only yesterday, the clean surface as
tempting as a religious ideal. In the garden while the rain
expresses its dismay I bury the creature and attempt a prayer.
What coughs up is a curse so ugly the temperature drops a
full degree. Something goat-footed is crashing through the
woods a few yards beyond my garden so I hustle indoors,
slide the slider to keep out whatever my sick ritual invoked.
When it emerges from the woods it’s only my neighbor, drunk
again, his pants falling to his knees. He stumbles into a heap
and lies there, a slur of vomit trickling from his snore. Yes,
he’s devil enough for anyone. I should call his wife to rescue
him, but maybe I’ll leave him there until a snicker of lightning
ignites his breath, confirming his infernal purpose.

Green and White Striped Shirt

I’m a rare creature indeed, my brassy hair crisp as a nest
of question marks, my post-Italian nose an intrusive sort of
proboscis.. At the outdoor café I squat among my colleagues,
all unemployed and sexually morose, and we discuss the latest
ugly film from Scotland. We agree that the heroin-addled
delinquents portrayed therein don’t in the least resemble us.
We agree that the heroin in our intellects is a state of mind,
not a drug. But the others distrust me when I wear my green
and white horizontally striped shirt. They think I think I’m
better than they are, and so I am. Jennifer wants me to take
it off so she can count my ribs, but I refuse to expose my
untanned areas to so satirical a gaze. Even when my shirt
flutters like a kite in a storm, even when rain snuffs our
discussion, even when Jennifer drags me to her little room
above the convenience store I resist removing it. No matter
how boldly she uncorks bottle after bottle of tart white wine
I remain as fully dressed as a priest in the confessional. When
she leans out the window to laugh at the world and encourage
the world to laugh at me I clutch myself and dash down the
stairs, my white stripes rattling and my green stripes hushing
like fronds.

-both poems previously published at The Poetry Warrior
Maurice Oliver


Beneath the moon, to an address unknown.
Then other times, I kneel in the big church
browses templates. Life shines reckless and
born again. Like a mountain range. Like tea
leaves that are unreadable. And women are
painted in the ceiling and the confessional
box has no shoelaces. Unfastened buckles. A
little linoleum alter boy and a thrill from your
touch. What a superb nave it is! Walking down
the aisle with a halo above my Mardi Gras…

hungry for prays and immortal drops
of holy water with a hole in the bucket.

So if you’re asking my advice, I think you ought
to call it a picnic basket if it attracts ants.

Mirrors, heavy metal, and Mickey Mouse ears.
Or try a sunset that’s grainy but automatic.

Either way, the view will imitate you and a forest
wearing chiffon will appear when the fog lifts.

So bring your own land of milk and honey or
anything else you’re willing to exchange, as
long as the items make absolutely no sense.

And Now, More Uberthought Thoughts

Here’s some examples of the assumptions available:

-Lattice are responsible for most meadow seepages.

-A spy’s heart is 99% a prairie home companion.

-All rumors notoriously wear too much mascara.

-Hip-hop is peppered with a ballistic lab’s effluvia.

-Glass blowers have a soft-spot in their ovenalls.

-Wake-up calls have never condemned knuckle cracking.

-Blue is the bubble of farm laborers.

-Zebra rugs snore when they sleep.

-A cloudless dawn can be startled easily.

-Muslins pray three times a day.

Fun Da Mental

In this scenario even the folding chairs fall
on their knees in the hailstorm. Or Hail Mary.
Or Bloody Mary gone all floral in a vase. The
idea is to keep the arm forces plush and wall
to wall lap dancing then add a pitch of salt
and stuff musket steamers in the drain pipe.
In this scene we sit at the bar on toad stools.
She tells me her life story in the time it takes
me to tie my shoe. She claims her electrified
ivy secretly drips stardust without ever even
explaining the whens or whys. She insists the
corner of her love joy often rides downhill with
no hands and that her bird-like odor does has
an uncanny resemblance. By act three I’ve
confessed to having a tiny cashmere room
deep in the heart of my sock drawer and that
my shiny corridor is lined with childhood prayers.
We also realize we both like to watch water
when it swells and snow when it boldly falls
forty stories high and subtracting. Or flowers
in our tug-of-war. Gin Ginny. Rum Rumsfeld.
Fat notions of a moon pulsing outside. And
all the while, the live audience has the chance
to decide whether monogamy sleeps alone
behind door number two. Or when the dust
settles, the Gallop Poll questionnaires are
collected and used to measure pools of light
in the uppermost fascicules.

Here, Indisputably Here

Enormous rivers.

A route by way of a snoring back road.

Leaves, falling like pecan brittle confetti.

Road signs, producing an infinite number of themselves.

Sensual lip gloss, extenuating the black asphalt.

Shifts in wind direction caused by oncoming cars.

The sun, clouded and unable to jangle its shiny keys.

Deer, conscious of every stage of our passing.

Ringlets of steam rising from anything wet.

Noting the occasional ambivalent reed and crystalline wolf.

Heading north, as we leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind.

Exaggerations, Flexible Enough To Stretch

OK. OK. So the flying elephant wasn’t exactly blue.

Hold on. Hold on a minute. But it was the sum
of a dusty attic trunk of hay called equal
by way of water towers on rooftops.
It had a memory that occupied
a complete intentional
community looking
out on astonishing
landscape. Its language
was both luxurious and mysterious
under the big top approaching sublime.
And, more often than not, the clicking and
buzzing sound it made could cause the hair stand
up on the back of even your neck.
What else? O yeah, it could
swim, swallow and
peacefully graze
all electronic
that teeter on conventionality.
Contributors Biographies

Christine Klocek-Lim

Bio: she received the 2009 Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in poetry and was a finalist in Nimrod’s 2006 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She has two chapbooks: How To Photograph The Heart (The Lives You Touch Publications) and The Book of Small Treasures (Seven Kitchens Press). Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Poets and Artists (O&S), Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory and elsewhere. She edits Autumn Sky Poetry. Visit the website at:

Ken Gurney

Bio: he is the founding editor of the internet poetry site Origami Condom which he started in 2007. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines including Ascent Aspirations, The Blue House Poetry Ezine, The Centrefugal Eye, The Cliffs Soundings, Fickle Muse, Free Verse, Pearl, Word Riot, Wicked Alice, and elsewhere. He lives in Albuquerque, NM where he participates in local poetry slams. Visit him at:

Nabina Das

Bio: her short story “Tara Goes Home” was selected to appear in a winning collection of fiction by writers from India as well as around the world (Mirage Books). Her poetry has appeared in the “urban” poems anthology SHEHER (Frog Books), in Kritya poetry journal, Lit Up Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly and Muse India. She was one of the winners of the 2008 Book Pitch Contest at Kala Ghoda Literary Festival in Bombay. She is also a 2007 Joan Jakobson Fiction Scholar from Wesleyan Writers’ Conference, Wesleyan University, CT., and a 2007 Julio Lobo Fiction Scholar from Lesley Writers’ Conference, Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass. She lives two lives, shuttling between Ithaca, NY, where she worked as Assistant Metro Editor with The Ithaca Journal, and Delhi, India. Visit her blog at:

Stefan Nielsen

Bio: he was born 1958 was has been a dedicated amateur photographer for the past 30 years. In summer 2005 he switched to digital and loves it (though he says he misses the old darkroom now and then). He tries to keep his phtography simple. His images lack hidden messages and complex interpretations - what you see is what you get. Some people might call his pictures "eyepleasers" - which he considers a compliment. He uses square formats and would likely use a Hasselblad if someone else could carry it around for him. Until he finds a volunteer, he plans to stick to his trustworthy Canon. He is Dane and lives in Lyngby, Denmark. More at:

Richard Wink

Bio: he says his favorite poets is Anne Sexton and his favorite artist is Salvador Dali. The poet-journalist-freelance writer currently edit’s the enigmatic litzine Gloom Cupboard. His sixth poetry collection has been recently published this year by Shadow Archer Press. He resides in Norwich, England. Find out more about him:

Nydia Bonetti

Bio: she is civil engineer and poet. Her work has appeared in Revista Zunai, Overmundo, Portal Litterario and other cultural sites and literary communities like Outsider Writers. She has two books of poetry in the process of being published. In one of them, she intends to congregate the series Poems of the Blue Notebook (Poemas do Caderno Azul), from her first phase and in the other, though still without definitive heading title, a collection of unknown poems from her current phase. She lives in São Paulo, Brazil. Visit her blog:

Jill Williams

Bio: she was the first woman to write book, music and lyrics for a Broadway musical (Rainbow Jones, 1974) and has also written songs, interviewed celebrities and even captured a yawning lion on film! She has been a creative writing teacher (Vancouver Community College, 1990-94), a CBC radio commentator (‘Leisure Trends’, 1996-98), a recording artist (Jill Williams, RCA Victor, 1971), the first female General Professional Manager for Beechwood-Capitol Music (1971-73), and recently the creator of a poetry-reading series called Poets Night Out in Sedona, Arizona. The author of four nonfiction books, she has been published in numerous journals including Light Quarterly, Edge City Review, The Lyric, and The Comstock Review, and poetry collections including The Nature Sonnets (Gival Press, 2001) and A Weakness For Men (Woodley & Watts, 2003). Originally from Hartford, Connecticut, she divides her time between Vancouver, British Columbia and Sedona, Arizona. Visit her at:

C.L. Watson

Bio: she was born in Cleveland ,Ohio but moved to Miami Florida at a young age. Both her parents were artists. She was always involved in art and studied many forms including ceramics, scupture , batik, painting and drawing. After college she worked as an interior designer in California and Florida, continuing to paint while raising two children. A few years again she was able to return to painting full time, dividing her time between her studio in Central Oregon and her studio in South Florida. Her work has been included in the prestigious Hortt exhibit two years in a row and is currently being exhibited in galleries in the west and in Miami Florida. She lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Find out more at:

Luca Penne

Bio: he holds an MFA from Southwestern Missouri State U, where he won the Emerson-Tate Award. His work has appeared in various journals, including 2River, Heroin Love Songs, Inertia Magazine, The Furnace Review, Alien Sloth Sex, Word Catalyst Magazine, and others. He lives in Norwich, Vermont, and works sometimes as a carpenter and other times he operates a ski lift. He currently has no website.

Maurice Oliver

Bio: he worked as a freelance photographer in Europe for nearly a decade before returning to America in 1990. He says his greatest accomplishment is his eight month trip around the world in 1995. His poetry has appeared in numerous national and international publications/websites including Potomac Journal, Pebble Lake Review, Frigg Magazine, Dandelion Magazine (Canada), Stride Magazine (UK), Cha Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Kritya (India), Blueprint Review (Germany) and Arabesques Review (Algeria). His forth chapbook was One Remedy Is Travel (Origami Condom, 2007). He edits the literary ezine Concelebratory Shoehorn Review and lives in Portland, OR, where he works as a private tutor. Visit his all-previously-published daily poetry blog:

Closing Note: The editor would like to thank the contributors for the use of their work. Each contributor reserves their original rights. Look for the next issue of CSR online on Feb. 1st. Copyright 2009 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

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