Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joseph Somoza

Free Verse

I let the day go, it was so
I couldn’t stand
tying it down with
lines that would
wrap it in place.
So I went out
and came back
to find the day
sailing with its
white streaks,
and its birds
doing what birds do,
they disappear to
to go do it.
The sheets had
dried on the line.  
The chair in back  
was waiting.
December’s leaves  
continued to
color the ground.
They don’t seem to mind
not being raked
until spring,
and who am I
to try to convince them?
Who am I to disrupt things
as they are?
—for Glen


Speaking For Myself

It’s all very interesting, what
“the culture” thinks,
through language I happen, also,
to be using.  
I happened also
and won’t apologize.
My back yard made me
what I am today, or
enabled me, as much as
systems in my body
passed to me by
biological urges in my
that I urge forward,
line to line, and
so forth.  
I cough.  
Two white butterflies
liven the bed of flowers
beside the faded picket fence
where a pyracantha once
contributed to the “thicket”
that drew birds in winter
for the bright red berries
reminiscent of holly berries
in the Christmas carols
people sang,
and maybe sing.  
No longer in the loop, isolated
in my body in my back yard,
I can’t be sure,
I, speaking
in the language that
occurs to me, from whatever


Kingdom, #4

I have to tell myself, “not everyone
sits outdoors in the cold in
winter and keeps his feet warm
with a woodfire in the chimenea.”

I have to notice that I’m
looking up to where the locust
lets the blue sky through its
black, rococo branches.

By then, I’m into the saga of
“the leaning tower of yucca,” leaning
but still standing,
still providing a perch for the thrasher to
near sunset, fold
his wings back, and
contemplate his existence,

or maybe mine,
or yours,
the sky’s the limit,
but only seemingly.

And now a raven in the giant evergreen
caws hoarsely, maybe to
keep the story going, or more likely,
calling to his mate

to join the raven congress
on the lightpole above Montana Avenue  
before this early Sunday morning
melts away.



Three round rocks
on the picnic bench,
one of them with three
concentric circles, somehow
by years of churning
ocean waves
scraping it on sand,
finally tumbling it out
to where we found it late
one summer afternoon
on a California beach we’d
gone to for a
reprieve from the dry
southwestern heat
that has become
our home
away from home,

our original
childhood shore
engraved on the surface
of that rock
we carried back with us. 



When I’m closed off like this
in hood &
hunting socks,
thick flannel pants &
sweater, sitting by the fire
outside in sunshine
but with a frosty
January wind ice skaters at
Rockefeller Center might
use to sail and show off their
Christmas fur
thousands of miles closer to
where I
once was—
though that an exercise in
as what is not?—the savage
raven calls from the trees defying
winter on my block, that is the one
among a million possibilities,
or even attempts,
though half-hearted and
with insufficient funds,
—as if analysis would  
compensate for what I
wouldn’t have justified
in the first place—
the place I
live inside of,
and continue
feeling like
the familiar self
I’ve always known.


Diana Magallón

Amazona 2


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

William Bain

A cold snap the last week of February wakes our drive to snow.
Fallow earth shows through the white cold, black here, red, or
dark brown, throwing up the mountain creases laced. The car races
salty asphalt both ways, dirt-and-grit patches of white shoulder
holding boles of almonds that lift twisting cut-off branches
into delicate petals, here pink, there cold white. The full moon’s porcelain light
stings the yellow mimosa flowers against their blue-green leaves.


B.E. Kahn

Ancient Jewish Burial Ground, Montjuic
                                                                                    Space, time, person...                                                                                                                               coordinates of reality.
Vast hillside view    small openings    hawk’s eye   
shadows     almost hidden within distant cypress
bough        The uncaught breath     exhaled

Gravestones     lost    as if windstorm
misplaced     in memory’s crowded tomb    Yet
mind    tracing back    centuries

            pictures them    in shining shift of grass
            Montjuic light     Now
            threaded gaps    Hebrew script

            text    and texture of lives    inscribed
            found in later temples    Slivers
            of shimmering     meaning

            an acrostic prayer    uttered
            across the ages    Breeze chants
            soul song of great    Barcelona’s Sephardim

Landscape bleached    like grey Miro mirage
in nearby mueum    Yet sun enough    blue fringe
and words remain     golden wisp of glance.


Volodymyr Bilyk


Friday, February 22, 2013

Charles Taylor

Treatise on Time, or Laughter

Now and now and now and now and all I hear about
is now and I don’t have anything against now I’m in
the now right now and right now though it’s mighty
slippery the way it moves so fast into the past I guess
I can keep saying now and now and now and I’ll be
close to what the hippie guru said in his famous text
Be Here Now, and I’m into the heightened sense of
the moment right now yes now my right leg is cold
and the air filter in my bedroom is humming and it’s
a soft gray light that comes in the window because
it’s an overcast day looking like rain right now but
then things could change to sunny before you know
it we’ve got to give a place for the future even if the 
future does not live in the now and now and now that 
barely exists itself slipping away so fast so then it’s
into the future that we cast our hopes and dreams,
some mailbox must exist in that unknown where our
hopes and dreams are stored and then let’s give a
shout out to the past which is gone and doesn’t exist
either but we store some kind of shifting knowledge
of the past in our heads and some of these memories
give us great pleasure or sorrow and help define
just who we are I know my first memory it’s on
an airplane flying from Minneapolis to Chicago
in 1946 and I am three and my sister is one and
my mother says to buckle my seat belt and already
I’m rebellious I pretend to buckle the belt and then
the stewardess comes and gives my sister and I
a cookie and asks if I’d like to go up front to look
in the cockpit of the plane, my baby sister is in
my mother’s arms she’s too small so I go up to
look and the pilot and co-pilot take turns turning
and looking back at me and smiling and I saw
all the dials and through the windows lord all
that white of sky and by bringing the memory
back it is alive again in the now and now sliding
by why would I want to live all the time in the
now so fragile and quickly behind? Look I‘ve an
agile mind like an airplane and can fly into the
past, coast along in the changing present or fly
forward in a visionary dream into a future way
using my imagination where sometimes the sights 
are good over Barcelona and sometimes not so 
good so over Timbuktu and while I honor the now 
and now as she goes by like a jet stream I’m a damn 
good pilot, know not to stall out in any one these 
nonexistent human time constructs, for it seems to 
me that the now and the past and the future are 
equally nonexistent  and existent, illusionary and 
real, and I can deal with that and you can deal with 
that so let’s put away all this floozy and fuss and 
move on to brief enjoying life, dream will you of 
laughing in the future and hold that a moment
and then give a laugh now and now and recall 
all your sunlit or drunken fits of laughing past


Monday, February 18, 2013

Laura Young

Structure IV


G. Robert Jeaurond

Bloom in Love


          February 14
          June 16
                 —Sam Peickovifz

I am off to see her for she calls me

Every instant of the day
With every breath of rising rose buds
With every song in trees of oak
With every brush stroke of misty melancholy

When at daybreak the sun stretches

Behind the cliff and rushes the day
Suddenly I am Bloom in love
Exile stirs in me and ushers the way

How far shall I roam about the City?



Diana Magallón

Amazona 1

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Alan Sondheim

on (my) improvisation

i could not live without music. my body would atrophy, my mind
would have forgotten the potential of entangled structures. or
would not have gone there in the first place. my nails on my
right hand need guarding, they are often coated or gloved, they
carry the attack on the strings just as the soft skin beneath
them carries the denouement. i worry when my right index finger
develops pain and have learned to switch to the middle or fourth
finger for the same strokes; the strokes are constantly varied,
and if a nail breaks, another finger comes in for the substitu-
tion. my wrists are clumsy; my hands move laterally, quickly,
but have difficulty sustaining the back-and-forth of picks, and
picks in any case seem absurdly single-minded, as if the body
concentrated into a single contact from mind to instrument - one
stroke at a time, a quick succession of linear flashes. instead
i tend to claw up and down on the strings, as many as possible -
or instead, churn quick successions of notes as my right hand
rolls across one or more strings, something i picked up between
flamenco and pipa. bowing is a relaxation; the fingers do little
and i can let the arm bear the brunt of the music and its smooth

but when a nail splinters, i must hone it down as near as
possible to the breaking point, but not beyond; i need as much
as available. my playing becomes a ragged system of substitu-
tions as different strategies are employed so that the surface
of the music coheres. gone are the nail hardeners and
strengtheners and gloves; what's present is the feel of the
pressure against the nail, skin, and mind; in this i'm always
and already thinking ahead to the next difficulty, the next

when bowing, not when using my fingers, my body sweats. it
sways, taken up with sonority, it moves athletically - which my
fingers do not. my fingers are concerned with dance, with
litheness, something wayward and untoward, not repetitive and
resistive. bowing is always changing, it is the arm and wrist
and palm, and shoulder, and for me, my fingers are more relaxed.
because i bow instruments with the base of the body on my foot
or carpet, i also must think ahead, turning the instrument to
advantage, to the best position of the bow. in both bowing and
plucking, there is a continuous dialog between instrument and
body, each adjusting to the other. the dialog is continued in
improvisation - as i know somewhat where i want to go (the
strategy of sound and structure), i work with the second
strategy, that of the body and work-arounds that may alter the
piece itself.

i play fast; there are times i play as fast as possible. then
i'm able to let go, to let the music create its own arcs and
bridges which i may not be able to follow. i'll do everything
with my fingers to keep the speed. i use drones a lot, something
i picked up from blues players, but have developed on oud, pipa,
saz, even violin and viola, having that thickness and resonance
of sound as much as possible, filling the space, the void,
opening the abyss to swooping lines of music, double rails
carrying the trains of the world to every unknown continent.
naively, i've thought of speed as a sign of virtuosity, which
fascinates me, although i prefer listening to alap and dhrupad
for example. but speed seems to say, look at what this body can
do!, how far it it removed from itself, how high it reaches! and
it exhausts me, and yes, there is something of the contest in
it, where might i take music that i haven't heard it taken
before? this may be a delusion, but like everything described
here, including alap, it is a driving force.

my breathing is no problem with stringed instruments, although i
may catch my breath, having forgotten, autonomically, to
breathe. when playing flute or chromatic harmonica, of course,
breath is everything, and again i have to think where i am going
in both music and body, where paths will cross, what will occur
if, for example, i accidently hit a note i didn't want, or find
myself playing harmonics where i want fundamentals. so there is
constant correction, feedback, at work, just as there is, for
example, in playing a fretless instrument where i am constantly
adjusting my left-hand fingers for pitch as proper as i can make
it. it becomes complex if i find one or more strings slipped and
out of tune; at that point i might stop briefly to retune, or,
more likely, play harmonics as part of the improvisation, and
bring tuning into play so that the music takes a detour, but
doesn't appear to stutter. you can hear this at work in some of
my pieces, soft lulls and softer bending notes.

when a finger cramps, another takes over. when a technique on
single strings creates strain, i may switch to a technique of
whole-hand movement, for example quickly brushing the strings.
when i play cura cumbus, a fast and loud small saz with a metal
body, i will bring the thumb into play against my first and
second fingers, which gives them a rest from the rapid trilling
i'm otherwise engaged in. the result sounds like horses
galloping and i imagine myself in the steppes somewhere,
surrounded by wild mustangs.

my mind juggles all of this, not necessarily inhabiting the
music in a romantic or pure sense, but bouncing around like a
stage manager as well, making sure the hands and fingers do
their job, that momentary structures are recalled or abandoned,
that the instrument remains in tune, that its position needs
re-adjusting (for example i slightly change the position of the
oud periodically), that everything is proceeding in due course,
and then in relation to the other musicians. mostly i think like
a solo, since there is already so much to consider; on tabla,
for example, the heads may loosen due to humidity and even the
stringed instruments may end up sounding dead - things like the
ghichak or suroz for example, where the heads are partly skin,
partly open to the world. when these things happen - changes in
temperature or humidity - playing against has to be adjusted,
for example perhaps emphasizing the bass or plucking towards the
bridge to increase the treble.

i do try to be awkward, to confound myself, to play things that
sound wrong but in an interesting way; recently, i've been doing
this on tabla. the notes seem to drag elsewhere from one another
and the landscape even with tamburi drone, is glacial. when i
play like this, i think of particle physics, with its strings,
rhythms, virtual particles, energies, stochastic processes,
information loss and transformation, and inconceivably vast
voids tending towards entropic stases. on a smaller scale, i
have played open-holed classical flute with birds to good
effect, in doubly entangled communications that can go on for
quite a while.

i play on the floor or standing or on a low chair. i sit on
wood or cloth, bending into the instrument, surrounding it.

playing on the floor, my feet, by the way, tend to fall asleep,
but it is impossible to change position with most of the
instruments; it's afterwards, when i attempt to stand, that i
notice this. the feet play little role other than support; on
the other hand, when i play pump organ, it's as if everything is
in the feet, not the keyboard, since proper pumping is necessary
for an even sound, for the swelling and diminution of sound, and
even, on an antique instrument, for preserving the condition of
the bellows. the pump organ can be delicate to an extreme, just
as the chromatic harmonica must be played carefully, in order to
avoid clogging the valves. the easiest of the wind instruments i
play, in terms of care, are the recorders - tenor is my
favorite, and it's also one of the most difficult to play since
everything depends on breath. i'd rather have good breath than
good fingering, in fact, since a wavering recorder tone always
sounds out of tune.

the nails on my left hand are almost always cut very short, but
there are time when they're useful - certainly on sarangi,
suroz, and ghichak, where they are used to press sideways
against the strings, but also on things like the sung lisu, a
shamisen-like northern thai instrument strung with three
strings, all thin wires of the same diameters. using the
left-hand nails against the fingerboard results in a sharper and
clearer sound, something like a fretless banjo, but louder and
with more warmth. on the other hand, faster runs require
hammering-down and pulling-off, and this can only be done with
the fleshy part of the fingers. again, thinking ahead results in
smoother improvisation, and there are times one finger alone may
be used for a nail glissando up and down the neck (the same is
true for the oud).

at the end of a night with usually one set of thirty to forty
minutes, i can no longer play. my nails are worn down and split,
my muscles are slightly cramped, and i have to change fingering
patterns and fingers too often. but all of this occurs, all of
this is something i have learned, in order to keep the music
flowing, often at high speed, often irregular and inventive. i
have to keep thinking of new things, thinking of the body's
condition as well, and this means simultaneous immersion in the
music, and maintenance of both instrument and body, it's always
a question of dialog, it's never monolithic, it's rarely the
mythical 'being in the moment' which singers may often
experience. instead it's inordinate difficulty and as a result,
i record almost everything i do, to make sure i'm on track, i'm
being inventive, i'm not wildly out of tune (given my hearing,
my greatest fear), i'm not stepping over or under the other
musicians, if there are any, and i'm producing what to me, will
resound with a sense of wonder on second-hearing. for it is
always second-hearing that is at work, hearing after the fact,
after the resonance, after the production - hearing what had
been, but i had not been aware of it, having dwelt in so many
places at the same time. this is the being and heart of music i
think, this dwelling, which is not unary or monolithic, and in
fact does not give itself up to either spirit or monotheism; it
simply _is,_ in the sense that being _is,_ and conveys that
being within a communality embracing body, object, cosmos,
architecture and architectonics, and structures, in a complex
and striated simultaneity that seems endless within, and the
memory of endlessness, without.

( a final, parenthetical, note - the voice is another matter
altogether; i cannot sing or even carry a tune; it's as if
there's a disconnect between mind and vocal chords. so i don't
have the luxury of tuning by song, of self-accompaniment.
instead, everything is strained, difficult; I use a tuner
constantly and have to train and retrain myself to listen. my
voice is flat, almost monotone; i remember al wilson, later of
canned heat, telling me i was one of the few people he knew who
couldn't hit an octave. so again there are work-arounds but i
must bypass, cauterize, the part of my mind that wants to
express itself otherwise. if i have no instrument, i have no
pitch, literally, to speak of, and my instrument must speak for
me. )


Monday, February 11, 2013

John M. Bennett


Larry Goodell

10 Little Poems in Total Appreciation
          and Poor Imitation of Anselm Hollo

does anybody care?

everything exploded in diamonds
and then settled down
to plain dirt

all your contemporaries
are dropping like flies
said one of my contemporaries
before he died

his last words were
(I’ve been told)
“and now a word from your sponsor.”

    some people are so brilliant
in a few words
they deserve not to be tongue tied

if you don’t know who
Anselm Hollo is
God save the Queen!
Torpedos! Full speed ahead.

America survives
on ignorance
packing guns
for a dim tomorrow

Albert Gore
is hopeful for a future
we’re just about all
fucking up

Men who insist on
being men
have forgotten
they came out of a womb.

There’s something about humor
that nobody understands
but it’s probably the basis
of your last laugh.

how can you not be drunk
when you’re sober?
as you’re thinking about
when you used to drink


Saturday, February 9, 2013

John M. Bennett


Charles Taylor


     The woman I loved lived in the woods on the edge of Austin in an underground cave, I guess you would call it. She dug a hole at the top of a hill and put boards across and then she put plywood and covered the wood with dirt. Since she was at the top of this small hill hidden in the scrub of the woods no one ever noticed her though there was a trail thirty feet away where the joggers passed and the people walked with their dogs on leashes down to the shore of Onion Creek. Rain didn t get into her home much either because of the hill. 

     The woman had in her youth been a blues singer and then a philosophy major who could read Kant in the original German but now she lived in the woods and got cash by going to churches and asking for money though sometimes they gave her jobs cutting lawns. I had never loved an older woman before and she had acquired a kind of  wisdom that time seems to bestow almost automatically. I really had the hots for her.  She kept her poems in a pile on a rock and I d bring mine and we d read poems to each other sitting on rocks along the shore of Onion Creek. All the time I d be thinking of her naked. 

     She had some crazy spots in her brain we all have those crazy spots but things went fine as long as I stayed away from her crazy spots and she stayed away from mine, and we were both sane enough to do that. My crazy spots all had to do with numbers. Basically I am at odds with the way numbers are used by the government and corporations to control us and the world. I find numbers more powerful than atom bombs. Numbers should be abolished or at least put in prison.  

     The woman I loved had an old lover in her head who she thought she saw each day, but sometimes she would bump into two or three guys who were imposters of her man Salvador. It was almost impossible to tell the real Salvador from the imposters except over time because the imposters did not love her while the real Salvador did. I didn t dare say this long narrative lived only in her head.  The woman I loved was faithful to Salvador so she and I remained just friends. 

    Things might have gone along good forever that way I see now but I made the mistake of consulting those damn  numbers. I could see my odds were slim. She wouldn t even let me give her a kiss, so I left  those lovely woods and the woman who was their spirit along Onion Creek and I never once went back. Now it s been like maybe seven years. One day I ll get some librarian not afraid of numbers to check on the Internet to see if she s still alive. 


Laura Young

Structure III

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tad Richards

We all die, which is why
she wants to look you over now, though
she won't say it, or anything. Her
silence is scraped together from birds
swarming from lawn to treetop,
or money being measured,
or your mistress, the one who rides
naked at dawn, whose skin is golden.
Hers is pale. Best to go to her.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Jasper Brinton


Unit of measure validity of dream
pup that sleeps indifferent to the growl
who wakes bested by a fictive tongue
rushes the only affection that matters
glanced gladdened into flower supreme
either noticed where the sweet peas 
trace the wall bight with lime or not
A self that says frequent the vagaries
halo at daybreak and lashed by shafts
cocks the loving slingshot that spears
the corner bloom thereafter fragrant
no matter that the earth mood scolds
abandons to the garden a fresh beast
there to rummage uninitiated as yet.


Laura Young

Structure II

John M. Bennett

Miroir dans le Lac

name lock thaw yr
lip pis drownded je
t’ai vu AU BOUT
DU PLAGE was me in
flames the corn  I
slept my bisturí my
watery thug spoke
the fogface wall re
plied  )muzzled and
stormed(  yr short
shot glass inhabitation

fuzzy ,the call the



...was a light bulb eater.
- The Spitter


odder shrill ,yr
nlap’s ,eingls
wheeezed doily
drowc s yr sh
orts babadada
,morteño ,arena
namás ,lata va
cía ,ónde



tu tubería ,bloqueo
,oangf oojr el
famélica mi aengul
,y no dice adan la
nada la aadn



speak mirror cheese

take the s the
ea the l the
)lking air(  ,see
the salt crcrickcking
in the sun  ))sprd the
climbing mold((  wht
sees yr eyes

                            o  o


speaks the ffoggg g  g   g
lriat glaminf ,s
lot pous gwirlins
‘s boWl  eherw
the rraiins begin

;; ;;; ;;;;;; ;;;;;  ;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;; ; ;;;;;;;   ;;



popt eye hanh
“oudt” chewd th
sock et j’ai ou
blié vomir  )over
,hoard ,the(




edge ghst o
boiling box
)yreasg dans(
ganderinw esida

the long free air