Lois Marie Harrod

April 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Windows

To be a window is easier than to be a door. You do
not have to suffer daily fists and the brass conk
of canes, you do not have to ease open
to every opportunity with its get-rich dreams.

No mail man forces a dog to snarl at your knob,
no mother keeps yelling that you should be open
or shut depending on the whims of the weather,
and the cat sits on your sill without begging out or in.

If she twitches at the squirrel, no matter. On All Hallow’s
you do not grow weary on your hinges,
and in summer you’re screened. No one scolds

you for letting in the flies. You are merely there,
that paradoxical clarity that delineates worlds, blameless
and irresponsible until the boy with his stone.

The Chair and the Bed

The chair was straight-backed and righteous, a ladder
to heaven running up his spine, he knew where he was
going even though a telephone book was sometimes placed
on his painted seat and a child lifted onto him for a holiday
meal, but that didn’t last longer than a heel mark on his rung,
the child was gone before the gravy, and the chair was back
to where he had been in the bedroom, white and empty.

The bed was another matter, rumpled
but righteous in her own way, whispering to her sheets
that the chair worried too much about saliva and salvation,
all that grumbling because the wife had missed a banana smear
on his leg, hey, life was messy, didn’t she know every night
the old roll and flop, slaver and snore? Why even when
the man and the wife were sleeping, the bed could taste
the phlegm and stain and then there was that schnauzer
who took a corner of the spread and pulled it onto the floor
to stink it up. What was the big deal?

Of course, the chair knew too.
Every night he sat and watched, holding himself as rigid as he could.

The Cuff and the Sleeve

They learned to live with each other
as couples do, ironing out differences, but
the cuff was often angry with the sleeve,
especially when it was hot and the sleeve
rolled the cuff into himself. I wish you
wouldn’t do that, she kept saying to him,
when you hold me this tight I can hardly
breathe–and your sweat, it’s toxic.
The sleeve chided her, Darling, why do I
have I to take the heat? Can’t you give
a little. Stop thinking of yourself.
The cuff tried, but she couldn’t help hoping
for cooler days when the sleeve was less
amorous and was willing to let
the smoothest bit of her show.

Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbook Furniture is forthcoming from Grayson Press. Her Firmament was published by Finishing Line Press in 2007 and her Put Your Sorry Side Out, by Concrete Wolf in 2005. She won a 2003 poetry fellowship, her third, from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Her sixth book of poetry Spelling the World Backward (2000) was published by Palanquin Press, University of South Carolina Aiken, which also published her chapbook This Is a Story You Already Know (l999) and her book Part of the Deeper Sea (l997). Over 300 of her poems have appeared in journals including American Poetry Review, Blueline, The MacGuffin, Salt, The Literary Review, Zone3. Her earlier publications include the books Every Twinge a Verdict (Belle Mead Press, l987), Crazy Alice (Belle Mead Press, l991) and a chapbook Green Snake Riding (New Spirit Press, l994).

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postmidnight

April 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Iago’s Lament

To you, I am villain,
With the most treacherous of plans
I’ll wear my heart on my sleeve
For I am not what I am
As I stand here before you bleeding
When all else around me have died
I’ll answer the question awaiting escape
From your lips –
Plainly,
Simply,
Why?
What could have driven anyone
To this point of insanity
Rage filled fit towards the carnage
Surrounding we –
I too, am broken hearted
Recounting the now dearly departed
Emilia, Desdemona, Rodrigo &
Oh dear, dear Othello
My brother who made me capable
Of hastening his end as Cain did Abel, yet
For if my brother is my keeper,
Am I my brother’s pet?
Disenchanted mongrel –
Rabid and foaming
As my love for Othello
Became loathing –
Now, I am let go
Perhaps we should start
With introductions –
My name is Iago
With much of this tale already known
Our journey begins with the seeds
Of a reaping being sewn
“we met as soulmates on Venetian islands
we left as inmates from an asylum”
a moor in service of the duke
most found his presence to be a rebuke
truth be told,
but I looked into his eyes,
sensing something more bold –
a spirit and a soul much like mine
the world would be ours in a time
for siding with Othello,
I became a pariah,
But color didn’t matter,
Only ambition and desire
As the other recruits scoffed and laughed
I nurtured Othello into a man who surpassed beast
Together we would never know defeat
Warriors unparalleled
To our enemies, demons born of the pits of hell
Well enough, on the battlefield
We were the duke’s favorite weapons to wield
Two sides of the same blade
Our bloodletting prowess constantly displayed
Earning an awesome reputation
As the laughter faded away
Into my look of dismay
On the fateful day when the duke
Chose as his general the man that I made
Who I risked everything for
No longer my equal,
He was my master, the moor
I was sure I, at least,
Would be his second in command,
Instead he cut me off
To make Cassio his right hand
In this darkness no flower can grow,
So what of your Venetian rose Iago?
Cast back into Othello’s ebon shadow
Deserving to bloom,
Refusing to wilt
Reclaiming my light is survival
I feel no guilt –
Be it reason, madness,
Or steely path to my sword’s hilt
Make no mistake,
These are the tombs Othello built
Had he heeded me, no blood
Would have spilt
Like Roderigo, foolishly enamored
With fair Desdemona
He would have given anything to own her
I, just wanted her away
Her presence encouraging Othello
To play the hero when he
Was no more heroic than i
But once you tell enough tales,
You are forced to live the lie,
Try to fill some grand position
When reputation is an idle
& most false imposition
gotten without merit
I merely wish to ferret out The Truth
That this “noble moor” was most uncouth
False friend & betrayer in parts
His cunning shone through in Cypress,
Mine in his heart,
And yes – I wished to take his life
After too many whisperings
Of Othello’s trysts with Emilia, my wife
My beloved & he,
Violating a divine decree
Filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which
No enriches him
& makes me poor indeed
Othello deserved to bleed
for theft of all that makes a man,
so in bloom, your rose Iago
hatched a simple plan
to make things right
to become karma made flesh
o’er the course of a fortnight
I convinced Othello of Desdemona’s
Wandering heart,
Maneuvered Cassio & Roderigo
To play their parts,
Emila’s end was the price of infidelity
As death often holds hands with jealousy
This body count of Emila, Roderigo,
Desdemona & Othello
Seems too much to manage,
But this is a war with
Collateral damage
My future now, only the fates & Cassio can tell
As I swear, my sole crime was loving not wisely,
But too well
This is the truth, all that you’ve heard
Demand me nothing – what you know, you know
From this time forth
I never will speak word

Universal Donor

I pour plasma onto pages
Of ranting rages
Transcribing wisdom of the ages
Channeling sinners, saints, sages
& gurus
conjuring mojo & juju
in practicing verbal voodoo
bringing the dead back to life
resurrecting trees with every line
I write
My poems are my zombies
I release into the night
Hungry & insane
Between each line you can
Hear the call for brains
Expeditiously surreptitious
The flow is viscous
Aortically overactive & anime vicious
This world has a sickness
Probably an STD
From messing with the wrong people
Consistently
Insistent we ignore history
To accept as is as what should be
Complacency & conformity
Promoting until we behave uniformly
When we should be rude & uncouth
Students of bill hicks
Disciples of raoul duke,
Cursed to follow Douglas adams &
Lenny Bruce
Swearing to tell the truth,
The whole truth, & nothing but so well
Personal credo an evolved
“what the hell?”
called “what the hell are you doing?
are you becoming the change you
claim to be pursuing?”
strange things afoot
trouble brewing,
rumbles stewing,
plotting to undo our imminent undoing
why me?
Can’t deny destiny
Coursing through my arteries
Attempting immortality via
These words I live
Flow positive
So positive
Red cross approved
O positive
Linguistic hemophiliac
Hemorraging verses like a maniac
Klepto stalking stolen curiosity
To steal it back
Robin hoodlum in the
Age of bedlam
Chanting redrum in asylums
The phylums are false
As your assumptions
As manipulated soundbites
For mass consumption
Mentally lazy
More concerned about
Anna Nicole’s O.D.
Or the father of her baby
Than the activities of the
Presidency
Devoting more time to
Paris’ month in jail
Than to the years people
In Darfur have ailed
We’ve bailed on the
Humanist aesthetic
More engaged in apathetic rhetoric
Than actually doing something about it
When Trent Lott
Can compare immigrants to livestock
No one calls out bull – no shock
This planet needs fixin
As truth gradually becomes fiction
We can’t see how the system got broken
No clearer
Low visibility with too much
Smoke & mirrors
Genesis of our situation
Born of political prestidigitation
Cloaked in false corollaries to
Form international sleight of vocabulary
Until our language is worth
Less than mud
I can’t give my word anymore
I just give blood.

postmidnight is one of the hottest young poets on the spoken word scene. He’s slammed & performed across the country, read his work on several radio stations, & done work with various non-profit organizations ranging from schools to soup kitchens. He’s the author of 2 screenplays, a stage play, & 6 chapbooks. Attempting to legitimize the vocation of “rock star poet,” he is currently recording with his band, Inside Job. Click here for further biographical information.

Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival/Shakespeare in the Square Shakespear-e-thon 2008
This year, Princeton Rep is pleased to present its annual Shakespear-e-thon as part of Princeton’s Communiversity Street Festival on Saturday, April 26th on the Palmer Square Green from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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Enriqueta Carrington

April 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm (Uncategorized) ()

(read with Carlos Hernández Peña)

Remedio Orgiástico

Ofrecerles un festín a nuestros espíritus
presentar a su mesa
cordero de Dios a la tanduri
huachinango al incesto veracruzano

ensalada de jitomate, lechuga, sueños y pecados
con aderezo al aceite de oliva de Chipre
y vinagre de Borgoña,
con harta sabiduría de salvia pero sin arrepentimiento

pato zambullido en salsa
de naranja con el ombligo robado a Adán
cada cual al gusto de su media naranja

pavo a la navidad de la infancia
báquicos racimos de uvas gordas
champaña Veuve Cliquot para Musas y Musos Mayores
tequila de Jalisco para los muy machos y las muy hembras
la mejor mota de Oaxaca

y para los Musitos jugo de manzana del paraíso
o de manzana de la discordia (darles a escoger)

pastel de chocolate sodomogomórrico
petits fours y galletas de loto
té de Ceilán y café de Coatepec

volvernos pasto para su rocío
para que escuchen nuestra invocación
y sonrían sobre nuestros laudes

para poder decir como Dickens,
qué bloque de escritor, ni qué ocho cuartos.

Orgiastic Remedy

To offer up a feast to our spirits
to present at their table
tandoori lamb of God
red snapper à la Veracruzan incest,

salad of tomato, lettuce, dreams and sins
in a dressing of olive oil from Cyprus
and vinegar from Burgundy
spiced with the wisdom of sage but no repentance

duck dunked in sauce
from oranges with the navel stolen from Adam
we’ll each use the zest of our better half-orange

turkey à la childhood Christmas
Bacchic bunches of fat grapes
Champagne Veuve Cliquot for Grown-Up Muses
tequila from Jalisco for the very macho and the very female
the best pot from Oaxaca

and for Child Muses, juice from the apple of Paradise
or the apple of discord (give them a choice)

Sodomogomorrhic chocolate cake
petits fours and lotus cookies
tea from Ceylon and coffee from Coatepec

to become grass for their dew
that they may hear our invocation
and smile upon our Lauds

that we may say like Dickens,
what do you mean, writer’s block?

NOCTURNO DE LA ALCOBA
por Xavier Villaurrutia

La muerte toma siempre la forma de la alcoba
que nos contiene.

Es cóncava y oscura y tibia y silenciosa,
se pliega en las cortinas en que anida la sombra,
es dura en el espejo y tensa y congelada,
profunda en las almohadas y, en las sábanas, blanca.

Los dos sabemos que la muerte toma
la forma de la alcoba, y que en la alcoba
es el espacio frío que levanta
entre los dos un muro, un cristal, un silencio.

Entonces sólo yo sé que la muerte
es el hueco que dejas en el lecho
cuando de pronto y sin razón alguna
te incorporas o te pones de pie.

Y es el ruido de hojas calcinadas
que hacen tus pies desnudos al hundirse en la alfombra.

Y es el sudor que moja nuestros muslos
que se abrazan y luchan y que, luego, se rinden.

Y es la frase que dejas caer, interrumpida.
Y la pregunta mía que no oyes,
que no comprendes o que no respondes.

Y el silencio que cae y te sepulta
cuando velo tu sueño y lo interrogo.

Y solo, sólo, yo sé que la muerte
es tu palabra trunca, tus gemidos ajenos
y tus involuntarios movimientos oscuros
cuando en el sueño luchas con el ángel del sueño.

La muerte es todo esto y más que nos circunda,
y nos une y separa alternativamente,
que nos deja confusos, atónitos, suspensos,
con una herida que no mana sangre.

Entonces, sólo entonces, los dos solos, sabemos
que no el amor sino la oscura muerte
nos precipita a vernos cara a los ojos,
y a unirnos y a estrecharnos, más que solos y náufragos,
todavía más, y cada vez más, todavía.

NOCTURNE OF THE BEDROOM
By Xavier Villaurrutia (translated by Enriqueta Carrington)

Death always takes the shape of the bedroom
enclosing us.

It is concave and dark and warm and silent,
it coils in the curtains where shadows nest,
in the mirror it is hard and tense and frozen,
it is deep in the pillows and white in the sheets.

Both of us know that death takes
the shape of the bedroom, and that in the bedroom
it is the cold space rising
between us as wall, crystal, silence.

Then only I know that death
is the hollow you leave in bed
when suddenly, for no reason,
you sit or stand up.

And it is the scorched-leaf sound
your bare feet make as they sink into the rug.

And it is the sweat that wets our thighs
as they embrace and struggle and, soon after, surrender.

And it is the phrase you drop, interrupted.
And my question, which you do not hear,
which you do not understand or do not answer.

And the silence which falls and buries you
when I watch over your sleep and question it.

And only I, alone, know that death
is your choked words, your estranged moans
and your involuntary dark movements
when in your dream you wrestle the angel of dreams.

Death is all of this and other things surrounding us,
and it unites and separates us by turns,
leaving us confused, amazed, hanging
with a wound that does not bleed.

Then, only then, the two of us, alone, know
that it is not love but dark death
that compels us to face each other eye to eye,
to join and cling to each other, more than alone,
more than shipwrecked,
still more, and always more, still.

Enriqueta Carrington is a Mexican-English writer-mathematician, transplanted by fate or happenstance to the US. Her poetry in Spanish and English has appeared in Pedestal Magazine, Carnelian, WAH, and the US1 Worksheets, among other publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her poetry translations have appeared in Rattapallax 13 and A Gathering of the Tribes. She is the editor and translator of the bilingual book Treasury of Mexican Love Poems, Quotations & Proverbs (Hippocrene Books). Some of her stories have appeared in SHOTS, the Magazine of Crime and Mystery, and The Plum Ruby Review. She teaches mathematics at Rutgers University.

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Pilar Timpane

April 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Philadelphia Night
(for Dominique & Nadia)

sweet lip gloss on the lit street-
light cascade on the dead-end tattoo storefront
once opium parlor and dug-into brick graves
by prisoners freed from above-board ships, slaves
docked in the green harbor’s waves now filled
with a fresh fetid stank, lazy dipping lull-
aby old shores with old shoes, bicycle wheels,
pink plastic dolls wrapped in winter-woven
shawls, strewn: a “hush little baby don’t say a word,”
fast fall to watery death – “I never meant
to push it off, just wanted to see it fly,” –
and then it is quiet in the hushed, crimeless city
nights, the comfortable dine out with friends or
in with lovers or both; remember, how we used to ask,
“when will that be us?” and now it is, at last
we line the simple night’s corridors, clacking in
adult shoes, cackling sugary alchy throats; in smoke,
the tinkly bells a less bold, brilliant ring
of dust above our heads in the ink, each
night leans longer, dreams of more in city time;
breathing our own breath and thousands of others’ beside us
breath the same since the days we were young
enough to be born, since the time the wind blew in
and planted us here.

Semicolon
When Hemmingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life.
Old age is more like a semicolon.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

Prayers for time, 9 more hours in a day; please,
let those hours be Yours.
Petition peace, frail chances at silence; make
that our hearts do not stop.

Start, morning drums; slide, trombones; sound, trumpets;
wake us with Your love song.
Hum, night; swing, moon; tuck us in, star swoon;
teach us how to sleep.

Sting of absent time, burn in our bones; make
us older and wiser.
Needs and joys we have, aging list of expectations; please,
let us be young again.

Pilar Timpane is a student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ where she is studying sociology and creative writing. She recently returned to the U.S. from a year doing mission work outside Mexico City. More of her writing can be found at The Wild River Review and her blog El Cuento de Pilar.

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John Timpane

April 20, 2008 at 12:07 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Let Thought Accept Its Place

Through chew, through eyeless churn, earthworms tumble the earth

By inching, bunching; segments collapse, telescope,

Render the hardpack (degradation left of leaves)

Loose to water, air, exchange of chemical fire; they

May wrap, warp, runnel, drill and shift out passages

Through dirt in humble wavelets through the surface, yet

Their work arranges earth for the root green riot; they

May be unclean, may be unthinkable, yet only

Such might – muscle in the billions – could be enough

To throw a planet’s skin awry, fieldbed for seeds.

We can not see it, do not know it; can not reach

So deep; we cannot reach so deep; we cannot reach

So deep. Let thought, a flicker through a surface, trace

Of lightning through its skin, accept its place with worms

To overturn, to undermine, mix earth and air.

John Timpane is the Associate Editor of the Editorial Board of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His books include Writing Worth Reading (coauthored with Nancy H. Packer), It Could Be Verse, and Poetry for Dummies (coauthored with Maureen Watts and the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University). His poetry has appeared in Sequoia, Vocabula Review, Northeast Corridor, 5_Trope, Eight Millennial Voices, Bucks County Writer, Live Oak, Wild River Review, and elsewhere. He is married to Maria-Christina Keller, copy executive at Scientific American. They live in Lawrenceville, N.J., with their children, Pilar (whose poetry also appears on this site) and Conor.

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Catherine KHN Magia

April 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm (Uncategorized) ()

TOC THE*

In a span of incense burning
There’s a stillness
In the Brooklyn night
When my mother passes
A tortoise shell comb
Through my hair
Black as sugarcane gelatin
And gnarled as roots
Touching her feet.

My mother tells stories
About the malleability of hair
In Vietnam, a young girl
Watches her tresses dance
Unfurling raven wings
Flying overhead
Men who think
She’s flirting.

A wife
Twists her hair into a bun
Round, richly layered
Earthscapes
Buried in the crevices
And small silver pins
Secrets that her husband
May not uncoil.

Hair is memory
Left on the scissor’s edge.
The odor of gunpowder,
Sunstroke from the rice fields,
And resilient salt that remains
After water, land, and bodies
Evaporate.

My mother does not stop
The slow rhythm of the comb
The day my father left
Hands stroking as her own
Long, uncoiled hair
Blacker than the negative
Of a photograph
Miraculously cut.

*Toc The refers to long, flowing hair in Vietnamese. The word “the” can also be used in a colloquial expression, to swear by.

ECLIPSE

Somehow we had missed the eclipse
Slow thickening of shadow
Celestial molasses careening across
Smooth white dough, darkening and sweetening

To watch the moon close in my imagination
Curved silver eye; blinking, blinded, and reemerging
A survivor of the sky
A narrowing shutter unable to resist light

I don’t remember the sleeping,
Only the stirring, your isolated movements
How you position your body like a mummy’s
Indifferent as wood, unable to slumber with anyone touching

I dreamed of standing at the doorway
Perpendicular to the moon, elliptical light trickling
Through my bones, the momentary flickering
Of the earth’s silhouette, for a minute, swaying together
Like trees in the wind, an unlikely pair

It will be years before this happens again.


Catherine KHN Magia is still discovering her own poetic voice. She has been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review and Lips. She has been a TV talk show host on public access television in Northern NJ. She works as a manager of marketing research for Bristol Myers Squibb Co. and currently resides in Plainsboro, NJ.

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Ellen Foos

April 18, 2008 at 3:25 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Support-Group Puppets

We speak in circles,
Sock-monkeys one and all,
able to say what we are told.

Yes, we are humbled by the experience.
No, we don’t like ourselves much.
Yes, the doctor is well-adjusted.

Dusty from disuse,
afraid of the wrong influences,
trust is established amongst the puppets.

I do not want you in this group,
social anxiety is not a disorder,
puppets have feelings too.

The number of sessions pretends to be open,
if you drop out it means you are better.
What did you learn from last week?

We are all in this together.
Individual therapy has been discouraged.
What happened to make you think that?
A hand inside told me what to do,
for so long I forgot who I was.

Television characters scared me:
Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
It’s foreign to speak to creepy animals.
Lamb Chop made me violent,
simple instructions were ineffective.

Puppet theater is a world of make-believe,
I will tell the others my problems.
Group dynamics between soft heads
slows down to a safe speed.

Punching the Mascot

It playfully taunted the referee
by biting its own tail in dismay
and shadowed an unsuspecting usher
into the upper deck,
crimes very soon forgiven,
unless you hate showmanship.
With its large head and poor eyesight
you enjoy watching it flail at halftime
in a match with the hometown mascot.
The person inside the dark costume
sighting only straight ahead
doesn’t see your approach,
is deafened by imitating a beast
in a crowd of excited onlookers.
So to punch it seems cruel,
with children watching
who just shook its paw.

Ellen Foos is the publisher of Ragged Sky Press and is a production editor at Princeton University Press. Her first collection of poetry, Little Knitted Sister, came out in 2006. A MacDowell Colony fellow and a member of U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative, her poems have also appeared in U.S. 1 Worksheets, Kelsey Review, Edison Literary Review and Sensations Magazine.

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Jean Hollander

April 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm (Uncategorized) ()

The Making of a Saint

The night my wild dog
fell down a tree well
and you tried to heave her out
she gashed and howled,
mauled your hands.

You brought a ladder
raised the maddened dog
who never loved you
up through the broken grate.

In the lantern-like door light
you strode translucent
into the kitchen, rays
bending to follow,
washed your bleeding palms
while the dog romped outside,
celebrated her arising
on faulty legs.

Three days you shone in flames
like a nervous saint,
bandages absorbing the rays
of your infected stigmata.
“Don’t touch me,” you said,
burning as you were.

The dog was not grateful,
nor have I been,
temper and cool, how you
must find us wanting,
as almost in disdain
in spite of our cracked hearts
despite ourselves
you save us.

In the Middle of the World
(for W.P.)

In the middle of the church
a compass shows
where Christ was put
after they pried him from the cross.
They say that compass is
the middle of the world

as here a car speeds by, and on the road
the squirrel circles, runs
around his wounded head
his body like a maddened compass leg
pivots his grume of blood,
he cannot scramble off in a straight line
but radiates around his point of pain

so you and I in our separate
circuits of sudden loss–
for you a son
found in a night-closed pool,
for me a baby’s mouth
locked against breath–
are caught, no matter how
our needles twist and jerk,
we are confined and centered in
the lodestone of those deaths.

Persephone’s Return

Daughter, I put you down in autumn
into deep earth
where you became the later son who took
your eyes, a brazen blue and your white hair
so blond it lost all color in bright sun.

Strange when I thought of you
returned and grown, I saw you in
a doctor’s white that he now wears
as though you could not make it back
in your own shape but had to gather

limb by bone, four winters, your return
in different, yet remembered form,
dragging the gravel of mortality
into his lusty life, making him
an instrument against your brevity

as I still live, from spring to spring
awaiting your return with each new leaf
your coming as each bloodroot grows
from heart of earth
its bleeding stalk holding white blossom out.

Jean Hollander’s first book of poems, Crushed into Honey, won the Eileen W. Barnes Award. Her second collection, Moondog, was a winner in the QRL Poetry Book Series. Her third book of poems, Organs and Blood, was published two weeks ago. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, as well as in Best Poem Anthologies and other collections. She has won many prizes, grants, and fellowships at writers’ colonies.

She has taught literature and writing at Princeton University, Brooklyn College, Columbia University, and The College of New Jersey, where she was director of Writers Conferences for twenty-three years. She teaches classes in poetry writing and literature at the Princeton Y and other institutions.

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Othello

April 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm (Uncategorized)

OTHELLO Act I Scene III (as read by postmidnight)

Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels’ history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak, — such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She’ld come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, ’twas passing strange,
‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.

postmidnight is a very disturbed young man. He believes his parents were an inkpen & a thesaurus. He often suffers from insomnia, convinced that his television is trying to kill him. He was last seen walking towards 95 south, mumbling that “The truth is out there.” This man is dangerous. Listen with caution. postmidnight is also one of the hottest young poets on the spoken word scene. He’s slammed & performed across the country, read his work on several radio stations, & done work with various non-profit organizations ranging from schools to soup kitchens. He’s the author of 2 screenplays, a stage play, & 6 chapbooks – Common Sense, Unconventional Criminal, Mentally Disturbed, Schizophonetic, Troubled Youth & Sex & Violence. postmidnight has also produced 3 spoken word cds – moonshower moods, Soap(EP), & Phoenix. Attempting to legitimize the vocation of “rock star poet,” he is currently recording with his band, Inside Job. He is also refining his oneman show – “Breathing Affirmations: Catharsis Postmidnight”. post has starred in a few short films, including The Victrola, Foul Play and Out of Bed. Most recently he has been hosting Late Night Series – Philly at Drexel University, Late Night Series – Jersey at Mercer County Community College, and working with the Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival’s staged reading series, performing in the Olivier award winning play Blue/Orange.

Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival/Shakespeare in the Square Shakespear-e-thon 2008
This year, Princeton Rep is pleased to present its annual Shakespear-e-thon as part of Princeton’s Communiversity Street Festival on Saturday, April 26th on the Palmer Square Green from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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JC Todd

April 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Moon Blown Free

What kept me awake? Not a trite starry glaze
on the sun roof, or a phrase I liked to repeat,
or the downshift of cars climbing the grade;
not the sweet intense of us coupled
heating the van where we’d meet, or that moan
when you’d let yourself loosen in sleep.

My restless desire to behold
the whole of it—inward and out—
drove me onto the cold dome of rock
overlooking the home-studded valley.
Star whirl and leaf dust stung my eyes
with the sheer impact of blaze and crumble.

What space had this body opened into with you?
And where was the moon—had it blown free?

Men Kissing

Men kissing, men kissing men in a movie,
women kissing, kissing women in the next,
then men kissing women, women, men,

lips swelling into sexual pout,
tongues like petals in storm whorling
on a screen in the basement

of the Methodist Church. Not porn, not instruction
but an ancient lesson—adoration,
how the mouth without words is made holy.

In the diner after the movies, men kissing,
a blonde and a redhead. Over rhubarb pie and coffee
I’m imagining the redhead kissing me.

It’s good, as good as any lover,
lips so full I want to gloss them with crimson,
signaling to ruin, Pass over here.

In the shiny metal wall, I glimpse a smeary face,
my own, blurred enough it could be my brother’s
leaning toward our father, ready for a bedtime kiss.

My brother, little, kissing our father,
my brother, grown, kissing our father.
Every night of the life they lived together,

Father leaning back in the rocker, tilting his head,
his mouth toward his son, Son leaning down,
thin lips pursed, his nose, so like Mother’s,

brushing Father’s nose, his stubbled chin
brushing Father’s stubbled chin,
the two of them, homophobic and affectionate,

saying goodnight with a kiss as soft
as the first kiss of the men in the movie, the men
in the diner, soft as kisses I have given or received.

Here I try to jump out of the box of language

Heart thumped, fist under dog’s thick ribs.
Scent drove its beat – nose to ground, heart
to nose. Fox, dog would have said but knew
red flick of tail, chewy flesh, bitter juice
of blood, knew without word, before word.

Dog is dog – stomach, nose, heart.

The past tense this is told in is not where dog runs.

J.C. Todd is author of What Space This Body (Wind Publications 2008), and two chapbooks, Nightshade and Entering Pisces, both from Pine Press. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner and on Verse Daily. Awards include two Leeway Awards for Poetry, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and fellowships to Schloss Wiepersdorf arts colony in Germany and the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Sweden. She has edited translation features on Lithuanian, Latvian and Slovene poetry The Drunken Boat and is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College.
What Space This Body may be ordered online at Wind Publications

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