On The Bright Sharp Edge of Summer   Friday, March 28, 2008


Thanks for stopping in.

Without any further ado, to do or voodoo, let's get right to it.

I start this week with Steve Healey, from his book earthling.

Born in Washington D.C., Healey now lives in Minneapolis and teaches writing to prisoners in several Minnesota Correctional Facilities. He is Associate Editor of Conduit Magazine. His poems have appeared numerous journals.

I like very much the way he writes, but the truth is, I often get about half way through one of his poems and find myself drifting off into lands I don't quite understand.


is my prickly head.

Is the dusky slope where
quail come to shoot the shit

while their sentinels (from the Latin,
sentire, to feel) feel for the evil bitch cat,

though she's now clawless, i.e.,
feckless as a bird killer.

Happiness is how the baby
fits in my mouth, how
my oldest living blank wants

only to drop herself away from the Earth
but no longer thinks like a verb.

July, do you want your last piece of pie?
August, may I be excused?

Whispers a bright document
magneted to the fridge: do not resuscitate.

Still she hates "Quaking Aspens,"
the wall color still off-gassing
after how many years, and the music box

playing "Edelweiss" to make her body
hate the room even more.

How much is enough morphine?

To these windows, she's bite-size,
and beyond, double exposed.

The river's still programmed to shudder
when the wind cracks out of the gorge.

Down below, a delicious golfer squints
through the fading green longueur

The news is red all over.

Continuing my "art" series from last week, here's another one. To see the painting that inspired the poem go here:


it's better to sleep, they say
    (after K. K. Kozik's "Cat's Eye" - oil on linen

all around me
seventeen shelves high
on all four walls

a mountain of knowledge,
an Everest of facts and figures
and sustained thought
put to paper, page after page
stitched and bound,
all those books
pushing in all around me
smothering me
with theory, thesis, argument,
the comfortable ignorance
of a made-up mind,
the blindness
that sustains

i lean back
in my lazyboy,
rest my head
on my favorite red pillow
and seek the dumb
of sleep

it's better that way

This week, we have a return to the poems of Alaskan meatcutter, bookkeeper and poet Arlitia Jones. This piece is from her book The Bandsaw Riots

The Coming of the Snow
                    after Adrienne Rich

means the earth, is supposed to sleep
under its white disguise, is free
to take up its working song
without distraction.
The fat bulbs, having gathered
into the blackest heart of themselves
the colors of spring, now wait,
theirs the providence of women
who've stored enough to see them through

I remember a woman
born in Barrow in the year before the bomb
turned the high clouds to tigers that would devour
the land. A new teacher came to her village bringing
a box of crayons. In it were colors she had never seen, growing
with the tundra as she did, the white distances,
the pale sun traveling the horizon
never higher than a runner's torch,
and clear ice chiming in the arctic surf.
From that day, the house she'd drawn in weathered gray
become junglegreen and parrotblue. Her rivers ran tangerine.
More? she asked. Are there more colors?
and kakota suk, white fox stealing scraps
at the edge of her village, replied in a human voice,
You must imagine more than you own eyes can see

Tonight, under the storm, again, poetry -
flamboyant, vibrant and primary,
common as the dusky down of the sanderling
in camouflage for its life -
I pull you in against the white -
the color of wood, the color of fire,
the light along the rafter - full in my belief
there is more, there is
always more
                    for katherine

From Liverpool, England, here is a new poem from Mick Moss..

Mick is 54 years old and says he is a poet of considerable renown. He must be, since I've heard of him.

Do you Believe in the World?

Do you Believe in the World?
Because sometimes I don't
Sometimes I have to make it up

I make believe that all my problems are solved
I pretend that I don't have to get involved
I wish that I could just sit here in my chair
and suddenly there would be peace in the world everywhere

There comes a time in everyone's existence
when the flow that makes you grow meets some resistance
they say that all there is, is a reflection of my mind
So I check myself in the mirror, and increasingly I find
I don't believe in the world

The next poem is from the first book of Elizabeth Seydel Morgan, Parties, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1988.

Morgan taught literature and creative writing at St. Catherine's School in Richmond, Virginia, and has also been an adjunct professor of poetry at University of Richmond, Visiting Professor at Washington and Lee University, and Writer-in-Residence at Randolph Macon Woman's College. Morgan received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

She published four books after this one.


Sunburned, you cast across the surf
off Hatteras, reeling in the blues.
Your deft flicks - I wanted to kiss
the tendons in your wrist.

At night we fried the fish in butter.
Your body was so beautiful, so hot
and briny to my tongue.

By dove season the sun still burned
in the stubbled fields.
We unpacked the pouch of your sweaty vest,
sat on stools ripping handfuls of feathers
from the warm birds. Our kitchen thickened
with gray down that rose like smoke
around us.

When it was cold enough for geese
you couldn't go. You pressed my palm
against your chest and cried. It's barbed,
you said, this hook in there.
The surgeon's word was riddled.

The cedar leans from its tricky stand.
I've pricked my finger stringing berries,
ruby eyes against my wrist.
Tommy struggles with the tangled lights -
Goddamn, he says in the voice that wants
to be yours.
Hush, I warn. But I know you
don't hear from upstairs.

You-re moving slowly through snow
over Roanoke ridge
holding the shotgun
before you with both hands.
The berry-fat grouse drums once from the hemlock
You raise your gun, his wings lift for flight.

We had some really interesting weather last week. Very large fires in Mexico sent ash into the atmosphere that eventually drifted our way, mixed with some rain, and gave us a morning of mud rain. Quite a mess. Car wash owners loved it. I tried twice the next day to get into the car wash I usually use. There was a block-long line both times.

Mexican ash

orange clouds flaring
mud drops
leaving a coat
of grey

Next, I have poet Duane Niatum. He is the first of two poets I will use this week from Harper-s Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry.

Niatum, born in Seattle, Washington, is a member of the Klallalm tribe, whose ancestral lands are on the Washington coast along he Strait of Juan de Fuca. His poems, short stories and essays have appeared in many national magazines.

These short poems were first published in his book Songs...Dreams.

Drawings of the Song Animals


Treefrog winks without springing
from its elderberry hideaway.
Before the day is buried in dusk
I will trust the crumbling earth.


Foghorns, the leached absence
of the Cascade and Olympic mountains.
The bay sleeps in a shell of haze.
Anchorless as the night,
the blue-winged teal dredges for the moon.


Thistle plumed,
a raccoon pillages my garbage.
When did we plug its nose with concrete?
Whose eyes lie embedded in chemicals?


Dams abridge the Columbia Basin.
On the rim of a rotting barrel,
a crow. The imperishable remains
of a cedar man's salmon trap.


Deer crossing the freeway -
don't graze near us, don't trust our signs.
We hold your ears in our teeth,
your hoofs on our dashboards.


Shells, gravel musings from the deep,
dwellings from the labyrinth of worms.
Crabs crawl sideways into another layer of dark.


a husk of winter and the wind.
I will dance in your field
if the boid is in bloom.


A lizard appears, startled by my basket
of blackberries. In the white
of the afternoon we are lost to the stream.
Forty years to unmask the soul!

Here's a new poem from our transatlantic transplant Christopher T. George.

Heron Nests in Rain

Train sweeps me north as red and blue
cop-lights strobe D.C.'s damp boulevards.

Creeks swell puke yellow; we pass
designer estates of ticky-tack homes

on mud-orange hills. My eyes search
for the great blue herons rebuilding

after winter's storms. Good progress:
half-dozen new - gray sentinels guard.

I always think of Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars as kind of like the Bobbsey Twins of turn-of-the-century French poets because they seem to have so much in common. That's not really fair to Apollinaire since one of the reasons they have so much in common is that Cendrars learned so much from Apollinaire.

Anywhere, here's a poem by Apollinaire from the book Alcools, a bilingual edition of his poems with French and English on facing pages. The translation is by Donald Revell.

The Wind by Night

Oh! the pine tops grind as they collide
The wind is moaning from the southern places
From the river nearby triumphal voices
Of pixies laugh into the gusts
Attis Attis Attis barebreasted sexy
It is you the pixies ridicule
Your trees are falling in the gothic wind
Your forests panics like a primitive army
Whose lances of pine trees tremble in retreat
And now and now extincted villages muse
Like virgin girls or poets or old men
They will never respond no matter what happens
Not even when vultures pounce on their pigeons

This is a short poem from my book, Seven Beats a Second. I don't read in public often, but when I do, and if the crowd's right, I like to use it as an icebreaker.

life is

is like a duck hunt

every time
you really start to fly

asshole in the weeds

your feathered butt

right out of the sky

Next, I have a poem by a young Korean-American poet who is one of my favorites. Her name is Ishle Yi Park and the poem is from her book, The Temperature of This Water.

I had to do a little research on this to figure out what this poem is about.

It seems that in 1952, the US Air Force established a practice bombing range near the small South Korean village of MaeHyang-Ri. This bombing so close to the villageover the many years since the range opened has had many negative effects on the village over the many years and South Korean students (mostly) regularly demonstrate against the range and call for its closure.


The dirt road curls into a shoulder of rice paddy,
air hot against my face. The taxi driver jerks and stops
over loose gravel, hesitant to take us further.
You students like danger, he hisses.

A mesh tent billows over red dust.
700 students sit in hunched waves, changing songs
memorized years before I arrived.

Before us a barbed wire wrapped with tissue
pink as blooming cosmos. Through its looped folds,
an expanse of green - outstretched lover, limbs supple -
Maehyangri: she lies breathless, sun a white disk

in the indifferent sky. I snap pictures of do-or-die
students handkerchiefed against tear gas,
dressed to go to Orchard Beach more than a rally...

A woman strays in front of the barbed fence,
baby strapped with a blanked to her bent back;
to our left, a farmer poking police an arm's length
away from her trodden crops.

And the students are rioting. Young cops brandish
sapling sticks. Hot with confusion, we swing at each other,
each crack stippling my ears. We swing at each other:
young Korean brother of split cheekbone
and torn shirt, young Korean sister,
fingers ripped by scissored wire. We are killing each other
again. Hlenah, hold my hand -

a young man stumbles out, eyes feral. I hold him up gently,
blood seeping through my fingers, soothe him with banmal:
yah, illu, wah, genchanah. We inhabit a quilted space,
a cupped moment of healing. And I realize:

what I want is time for her torn hands, his split
wood-carved cheek, to heal; for respite for this bruised,
beautiful valley, for the marrow of my people tainted with pollution
and shaking from the vibrations of dropped US bombs;

for babies with cotton-stuffed ears,
for boys who dream to the drone of 747's -
I want a silence so clean it baptizes.

Alex Stolis, whose tarot series was seen here, has several new poems.

There's been some good news for Alex just in the last few days.

He and his writing partner Michaela Gabriel (known here as poet, photographer and designer/builder of both 7beats.com and "here and now")have just published together.

The title of the book, small confessions & pebbles of regret, is now available from Rubicon Press.

The book is a series of poems/letters written by two (imaginary) people, a man and a woman who once were an (imaginary) couple, over the course of a few years. Michalea credits Alex for coming up with the idea for the book. The photo for the cover of the book was taken by Michaela's father.

For more information on the book, go here.


Congratualtions to both Alex and Michi.

Now, here's another new poem by Alex.

if pontius pilate had changed his mind

god might have left
a hole in the sky
small enough
for the last
witness to hide
his guilt

there'd be fire
with no heat
and a thousand
truths would fit
on the head
of a match

every moment
spent looking
for one last
place to hide
might buy time
until another chance

at redemption
walks around
the corner
and sticks
a gun down
your throat

I haven't quite worked up the nerve to go full-bore on Arthur Rimbaud yet, but here's one of his less controversial pieces. This is from The Steel Cricket, Versions 1958-1997, a book of translations by Stephen Berg.

A good translation, especially of poetry, requires as much art as the art of the poet him or herself. Berg's translations are an excellent demonstration of that.

Here's Rimbaud’s poem, as translated by Berg.

First Twilight

Huge indiscreet cunning trees
clawed the windowpanes,
pressed close -
she wore almost nothing

perched in my fat armchair,
hands folded on her petticoat.
Exquisite feet
quivered on the floor,

one wand of waxy light
ecstatic lips, a fly
droned on a rosebud nipple,

a circle of faint clear trills
like a shocked crystal chandelier
broke from her mouth
when I licked her ankles

and both my hands
chased wild feet
through layers of white lace - "No!"
she giggled, clenching her thighs.

Oh those bleak animal eyes -
I grazed each lid
with wet lips.
"Too much!" her head shot back

"I want to tell you..."
I completed her sentence with my tongue
which made her laugh again,
mercifully this time, ready...

Huge indiscreet cunning trees
clawed the windowpanes,
pressed close -
she wore almost nothing.

Here's another in my art series. To see the paintings that inspired the poem, go to the Claudia Alvarez gallery here:


children's crusade
(After Claudia Alvarez' series "Machine Gun," "Choking," and "Boygun" - watercolor on paper)

even as Abraham
sought to buy
his god's
by the
of his son...

children are sent to fight
to suffer
to die
for the ambition
of false gods,
of empire
on the bones of slaughter,
blood suckers
drinking the essence
of innocence

at war,
sacrificed still
they should be playing
going to school
putting a tooth
under their
for the tooth fairy

they kill and they die

if there is a hell
we will all
be meeting

Again with Stephen Berg from the collection of his translations, The Steel Cricket, are several short pieces. These are from a section of the book Berg titled Sea Ice, Eskimo Songs

Orpingalik's Breath

I have to sing
a song about myself
sick since autumn
stretched out in bed
weak as a child

I'm, so sad
I wish my woman
lived with another man
in the house of someone
who'd protect her a man
hard and strong as winter ice

once I could track down anything
white bear caribou seal I can still see
myself on foot beating the men in kayaks
the white bear threw me down but I stabbed it
the seal I thought got away I hooked it
now dawn after dawn rolls by
and I'm still sick
the lamp's cold

I'm so sad I
wish she'd go away
to a better man
so weak I can't even
get out of a bed

who knows what can happen to a man
I lie here drained unable to rise
remembering how I beat everyone
to this kill or that
and they all stood there
with nothing

no oil for the lamp
only my memories are strong

Akjartoq's Song

I take a deep breath
but it hurts it's too heavy
as I look for the song
the land fills with whispers
about my people starving
I don't know where

I look for the song
above me
and I forget how hard it was to breath
when I could cut up and skin three huge beasts
cut them up
between the first and last hours
of the sun

Kivkarjuk's Song

I'm only a small woman
who likes to work
willing happy
I'll slave all day
at anything
I pluck willow buds
I love to go walking miles away
my soles worn through
and pluck willow buds
they feel silky like the wolf's chin

Mother's Song

it's quiet in the house so quiet
outside the snowstorm wails
the dogs curl up noses under their tails
my little son sleeps on his back
his mouth open
his belly rises and falls
is it strange if I cry for joy

The Boy Norqaut's Songs


you can bring down
a caribou
because you want to kill it
but this friend of mine
is like a lazy dog
he just lies there
when you track the white bear
and the black musk ox
over the ice
you have to work hard
to be as strong as they are


you can get strong
from being with people
who are strong
you stand there looking at
their teeth
when they smile
you smile better and have big
white teeth like theirs

Uvavnuk's Song

the sea the huge sea's making me move like this
cut off from land
moving me like the weed moves in a river

the arch of the sky the great force of storms
moving the spirit in me
until I'm carried away

a grassblade shaken and torn with joy

Here's a poem I just found today on The Blueline Poetry Forum. The poem is by Marie Gail Straford.

Marie is a freelance writer and dance instructor from Kansas City, Missouri, where she also works for a small computer retailer. Her work has appeared in several online periodicals, including The Loch Raven Review, Blue House, and Poems Niederngasse.

I've been watching her on Blueline and she seems to get better with every poem.

I can certainly relate to this poem. I do occasional projects for a local business. I've been doing it off and on for about five years and the road I use to get there and back has changed during that period from 90 percent woods and pastures to 90 percent developed. It used to be a way around city traffic. Now the city and city traffic has taken it over.

Urban Sprawl

one two three little businesses

here comes a highway
let's build a filling station

four little, five little, six little condos

here come the CEO's
let's build them a subdivision

seven, eight, nine little strip malls

here come the suits
let's build them a Starbucks

nine little, eight little, seven little field mice

here come the pests
let's break out the poisons

six, five, four little swallows

here they're a nuisance
we'll have to expel them

three little, two little, one little child

hear him cough and wheeze
let's give him a breathing treatment

all because we poisoned his air

The next poem is by Brigid Milligan from her book Mi'ja, Never Lend Your Mop... published when she was a senior at one of San Antonio's high schools.

Soy la pequena

My brother sits in the back seat
with his girlfriend
I sit in the front with my father
as we drive into the caldera
into this dead volcano
in New Mexico
so la pequena
I hear my bones creak and my hair
becomes tangles from the open window
soy la pequena
as the ponderosa pine cones swallow me
walls of rock
grow and surround
invisible horizon
soy la pequena
as my fever rises and
I lie alone
in this room with two beds
soy la pequena
as the red dirt mixes with
light hands, leaves my
coated in earth-blood
soy la pequena
as obsidian boulders
block my path
my brother helps his girlfriend
I climb unaided
soy la pequena
as we discuss the angle
at which jeeps roll
soy la pequena
when the weight limit is 9 tons
I weigh 135 pounds

and as I walk outside this adobe house
one evening
I welcome stars
semper fidelis
to their constellations
soy la pequena
pero nunca

Here I am again, with another poem drawn from a painting. To take a look at this painting, go here:


wormbunnies...goddamn wormbunnies!
(after Ria Brodell's "A Wormbunny Carries Away the Submarine" - pencil, colored pencil, acrylic on paper)

they come
from the deep,
pull me to the ice,
and wrap me
of their fuzzy embrace,
their rank fur,
examining me
with the cool and jaded gaze
of one
who has seen bigger and better
prey than me,
who has dined
on bigger and better prey than me

i struggle
to present my most unappetizing
and pray
for rejection

heed me now,
for from the gleam
is this wormbunny's eye
i think my time is here

should you come this way,
for here
do the hungry wormbunnies

the birdmen, too,
for they will sell you out every time)

Here's a little piece by William Blake from a Penguin Classics collection of his work.

The Fly

Little Fly
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

Next, I have a poem by Arlene Ang from her book The Desecration of Doves.

A four-time Pushcart nominee, Arlene lives in Venice, Italy where she edits the Italian edition of Poems Neiderngasse. Her work has been published in many literary journals.

Living, as I do, in the cedar fever capital of the universe, I can read this poem as a day in my own life.

Rosencrantz in Spring

The migration of mid-seasons
has every plant anther in heat.
Male gametes take nostrils
for stigmas in this theater
where scenes are performed in sneeze.

I've wept from watching heaven
come apart as floodlit seeds
that float down
to portray pieces of clouds.

Lately, dawns have mutated from
pleasant coin tossing
to monologues of clogged nose
and throat extemporizing itchiness
through the inspiration of pollen.

I wonder about my immune system
and think of rabbits
rutting haywire as they multiply
by the second under trap doors

Groping about in curtained haze,
I grab at straws of vitamins,
nasal sprays, anything to fight hay fever
knowing full well about the good
of bricks to a man drowning in mucus.

A little Walt Whitman will always clear the overripe brain.

The Dalliance of the Eagles

Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance
   of the eagles,
The rushing amorous contact high in space together,
The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce
   gyrating wheel,
Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight
In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight
   downward falling,
Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a
   moment's lull,
A motionless still balance in the air, then parting,
   talons loosing,
Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their
   separate diverse flight,
She hers, he his, pursuing.

A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the
   lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
   themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

Some people found this next painting disquieting. I did, too, and tried to include that sense of "wrongness" in the poem I wrote in response.

To view the painting, go here:


erector set
(after Abraham Brewster's "Interstate" - oil on canvas)

of skin
and body parts
like girders
in a construct
of pale

rendered into their parts,
to bear the weight of

I'm still just a little short of 5,000 words, so here's a couple of poems from me. The first two were published in the on-line journal Avant Garde Times and the third in The Green Bicycle. Both journals are no longer active and I miss them.

All three poems were eventually included in my book Seven Beats a Second.

finding religion at 3 am

hanging my head over a dirty toilet
I wouldn't even piss in
on a better day,
the smell of my own breath
and the taste in my mouth
setting off
another round of dry heaves

please don't make me sober

while a bald man burns

three gulls circle
a bald man burns
in the fierce island sun
I trace gargoyles
in the sand
with my toe
you pretend to study
the book in your hand
three gulls circle
in the fierce island sun

the shape of things that are

all matter,
and that includes you and me
and the '49 Chrysler
upon whose soft cloth seat
I first held in my hand the tender pink breast
of Sophi Gallanti, all of it, in its base nature,
is either a donut or a hole

everything, that is,
can be molded, without tearing any part
or joining together any parts not already connected,
in either a sphere or a donut

that with sphereness in it's heart
cannot be made donut;
that whose base nature is donut
cannot into sphereness come

so spaghetti a sphere will always be,
while rigatoni
will always be the other

thus it was with Sophi and I, despite our propitious start

sphere she was,
rounded, certain, calm and complete,
while my donut nature struggled to join our unconnected parts

That's it for this week.

I'm sure you noticed that I did some weird things with the images this week and last. Well, IPhoto added some bells and whistles and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to play with them. Last week wasn't so bad, but this week doesn't give much leeway in individualizing the effects and is definitely a one-time thing. Back to regular stuff next week, until I decide to play again.

Also, for anyone interested, the book I've been using to find paintings to stimulate my muse has a website. For information on this book, New American Paintings #74 and the many others in the series, go here.


So, until next week, remember, all of the work presented in this blog remains the property of its creators. The blog itself was produced by and is the property of me...allen itz.

at 8:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Allen. The Andy Worhol effect has its points of interest. The cactus picture and the one of the cat came out very interestingly in the multiply negating shades.

I've spent hours today and yesterday here. You have a great talent for putting together fine art from different venues. I'll be lurking more often.

Marie Gail

at 7:51 PM Blogger Alice Folkart said...

Allen, I like the art, it's restful in a weird way, I mean, I don't have to know anything to look at it and I don't have to explain it to anyone... Well, that makes no sense.

Much good stuff in this issue - particularly like Arlene Ang's and Marie Gail S's and the three of yours that you ended with. Also, this was the first Rimbaud that I could get through. But, won't go into that. So many other good things - I should take notes before I open the comment window. I can never remember it all.


Post a Comment

sky hook   Friday, March 21, 2008


So here we are again. Welcome.

I was going to start this week with a series of short poems from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, but apparently the outlaws weren't too much into brevity, so instead I have this piece from Henry Miller, second choice but definitely not second rate.

A Poem in Prose for My Venus

Were you conscious last night
Of the grandeur of the moon?
Did you know that she has a pound of honey?
You, oh pound of honey for all the couples
Crouched together everywhere in the world.
The men on their backs their phalluses
in huge erection.
The women, their vaginas sighing
and flashing.
All making love like
animals of hell.
All bridled by the desire -
the incredibly fruitful desire.
The air was pierced by the bizarre sounds -
the groaning of elephants, the "whinnying" of horses and the
bleating of
It would be deplorable if everything was not commanded by the God Priapus.
His stamp was visible here and there -
briefly, everywhere.
He reined over the night like an
emperor...Sometimes it was terrible.
But little by little one heard the Chopinesque music, the
the sobs, the cries of the camels - everything
was very beautiful
Chopin and Ravel - and Debussy!
Oh what divine music! Played by an angel with the refinement
of a prince.
Suddenly a resurrection.
The obscured couples rise and
begin to sing.
Their voices reach the edge of the sky.
Even the dead are touched.
The dead are revived, delirious
Now the birds can also
be heard.
"Hark hark the lark at Heaven's gate...et tra la la"
Yes the dead and the angels understand
English - how odd it is.
The gods and the half-gods speak
Hungarian and Polish
But only amongst themselves!
The dawn arrives...everything becomes
silent. The world breathes.
The angels disappear into the
images of Fra Angelico.
Da Vinci sleeps. Botticelli opens his eyes.
The world begins under a
Pale blue sky. Rather bluish.
Until we see each other again

Here's a poem by S. Thomas Summers from his book Rather, It Should Shine.

I read Scott's work often on The Wild Poetry Forum. He is a teacher of English at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, New Jersey. His poems have appeared in various print and online journals. His previous chapbook, Death settled well won Shadows Ink Publications 7th Biannual Chapbook Competition.


I'm not delicate
enough to slip

between rose petals,
but I'd like to see the world

from that velvet cradle -
feel the sun's gentle

fingers pull me
toward eternity,

discover ecstasy
in a rain drop.

Tonight, kiss softly -
even as a breeze bites

the apple dangling
from its tree. Darkness

scratches my skin -
how easily I bruise.

Now, here are two short poems by Portuguese poet Eugenio De Andrade from his book Forbidden Words. It is a bilingual book, with English translations by Alexis Levitin.

In Praise of Fire

A day
of utter sweetness comes:
everything burns.

Light burns
in the windows of tenderness.

in the bright
labyrinth of whitewashed walls.

Words burn,
the purple shade of ships.

The wind,

where I have a house
on the edge of autumn.

The lemon tree, the hills.

Everything burns
in the utter sluggish
sweetness of the afternoon.

The Art of Navigation

See how the summer
turns to water on your bread,

and the night turns to boat,

and my hand to sailor.

Read a story in the National Geographic. Wrote a poem. There you go.

time to meet our fellows

i was reading
in National Geographic
about the intelligence
of some of our fellow
earthly creatures

with vocabulary, syntax
and a creative imagination;
that remember the past
and plan for the future;
Kanzi, the bonobo,
learning sign language
from watching his mother
being taught (he may be speaking
English, they think, just too fast
and high pitched
for our ears to understand);
Betsy, the border collie, who
recognizes objects from photographs,
and who knows 340 words and
is learning more at the advancement rate
of a 4-year old;
even octopi
who play for the fun of the playing

more and more
we begin to recognize
with creatures
not of our own kind

except for some,
the egocentric,
the ethnocentric,
the homo sapien-centric
the world
and all the universe that surrounds it
as a preserve
set aside for their pleasure and exploitation;

these do not believe

these cannot believe,
too much invested
in an unearned superiority
over all other creatures

their disbelief is their loss,

but i know better
for i have watched
my Reba watching

and though
I cannot know for certain
what goes on
behind those cinnamon eyes,
i do know
it is far more
than just the mindless grinding
of an unthinking id

Here's another poem from Good Poems for Hard Times, this one by Leah Furnas.

Furnas, born in 1933, is form Oregon, growing up in her parent's tavern. She taught elementary school for 20 years, then sold real estate for the next 20, then retired, took a poetry class and started writing. She wrote this poem on a steno pad brought at a gas station on the way to a friend's 50th wedding anniversary party.

The Longly-Weds Know

That it isn't about the Golden Anniversary at all,
But about all the unremarkable years
that Hallmark doesn't have a card for.

It's about the 2nd anniversary when they were surprised
to find they cared for each other more than last year

And the 4th when both kids had chickenpox
and she threw her shoe at him for no real reason

And the 6th when he accidentally got drunk on the way
home from work because being a husband and father
was so damn hard

It's about the 11th and 12th and 13th years when
they discovered they could survive crisis

and the 22nd anniversary when they looked
at each other across the empty nest, and found it good.

It's about the 37th year when she finally
decided she could never change him

and the 38th when he decided
a little change wasn't that bad

It's about the 46th anniversary when they both
bought cards, and forgot to give them to each other

But most of all it's about the end of the 49th year
when they discovered you don't have to be old

to have your 50th anniversary!!!!

Here's a good friend of "Here and Now", Dave Ruslander, with two poems from his book Voices in my Head.


I am a dry wash in the desert,
cracked impacted - hard.
Smell the heat float over
as I simmer in midday sun
and await dueling scorpions
under night's sky.

a wall of water
will transform me;
flowers will bloom on a cactus.

I Stepped Back and
Blew Out the Candle

Darkness became my partner
and wrapped cold arms around me
in a difficult intimacy.

I felt as much a lion as a lamb.

Next, a piece by Jack Kerouac from his book Mexico City Blues.

216th-C Chorus

Well roofed pleasant little hut,
    screened from winds:
That's all I need, Foursquare
The image of Buddha in my brain,
Drawing from the countryside the verdant
Fantasm of conception, saying:
"We seen imageries of bush & tree,
Like you, have risen from a mystery,
And the mystery is fantastic,
Unreal, illusion, and sane,
And strange - It is: When ye
Are not born, thou never showest:
When thou art born thou showest,
Thou showest emeralds and pine trees
And thou showest, and if not born
Thou showest naught in white
Dazzling buried in mindless obscure sea
That strange eternity devises to befool,
Befoul and play unfair with Mag
The worshipper and worrier, Man,
Mag, Mad,
    it's all green trees, men
    And dogs of toothbone:
    All shine in the dust,
    All the same Novice Scotia"

Pretty much a regular old poem about pretty much a regular old day.

and now, on to Act II

the sun up this morning
as usual,
moved the cat off my chest
and stumbled into the bathroom,
checked in the mirror,
it's me,
washed brushed
the throne
checked lottery numbers,
plans for purchase of sports car
got the old Caddy started
and sputtered off to Jim's
for coffee and local newspaper
said hi to all the waitresses
the church goers behind me
talk about the early sermon
paid for my coffee
and left a large tip, it's
why they love me,
went home,
picked up D, drove
to Ihop for Senior Special
and more coffee,
paid for breakfast,
left a large tip, it's
why they love me, then
on to Borders for latte
and the Times and howdy-dos
for the Sunday morning
regulars, talked
about the weather,
"gonna be damn cold today"
for winter,
"gonna be damn hot today"
for springsummerfall,
and that's the weather
and there's not much else
to talk about and didn't
want to anyway cause
the paper's just sitting
there waiting to be read,
not to mention the funnies
from the local paper
peeking comically
from beneath the latest
bullshit from Bushington,
so adios, muchacho,
been nice talking to you,
time to go, pay the bill,
leave a big tip, it's
why they love me,
D to the movies,
me here, catching up,
pulling down the
curtain on
Act I

more excitement in Act II?

nah, not likely,
being contented like the cows
in California,
i don't need no stinking

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 and died near the end of the year in 2000. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

This is a poem from her book Selected Poems, published by HarperCollins in 1999.

The Ballad of Rudolph Reed

Rudolph Reed was oaken.
His wife was oaken too.
And his two good girls and his good little man
Oakened as they grew.

"I am not hungry for berries.
I am not hungry for bread.
But hungry hungry for a house
Where at night a man in bed

"May never hear the plaster
Stir as if in pain.
May never hear the roaches
Falling like fat rain.

"Where never wife and children need
Go blinking through the gloom.
Where every room of many rooms
Will be full of room.

"Oh my home may have its east or west
Or north or south behind it.
All I know is I shall know it,
And fight for it when I find it."

It was in a street of bitter white
That he made his application.
For Randolph Reed was oakener
Than others in the nation.

The agent's steep and steady stare
Corroded to a grin.
Why, you black old, tough old hell of a man,
Move your family in!

Nary a grin grinned Rudolph Reed,
Nary a curse cursed he,
But moved in his House. With his dark little wife,
and his dark little children three.

A neighbor would look, with a yawning eye
That squeezed into a slit.
But the Rudolph Reeds and the children three
Were too joyous to notice it.

For were they not firm in a home of their own
With windows everywhere
And a beautiful banistered stair
And a front yard for flowers and a back yard for grass?

The first night, a rock, big as two fists.
The second, a rock big as three.
But nary a curse cursed Rudolph Reed.
(Though oaken as man could be.)

The third night, a silvery ring of glass.
Patience ached to endure.
But he looked, and lo! small Mabel's blood
Was staining her gaze so pure.

Then up did rise our Rudolph Reed
And pressed the hand of his wife,
And went to the door with a thirty-four
and a beastly butcher knife.

He ran like a mad thing into the night.
And the words in his mouth were stinking.
By the time he had hurt his first white man
He was no longer thinking.

By the time he had hurt his fourth white man
Rudolph Reed was dead.
His neighbors gathered and kicked his corpse.
"Nigger -" his neighbors said.

Small Mabel whimpered all night long,
For calling herself the cause.
Her oak-eyed mother did one thing
But change the bloody gauze.

Here's a children’s poem from San Antonio poet Margaret Mayberry. I first met Margaret at our regular Monday night poetry get together and have enjoyed her readings every week since.

The Sea Shell

If I put you to my ear, I hear the whispering sea,
And the plaintive cry of seagulls flying high and free,
I can hear the hollow echo in the damp dark cave,
And the soft rhythmic whoosh in the undulating wave,

Big shell, little shell, what places have you been?
Do you speak of far off lands and strange things you've seen?
Do you tell of calm seas, silver in the dawn's light?
Of wild storms raging in the darkness of the night?

Pretty shell, pale pink shell, I hold you in my hand,
Delicate shell, white shell, I've plucked you from the sand,
I'll tell you all my secrets if you will tell me yours,
I can tell of sandcastles and you of distant shores,

I like to watch the green waves beneath the frothy foam,
But Mother will be waiting and I have to go on home,
I'll put you in my pocket and you'll go back with me,
When I take you out tomorrow, I shall still hear the sea...

It seems like a good time for another poem from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. I chose a poem by Gerald Locklin.

Locklin has taught English at California State University, Long Beach, since 1965 and is the author of over 125 books and chapbooks or poetry, fiction, and criticism.

Paul Cezanne: The Large Bathers, 1906

it was a good year to look backwards.

to when the woods were a cathedral.

to when the clouds were white as
eden, and the sky angelic azure.

shame was uninvented; men and women
were not yet at war.

world and time were endless, ageless:
we had world and time enough.

the wisdom of water was still with us.

god was the fountainhead:
creation was perfection.

it was a good year, 1906,
not to look ahead.

It occurred to me that I am too much the center of my poetic universe and that I ought to look further afield for inspiration.

So, from the book New American Paintings, here we go.

Maybe a good idea, maybe not.

everything changed that stayed the same
(after Scott Listfield's "It's a Question of Simian Survival" - oil on canvas)

the lady
torch held high,
leaning slightly toward
the rocks, and
still buried to her waist
in beach sand, but
the actor, gone, now
a place for picnics,
for sand castles,
for jumping in the surf,
for an ice cream truck,
bell ringing,
children running,


another spaceman

in the red


i fear
for the children

I have mixed feelings about Leonard Cohen, sometimes awed by his brilliance and sometimes the opposite. This poem, from his book Book of Longing strikes me somewhere in the high middle.

Another Poet

Another poet will have to say
how much I love you
I'm too busy now with the Arabian Sea
and its perverse repetitions
of white and grey

I'm tired of telling you
and so are the trees
and so are the deck chairs

Yes, I have given up a lot of things
in the last few minutes
including the great honor
of saying I love you

I've become thin and beautiful again
I shaved off my grandfather's beard
I'm loose in the belt
and tight in the jowl

Crazy young beauties
still covered with the grime
of ashrams and shrines
examine their imagination
in an old man's room

Boys change their lives
in the wake of my gait
anxious to study
elusive realities
under my hypnotic indifference

The brain of the whale
crowns the edge of the water
like a lurid sunset
but all I ever see
is you or You
or you in You
or You in you

confusing to everyone else
but to me
total employment

I introduce
the young to the young
They dance away in misery
while I conspire
with the Arabian Sea
to create
an ugly silence
which gets the ocean
off my back
and more important
lets another poet say
how much I love you

James Lineberger is a retired screenwriter, sometime playwright, and full-time poet. he has eight volumes of poems and a full-length play you check into at http://www.lulu.com/james_lineberger. I'm putting up a link you so you can go there with just one click.

Here's a new poem from James.


there was a time when
it seemed
to point to the future when just to
walk through it
said there were things out there
that would welcome you
like the way when the train went by with its smoke blowing overhead
and the passengers
would look out
their windows and wave
until the day
when me and ivy lee tried to roast potatoes
like they did in boys life
and set the whole field on fire and it
rose up that quick
coming at the houses
and everybody even grandpa was out there
swatting at it with their coats
and throwing buckets of water on it
but when it was
over with and the ground was scorched black
mama said i couldn't play with ivy lee no more cousin
or no cousin
and i sneaked out of the house later and found the potatoes
and carried them
in my shirt
to the creek bank to cool
and ate them skins and all ivy lee's too

Next, I have a poem by Russian poet Anna Akhmatova from her Selected Poems book published by Zephyr Press in 2000. The translation from Russian was by Judiith Hemschemeyer.


So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them any more,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat...
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.

June 6, 1914

Since arriving back home from vacation, it's been, as they say, one thing after another. The biggest, most irritating, most stealing my time from things I'd rather do is this. It's only gotten worse since I wrote the poem last week.

it's just one damn thing after another

changed the locks
ran off
with the key
my lawn mower
and left a mess
and out

a landlord

didn't want to be

never meant to be

but wants and meants
don't mean

so there you are
and here i am,
seventy miles from the land
i'm lording,
and gone he went
to parts unknown

i'm stuck
with at least two weeks
of mess
cleaning-up to do
when i'd rather be writing
some poems
or eating strawberries in the sun
or visiting the alamo
or shopping for boomerangs
or roller skating
in a buffalo herd
or painting
by numbers
on a felt
or any other damn thing
than mess cleaning-up

Now I have a poem by Ramon Lopez Velarde, known during his lifetime, 1888-1921, as the "poet of the provinces." The poem is from a selection of his work, Song of the Heart. It's a bilingual book, the original Spanish and the translation, by Margaret Sayers Peden, on facing pages.

The Bell Ringer

The bell ringer told me this morning
I should know it's a bad year for wheat.
That Juan's the beau of a beautiful,
rich cousin. That Susana died.
We're good friends, the bell ringer and I.

He told me about his youthful loves
land his strong voice cracked as he
watched black coffins pass, inspiring
tales of a thousand virtuous acts,
then we talked more about life and death.

"And your wedding, Senor?"
                          "Hush, old man."

"Will it be winter?"
                          "Yes about then...
If you're alive, friend bell ringer,
when Death offers his hand, toll
your bells for my soul, again and again.”

Shawn Nacona Stroud has been with us several times. Here he is, back again, with a new piece for us. Shawn says it previously appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of the Mississippi Crow Magazine


Like water, night cascades
washing daylight away.
My window is canvas -
a sunset by Monet.

Caked viridian hills
embrace the crimson sky
as brush-worked willows reflect
in the river each sigh.

Slack shadows tar the land
paving on what's in sight -
in swirls of purple and blue
buds the burgeoning night.

The prismatic twilight
displayed one hour ago,
displaced by Ursa Major
conceives a dark Van Gogh.

Here's a poem by Lorenzo Thomas from his book Dancing on Main Street, published by Coffee House Press in 2004.

Thomas was born in Panama and grew up in New York City. He is a poet, critic, and professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. This is his fourth book.

Last Call

In The Odyssey, Book IX, we learn of a fierce battle with the Ciconians on the island of Ismaros:

     From that place we sailed onward much discouraged, but glad to have
     escaped. death, although we had lost good companions. Yet we did not let the
     galleys go off, until we had called thrice on the name of each of our hap-
     less comrades who died in that place.
     - The Odyssey
, TR. W. H. D. Rouse

Erwin Rohde, in Psyche, comments: “References to similar callings
upon the dead in later literature make the meaning of such behavior clear. The souls of the dead who have fallen in foreign lands must be 'called'; they will then, if this is properly done, follow the caller to their distant home, where an 'empty grave' awaits them."

     This poem is about veterans of the war in Viet Nam.

     If anybody's carrying a rabbit's foot, hang on to it tight.”
     - Van Johnson in 30 Seconds Over Tokyo

Corned beef sandwiches, water, plenty
Of time to think about the future
You too can grow up to be a square-jawed
American hero, eyes rounding up with recognition
That horror that looked so darn familiar
Really knows you. Grew up in the same town
And memorized the same stupid movies.

It's just us now, huddled in the same apprehension
That whatever is outside this bubble
Is probably no stranger. It gets harder
To swallow, the temperature's rising,
The lies and the half-truths go whistling by

Stand by
For voices blending into stridency
Practiced as alarms
This is the daily danger
We would stay awake,
Missing nothing. Clear the head.
There is some place now.

Just as it materializes on this page
Or fills the ear of the peaceful sleeper

As a song that has been on the radio
About six weeks, the smile a little grayer
But the same no-nonsense haircut,
And the words of the heartbroken girl
Making sense. Suddenly, clear the head!

It's me Clothilde!

What are you afraid of? The fires behind us
Are our signatures. Our memories cannot harm us,
Unless we allow them to talk to our friends
And anyone who'd believe them is not really a friend.

Oh poo, she teases.
You have been lax
Don't you remember me
Your pretty little America
Blue and shimmering

Around the corner is a warm and cozy place
Complete with lovable and laughing folks
Waiting in a kind of strange suspenseful animation
For us. To just appear and be ourselves is all
They live for. Anticipation of our beauty
Keeps them lifelike, poised, waiting for your call.
You see? These are our memories.
They will say what you want them to say
And amuse you. They will whine and cower,
Backbite you into the most heartless, unfeeling
Wretch the world has ever known
The most untrustworthiest son of a bitch
The most thankless, loving serf of humanity
Most sweetest, kindest, cut-throat whatever
Until you are happy. See? What are friends for?

Let's get it on before big sister comes.
We dare not admit even suspicions of failure
It is better not to even begin.
And no time wasted on remember when.
I think the truth might be a little prettier
With a bit of stainless steel and neon
Over here. Maybe some glass bricks.
A miniature rain forest in the bath
Sounds a lot better than pipes that drip all night

Our hearts are blessed with an efficient fancy
Corned beef sandwiches, water, plenty
Reasons to be happy in love. So we didn't know
Where we were going, but we are finally here!
A carnival of soft-spoken meanness
Welcomes you to your new refrigerator carton
And honored place among the lowest middle-class

Gee, you look so familiar

Here's another one of my exercises in art depreciation.

until next year
(after Justin Allen's "Red Grill" - oil on panel)

red grill
on a field
of brown leaves

autumn come
and almost gone with summer

the long wait
for spring

Sheree Renee Thomas is a writer, editor, small publisher, educator, visual artist, and mother whose work has appeared in numerous publications and literary journals. She is the co-publisher of the literary journal, Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora and founder of Wanganegresse Press. A 2003 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, her fiction and poetry are anthologized in Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, 2001: A Science Fiction Poetry Anthology, as well as the literary journals Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, and many literary journals of note.

This poem is from bum rush the page an anthology of performance poets and poetry.

The Road from Khartoum

I have heard their moans and sighs
And seen their tears and I would give every
Drop of blood in my veins to free them.

          - Harriet Tubman

In the day
sand rains
down on us
coarse as camel
hair against
blistered thighs
from the vast bases
of the Sahara.

In the night
the wind rolls the
grains back
like broken promises
them through the air
lethal missiles
to settle upon
the hard backs
of this geography:

Aluel Mawien
(girl, age unknown)

Alei Nun Akok
(boy, 14 years old)

Achok Chang Angora
(girl, 2 years old)

Elizabeth Ading Deng
(mother, 25 years)

no longer Mrs. but missing
and presumed dead
one of many thousands gone
and yet
no one speaks
of murder of rape

the desert strangles
more than words
Allah Akbar!
God is Great

armed me
on horses
have no need
for translators

our names
do not represent
women and children
Christian, Muslim, or Ancestral Other
we are all abd

we are the spoils of a celestial war
and such acts are
the accident of history
celebrated in mosaic structures
jihads old
steeped in memories
   of an eye
       for an eye
         a tooth
             for a tooth
               and 35 US dollars a head

what this journey has taught us:
that foreign policy is UNclean
teeth biting down
on black throats, ripe as dates
that pain is fragrant
as the oiled skin of concubines
that truth can be stolen
hidden in oil drums shipped to Canada
that following the north star will not lead us to freedom
that some Talismans do not protect but exploit
that excuses are ubiquitous
as cheap
and as plentiful
as human labor

These truths the sun reflects
illuminating the harsh tender
moments in this, our third republic
demanding that every word must conjure
while the sands of rains
pour down on us
paving the road from Khartoum
to freedom.

Here's a timely spring poem from Sara Zang. We haven't heard from Sara in a while. She's busy, no doubt, as administrator of The Peaceful Pub poetry forum.

Waiting for April

Grass and trees
have thinned to wispy thoughts
of Spring. How red the rose
of memory, how sweet the song
that's not quite sung,
but waits like stars
on quiet nights
to drench the corners
of your room
with light,
and fill your heart
with magic.

I've had Notes from the Castle, a collection of poems by Howard Moss, almost as long as I've been doing "Here and Now" but only used his poems a couple of times.

Moss was poetry editor of The New Yorker for many years, beginning in 1948. Before that, he was an instructor of English at Vassar College. His style is kind of dry, which might be why I've tended to pass him by when picking the poems for the week.

This is a good one, though.

At the Cafe

At the Cafe, at an outdoor table
Fronting the last of the puppet shows,
We have come to sip a bit of brandy
And watch the rapidly descending evening.
Violinists scrape the bow of air,
Arguments begin and finish soon,
As if philosophy were running a cafe
Where nothing is served but old ideas;
tensed against the wine-soaked washrag
Of the sky the trees erect themselves
In the last small oblivion of lights;
Talk grows animated...someone screams...
This passes, these days, for the Bohemian.
Still, the knees of two bright things
Are touching...Eveyone's lost the theme:
What is the mind compared to it,
To feeling's theatre, always in flames,
On the stage, its aging, ludicrous opera
Still faintly hard among the ruins?

A lot of stuff's been coming down in the past couple of weeks. I wouldn't say I'm overwhelmed, but I am maybe at five or six on the ol' whelm-o-meter.

All this at a time when I try hard to keep things simple in my life, only to be taught again and again that what I want doesn't count for much.

This poem is an attempt at a new form for me. I don't know what the form is called and don't know the rules to it. In fact, I don't know much of anything about the form except that Thane Zander does them really well and I'd like to try one too.

me too

I want to minimize complications, avoid entanglement, find equilibrium, bring to my life a simple balance in creative tranquility. So this guy comes to me with this deal, real estate, invest and manage, double you money in six years. He's a hustler, buying and selling houses, increasing his wealth, paying off a new sports car, making a name and place for himself. And he's a friend, a young guy, in his prime. For him, six years is just an afternoon on a long and busy calendar. He doesn't see that for me, it might be the rest of my life.

when i was
i said everyone
and felt brave
for facing the grim reality
of life
head on,
while in the back of my mind
also saying,
not me

i know better now
and when i say
everyone dies
i mean not just
but me as well

Well, that's it for this week. Closing on little bit of a down note, but I'm right at my 6,000 word limit, so we'll just live with it.

Until next week, remember, all of the work presented on this blog remains the property of its creators. The blog itself was produced by and is the property of me...allen itz.


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Previous Entries
The Rules of Silence
The Last
Thoughts At the End of Another Long Summer, 2020
Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium
Lunatics - a Short Morning Inventory
The Downside of Easy Pickings
My Literary Evolution
You Must Remember This
Alive, Alive-o,
The Skin Game
May 2006
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Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
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Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
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Desert Moon Review
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Wrong Planet...Right Universe
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Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
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