MAP 264-1
December 14, 2002
Featured Poetry Supplement
Theme: The Best That I Can Do

Upcoming themes:

#265 - Hats and Gloves
#266 - Celebrating Floyd Freeman

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This week's selections include:

1. "Ice Dream" by Mike Gullickson
2. "Rimbaud's Conscript" by R.U. Outavit
3. "Breathing" by Steven Smith
4. "Human Torch" by Josh Glantzberg
5. "The Best That I Can Do" by Ingeborg Carsten-Miller
6. "Get Up & Groove" by Marily Injeyan
7. "The Great Thing That Can Be Done" by Richard Cambridge
8. "The Passage of Dream-time" by Michael Levy
9. "The Poem I Want To Write" by Stazja

1. Ice Dream by Mike Gullickson

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice."
FIRE AND ICE - Robert Frost

"In the 1990s researchers began to notice another
potentially unsettling characteristic of the Ross ice
steams: they are not only fast but fickle "
Scientific American December 2002

Riding the ice stream,
on a borrowed snowboard,
my body reacts
leaning to the right
when it's called for
leaning to the left
when that's what I need.
Beneath me the ice slides
on muddy till;pebbles;clay,
the shells of long dead marine life,
linking the past
to the present journey
as I continue gliding towards
the sea.
There is time to think-
time to ask myself
what can I do to contribute to
Global Emotional Warming ?
Are there words like freon
that can change the atmosphere?
Are there green house gases in
a poem ?
The best thing I can do
is to address these lines to you,
release them to the air
and hope I find you there.

© 2002 Mike Gullickson
from Notes From Antarctica

2. Rimbaud's Conscript by r.u. outavit

Yes I lie here dying
in the flaxen tufts of untrod meadow
beside this lazily meandering brook.
Notice how I look almost as if I had
very cautiously crawled up to the edge
of the brook perhaps to see the tiny fish
or the divinely delicate multicolored
dragonfly at rest. But then I became foolish
and allowed the whispering melodies of the slithering
water and the lullaby serenity of this majestic meadow
to entice me so that I wanted to gaze
deeper into its revelation.
Observe how the water splashes ever so gently
against my face, how it eddies in the pocket formed
by my throat and chin then swirls past my lips
and over the bridge of my nose, rushing around the
curve of my forehead and unfurling my youthful
long blond hair from under my helmet as it
trails off downstream. It looks almost as if I
were trying to see above and below the
water level simultaneously. From this angle
I can see the tiny ripples in the constant
flow of ever-changing vortices releasing minuscule
fragmentations of its ever-remaining self into a
perpetuating mist that prisms the faint amber
sunset twilight into myriad flashing, dancing,
twinkling rainbows.
And I can see your reflection wavering on the
water's surface and sense in your jigsaw refraction
presence the absolute essentialness of immutable
instability that ordains life exquisite, death eternal.
Yes I lie here dying,
if only I could speak but the water
is cool in early Spring--
so cool my smile has frozen.

© R.U. Outavit
3. Breathing by Steven Smith

I'd come home pooped and disregard the
Azure nightfall on the grass, demand
A fight about the sponges gone moldy
Under the stainless steel sink, no plan
For the night, just a bottle of ale
On the sofa with 60 Minutes
Showing, and I'd wake up soaked, though hale,
Wander to my bed and lay in it.
Sometime later it'd be 6:30.
I'd get up, poop, shower, eat, dress, drive, sign
My name to the forms set before me,
Again not finish the early Times.
So when the fire came, why did I jump?
Breathing doesn't feed what's done, but what's up.

© Steven Smith
4. Human Torch by Josh Glantzberg

Set me on fire.
Let me burn
all kinetic and
Johnny Storm*.

My feet scald
in potmarks
- black in the cold concrete.

I will burst
- monk in protest -
fluid phosphorescence
high above the licks
of my ears.

My eyes will sear
blue and wide,
butane puddles
under kevlar brows.

I am not an abstraction:
still thrumming
wet and humane,
now alive and infernal,

hell just set me free.

* Johnny Storm is the secret identity of the Human Torch, a comic
book character.
© 2002 Josh Glantzberg
5. The Best That I Can Do by Ingeborg Carsten-Miller

The best
that I can do
is write
my sorrows
onto paper
put my pains
to words
which silently
look back
to me:

"Is this
the best
that you
can do?"

© 2002 Ingeborg Carsten-Miller
6. Get Up & Groove by Marily Injeyan

"Ariba, Olé, Olé!"
Eighty hands clap, feet thump
and stomp on the gym's wooden
floor. She won't quit this cranberry
surge as she abandoned Little Sparrow
Parisian dreams, tangerine groves
and golden daffodils never seen.

She huffs and puffs, chugs
like The Little Engine That Could,
marches in place when the others
jump and Can-Can kick. Grainy
hope soothes marshy, muddled
thoughts, fixed in fear.

Once, she consumed a whole box
Of Sees chocolates. It didn't
begin to fill the hollows.
Retired, not ready for slippers
and a quilt-covered lap, she misses
walks with the dog and him
living in his self-imposed Siberia.

There is a life elsewhere.
In this room, she's part of the heat.
No lemonade and licorice Hop-Scotch
days, only sweat-splashed brow blinding
and the pump of her ash-heart, a house
built of bricks the wolf can't blow down.

© 2002 Marilyn Injeyan
7 . The Great Thing That Can Be Done by Richard Cambridge

What great thing can be done for the world today?
What can one person do?

One person can do the thing one is supposed to do,
Whatever that is.

The only freedom is to choose to do
The thing you are supposed to do. Whatever that is.

You may choose not to do the thing you are supposed to do,
But this isn't freedom, it is something else.

I am not sure what you call it when you choose not to do the thing
You're are supposed to do, but it's not freedom, it is something else.

You may say, O, you are talking about Obedience.
This is not about obedience. It's about doing the thing you are
supposed to do.

Like the way jonquils trumpet Spring.
Like the way squirrels bury nuts in late-Summer,

And there's this certain maple
Always blazes red by the second week of October

Or the way any number of hundreds of thousands of things
Do the thing they are supposed to do as it is their purpose to do it.

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in late-November,
I'm walking around Walden Pond having a wonderful time

Enjoying the colors of the leaves
When all of a sudden- I sure would like a cigarette.

What is it about smoking that makes it such a powerful addiction?
I think it has something to do with the closeness of breathing.

To be able to suck something into you so deep-
To hold it there- beyond reason, beyond passion

In the twin belly of your lung-
A marriage of smoke and breath- held- exhaled-

Repeated again and again like ritual, like breathing,
Like the way it makes you feel on those certain days

When everything begins to yield to you,
Not because of you, but because Grace happens to have you there

Just as the petals open,
Just as the wind stirs the fragrance.

You will never have to sever the one you love
To force them to scream the Truth to you.

The thing you hold so close and true will never curl
And sharpen to a hook and bite you.

There will be no more surprises in the pleasures of the night
When your lover reaches out, but it's hands of your mother or your

You will never have to say, Are you with me.
Are you with me!

It will not be important to remember your keys or the color of your
Because everything will open and match.

You will say, It is good this way!

You will remember all of your dreams
and the colors of them will never fade or run away.

You will be happy with your own skin
And the way it folds around your bones

And content with the space you take up
between the earth and the sky.

You will know the direction before the fork in the road.
You will sit down and make peace with every lie you ever told.

Everything will be what it is and not another thing,
Like the way things are, the way you'd want them to be.

You will savor the first thing you put in your mouth in the morning.
Everything will be warm and kitchen and the cake always rising.

You will be able to leap like a cat- only with your pen,
Or your brush or the way you dance or swing a hammer

Or whatever it is you do,
You will do it with Grace and Beauty.

© Richard Cambridge
-From The Cigarette Papers
8. The Passage of Dream-time by Michael Levy

I enter my rainbows...that stir in slumbering amour,
Blanketed in the warmth of heavenly excellence.

In dreams I can roam through forests of reflections,
Discover Banyan trees of euphoria,

Beyond the doorways to exalted realities...
I merge with unfathomable mountains...
to behold distant horizons.

My Spirit's harvest brings forth gardens of beauty before my eyes,

I blend with orchids without worries,
Roses that have no scent of fear,
Daffodils that can so fluently waltz the dance of gladness,
Gardenia and Azaleas that liberate joy infused perfumes.

My smile reflects God within and I observe a beaming Sun,

I ride on the magnetic waves of an angel's wings
across the heavens majestic high-ways,

All too soon.... The passage of dream-time is slowly extinguished.

The eloquent virtues of mother nature's bounty....
Open an array of gifts for my mortal senses,

Each day my flourishing heart is blessed in human renewal,

I travel inside the music of my vitality......
Alight to the rhythm and pulses of my heartbeat,

In the brightness of the early dawn
my daytime dreams are about to begin their daily performance.

© 2002 Michael Levy
10. The Poem I Want To Write by Stazja

will take a medical degree
in cardiology, requiring self-surgery to reach
that deep inside and rip my heart out,
hold it pulsing in my palm,
dip my pen in blood to ink the words
that have not been invented yet.

This poem that is not ready to be written
will articulate an inspiration
so divine a blind man's sight
would be restored
if only he could hear those words.

The meaning will
be clear as crystal water
from the fountain of creation,
pure enough to cleanse
the guiltiest of hands.

And should it ever culminate,
the poem I want to write
will speak of nothing less
than love.

© 2001 Stazja
from Garland
Grateful thanks to all who contributed.

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