Monthly Archives: July 2006

running on the beach

navigating the beach
between broken pilings
stubs of former lives

all day, like a game
you planned a place in the future
where little girls in helmets
like flying saucers
could ride their pink two wheelers
safely past the removal of training wheels

all day the children built faces
in the sand
mounds spiked with gull feathers
long bodies of reptiles
clawed into wreathes of sea grass

you run past them now
a severed fish head
gone fuzzy pearl as the sand
a dead bird
his last flight ended
on his back
as if he were diving now
into new underworld dimensions

you want everything
to live forever
you want something
right now
that you have no name for
no pictures
no plans

you want it
with an ache
that you almost fall into
like a sand pit
you’ve been digging all your life
its depth breaking through
the other side of the world

a sand face
grins up at you
his cigarette a stick
in the corner of his mouth
a mother explains to her son
how clever the willow
growing up out of that dead trunk

you’ve run yourself out for now
and you start back
to what you’re calling home
collecting wood
for the next fire

wendy shaffer

behind the shades

when i’m this close to you
i see you have another face
opening up wide as an apple orchard

i could just walk in
and the ground would be soft
the fruit would be ripe
i could eat an apple
and i would feel whole

i can see from your eyes
how plain and simple it would be
out there under the apple tree
the air clear as mind
with no business to clutter its impulse
clear as another century
before industry dominated the heart

but we’re sitting at the end
of the twentieth century
in an old ford
lightning cracking open the black sky
all around us
and you’ve turned
your devastatingly handsome face
to the side
and i can’t come in
to that apple orchard tonight
i can’t spread myself
under the thunder
and the rain

because you’ve turned that small town apple pie
face away
you pass me your profile
like a baseball card
with a short bio —
a guy who likes guy things —
but i know that somewhere there’s an orchard
with ripe apples dropping
and no one to gather them

wendy shaffer

Mumbai blasts

this time around
we have had a lot of angels,
a lot of common people,
people coming up from across the city,
poor people,
slum dwellers,
people from everywhere,
who’ve put behind their religious differences
and who’ve come to help
people affected in the blast.
You know,
I mean,
this is very rare,
like people coming from across religions,
expecially there has been a lot of Hindu-Muslim tension.
But despite that,
you had Muslim men coming and helping Hindu men
who were affected in the blast,
putting all kinds of differences behind them.

Nitasha Natu, reporter with The Times of India, speaking on Democracy Now


Smile through the ever-
Equanimity of
Justice, past all
Reckoning of human
Balance of

Listen . . .

Past the “Progressive”
Scheming of
Straight into the
Unity We

Peace ’till
Haven ’till

Up and
Win . . .

Alex Zoltai

Students, Tree, Lake, Daughters

It was like when two freshmen fell in love
And loved to read of the mighty earthworm
That slowly, slowly, remakes the earth,
Of Plato’s fear of the cave, the womb,
The place of touch.

They stop passing notes when I tell them to.
They love everything. So interesting!
Ah bliss.

It’s a dreamy April day.
A stroll stills the mind. I think,
Spring colors might penetrate and I could say,
Ah, this beautiful world, and me part of it.

The budding tree repeats in a cool lake.
The blue sky reflects its blue.
There is no throb in this stillness,
The trees branch and branch like capillaries
All through me, but do not throb,
For which I am grateful.

The reflection ripples.
Girl and boy pass eyes.
They will never need and not need language more.
They well never be more, or less, deceived.
Their notes are blank and beautiful.

On such a day as this, in a garden,
A squirrel perched on a stump and ate the
Heart of a blackbird, cradling
The carcass in its pretty paws.

You know your students’ hearts
According to your own.
You know one day, at a football game,
He will know her flesh is fat and that
Her womb spells terror.

They’ve composed for you, so
You know he has family values
And her mother is a drunk.

His mother gives her dishes for their first place,
Hoping it will be their last.
They will never be so pleased or touched again.

The girl, or some other girl,
Works hard to be the medical technician
Leading you down the hall to the still,
Miraculous landscape of your fatal heart,
The worst conclusion.

It didn’t last, of course,
But she has gotten over him.
She is married now and has two daughters.

Elizabeth Hayes

Bed Bug Bite

She —
Your hand smells of woman
of play dough
Play dough smells like cunt
But cold cunt
Your hand smells of warm

He —
Ah, but I love a good cold cunt sandwich

Kathy Ireland & Steven B Smith collaboration


goddess of light
heal my splintered brain
sun blast my eyes to warm blood shade
cool my rage
goddess of light long blond hair lifting
on your gift of breeze
your short short purple mini skirt
your legs without end
goddess hear me pray
for the dissolution
of my nit-pick ego stroke
goddess burn it in your fire
oh airhead goddess please hear me
take away my hate
enfold me in your slender soft skin arms
teach me vacuity
i will stretch & follow
in your simple beauty
if only you will help me
drop this brittle wrong self
in the fires of your love

wendy shaffer