POETRY

Tex Kerschen

A selection of poems from  “Tidal Economics”

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT  FROM YOUR ECONOMY?
More time in the field,
more minutes in an hour,
a taut rope from hook to hook,

or less on the line, less to think about,
longer breaks, a new boss
(not a dickhead),
a longer moon.

 

GARDENS EVERYWHERE
Beauty breeds resentment,
as with flowers, wearing crowns
on too-thin necks.

A good heroic statue needs even light
diffused across a suitable clearing.

We’ve hacked clumps out of copses
to let the light in.
There are so many of us,
waiting for diseases
in the gardens of our lungs.

 

AQUA VITAE
The girls in the village soak shoulder
to shoulder in the waters of the spa,
the business and sole fame
of the village. Outlay is minimal,
some signs on the road, weathered.

Word of the cure spreads
person to person. There aren’t many guests
to the country. Each one visits the waters.
Their properties? Suggested for the treatment
of venereal disease.

 

LIFE AFTER WANTING
Indoor plumbing and waste management,
the godhead of man. A cruise ship
in high waves, fanned sea bird feet
caught in ocean trash,
poisonous rivers, obsolescent crops,
uncontrollable fires: life after wanting.

 

WHEN THE ROT? HOW THE GROWTH?
Rutting light approaching a light pole!
The problem is not singular, not in tasting,
but in acquiring. You may not lust
out of order: you must want things
while they want you; to be early
or late, over or under is no good, sublime
miscalculations of the Polar zenith,
little losses hopping on either side
of disaster like sand fleas on flotsam,
a toy chair, baby hammerhead, yard of rope.

I’m talking about death, and sex
is death in this state.

OF LIVING IN TREES
I ran my full animal potential, exploded
my genes in a snarling heap
with more shit than blood on the floor.

You found a place to calcify,
got to know things,
and demanded your teeth.
You could say, at last, I tried.

You set me to repeat
these cattle hours, dullard’s hours
I’m not running down the clock
I’ve lost the sweet spot
of the night. I’m not looking for places
to grind my knife. I don’t do illegal
downloads anymore. I see the sun
from the short part of the day.
I think about the bad things
I am prepared to eat.

 

Where are my crackhead friends?
My dogs? My powers? My clothes
are a mess. I shower. I don’t get clean.

I don’t dream of living in trees.

80s COKE
If you want to know glory,
run your nose through its heart.

First thing, have a look
at the hands
and the neck and the pits
beneath the eyes–

Does what you see seem in line
with what you’ve heard so far?

But if you want to live south of the glaciers
shed mistrust. Fear nothing.
Hold nothing back.

And after the glory,
the sex on the ground in the open air,
and the vitamin minutes–
assume the coarse wild pig mask
of your longer days and necessity
without bitterness or shame.
Beauty ran through you,
only now can you see it.

 

LOWLANDERS

Where I’m from tradition means
standing water. Flat
snakes on the road the rains left.

With them the best time to move.
I’ve taken that road:
I know what it wants to mean.

You answer to your own kind.
The roads are still free,
but fear, this fear wants to keep

Us high, here on a dry plane

away from the rising creeks,
still hissing, horribly safe.

Jotamario Arbeláez

(Translation by Nicolás Suescún)

After the War

 

a day

after the war

if there is a war

if after the war there is a day

I will hold you in my arms

a day after the war

if there is a war

if after the war there is a day

if after the war I have arms

and I will make love to you with love

a day after the war

if there is a war

if after the war there is a day

if after the war there is love

and if there is what it takes to make love

 

The Misfits Will Never Forget you Marilyn

 

Now that the worms have thrown the last shovelful of oblivion on your

body

now that you live under Los Angeles without needing psychiatrists

now that the haughty bone in your thigh is just dust in a box

and your buttocks are pure dust spread on the satin floor of your tomb

now that the totality of your body fits into the smallest of your

powder-boxes

now that your toenails lie at your feet scattered like dead planets and

the platinum heels of your gala shoes bend in champagne

baskets under the terrible weight of the absence of your Achilles’

heel

now that in your wardrobe moths have done the same with your dresses

smelling of Beverly Hills parties of Chanel number 5 of the five

fingers of a hand

now that the eccentric millionaire that rented the mansion you

inhabited in Brentwood has quit looking for your armpits in

every nook and cranny of the living-room and is organizing for

his guests a rhinoceros safari in Peru

now that the psychiatrist that treated you went bankrupt and to pay his

taxes is now writing your “memoirs” and besides because his

three wives are very much missing the monthly twelve thousand

dollars fee he used to pay them

now that the sleeping pills that you took run out in drugstores like

definitive lullabies

now that nobody knows who was norma jean baker because the Baker

Norma Jeans abound in the telephone directories

now that the 188 thousand million psychopaths no longer see you in

English with subtitles in Spanish like a witch of Salem flying on

a baseball bat

now that the drama by your ex-husband about your life has not moved

one way or the other the Broadway critics

and the sun of the photographers has forever ceased to illuminate you

oh she-cat full of mystery on the Mercedes Benz of oblivion

in this small Latin American country that’s called Colombia

live several misfit poets that don’t want to forget you

and that remember you when the moon rises over the Jaguars

when we slide down the steps of the jet

when we read in the press that Dalí has made a sculpture of your teats

with drawers

when a white two-floor ambulance passes swiftly by our side like a siren

and our wives shout on top of the elevators

Sometimes like now we lift a prayer to you why not lift you in a prayer

in a requiem in an anti-requiem in a prayer to the dead what do we

know about those names

only that every man prays to the one he loves most

specially if the one he loves most is dead

and it is then that we want to lie face down in the Westwood cementery

to feel in our pubic pores the blades of grass that grow in your

American groin

now that you’re dead and repose without much hope in the resurrection

of the body

in that small place which is like the small navel of America

after living among spotlights and fog

with shopkeepers and tycoons

with dramatists and policemen

among the mirrors and the mirage

of love

 

 

No Return Postcard

 

When they asked to point out in the world map

the place on earth where I would like my life

to go on forever

I did not put my finger on Providencia

nor in Camagüey or Pernambuco

I made the globe go round and round while I wondered

where are you?

 

 

Chinese vengeance

 

The secret agents that pursued me are now in the same prison where

they planned to consign me

The girlfriends who abandoned me are now married with ragamuffins

The executives that rejected my job applications have seen their

companies go bankrupt

The real estate agency that aspired to throw an eviction order at me was

closed up by the government

The fop who deflowered my sister in a pool drowned himself in a river

The teachers who made me flunk my senior year were green with envy

when they read, in the small thickly bound book published in Paris,

under the letter “A”:

Arbeláez, Jotamario. Cali, 1940, poet.

 

 

 

—-

Alí Calderón

Constantinople

 

They arrive from the Mediterranean, the ships, and heed

the lighthouse’s instructions

This is Istanbul and it rains upon an old mosque’s stones

A call to prayer voices of a strange language the tinkling light

I try to reconstruct your face

don’t manage to do so the silence belongs to us

An oil ship moves between the sea foam and the cold wind of the Bosphorus

with the lethargy of a man who has always been defeated

It’s over you said the essence of the apple tea

and suddenly the air alone

 

Now a face in the water and the grayness

a ship crosses the strait heading toward the Black Sea

 

 

 

 

Constantinople

 

From the Bosphorus Bridge a fisherman

has placed four rods

He sits sets the radio dial

watches the pedestrians

It mists and is cold

The droplets in the water

The universe

A bite on one of the hooks

The strength that unites everything and separates it

 

Puffs of drowning astonishment

slow asphyxiation

 

Now the man has the fish

and waves its body in the air

The gulls gather round

He tosses the fish into the sky

its scales a metallic sheen

Its tiny eyes watch the sea it is relief

but just before reaching the apogee

suddenly a beak pierces its fins

rips its flank swallows

in a second the entrails

 

In secret someone thinks of God

 

Cruel fisher of men

 

 

 

 

 

Constantinople

[San Salvador in Chora]

 

Edirnekapi

4th Century a Byzantine church

Outside Theodosius’ walls

are just dust ruined foundations

My ancient grandfather

always went to Nuestra Señora del Carmen at eleven

did he take communion? only listen to the Mass?

The light of the stained glass falls on the frescoes:

it is Jesus

he multiples the loaves

there are some fish

also empty baskets

Someone at my side says “God”

but in the narthex there is nothing but the echo

under the indifference

of a Christ Pantocrator

Time has worn away the glass

diminutive mosaics

Where the Baptist was there is now

a layer of sand and mortar

The wall was golden and lapis lazuli

now tar

hides fifteen centuries

behind figures of apostles and saints

is lord and master of the paracclesion.

Bordering the plaster and line dark Greek

letters: come to me the downtrodden

the inscriptions say

diffuse

almost invisible

The cracks

The vaults were peeled

before the healing of the paralytic

The bricks the stone

It is then that I think of the final verses:

My father answered–”that is just the decoration;

you are the sculpture”–and he pointed to my chest.

 

 

 

Constantinople

 

Breeze

The mist from the river grows

We descend Pierre Loti along the slope

of a dead Muslim cemetery

Above the tombs jasmines azaleas are born

petals fall Cercis siliquastrum

A faint beating beneath the things

A cat moves forward black

death

purrs at my feat

the beloved face of a cadaver

in life he was called

my grandfather Rafael lying there

the vapor (I can see it) passes through their graves

did his lips move? Other cats

approach perhaps one day they were

some Servet Hasan pirates

ottomans some boy fallen

in the Galatasaray celebrations

My friend is drinking this coffee

he doesn’t foresee that later

he will be eviscerated by cancer

Orange blossoms tangled among the tombstones

will know the rust the gardener’s sickle

The paving is slippery

Meowing hidden in the grass

Only Allah is powerful the Arabic letters indicate

Downriver the hustle and bustle a burka

delineated eyes: Istiklal Cadessi

 

—-

Nika Baum

Sheena´s last beer

She drank her beer from the bottle and the elegant ladies
looked disparagingly while they sucked bored at their exotic
cocktails. Sheena looked stunning in her Diesel jeans, which
she bought in Italy nearly 20 years ago. At that time she
had still family and it was the first vacation with her little
son. The shining of her refined simply eye makeup was
extraterrestrial beautiful and illuminated the beach bar. The
pain that her coated was breathtaking erotic. Through the
whiteness of her transparent blouse of silk, which she
bought for one dollar years ago at the flea market, made
the lace of her lingerie visible.

“One Miller Lite, please”, she said with a smile and her
warmly sounding voice to Dave, the bar man. He was
fascinated by this mature woman who had been a guest on
the beach bar for several evenings. Tenderly he looked at
her, kissed the neck of the bottle and presented the beer to
her. Sheena led the bottle lasciviously to her lips, drank the
beer at once, and went into the sea.

web www.nika-baum.at

facebook www.facebook.com/nikabaum

blog nika-baum.blogspot.co.at

 

—–

Jewel Pickard 

 

FAIRYTALES
it`s only fair to tell the tale
dawn breaking & light beaming through
Bodies illuminated & eyes warming to the need
Secret kisses taking place
in the sacred special space
It`s only fair to tell the tale
Cover your soul with the autumn leaves
& breath in winters clarity of the cleansing cold
Taste the awakening of the juicy spring &
dance the summer sunsets in purple hazed heat
It`s only fair to tell the tale
Let the dragons demons devour
ravishing with desire
Surrender in grace and accept the peace
It`s only fair to tell the tale
buried deep within tombs of beacons
transmitting cosmic rays
Love urself from within
Adjusting on that lucid path & watch the ripples expand
Take a chance & make a change
It`s only fair to tell the tale
Laughter echoes and the piper dances
the ferryman passes the gates of the golden dawn and
the mists are lifted

—–

Frederik Petersson (Denmark)

People think it’s the alone of being forever alone that hurts the most, but that’s not true. Everybody is alone sometimes, whether for periods when they’re not dating anyone or just for a weekend while their spouse is at a conference. Alone is part of the human condition. It’s the forever that pulls down the corners of your mouth just a little bit when you give someone a smile meant to indicate that everything’s okay with you even though you want to scream that nothing’s okay and never will be. It’s the forever that tastes bitter in the back of your throat when you see a happy couple walking in the park or laughing in a restaurant. It’s the forever that has you wide awake staring at your ceiling into the wee hours of the morning.

Forever alone.

There’s an ongoing half-serious claim in our culture that men think about sex all the time. Every 17 seconds or so. That may be true for some guys but not a forever alone. After a while you stop being able to think about sex, at least the way other people do. You can think about it abstractly, or when watching other people perform a stylized version of it alone in your room while you use your hand to joylessly complete a sad shadow of the biological imperative, but you stop being able to imagine sex as something you could be a part of. You see a woman in the springtime, her midriff peeking out from between the soft cotton of a shirt and the rougher waist of a pair of jeans. You start to imagine her naked, constructing a fantasy in detail, the way her breasts would sit against her chest, the soft down or absence thereof on her pubic area, and then you try to insert yourself into her presence and the fantasy crumbles to dust under the weight of its own absurdity. You know there’s no chain of events, no course of actions that could lead to that ill-defined imaginary room where the two of you would meet in an act of carnal congress. There’s no way to there from where you are, it’s not even an alternate universe, it’s an inconceivable one. It’s like trying to imagine a world where everything else is the same except elephants float around like helium balloons and have to be anchored by their trunks or they’ll float away. An inherently absurd thought. That’s the idea of you and her being intimate. So you look away from that tiny sliver of skin, trying to keep your face from contorting in pain and bitterness. Where other men might smile at her you don’t, because your smile sucks, and you suck. Forever alone.

Eventually you don’t even bother to build the image only to have it blow it away like a sand painting in a tornado. You imagine lesser things. The brush of a cool, soft, feminine hand against yours. Mundane couple bullshit like eating pancakes on a Sunday morning or watching a movie or just sharing your day with someone who gives a fuck and is not your mother. The other party in these pathetic little domestic tableaus is ill defined in your mind, because if you imagined her clearly enough to make her realistic then you know she wouldn’t want you. And even with this feminine blur, this placeholder, this blurry silhouette of nothingness you project your emotions onto, the person she’s with isn’t really you. It’s a better version of you, a thinner less obnoxious version who will control his temper before saying something cutting, who doesn’t geek out and talk too much, who is free from the flaws who make you who you are and assure that nobody else will ever want to share their life with that person. Then you realize that you’re fantasizing about an Archie Comics version of yourself making tomato soup for an undefined feminine projection blob, and you realize that even the part of you that creates these images doesn’t want to be with you and can’t imagine anyone who might.

Forever alone.

Around you the world stays mostly the same. People fall in love, hit milestones, get married, have kids. You’re even jealous of the divorcees because you know that this is just a bump in the road for them, part of their journey. You’re still at the starting line watching them recede, wanting to chase them and catch up, knowing you never will. But while the world is almost static, you are aging. Moving through your life alone. You start to get bitter at the milestones you’ve missed and the chances you’ll never have. You see the graying of your hair and the years piling on like rust eating at the hull of a decommissioned ship and you realize that your opportunity for young love is already past. Even if you got it together and got in the game you’d just have a shot at middle aged love. It doesn’t matter if you think women age like a fine wine, what wine connoisseur wants to live his life without ever tasting the shocking astringency of the harsh tannins of youth. Even if that’s not your thing you don’t want to cut it off forever. But you have. You won’t even have memories of those very good years, as the song says, to keep you warm as you slide towards your dotage. All you have is your bursting store room of regrets and bitterness, and you can always cram in more. And you know that that rusty battleship will someday have a hole in its hull and be unfixable, good for nothing more than salvage scrap. You add up the time it would take to lose the weight, get your teeth fixed, figure out your professional career, the time until you can smile at that woman in the coffee shop with confidence rather than the stomach sickness of self-hate, and you realize it all adds up to a very big number. Everyone thinks of themselves as eternally 22 but at some point you are forced to admit that you are 37 and half your life is over and the back nine of the remaining half is not a time when people finally get that whole dating thing right. If the window is not closed, its halfway there and sliding fast.

Forever alone.

All this breeds desperation and depression so you shove it back because you need to function, you need to keep eating and staying warm, you can’t just stop and feel. But your dam is fragile and it leaks. And when you see that girl whose hand you want to brush against, who could sit with you looking into your eyes through the steam coming off her coffee cup and just be, who could understand you, you feel the dam start to buckle and the river behind it start to surge and you don’t want to break down crying in the coffee shop because that’s not what people do and if you can’t have love at least you can have dignity, or the appearance of dignity, or the delusion of the appearance of dignity, so you turn your face to the side, you hope and pray she doesn’t try to draw your attention (generally safe on that count, old chum) and you put one fucking foot in front of the other and continue down your sad and barren blighted path.

Forever alone.

 

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