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



Snapshots
6/23/04






SPECIAL TREAT

feeling generous
and for a
special treat
this year
she decided
that he would
not have to
go on holiday
with them
let him off
the traditional
family trip the
stinking airports
surly taxis
lost tickets-
missing passports
delayed cooped up
cattle packed flights
skin cancerous beaches
appalling hotel food
ghastly drunken all night
partying rowdy neighbours
and
and
let him stay
in his shed
on his allotment
with its excellent
cool wine cellar
cordon bleu lunches
delivered to plot 137
by chef giovanni
and
enjoy the peace
in his comfy lounger
lulled by the strains
of his favourite
baroque music
birdsong and
golden sunsets
glass in hand
content

pmcmanus @
beeson devon uk


***


I, mechanic, am the bearer of a well-worn monkey-wrench,
an armourer with allen keys, a familiar of the toolbox.
I have in my paws the grease gouged from a thousand cylinders,
the hand-print on a shadow-board primed with a thousand hearts.

Roger Day

***


Dream House

House Open for Inspection, a big builder's demo-house ­
you find the land, we build your dream house ­
all glass and pastel panels.

The wife stays in the car, too tired to look.

Please take off Shoes to Protect special Floor surfaces.
(Shouldnšt special mean unscratchable as well as smart?)
Opening the front door activates a recorded voice:

Welcome to our new-century dream house.
Observe the raked ceiling, etc. I turn
to inspect the grand front rooms, all so tasteful.

Oh, herešs the man on duty, to chat me up.

Just looking, thanks. Twenty-seven different colours,
he proudly mentions, then leaves me to it. I drift smoothly
in my socks to the picture windows, the pastel sofas,

the creamy shelves awaiting one's favourite books,
the widening at the back to the open-plan kitchen, the family space,
and to one side the new necessity the home theatre,

already with big screen ­ showing dream houses to a voice-over
caressing me with up-to-dateness in pastel tones.
The back garden has an oversized "water feature".

Upstairs, fondling the warmed metal banister,
to bedrooms worthy of royalty, and a voice saying:
note the raked ceiling, the panoramic vista,

the extra lounge space easily converted to a fourth bedroom.
Bathrooms as in some luxury hotel,
creamy shelves, cupboards, walk-in wardrobes,

thoughtful concealed lighting, ventilations--
I breathe in perfumed air, breathe out sighs.
None of this is meant for me.

Home to a waiting pile of essays: on the top, Emily's:
shešs chosen Keats, Coleridge, Whitman, brave girl!
Topic (from Auden): "a poem that attempts to follow

the motions of consciousness will have to organize itself
into a whole in ways which consciousness itself suggests,
not as logic dictates." Išm hopeful she has felt her way in

to Kubla Khan, the Nightingale, Song of Myself--
not too logically. What's this? -­ "a psychoanalytic model"!
Emily! Must you? Some recent "Introduction" has told her

the conscious self is only "the tip of the iceberg".
I freeze up, too tired just now to look.
Later I find Whitman's soul is really his unconscious.

In Balwyn North do Condo Builders stately homes construct.
And hereabouts in air I too will build my home,
piping words that paper every elevated room.

Darkling, I will project a garden full of singing birds
with word-spring jetting, and coloured lighting.
A charmed magic basement will house my whole sole self.

7 am Wednesday 23 June 2004
Max Richards, North Balwyn, Melbourne

[And from another essay: 'Every poem was like a tiny micro chasm...']

***


el di/a de san juan

(for my good friend Petra on this vigil)

legend has it
an answer to most
"inquietudes", questions
in their serpentine forms and indigestions
"ce/n fath", "por que/", "co/mo" "conas ta/"

the recipes
for seducing the sun
to stay as long as possible
the beloved to emerge
from the sea
from under the pillow
of dreams
to listen how the rosa
of lima belongs to san german
and the little-known san patricio beats out
san blas in the race
to rid "borinquen" of the unwelcome
"hormigas" and bugs

tonight, the vigil
the druid on the hill
milagros down the street in the breaths
before her "quinceanera" and at night prayer
i'm thinking about the beautiful
bonfires i long ago saw in the city
shaped like a tea cup
reading the leaves
the cartographer's symbols

Deborah
Newark, NJ
10:18 pm

***


council trees trimmed back
to their brown knuckles
the public carpark
makes way for more cars

the panel beater warns
Beware of Vehicles ...
yes     they can own you
          take your money
drive your life

Andrew Burke
Mount Hawthorn
23 June 2004

***


Diverse collage

If you surrender details
they gather "a portion of the beauty"
in blue suburban clay.

In a clouded space
room to step shadows
where wind falls under the sun.

Ways you still
hear the grass
strata, fine planes, slips of craft.

But light leans in from the left
expecting more than
another opinion.

What do you need to know to walk
land along the lines of its wounds.
Nothing is beyond question.

Jill Jones, collaged after Art Gallery reading, Sydney, Wed 23 June 10.28pm

***


what bird this is I do not know
but that a rusty hinge outside the door
screeches once, & once again, & then once more

begins at dawn
far too soon
then all day long
that sharp grinding sound
creaks out from hidden branches

thus unseen
but not unheard
the cry to cringing ears compels

Douglas Barbour
Edmonton 08:30 Wednesday June 23 2003

***


PAINT JOHN CURRIN

any differently,
I think about myself almost all day long;
news day in history
to monkey with the eyes.

OWL [via Chris. Marker's "Bestiaire"] Who(‘)(s)(e) who?
Laissez-moi,
owl. Center

owl & pussycat,
not mall
owl not.

LOUISE'S PANDORA

Long way,
old garret. I'd have run away.

LOUISE BROOKS' DIARY

Leaving, today,
of all, days.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 6-23-04 (10:58 AM)

***


fatigue

the longest day
ends pink-
skied

falling
into the dark
crevasse

whatever vehicle
brought me
here

is lost or
won't start or
has no brakes

grey concrete
engulfing
even the foxgloves

even
the budding
lily

Sharon Brogan

***


Salvation

city streets -
beyond credits
and liner notes
the beat of a heart
is a drum rhythm
machine
whip-rides, tides
that rise, fall
twist unexpectedly
we feel profound
even in the verses
of rocky movements
we dance
on the slippery
edge of time
looking for someone
or something to blame
to feel solace,
if not salvation
even from ourselves

Deborah Russell,
Baltimore, Maryland USA
06-23-04 - 1:26 pm

***


It was three years ago
when all those working at the court of justice
/ here round the corner /
signed a petition sent to the mayor
not to cut the old beautiful firs / at the four corners
of the square under which they were building a parking space

they came at dawn
trees and saws screaming

we all woke up to listen / as if our lives had been shortened
and still talk of the trees / when we meet

Anny Ballardini

***


they said the trees
might fall and take
the dike down with them

all the willows, the birches
even the ancient cottonwood
young eagle's perch

gone from the river

Sharon Brogan

***


She's been avoiding me for months, the stooped
elf-woman who lives next door
in her mother's house, her mother now buried.
Never-married, hair close-cropped and Groucho's
eyebrows without the irony. But eyes startling,
like Liz Taylor's. A nervelet, she rakes

for hours -- the sound of sycamore leaves
skittering, nervous as an introvert's hands.
Hostile, back and forth, coiling a question
that's meant for effect, not to be answered.
When I meet her blues over the crumbling wall,

it's all nicey-nice from me, all how'dos and
cooing for grapefruits bigger than fists.
And she never looks at me, but plucks a stray
dead vine (mine) from the wall (her dad built)
and says for the umpteenth-ever time she wishes

I'd take down the eucalyptus that hunches its raw
back against her wall (again, her dad built it
from bricks and mortar and, one imagines, blood).
_See the cracks_. She traces with a dirty glove
and the eyes are downcast but roil fiercely
in their net of lines. _Or maybe the lady

who buys your place_. Suggesting there's always
one who comes after, a parade of haughty women
with overblown curls and overgrown trees
that drip wisteria and jasmine like laughter upon her.

Jennifer L. Lesh
23 June 2004
Bakersfield, Calif.

***


A CANVAS TO BE THROWN AWAY

The fat neighboring Lady with Red trendy shoes is vivisected in the center
of the canvas
she's of late adopted a soaring allure walking as nothing but Christ himself

instead of on water on stable pavement
her inevitably devastated skin due to old age cannot be hidden behind

the sticky bombed-combed blonde hair
adiposity of her vicious sedentary life rolls over sweaters and pants as a
jellied greaser
& the XXL military straight jacket cannot contain what she wishes
shouldn't
be seen

in an unavoidable close-up her mouth used only to kill people in their backs
is stressed
by the tongue retraction of a pig-nosed frog over-elongated because of its
direct intrinsic instinct
running parallel to the horizontal axis of her deformed shape,
that is her tongue and nonexistent lips cut through about 1.5m wide at 1.7m
height from the ground

she is coming from church and imbued by what she thinks people easily believe
tries to transform herself into the _Madonnina_ that is the Little Holy Mary

you can hear her stubbornly repeat: _I am the Madonnina_
and here flashes a tiny figure in mid-air all rarified light blue
witch of witches the bubble crashes when curious eyes focus on the
disgusting moving boulder
capable of creating temporary poltergeist images.

Anny Ballardini

***


The Neighbors Debate

When discovered by the social worker,
the yellow rabbit was nibbling blooming
dandelions, violets and clover
on the neighbor's lawn. The growly, circling

cats did not disturb it. The rabbit hopped
up to the cats and touched twitchy noses.
The cats dashed, lickety-split, and dropped
into hunting-jungle-tiger poses.

The neighbors schemed. Chased & caught & caged,
unperturbed, the rabbit washed its face.
The prison guard said "Let it go." "Not wild,"
the social worker warned. "And think, the child

who lost it, crying all night," the day-care
worker sighed. The rabbit combed its hair.

-- Sharon Brogan

***


VIA RIPA

A film memory: Monty Wooley, imperious
impersonation of the critic Alex Woolcott,
wheeled into a room of admiring rubes,
looking about, stroking his beard,
saying softly "I may vomit."

Our house is on the corner. Chinese
deliverymen are afraid of the dog.
They don't know the dog is cross-species,
a big pussy: but to mailmen and guys
who bring Chinese food, illusion is all.

Via Ripa was known for years in town
as Calle de los Borachos, a collection
of wino clammers and fishermen, fighters
with truly vicious dogs that nevertheless
read the papers and summonses to their humans.

Our neighbors: the couple who spend days working
on a home improvement project they'll never finish,
one kid kicked out of the Navy in wartime,
the other the proverbial whiteboy asshole
with a turned around baseball cap on an empty head.

I may vomit, indeed. People with no visible
means of support amble about, drive Lexii,
My Dog's Bigger Than Your Dog, My Cat Beat Up
a Schoolbus, on summer days we will repeat
what has happened every year since I arrived:

a guy bashing in his buddy's skull with a 2x4,
us watching where the dog steps on his morning walk
because of broken bottles on the street and sidewalk...

the exquisite beauty of young women in halter tops
headed for the sea across the street.
The incomparable vision of the sun over the ocean.

Go figure.

Kenneth Wolman/Sea Bright & Princeton, 6/24/04

***


With 2810
          we have
                    a common wall,
though its folks
          have numbered:
                    an elderly nurse
practicioner
          who died
                    and her dog
who went to
          California:
                    and the gay
Jewish couple
          who did the
                    renovation
and after the
          lady at 2814
                    was murdered
sold out to:
          the ophthalmologist
                    who didn't know
and didn't stay
          and wasn't
                    very friendly
and worse yet
          sold to the:
                    Buppie stock-
broker with
          loud friends
                    and the state-
of-the-art
          so to speak
                    stereo dialed
to some spot
           that only played
                    boom-boom-boom
we suffered
           but then he
                    left for "pastures
new" and we got:
          a little home-
                     breaker whose
paramours
          wife sometimes
                    staked out the
place, and made
           cliche scenes,
                    we worried though
about how
           she treated her
                    two dogs.
And now what
                              do you know?
a friendly
young couple
          quiet and neat:
                    our neighbors.

David Latane

***







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.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (cemery@saltpublishing.com), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (ajcroggon@bigpond.com). Poetryetc is now archived at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.

To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon


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