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Part 1 Contributors

 

Rae Armantrout
Bart Edelman
David Garyan
Suzanne Lummis
Glenna Luschei
Bill Mohr
D. A. Powell
Amy Uyematsu
Paul Vangelisti
Charles Harper Webb
Bruce Willard
Gail Wronsky

Part 2 Contributors

Elena Karina Byrne
liz gonzález
Grant Hier
Lois P. Jones
Ron Koertge
Glenna Luschei
Rooja Mohassessy
Susan Rogers
Patty Seyburn
Maw Shein Win
Kim Shuck
Lynne Thompson
Carine Topal
Cecilia Woloch


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Click to enlarge picture Gail Wronsky
Gail Wronsky
Californian Poets Part 1: Three Poems
by
Gail Wronsky


 

 



The difference between a jaded vision and an honest one is a nighttime

Vision always first comes as innuendo with a splash of the grave—

as a flash perhaps of green light sinking into the loam of the living.

A night in pursuit of it gives me: aging freeways of broken glass

layered over and embracing each other; the wistful stitching

of a siren; and a corner of the eye kind of glimpse of the

floating outstretched soul of a psychiatric patient who leapt today

from his doctor’s office into air—into air that was itself a

window, a gaping toothlessness in a sky blue mouth. It’s five a.m.

I put my cup down on the counter of the all-night café and

vagabond off, thinking about how the psychedelic soul (for

it must be) often sinks into its guts, refusing to be relocated

outside of the body, until in the hum of some undersong it

becomes little more than a hum itself, a humming of a kind of

hankering and its absence, little more than the determined

shredding of a napkin by a goth girl on the front steps of the

Last Bookstore, little more than the starchy aroma of the noodle place.

It is the soul’s oldest habit--to try to make connections between

emotions and things. And the body, at this age, wants nothing,

really, but to put its head down softly in some moonlight, to sit

while others are shown the working ropes and levers, shirking

noise rather than shaping it into meaning. In that small noise of the

still body, the pink insouciance of early morning clouds. In this

small morning suddenly everything seems oracular, even

the woman being taken away from her tent of tarps

and boxes by an affectless cop. “My husband,” she’s saying (they

pass me on the sidewalk at Spring Street and 6th) “burnt to death

in ’97 when our house came down. My husband,” she says, “he

looked just like the beautiful Elvis.”



Myself am hell

Henry Adams, admired by Lowell, argued
that Stable equilibrium is death. Either that

or it’s the only chance you have of staying afloat.
What if, like Lowell, you’ve got it crazy/bad—

feeling as if your own hand is at your throat
while a fever tyrannizes the brains, the bones,

the stones, the soul, which all ultimately turn to
blackness and language. The peak is a narrow one,

psychoanalysts say. And poetry, as we all know,
is as quiet as the sapphire in the eye of a storm,

which can only be seen when a god’s red eyelid
lifts or during maniacal episodes: gifts of the muse—

those and pain. Meanwhile, we worship the
artifices of a love song, dreaming of wings of

sonorous melody. Mythologies aren’t what they
used to be (even the lives of the poets disappoint).

A few clouds, white and piled high, navigate
through space like galleons, perfectly balanced galleons,

across the della robbia glaze of an August sky.
And yet we must not scare.



The Non-Self

Sewn through by my use
Of dashes,

Articulate
In the tongue-swallows of my
Clamped down mouth,

Clamped down
On this eyelid-thin
Life of mine. She is
Promiscuous—
A social butterfly. She

Wakes wearing
Spider-fern
Antennae and
Sun’s motes,

Her
Fingers suggestively
Exploring a conch shell’s
Cavity.

Or is it my hand that
Strokes and probes
The chalky interior
Of this metaphor?