TINFISH Number 7 November 1998
Ida Yoshinaga present tense / eleg(ac)y for george Bill Luoma from Ode Renee Gladman Sometime late January Bobbie West Random Access Memory Stephen Oliver Pat Boone & Tonto Steve Carll [untitled] Michael McPherson Misogyny John Olson All Things Being Equal Summi Kaipa Swallow the Water, Hiccup Jason Olive
Trans. Joe Balaz
Blue-Hula-Blue Dan Featherston L is for Lexical Rob Wilson Hawai'i Kai Mornings Hugh Steinberg A Cure for Ghosts John Tranter My Story Kathy D.K.K. Banggo Surfing Alone at Silver Stairs Jonathan Brannen from Deaccessioned Landscapes Louis Armand from linkage(s) John Kinsella Noble Gestures Coral Hull from The Moon Rocket Crashes on Planet Trauma Murray Edmond Wholly Daze Hsia Yu
Trans. Steve Bradbury
Eight Poems John Rieder Book Review: Liz Waldner's Homing Devices
IDA YOSHINAGA present tense / eleg(ac)y here, in the emergent now: there's a blossomest blossom on the BBC a wet rock from an urchin's pocket in watery Hagi‹or was it Happy Valley?‹ Lahaina nasu, canned plums from a cellar in Ladysmith-Wisconsin, vanishing street people bighearted Boskies, flaming meteors of hair clear-eyed opakapaka at Wakamatsu's on Market puddled tennis courts, moldy seabags two cancer-tough cats /Tuna & Zendo/ two illustrated backs /Parker's & mine/. there's a thumb with a moving Bumpa-bruise toenail clippings, wooden planks over lava balloon-fish soup that makes the body go Shunnnh, a black back-alley for MolokaŒi bread a hospice in Castro‹soft sheets, cool breeze‹ you & Najo at Queen's, amusing the comatose you at Volcano, red in your stool you in Marie's class, urging kids not to waste. you see the shadows in the stream, the thereness that clings. even bees let you off easy. thank you, mother teresa. thank you, peter morgan. thank you, mau piailug. thank you, tim o'brien. thank you, dennis potter. thank you, wang weilin. thank you, miyamoto musashi. thank you, cardinal sin. thank you, muin ozaki. thank you, joy davidman. thank you, pauls and pams. "thank you, fugu-san." thank you, fujita-san. let go of your crafty self. the landmarks are set. something of value persists.
BILL LUOMA From Ode Sombrero onions, your sophie fixtures are excluding carbo funs. 2 Bees Red Cabbages go heavens Ward in stinky chair. Kona gold oranges rouse the ring and old of local. Skyrocket brand lemons guess that we have a branch on maui. Yamato Colony Yams spuge on the eliminator. Even the sentricon colony elimination system yes mams the tomatoes. Lyla quality melons say hurray for critical faculty. We need more race traitors and awards. You Kapoho grown scooper seeds lobbing grenades over Linda Maple's house know Kauai Strawberry Papayas are named Sunrise like the big horse. Tucan fresh limes your max softening temp is twenty-five C. Technical veracruz is a mexie blaster wondered at by the humena fish in the harbor. The mango roper of Yee's Orchard uses a reaching tool to obtain the fruit. If you don't like the seeds Green Guava or the skin to peel I suggest you purchase an interisland flight coupon and plenty of aloe. You hang in the mangrove with the cool bunch, Anna Bananas. You co-linger in reverse namaste with Rudy Romaine, Precision Packed Green leaf lettuce, Royal Hawaiian Pineapples & Royal Hawaiian Papayas. You retire with a late nite supper to the corner of Dole & Spreckles. O woody protuberance of Durian if I knew you better I'd say jack fruit. Santa Claus Melon your functioning PLU unleashes four thousand three hundred & thirty six fish shacks on kwajalein.
RENEE GLADMAN Sometime late January the 23rd day of almost rain to think on and eat later in my dream Dream coming on in folds for with a taste of this folds become music and the particulate dreams. I. When I began to discern figures and was eating garlic I was eating a lot of garlic It made me think about things and discover past between buses that brought music in 1942, where faces in a depot and I on the brink of dream did dream of something in the weather The flautist voice telling me what to read. Girlfriend calls, insists on masturbation. Her friends circulating pornography. And the flautist telling me who to read. II. Night divided in numbers starting with 42 and me sitting in a Bud Powell dream as I watch him doing something far from the outdoors as is mental health in a dream his great piano numbers increase while mind loses facility but, it's Bud Powell's dream III. Six Flautists come to me in a dream Flautists invite me to hear them perform in Toledo Ohio or Watts Los Angeles one day in the 40s. Band calls themselves the Black Air to a small audience of eighteen. The flautists play against strife against unvented nightclub in deep conversation Dream later says that main flautist subterraneanly that night was never more creative. IV. I came home three months ago (believed to be the time of my life) and the phone rang. I picked it up, heard a fax coming through and thought ‹then I chopped a head of garlic (not catching a cold) and sang some. After an hour I moved to the bedroom dimmed the lights and lay beneath the covers. Then the phone rang again. Music put me to sleep. I had been on hold and easily fell into sleep. Now that I am awake I want to do something that is being made. And spend my life with the flautists who think I'm all right. Awake and absolutely alive with bananas. Bananas and apple pie. Fresh black tea, cream, lip balm, unturkey, lube, plastic bags, cotton sheets, polyester pants, dirigibles. In the air, someone said, in the 80's there is a new attempt to refine homelife put color in it and make it interesting talk about relation in the 80's Black people who have always been smart seeming smart to dignitaries while me, trying to figure out my hair was raised by a pretty good mom Abdullah Ibrahim in the 80's aka Dollar Brand was not known to me then is now a member of my night time flautists and mostly plays the piano V. Last night the Black Air performed with fire further thought on a Monk song to a knowing crowd and rich ladies on the front row I was nervously in attention The flautist at their peak Players who have come to understand themselves by their contemporaries as though dislodged from my mind dream talks to me Every night this week with the flautists. Among the Black Air defined needle marks and friends' bow strings to frustrated memory Friends and the sad contemporary in an otherwise contemporary dream: Number one flautist writes a brilliant tune. That night he plays it. Then he ties up, takes pills, has a heart attack, dies. Composition becomes a wonderful tune. Friends play it at night. And so I have set aside all else concerning life for this dream. Paul Chambers, in my sleep, dead at 34. Billie Holiday, in my sleep. Lester Young. People dying to be onstage. I get dressed up for. Must figure out this death. And understand 1930 as an influential year. Who can't live in the 60's or so these musicians seem and cannot feel. There should be no heroes to talk about it.
BOBBIE WEST Random Access Memory Coming home on the catapult is an ancient device of Primitive Art suddenly errupting from a nearly extinct school bus, we could see the objectivist or surrealist even though it scrambled the signal somewhat with strands of coaxial cable across the obvious limitations of cornfields, flames, and their non-alliterative "frittering leaves" (if I read her right) while shooting acceptable manners straight through the attic window.
STEPHEN OLIVER Pat Boone & Tonto White-shirted (not blue) they approach in twos: "Excuse me Sir, a small moment of your time?" Soft-selling Eternity & the clean-cut Hereafter. The boyish accent downloads the serious side of the American Dream, eyes fixed computer bright. The other is slower, slope-shouldered & disciplined, backgrounded by a blandished brain. As a child, when the God was always friendly, big as a house, long as a street & the day endless, the knock upon the door signalled: "Excuse me young man, is the lady of the house in?" Welcome the suitcased salesman; the Bon-Brush Man: big bristled, wooden-backed scrubbing & bottle-brushes, sandsoap & Brasso for hard domestic usage. Now now. These two modern peddlers head out to the brick bungalows of the inner-city suburbs selling the Light & the Way, galloping round the outer handicapped districts; brainwashed right-wing angels confident as professional sportsmen on a World Tour.
STEVE CARLLthe exhibitionist the exhibitionist who lives who lives who lives across the street who lives across the street has nothing has nothing has nothing on has nothing on has nothing on you has nothing on you.
Michael McPherson Misogyny She leans to the mirror and puckered coral meets pink, blonde curls wrinkle to auburn wave where her visage shivers and dissolves. Is it the three bold surfer sons of Christ, or mother riding cancer in her distracted eyes like bullets? Now blue, now green, voices of cold water drain white, porcelain sinks. He drinks too much, but her cup is clear and empty, keeps him guessing. She's stronger now and needs him less, craves long winds to dance between with a certainty never possessed. Hot liquid wax and scattered roses, miles of wires crackle moon songs where warm stray cattle drink wine. She searches newspapers for houses, her son moves room to room in a hotel. She marries again on a plane, takes a job, points to pictures and smiles like morphine. He studies glass and conjures her colors. Blue is in need, green is to want.
JOHN OLSON All Things Being Equal We hold these truths to be self-evident, everything agrees with air. The simple is not always simple & the unthinkable is not always rare. Some things involve differences in speed or direction, permitting confusion & hair. One word follows another word & a novel implies money is a magnet like sand stuck to a patch of wet skin. Meanwhile some poetry goes on & on inventing Portugal for no particular reason. I can understand why Flaubert wanted to write a novel about nothing. Our minds are like salmon at 88 cents a pound, precipitation & wind. Big prickly balls drop from the chestnut trees every October & Laotians & Koreans & Chinese & Cambodians come to collect them with flashlights & sacks before sunrise. It is an eery & touching sight to see so many people searching the ground for a delicacy at a time of day associated with the distribution of newspapers. Eventually the sun appears & all is well among the spoons & spatulas rinsing by the sink. A faucet is a facet of living. But let us consider letters as stoves for the geometry of sound. The solid heart of an electric guitar with a rosewood fingerboard tons of compression & top-end boost. When the string is squeezed the G naturals turn sharp as the point of a pin, a sibilance of wind in a tumult of trees dumping nuts on the ground
SUMMI KAIPA Swallow the Water, Hiccup You because I. Perhaps I am imagining a puzzle than a river. Perhaps in you I keep leaving out the "r." Do dead fish still swim? I am thinking of the fin of your side, the small of your back, my hands big enough. Drizzle isn't the right word to describe the condition. Deluge sounds? Is it not an unconditional streaming, instead a swim. A transparency. Peering out without the filter of goggle or the density of water pushing pupils into a slow-motion illusion. Do they buoy belly up, the boards of their backs searching a float? [I am asking too many questions because I am asking too many questions. You are making a marvelous skeleton. And I don't imagine you dead. How is (about) that?] Eyes above water. I need my eyes above these crests. The rains in California dampen the mouth of street, the tongue of street. I don't wish for this swish, the sap of a too-much-intuition like this. I because you. A backstroke, water flooding my ears. I've forgotten my bathing suit. I've forgotten the breaststroke. This noisy water is making too much noise. I can't hear, but the "s," of the "is." Would I like it to quit raining? I just want to bathe, you see. Yes, that's what it is. Showerhead with the perfect pitch. Temperature as hot as? It would kill the fish. You're not cold blood. Not icicle toes, icicle toes. All this talk of El Niño, La Niña. Children who are warm winds. Who are currents. A temperature tantrum hovering over an ocean. A hemisphere. The tautology of a fish, whether dead, or otherwise, is to still swim. An escapism. Your stomach is warm. My skirt muddied in the hem, violet but the blue.
JASON OLIVE Blue-Hula-Blue* sometimes da moon blue hula ovah firewatah and you cannot get out da only way is foa jump through da rainbow land on da adah side, bury your head in da sand and laugh wun big laugh da kind dat going bring tears to your eyes. ‹translated by Joe Balaz *Written in English and translated into Pidgin.
DAN FEATHERSTON L is for Lexical propinquities: Hawai'i not far from Le Havre are there Hawfinches there Where?
ROB WILSON Hawai'i Kai Mornings 1. The rains return to Hahaione valley, the cloudy mists of winter. Traffic rushed
into the city. A stranger sat on a bench, conjugating the nuances of success and
failure. Joggers trundled past. pudgy with the conventions of warrior saints.
There was no time like the present for starting a postmodern novel. 2. The wrens return to the volley. The chewy mists of wonder. Terrific rust of the
city. A strangler shut up on the park bench. Corrugating nuances. Jugglers
trundled past, pasty with confectionery sugar. There was not time like the
pasta, to start a modern moment. 3. The rains retour. Chewy mast of wandering. Terrible mass of the shut in. A
strange deer trundled past. Corrugating new aces. Juggler veins trembled the
past. Warrior shants. No tiny present like the modem.
HUGH STEINBERG A Cure for Ghosts we watch you lose your helpless shirt, sell your house for pennies, burn the road we have to walk on: it is simple, I will show you a hummingbird a city with rivers, a promise, a potion, a spell, a cure, someone who loves you where it matters in greens, in muscles, that kick like your heart, as a monster, sweet as salt, just a little like a kiss we want to be free of the ghosts that haunt us so tell me, tell me about those nights you gave to us kids, that are shiny and lonesome and much heavier than they look even though they are secret, we shall tell them to everyone until they are real, you want to hide behind us I will show you what is sacred, the sea, the cage with the open door, the land that has a road through it, the house we abandoned we fill the air with sparks, you see us without blinking I eat oranges all day, I burn from crying your name I'm killing birds, I have a fever, I say death is what I hear, I hear your voice like a flame, I will describe how warm my body is I am always late. I never left your side. I am the eye and the hand and the shin. I know what I'm doing, I cannot tell you what I do I am a man because I am driven, because I'm still here, because you once loved me the flowers in the earth turn into fruit, into seeds, you smell a cigar, it is just a ghost who loves you
JOHN TRANTER My Story
Back in la belle époque the hired hand would spend all his savings on a radio, and turn a cold shoulder to the investment bloopers of the rural poor. You learn enough to get along, the rest is embroidery bracketing mushy urban wishes, Stared at by the sun some simpering tomboy wants to buy a drink, but he drops his change‹ a coin rolls into the gutter and down the drain, unimagined voyages to distant Floridas strapped to the wheel of the will, where the water boils in the teeth of the hurricane‹never to happen, dark and cold while the centuries roll overhead. Now some rustic is rubbing my face with his nicotine-stained fingers. Token? They won't remember what the cycle meant. Winter nights...the village draws the snow rug around its knees, the lamps whisper nostalgic baloney from one side of the street to the other, the old schoolteacher peers at his book‹ the book which talks of glory, and later he'll be reduced to getting drunk on beer and watching football through a tube‹ Think of an accordion bought and sold‹boy it must have seen some parties! Or imagine good times, bad times, around the pianola. A rat doesn't need a degree in entomology, he just carries the plague, it's his talent and his gift. This is just one coin, but it speaks for its millions of brothers, gazing down on the planet through the polished lens of commerce: tides, movements, the harbour mouth silting up. It must be phenomenal to be a farmer, every nerve in your body in touch with the seasonal interest rate fluctuations, doing your bit to clog the rivers and pollute the earth, and, given a flexible borrowing rate, able to rent a light plane to spread insecticides almost on a whim‹ploughman as artist. Now the bond ratio climbs, now a family plunges into debt and alcohol, now the Red Man is pressed from this part of the West, miles of waving sorghum cover what was once a prairie, now in Kalamazoo a bookkeeper plots to bring down a bank. The earth revolves, hiding its secrets. I may sleep for a million years, and when I turn up at last my value will be infinite, or nothing. What drugs will replace me? My story, a sixpence shaped like the moon, always standing in for someone else, the soft suffering flesh put behind me, part of a stupendous machine.
KATHY D.K.K. BANGGO Surfing alone at Silver Stairs for Angie First Sunday in March, and still, I cannot put my hands on you, the date you were born, or the number on the cake. It's been enough to know you there, to the left, a quarter-mile out, disappearing behind a wash of waves. Maybe tomorrow‹ when I understand why today the whales surround me with their sacred pools, shifting below like frigate birds. In the shallow water they are silent, breathe garlands of bubbles that rise to the surface and break, like memory, lost to the open tide.
JONATHAN BRANNEN from Deaccessioned Landscapes 10.10 Trigue terval cluded stigate. Don't let the darkness catch me here. Sometimes evenings are one of the Fine Arts. Sometimes mis amigos are looney-toons. Of a given space in a given time of the taken place in taken time memory tricks the inelegant heart. Writ in moods recalled in sounds so familiar that they're only noticed in their absence friends have died too soon. Nothing can fill space abandoned. The sky above the roof is waiting for you outside the occurrence of this discourse. Sweating out the night. Thinking back to myself remembering. ________________________________________ 10 place sculptural win-win in the swim things object postuate where times places lately only night voice structures instance damaged in tattered starlight harangue
LOUIS ARMAND linkage(s) ...the frame is missing (the edges of any context open out wide)... (for John Kinsella)
JOHN KINSELLA Noble Gestures Signal function of thrush dashing seed pod click click against the asphalt or anomalous rock beneath crab apples wizening on their mobbing trees emotionally expressing like traps asymptotic on a river's edge or out in desert, pandas eating carrion as bamboo shoots wither enclosures grown more homelike and natural environments are accepted as things of the past: the leech barometer indicates a storm today and in the flask the water is icy cold, a red kangaroo oils its fur to keep out the cold evolving into a ducklike creature, proving a link with platypuses shot for fur, trapped in Blackfoot country, or lolling in wolf howls as if giraffes in a Victorian zoo were civilised, it being contagious like red skins under the sun, like James Fenimore Cooper or Leichardt flogging a dead horse, empathetic enclosure holding delicate organs in dust, defining relativities as an all out immutable tendency towards self and God and ochre and occupation theology: being I-ness in the living room under the sunlamp and still looking goddamn white, still killing off ant trails from the sink, drinking beer and visiting sacred sites and rolling echidnas in cars without bullbars. See, in the mix you're the same as the rednecks. The zoos are full of you.
CORAL HULL From The Moon Rocket Crashes on Planet Trauma 1. The little rocket is launched at the earth. It nose-dived into the dust. I walked on the planet like the MOON, the day I first walked. Even with its sun, oceans, stones and trees. It was the wrong STOP. It was trying to eat me alive. I opened my mouth and ate it first. Stuck my flag into planet trauma. These are some thoughts about a mother's hatred and its affect on me. Can one be eaten alive by hatred? My mother was so big when I was born. She was more landscape than woman. I didn't like where I ended up. I blamed myself, when I shouldn't have blamed anyone. I was sinking into a crater, my ship dropping through 50 miles of dust. It's a lot bigger when you are 4 ft shorter. Some children go to bed, try to bury their bruised organs in the blankets. They are found there by their families shouting, or by their tongues and fingers. I spent time outside in the backyard, looking at the stars. When no one is looking, dogs stare at the stars from the cold chains. Dogs locked outside look for another place. A heart. Soon the places far away were calling to my wrecked craft. I turned everything I touched to light. Bugs turned over to walk again. I stuck the snails back on the fence palings. I brushed the tangled knots out of the coats of dumped dogs. The kittens were retrieved from the sewerage pipes, and the birds were full of crumbs. This is like a shopping list. Children are little aliens. 2. Baby rats take first steps into zero compassion aboard shuttle. In 1998 Columbia's astronauts performed the first embalming ever done in space, replacing the blood of young rats with formaldehyde. Jay Belvry and Dave Williams injected an anaesthetic overdose into eight sixteen-day-old rats and then pumped the formaldehyde into their hearts and through their blood vessels. Their blood was pushed out the other side of the heart, flowing along a wick. The astronauts dissected the animals and stored the brains and other vital body parts in the same preservative. The work was conducted in a sealed chamber with gloved openings for the men's hands. Friday's dissections were tricky given the rats' small size. Sixteen-day-old rats are as big as a man's thumb and weigh a mere half-ounce, their brains are the size of a fingernail. Once the ship returns to earth in May, the team will examine the brain cells under an electron microscope. It's an unfortunate thought, but "yes" One fatal step for rodents, one giant step backwards for HUMAN-KIND. "We think it's really neat as their nervous systems will develop in outer space," Kerry Walton the neuroscientist said. Rats with their eyes recently opened, used their front legs to scoot around their enclosure inside the shuttle. Later, more than half of the 96 baby rats that were launched on the research flight, have died from starvation and dehydration. The astronaut heroes nursed some of them back to health, so they could dissect them. 4. My moon rocket crashed here. It looked inviting. Can you blame it for believing? Will I go on to prove the planet wrong? It has been wrong but there is no blame. It has been right but there is no credit given. My flesh soon loses life and falls loose, like the rope of light from a dead star skipping through the galaxy. I cannot say where it goes or where it came from. My bones are all I have left. The river of blood rushes across them. My eyes fill with blood. The hills are blood seen through them. The sun is setting. Blood leaked from my body when I cut it. The maple trees are oozing syrup‹gum trees bleeding sap. The blue fly has green guts squeezed out of it. Its side exploded on a windscreen. Corrupted rocket. Sometimes I feel like a tree trapped inside flesh, or a whale with an ocean inside. Tearing through tides of blood that surround my bones. I could flood this earth with blood or at least the universe of an ant. My greatest moment, yet to the earth it will be like a red drop spilt. Please don't kill yourself, life's too short. It will be killing you soon enough. Russian scientists want to send mirrors into orbit to reflect light down into the bleak nights of the arctic winter. It would involve sending satellites carrying mirrors into orbit around the North Pole to act as artificial moons to reflect the sun's rays back onto small areas of land. The effect on these areas would be greater illumination than that given by a full moon. The scientists said that 2-3 kilometres could be lit up by quite a small mirror. The natural pattern of light and dark in the arctic disrupted, by reflections as fanciful as unwanted space junk. 6. The astronaut was ordered to kill the adult male rat after its electric cap came off and its brain electrodes came out. The cap, which had been attached to the rodent's head more than a month ago, apparently was loosened by growing scar tissue. The animal was no longer useful for brain research. Inside the shuttle a couple of vivisector astronauts keep a watchful eye on 1,514 crickets, 4 oyster toads and hundreds of pregnant rats and mice. Before launching the shuttle NASA was having trouble with the toads, who were so frightened they buried themselves in their tank, the proper readings from the transmitters wedged between the rocks. Once in orbit baby rats simply floated away from their mothers and could not suckle, whilst the mothers were stressed out by the strange space environment. Two hundred from 225 young swordtail fish died on the mission, which also provided water that was too warm. No snail eggs hatched in orbit. Two of the 4 adult oyster toadfish were DOA. As soon as the landed spaceship was unloaded, scientists began dissecting the few dozen surviving baby rats, as well as the nearly 2,000 crickets, snails, fish and older rodents that were onboard. Researchers had to move fast, to see how the animal's nervous systems had adapted to weightlessness. When you initially see this you think, "Oh no," because the vivisectors had not been transformed by their experience. They wanted all the baby rats back as soon as possible for dissection, before their flesh deteriorated any further and spoilt the findings just beyond the gaze of the earth, for still they sought to destroy sentient life. They would travel no further. 7. Before astronauts and rats with unopened eyes explored the heavens, another species of space traveller tested NASA rockets in flights that bolstered the hopes of star-gazers: the nation's astro-chimps. Recruited by the Air Force in the late 1950's, 65 toddler chimpanzees grew up learning to be at the helm in the Mercury space capsules that paved the way for an American to land on the moon. These animals found stardom in 1961 when one sharp chimp, 3-year-old Ham, won the honour of preceeding the first U.S. human, graced the cover of Life Magazine. But as manned space flight took off, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration no longer needed chimpanzees, which can live more than 50 years. Ham died years ago; the air force grounded the other chimps. Now, the nation's 33 surviving astro chimps‹along with their 110 descendants are suffering from zero gravity associated trauma. There are deserts of unlaunched rockets. Civilisations of machinery rusting in the outbacks. I went back again and again looking for the fuel of rage to fuel my flight, my long journey. Hindrance is the great learned fuel. If someone had helped me, I wouldn't have known what they were trying to do. I felt like I was only living in half a landscape, stumbling over invisible rocks. Something whistled in the sky, half a wing cut by light. A not quite an animal close by my cheek. I decide to return from where I had come using my instinct as internal combusters, and my rage as the launching pad.
MURRAY EDMOND Wholly DazeI will write/a double life/lifting you/from the baking powder ‹Paula Green More is not less ‹Robert Venturi Any Thought utters a Dice Throw ‹Stephane Mallarmé Spindrift pages ‹Dylan ThomasExpressions of freedom require no freedom of expression Self turns back on self with bitterest remonstrance Losing the plot losing the remote the picture won't stop Not either nor but both snoring together gothically Beach houses make the best poems Snakily expressive yet freely sinewy Torturedly lying on the if of a headland The whether of sand whips the wave of cause The kitchen bench becomes a haven for self-conscious ants All looking for each other wave on wave From the murmurous breath of late sleepers Free and expressive in holiday trauma After a few days it's no longer the place it was when you first arived The 81 steps are as embedded as that line I want to come over to hell with the consequence Is late waking like late flowering? Those tomentose buds those tormented toes that total rose That vegetarian burger for that matter that matters That hay fever pill in one hand and in the other the water you must not drink The big monster narrative casts a shadow On the wall behind you you do not notice but carry on Throwing the dice while a pair of patched and shredded trousers hangs over the end of the bed The Book of Birth Memory and Honeymoons lies open Three wild cards mark the page The other 49 lie face down You will know when you have met a force They are like seeing stars lapidary constellations that fly out of your mouth At night you create waves of absence and useless mitigation A bach is toujours artificiel toujours gai A throw of the dice will determine whether the whales will breach tomorrow From the bay waves of sound depart like raiders Nothing so indeterminate night after night as the shape of the shore Sure thing a pattern written or ridden over sand The horseshoe shapes both big and small are washed away when we wake up Rural oval ruined idyll idle oral ideal We meaning the enormous collective us are the viruses of trees so the holists say One dot two three four five six quoting Mallarmé The one with the bad tears in his trousers The poet asleep on the camp bed exercises in the still night Look where the legs lie midst dreams of cream and jam tart Two new constellations appear late at night the sinking ship and the drowning rat The seven lost sisters are not eight There is a very good reason for this So hungry you eat up everything on a good full plate From sun to sin in one I Deal a good hand of eyes and ohs and yous The stolen page grows cross and hot with luck The narrative prints her return with shoes on sand
HSIA Yu Seven Poems from the Chinese 1983 I have decided to land here, here among my own kind, the legions whose every fantasy is fulfilled at heightened velocity. 1984 Actually what I am really thinking of writing are some poems that deliberately digress, accommodating every stylistic vice. The Art of Printing No animal tamer ever tamed an animal as obedient as this. Spengler But how then shall we begin our breakfast If we do not first read the paper How will we butter our toast Fry ham and eggs If Iran had not attacked Iraq If you, the happy mistress of my house, did not leave me The Sentence Left on the Wall Those early mornings with their tearful separations The first kiss after getting out of bed pale green as a stalk Facing a filthy mirror Putting earrings back in place Leaving a sentence on the wall: "The secret joys of the melancholy heart." The icy April seawater that we missed and Those wasted hours when by chance we could not meet The brass shop that we missed Where at noon there flashed the face of a cat One copy of a guidebook called the "Lonely Planet" Some ships leave the harbor. Some people never again appear. A certain Grecian blue tinged with Turkish green The music and dye sealed within a water bottle. And the ruins. "You are my most consummate ruin." I am Stealing a Glance to See Whether He is Stealing a Glance An afterword for a second impression A completely unadorned room Insulating walls Swallowing every sound A cat lands Silently and softly Fleshy pads like lips In the cat's eye resides time The we that it perceives Is gray And ashen But we feel ourselves to be mouldering In need of technology And endless hugs and kisses The present invades the past The past invades the present But present and past bear no relation He is stealing a glance I am stealing a glance to see whether he is stealing a glance March 1997, Taipei Reading A crab On the tip of the tongue The Tongue Clearly World-weary In its hole A cold irresolute fearsome And defiant crocodile The Mercury We So Carefully Raise Passing through The ruins of the black see-saw Oozing out of the borderlands Prolonging the dance Pressing upon the chambers of the flesh Early morning 6 A.M. We tender the pale moon ‹translated by Steven Bradbury
JOHN RIEDER Liz Waldner, Homing Devices, O Books, 1998."The small thing, it is good. / The thing and its shadow meet in the small thing," she begins. But the poem mimics an academic transcription of an ancient Greek fragment, "number of lines lost unknown." A series of appended parenthetical notes flit from JFK to Baudelaire to Sappho to HD to the Beatles. "Ancient Greek / Berliner Also," the first poem in Liz Waldner's new volume Homing Devices, rehearses disconnection, fragmentation, getting lost. The thing doesn't seem to be able to find its shadow because‹or even though?‹"thisalphabet is verysmall." Yet by the time we reach the three longer poems that end the volume, "The Burden of a Prayer," "The Singing Underneath," and "Homing Devices," the cramped and desolate space that dominates the book's opening movement accommodates the shape of "SweetBee Smoothfield," the addressee of the embarrassingly simple lyrical core‹"I need you," "I love you"‹of the poet's quest to "unnot the nots" in "some essentially non-essential in between" that might turn into a meeting place for her and her lover. Smoothfield is the sweet bee that gathers the poet's pollen, tucking it into "those hinge-joint knees like memorial arches to also ephemeral crustacean kin, moments, monuments, to non-selves beneath their own notice." Those crustacean kin are more small things, ants as alphabets, whose trails across paper mimic maps or scores or poems, figures oblivious enough to their own notice to elicit "the singing underneath," and so become the cyphers the poet hopes will help her finally spell her way, lexically or magically, home. "The ant runs circles around the place I keep for you, text, score, washable globe, diagrams from the dictionary, dioramas from the museum, map, sentence, x marks the spot, you are here. Me. Too." In between is a glittering drift of words, signifiers melting into one another across a field of eclectic allusion and free association. The physical sites criss-cross America from Southern Mississippi to Vermont and NY, NY to LA, while the cultural and literary landscape ranges from Ananke, Augustine, and Andromache to Blake, Baudelaire, and Berryman, from Genesis and Gaia to the Enola Gay, Tikal to Treblinka, Mary Magdalene to Maypo, Job to Janis Joplin, Eurydice to Elvis, Osiris to Oz, and Quetzlcoatl to the Here n Queer Social Club. Sometimes Waldner slips her way through homonyms and multilingual puns, as when the chorus of "Hansel Und Gretel Also" follows the trail of crumbs from "Rodeway Inn. / all the way in" to "no room in in" to "no room, so manger. in. / voilà, bulimia. in." Sometimes the words assemble images: "the arcing shape of the double ax, of the crescent moon, of the stalagmite, of the bull's horn, of the bird's wing, of the egg's shell‹the arcing shape of the snow along the window sill, the face outside in the dark looking in, the flow formed and fixed by the frame." Sometimes allusions collide and light up, as when pathetic Lear thinking dead Ophelia breathes segues into the simulacral redemption of old soldiers disobediently abandoning their roles during a tv reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg. Sometimes these tightly constructed lyrics estrange language by insisting on its solidity, as in the insanely precise, numbered statements in "The Grass is on the Grass:" "1) A dog and a cow are on the mountain. / 2) Sheep have hearts; cows, too, have hearts." Sometimes the words fade before our eyes, as in the slowly disappearing refrain of "Quartet." Almost always the words make time, memory, language, and quotation brush up against the delineate desire and its devices. The trick is to make the pathos of lost love invest the act of writing itself. "Now I am writing my way into now, again and still, now, now, full of then." In poem after poem Waldner's crafty intelligence manages to transform the poet watching herself watching herself writing into a way of building a believable, brittle refuge from an irredeemable past. With its panoply of symmetries, echoes, ironies, and cross references, Homing Devices demands that it be read as a sequence rather than a mere collection. This is an excellent, rich volume of poetry, challenging, harrowing, funny, convincing. Rarely does one find such vulnerability and sadness so luxuriantly, inventively dressed out, so playful, so cured.Ida Yoshinaga's childhood home in Maui is a short walk away from Happy Valley, where the late psychotherapist George Fujita grew up. She wrote this poem for George and Pam and for their upcoming book about dealing with terminal cancer, To Live: Hope for the Dying. Bill Luoma lives in Honolulu. His book Works and Days came out this year from Hard Press/The Figures. Renee Gladman is a writer and editor living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Proliferation, No Roses Review, Mass Ave and in An Anthology of New (American) Poets from Talisman. Her chapbook Not Right Now came out recently from Second Story. Bobbie West writes that, after drifting into various jobs as waitress, union machinist, and English teacher in China, she discovered poetry. Her poems have appeared in Gas, Misc. Proj., and Key Satch(el), among others. She works at the San Diego Public Library branch near her home and is hard at work on a chapbook, Scattered Damage. Stephen Oliver is an antipodean whose poetic concerns are global. His collections include Guardians, Not Angels (1993), Islands of Wilderness‹A Romance (1996). He lives in Sydney, Australia. Steve Carll lives in Honolulu. Michael McPherson has been widely published in Hawai'i over the last two decades. He is a lawyer on the Big Island. John Olson has been doing reviews for Sulfur and The Stranger. He lives in Seattle. Swarm of Edges (bcc) is his recent chapbook. Summi Kaipa is a graduate student in the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. She focuses on cultural poetics‹primarily Asian American‹and is currently editing a journal by the name of Interlope. Its emphasis is to publish Asian American writers whose work is experimental either in the scope of American poetry and/or in relation to the tradition of Asian American poetry. Jason Olive was born in Los Angeles in 1972 to parents of mixed heritage. He attended the University of Hawai'i and graduated with a degree in English literature. He lives in NYC. o "Electric laulau," a new cd of pidgin humor and music by Joe Balaz is available at http:joebalaz.iuma.com Dan Featherson lives in Tucson, Arizona. He has recent and forthcoming work in New American Writing, Poetry New York, and Sulfur. Rob Wilson is Professor of English at the University of Hawai'i Hugh Steinberg's poetry has appeared in Grand Street, Antioch Review, Melodion, and Epoch. He is currently attending Stanford University as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He is co-editor, with Jennifer Harris, of JackLeg and a board member of Small Press Traffic. He lives in San Francisco. John Tranter has published thirteen collections of verse. Different Hands (Folio/Fremantle), a collection of seven experimental porse pieces, was published in 1998. His work appears in Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. He recently co-edited the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry, published in Britain and the US as the Bloodaxe Book of Modern Australian Poetry and is editor of the free Internet magazine Jacket (www.jacket.zip.com.au/welcome.html). Kathy D.K.K. Banggo is a fan of Lucille Clifton, an endless list of other poets, and singer Etta James. She often hid in the bushes of a CSU campus to answer the question: How does a poet run? Phil Levine routinely jobbed by at just about the same time every day. She lives in Honolulu. Jonathan Brannen lives in Minnesota. His most recent collections of poetry are The Glass Man Left Waltzing (Meow), Thing Is The Anagram of Night (Texture Press), and nothing doing never again (Score Press). He edits Standing Stones Press. o The Australian writer Louis Armand has been a permanent resident of the Czech Republic since mid-1994, where he teaches cultural theory at Charles University and serves as poetry editor of The Prague Revue. His first full-length collection of poetry, Seances, was published this year by Twisted Spoon Press. John Kinsella's latest books of poetry are The Hung and Poems 1980-1994 out with Bloodaxe/Dufours and Fremantle Arts Centre Press. He is editor of the Australian journal Salt and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Coral Hull was born in Paddington, New South Wales, Australia in 1965. She is a member of The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria and is an animal rights advocate and the Director of Animal Watch Australia, an online publishers directory and resource site on animal rights and vegetarian issues. Her most recent book is How Do Detectives Make Love (Penguin). Murray Edmond lives in Auckland, New Zealand and teaches at the University of Auckland. He writes: "The largest baking powder manuracturer in NZ is called 'Edmonds,' though I am not related (not even spelt the same). 'Baking Powder' was always (one of my) nicknames at school!" Hsia Yü is arguably Taiwan's leading contemporary poet. Her volumes of poetry include Memoranda, Ventriloquy, and Rubbing Ineffable. She was born in Hong Kong, educated in Taiwan, and currently lives in France; she continues to publish out of Taiwan in newspapers and anthologies. Steve Bradbury teaches literature at National Central University in Taiwan. He is translating a volume of the selected poems of Hsia Yü and (the rock upon which his ship has foundered) a new version of Ho Chi Min's "Prison Diary." John Rieder has taught at the University of Hawai'i since 1980 Gaye Chan is a professor at the University of Hawai'i, department of art. She loves working on Tinfish covers as they provide a means for her to use up some of the debris that has collected in her office. She is currently collaborating with Lisa Asagi on two artist books. Lisa Asagi grew up in Kalihi (near the airport). At the moment she resides in San Francisco (near Hungry Joe's). She is a writer presently obsessed and working on a novel about islands and atoms. She is also pre-occupied with a project in collaboration with artist Gaye Chan.