Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NEW! Poem by Aaron Crippen

Aaron Crippen
It doesn’t matter how deep or how far
as long as you stay on top of the water.
This is right. No one can help you.
Your body will hold out until it doesn’t.
See the upright ants on the strip of sand:
they are humans. They have lives.
Silver-green water licks your closed lips like a lover.
Take her tongue deeply—a few minutes
of fear—and you can rest.
Who, when, fondled your heart and left it
a bruised peach floating in tepid water.
When it gets blue and cold the mind sharks 
come nibbling. Under this rock overhang,
around the craggy point, across the blue
bay and on to the beach after next,
there is a joint in your shoe. You can stand
on the sand and smoke in the breeze
off the water, watch the topless Europeans
with Venus hips and joyless faces tan.
There is the mainland. A person whose face
feels broader and deeper than the Andaman Sea
can be reached by a boat and a taxi 
and a bus and a taxi and two planes
and a subway and a short walk. Who needs
God with real people so far away?
Faith, Friend. The water doesn’t want you.
Old coconuts, worn flip flops understand.
The shark is not here. You’ll know when it comes.
Your heart is still beating. I’m here to tell you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

new issue of Verse

The latest issue of Verse (Volume 28 #s 1-2) just returned from the printer.

It includes portfolios by

John Olson
Laurie Blauner
Endi Bogue Hartigan
Tony Mancus
Jean Donnelly
Ezekiel Black
G.C. Waldrep

The issue is $8 (includes postage).

Here's a taste:

John Olson

The Virtue Of Jalapeños 

The virtue of jalapeños is epistemological, like the life of Baudelaire. They are wrinkled and strange, articulate as the spine of a copperhead, conjunctive as the jaw of the human face. 
Tart. Acrid. Piquant. 
Poignant as the skeleton of a whale on the beach, its bones bleached and sculptural, the pure contours of the imponderable. 
Guerrero has opened our eyes to stone. 
Sparrows on the hood of a truck. 
Strike the water with a paddle and let us graze on a page of words. Iron reveries that make a bridge glide and arc.
Because there is death on the horizon. 
Because the animality of life is visible in the words beating at your skull trying to get out. Because that’s what words do. They swell with life until they are heard in the crack of a rifle. Euclid wandering a construction site. Old letters in an oak bureau.
The long awaited diagnosis proclaimed in a doctor’s eyes. 
How does one explain the sublime? Smell the rain in the air. 
Money has lost its meaning. It was less than decorum to begin with, the mere effluvium of power, preposterous and fake. And now it is less than that. It is nothing. A stench in the air. Rust on a rake. And the world has become a palimpsest of illusions. Debt swaps. Drop locks. Cashouts. But there are still jalapeños to remind us of reality. The acute sensation of things. The sting of pleasure. The sweetness of pain. 
And that is the virtue in jalapeños. 
And coffee exploding in my brain. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

NEW! Two poems by Robin Clarke

Robin Clarke

My mother is a fish
my father is a car

the book is blank
with acts one never could

by the time I was born
Terminator no longer

wanted anything except
work (455-5533)

ancestries, German Irish
Slovak Italian Polish

English (3.6%)
this is your reward for

pumping all that money in
the engine: historical

styles of drinking for the mass
production of then we could


"Minor" for "miner," bulldozer
for "working up alternatives"

how many engineers get
hepatitis C after all?

How many cashiers cum laude?
Your case may be isolated

call me president of
evasive answers, it's true

my grandma took the dashes
from Emily Dickinson's

so I could be born
safe slash sound where the kids are

often nine but never cry
when little lovely ends

just pretend, text the corpse, don't
think I'm that smart, praying

waist deep in the speed of light
is the rocket that could launch

a thousand Donald Ducks
Mickey Mouses, waves, whatever