Voracious Verses - 2002

Janet Buck
Folding Chairs

Sometimes something bad happens to force something good.

                                                   Kevin Kline

I heard it in a movie called Life as a House --
where a man is learning to die
by building a reason to live.
He pisses at dawn over a cliff --
into a sea he's coming
to trust to carry him out.
Planing the knots in fossils of love.
Patching the quilts his hatreds have torn.
Washing a window of sugar and salt --
both are so white with satin and grain.
He hugs his son as if he is an envelope
with one last lick and one last stamp.
The end of the body's a folding chair.
It catches a thumb, increases the pulse,
enlivens the bend, the rust in a joint,
demands that a river be found.

Perhaps we all get to that edge --
where flight engages the wing,
where hope is an eagle and truth is the crow.
Where stars are horny for light,
where a moon is more than its rock.
You're eighty plus; I wish to roam
among our weeds, find a path
that has a crumb of touch or two.
Your posture stays an island palm.
I'm certain we have coconuts.
Here I sit, the circling boat
with splintered oars; we might've been
the crossing from a heavy drought
to morning dew before the freeze
turning to steam in adamant light.
Before I can sniff the nectar and note,
the rose will be in its grave.

© 2002 Janet Buck   e-mail the author

The Poetry of Janet I. Buck

Jennifer Barnes

Chalk drawings stretch out at my feet
layers of color on my hands
fill my fingerprints
seperating me from my touch

Embryo angels caught in amber sunlight
always moving towards the ground
Someone told me they go straight through
but it doesn't seem like they go anywhere

The chalk is dust and my hands
are those knick knacks on the shelf
whose detailed faces are shrouded
by the time spent sitting there

The largest part of household dust
is made of human hair and skin
it gathers on the table tops
Dead cells are our table cloths
and wiping them away
only grinds them in

© Jennifer Barnes   e-mail the author


Rich Furman

The sweat of others sticks to you
From the green vinyl seats if lucky
Standing is worse thrown side to side
Like slaughter house pork on hooks
By driver rage conditions of things unknown.

Off to the curb covered in filth
Three blocks in the ice
Past steel and graffiti shut stores
Needles in sidewalk cracks

You work with the mad
The insane those
Forgotten by those
Who once professed love
The crazy the terrified the sick
The lonely the bored the tired
The ones who rock in broken chairs
Through the hours in rented rooms

Some take medication
Some do not
Mainly it is a paycheck
And some Latin words
Behind a cheap plaque on the wall
That separates us all.

© Rich Furman   e-mail the author


Mark Leeney
July at Tramore

Sea shells, crushed, washed
Melody of waving anemone silenced
Into the fine grain of wheat sand,
Yielding and remembering our passing feet
For a speck of moments

We see the same colours in the wet grasses
The purples, pinks and yellows,
Shrouded by an unforgiving lead shot sky,
By mean clouds misted down
On sulk water that sighs and pouts

In one passing day
We breathe waves of sunshine,
Lapping through ruffled spun
Candyfloss clouds,
And savour the sharp smack of seaweed,
Green and brown twined
The colours of your eyes,
And I know like a hunger, we must be
In the pinks, yellows and purples
Must thrive like spike thistle

© Mark Leeney   e-mail the author


Jim Bennett

The Stone

Stones have slow thoughts
a static that can take an age
between each spark
as they
slowly wear to sand

a boy picks up
a white stone
that reflects the sun
and he lets his finger follow
a dark line strata
inlaid a million years before
he takes it home
where it sits sixty years
as a memento
of a sunny day

the stone does not notice


Phibby Venable

A Man Named for His Father

a man named for his father
is using his fists again
he is breaking fine crystal
in the kitchen
and throwing food in the pantry
watching the colors blend
into ugliness
only then is he able
to rip his facade of lonliness
from the dark shadows
and carry it about the house
as a trophy from the rage
he has bolted the door and pressed
the chain lock
whatever follows him now
will have to knock loudly
from his vantage point
at the cracked pane window
he can see love pausing
quietly in his garden
he is enraged anew at this trespass
and the way her hands open
for an explanation

© Phibby Venable   e-mail the author


Gordon Purkis

in my dreams my whitewall
are always bright and
and I have both radio
but the hills are higher and
rising, like an amusement
Viking battleship: “whoop-see-daisy,
almost like falling off the back of a
and I fancy that like a child’s plastic
yacht upon
the bathtub sea, someday we’ll
really founder
and all hands will be lost in the
depths of
someplace I can’t fathom to say.

© 2002 Gordon Purkis  


Michael Ladanyi

The signs were thick that warm June
morning, though I failed to see them,
did not feel you tug at my shirt
sleeve, try to get my attention, ask
a child's question. A torrid
thunderstorm's indignant wind, tore
at the house that day, like an
enraged ghost of a forgotten lover,
before gray night followed like the
quiet of a place you always thought
you'd been, but could never really
remember, only its grassy smells
trapped in dampness, holding your
confessions last hollowness,
bloods regret and determination to
end your blue revolving pain. I knew
before I answered the short knock,
knew we would be reconstructed,
corrugated, left only marble
memories on which to scrawl your
name. After hearing, "It's just you
and me now brother," all sound
became amber-red, shattered blood
of stained glass. The coffee table
crashed somewhere down the hall,
splintered into a hundred pieces of
skull. There were no words, only howls,
as primitive as who we truly are.

© 2002 Michael Ladanyi  


Aaron LaFlora

It is heard within the metric synchronised ticking
Of the clocks;   or
The swaying movements amoung the lazy leaves
Of the willow tree.
It fondles my fingers when they play
Beneath the earth and sew seeds;
Sometimes revealing itself when toes plant firmly
Into the sand while challenging a crashing wave
To inebriate me into its
Such things mimic a definition of comfort
That be
Incomplete until:
You remind me on an eighth day 'morn,
That clocks of these species
Need someone to rewind them.
The willow tree that hangs its branches
Low and lazily,
Plants its roots under
Our own backyard.
And on a summer's day,
You let fall from your hand,
A seed,
Which will lie inside the burrow
That my muddy fingers have just spaded.
And my dear lover,
It won't be the thew of the waves that
Causes limp my knees into the sea,
Simply the crush of your body upon mine as
My ocean-drenched skin pulls you ever closer into me.
This be complete
The comfort I seek.
The comfort within you....
Within us.

© 2002 Aaron LaFlora  


Diane Engle
Prayer to an Infant Grandchild in the ICU

             -Thou hast made the voyage; thou
                hast come to shore.  Get out.-
                                    Marcus Aurelius

I move, as old as you are young
Through days that you lie still among
And where night's brightest stars are hung
      The heavens part.
Brave child, I am in all songs sung
      The winter's heart.

Three weeks you lie in sleep's disguise
To dream of glories past surmise.
Your tiny hands brush each day's rise
      Back into night.
O come, come capture day's surprise,
      Come seize the light.

A fold of angel's wings, a thrill,
A little madness of the soul
Tell us hope directs the will
      To pierce the dark.
Return to shore where winds are still
      And disembark.

© 2002 Diane Engle  


William Dubie
The Pronouns of Marriage

We have settled into each other after several years,
so much so we needn't name things:

It needs replacing.

He wants to go out.

Call him to come fix it.

We know the cartography of our kitchen,
how linoleum conforms to our feet now,
and not our flesh to floor.

And in scripting our sleep
we breathe each other's names.

Listen: It beats still, and strong.

© 2002 William Dubie   e-mail the author


Janet Buck
The Closet

The service is a short cough
with a hideous ball of phlegm.
I am three. My sister's four.
Our smiles of pointed innocence
zigzag on the black cloth.
What sprigs remain of Father's hair
are losing their places
in swimming holes.
His head sags on the neck's vine,
last tomato aiming its cheek
at stony ground.
Gist of his summer in bruise.

We are flipping through hangers
like shoulder blades.
I can feel you wince
ten feet under the groomed soil.
Hear you breathe dreams
for his flesh to go on ---
marching chin up to stolen sun --
loving another whose breasts
won't crumble in callous urns.
His eyes now scars, rehearsed
and hard, above the wound.

"Burn them," he says.
Nothing now to keep him
from shredding the silk.
She kisses his okra thumbs
from the cold grave,
reminds him of life
in an instant of loss,
moist memory still staining sleeves.
He stands in perfumed oceans
of dresses and robes --
a colon perched
ahead of no phrase.

© 2002 Janet Buck   e-mail the author

Prasenjit Maiti
Memento Mori

sunflowers outside these years are
now dead and Neal Cassady tee-shirts
are quite brazen against the days
and the nights
the grass was blue and the sky was green
the flush cackles all the while
in all those washrooms all over the place
the wash colors wearing a smirk
and an infatuation dead
with kaleidoscope eyes
she is wet in her laughter
and dead like nobody’s business
the day the music died
so bye-bye Miss American Pie
she was not really the sun
and nothing under the sun was
in a tune
the days and nights are making out
on the rocks across drizzles
and used rubber
her cheeks prized open
and her hands in prayer

© 2002 Prasenjit Maiti