Issue 15

Brian Mornar

Hand-me-down Emerson


To the eternally misapplied present
I wear several garments in texture

to fortify the means by which I
keep out the day, or keep in

this shirt stitched by someone else.
And re-stitched later with brown thread

in the 1960s. The time inside your imprisonment
has informed the day of your sleeping past

where these streets, and here, the clothes, bagged
lie table-top on that happenstance


Before feeling the wind,
before thinking about the wind,

the summer darknesses feud,
the branches of sense swirl in darker cups,

and we drink from but not the same stream of life--
to feed through yeast and hops, golden water

to pass through the inner rain,
anxious in my room in its plastic cups, a disuse

among people; some thing is always left undone
among born imperfections and backyard spigots.

They part their ways through grasses
and rely unbittered in the wind before itself

that even if you spell it out there is no guarantee
it looks like the thing you're thinking of.

The Amateur Librarian

The masks of intelligentsia
stride over the face of pure logic,

and it could be said that the Venn diagram
or word of mouth could claim as much

as this room and its roomate-turned-anarchists.
So much talking a cabinet of thought-

potions and unthorough ambitions
that have made the sidewalk a patchwork

of ideas stolen, and stretched long, the air imploring
it's time for new clothes as they crack

and end at the library or around the houses
with unused attics or at the stone eagle at the PO.

That I may be intelligible is the eventide
of pure emotion, a clothwork binding

the old bound thought even further
toward a classicist's first one,

the anvil pressing into a conversation
of the sun as it moves through the stacks

unevenly. The conversation I imagine
with myself is the mask repelled

like a frontispiece in onionskin,
the germ of intellect caught between

but more often found in the penciled
margins and the old forethinkers old-fashionable

thought. How ironic is it that I found
the following in Andre Gide's The Immoralist?:

I am intelligent.
Others are more intelligent.
I know it.
They know it.
Even the ones who aren't know it.
I must accept it.
I cannot change it.
But I must work to the limit
of my capacity. But what
is its limit. I shall go mad.

Sun-willed and starved for loneliness,
the spines are holding thought nobly

and unfairly against the burdens of thought
cut-bound to the matter at hand.

Fastidious, the contemplations glide
into a detail-less mass like the

roomates-turned-anarchists whose history
swerves by on a rusty bicycle and waits

in line at the PO under the mural
of the real risk-takers, hoe in one hand,

guitar in the other, the farmers
at the tip of our mind like a thinness:

from their hands they grafted anew.
I can ask myself in the context

is this the windowsill? And even
as the people embark on their final

adventure called work, the librarians
and their assistants venture to call

themselves "we" as they brush eraser
scraps from the margins with a swift hand.

Brian Mornar currently lives in Oakland, California and is finishing his MFA thesis at St. Mary's College.

His work has been published in Loop and Poetry Salzburg Review.

Brian says:

"i'm looking into PhD programs in literature now. i was born in chicago. i look forward to moving back to the midwest, but with a stop in finland, to teach english, first."

Nick Roberts

Sitting Inside

Who said I can't lay in bed all day with you, beside you, inside you, next to you, tracing the small hairs of your skin with my tongue, the small hairs that exist everywhere, a felt map who said I can't lay beside you, on top of you, you on top of me, the clock on the ground hiding his head like an ostrich, embarrassed of what we do, who said I can't spend all afternoon looking into the knots of your hair, imagining cave woman, something conquered, you knocked out on my sheets without violence, a smile perched on top of your mouth, calling me was she the voice calling me home, do I even have a home, isn't everything borrowed and named and claimed by all, nothing independent of each other, just others getting turned on at different times then sharing the story of their enlightenment, is it not true who are you, that reads me, that stirs me, that makes me write this, that makes me read these words, think these words, bleed and create these words, while sleeping, to wake up from sleep to write this to you, why are your stories mine, can you feel the connection here, why must I write for you too, bleed for you too, why are your stories and knowledge secret, give them to me, give them freely unto the world, it takes the weight off, I promise, it takes the weight off, turns the scar into a beauty mark, the knotted fist into a handshake, or dap, call it what you will, but an introduction, a new beginning to an old lifetime, yours sometimes I sit still inside and watch and the language and excuses and imagined knowhow flow by me like rivers sometimes I hear your voice so clear throughout the microphone of memory that I take it, mold it, shape it into flat rocks, rocks shaped by time and the conviction, the patience of my hands, I take that rock and skip it across the river, watching it puddle jump and sink to the bottom, the home, the bottom of my soul where I can pull you out at will remember you at will, sometimes I sit inside crying and have no reason for it, can place no memory or wound or example or mind picture, no sounds, I just find myself crying with the weight of things, just the weight of things, not my things, not my carry-on luggage, just things, everything why name all.. Can't you see language is a disguise, a mask that dresses our stupidity, can't you see I don't believe in what you have taught, can't you see that I agree it is necessary only because we have let it, it is a hindrance to us, a hole to us, a vacuum of lite where the true and natural existence and pure form of something can no longer be known because WE GAVE IT A NAME, you think the cats purrrrrr says nothing, invites nothing, it stirs your heart, the cats meow the difference in it, not the wound, not just the sound, the mouth, but the look in eyes, the way her body hunches, slacks up or tightens, the response that occurs in her limbs due to her emotion, her nature, haven't we forgot that, not just the ability to read, to read books, to read this book, but reading people, reading nature, then moving on beyond reading and simply knowing, knowing moving moving I try to sleep, to stay away
from you, type writer, masses, the few that actually read me, but the words still come, I face the whiteness of the screen and fill it with scratches of black, making the contrast of my own voice,
of my own soul, ricocheting to pieces and making , making, something questionable? I sit under constellations then look at streetlights, why are the streetlights closer, what does it mean when we throw a quarter into a fountain in an indoor mall to make our wishes, not even ours, our children's "come on baby, make a wish" throw your little quarter in the chlorine pool, how can we not be missing something? Do you believe that in mind all is known, all Is already known, all past exists within the jacobs ladder of our dna, of our soul, that we can climb up and pluck answers from the clouds, that we can reach up to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and bite again, become open again, hide again, search for leaves to cover our erections and wombs why hide from creation. If you do hide then what are you creating, what have you become, what have you allowed yourself to I sit on both sides of the hemisphere, moving from both sides of the brain and I write love stories, war stories, war letters that speak love and kinsmanship and war and rules and a way of life not advised, just spoken about, should I advise, should I speak harder, push harder, do you hear any music here do you hear any melody, can you feel my body rock with this, my spine shaking like porch deco the wind uses to call home, to call me home, to announce the gates of heaven creak to announce you, not because they are unkept; that they need grease, they creak to announce you, to show you old, archaic, dust doesn't mean bad, or not worthwhile, dust means survivor, means breathed long enough to understand worth, to become worth, to be able to teach worth to others ---

Nick Roberts claims that he is the "son of samson, hair cut off at birth, searching identity in a stale map that is my life."

Nick's work has previously appeared in the e-zines Deep Cleveland and the Muse Apprentice Guild

Janan Platt

Dear Direy

We stayed up until late
is early, listening
to Led Zeppelin and though
it was worth every second
now I'm with coffee while
the four kids get ready for school.
Watching the news with two remotes
in my lap and I just caught myself
wondering where my cup was.
It is in my hand
next to the two remotes,
an optical illusion.
The MSNBC ticker rolls
on the bottom of the screen.
I keep missing parts of sentences.
Now I'm trying to stand up
but feeling nauseous. Only
wanted to have some fun.

he asked me why

he asked me why i didn't eat the end
at the beginning of the loaf
of bread, leaving it in
the plastic bag. i said, because i
was waiting until the loaf was gone
leaving the other end that matched
and then i would make my peanut butter
and molasses sandwich with both ends,
a perfect finish to the loaf of sour
dough. two big flat pieces with large
air holes in the dough that toasts
just right, a compliment to the filing.
welcome to the end.

After Walking on the Bluff

Today in Redding
the sun set in streaks,
and yesterday, the moon
shone through the cool smog
because, the weatherman said,
of the burning and bus exhaust
blown up the valley. Rice fields,
and almond or olive orchards,
cows, wild geese. Cigarette fires

streaking up the hillsides,
masquerading as pine turpins.
Weathermen and woe men
on free ways and high ways
seeing across the lone properties,
tule fog and pesticides,
old and young belching,
and stinky bars, and cigars
everywhere down we look.

opening the door
a swirl of yellow oak leaves
entering with me

Janan Platt is a plant-lover.

Janan says: "I live in Northern California near Mt. Shasta. When wandering in a book store, I lean toward Philip Levine, traditional haiku, and gardening books. My literary Web site publishes eclectic music, poems, visual art, essays, and multimedia art."

Candy Gourlay

Irony In Gold

I used to wear
a plaited chain

engraved with
the word Faith.

People thought
it was my name.

Lipstick Moon, or, Lessons from Pine

'Out beyond the ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.' -Rumi

This etching into grains
of rice grows weary
though time stands
to attention.

I must believe
that all will be forgiven
by litmus paper's
lipstick moon.

I think of trees,
how they speak
without voice.

Words, a blur
of feather pillow's
bursting at the seams.

How their needles
reach for autumn's
copper soul,
like eyes
following a tennis ball.

And I want simple.
To be this way--
where I am perfect
in such imperfection,

embraced in fond regard
for simply being born
an evergreen.

Candy M. Gourlay was born on a windy day in the autumn of 1973 in South Africa where she still works, writes and lives with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared in print and online in publications world-wide, including Beatnik Journal; Extraverse; Platinum Poetry; Poems
Niederngasse; Reflections Journal; Slow Trains; Tapestry; Thought Fragments; Wide Thinker;
and more.

She has also recently been published in the NAWW Writer's Guide (National Association of
Woman Writers US), and is a finalist in the Poetry Institute of Africa Annual Awards.

Her debut work of creative non-fiction, Story of a Girl, is scheduled for publication late this year.

Issue 14

Poems by William Allegrezza

Issue 13

Jonathan Hayes

chicken monkey blood

- space
lotion &crackers

"poetry scares me."

swallowing the next-minute pill
convenient &beeeautiful

"you make me take more medication than usual."

vacancy in her eyes
out pounds of know emptiness
buddha banana calling peel nothings
"lick my grotto."
cilantro onion me eat meat
breath yes conversation sf bored
angelic ashtray, beauty &the junkie

"drink your coffee."

nag champa foggy apartment
goofing on the visitors-pass corridor
in a white gown &slurping budweiser slurp

"it's ok you can be an alcoholic."

ghost signs &nicotine
mexican sausage a.m. taco morning
avenue moment sunglasses happiness

"we don't get along."

22 double deuce times 11
riding backside muni bus door

"if everything is haunted, there's no place to go."

the way he looked at you
beyond friends
more flesh

"you think i'm a whore."

charged me $6.66, tonight

10,000 Objects

Thirsty feet
outside open
avenue, carve
a canyon

& shadow
a weightless
seed that

laws &
that continue

in n

Daffodils on fire.

Monarch butterflies
eucalyptus grove.

have loved
the face of
another ocean where

hermit crabs
to eat
& reproduce.

The frenzy
"now" fluids

The sun's
naked cry
of orange empathy
& all-love. It

happened to
"Doc" Ricketts
between flesh

the Southern Pacific, to
cremate the heart
which had
discovered the

inside the body
that always

& child
mixing for months.

Mornings in
the tide pool.
without causation

where barnacles
on rocks
& surf lettuce

notes. In
a canoe
with harpoon

Baja boy
the pulsating


of blue
between the
water &

sky. There
was a
village, that grew
out of the ground

deserts before
to the trinity.

The answer
the explanation
the thinking & stopping
of the mind: teleology.

in theories
then October
death of

fallen branches
briny wind, & pumpkin.
The change
has difference

yet, the
loam remains
ponderous as

afternoon, found
inside the
murder of

winter, happens
numb as an ice cube.
Our octopi eyes

Green waves
go out


Birth, pain
torn open
like a forest
between the legs.

as vessel.
Unit, crying

when washed
ashore. Every

the Sea
of Cortez.


uptake receptors
revolving doors ­
hit-or-miss derringer barrel

hello, yes
I am your nomuseose
what are you hacking?

duh ellipsisilence eclipse
the the of yore line

"i want to be adored."

ok, I'll walk thru you


manipulate supper plate
with molestation

eloquent physics


purposeful accident
exorcise the epileptic

one thousand paper cranes
in a yellow sky

the monk covers his head
from the sun

stark raving steel
"real axe."

if i was to do it
i wouldn't talk about it

the uncomfortable silence
precedes the collapse

a fading dream
the blood of sweet sleep


a thumb above the horizon

emptying last night from bluejean-a.m. pockets.
crashing onto desk at attention. how i thought
of killing you as you lay in bed, inside a red
sleeping bag. how is not a question, but the
means of rationalizing action. eyeballs barely
protected by eyelids. the body grows dank in
organic clothes. shower attire is retired, and the
brain is inside the body, trapped, hiding,
brooding, alien-escape thoughts, slowly
solidifying on their own schedule. an audience,
even when the seats are empty. off, way off
broadway, and splashing into the bowery -- just
like granny said -- or selling upstate apples on
lexington avenue to penny newspaper boys.
there's always a bridge somewhere. in the air,
suspended chords of golden-gateway tunes.
the camera waits, never sleeping, shutter
closed, but peephole permanent, peeping, for
fun mostly, unless payment is past due for
sadness. back to the cornice, and fire escape
perpendicular purpose: securing the filigree
beanstalk to avenue heroes and giants of
nobody really knows anybody, because, the
brain is still inside the body. fog clouds by.
mercedes benz elegance. imagination. a naked
cup. it was left as a reminder of you. each time i
was around it, i kept you alive by not knocking it
over, or washing it. that would have erased the
you that was here then, and now was still, until,
the heavy, city-apartment air sucked you into
the space i walk through: four walls of what¹s
inside nothing. your lips are chapped, worn,
patches of abuse. a cracked crystal. taking out
the waterford from a hidden invisible shelf.
sharing the sickness. a marble rolls to and fro
down a wooden childhood ramp, falling into a
hole, and down another ramp, switching back,
against skull corners. chickens inside, laying
eggs underneath your scrambled hair -- a
corpse -- the eggs eventually get cold. the
supper fork reappears, in another pantry
drawer, in another house, in another sentence.
turkey dog lips, barking at eyeballs. they talked
about him for barroom years. he never existed.
between the innings of minor league television
conversation. i drink about you. the dirtiest ball
would be stuffed in your palm, under center
field leather fingers. a belt that was never worn,
but wouldn't get lost, was wrapped around you
whole, tight, stuck in sculpture. finally placed
under mattress. hall of fame memories later, i
remember you without language.

pier 32
am a

sitting on bluejean ass
in yuppie/white trash parking lot
, rock concert

putting suntan lotion
on 70s vinyl

a cough
is a cuss word
coming out backwards

mechanistic fog
barging the next
crusade, thumbscrew

a witch on the bay bridge

and a styrofoam cup
making a naturally unnatural sound

scraping against blacktop


sugar is organic because you can't leave the
carbon and hydrogen alone
in the same room, they¹ll bond like eyes to the

] pass me a mineral, goddamnit! [

uniformitarianism + catastrophism =
deconstruction of pangaea

these slow but sure processes and their chaotic
conclusion spewed continents, countries, races
and racism; species were separated, as one
continent surrounded by a super ocean lost its
united and strong one-love province; for what?!
for greek and latin prefixes; there has always
been a pluto, just meta your meaning and
morphos and relax in the great thermo soup
we're all in, before the next igne of vehement

] you're just pyroclasting words [ i don't have a
dime to look for something granitic shiny.

when all this is over ­ global farting ­ the oceans
will rise 200 feet and you¹ll have to hitch your
wooden boat up to the 18th floor of the
transamerica building.

] well, @ least the fishing will be good [ for sea
life or humans?

praying for pahoehoe; mankind needs a good
period to clean things up.


going home

punch out work ­ step off MUNI
yeah, talking the motherfucker down, man
wanna blast, meet your face and sing

gotta walk backward tonight on the drag
toward the shitty City center
since 6th street cleanup, things have police

no longer rolling at powell street

still on the ave ­
wanna make home and blanket her

plastic sandwich bag outta sidewalk's crack

wat da fuck ya doing?
give me da shit!

stop pinchin' and sell me fat

"this is your mother, why haven't you called me?"

A Reading by a Drunk Priest

the desert father bummed a purple camel in the
neon exodus
bombs and candy bars: mountains explode
middle east mystics

the student knew not to bring up politics to the
"flowers and keys," she said, leaving a lesbian
shadow and marrying a man

filet-of-salmon hands: cold wet pink stink
lizard-eyed los angeles towing alaskan icebergs

where shall we build our city?
follow the aqueducts of rome to empire

[insert some latin]

market street is one hundred and fifty feet wide
embarcadero built on sunken ships ­ landfill ­
and metal history

each story has water in it and prefers a different
while "being peace," the angels walk over red
coal fire pit

maine has a feeling to it: something about the
northern lights
she asked me to bury the fish in the family

the mosquitoes gave us hell while running to
the quarry
swimming naked to the other side she made it
clear where she was sleeping

[back to the lectern at st. thomas more on
eighty-ninth street, the street father hates to
walk down, grandpa is reading liturgy, and
grandma is telling me to sit up in the pew, and it
is said that my uncle was an alter boy who did
Mass with plastic vampire teeth.]

apelles painted alexander's mistress, and fell in
love with her
alexander kept the painting, and gave apelles
his mistress

love and desire nourish their images
images live alone by love and desire

time for a punctum: what pricks you bleeder

here is the studium: photograph of a boy with a
gun and bad teeth

for every portrait she changes her makeup and
the banal beholder froths at her art and buys a
postcard to keep

like marrying a bride named sue

pass me another beer!

[ad infinitum]


every 5 minutes
i write a suicide note

every 10 minutes
i write a love song

white wine sizzles
inside the pyrex pipe

and a market street vibrator
w/ 2 AA batteries

sings electric

Jonathan Hayes ( is the author of Echoes from the Sarcophagus (3300 Press, 1997) and St. Paul Hotel (Ex Nihilo Press, 2000). Recently published by Remark, The Silt Reader and Zaum; he edits the literary / art magazine Over the Transom.

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