Fabulous Finds 1999-2000

Note:     A link to the poet's home page or e-mail address is usually provided below each poem. A direct link from the poet's name to his/her Positively Poets page (with bio, links, and additional work) is provided when applicable.

Instruction on a Box of Japanese Colors

By:   Sean Webb

       Adults: experiment and ex-
       plain to the young.

Color an ocean of cobalt blue
scratch in a fish, to make it come true.
Obscure the sky by using your thumb
to blend the colors that border the sun.

I have tried so many ways to color
my soul something other than blue,
for you, to make it plain for you,
that your life need not be duller

than a box of dead markers,
little soldiers who lost their caps.
I drew bright colors into groups,
colored over them a shade darker,

took a razor and scratched out a star.
Hundreds of lines revealed a little color,
but certainly not brilliant, or even bright,
working in a basement, halogened from night.

My life was not dull. I made sure of it.
And even now, even if I have recoiled
into some amiable, unsoiled parapet,
I am capable of stirring new turmoil.

Oh yes, I will keep experimenting, 
you will keep witnessing my mistakes
and victories. You'll get all the breaks.
Your life will be filled with unrelenting

triumph and peace of mind. For I 
will wash away all questions and fill you in 
with "incredibly smooth" colors. 
Keep your eye on what I'm drawing,
keep your eye on the I.

Copyright © Sean Webb

Comments to author:   Sean Webb

Ninety-Nine Days

By:   G.V. Stevens
She said nights in that place
were colored in silence 
and heated by the warm breath
of hundreds of sleeping women.
She watched the moon creep in
through notebook-sized windows
and cast shadows on cinderblocks.
Face pressed between metal bars,
the coolness reminded her of Georgia's
summer days--passed with her children
in dirty-blue city swimming pools.
Hell became a tiled, rectangular place
where women swapped sex for cigarettes
and steel tables with rounded edges
were cemented to concrete floors.
It was there she learned to pray,
and hoped her ninety-nine days of faith
would resurrect Habeas Corpus.

Copyright © G.V. Stevens

Comments to author:   G.V. Stevens

The Clothes War

By:   Sean Webb
Eventually a code of honor,
a unified body of righteousness,
will call up our street
enlisting every able body,
as it drives its shadow
wherever light asks it.

This is the knowledge he hauls
into every fragment of his life.
When he takes a new job, he knows
there will be an element of unity.
A factor that will lend the task
one single face, one single body.
He sees this in a torrid textile mill
where miles of thread are joined
into miles of cloth, miles of cloth
feeding rapidly into grey machines,
grey machines that cut fabric
into shapes of clothes.  After hemming 
and cutting of free threads, 
a platoon of shirts is prepped to ship.
He cannot fail to recognize order,
the obvious chaotic design.  Scraping
metal, and spools of smooth cloth,
invariably remind him of sex.  Muscle
and flesh.  Multitudes of sperm
and eggs, multiply among themselves,
concentrate on sheets, dog paddle
home to some weary conception.
This is the brand of fantasy
relegated to those committed
to manufacturing clothing.
Those that confront daily
the bodiless image of clothes
produced with a unified mission
to conceal a desire to expose.

Copyright © Sean Webb

Comments to author:   sean@doug.med.utah.edu


February, 1999 Of The Month


By:   John Horváth, Jr.
Under the branches the radical birds
that winter over against the cold shelter
themselves from the last winds, chatter
at springtime as if to fright off new flocks.
From the belfry sparrows erupt hourly
like a black ermined banner unfurling,
billowing, turning into and onto itself.
Mourners gathered round the dark hearse
watch the movements from the churchsteps
overhead to the branches across cold air.
Each hour some birds are lost to ringing.

From branch to tower, from tower
to branch the flag of the flock streams.
Each hour a few fall frozen to the ground.
Inside the church:  teacakes and coffee.

Copyright © John Horváth Jr.



The God Listserv.

By:   Paul Kloppenborg
 You can DIGEST or SIGN OFF.
 Do not send personal thanks to the LISTSERV,
 but to the following addresses:

 God of collapsing stars. EMail Universe@faith.com
 God of warring nations. EMail World@ignominy.gov
 God of corrupted elections. EMail State@politician.net
 God of garbaged streets. EMail City@sanity.fail

 Login last used: yesterday
 Type ? for help in Release 1996
 user / spooling / mail /
 Return to prompt

 God of ignoring neighbours.  EMail House@no.welcome
 God of conflicting needs.  EMail Bed@no.love
 God of aborted foetus. EMail Child@i.forget

 To God @ listserv.heaven
 Set me to NO MAIL

 Copyright © Paul Kloppenborg

 Comments to author:   paulk@library.lib.rmit.edu.au


January, 1999 Of The Month

The Education of Adolescent School Girls

By:   Peter Howard
As irresistible as white mice
Smuggled, wriggling beneath a shirt,
It's no surprise

Schoolgirls in general are proud
Of their emergent breasts. They learn
Technique quickly

With reinforcement from male staff.
When the mask slips, like a towel
In the sauna

Attention to detail: precise
Arrangement of button or zip
Heightens effect.

Lessons are assimilated
Easily. This is simple stuff,
Not like Science.

To see the reason, consider
The cleavage of the brightest girl
On the front row.

Such curves fascinate the teacher
Far more than parabolae obtained
From 'Pearls in Air.'

That time, in Chemistry, he brushed
By accident, her chest produced
Sublime results.

His pipe soothes discomfiture
Caused by milky pheromones;
He sucks it hard.

Copyright © Peter Howard

Commended in the Society of Women Writers
and Journalists 1993 Poetry Competition

Low Probability of Raccoons

November, 1998 Of The Month


Grave Dance

By:   Ron Watson
Multifaceted and complex, you are like quartz
Each angle a new gleam, no mere chick or babe
But a woman, wise to fool's gold
Who seeks gems and rare stones
Who dreams unsettling dreams
Who strings bead by bead
This necklace of never-ending years
Who tithes to motherhood its costly sum
Who aches for love.

And I am a man
A convolution of strands
That having broken now reform
A startled  boy inside
Curious, bewildered, and ultimately
Thrilled to be alive
To be near you speaking softly
To be enamored
To be willing against all odds and common sense
To believe.

The rubble of the world is another matter
More realistic with its demands.
We have our limitations, God help us,
And we do what we can.
But when I think of you, and lately
I have thought of you often, I think
Of spirits assuming flesh
Of union and bodyheat
Of desire undiminished by time
Unchecked by the clockwork of our lives.
To make much of time Marvell wrote,
Admonishing who knows how many generations
So long has he lain
As cold as dust in his grave.

Copyright © 1998 Ron Watson



A Little Poetry