This genre of lips

Yeses with fingers‹-unblousing, undressing

Skin, her truss. No need

For flight here, except

Air wrapped in irridescent

Feathers. Or, a verb’s splendid long

Bone all lit up for

This new, unbuttoned birdology. Tiny

Chances, coins tossed: a

Firmament above, arousing

Power below. Let

It come.


Lisa Bowden

THE BOAT by Lisa Cole

February 28, 2011

The half-eaten pomegranate
is losing its color, turning brown on the plate.
This piece of fruit– of course–is only a metaphor
for the tired heart: the portal to a whole new underworld
full of ghosts dressed in rainbow colors.

I remember the crook of your arm,
an erotic place in which I longed to live forever.

Your skin is the water, I am the boat–
washed clean, finally.


Lisa Cole

Read the rest of this entry »

click to hear: EMPATHIC ATTUNEMENT by Valyntina Grenier



Here. Will you take this stone
and make a wish, then give it to the miller.
She’ll make you a page
while I sleep so the robot
can change me. I’ll wish for ice cream.


Surrounded by these columns, each heart-shaped capitol crowned w/ a brain,
I’d like to give you this tiny robot.
Hold it like a river stone,
here, in the palm of your hand, while I light the page.
Here’s to watching the sky change w/ my love, the miller!


waiting in line for a scoop of ice-cream.
She hid a love note on a page
of our notepad for me to find. Her brain
suits my heart like a precious stone
in its circle of rose. I hope she’ll forgive me this robot.


Thank you for helping the miller,
her Quern-stone
was blocking our path to the ice-cream
parlor. Origami brain-
I’m so glad you answered our page.


Thank you for being brave enough to use a robot
to remove the endometriosis and organs that pained me, that seized my brain,
my spirit, the heart of the miller.
Now we can argue about ice-cream,
a simple scoop vs. blended w/ toppings on a cold stone.


Thank you for wondering. I feel as light as a page
descending in air. I feel hope. Eating ice-cream
can bring about joy. I stopped for some on my way to the miller.
It helped ease my brain.

“Ice-cream,” I sang at the cornerstone,
“Brain and Heart–” right here on the front page:
“Robot surgeon grants a wish,” for my love, Jane Miller!



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Stealing glances and trying to

look deep enough

Love speaks in its own

strange ways

Afraid that I might wake up

and break this dream

I tried drowning myself

into absence

but you – you are present all the time

And now I roam with a poem

stuck in my chest

it doesn’t let me breathe

but I can’t pen it down either

Three words that I need to say

and maybe you need to hear



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If some long unborn friend looks at photos in pity, we say, sure we were happy, but it was not in the wind. – Muriel Rukeyser, Tree of DaysM

every year
we come here
to picture
our existence,
as women, as lovers
back at home
adorn refrigerator
with the miniature
black-and-white prayer strips
goofball poses, kisses
and, my favorites –
the two of us
side by side, head to head
looking plainly out
at this world
without a mirror



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Shirked and non-plussed,
stalked and apprehended,
I suspended disbelief,
and identified abandon.

We have run
hot and cold
and underground
in conversation
to elegant frequencies of the supermind.
In one fragile second,
of a stupid barbequeue

a crack in my flimsy patria
opens up a
soft, crushing tear

you fit into, with such momentary abandon,

While I wait, for
some witless fury to engage
late silence over fall, over winter,
on an unmanned planet,
populated with my lesser instincts.

Frigid and untapped,
destroyed and then rescued,
I am trying to avoid the garbage
barely contained within these decent homes, these fields and flowers and debris and human waste and denims and ghettos and endless streets without names upon names upon names i am

calling, later, out to you:

Just stay, and stare!
as two different countries come by, playing two different musics
the sudden sounds tear up the streetside silence between us,
by erroneous and irrational response.



Marisa Prietto

ARCHITECT by Lisa Bowden

February 21, 2011


boatwind your cloud

to my ear

so I can hear

your breath




the field

of my palm,


your blindingly




my throat

so remembering

is breathing

the sky unbuilt‹


M Read the rest of this entry »

YOU by Charles Bane Jr

February 21, 2011


I came upon you

when I was a child

and kept the memory

close, through every

feverish year.  My hair

was silk from corn; yours,

black as the birds upon the snow

I fed the winter long. I opened books

at night and looked at barest

trees and wished for Spring. I watched

for leaves birthing like the stars. I made

poems, and saved the lights I found

waiting in my marrow. One day I would tell

you of the music I heard between its honey-

combs and followed til words rested

on a page. You would understand. You

would hold the glass and pour my amber

work until it filled you to a brim.

You would say, this flames the trees

and you are the harvester of my soul.


Read the rest of this entry »


It’s all in the hand,
mmmthe touch,
light fingers
along Merino fibers.

Feel a way into hair,
a caress,
not more,   not less,
before the motion begins
mmmmmthe gentle meeting.

Hand to wool,
mmmfinger to fleece,
until a skin begins.

It can’t,
mmmit won’t   be hurried.

Notice the moment
mmmwhen tension begins.
Apply with love.

Luxury enters
mmmthe slow wool of time.
Tangling scales of hair
mmmhave their way.

Bond, bond the fibers
until agitation begins to meld,
mmmbut not insistent.

Then deep pressure
of knowing hands
fulls into fabric.

Rubbing firms up the bond:
tightens together,
shrinks to integrity,
locks into permanence.



Está todo en la mano,
vmmmmmmm el tacto,
los dedos ligeros
a lo largo de las fibras de Merino.

Siente de una manera en el pelo,
una caricia,
no más          no menos,
antes de que el movimento comienzé
mmmmmla reunion apacible.

Mano en las lanas,
mmmdedo a velión,
hast que la piel comienze.

No puede,
mmmno será         apresurado.

Note el momento
mmmcuando la tensión comienze.
Apliqúese con amor.

El lujo entra
mmmlas lanas lentas del tiempo.
Enredando escalas de pelo
mmmtienen su manera.

Enlaza, enlaza las fibras,
hasta que la agitación comience pegar,
el frotar ligeramente
mmmpero no insistente.

Entonces presión profunda
de las manos sabias
espesa en tela.

frotando pone firme el enlace:
mmmaprieta junto,
contrae a la integridad,
asegura en permanencia.

LUMINARIA by Jan Steckel

February 19, 2011


Trick-or-treaters trailed down Gourmet Ghetto,
begging till restaurants ran out of candy
and gave them napoleons and brioches instead.

You were sweeter than Snickers,
more delicious than Milky Ways.
Your love was better than Tootsie Rolls.

Angelica, dressed like Tinkerbell, smiled shyly
when asked what she was. I heard her soft voice
for the first time: “A Princess.”

Miraculous sound, no more beautiful
than the flutelike tone of your voice in my ear,
or the burnt golden orange of your hair

when you stood in the slanting sun,
talking happily of the weed you didn?t pull
that grew into a pumpkin.

Later that night, your wraithlike body
moon-bathed pale,
naked in your own back yard.
Read the rest of this entry »

For Ryan who was Dana

One night we slept side by side
on a cat pissed floor
in an apartment with no windows
and a bathroom down the hall
with no toilet paper.

We shared a sweater as a blanket
slept close for warmth
on our island surrounded
by urine-soaked newspapers
and stacks of orange crusted dishes.

Even in that room
I fell asleep
to the question
what would happen
if I leaned over to kiss you?

When we woke up
I went downstairs
to the Chinese-donut shop
to see what time it was
whether it was light enough for morning.


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February 15, 2011


Press words out
through cardiac tissue
dip into the well of compassion

wine stain plume
spreading indifference
almost as if

a hand crank
could be attached
to virtual electronic wanderlust

bank on it
know the truth
in the negative balance

ply the Pennsylvania Dutch
for secrets
of mixing mechanical metaphors

I tried to learn the steps
before I forgot myself
and danced.

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click to hear: EVERYBODY KNOWS by G.P. Skratz An original:  just me on vocal & ukelele, aimed at my dear, dear bride–hope ya dig!– G.P.

O, my love,
who I adore,
who I serve
with all my heart,
who kind of likes me
on merry occasion…


she’s a vision wrapped in silver,
shinin like a star.
she’s a flyin saucer voyage to the center of my heart
& i’m roaring to the rooftops,
ain’t no lie.
everybody knows that i love my bride.

ain’t nobody,
ain’t nobody
cook a frozen dinner like my lovin bride.

she lifts me up,
sets me down.
leads me off to glory from the lost & found.

& i’m roaring to the rooftops,
ain’t no lie.
everybody knows that i love my bride.

Photo of Smooth Toadclick to hear: ASK THE RIVER by Smooth Toad recorded a few days ago in  G. P. Skratz’s living room by SMOOTH TOAD:  Hal Hughes, vocal & guitar; Bob Ernst, country harp; G. P. Skratz, guitar.

(words & music by Hal Hughes)

If you don’t know
Why the moon hides its glow Behind the clouds
It’s just because
It’s up there all alone

If you don’t know
Why the willow weeps all day It’s just because
There’s no one there
To wipe its tears away

If you should ask the river
Why it flows unto the sea
You’d understand why I keep
Running back to you
Now don’t you see

When I’m alone
There is only one way home My love, it’s true
That winding road
That calls me back to you


click to hear: LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI by Smooth Toad This SMOOTH TOAD performance features G. P. Skratz on vocal & guitar, Hal Hughes on fiddle, & Bob Ernst on percussion.

This is my setting of John Keats’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci.” I made a few edits here & there & tweaked a few lines:  eg he has, “And there she lulled me asleep, / And there I dreamed, Ah Woe Betide! / The latest dream I ever dreamt / On the cold hill side.”  Really, Johnny?  “The latest dream I ever dreamt”?  Happily, I’m able to cover for him here in the 21st century… G.P. Skratz


O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
Alone & palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the Lake
& no birds sing!
I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist & fever dew,
& on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
I met a Lady in the Meads,
Full beautiful, a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot light
& her eyes were wild.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
& honey wild, & manna dew,
& sure in language strange, she said
“I love thee true.”
She took me to her elfin grot
& there she wept & sighed full sore,
& there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
& there she lulléd me asleep,
& there I dreamed, Ah Woe betide!
The dream that beat my beating heart
Beneath the cold hill side.
I saw pale Kings, pale Princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried, “La belle dame sans merci
Thee hath in thrall!”
I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gapéd wide,
& I awoke, & found me here
On the cold hill side.
Alone & loitering
& palely loitering
& no birds sing
& no birds sing


click to hear: Pablo Neruda’s POETRY English translation

The text is from

Happy Saturday +V.

In Prison
they called him Ojos de Leon.

He is beautiful
even in a dead drunk snore.
His skin velutinous, never needs lotion.
He looks through golden eyes half blind
intoxicating with their creeping greenness
and it’s contrast on black lashes.

He claims to tire of compliments but mentions all of them.
He resents love it’s conditions and it’s shortcomings.
It can’t change
his un-lovable-ness.
So he numbs it
with powder and booze.
He knows he will disappoint.
He knows that in the beginning
we will see him as we want
rippling muscle and tattoo
voluptuous lips
waist a tight v, ass round.

At first meeting he looks you dead in the eye.
Holds you.
His stare a dare
to see him through his blunts and bottles
his three kids and counting.
He is still settling to his own murky bottom.
There is intercourse in his look.
He’s sizing up the strength of your backbone
and like the lioness you will have to work for this.

But all you can do is wonder
if he’ll look at you like that
when you are underneath him
sturdy paws around you
You imagine the moment his smooth chest
becomes ruddy
the tiniest goose bumps rising.

Motherless eyes say
you don’t know
the river
of pretty-broken-things
that runs beneath
this lion’s exterior.


Read the rest of this entry »


A slice of silver moon
sitting on a Desert Rose dessert
waits for you
on the kitchen
(There are some stars
in the cookie jar
to sprinkle on

Use the gold-plated
fancy fork
I stole
from King Solomon’s

Dab your lips
on the lily-white
linen napkin
from some snowy
in the Himalayas.

Run your fingers
over the placemat
I found
in the back alley
of the Musee d’Orsay–
a Van Gogh canvass,
blank and blessed.

Caress your hands
around the rocket-red
tea cup
I borrowed
from the Tang
and pour
a shot
of sugar
into the Earl Grey Tea,
scored from
the Queen Mother’s
medicine cabinet.

Now look out your window.
The rest of the moon
will be your candle
to eat by.

I love you.

after e.e. cummings

the small hands of the rain
compose a love song in the key of C:
it is the same thing—again, again—
roses, the body, & other red-colored things
mmmm(my heart, your heart)

i know i cannot have you
as the moon has the sea
but perhaps I will hold you
like ghosts & wind—

an all new song

Read the rest of this entry »

CACTUS by G.P. Skratz

February 11, 2011

i love these cacti:
twisted thoughts spiking
the vast open mind of the desert
cactus skeleton
cigarette skeleton
sunset skeleton
fast crow flies
out of my skull

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE WHAT WE’VE ALREADY POSTED ! And we’ll be posting all month long ! Send us a page, paragraph, chapter, scene, essay, article or poemabout LOVE along w/ your photo JPEG, bio and/or an MP3 of you reading the piece to !


February 10, 2011

Internet Dating

O vast endless field of
World Wide Loneliness.

You reveal the mystery of your soul
with a list of your hobbies
and favorite TV shows.

Enhancing this
with a photograph of yourself
mmmencased in a billowy parka
on top of a snow covered peak.
Or sitting on a couch
your shirt unbuttoned
a hole or two
mmmyour feet resting on a fluffy carpet.
You smile on cue.

Last but not least:
you give
the income you desire in the Other.

Bravely, you put it all “out there”
for the world to view.
You hope someone will notice.
anyone, anyone
but you.



Read the rest of this entry »


February 8, 2011


So I hit this ride,
right on the street.
It’s the Music.
Music right in your face.
And I can’t stop moving.
I can’t stop feeling.
And I am up.
I am high.
And I ache with life.
And I am not taking notice of the autocracy
And it’s coming hard and it’s going hard.
I don’t have to be someone else,
not these days,
so watch yourself,
because it’s time for more time,
and this is your town.


Read the rest of this entry »


February 7, 2011

Loving People

Loving people means sometimes messing up.
We try to tailor our words to lead to joy.
Like the game of telephone,
sometimes the message is changed en-route,
devastating instead of lifting up.

Loving children means trying to keep things smooth.
Bumpy life is in-between,
challenging our outcomes in real time.
Infusing positive energy doesn’t always fix things.
We ruminate.

There is a lesson in the bumps, if
we can sift through the rocks to find it.
Sometimes we learn about forgiveness,
acceptance, moving on, or alternate routes.
Sometimes we hunker down in the dark,
waiting for moods to pass, fearing they never will.

But loving people also means sometimes getting it right.
Floating on a cloud of euphoria when we see them smile,
hugging them and feeling safe from every angle.

Loving children means laughing when they laugh.
Playing with their hair while reading funny stories.
Creating moments that linger on their minds
when we think they’re sleeping.

There is a lesson in the happiness too, if we can
catch our reflection for a moment and look inside.
At those moments we see our capacity for fullness,
our innate abilities to give and to receive—
fill and be filled.

Loving people means sometimes messing up,
sometimes getting it right. Most of all,
it means journeying through life with a reason…

…a reason to care enough to keep on trying.


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February 6, 2011

Hi, we’ll be posting about LOVE all month long, SCROLL DOWN FOR OUR FIRST INSTALLMENT!

Send us a page, paragraph, chapter, scene, essay, article or poem along w/ your photo JPEG,  bio and/or  MP3 file of you reading the piece.  Send us some LOVE to


February 6, 2011

Here’s a Valentine piece I translated way back in 1974.  It became my biggest hit at poetry readings & resulted in a video taped performance of it that was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1979.  In 1997, the composer/guitarist, Andy Dinsmoor & I recorded the mp3:  I’m delighted with it & think you will be too.
Kurt Schwitters did his own English translation of his, “An Anna Blume.”  Mine is better.  For one thing, he extends his “thou thee thy” riff (as he does in the German) to include “I love thy.”  Well, there’s more tolerance for rank silliness in the German tradition than there is in the American one (at least in the wake of what Bennett Cerf called “The Golden Nashery of Ogden Trashery”).  I center my poem on the genuine statement, “I love you,” no fucking around, messing with archaic declensions there!  Also:  he translates her name: “Anna Blossom.”  O, come ON!  Anyway, like I say, mine is better!


O mistress of my 27 senses, I love you!

–Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–We?

That belongs (by the way) somewhere else.

Who are you, room of countless women?  You are–aren’t you?–

People say you’re–let them talk, the bastards, they don’t know

how the church tower stands.

You put your hat on your feet & wander off on your

hands, on your hands you wander off.

Hello, your red dress with white folds.  Red

I love Anna Blume, red I love you!–Thou thee thy

thine, I you, you me–


That belongs (by the way) in the cold fire.

Red bloom, red Anna Blume, how do they say it?

Readers:  answer this question & win a prize:

1.  Anna Blume has a bird.

2.  Anna Blume is red.

3.  What color is the bird?

Blue is the color of your golden hair.

Red is the call of your green birds.

You plain maid in your everyday dress, you lovely green

beast, I love you!  Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–


That belongs (by the way) in the coal chest.

Anna Blume!  Anna, a-n-n-a, I trickle your name.

Your name drips like soft cattle droppings.

Do you know it, Anna, do you know it already?

One can read you backward, & you, you most magnificent

of all, you are the same from back or front:  “a-n-n-a.”

Cattle-droppings trickle stroking my back.

Anna Blume, you dripping beast, I love you!

–translated from the German of Kurt Schwitters

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