Locust Two - April 1999

Locust Two
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 2 - April 1999

FOREWORD


Welcome #2! Well, actually, it should only be regarded as a sort of continuation of Issue #1. Faithful to his principle of Locust Magazine as a strictly small anthology, when putting Issue One together the editor left out some material, which is now online. If, on the one hand, there are faults or mistakes, BUT, on the other hand, the reader can find sparks and liquid life... great! Locust's end has been attained. As usual, the mag's aim isn't perfect literature, but energy, magma. The editor once wrote--something he is so proud of !--that modern poetry seemed to be so short of fuel. Can this idea be easily contradicted?

April 1999

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SUMMER LESSONS IN THE RAINFOREST
~ A Poem by Stephen Bett ~


Even on holiday, surrounded by west coast rainforest,
we can't escape the latest in skill-testing bi-cultural
awareness

For sensitivity to the non-inclusive interests
of local tree-hugger and aboriginal spiritualist
our tourist pamphlet offers the totemic import
of culturally modified trees

while to alert us to anti-
social practices in the semi-wild, the radio news warns
of a 59-year-old apprehended for pleasuring himself
against a cemetery tombstone--offering indignities
to a monument marking human remains

The lesson here,
apart from a kind of old- and mid-growth lushness
of euphemism, appears to indicate that cultural
adaptation can be as simple as handing a few well-
placed whacks, on tree or stump, as a preferred way
to ward off, or repulse, all manner of evil spirit
whether emanating from sky or from under ground

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DEAD MEN
~ A Poem by Tom Kellar ~


dead men
don't care what the surgeon general thinks

dead men
drive around with no place to go

dead men
figure the come-on at the end of the bar, more trouble than she's worth

dead men
hold alcohol in a medicinal light

dead men
will sleep in their work clothes

dead men
never need to RSVP

dead men
buy cars, and smokes, based solely on price

dead men
avoid eye contact at all costs

dead men
doodle on the obituary page

dead men
drive on bald tires with cracked windshields.

dead men
accept with resignation, the next day's hangover

dead men
listen to Coltrane, and Davis, start to finish, no interruptions

dead men
don't floss

dead men
will drink their Sake cold

dead men
don't sweat expiration dates

dead men
never wear bandages

dead men
are past blaming anyone

dead men
see horse-shit and diamonds the same

dead men
don't care where the candle-wax falls

dead men
forget what day of the week it is

dead men
can't get to sleep at night, can't wake up in the morning

dead men
have nothing in their hands

dead men
never ask another chance

dead men
have no need to make sense of anything

dead men
play dumb when they know they're being lied to

dead men
have made the connection between sorrow and desire

after losing the thing he loves
a dead man will spend the rest of his days
anesthetizing the past
pouring gasoline on the future

dead men
have no fear of dying the second time

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TWO POEMS by Janet Buck

*

QUIXOTE WINDS


When I look in your eyes,
I see justice myths as empty urns.
Prometheus gave the world fire
and suffered for his sacrifice.
You are the boatman
of the River Styx, but
tragic vacuums swallow coins;
the truth of your moan
makes mortal deaf.


To help a friend,
you set up something worse
than death: a bullet
in your back for
every tender finger shared.
This year, Santa Claus
is a morphine drip
and enemas pour into a pile
of old nightgowns dropped
off like communion wafers
from someone who wants to
but cannot change despairing facts.


Nurses are your body guards.
Reindeer motion is nothing but thorns.
A hot, hot date with a water-bottle
and a row of bedsores
gone from red to black
like holly seeds the world ignores.
Christmas stockings are a joint.
An ambulance, your limousine.
Eggnog is your Lomatil.
Through it all, there sings a muted
victory of how you put another first:
just like straw for eagle wings,
Quixote winds live in your hair.

[For Julie Morgan, December 1998 ]

*

SARDINE SLIPPERS


In the orchestra pit
of acceptable dreams,
crippled flesh is dirty snow.
Its stench is unforgettable--
like grass clippings
stashed in a closed garage
or peat moss on carpets
of a brand-new truck.
We hang storms
as thick as bedroom drapes.
Difference dandruff is rebuffed,
as if its arsenic capabilities
are a contact sport and
the game is coming to a close.


Slugs and snails of falling tears
are fingerprints on coffee mugs.
Flyers of mortality's presence
stuck uninvited under wiper blades.
Emotion's pollen (of course)
requires a tuba to clear
its passageways
and limping parades
are hard to watch
since whacked off legs
don't grow back and
courage stripes seldom see
the war dissolve.
So we all waltz avoiding--
pretending we don't.
Sardine slippers of perhaps
I'm next, well, determine
the direction of Gestapo eyes.

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THE FIDDLER AND HIS LADY
~ A Poem by J. Kevin Wolfe ~


He made his fiddle a lady
in the exhaled haze of a Dingle pub


As the drums and strums
danced the clack of Keryl's spoons
the old men scratched their violins
But not Macguire's lady


She cooed and sighed
as his chin so gently rested on her body
His peaceful touch drew across her
like a warm breath through hair of silk
Then the rogue Jim made her weep


till she bit us with her pain
and a drip of tears seasoned the Guinness


But he knew his lady so well
The instant he smiled and her hopes took wing
She laughed like he'd never made her grieve


Her chorts so loud they drew a curious boy
who jigged on the stains of the floor
She giggled at the jests of Macguire's bow
and the boy floated above the hardwood
his feet occasionally tapping the floor


At closing time
Jim laid his lady in her worn velvet bed
and locked her away
as if she only wanted to sing to him
He hugged her under his arm
protecting his rare lady from the damp chill
of the Irish summer night.


[The Fiddler and His Lady first appeared online in Writer's Block and Iambus Online in August 1997.]

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An Extract from
SILENUS
Part 1 - Debut -
~ A Pseudo-Mythological Poem by Patrick Gasperini ~


Unformed,
Deformed,
O ruby nymph,
Explain my complexity to these geometrical hordes,
Because if they can understand that north and south are only two of the five streets of the sky
(As everything depends on the right perspective),
Perhaps they will also understand the balance of my intentions
And the needle of my long tail.


Although I have been contemplating pure divinity for two stone of centuries,
I am still bewildered,
For if I consider the absolute weight of illusions and the arrows of time,
I inevitably conclude that they are less divine than your herpes.


To you and no one else, my nymph,
Who once told me you longed to kiss my soporific hair,
I, who was born when the Roman Empire could be crammed into a chamber-pot,
Dedicate the topaz of my yawning,
My persistent effects.


In my grandfather's coffer I found a grotesque bone,
History's femur;
I bored six holes in it,
My new pipe was ready.


I decided to move away from my usual prestige
And sleep rough just for once,
Sylvan comfort under a creeping tin roof
(You should have seen me, perfectly combed, angelically perfumed with chlorine,
My tie attracting neutrons and dragonflies).


I made for the station at the bottom of the Film-star Boulevard
(Honestly, I can't account for its hyperbolic name;
To tell the truth, it is only a haunt of minotaurs and tipsy hermaphrodites,
Probably just a philosophical nuance).


I was absolutely dazzled by the mysticism of hundreds of onyx benches where empty packets of gems and petals had been left;
I chose a goods train that was just pulling out unnoticed from a dead-end track,
Destination: Arctic Forest,
Its wagons emerald in the jingling moonlight.


I jumped on and made a pillow of some auriferous flakes I saw in a corner,
Each bridge we flew across added a bar to the night overture,
I slept soundly until something familiar woke me,
A rivulet of radioactive jam was petting my feet.

*

Darling, my scarlet nymph,
Sometimes I wonder if you are really happy when I show you my iron impertinence,
No one has ever learnt the alphabet of your pants.


Both minutes and millenniums are reflected in the polished globe of my belly,
But nothing more than intestinal prophecies;
Cyclic meridians journey incessantly through my dreams like a web of emotions,
And meditative smoke enriches my silver pause:
A handful of gamma-rays can well become a nocturne in my receptive ears.


From my throne on a rubbish peninsula
I contemplate my magic island:
From gates of petrified sweat
To the precious essence of typhoid fever,
The artery-kingdom.


I choose another bottle--1991 Bordeaux--
To celebrate the sacrifice of a new day,
The conscience of a crazy huddle of muscles and desires,
Poisoned embryos.


When I say good morning, I certainly mean something quite improbable;
When I lift my cup and wait, there's certainly a whole symphony between the moments:
A draught and I drink half of the world,
Political dystrophy, catechism and all.


I do not think a thousand good mornings will ever nourish the new-day mob;
From the apogee of my enterprise
I'll try offering free tickets for my ethical triumph.


[Other excerpts from Silenus will appear in Locust #5]

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SCIFI FOREVER
~ A Poem by Michael Murtaugh ~


Scifi Forever!
Give us radio communications with our space vehicles racing through time and space!
Give us lasers and aliens and cybernetic crewmember!
Give us radiation suits and contamination scans and high adventure to boot!
Give us ionization particle anomalies and give it all meaning.
Shake the stardust from out of us and let us live again in the dream of
Science that's yet to be known.
Take us to the outer edge of where all our ideas our going and call it a future.
That just might be.
Scifi, Scifi forever, never say never from transporter to teleporter to dimension to dementia. Let the adventure Rock n' Roll until it's out of control.
From Flash, to Buck to Kurk and Back again take us round the universe from parsec or zone,
Make it quick and we hope we'll all make it home.
Scifi forever...

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TWO POEMS by Townee

*

SHOP


in a greasy gall
ery painted white...

my mechanic's
wedding chapel

--he wouldn't
fix mini vans--

...hangs an artist,
now by his roots.

and, you walked down
the long hallway to join me.

wasn't my voice that carried
passed our threshold

in destiny's inexperie
nced cut-up hands.

it's his, this artist
who wears overalls

smeared with the choco
late coffee that drives you.

not like mine,
the poetry

untight, and
non-metric in me.

*

JUDAS WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL SLAVE


looking
nothing
like your sister
next door.


your American
english, visitor with
a friendly
stranger.


there
were
three stories
to this house.


these imperfect pictures
arranged and,
recocked...
picked.


one ascending,
then descending
the spiraling
staircase.


lying
prostrate
fearful of love
to feel all the intimacy


just,
please,
no
kissing.


that weekend pain
at arching
your worknight
back.

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PENTALOGUE AGAINST THE 20th CENTURY
~ A Pretentious Article by Patrick Gasperini ~


In less than five hundred words I'll put forward five reasons for my dislike of the 20th century cultural trends. Our great century! Plenty of idols to worship and gods to adore, but few great poets or writers to love!

I

Our century is the century of AWARDS, awards of every kind, hundreds of literary awards as well. Let's think how greatness and genius are attached to the mere fact of being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. But isn't that prize just a matter of run-of-the-mill fashion, which has often nothing to do with cosmic oxygen or universal vibrations? Do you really think that Mr Carducci (Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906), Mr Kipling or Mr Churchill would be awarded today? Thanks Goodness, there is a limited bunch of such fluorescent people as Mr Walcott, who still succeed in setting my brain ablaze.

II

Our century opened with an American sage who ruthlessly passed judgment on the wretched horde of his predecessors, and is now coming to an end with that same sage sent to pillory. Don't tell me you have never read about Mr T. S. Eliot being only skilled in using a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue, and nothing else?

III

What appalling confusion! Literature or journalism? But aren't they the same in the eyes of common people? Were they really the same in the eyes of Sir Richard Steele? I have been wondering for years and years whether there is any art in that flying mixture of fleeting words and pictures sold off here and there, and I am still uncertain what to say. "If you like writing--my father once said--why don't you become a journalist?" That very night I started out to write my first visionary poem.

IV

Our century is certainly the century of cultural rebellions. However, it is more logical to talk about frustrated rebellions, where a sad sense of self-destruction has only produced victims. Indulgence in such substitutes for reality as spirits and drugs isn't an invention of the 20th century, probably just the uncanny inheritance of some French Symbolists. In the past, however, it only seemed to be a private problem instead of cultural magniloquence. A real revolution is still wanting, though. Nevertheless, despite dozens and dozens of failures, my hopes are still alive as things seem to be slowly moving on.

V

O that horrible word! STARDOM! What do you think of first when you hear it? Poets? Great Writers? WRONG! You immediately and inevitably think of film-stars or pop singers. I must concede that there are some good actors or singers who know their business, but please, no orgiastic worship or ecstatic contemplation! This strangely reminds me of the days of Queen Elizabeth I, when actors without patrons were included in the category of vagabonds and rogues. Times have certainly changed; a sign of spiritual evolution. What a wonderful century!

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