poetry


by Rusty Fischer

tells stories about
wars mostly sometimes
cars or taxes
count quarters to avoid his yellow rheumy
eyes trying to impress the girlies
in their short shorts and
heels from the massage
parlor next door bent
over green folding tables
chewing gum above smoking tin
ash trays they laugh
call him names behind his back i
like him better
they laugh at anyone who’s not
paying them

by Andrew William Manoff

And then the pagans proclaimed me as their king
How could I refuse?
The next 10 years of bondage were tough
But I never felt like I was being used

The shackles on my throne chaffed
So I gnawed off my hands
My nation grew rich
Because we dealt exclusively in contraband

They gave me a gold watch
And let me go back to the mailroom
I swore I’d never again enter
The company’s executive washroom

by Holly Day

calm, these places we dance
horizontal to the ceiling
to each other’s chasms yawn
wide in the egg-shell enamel
the walls of our bedroom opening
to yet another world

and why, why is this special to me
places we go together without
moving, places we are always welcome
known as creators, messiahn, gods
teach me back these things I taught you
don’t leave me lying here, stupid
alone

by Andie Carpenter

I’m going to be a Subculture Princess
Wear big black eyeshadow with
Too tight pants
Buy a pair of steel toed combat boots
Sign my autograph as me.com
I will put out my own ‘zine and never get glossy
Slicker than Bob Holman and
Deeper than MTV
I’ll write poems on napkins in
Bars in hotels in parts of town you’ve never heard of
I will have web pages and message boards and fan clubs
That will promise I answer each and every letter
I will know everyone who ever died
For art as art with art in bed next to them
You will be sick with jealousy wanting to be me when
You hear my latest album
See my latest concert
Watch my new commercial
Smell my new perfume (it’s really a toilet water, but)
I will wear all black except on special occasions and
Pluck my eyebrows because I’m a supermodel too -
You will call at night and beg me to read your stuff
Try to date me so I will write you into a poem
And I’ll laugh at you and say ‘I am not an open room’ and
Hang up on you while you’re still talking
I will drop names like you shed hair
And I will never recognize you again in public
My press kit will be thick and shallow and full of compliments
Only my best friends may photograph me now
My childhood will be rewritten so
You can talk about my troubled youth in artistic isolation
How I grew up so fast in that greasy trailer park-
No, no, on the Lower East Side, so wise so young-
No, no, it was with gypsies for parents in Paris no Belgium no Rome-
I will be at all those openings that show up in the Times, ’cause
All us artists stick together, you know
Except for you, because we won’t like you anymore because I said so
Now that I’ll be a Subculture Princess
I can do things like that
I’ll be the only person ever to drink for free at the
Nuyorican Poets Cafe’
I’ll be so cool I won’t even pay at the door
In fact, I’ll have my own reading and I’ll make it on Friday nights and no one
Will ever complain about having to come uptown for it because
It’s worth the subway fare to get to see me
The Subculture Princess
I might even do a special documentary on PBS
But my poems will only be printed in those underground poorly bound newspaper
Things
Because I’ll be way above The New Yorker and stuff like that
I would never write about flowers or bunnies or John Ashbery or anything
I will brag that Hal Sirowitz published my first poem which is a lie but only
Because I started writing long before I met him (did I tell you I met him?)
But you won’t know that because he wouldn’t even talk to you now
Because I said so, and Subculture Princesses can say whatever they want
And I hate you
Because way before I was where I’ll be you treated me like crap
And told me my work was too intimate so no one would ever like it and I took
criticism so personal
And you wouldn’t date me since I wasn’t in some fat backed perfect bound
independent press anthology
But now you’ll wish I was still intimate and I will never admit to taking you
in a personal way
Now that I’ll be a Subculture Princess
Just as soon as I finish this poem

by Graham T. Welsh

Mark’s brother had 100 LPs
it seemed the magic number
and we would flick through them when he was out
noting which ones he considered
worthy of keeping in plastic sleeves

and although we snorted at his Rod Stewart and Queen selections
the breadth of vinyl beneath his desk
was something to aim for suggesting
a serious approach to music
that our budget-restricted hauls couldn’t yet match

tempted to bulk up with 50p Oxfam bargains
what’s this? a Roger Daltrey solo album!
there s a couple of really good tracks on it actually

appropriating a Sinatra or two
from our parents’ paltry assortment
affecting appreciation for his craft
when we really wanted to possess
the entire oeuvre of Bob Dylan like grim fetishists

by dj

she cuddles her face into my
chest
on a soft girl bed
surrounded by newness, (are we
gonna kiss?)

i draw a blank on the story
question
hmm, guess i’ll make
something up dumb
a story about Blue Boy
the gay polo player from
Chuckleslavakia
who moved to the south to fit
in-

i kiss her nose
rub her face and belly,
baby soft belly charm ring

that moment hangs in the air,
that first kiss moment- swings
like Santa Claus over us
eyes connect momentarily,
shy eyes, unsure eyes
eyes about to kiss very soft lips

by Mark P.

(”Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person.” Philippians 2:2)

We are dugdeep wells waiting for water,
filled up for purpose-
empty we crumble with cracking drought.

We seek someone to pour their coolness down us,
to fill up our need
to quench our arid anticipation.
If someone will love us we will be full
If someone will only pour their coolness down.

So we wait for someone to buy the water,
pour it down,
sometimes satisfied by passing spit or showers,
our throats thirst for real rain to cure our
capacity.

Oh, my soul, you are springfed!
Oh, my heart, let the spade go deeper
and find the water that bubbles and lives
beneath the surface
beneath the shallow
beneath the cruel comments of
drywell critics.

Spring up, water eternal, and fill
me
till
I fill the soul of each thirsty passerby.
Let each emptiness only find
the spring that supplies each loss
till I’m a dugdeep well running
like a river complete.

by Dweebler A. Cramden

I plan to mourn man’s
neglect of truth and beauty
in a thoroughly boring elegy,
hoping to excite interest,
thinking, in my solipsistic way,
others should love what I love,
like Jerry Lewis and anchovy pizzas.

Then I plan to sell
unfinished poems by industry giants
with a dozen end-scenarios
on scratch-off lottery tickets.
Credit will be provided.
If someone can’t make their marker
I’ll send Milton and Wordsworth out
to bludgeon them with blank verse
until their brains do the goose-step.

Don’t miss my seminar, “Poetry in Sports,”
where pitchers learn that a sonnet
taped inside the glove
concentrates the mind better than chewing tobacco,
where sportscasters practice allusions
as in “Like Lord Jim, the quarterback
must take his punishment to be redeemed,
however questionable his past failures.”

I won’t stop until Professors wear threadbare tweeds
not for style but from necessity.
For practice now, let’s lay odds
on this being published.

by Andie Carpenter

Sitting here, glaring at the dark, I light another cigarette.
Somewhere across the room another ember brightens and fades,
letting me know you are still breathing, existing; still there.
I wonder if you are ashing on the floor.

I feel you glowering, searching for words, looking for excuses,
trying to remember what you said when you left some other girl
or what she said when leaving you.
I hope your cigarette will burn your fingers.

You begin to talk, about your talents, troubles, truths,
something about needing your space.
I am suddenly desperate, disgusted,
swallowed by the thickening air.

I have heard all these words before, same sentences, even.
Romantic, you are about to call me. I prefer the term addicted.
“I am not a sentimental woman,” I will say,
hot rings of dreams hanging overhead.

I will not believe in the kind of love you crave -
In drama and drinking and hate.
I find no satisfaction in that.
I crush my cigarette into an overcrowded ashtray and smile.

I wonder if you know I’m staring,
if that flip of your cigarette into the trash was for my benefit.
I linger on the irony of seeing you clearest in obscurity.
Obscurity suits you.

Yes, I must somehow enjoy loneliness. No, I don’t like to fight.
I can listen to you and light cigarettes at the same time.
Strange how in silence the air can be so dead and cold.
(I control the warmth of smoke between my lips.)

by Graham T. Walsh

On the bus to school some ‘bigger boys’ - third
or fourth formers - are
sitting in front and talking about
the Sex Pistols new single
the Daily Express said it had been banned
from the radio, but one
was saying he’d heard it
and it went like this:
(to a musical accompaniment of hands drumming
on a sports bag)
“God save the queen
the fascist regime
that made you a moron
potential haitch bomb!”

he followed up with a da-na-na-na style
guitar riff and a few more lines
“god save the queen
cause tourists are money
and our figurehead
it not what she seems
oh, we love our queen
we mean it maaaan!”
an approximation of a guitar solo
with fingers dancing through the air, naturally
and a final, joyous chant -
“no future, no future, no future for you!”

and it was as if some secret
door had been opened.

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