Locust Four - September 1999

Locust Four
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 4 - September 1999


The editor never thought he could ever think of publishing pieces concerning politics. Probably he only detests porridge more than politics. Unfortunately, his attitude is highly Platonic (that's why he's always so angry with everybody!), and he knows that no-one will ever listen to him seriously. Anyway, after a long week spent pondering, he decided that where there's discomfort there's something good for Locust Magazine. Of course, irreverence, disrespect and philosophical contempt are also valuable! And this is not a pose, but a necessity. If you will be patient enough, we can talk about that more appropriately later on. It might be an interesting article. In the meantime, enjoy Locust Four...

September 1999

Top of Page

~ An Essay by Janet Buck ~

Poetry is like kinky sex: we often wander around afterwards wondering what the Hell we just pulled off. It's a cramped bathroom stall with a door that won't stay shut. A dressing room in clothing stores, where naked slips between the cracks. This baring is a fishing boat with a loot that starts to smell, so we toss it (worms and all) over the side and tell ourselves we didn't litter in the deep blue sea because the fish are still alive. Idea storms leave a mess on the floor and the pilgrimage comes with little or no choice. It's bite the butt imaginings that step beyond the ethered road and tie us to a living tree.

All the stinking fish I have in mind vaults have character and a scent that's somewhere between Elizabeth Taylor's Passion and a hamster cage, so I keep these ungracious contributions to world peace in stock like recycled birthday gifts, old clothes hangers, or a bag of peat moss in the shed out back. The editorial ax is a huge responsibility and I have compassion for those who must write a poet and say: "Uck. Weak. Pedantic trucks. Bubble gum chewed by teeth before. Ship off candor somewhere else. For God's sake, put your clothes back on!" We trust editors with serious quilts of exposed flesh, assuming they will be human and respect Damascus steel of well-earned clues to the mystery of existence. Of course, the run-on sentence of rejection letters gets a little irritating, and we wish inspiration's curse or a course called Writing 101 on them as walnuts in a Christmas stocking. Poetics is in need of an anthem to chant: "I am me...I am free... I am who I need to be." Naturally, we all fill in the cracks of ellipsis marks with plus signs of our favourite demons. One man's tree is another man's broom is another man's cross. The concert has its foundation in inner matter cliques. It's much the same as an AA meeting: you don't choose attendance, but follow its compassionate scent for the good of your mental health.

Sending off a piece is something I always do with too much haste: it's smoothing out wrinkles in clothes and then stuffing them in a drawer ´cause I'm too lazy to REALLY iron with soul-steam and press them into Michelangelo's in the department of dirty shirts. If we had to wait for all perfect pleats (I'm sad to say), there wouldn't be much literary movement. Poetry is a swinging bridge. Candor wobbles openly; pages teach our legs to walk. I make a point of shipping off something every single day of the year, so that I never have to go through a serious case of rejection withdrawals and favour simultaneous submissions over rotting in the jail cell of wait until death to get something read. While this sometimes multiplies disappointment, it's like having all four wisdom teeth pulled at once: why stretch the agony out?

Not long ago, a very kind critic referred to my work as a cross between a Rauschenberg and a Klee. I'm still arranging that vase of roses he sent my way, but the truth is I've got the clay part down in its loose sand stage; it's the sculpture of insight that retains the eternal shape of flattened tires. He probably doesn't know it, but his comment was chap-stick on canker sores of "thanks, but no thanks"; the melody of eloquent myth he patted down so graciously will no doubt grow him angel wings. The creative process is a query fairy (all extensions and double entendres belong here). We ask questions and wait for the reader's eye to deny or applaud their holiness and worth. Despite the risky balance beam of airing one's soul in a public place, the urge to purge just dominates. Sitting down at my desk to write is a lot like dressing up for Sunday Mass: I haven't a clue what I'll say when I get there, but I know I must go or the sky will fall.

Top of Page

TWO POEMS by Jay Woodman



Blue. The bedroom is scumbled
with moonshine on walls and duvet.

The cupboard and carpet too are laced
with the light and the shadows of leaves.

My ghost writer sits at my desk and types
words streaming straight from my head.

My rhythm tonight won't let things rest.
Downstairs the scrapes and wet sounds

of somebody's imagination washing dishes
and cleaning the kitchen can be heard distinctly.

Maybe I've got a temperature or maybe I'm blue,
but either way, the music is hammering through.



Don't talk to me about death while I'm wearing
my blue shirt and trousers with red squiggles on.
I wear these bright colours to keep old black at bay.
He won't dare engulf my fine flesh & bones this week
no matter how extremely much the insurance might pay!

Top of Page




that you
in ripped plastic bags
kept a dying plant
from getting wet...

but then, didn't
notice cherry blossoms
had bloomed pink
in early spring.

paddy wagon--
though these streets,
and old whiskey alleys
for rain-soaked bums
their ladies, singles
taking shelter
where it's dry,
but not
like the cement, and new carpet
in jail...

they wash your clothes there
and, have heaters
coiled outside the spinning dryers.



the anti-love song
lifts, protects
its silver balloons
and, warm guns.

in thinnest melancholia.



there at my casket
no one will pall-

the priest
might spit
into that pit
with his disbelief;

make the mark
of my name
with an x
already a done deed.

Top of Page

~ A Poem by Travis Ray Cole ~

I wanna bite the apple, I wanna kill the snake
I wanna skin him alive for heavens sake
I wanna bite the apple, spit out the seed
´cause the lord knows I'm the demon seed
in revelations or on page one
when he comes calling the deed is done
I wanna eat the apple,
I got the hunger and need
for the taste of Eve the morning brings
I wanna bite the apple, kill the snake
take all the blame, it's not her mistake.

Top of Page

~ A Poem by Doug Tanoury ~

And I told her
Matter of factly
That indeed I am
A poet of naked breasts
And that umber nipples
Centered in amber aureoles
To me are pupils
And Irises that serve
As windows to the soul

And I went on to say
Confident and self-assured
That I am too the bard
Of the bare thigh
That to me is nature revealed
Tan like the underside
Of sycamore leaves in fall
Softly wild and untouchable
As a sleeping doe

And I concluded by saying
That I am a lyric that can versify
The plump lushness of
A pale ass
In still-life form
Like so much fruit
As if it were a honey dew melon
Sliced in two and resting
On the kitchen table

Top of Page

An Extract from
~ A Farcical Mystery by Patrick Gasperini ~



They were all sitting in silence around the ethereal table, pondering,
The Holy Maker in star-and-stripes waistcoat and a score of archangels:
I spotted Gabriel in good shape,
His wings as usual trimmed in the latest fashion;
I thought Lucifer was a gallows-bird,
But probably I had been wrongly informed,
For he was there, amongst those perfectly shaven counsellors.

A vital item was on the agenda:
Systems of government or, in other words,
The power of gold.

I've found it! said Gabriel;
All the others looked up at him wearily,
They had been racking their brains for three hundred years unsuccessfully,
Without a cigarette or a cup of tea,
And it's no joke at all, I warrant you.

Let's give mankind a hairy dictator,
A first-rate commander,
His uniform full of dazzling dreams,
His nights boiling with political frenzy:
Above all, the welfare of those who worship him!

Everyone will work and produce;
Everyone will have a glass of sugared water,
A plate of potatoes and sausages;
No one will ever disobey.

No! said someone else,
shaking his cloud-curled wig in disapproval.

I propose a bunch of crowned heads,
Who regularly attend benefit concerts and sail the skies in their ivory yachts,
While monetary preachers plan years of peace and happiness:
Can you imagine a better illusion?

Lucifer stood up, vigorous and self-confident,
Shining like a freshly coined napoleon,
Mankind needs illusions more than anything else:
Why don't we invent the polling-station?
Everyone will feel impenetrably inspired,
Although only those who sit at the helm of history will really grow fat and sleep well.

Another half a dozen angels spoke,
But their proposals are not worth mentioning;
God fell to scrawling on a piece of empty sky,
At long last He decided to draw lots.

I too had an interesting motion, but I did not step forward;
I withdrew in silence,
Trying to recall the formulas I had read in an ancient book of philosophy.

Top of Page

~ A Poem by J. Kevin Wolfe ~

Liberty had Che Guevara in a headlock
And standing on Stalin's face
she calmly said
The goal of revolution
is merely to overcome apathy

Marx got a dirty look
squirming in his seat
The goal is that the people
are aware of injustice

Mao's unconvincing grin remained
through a muffled cough

The great weapons:
satire and unpassioned truth.

Marat doodled as she warned
Fanaticism is blind passion
and can barely be trusted in a frenzy

Gandhi cleaned his glasses and smiled polite

Hatred is not
what freedom is about!

she screamed at
an uncomfortable Bolshevik
Revenge never set anyone free!
Pancho Villa's mustache was
not big enough to hide a snicker

And Liberty herself laughed
when she realized
she had been baring one breast and
why the boys
were paying attention

Top of Page

~ A Short Scherzo in Verse by Michael Segal ~

Oh, to be in England,
Now that Tony's there,
Who from heaven or near it
Pourest his full image
In well-premeditated strains of Blair.

Hail to thee, blithe Tony!
Shiny, new and nice,
A toothy grin, a charming smile,
Who knows what's going on meanwhile?
State-of-the-art as art of the state,
Politics as a question of style.

Tony! Tony! burning bright,
In the House of Commons night,
What immortal sense of state,
Is sealing Britain's future fate?

And does the Countenance Divine,
Shine upon our golden boy?
For do Millennium Domes not rise and stand
On Britain's pink New Labour land?

Top of Page


Two Locust contributors have recently announced the publication of their new collections of poetry. Marie Kazalia's Erratic Sleep in a Cold Hotel (Phony Lid Publications) will come out in September 1999; while Janet Buck's Calamity's Quilt (Newton's Baby Press) will appear in December 1999. Both first print collections. Should you be interested in details, please visit the following web pages

Top of Page

Copyright © 1998-2020 Locust Magazine - All Rights Reserved
Locust Magazine Logo