1. Blue Chair - Austin,
3:23 a.m. by Heather Long
The universe nestles in margins, small
beyond mattering. Texas is caught
in your hair; futures eddy
in depths I can't swim to, sieve
through my fingers.
You sleep, magnitudes written
in the notion that you can.
We have risen, lungs laboring,
Robed in miasma, I scribble -
citations, a market list
of attributes; the subtle pass
of the collection basket.
Magnanimous in silence, you sleep,
glowed flesh jazzed into question.
In these margins, you murmur
hot, sweet Austin - synaptically rebirth,
suckle what matters.
2. A Night Like This by Donn Deedon
The Santana Wind is blowing and the moon is rising full
The evening weather is balmy from the hot wind's breath
That turns the leaves and ripples the pool
A night like this brings out the passion
That pervades my perfervid soul
I feel a yearning like restlessness released
And my heart starts singing a loving song
I hunger to touch you; to embrace;
To feel my body twist into your caress
As you submit to my eager kiss
And open to this wind-driven dream
'Til all your fantasies are released
And your ecstasy resolves to an open-throated scream
A night like this, with the moon so full,
Demands we give our love with all our pride.
On a night like this if one can't find love
One should, at least, have a motorcycle to ride.
3. A poem for Janice Jordan:
a candidate for SD City Council District 8 by Jimmy Jazz
Begin with a political platform embedded under the skin in ink
I never got a tattoo because I never believed in anything
but she is practically sleeved with belief
Gonna talk about race and sex and class when the economy is stuck on
since the majority is still a minority when it comes to getting paid
How many meetings can a single mother attend?
free Mumia at 6
police sensitivity training at 5
stop the war at 4
ban the bomb at 3
stop the presses at 2
fund the Zapatistas at 1
unless house the homeless on Thursday
and attend a gay marriage every Sunday
Save Peltier and Big Mountain and the whales by putting a cap on ceo’s
tax the fuck out of our sins and “Just because we legalize hemp, doesn’t
mean we have to smoke it.”
Ban the bomb
ban the ban
ban the banners of books,
wave the banner of peace and freedom
like kids at a rock show with clenched fists
in the air keeping time to the music
shouting power to the people
power to the people
what are you running for
what are you running for
“slow down you better slow down, babe you know you’re moving way too
We like your energy but have to vote for the same lethargy
if we vote at all cause you aint viable without deep pockets
if she had a hundred million dollars, she wouldn’t waste it on tv
Can’t explain why the border should be torn down and feminism means
asserting themselves like women in a sound bite anyway
California propositions 187 and 209 are examples of institutionalized
the difference between democrat and republican
like the difference between two right hands confirming a dirty deal
the war chest is empty
but resounds as you beat on it like Tarzan
the guerrilla fighter
the rock n roller
the bread bringer
the woman who takes men to the mat and pins them by their ears with
rivets of common sense
the student of Emma Goldman
has got your back in every crisis
the leader who follows
the truth like one of the converted
the speaker who listens
the faithful atheist
who communes with the Aztecs on the solstice
imagine a city where the only rule is respect
and in Feb 2001
vote for it
4. untitled by Mike Cluff
I have only
four tears left
one of them
save for you.
5. excerpt from "A Gathering of Pages" by Steve Ramirez
Brother Langston sits on a raggedy chair outside a jook
joint, framed in the alleyway under a smoky rectangle.
He holds a guitar in his lap, quietly strummin' no particular tune
as he listens to the explosion of life rollin' across the threshhold.
Seersucker suit, unwrinkled, but collar open
in deference to the heat, he glances up, then nods to an empty
Delicate fingers slide across strings while his midsummer eyes
watch the movement, as if it were unexpected, yet pleasant.
He frets on the lowest two strings, pickin' at a straight-forward
blues beat, idly pushing four-chords into shape, or nearly so,
but he frowns, tries tappin' his wingtip shoes, loses count, then
"You ever have moments," he asks,
"When your right hand don't know what your left one is doin'?
Or your feet disagree with your hands,
and your guitar don't know what your voice sounds like?"
"That's what the years have done to me:
I'm sittin' here between the jook joint and 'whites-only' bar,
never inside either one.
I look both ways and sit in the middle of the street.
Got my daddy's chin and my mama's eyes;
my daddy's heart and my mama's tongue.
I ain't never gonna know which way is South,
or whether I'm more comf'table sleepin' on my back
or on my belly."
"Here," he smiles only in his eyes, slingin' the guitar my way,
"Give it a try. You couldn't do much worse.
'sides, I figgered out a long time ago
that I ain't ever gonna sing the blues.
It don't get me down none, though,
'cause I know a secret.
Y'see, everythin' feels alright
when I shut my eyes real, real tight;
stop listenin' to what my ears are sayin'
and concentrate on the sound of my pulse.
When I hold on to that long enough,
I dream the blues, son;
and when I die;
oh, when I die:
they'll find out I slept best
on my side."
6. Mandarin sun by Jimmy Smith
The sky tonight was delightful
Wispy nimbus clouds
Brilliant Maxfield Parrish Blue
and the color of tangerines
Dotting the clouds
Where the setting sun
caught them just right
Memories of Dick and Jane
Idyllic settings where
Sloping green hills
and perfect trees filled the horizon
White picket comfort
If only the sky were so beautiful
For any reason other than
7. Keys by Marilyn Injeyan
Stricken by what seems a theft
in bay-windowed Cape Cod,
I've returned to my sanctuary
where percussion of sun glares in.
Seven squares indent faded carpet,
three a deeper presence than the rest.
A cavernous space now.
Just this morning, my baby grand
presided, to fill me with melodies.
After being moved all three times,
once into a minuscule apartment,
my ebony Steinway abducted
while I sat at school gazing at clocks.
As usual, no one is home until
dinner time when Mom rushes in,
ties flowered apron in our blue
and yellow kitchen, just ahead of Dad.
Maybe she placed the ad to cover
gambling debts or I didn't play well
enough. Like that infamous elephant
in the living room, we don't discuss it.
Now the asking time is past.
Years later, my hands still miss
their easy octave stretches,
when I tapped and sang
The Tennessee Waltz,
"and while they were dancing
my friend stole my darling away."
Over, and back again, crossing
meadows, mountains, orchards,
oceans, fingers tapping without
the black and ivory. The singing
will never be done.
8. cassandra by Larry Jaffe
sitting beneath a tree
watching the moonlight
cascade in the shadows
he softly watches her passion
like he can monitor her heartbeat
an illuminated metronome
swaying in expectant desire
like it is no inconsequential
cause she walks like a samba
in the setting sun
and when she smiles heaven cries
her heart screams for him
in the tongue of angels
he is not god
yet he understands her
as she speaks to him
in languages the
universe has yet
he stands there listening
to her electric moves
that the screams are
uttered before the
act even starts