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Richard Kostelanetz

Richard Kostelanetz
from 1001 Contemporary Ballets

A good libretto, even an impressionist, double-exposed or
portmanteaued one, follows most of the rules of simple dramaturgy.
Balanchine once said the perfect type plot for a dramatic narrative
ballet was the story of the Prodigal Son.  Once there was a man who
had everything, then he had nothing; finally he had everything again.
   –Lincoln Kirstein, Ballet Alphabet (1939)

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Richard Caddel – 3 Lost and One Held Onto In The Dar

Richard Caddel
3 Lost and One Held Onto In The Dark Moves Out Of Winter

Gone light from eyes, light of kind
argument, a voracious spirit
calls. This walk, that one. We’re
alone in it all, unbearable.

Starry pockets in sky at night
“the planets sing” and we
long to join them. No, we
stay. Our books proved it,

while we were out, gone, nothing
left but shells. Hold them
to your ears hard enough
and you’ll hear the sea.


Uncork this rare honesty from
a gone age. Won’t come again.
Venus bryghte, we share that
drip of toxic cure, hope.

That we are powerless doesn’t
stop our rage at brokers
of world health. So sickness
turns on them and their wealth

passes. Language will hold
its shine. So we raise
this glass, this sharp truth
we revel in, starry red.


Walk in a favourite place under
stars and around knapped flint.
You walking never still grew
there, it was a dark and stormy

Christmas. Long ago. Wind out of
northeast, waders grounded, memory.
Children singing as if forever
and everything green and

wet, moving to a new time by what
means it can. Your mum and I
whisper how much we miss
going together to meet it.


Machine sticks for no
reason. Blast it
and move on. There’s
so much I want to do

and say now. So it
comes out under stars alone.
Your voice in this room
has been with me

all I want to remember of
waking. Moon makes
your hair silver as you
sew on. Stitches together.

return to SHAMPOO 5

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David Larsen – Staggered

David Larsen

Careless wave of its arrival
beside the beach where we were eating
sweet, slobbering yards of I was there,
  I assure you,
in roses throbbing the room like a cowbell.
Sex can be about land tenure, see
— that’s what makes the beach-front sexy,
all those Ferris wheels and things.
Another lever for us to fiddle with?

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Uljana Wolf (with translations by Susan Bernofsky)

Uljana Wolf


(with translations by Susan Bernofsky)

Two Poems from DICHTionary
(A German-English dictionary of false friends, true cognates and other cousins)

F  fall / falls / fast / fell / flog

to flog a dead horse: vergeblicher sport. wir wollens lieber wieder fliegen sehn, ohne striemen stehn im stall, im herbst, in jedem fall before it fell: well & lebendig. und falls wendig, fast as water: schillerndes fell, wir striegelten faster, dass keiner einen riegel schöbe vor den quell, eine regel, oder riemen, oder was sich sonst hier schindend pflog. (more…)

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Marcus Slease – 2 Poems

Marcus Slease
2 Poems
Under My Wig

For my sins I was made detective.
It was a bitter scolding. Hotless.

She preened and pranced beside me.
I was beside myself near
a watermelon stand inspecting via fingertap
the ripe one for someone’s summer cookout. (more…)

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Stephen Ratcliffe – poems from CLOUD / RIDGE

Stephen Ratcliffe
poems from CLOUD / RIDGE

pink red plane of chimney in the pale blue-

framed window on the stairs, green of trees

filling the space behind it

                               woman in beige

sweater telling the man next to the blue door

her last week’s dream, which ends when the man

goes to see someone named Kathy spelled with “K” (more…)

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Elisa Gabbert – Something to Remember You By

Elisa Gabbert

Something to Remember You By
        Note: ‘Map of France’ is Australian slang for vomit.

Last night I dreamt about last night,
with a few differences: we were dancing,

but not at a bar, at a bake sale,
and one of the Young Republicans

played “Pictures of You” on a boom box,
and we laced our fingers together,

breathing in the angel food vapors.
We stepped outside to share a cigarette,

to trace hearts and our initials
on a dusty van. Then we went for drinks

but in the dream they were milkshakes,
the thickest, most never-ending shakes

that made my tongue stick to my teeth
when I wanted to tell you something.

The ride back was exactly the same,
when the moon came blaring through

the windshield, and you said I can’t quit
because they fired me,
and kissed me,

missing my mouth. Someone honked
outside, and I woke up alone,

but you had left a map of France
at my bedside, so the first thing I saw

was the colored patches, the geography
of everything that happens.

back to 27

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Sam Witt – The Face in a Hospital Bar

Sam Witt
The Face in a Hospital Bar

Between my ½ and the condom dispenser,
bolted to the wall; here, where New and Exciting Savage Bliss
stands in its fragility, a smudged human forehead shape
just barely reflected in the rippled epiderm of tinfoil
behind the gin bottles and empty glasses,

between my ½ and my ½,

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Juliana Spahr – November 30, 2002

Juliana Spahr
November 30, 2002

Beloveds we wake up in the morning to darkness and watch it turn into lightness with hope.
Each morning we wait in our bed listening for the parrots and their chattering.
Beloveds, the trees branch over our roof, over our bed, and so realize that when I speak about the parrots I speak about love and their green colors, love and their squawks, love and the
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