Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Alexander Dickow

So it was you did it
whose hairs was
raising Abigail
of fearsome
ghost stories
in the darkness

It was you whose
hairs was busy raising
on tousled Abigail,
who you were
gotten all knotty
into the trouble with,

You who was held
real tight Abigail
and titillate her
vigorous ribbons
with hopscotch!

Shame on you.

Alexander Dickow hails from Idaho. He is currently working towards his PhD in French at Rutgers University. He writes in both French and English. His work has appeared in Can We Have Our Ball Back? and in the French journals Sitaudis, La Republique Mondiale des Lettres, and Il Particolare. He also has work forthcoming in the French journal Hapax.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dara Cerv

When I Learned to Drive

I drove our car into a lake. Before I left the house
that day I asked you: What good is it, such a hulking machine,
when we just shuttle it between air-conditioned points?

You said I learned too late in life, didn’t understand
the meaning of a vehicle, wanted it to be the speedy demon
it wasn’t—top released, ocean-side, a hair scarf billowing
up and down the coast. A place to get away in.

                                                                        Under water,
a place for breathing. Not an air-trap against the alveoli
for an asthmatic less-than-thirty seconds.
I imagined the interior of my lungs a swamp
of thickest pinky green weeds. You didn’t believe
I could be so artless—one second parked at the end
of a dock, the next, the old Caddy’s nose dropping
into the brackish water. Air came fast and clear—
small shiny pearls through the browny weeds,
bubbly chains hauling the car down. A loud suck
and the rear windows, followed by the trunk, dipped below—
over my shoulder I saw the light go.
Delight at breathing so freely made me focus
on the sweet way you always looked at me
while I learned the gas, the brake, the rearview. And your hand
over mine on the gearshift almost all the way down.

What Keeps Me Awake
-for Eric

is the hum of rumblestrips as the bus slips
right and even righter—my worst mind
imagines its nose dipping into the Hudson,
water at the windshield a white sheet of bubbles
to parachute us down. I realize that I might die
with strangers, hear what you’re supposed to hear—
screaming tires, scraping metal, in otherwise silence
a hissing sort of ticking. We’re underwater
in a bathtub, listening to the pipes.
Sometimes on these bus rides I lose it:
I might die with strangers. You might die
before I get to you. Trees fling their elbows
in the wind, tsk-tsking, lovers cannot be simply
in each other’s lives
. The bright world goes out
repeatedly to the march of the underbrush, leaves
turning brown, to knotted scraps, to nothing.
Snow pushes dust prostrate to the ground.
I watch its fat flakes fall—each one drums
loud as a sonic boom. I lose it
to the driver over the loudspeaker: We are now,
we are now, ahem, reaching, we are in…

This is: where am I? This will never end well.
There is always a lie:
red birds are a truck seen through trees—
a blaring machine steals the grace
of a cloud of robins expanding in the air.
A whole flight comes through the branches—clear
as when I hear your voice on the other end,
bent to wing me gently in. My better mind
picks up my cell phone to call you. We are almost there.
Cupping the mouthpiece so the others don’t listen.
I don’t think we’re getting out of this alive.

Dara Cerv's work has appeared in Poetry Motel, Harpur Palate, Spire, and Rainbow Curve. She recently graduated Emerson's MFA program, and continues to live and work in Boston.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Snežana Žabić

The Landscape Book

cranes shift
constructed as skeletons
of extinct sacred animals
to face the silo
to stare it down

pine trees are scared;
their shadows getting longer as we speak

shadows draw out
across the park and all the way
to the curb—cars will soon run them over

background sounds: rain, whistling
freight train crossing the bridge or
Orient Express pulling into Istanbul

blue light on my fingers:
did I awaken the computer screen
or open the balcony
above a Dubrovnik cliff?

a drop of dew slides
down the stone wall, onto
my shoulder blade. chill.

their carriage passes by and
the Moon in the puddle
shatters under the hooves

tomorrow at 2 PM
local ballet academy
will perform
in the factory hall
(complimentary sandwiches and soft drinks)

cello player’s thin
physique—a tear surprised me
(he died the next year)

maybe if I knew the language of dogs
but then again, maybe not

Snežana Žabić was born in Croatia in 1974 and currently lives in Chicago. She writes in English and Serbo-Croatian and has been translated into Polish, Swedish, and Macedonian. Her poems in English appeared in Papertiger: New World Poetry, The Muse Apprentice Guild, Optimism, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Aaron Belz



I found your monster
painfully disjointed
and hard to
get through

but anyway how are
things in Cambridge
I take it
telephone wires
still block
your view of the park

I saw
your girlfriend's paintings
take wing last
Monica Lewinsky Day
it unnerved me
to picture

such visually rhapsodic


y dos

or rather should I say
it unnerved all of us
to be pictured
in such a way

I would enjoy your
Sky Festival report
much more I think
if it revealed a bit
of your girlfriend's

and not just
your outdated boots
mi gaucho


Ideally one photographs oneself
wearing red clown shoes
holding some sort of trophy
(perhaps a large fish),

but sometimes one has to settle
for photographing one's friend
holding yesterday's newspaper
and looking disappointed.

Aaron Belz lives in St. Louis where he is a college teacher, freelance writer, publisher of tiny books and curator of middle-sized readings. His poems have appeared here and there in printed journals and web zines of varying names and target demographics, but never in Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, or Atlantic Monthly.