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Wayne's work at:

Nepali Times

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RE:AL. The Journal of Liberal Arts. Volume XXVI, No. 1 Spring 2001. Contents

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Websites: photo-poems.com

flatlinewitness.com

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For more Poetry




Wayne Amtzis Wayne Amtzis


Hunger

Her teeth are hammers her
fingers, rusty nails See how she polishes
them
How punctured
the stomach sputters & sighs Clapping Stamping In foot-felt
stammer Handforced scream, those with no
stomach for the task prophesy hunger's end Hauling stones
to the well Setting the mountain
in place Give her time. . . those
who will not see her say. . .to go away And so? Escargot
Chile ConCarne The tree that gave its limbs
is already ash Falling away Receding
Flame hungers for air Water subsides in its mother
tongue Their bastard
offspring inherit the earth Her chil
led & scurvied bones
drag behind them a slate gray sky Each day a life
Not one but many


Mandelstam's Dream

Lie down never to rise A tree
uproots your skull Lean against a cloud Pul
sating light Unparal
leled blue Dream's thread
tied to your toe, inflate those weary bones
Through cobwebbed seas, Lamb's cry darkly twined crow's
cry
in arms of light, one wakes inhaling day break and
blood, her yellow that farther light fire
or drowns for lack of Sleep/Waking Barely a breath's
between Herald of the feast, the beast rides
in on Dante's back Shorn of lion
wings, Eternity clasps its knees and retches
like a man Vengeful
morning corners you at last
Hounded uphill. Evening's pure moon-reflecting
thimbleful of sweat clutched in the palm


What Dream Offers

As I steady my hand to write the card expected of me
I gaze up at mountains riddled by caves. Breath scrapes past a knot in my chest
(the closest caves, dark, except for penitent eyes)
With premonition I cross through unending , leaving barren land
unmarked. A pipe of incandescent bone
—that's what dream offers —to set under the wheel
outside our bay-view apartment
As for my convalescence: As for my state of mind: When
will the winds the winds from afar
when will the winds? —the winds
I'll send an address when I...
barren land,
      winds from afar;
          the moon in the sky
                is. . .

For now, this is all I can manage
                    . . .a coin in a beggar's hand


Under Glass

With dream-wide eyes my neighbors sleep. Like fish
behind glass With sour breath “Get up, go on”
Mock fins mocked by uncertain wings. Stunned by the air
they get up, go on (Trains rattle past The sun
slides across tracks Peddlers call out) Steps into step
they fall. Those like me Wanting
out Unwilling to wait
for a rooftop
parking lot littered with glass, hes
itate There are #ed
rooms Reasons to enter Let them
look Let them sit and wait for help to come Unease dis
patches me to the side door
where the help come and go Father,
I fear the Cantor calls
I haven't spoken to you The ark lies open
He sings the way of mourning Father, if only I . . . He sings
the way of exaltation


What Wakes Me

Vivid red furrows this brow deepening into it for hours upon days
signs traced by an anonymous hand Klaklakla! Splitting the air it defies all resistance
Legs bend&straighten and bend A body erect and moving towards me
ports tin plate & cup Klaklakla! Struck gongs of dawn
kaleidoscope&shiver From a bank of shadows, trees emerge Thin girls with tangled hair
Immersed in a dark raincoat each footfall waking me I rise
I hear the tallest say “circle crossed” I say lips part, hear “teeth bite down” I say
the tongue lies in wait, hear “the moon's behind us” I say the moon's
a mind of its own,
hear “the cross isn't splintering wood, but woodmadeflesh” I speak
not of two lips, but four; hear “not four, but six” Pulling close
the inner most cloak of cool morning air Through orangebluebankofmist Forgetting
what it was that wakes me Thin aluminum cool to the touch
sunken sky, clouds in amorphous embrace. Toss it! and you do The plate
more a hoop now whirling as you jump Surprisingly high! Due to the crouch
on all fours. The lift it gives. By now biting for air Hoop
rolling towards the edge Despite persistent
stillness of layed-out form, solidity & absence of heat, skin shed
seethes like bubbling tar Whatever you say mimics what's said A name is called out A place
you recall A face Yours hers his spits at you Spit back! Wiping the plate clean
with a slow counterclockwise rub. On the stone bench
your bare butt your weeping balls ache to feel
the being aliveness of what is


Conscience

Night begins lakeside
with the sense you can tread water,
but won't dive to the depths On the embankment
you're told not to mind It wasn't yours Wasn't even a child
Morning mirrors the lie of the lake
bare branches,
      the thinnest trees,
like hands
     withdrawn

Where the sky's reflection catches light
each mute branch
      almost touching itself,
shivering

you want to name this Pearl
      Dawn

But day sets itself off in an aquarium
Its lacquered wooden frame
and rusty hinges
hold in water just fine
The fish live for light that never comes
It's as if a large animal without shape
was yours to be tortured by, and namelessly
stays by your side


Smoke

I have begun to gnaw
wood Three cats
have found me lying
here They claim length and breadth
the hills and valleys
as I write resurrect the name
that of the one
who will receive my liver
when I die We have begun to correspond
He honors my death He anti
cipates, as I do
the horrors of the oncoming
war will have no
witness I gather sticks in the light
that remains At dusk I sit with a lone man on a ledge
We converse in a language that isn't ours
I pile the sticks into a teepee,
and crumpling this page place it within
I have just one match left
un-gnawed For a long time I gaze as the smoke rises
Our heat will not last I despair
for the man on the ledge I lie with the cats I repeat the name of he
who will receive my liver Still there's no respite No sleep
to claim as my own