All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.



Snapshots
1/14/04






Solitary Walker: Old Song, Overtaken

The dog and I, returning from the park, notice
we're following a grey-haired trousered person,
walking not the footpath but the middle
of this quiet tree-lined avenue.

We can overtake her (approaching,
I register hints of a female shape)
without the little worry of dog lurching
and intruding on a stranger's private space.

Almost alongside, I hear crooning,
not a language I know, not a melody
I recognize, but lilting A definitely Asian,
and so, I see now, is the lady.

Hereabouts there live many Asians,
but A strolling in the middle of the road,
singing! Will no one tell me what she sings?
No one's about but us. We glance her way.

She's not glancing our way. Our paths diverge,
she's out of sight, but whiffs of exile
and lost time flicker privately in me
long after she is heard no more.

Max Richards & W. Wordsworth
North Balwyn, Melbourne
8.30am, Wednesday 14 January 2004

***


Under dense light
in tunnels already past
I am contradiction reflected
in beige canopies
and the whirring machinery that pictures
my sections
my skeleton, my country.

Outside is undecided
heat soup or feathered wind.
I take opposites, waver between cloaks
use up another wish for transcendence
looking for water in a magazine.

By a pouting model a sign reads:
DANGER VAGUES DIGUE GLISSANTE.
Tread carefully, my harbour
in vogue myth, slipping
at the lowdown of the hill.

Time does its cheeky screen dance
perpetuates destinations
the drag in systems herds me back
by rail and jangle.

Clouds flatten colour
as afternoon resettles in the lift
where arrival and departure coincide.

There's still flesh in the pencil
and a spark over paper
and the long dark examines me
even in this well-lit place.

Jill Jones
Sydney, 4.40pm, Wednesday 14 January

***


COMPUTERS

computers
with their
power surges
dodgy fuses
encodings decodings
imput overflows
output overflows
system errors
false functions
mismatched bauds
countless viruses
and more and lots
and they have
the gall to say
try to tell us
'human error'
pull the other plug
you piles of rusting
electronic junk.

pmcmanus 10am
raynes park uk

***


Frank's Home

a gray cat on the edge
of a birdbath in the desert

Signal Hill

a family photo
turned into wallpaper

"the longer human history petroglyphs suggest"

1/11/04
Frank Parker

***


TOTTEL'S

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . wrack my available texts


translating subaqueous qualities.
Fracas:    the miserable idea that
comes and remains while longing.

A dismissal of traffic as uneventful,
though "punk permitted" accidentally
what grafts onto the edge.

Fractions of ego are already too much;
we don't add much.
The idea should not be permitted more solidity than that . . .

Continuance makes its own future.
Please don't think of anything as regressive.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD USA / 5-?-77, 1-14-03 (8:32 AM)

***


what came down
hard ring of

icefall clear
obscuring all

sightlines gone
in mottled light

scrape scrape
to see the drive

to miss the other
sliding forms

& later light
reflects

the surface tension
pavement dark

& the bright white
flash of snow below

Douglas Barbour Edmonton
Wednesday January 14 09:15

***


"Poet's Cat Detained as Illegal Combatant at GITMO"

So that's where she went.
Not to some Rainbow Bridge
(sniffle, barf) but got snatched,
stuffed into a carrier box
on a flight from McGuire,
sent someplace she didn't belong.

She'd be happy enough. All
she ever wanted, this dangerous terrorist
masked as a 15-pound feline Mae West,
was for a bunch of human-type guys to grope her.
Muslims? Christians? Made no difference,
not a bigoted bone in that body.
Sometimes we'd call her Madonna Cat
lacking only the stainless steel bra.

Real life makes me resort to theft,
my place to hide:

For I will consider our cat Macy
For she was the servant of the living God
For I perceived God's light about her both wax and fire.
For she died Monday, kidneys quit, heart seized.
For she and the God she served knew better than we
     the best way to the egress,
For she beat the vet's poisoned needle,
For she eluded even our chance to say goodbye which this
writing is,
     a theft to answer a theft, and imperfect as its maker.
For she is departed someplace, we hope, even before her time,
     to where she really belongs.
For if Theophile Gautier was right, a soul lived behind those
eyes.
For it is here now.

KTW/1-14-04
Princeton, NJ, 11:15 AM
(after Geoffrey Gatza and Christopher Smart)

***


these things happen

but in december
with a perfectly clean sheet
31 clear postage stamps of space
in front of me, middle january
looks safe, even possible
and on that reckless
in retrospect advent day
of peculiarly seductive east coast weather
i commit to paper to time and energy to an event far enough
away
to expect myself
and 35 others
to be there
in the same upstairs room
and
now
the feel of advent again
the ground blanched
before the salt trucks pass
the skies fill up with the grey white
billowy breath of "hurry home"
go to the store, come back prepared
remember when i did the great snow dance
sleepless at the vigils when snow was as tall
as my fourth grade shadow and i knew nothing
of the messiness of phone chains, canceling
caterers, or chancing work for another equally
winter day

Deborah Humphreys
Newark NJ 7:54 PM

***


SNAPSHOT 38

winter
     at last
          my dirty

shirt my
     greasy
          hair

finally
     my very own &
          very very winter

and all
     the work
          remaining

awaiting
     the news
          yes

árni ibsen
hafnarfjördur
nigh midnight, january 14, 2004
hafnarfjördur
iceland

***


They Are All There

The red-winged blackbirds
wild hogs
Portuguese men -of- war
They are all there
but do we see them
and if we see them
how do they affect our lives?
Gecko or crab
space
the wind
a storm
the sea
They are all there
Wilderness, deserts
They are all there

Skyscrapers fall down.

Harriet Zinnes

***


Here it's eighty degrees to mystify January

there the Maestro winds himself up inside

to go full bore

as if the last clock-spring has come undone,
or a corkscrew pressed too far,
or a slinky toy gone out of control down stairs

the whirrrr
& Alla Marcia, body sweating
the brown hair, dampening by camera
Ritenuto, controlled to going
full forte in Vivaldi's Summer

the Al Fine bee crescendo

& the back up violinists bowing up
bowing down
scribbling to swarm into
one body, Presto

What the the announcer has to say: air
outside of Lincoln Center is 10 degrees. Period. Inside glistening plurals,
violin hive

pitch of Molto spell

Ad Libitum, no weather
in this
wordlessness

Chris Murray Dallas, Texas: Wed-Thurs, 15 Jan 04, 12:41 a.m.

***


Snapshot--late, postage-due

If you're lucky, they won't charge you
the overdue postage on this. But I couldn't
afford to send it first-class.

And you'll see, I'm sure, that, because I
slipped and fell in the snow while trying
to snap you, I managed to get

only one knee in.

Hal-- NYC, 1/14+1, 12:22 AM EST
Halvard Johnson

***





Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

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