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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Soham what I am illustrated by Tony Speirs

            Soham is Sanskrit for “I am That,” i.e., I am existence.

Some people one can’t satisfy
however one marshals one’s force.
The liar fells you with a lie.
The idler borrows hamburgers.
You tilt your hat forward to try

‘til trying becomes your life’s course,
and victories define your qi,
and conflict forms your universe—
and to struggle, then, is to be.
One day my self asked, “What am I?”

One eye to see the one great sea.
One pipe to smoke the traveling sky.
One swing to turn an enemy,
one mouthful of spinach close by.
My self bowed to the Sea Hag—hers

the crone’s wisdom, the typhoon’s eye.
We mean at last to still the storm,
atone the fight. My soul sings aye.
To blow myself down—this I am—
seeking the Sea Queen’s single peace.

Breathing the wet air—ham soham
we’ve woven from the warp a calm.

I'm so jazzed to have a piece by Tony Speirs in the book!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"I got a pair o' dice" illustrated by Matt Weatherford

Yes, I plainly see what’s sacrilegious
(having recently hiked Mt. Diablo)
about suggesting paradise is this:
shooting craps at Joker’s Wild Casino,
my old posse and I against the house.

It’s not the industrial-strength deco,
nor the band exhuming Grandmaster Flash.
It’s being with the boys and letting go
of everything except one little wish:
for two cubes to land on two perfect twos.

Paradise comes in simple attention
with all distraction transformed by vermouth.
Supplicate from the pass line—a vision
of sweet deliverance—holy pay out.
Rattle them bones, and come out, Little Joe!

You can be anywhere without a doubt
and reach heaven in a triumphal shout.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where does that hallway lead? Illustrated by Jerad Walker

Where does that hallway lead?

The architecture of my dreams: hallways
in red velvet, broad as betting parlors,
spaces that signal transition—always—
and sometimes I come to a subtle door
that opens into a dark earthen maze.

It’s familiar but not particular.
I begin squeezing down the labyrinth
until it’s wide as I am. Yellow earth.
Unease rises. I crouch. Ahead: the depth.
I know the secret—I’ve known all my days!

I backtrack from the anonymous earth,
shut the basement door, return to the hall.
Hors d’oeuvres. The opera. No way to assert
what was, where I went. Must wake to recall
the dark, the door, the secret I forget.

Through that grave, I wonder if there’s a caul
a curtain drawn like nothing before all.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Fairy Panic, illustrated by Lauren Ari

My kid emerges crying from her room.
Figure it’s another grumpy rising.
Muster pre-coffee patience for drama.
Wonder what’s the plot. Favorite socks missing?
Honey spread too thin? No, she’s deep in gloom—

Her tooth—fuck me! Her front tooth was waiting
all night long for a distracted fairy.
No cash, not even a note this morning!
The resident spirits negligently
fell asleep before their task was performed.

She sobs into the shirt she pulls on. We,
meanwhile, hurriedly collect three singles
in a red envelope, calligraphy
sign, hot potato it to the fishbowl.
Lauren cries, “Look! By the fish—there’s something.”

She comes, wipes her eyes, collects her windfall.
“So weird,” she sniffs. “They ignored my pillow.”

By Lauren Ari