s n a p s h o t s   1 1 5

July 6, 2005


he went down
to fish in his
poetry lake
got out his boat
all his tackle
nets and things
then tried first
for a warm up
a minnow haiku
quickly progressed
to a nice fat
sonnet perch
canto carp
idyll dace
epic eel
but then
got entangled
with a vicious
doggerel pike
which nearly
did for him
but his muse
threw a lifebelt
and mounted
a swift rescue
in an inflated
high powered
villanelle dinghy.

Pmcmanus earlyish



This happened a while back. I was reminded of it today. I saw an old person finding it hard to walk who had a beautiful smile. Not bone structure. I don't mean that. Not that kind of beauty. It was the generosity in her smile which I mean; and what it showed of the person she was.

A pretty smile has persuaded me several times that a monster is otherwise; and most of the time, for most of our lives, we can find each other acceptable, but no more, possibly without thinking if we are speaking of appearances or behaviour. Don't you think so?

This woman today was not prepossessing....

Look at this. It doesn't show you what I want you to see; but perhaps it shows enough. For me, it triggers the memory I'll have to say to you, because there are no pictures of the important part.

These kids here, all uncoordinated and really with half-formed minds, smell some herring I am carrying home from Penzance. We're in Penzance here. And around now, though the camera's not on him - well, it's timed out actually - one of them says Mister, you smell of piss; or something of that sort.

It was the fish; but what if I had smelt of piss? Would I want to!? Would I want to be *told in public?

I took out one of the fish and pushed it towards the young man, waving it around, using it a bit like a glove puppet, I suppose. They writhed away from it. They don't see anything ill or dying usually; and they live in an overly-perfumed environment where they can't even smell themselves. "Uuuugghhh!" was the response "You going to eat that?" They didn't know enough to realise I was buying what is now a cheap food; or they'd have mocked me some more.

What I really wish I had filmed, instead of wasting memory on them, though one only catches these things by filming at random, was the boarding of the bus by an extremely old lady. What happened when she had boarded.

She was behind the children, of course. They wouldn't wait for her. I was on before her, and watched her progress.

She was arthritic. She had difficulty even with the low platform. The creases and wrinkles in her dry face made me think of how an unmade road gets when its been driven on and dried out only to be driven on again in the wet and then dried out again, ruts overlaying ruts.

I remember there being no expression except a suggestion of pain willed away, leaving a simulated mask.

It was as if she had been enlarged. Her ankles resembled the base of a coppiced tree.

She got up to the driver and started opening her bag for her old person's card, whatever that's called.

I don't need that, said the driver; but I'll tell you what. You look even more beautiful than usual. Give us a kiss.

And they puckered up and kissed. He said Thank you! with gusto.

The careless children couldn't handle it; but her awareness was remade, tears in her eyes and laughing at the same time.

Lawrence Upton


Passing OInspire¹

There¹s a door in the medical centre marked boldly
OMens Members¹.

I haven¹t looked inside but now and again
I¹ve seen a man entering or leaving.

There¹s a smaller set of words above:
OInspire wellness centre¹ -
local gobbledygook for boutique gym.
As if boutique bodies don¹t perspire.

This Ocentre¹ is merely a large room full of torture machines
for self-inflicted pain. People pay to go there.

Through the frosted glass you can see both men and women
on these racks, stretching and pumping
to the sound of disagreeable popular music.

After which a man will adjourn across the corridor to
Mens Members,
and a woman discreetly pass through the opposite door
from which I have discreetly averted my eyes, so far.

Max Richards
North Balwyn, Melbourne

11pm Wednesday 6 July 2005


A Place To Make Your Wishes All Come True

They never touched when others were around.
You had to find the presence in their eyes
of hunger. That's how you knew, unless you chose
not to. Yesterday, they walked the sand
of this too flat beach just inside the line
the water leaves each time a wave withdraws.
Her hands shaped the air; he kept his gaze
fixed on the ground as if it might open
beneath each next step they took-and then it did.
I know you'll think I'm back to my old ways,
but I'm clean, no dope and not a sip of booze
for the last ten years. This is where I stood
when the earth's mouth gaped. They didn't miss
a step, I swear. Then they were gone. Like this.

Richard Newman


On Elegy

It's odd to engage elegy as a passion and, yet, so it comes to one with the
passing of a father, any family member or close friend. A passion that does
not come for a passing moment, but enshrines itself, a quilt work of
stitched moments - appearances and disappearances - as the ghost of the
absent appoints itself as a member of our days, including, most forcefully,
one's dreams at night, but, then again, as a presence on the street, in the
countryside, or on the waters in the days and months that follow.
Neither is this a benign appearance - but, perhaps - more like something of an argument. The beloved refuses an amputation, one in which we are allowed to quickly forget, erase everything except a monument that one erects upon a ground or, say, as a poem or an obituary that free us from any further intrusion into our lives.
No, at least for those of us who choose to remain open, as I suggest -
wittingly or not - we must to these places where one finds him or herself at
what one can only call untrained waters, or, switching elements, an earth
that slips away and will not forgive until you, the bereaved, provide an
answer, a calling out, a witness, an incorporation, then a release, a
grievous release, where what one senses is fundamentally shrill, a bondage
which begins to slowly subside. The house of the beloved is disassembled.
Through the floor beams one sees a rich, dark earth and one says, now we can move on; we have the provision, a fertile one, to do so.
"She no longer walks these hills."

Stephen Vincent


The other day I met
a shorthaired man At the park

Sunday I caught a thirty-five pound German carp

He said casting his
8 lb test from a pencil thin graphite rod

I gazed mystified into the Alga bloom
Looking for shadows
As Sandra chased a mother swan away
who was intent on murdering
An injured goose
Death by drowning and pecking
Cornered against the
concrete retaining wall
Gleaned from the gaggle

Another floated dead
on the opposite side of the pond
Buoyant, ruffled
Rippling an oddly peaceful shadow

Peter Ciccariello
Providence, RI, USA
July 6, 2005



It is the time of the dark moon, and thick,
heavy days. This grey morning, swarming

with swallows, gives way to a blue noon.
The hem and sleeves of my favorite

lavender shirt are tattered and thin. It has
a fashionable hole at the shoulder, where

the seam has relented to the insistent
pull of time. It is the time of remembering

that tightening at the groin; that tightening
that demands loosening. A tall brown man

strides along the river. He pulls his shirt
off over his head in one graceful thoughtless

motion. A red motorboat, Stars and Stripes
waving at its bow, clatters upriver, startling

shorebirds up from the banks. I see this day
through a wavering haze, move in a slick

skin of dampness. Have I ever been loved?

~ SB =^..^=



Manipulative. Fine. All right,
education you've got. Get in.
Car, yes, push.
Head with the crank.

Madman. Madman.
A ticket to Calcutta.
Not get the opportunity again.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 7-6-05 (6:41 PM)

Written while watching a 1958 film directed by Ritwik Ghatak whose Bengali title "Ajantrik" was primarily translated "The Mechanical Man" (not
specifically referencing McLuhan), though an intriguing secondary
translation "The Unmechanical" made an appearance on the screen. I had
never seen an Indian film from this period except those directed by
Satyajit Ray and since it had been collected for the Library of Congress by
the distinguished film historian Eric Barnouw, I felt the effort to attend
its single projection (at the National Gallery of Art) would be warranted.
Film critic J. Hoberman's brief advance description ("the rapid-fire jive
of a working-class Warner's comedy within a neo-realist, distinctively
Indian milieu") unexpectedly reconnected me to a range of work which had
often prompted me to write while viewing, and I decided on a plan to mine
an acrostic backed by a freely-written, nearly simultaneous possibility.



Manipulative. Fine. All right,
it is a futile effort.

Today I will get a photo taken with Jagaddal.
Today I will plaster you.

Bimal's taxi is one strange thing.
Sir, this is an awakened god.

So many break down, so many get repaired.
If you want to live, send Jagaddal away.

You've worked a miracle, Bimal.
I will have the final answer today.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 7-6-05 (6:41 PM)

Let me make clear that "Jagaddal" is the name which the leading man, the
taxi driver Bimal, has given to his failing vehicle. I started writing
this text when the opening line was netted as an out-take by the acrostic
process governing the other work entitled "Mech Man Jive". It eventually supplanted the initial line of the acrostic as well. While revising, the first six lines separated themselves without strain into couplets, and I then deliberately edited the remaining six lines of the first draft into two couplets, remembering how much I liked the form of an earlier, freely-written text of mine, "By the Bluest of Seas". [http://www.fieralingue.it/corner.php?pa=printpage&pid=769]


if you are my age why do you insist on looking old

it's not that
there is any use
in wearing out
one's welcome

just that there is
controversy even
among "viewers like you"
regarding beauty

I prefer a little
(let's say shadow)
to contribute substance

to the other(wise)
foreground emptiness
that hollow look
appealing to persons

who prefer inserting
their designs
into the vacant space
while lingering

at the figurative
open window and
looking out

sheila e. murphy


Talking to my childhood sweetheart
on my mobile phone
I remember the sweet smell
of her sex

and get a pimple on my nose

The body has its memories

Andrew Burke
Mt Lawley


alter egos
deviant, flighted
afternoon into verticals
ferried silhouettes
witness rain
a brown splash

windows scratched in
stalled light
blank shiny walls
cloudlike, heavier
haze and fall

slow, painful
a broad agony
night is more fair
after hours streams
clarity in bursts

without critical speech
the process can't be managed
even (caged) birds

Jill Jones, Surry Hills, 7 July 2005, 4pm



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