Posted on

Elaine Equi – An Indecisive Fantasy

Elaine Equi
An Indecisive Fantasy

          Thought about writing but decided to masturbate instead. And why the
comparison anyway? Does anyone ever say: this is not history, this is not
cooking — this is just masturbating. Best of all, is masturbating surrounded by
pictures of Jesus and Mary, the quiet surveillance of their all-seeing, all-knowing,
often visible hearts, approvingly aflame.
(more…)

Posted on

K. Silem Mohammad – Two Poems

K. Silem Mohammad
Two Poems
Giant Squid Attack Threat but Race Goes on

Fun with recycling materials creates interesting diorama … a disable submarine stucked
in deep ocean floor, after an accident.  Without warning it was attacked … click image for
more
.  1915 German U-29 Strange beast climbed aboard.  It was so Giant Squid Attack
Submarine
large that it caused the submarine to lean, and would not let go. (more…)
Posted on

Ron Silliman – from Zyxt

Ron Silliman
from Zyxt

Fra il dire et fare
che il mezzo delle Mare
— Mario Savio


For Lyn & Leslie





                          The hand without its palm would be nothing
                          Tooth’s roots understood as its fingers clawing into the jaw, soft calcium shale
                          The eye does not blink but rather this lid forms an architecture
                          Involuntary discourse



(more…)
Posted on

zetter

Sharon Zetter

Two Poems

Donna Reed

Let’s move to the movies, darling.
Make sure our seats recline.

Saturday night and I’m left home. Fuck
your empty invitations.

I’ll coax pansies from tar.
Windows flare in and tires flow by.

A kitchen named Blanche and two
white cats to match the mixer.

These condos have eyes.



A Comedy About Lost Loves And Last Laughs

Desire [like the atom] is explosive with creative force.  Today I stood in front of the mirror [my
black bra] and noted that I was beautiful.  I noted that you [noted that you] made a considerable
effort to wave to me in the bar.  It has now been three weeks since we have been spending 75%
less time.  I have grown 13% more beautiful in our absence.

Like Meg Ryan in that movie where Broderick tracks the path [flat-lined to oval] of his lover’s
lips.  I have never been punched in the face [am told this is a character flaw].  Who can I get to
punch me in the face?  I wonder what fraction of me will [remain] damage.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

wong

Cyril Wong

Two Poems

Clouds

Those clouds are not Baudelaire’s clouds.
They believe in long-distance relationships.
Clouds give back the images by which we know ourselves.
All clouds preserve a hierarchy; the colder it gets the higher you climb.
Some huddle around the moon for comfort.
Taking sides, forming factions, only to split away again.
Sniggering when we look up, making faces.
And liken the city’s lights to stars, yet having no desire to count them.
They love to take pictures during a storm, but never of the same place twice.
Pulling away from the sky, the sky bears down.
Clouds negotiate with eternity; eternity would have nothing to do with us.
The clouds are just clouds—make no mistake about it.



Air

Leaning against
air, uncertain
what air is. What accounts
for movement, the air’s
volubility? What is responsible
for beauty? Happiness
finds its edges
along the memory
of a wound.
Far easier to locate
the wound, these breaks
in the flow. The body
knows, inhaling
its secrets.
The body knows
nothing. Air is
everything we do.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

wetzel

Sarah Wetzel

Two Poems

Normal Obsessions with Horses

MEAT

I never encounter horses
except in dreams and circuses
when a horse without rider,
a transparent mane,
takes my neck
between wolf teeth,
but quietly, which makes it
more frightening.
Like milk teeth,
the teeth don’t pull away
until their purpose
finishes, when they become
superfluous.
I only bit the hand of a man
once (but deeply),
drew blood enough
that he liked it. Still
I was too tame for him.
At night, the horse
forces me to remember
the bite of a man,
how flesh tastes.


ALTER EGO

I’m a girl wrapped in damask, a river,
a female centaur who doesn’t wait
for a lover. I’m an arrow
painted in poison and I’m shot straight
toward your heart. As a token
of our love, I’ll take your shirt soaked
in blood. But I won’t give away
the tainted shirt by mistake. In fairy tales
there aren’t any accidents
and I’m already writing the rest
of my story. Going over again the end.


A REAL MAN

Save me from circuses,
tamed animals and ring leaders
shouting encouragement.
Save me from yellow tigers leaping
through hoops on fire,
elephants climbing
onto the backs of each other.
Save me from chimps riding ponies,
ponies trampling
chimps, seals juggling
balls and bowling pins, blowing
horns for fish,
all of those dead fish.
Save me from black horses,
conquered and blind
in circuses.
Save me from tamed horses.



Untethered

In Brooklyn, a man’s hand slips
from the ledge of a building
giving in to a craving
for matter. The same way
a cave

collapses
when the soluble rock
dissolves. The hum
of a dial tone. The phone pressed
to my ear. Most mornings
I put it down

because the time for begging
has passed. Listen—
I’m the sound of surf
with nothing
to smash against.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

welcker

Ellen Welcker

The Botanical Garden (excerpt)

I found myself in “Australia”; the Australian trees had skin like me.

In “Papua New Guinea” I saw a powerful woman giving birth to a yam. She was pushing and the yam was crowning and I did not think about her or this or what it might mean; I thought about me because I could not give birth to a human.

I stood by a bench in “Chile.” I watched a woman whose throat had a window in it. Through the window her voice box was visible. Inside her voice box was a wind-up handle; it was a jack-in-the-voice box. I wanted to wind her up; I thought I would hear a bird. The woman’s throat was blue and green. She shimmered and her branches were black. I could not stay open.

I had hoped together we could produce a tiny human.

Hummings were happening. I saw something stuck in the window. I wished; I willed it to be a whale. A subtropical whale; the color of papaya. The sleepy plants tried to summon a blossom for the hungry, but the bees—already gone since the spring before, mysterious.

It was called a syndrome: placing a name upon that which eludes naming.

This kind of thing, is it deeply upsetting? Someone is saying genus and species. Someone is saying exotic. Someone is pronouncing a dead language.

Along the path, a biological oddity: an appendix of a human, or a pelvis buried deep within a whale. Vestigial, a question of evolution.

A woman lay down and the tracks were laid into her. Neatly, which meant nothing could go wrong. I heard a train. Felt it rumble, humping federally-approved missiles across my body and into the desert.

In “Madagascar,” someone sold a piece of a wall for a trillion Malagasy francs. Many of us had only heard of this wall—never seen it—and we all kind of wanted a piece, just for looking.

The wall could be seen from space.

I wished for my mother in “Myanmar.” In “Myanmar” I missed my mother. I wished for, I missed, my mother, “Myanmar.”

I began covering myself with small bags of krill in “India.” The krill and I made a pleasant sshhh-ing sound when I walked. The sound was reminiscent of the sound one makes to quiet a baby. I walked everywhere.

The fence limits the movement of people across a specific border, or separates specific populations.

The justification for the construction of this border is referred to as ‘civil pacification.’

In “Belize,” or in “Nepal,” we wondered, what are we doing here together?

The heart of a whale may weigh 1500 pounds.

I thought I heard my name in “Ethiopia.” I may have been called by name in “Ethiopia.”

In “Ghana,” the ultrasound showed swimming, breaching, spouting.

I began asking the babies to say my name. Say my name, I said. Say you love me. The clouds gathered for the first time in weeks. The gray felt internal. Can you express me, baby? Say my name and try.

I stood to the side, off the coast of “Libya,” where hundreds were drowning. I cupped my hands together like a boat. I was just getting to know my parents.

The immigrants of “Luxembourg” gave a sensual diagnosis. I watched the feathered tongues unfurl, the dripping genitalia, the frightening loveliness that was normal, normal.

While migrating, the refugee surfaces about every four to seven minutes. However, some species may submerge for up to ninety minutes, with dives as deep as 3,200 feet below the surface.

Oceans are widely considered a waste-management option.

Consider the millions of aortic pulsings, the millions of ventricular contractions. The fluttery movements. The eyes. The rising temperature of the sea. The odds were about one in eleven million that I would conceive with a whale.

The speeds of light in “Bolivia,” of sound in “Bolivia”; the orange peels, the minutes that pass in “Bolivia.”

In “Chad” I had this mother, this tiny mother.

In “Slovakia” the sounds of liquid kept piercing my eyes. I saw the drying—I saw it but I could not help for feeling so wet inside.

The right detainee does not sink when killed, hence its name.

Something about “Cyprus” said ‘well.’ It meant a deep, deep. It meant containing. It was a body like mine, but wetter.

In “Seychelles” she was speaking; her mother was dying. In “Seychelles” she was leaving; she had been saying. Her mother is gone and she is opening. Perhaps she is closing. Her teeth are all lined up and glowing. Her liquids are showing.

We were softly, softly now. We were hardly fluent. In “Ukraine.”

Someone was rocking in “Liechtenstein.” Anyone cared. Someone was whispering into the phone, I didn’t want you to be pissed off at me, and you’re pissed off at me.

The barrier is a concrete and barbed wire fence. The aim of the fence is to stop infiltration of terrorists, prevent smuggling, and to prevent large-scale illegal immigration.

Ocean dumping is generally banned worldwide.

In “Ireland” I began to sort through the garbage. The garbage was comforting as well as repulsive. I often knew just what it was.

In “Vanuatu,” let me be a moat, I mouthed, let me be.

We were singing in “The United States.” We were singing it be and singing it blue. We were inheriting freckles, slaves, and socialist tendencies. We were singing backwards, not to waste it. We were singing slow, for relishing what we didn’t know. We sang low.

And I died waiting. Or I hung myself in my cell. Or I coughed up blood for hours. Or I survived; I wrote my name on the wall, in case.

A parrot in “Guatemala” said give it a love now. Give it a prettybird.

In “Portugal,” I typed my name into a search engine. This is what came up:

      missing info missing persons missing mother
missing
           central processing unit
    missing sea
         see: missing

In “Norway” a school of minnows. A flock of swallows. No blinking. Ashimmer. A quick night, a black sea, a deep deep, heavy and cold. Then, upping and open, the bright wind, the cold sun!

In “Angola” an invisibility, an invisibility.

Sighting: a pod of refugees in the Pacific Ocean in August, 1995.

I smelled the people of “Mongolia” opening and closing. At designated times, circadian, like a lovely bird, a singing bowl.

It was a wife in “Paraguay.” Someone was holding. Or a cousin, a flotation device, a fin, or a lifeboat.

In “Saint Lucia,” dozens of whales flying overhead. Swoop and soar, their eye came close to mine. Eye like a word. What.

The whaling corporation had used killing boats: at the bow of the boat was mounted a muzzle-loading whale gun with a 3¼-inch bore. Black powder was put in first, second the waste, and third the harpoon attached to a rope leading to the wenches. Outside the gun and part of the harpoon was a bomb, with expanding arms and so timed as to explode inside “Palau.”

Pashtu was planted in “Afghanistan.” Persian and Dari were planted in “Afghanistan.” The listing or placement of any entity in this statement is not meant to imply an official position in any dispute.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

vandoorn

Ashley VanDoorn

The Blue Otherwise Known as Stolen Fire


We are not sense-senseless when we are sentences.

When the shoplifter stops litter, the shapeshifter’s a sharpshooter.

Are you human or a gun?

Humming again.

            ~

To be desired you must want to be.
            You.
“I” must want to be “you.”
And You is not-you.

            ≈

“So,” she says, “what are your intentions?”
She says, “you are are you?”                                                                share ring discretely

            ≈

lucky number              ≈

0: dumbness has nothing to do with luck.
2: numbness has nothing to do with fuck.

            ≈

She hasn’t written a word.
Never has she ever warded a wren.
Warned tenfold an advent she has not.
Not that that’s a secret projection of “her” desire.
Never has she ever secrete/d a project less protectIve.
The secret vent is in.
Warden, arbor “I”s ardent.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

trudgeon

Thomas Trudgeon

Television # 4

             A Translation for Eileen Myles


Not a moment too soon
For satisfactory

Set down, this
For birds

Or death
And they are the

Same ease
Mention

That’s for fording stream
Or being

Glad of another death
And that’s great

Or something
Sentimental

I stay away
For obvious

But becoming and starting
Aren’t the same thing

And that is
Statement

Going on, from
To some notion

I cd tlk w/
Sci.

For to a place
Create your
Ill say it

Lasts too long
For anyone

Yeh, it’s like
That.

Meeting your
Neighbor in the street

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

torra

Joseph Torra

from Duck Tour: The Movie

A world of shitty idealism prison night falls on the Longfellow icy wind whitecaps on the Chuck no stars no sodium only shelled scallops enough to roll on the sidewalk the camera shifts to rider’s-eye-view dodging people shout obscenities at tourists any misfit with a wand of ash worn as might imagine wrote the poem after seeing his dog doused with oil set to flames so many names so many administration buildings and bars automatic things nothing ever seems real but burns into you all the same they say the machinery supports it but traffic’s shut down to one lane both directions


*    *    *   *


At Revere Beach they leave the sand sculptures to the elements sinking to everything the ocean ever puked up a ripening extension of things sticks to the crotch of swimsuits UMASS Boston disintegrates second by second built forty years before the Big Dig Whitey’s brother Billy became president after Rich Parson’s wrote “There’s No Surfin’ On Dorchester Bay” then Billy carried off the last of the good bricks disguised as lyrics printed with chalky fingers on blackboards at night hieroglyphs float just below the surface things you know by heart never empty these Irish hate each other more than they hate the Italians who don’t hate anyone more than they hate blacks now Columbians Haitians Brazilians Mexicans Muslims who knows what else you learn to hate everyone

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

taylor

Shelly Taylor

from Land Wide To Get A Hold Lost In

I thought the thing would run unbridled over the land if not stayed.  The earth would take the hoof & the horse would belong to mist over ether, over the hillside, churning the earth, I must’ve walked all the way home barefoot the way a child does.  A woman boards a train to please her father over love, what necessity keeps me here, what ‘what can I get you’ is the hand that perchance is the evener.

Arriba.

Total the longing for the horse & the land, call him fast with whistle, call him Mark & father by his name, call 9-1-1.  Quick to the Chick-fil-A, that trailer leaves off with my horse in it, meaning dust me off the ground in any partnership lingo.  I went west fast as two pistols, left the city suckled under the land, my bottles in their speedrack; blame silent movies for Mary Pickford’s death by bottle, blame Douglas Fairbanks, the land; not that I ever would.


*    *    *   *


On the eve of great change we each take a pregnancy test for no or all reasons just to look forward again.  Yes we can!  Yes we can! manage fast train Union Pacific brakes like a man has his leg stuck in-between the rails; woman, baby, buggy caught, arms waving, hand-rush-mouth, stop that shit (train) in a nano, recourse our way of pause through or by eyebrow plucking—pick a new hobby—kick boxing, whatever to learn to pedal back, enjoy the art of being/sleeping alone; reteach yourself to knit; browse old cds like Boys for Pele or something less tragic as in Metallica.  How to learn/teach defiance, like I ain’t never needed you or nothin’, don’t/can’t miss the way you were checkin’ in on my sweatin’ through the night I had the flu, forgot my soup & oh the whistle clangs the oncoming.  Take a new one, I could/can of course, not pause in my car when I think you to marry, when I have never before thought marry in my car, why should/would I think now in this man-town I don’t really keep awake for, don’t really think much of Jesus cept when I think my belly or Norma Jean, sweep the floor, for god’s sake don’t text when yr drankin’ keep bangin’.


*    *    *   *


Can’t pull out of here because you’ve packed your boxes a twixt too much, just stay awhile & see if Marilyn charmed or if women just hated her cause the wolves needed her beauty, would leave em out the door if she dared scratch her chin & look.  Marilyn’s mama dyed her hair red, a flapper, learnt from her mama how to divorce & pack boxes, leave her with those religious neighbors, come back when the wind shifted itself right or when work failed, when she was down on the money, meaning both my hands have been out.  Joan Crawford was an elitist, a betch, even.  Some girls don’t own more than two suits, flats to church are more than fine, get off the train in wool in a New York summer & you would sweat too—give us the ice cream!  I used to wonder if she was in & out of the orphanages all her young life until somebody, marry me, put a ring on it, or did she ever have the feeling this is my home.  When she felt most home, did the wolves attack her, in the form of her mother’s best friend Grace’s drunk husband needing a screw.  Mama Grace sending her to the next foster care, the next grinding poverty.  Her hair remained curled, wear rouge; no one, not even children, want a shiny face; Grace knew this & thus the décor on our dear child; this part is true.  I tell my sister on the phone we got some crazy genes, prob somewhere we’ll off the wagon & be wandering the supermarket wondering how we got in our respective cities, where’s the car, what did I say was for dinner?

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

svalina cohen

Julia Cohen and Mathias Svalina

Two Poems

In our space we can put the caskets anywhere

1.

The girl in the owl mask knots her sheets. Drilled nickels dangle
from the lampshade—when the wind blows they sing

the song of bird beaks. When the winds blows her brother
to the other side of the bed, handshakes happen downstairs.

His father is a symptom of a mineshaft, a tin cup of coals.
Doctors file in & out without opening the door. They spit
sand from their mouths, collecting like possums in the basement.

Compare their scars from the spider wars. A funnel cloud
launches snakes from the lake to the mining camp.

One falls on the windowsill of a girl’s room & begins
to read from The Book of Mercy. Mercy means thank you.
Mercy means drinkable rain. The girl reads aloud

to her brother simmering in fever. When she closes the book
he is two feet taller, toes hanging over the bedrail.

He dreams that everything square is a casket. Each casket
holds three masks. Each mask has room for thirteen children.


2.

The father forgives everything he can. I forgive you tree,
he says to the tree. I forgive you stone wall he says to the wall.
I forgive you blood he says to the flushed forehead

of his sick child who sucks on river stones. The doctors
crack their knuckles. The possums whisper in the sand pit,
they curl their tails & forgive the father for being new at this.

Doctors drive ten miles back to town & don’t return. They leave
syrup on the table to turn a fever into a leather strap.

The brother cannot touch the syrup, but it sticks his sister’s pages
together. She opens & closes the book like bellows.

Every page is part of the casket’s wall. The sister thinks the room
is hollow & the brother turns & turns into sleep. In the darkness
she takes the knotted sheets & flings them from the window.

As the night fogs in dangling vines she puts her owl mask on
& climbs out to find the mines. Thank you vines. Thank you mask.
Thank you caskets that line the highway, you eyelids of the owl mask.




A paper cup sopped with night-water cannot hold

The sister crawls into the tree trunk
searching for snail shells to grind into remedy.

She pulls a sack of moth dust from her jumper
& pours it into a glass of warm water.

As the moss gathers around her calves
she stitches shells into her hem.

She perfumes the inside-tree, perfumes
the water with a comfort-wish. For her brother’s

white shin, for his hair barely above the
night sheets. What can she bring back.

Whatever she carries over the piles of dead leaves
grows coarse hairs at the nape of its neck.

The brother holds the ice-dipped cloth to his eyes
& feels the walls expand into a landscape

of birch trees. A river rock under his tongue.
A silver whistle beneath his pillow for when

the night spills from his mouth like sand.

return to SHAMPOO 37

Posted on

smith

Mike Smith

US—An Anagram

I. Day

Having slept in again, in and on,
in a haze we wake, rise,
look as one on war, despair
and a thunderous applause.

Our cities roar in a civil ruin.
Many brace themselves, or link arm
in arm, as at work (lost in a cooked ink)
I ask what occurs in me

that can lash me so low
when all say join in and agree.
As soon as our watching “A…A…Ayes”
all have it, I say I can’t breathe.


II. Night

In my car, awash as on a main
divide, I am choosing to miss
my exit; I am sailing home
on a sour air; I am looking hard

for a song on a station I know exists
and know I cannot find.



~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

The poem is an anagram of the names of fifty United States of America. All of the letters that make up the names of the fifty states have been used, once and only once, in the composition of this poem. No letters have been added and no letters have been left out. The title, section title, and section dividers are not to be considered part of the anagram.

return to SHAMPOO 37