Thursday, May 1, 2008

CSR: Issue Seventeen

Editor's Note:

Welcome to the seventeenth issue of CSR! By now, you regular readers know my baby likes a police flashlight shining in its eyes and hates eating in a high chair. It craves Brussels sprouts and makes cute little sounds when it sees junk yard dogs. Baby has an uncanny ability to turn the words of poets into a bushel of crab grass. Issue Seventeen is an excellent example. This month CSR is filled with stunning photographs, along with glittering winged art. Add to that, a group of wonderful poets, an intriguing music maker and one magical book review and you've got the possibility for real reindeer tracks. Trust me, when you finish this issue you'll feel like a valuable stamp collection. Or no one could have guessed he wore shoe lifts. Either way, this issue will highjack your interest with delights seldom found in military cargo. So escape from that attic trunk in Barbados and get busy...
CSR: Issue Seventeen Contributors/Contents

Joy Harold Helsing

Eric Martin

Shelly Little

Adalberto Tiburzi

John Thomas Clark

Earl J. Wilcox

Karen Terrey

About Art - Olympic Iliad

Tony DeBlasi

Book Review

About Music - Rokia Traore

Jayne Pupek

Tom Kelly
Joy Harold Helsing

The Panic Button

What would happen
if I pushed it?
Would lights flare, sirens blare,
strong men suddenly appear
to douse the flames, slay the dragon,
save the helpless maiden?
Or would the men who came
wear white coats
use soothing words, syringes
and restraints
carry me away
to some safe haven
where I might recover
from my fear?
Some days
even that scenario
seems appealing.

-first published in Psychopoetica


The monkey in me
pokes and pries,
sees the world
through simian eyes,
has no inhibitions,
feels no shame,
wants what it wants,
will never be tame.

-first published in Poetalk


Back there the fertile loam
was umber brown,
rich and moist with humus,
home for beetles, centipedes,
earthworms, moles.
Grass and gardens flourished.
So did I.
Here the dirt is rusty red,
talcum fine, adobe hard
in summer heat, clogged clay
in winter rain.
Only stubborn native plants
survive for very long. I can’t
put down roots.

-first published in Poetry Depth Quarterly


So many places I have lived
so many roofs and rooms
streets, stairs, doors, keys
views from my window
people left behind
Oh, to be
moss on a log

-first published in Brevities

Unfinished Business

Some people are harder to let go
than others. Those you long for most
are often those you never really had.
The mother who kept threatening
(and sounded as if she meant it)
to give you away. The father
who worked seven days a week
and hardly spoke when home.
That first love who married
someone else. The cheating spouse.
The grown child who never writes or calls.
Now you.

-first published in Poetalk
Eric Martin

The Star

A star looks down on me each night,
A single, solitary light —
About so high. Its silver beams
Awake my thoughts to waking dreams
Of one whose everlasting face
Time’s roughening hand cannot erase.
Forgive me, Love — for love is blind,
And whoso shuns its power will find
Himself alone at last, without
Immunity from fear or doubt —
As I do now. —
Yet men are ruled by their emotions.
Their hearts, like spars on the world’s wide oceans,
Toss to and fro with each wave’s force,
In vain pursuing a favored course:
So also was my love for you
Determined by the storm that blew
So fiercely ‘gainst its favored course,
So often lost, to my remorse.

Life is Potential

Life is Potential, which is Energy,
Which can neither be created nor destroyed:
What we call ‘Life,’ therefore, is no brief term —
No measurement of mere Mortality —
But, rather, a progressive evolution,
Of which this carnal state is just a stage —
A metamorphosis from which, through death,
Divinity arises, newly-fledged,
From mortal ashes to Omnipotence.
This body is not ‘Life,’ for it was made
Of Water, Fire, Earth and Oxygen —
Bare, lifeless elements, sterile and weak —
And it can be created and destroyed;
Unlike the Self of man — pure, unalloyed
Quintessence of divinest Energy! —
That like Prometheus uplifts its eyes
To heaven, venting words of scathing hate
Into the face of God for injuries
Its fettered hands have not strength to avenge —
Not yet, at least; for there shall come a time
When weak and mortal things shall pass away,
And He will fear me then! —

-first published in Inverted-A Horn, No. 22.

Easter Hymn and Response

(Translated from H.Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, scene 4.)


Christ Jesus, having made amends
For sin in Death and Hell,
With hallowed body, now ascends
To Heaven’s citadel.
Yet as He hurries through the gate
To immortality,
His dutiful disciples wait
Amid adversity.
You too, Lord God, require us
To wait, in mortal sleep.
Our longing for the happiness
You have is why we weep.
But yet, let us believe that we
Will follow You one day,
When, with a shout of victory,
You call our souls away.


Oh, trembling heart! this gladdening hymn
Dispels dejection’s haze!
Weak faith revives, and brings with him
The peace of pious days! —
Of childish bliss, of prayerful hours,
Of blest oblivion,
While lying in a field of flowers
Beneath a summer sun!
Sweet aria of praise! you still
My heart, you foil its plots,
And banish every sinful, ill
Intention from my thoughts.

The Song of the Flea – A Ballad

(Translated from Goethe’s Faust, scene 5.)
Once upon a time, a flea
Lived among nobility.
He, adopted as the ward
Of a philanthropic lord,
Was (by this same lord) so coddled
That, says legend, he was swaddled
Head to toe in rich attire,
And inducted as a squire.
Monsieur Insect, much delight
Thus to see himself bedighted:
Silks and velvets, scarves, bijoux,
And silver buckles on his shoes,
Sent to Fleaville for his brothers,
Neighbors, schoolmates (and their mothers),
Who, by order of the prince,
Likewise rose to eminence.
Thus (to make a long tale short),
All the noblemen at court,
Too polite to make a fuss,
Scratched themselves to sores and pus!
Ah! infernal policies!
Fraught with nuisance and disease! —
So, when one begins to prick,
Pulverize the bugger quick!


I never lapped from cool Castalia’s streams,
Or set my mind on high, Romantic themes.
I never begged for Inspiration’s touch
To clasp my heart in its unyielding clutch.
Like rash Pygmalion, wary of a wife,
I never thought I’d lead a poet’s life;
And surely never dreamed that mankind’s wrongs
Should spark the raw ribaldry of my songs.
Hence, no unpruned bays of ‘deathless fame’
Need choke my exploits, or outlive my name.
The half-priced eulogies of flattery
Exasperate me to satiety.
I see myself (at most) an idle scribe,
Contented more to roast the scribbling tribe,
Than plague posterity with maudlin lays,
Or peddle trash unworthy of their praise.
I, once, despite advice, invoked the Muse,
Was once the very type I now abuse:
Robust, pretentious, ignorant, and rash,
I scrawled like mad notorious balderdash,
Broken every rule pertaining to the art,
Till virtue could no longer touch my heart.
Now, I would brush off Inspiration’s goad,
Resist its spur, shake off its sterile load,
Dispel all vain pretensions from this breast,
And cease to ape the role I so detest.
You ask, then, why I still would play the scribe?
Why I would still from Folly’s cup imbibe?
‘Why not?’ I ask. Were I to resign my pen,
And swear an oath to never write again,
All scraps of paper handy, pens, and ink
Would still be wasted, gallons at a wink.
For tell me, when was seem so brash an age
For Vice and Sin as this in History’s page?
Considering the art’s degeneration,
Who would not condescend to condemnation?
When blockheads prosper, fools thrive blushlessly,
Or imbeciles collect a salary?
Shelley Little

My Own Sense of Style

Waiting in the grocery line
the headline of In Style reads:
Charm bracelets are the new chic
The gold glimmers in my head
When she was born
he gave me a gold charm bracelet
with a heart dangling delicately
and her name engraved in the center
A family heirloom to pass on
when this baby had babies
The next year cultivated another charm
Letter A for his name
Another year churned yet another charm
A sapphire for his birthstone
The children’s charms conclude
with a vasectomy clasp
Then came charms for
his business trips
For his trip to Finland
I was given a gold boat
because I stayed home with children
while he was charming clients over caviar
For his trip to Australia
a gold kangaroo
Again, I stayed home with the children
Then came a turtle for the trip to…
I cannot remember as I was too busy
with fevers that could make liquid gold
I think it is time to toss
this chic charm bracelet
to my daughter
and get my own sense of style

Marriage Bed

I fold under end corners
in my militant manner
as though this task has meaning
Tugging the coverlet tight
I notice a ridge in the middle
Winter frost fragmented along its peak
One slope steeper than the other
Telling which valley he sleeps in
His valley deep enough
for lush life to grow at the base
of this mountain between us
My valley echoes the shallows of my life
Then I accordion the damask duvet
So sleepy hands can unravel
to cover our chill


Before the sun’s fingers
reach in and pry my eyes
with its poker tips
My son’s fingers
already stuck to my lids
as he plucks my eyelashes
like guitar strings
In tune with uninvited crows
Caw Caw
at the window
In my mind’s eye
I crawl out of bed
and slingshot that feathered
raucous up to roast
in the sun’s cockcrow heat
No, I would not eat crow
Just fly back under covers
while my son
strums me a lullaby

Layers of Us

The steel blade cuts
through pearl-like skin
Juice oozes
A rainfall of tears
trail mud down dust-filled
grooves in my face
Layers of this onion
peel back like years of our life

Early years of marriage
were like a famine’s craving
for a taste of our skins
But legend says
onions can produce offspring
in the bellies of women
So came my mother years
as a side dish
pickled in vinegar
As our shallots grew
we realized our rings
represent eternal life
We stayed together
We would not peel apart

In the fall storage of our lives
Our cores may be rotting
Our skins paper thin
But we simmer with flavor


Moths to the moon
These children navigate around me
I cannot hold the helm
I am no compass
This wolf moon pull has taken command
I swell as
an ocean’s rising tide
My port of patience is flooding
Pressure building
Sea walls crack
Predatory powers give way
and thunder through the wall
I will make these insects submissive
I am a terror for a moth-er
Moth wings
echoing in aftermath
Struggling to fly
Innocence scarred
in the violence of high tide
I am a puppet
spinning in the consequences
The master waves beating me clean
Pulling my strings
into submission
My rave recessing with the tide
Dripping guilt
I scoop up my moths
and huddle them close
Rebuilding the wall
Until the next wolf moon
Photography by Adalberto Tiburzi

John Thomas Clark

For Tony Pizzuto

With Lex, we had taken two or three drives
To Tony’s. On this drive day, September’s
Best, Lexie’s gear, though snarled in a plastic
Shopping bag on the floor, does not impede
My egress. Lexie’s Lippizaner1 flounce
Begins as Tony greets me. Off the ramp,
I see, hear Lexie anxious to decamp,
His eyes on Tony. Lex performs his bounce
Down on command. On “Release,” freed
To move on his own, with his third elastic,
Stiff-legged, whirling jump, Lexie remembers
Why Tony’s fun. He darts up the ramp, dives
In his bag, past his Moocow, his food, past it all
Yes, past his food – desperate for his tennis ball.

1 Lippizaner - a horse, trained at Vienna's Riding School,
world-renown for dressage, especially its high-steping prance


At the long day’s end, it’s time for bed
And Lex pitches in. He lowers his head
To grab his green blanket by my wheelchair
And remove it. With his usual flair,
Lexie grasps his quarry between his teeth
And backs up, tugging, tail wagging. Beneath
Him, his captive follows. The path now clear,
I fire up the wheelchair, put it in gear,
Roll off to the bedroom with Lex behind
Me. But, in the morning it’s tough to find
My other sock. “Lex, to where did you tug
That sock?” That head tilt is his shoulder shrug.
Lex tugs roped doors, wash baskets, other things
And all day long, he tugs at my heartstrings.


A flightless eagle, I live on the edge
Of your world now. No longer can I soar
For I am not in high feather. No more
Can I ride life’s sunlit thermals. The wedge
Between us widens. But I have a hedge –
Lex – who flies to me and nests on the floor
When I perch on my bedside cliff. There for
Me out of loyalty, his service pledge
Roost, at my legs, insures I do not fledge
On my own. He places himself before
Me so I cannot fall. To underscore
This, when I am on my morningside ledge
And my bird dog lights by my bedside shelf,
My heart soars for this is something he taught himself.

-previously published in Contemporary Rhyme, Spring 2007


Long gone were the days of the jitterbug
When our Sixties college crowd cut a rug
At some mixer. For us it was the twist,
The hustle, the stroll – gone now, in the mist
Of time. On very different campus grounds,
Eons later, instructors make the rounds
Of my class. In a gym-like room, we’re fanned
Out with our partners for the “Lap” command.
I forget, leave the wheelchair in first gear,
And with my “Lap” call, Lex lands and we veer
Left with his lean on my hand. His two-leg stance
Drives us further left. For our slow round dance
I thank Lexie, amid my classmates’ cheers,
For my first spin on a dance floor in thirty years.

-previously published in The Boston Literary Magazine, Spring 2007


I hope I’m not barking up the wrong tree
But my family and my friends dogged me
To apply for a canine companion
With an eye to bridge the growing canyon
Between me and things I’d do. So I asked
For a service dog. He’ll be multi-tasked;
He can bring me the phone, open a door,
Pick up anything I drop on the floor,
Tow my chair when we go out for a spin –
These dogs enrich our lives. For this shut-in,
The pooch and I will make quite a team
But what breed of dog will fulfill my dream?
A lab? A retriever? A chow-chow? A
Shot at the Iditarod with Team Chihuahua!
Earl J. Wilcox

Some Thoughts While Waiting For My Muse

Some say it’s tiresome and pretentious
To claim one is waiting for a muse,
Perhaps one which inspires good poems,
Not a faux muse who conjures Mediocre
Or, God forbid, bad poems. You may
Raise an eyebrow about the notion
That muses buzz around like some sprite
From a Pope Mock-Epic, but I can
As rightfully claim this is the way
Writing poetry works as any other.
By now haven’t we dissed and dismissed
Those who claim we compose under
The influence of a drug-induced stupor,
Since God knows if you’re not of a sound
Mind, you are not going to be alert
Enough to nab a muse when she or he
Comes sidling up to whisper something
Magnificent into your brain, or wherever
A muse deposits such scintillating advice
As he or she cares to give. What I honest
To God would like is a switch in my brain
—Or whatever part of my being attracts a muse
---A thrum or cylinder, perhaps a poetry synapse,
Ready to write, day or night, winter or summer,
When the mood is good, a full moon is not
Tempting to cover me with some humongous
Sheen that castrates my mind before I lay
Down the first line. I know this is wishful thinking,
Trite though that little phrase is,
And I may as well sit here at my screen,
Wait for that certain slant of light,
Just like Emily,
And when it strikes---be ready.

Channeling Faulkner & Thoreau

The earth shakes
like ten tons of dynamite
went off in the woods
behind our house.
The sound of falling trees
causes the dog
to chew her paws.
I grab binoculars,
my coffee cup,
traipse outside
despite cold winds,
wobbly legs.
Someone is felling
loblolly pines again----
trees set out by hand
a half century ago
by two brothers long gone.

Standing in my backyard,
anxious pooch at my side,
I think forest primeval,
Faulkner, Thoreau,
other tree-hugging friends
who weep when they see trees cut.

Squirrels, owls, and cardinals
will make homes in landscaped gardens
where pines once stood.

Next time trees are cut who’ll
recall Faulkner or Thoreau,
imagine tall groves standing,
man’s puny voice talking still.

Seasons At Odds

Before daylight today, dark skies bleak,
clouds tossed about like restless children.
A persistent mockingbird swooped around
my head as I stooped to pick up the paper.

She had been nesting in a nearby tree.
The season was out of kilter. Winter-
time mild as May caught a mother bird
off guard, disturbed my morning reverie.

A Sprinkling Of English & Spanish Spoken Here

The lawn sprinkler crew unloads backhoe, PVC pipe, shovels, rakes,
chatters enough to embarrass a flock of magpies. The crew chief-
chubby, cigar-smoking Black song man of the trio---hums hip-hop,
gospel, Aretha, sings a bar or two of Take This Job and Shove It.
A hot Southern sun beams down upon the boss, chomping seriously
on his stubby cigar, mixes it up with his helpers-an Hispanic
and a white dude in a pony tail and jeans with patches on patches

The sprinkler is laid out like a patchwork quilt of fresh dirt and tiny
vole mountains. When the workers dig in, they dice into an under-
ground network of wires for a dog's invisible fence. Sirens wail, dogs
howl, workers cuss. Scurrying like moles emerging from holes, the
cool workers rumble and scramble to seek the wayward wire. English
and Spanish collide in Tower of Babel talk, three tongues collude,
locate the breach, patch up the break, blend into a melody of hot sauce.

-previously published at
Underground Voices

As In Our First Wintertime,

we still embrace
each other's desire
for the longest evening never to end,
revel in ecstasies found
in hours together
which postpone oncoming

How do we arrive here?

-previously published at Centrifuge

Karen Terrey

The Saddest Man In The World

his door is always open
to expose the half-naked body
in the pale shine of a fat moon.
he sits in the lumpy recliner,
a hairy tubor in the dark.
television lights flash green and blue
on his sweaty baldness twenty four/seven.
tiny eyes follow passing neighbors.
once, he left the trailer
lumbering side to side
two blocks to the seven-eleven,
legs and arms splayed
equal angles like a starfish;
goodyear tires of flesh
stacked into a human body
wearing xxxl boxers – nothing else.
the peehole gaped perversely.
children playing ball
crossed to the other side of the street
even the drug dealers moved aside
from the monstrosity
of sadness.

It’s Not Her Sister’s Hand She Holds

A thirteen year old, pregnant
again, in the street with little siblings,
kicking the ball, playing
with scraps of pictures
torn from magazines.
Martin is also thirteen.
He often carries the baby,
who is fearful,
leaning in his arms, her screaming face
twisted away from my dog.
The baby screams to defend herself,
as if she can, a belief
we hope to carry our whole life.
She does not disturb
the other children.
Tiene mieda, they shrug.
She is already on her own. Too young
to sit, she is propped up
by pillows in a baby doll stroller.
Martin says he wants a dog. Once
he had one but his mom
made him give it up
and his uncle took it

-both poems previously published in Moonshine Ink


In my dream,
the long causeway crosses a wide expanse of salty swamp,
green jungle rises from brackish water. I smile at a local man,
bare-chested, olive-skinned, Take me to a hidden beach.
We drive down the low empty highway. His damp face
closing in on mine, No sex, I say, faithful even
in my dreams.
Only inches from me
sleeps my lover’s body, so far away,
farther even than Burma.

Politics Of The Trampoline

The ground shimmers -
children laughing, falling,
clumsy feet stomping
up and down.
After dinner, ten year old boys
curse on the trampoline deck,
In the morning three year olds
Carla, Naomi, and Maria
play house under the trampoline
with tiny dolls.
They call out to me, Hi!
They say, Look what I have!
And inside balled dirty hands
one reveals a ripped picture of a gorilla
from a magazine,
It’s a monkey!
or a broken piece of white reflector,
Its ice!
The smallest girl holds a crumpled piece of paper without even a picture,
It’s a dog! she yells.
The ground shimmers all around -
shards of broken glass in the hot sun.

-previously published in Moonshine Ink

About Art - Olympic Iliad

This massive artwork consists of an assemblage of red steel cylinders — 48 and 64 inches in diameter — set in a large pool of water. The Olympic Iliad, at 45 feet tall, 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep, is the most complex monumental work created by the artist up to 1984. The sculpture weighs 125,000 pounds; the steel cylinders are 3/8-inch thick. It is presently located in a rather disharmonious site in a "fun forest" of carnival-style rides at the Seattle Center in Washington.

The project was funded by the Seattle Center Foundation Center Fund) which was founded in 1977. The sculpture is located at Broad St. near Denny Way and was designed by Alexander Liberman (Sept. 4, 1912-Nov. 19, 1999) was a Russian-American publisher, painter, and sculptor. Born in Kiev, he was educated in Paris, where he began his publishing career with the early pictorial magazine Vu. After emigrating to New York in 1941, he began working for Conde Nast Publications, rising to the position of Editorial Director, which he held from 1962-1994.

It was only in the 1950s that Liberman took up painting and, later, metal sculpture. His highly recognizeable sculptures are assembled from industrial objects (segments of steel I-beams, pipes, drums, etc.,) often painted in uniform bright colors. Prominent examples are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Storm King Art Center, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Tate Gallery, and the Guggenheim Museum. Watch Alexander Liberman in a fasinating Charlie Rose interview in 1993 at:
Artwork by Tony DeBlasi

About Books:

Title: Place Of Uncertainty
Author: Tom Hibbard

Description: A new collection of poetry from Tom Hibbard who has recently enjoyed getting much of his literary work published on and off-line. Poems, reviews, essays and translations can be found at Jacket, Big Bridge, Word For /Word, Moria, Milk, Fish Drum, Cricket, e·ratio, Otoliths and elsewhere. An essay on "Linear/Nonlinear" was published in the 2007 issue of Big Bridge. Also in 2007 Bronze Skull published a prose poem titled Critique of North American Space. Hibbard lives in Wisconsin, U.S.A., where he devotes his spare time to growing pumpkins.

Product Details:

Printed: 92 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-2-3
Copyright: 2008
Language: English
Country: Australia
Publisher's Link:

About Music - Rokia Traore

Rokia Traoré is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Mali. In many parts of West Africa, professional musicians are often from a certain lowly caste called the 'griots'. However, Traoré's family are from the Bamana ethnic group who do not observe this restriction so strictly. Therefore when Rokia was young she was able to sing with others at wedding celebrations, despite coming from a privileged background.

As Rokia's father was a diplomat, her family spent a lot of time in different countries while Rokia was growing up. She came into contact with many local and international styles of music, although her parents were reluctant for her to become a musician. When she was a bit older Rokia stayed at the lycée in Bamako while her parents were in Brussels and there she developed her voice and first performed in public.

When she became a professional musician at the age of 22, she was definitely more interested in being a pop singer than a traditional griot. And though she combines acoustic guitar with the traditional (ngoni and balaba) and the sensibilities of her Bamana people, her guitar-driven compositions have often led to comparisons with Tracy Chapman and other singer/songwriters.

Traore made her singing debut on Malian television in the late '90s, and was acclaimed "African Discovery of the Year" by Radio France International in 1997. She released her first album, Mouneissa 1n 1998, and followed up with Wanita in 2000. Both of these albums showcased her new African pop sound and won her worldwide attention. She also wowed audiences in 2000 with her performance at England's prestigious WOMAD festival.

In 2003, Traore released Bowmboï, her most mature work to date. She continues to perform and record, touring Europe and North America and collaborating with such notable artists as the Kronos Quartet. Visit her website at
Jayne Pupek

Options While En route

I've been held together by less. Try penny nails
and Krazy Glue or thread and a butterfly clip.
We stayed long enough to hear the chairman's report
expressing gratitude to his hordes of subordinates
and their assorted kin, especially the wives who've made
their small sacrifices. It's all for the good,
but were our names mentioned? I don't recall.
Listen, no matter where you eat them,
apples taste the same. You wouldn't think that true,
but if you don't believe me, drive to Oregon
and find a fruit stand. You'll return to me convinced.
I never was someone who latched onto promises
or predictions. Too many times I've seen it rain
when the forecast called for sun. It's better sometimes
to wall yourself off in a room where the bed is covered
in netting as fine and white as lingerie. You can take
the wrapper off the chocolate Tootsie-Roll
and bite off chucks while reading Mrs. Dalloway
on your stomach, your legs meeting mid-air
to cross at the ankles, or you can
slap down a few dollars to the boy
who carried your bags in from the car.
You can ask him to stay.

For Jared

Until our names appear
in the sawdust covering the floor
and the doves outside the window
go quietly to their nest
and black crickets
in low bushes
sing songs of protest
against the relentless rain;

until the lilies on the table open
and the crusty bread
turns drier still, and the blackberries
along Macon Road bloom again this summer;

until the streets glaze over
with the waxy colors of mudslides
and hailstones and scattered stars,
and the librarian declares all fines
forgiven and books for keeps,
I will not leave this bed
where you are sleeping.
I will not stir until the fever breaks.


If you could hold a conversation in your hands
like a globe, you might spin it until you found

the words you wanted to hear, spoken
by the person you wanted to speak them,

only they wouldn't belong to you anymore
than that white balloon

you snatched from another's child's fist
when you were seven and occupied by thoughts

of dim stars penciled into the sky.
Always in that hour, the world turned black

and made your mother melancholy. She taught you
not to be reckless with words, and yet

at school, you wrote profanity on the blackboard,
smearing the chalk before the teacher saw

cocksucker beside her name. Even now
you think of that balloon, deflated

and cold and shaped like an apology,
but like a conversation put on hold,

no one hears a word.

Outer Banks, 1987

Kisses open wounds like flowers
and a memory erupts in the bold manner
that is the sun's custom in places where
the horizon fills with water instead of land
masses or condominiums. Convinced

you might cleanse his prints
from your skin, you have walked
the shore in winter and let
the cold rain soak your clothes.
For awhile, you felt redemption
sink into your bones, replacing marrow
with uncertainty and a desire for
brighter stars. There are signs of hope

all around you. Look at these gulls
swoop towards you, willing to take
bread from open hands.
In the distance, a girl that could be you
holds a shell to her ear, listening.

Night Driving

couldn't carve a shape from wood because I saw nothing in it,
or perhaps I was afraid of anything that static.
bend or yield except when a blade is used against it.
Wood is like the asphalt roads I traveled to your house last winter,
a thin membrane of ice on the surface, adhering like skin.

In the woods of my childhood, branches
fell during storms, and afterwards,
we walked, surveying the damaged trees
as if they were houses or barns, as if
these were places worth inhabiting.
I knew then that the god who toppled trees
had a reckless streak. He was the kind
to bludgeon a row of young pines, the kind
to take to the road in the middle of an ice storm,
daring the vehicle to skid off course.

In Alberta, we met a blind man who sold
wood sculptures from a roadside stand.
He convinced me how heavy a load I carried
filling my bones with doubt. Sometimes
I want to ask you if those praying hands
still occupy the table by your bed,
and did they bring you what you wanted,
did they bring anything at all?
Tom Kelly


Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
he was a reclining Christ,
eyes closed,
skin young, pewter-like.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep,
he had turned to stone,
flying above the flat roofs of Luke’s Lane Estate,
long-gone Monkton Coke Works,
headed for immortality
somewhere near the Elmfield Club.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
silent as the stone he had become,
needing a shave and
adhesive for his false teeth.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
I tried not to remember but he followed me
pointing his bony finger;
I threw back the duvet,
remembered the kiss
I had never given him in life.

"Doing The Tennessee Wigwalk…"

Grandmother had crushed ankles,
empty wooden bowls,
walked with a "wiggle and a waddle".

Grandfather hit her with a stick,
caused the damage.

Women had a place,
had to be quick
not to walk
with a "wiggle and a waddle,"
thirty years later.

Dad and Frank O’Hara

In the loo with dad
at the trough, music being piped and
him dead embarrassed in this nearly posh bar.

I said nothing to anyone
-except to you, Frank O’Hara.
I’d just read your poems
your uncollected:
saw you in NYC,
dad joined us.
Next thing
dad and me are drying our hands in unison,
drier masks our one-sided conversation,
something you would approve of,
not that I’m seeking approval
just telling you dad and Frank
are with me
as water flushes away and music
pipes on.

Chekhov’s Grandfather

Dad never bought his freedom
he was a serf:
labouring jobs, bottom of the pile,
low self-esteem c.v.

Always in the 1930’s,
like Anton he had a hacking cough.

"Chekhov’s grandfather was a serf…

"You walk away
to the club,
didn’t know him,
never drank together
your back says.

"The Excellent Will Be Permanent"

My hand’s in fire.
I’m cut, aching, teeth clamped.

Headache’s fixed,
flagged across my skull.

Clichés inhabit me,
"it takes time".

You will be remembered,

Loss batters me.

My mouth is filled with acid.

-all poems from next collection entitled Love-Lines
Contributors Biographies

Jane Harold Helsing: is an ex-salesclerk, ex-textbook editor, ex-psychologist, ex-college instructor, ex-New Englander and ex-San Franciscan who now lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Her work has appeared in many journals and she has published three chapbooks and one book, Confessions of the Hare (PWJ Publishing). She can be reached at:

Eric Martin: his poetry has appeared in the Barefoot Muse, Calenture, Centrifugal Eye, Contemporary Rhyme, Forgotten Ground Regained, Shatter Colors Literary Review, and Trellis Magazine. His current chapbook, The Death of Orpheus, is also available (by request) . He lives in northern Maine, with his wife and family, where he enjoys fishing and listening to classical music. Contact him

Shelly Little: her poems have appeared in the Centrifugal Eye, Children Churches and Daddies: Scars Publications, Down In The Dirt Magazine, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine and Shemon. Her numerous freelance articles can be found in the Bettendorf News, Quad City Times and Women’s Edition Magazine. She was born in Canada and attended the University of New Brunswick, where she graduated with a B.S. in Forestry and Environment Management. She now lives with her husband and children in Iowa, where she pursues a freelance writing career. Contact her at:

Adalberto Tiburzi: he has studied architecture, mathematics and philosophy. He has worked as a political essayist, a journalist, and in advertising. He says his photographs often appear as involuntary aphorisms, intellectual or emotional statements in a visual form. He adds that if there is any resemblance to Logos, it is certainly unintentional. He feels that great images can never completely be explained in words. There will always be a sort of “residue” that remains “silent”. It is this silence that matters most. He lives in Rome, Italy. More of his work can be found at the following website:

John Thomas Clark: is a retired NYC elementary school teacher. Nearly a hundred of his poems have appeared in Ocean, Byline, Paradox, Mabius, EFQ, and elsewhere. He also has written Othering, a 150-sonney journey (24 published to date) of someone “othering”, facing a burgeoning physical disability. He now resides in Scarsdale, NY with his wife, two children and a black lab, Lex. He can be reached at:

Earl J. Wilcox: is a retired university professor after teaching for more than 40 years. He is widely recognized as a publisher on Frost, London, and many other American writers. He was the founding editor of the Robert Frost Review. His poetry has appeared in Southern Gothic, Arabesques Review, Third Lung Review, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. His poetry was nominated in 2006 for a Pushcart prize. His favorite pastime when not writing is baseball, about which he also writes poetry. Contact him at:

Karen Terrey: is a graduate of Goddard College with an MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches creative writing at Sierra Nevada College and in Truckee, CA. She is the poetry editor for Quay, a literary arts journal. Her poems can be read in Sierra Nevada Review, Pitkin Review, Autumn Sky Poetry, and Moonshine Ink. Her blog can be found

Tony DeBlasi: he studied art at Indiana University and University of Rhode Island where he recieved his B.A. His one-person exhibits include Louis K. Meisel Gallery, Hokin Gallery, and Hokin Kaufman Gallery. His public collections includes a display at Greenfield Energy Corp. in Los Angeles. His work is about the process of freeing oneself from conventions, and the search for new parameters. It finds its inspiration from the works of artist like Matisse, Kandinsky, Kline, and Twombly. References can also be found to writing and caligraphy as well as Moorish and Islamic architectural designs. He lives in New York state. See more of his work at:

Jayne Pupek: is a poet and novelist who loves to read. Her first full length collection of poems was Forms of Intercession (Mayapple Press, 2008). Her first forthcoming novel is Tomato Girl (Algonquin Books). She has published two chapbooks; Primitive (Puddinghouse Press, 2004) and Local Girls (2007) which was published online at Dead Mule. This confessed CNN news junkie lives in Richmond, VA. Visit her website at

Tom Kelly: after a variety of jobs and twenty odd years as a drama lecturer at South Tyneside College he now writes, runs writers’ and drama workshops, supports Sunderland football club and his family with an equal passion. He lives in Blaydon in Northern England, not too far away from the iconic Angel of the North. His most recent collection is called Dreamers In A Cold Climate (Red Squirrel Press) is at:

Closing Notes: The editor would like to thank the contributors for the use of their work. Each contributor reserves their original rights. Look for the next issue of CSR online on June 1st.

Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
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And his music blog: