"Why,even small change is weighted with scolding in their ragged voices of marriage, memory and tombs."

More Perihelion:

BobSward's Writer's Friendship Series


Needto Know



Issue9: The Missing Body

Issue8: The Lily

Issue7: Passages

Issue6: No More Tears

A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Quan Barry

Cal Bedient

Joshua Bell

Nadia Colburn

Carolina Ebeid

Odysseas Elytis

Nathalie Handal

Connie Hershey

Timothy Liu

Drago Stambuk

Franz Wright

Nikolai Baitov

Drago Stambuk

Zafer Senocak

Connie Hershey

Ecstatic Permutations

Every night women in love gather outside the window
and it is nothing special; coming out is what stars do, clouds,
the sun when it builds up the nerve and then just has to blurt out--
the formless, incompleted loves
amounting to a song.
They had chosen all their colors for this day and they sang
without end and with little apparent meaning.
Yet they do, really, love
understatement 2b
lifted out of its
fall from that hole in the sky.

No one in all the group seems to be speaking--
their own salt hearts, brittling the trees--
and the solitude in that tall vegetation
quibbles with the spirit:
fill and empty, fill and empty.

is self-pity refined to Fire.
Nothingness, could weather any temperature or fire.
It's not one of the realer nothings, only something missing.
This melancholy moment will remain.
Each one's forgotten love was a mirror:
a green countlessness.

In The Garden of Love, Venus, Adonis
disagree over what lies ahead. It is morning.
Anxious, he drops a coffee cup, white fragments at his feet.
The radio goes off and on. The rain
of time goes by. Twilight is but
understanding what is meant

Where was the hush of a world brought to a halt
in the middle of the afternoon, a white room
somewhere in the dreamlike, liquid world.
Petite black and gold angels sat on her slumped
shoulders and sang lullabies to her.

It was a sort of metaphor
suspended in the air; a porcelain
blue rippled and soaked in the fire of blue.
The naked light, the crack in the wall,
the lines in the hand foretell the future.

Neither the actors nor the audience knew what was coming next.
What tumbles through is icy and swift
and holds the sea behind its barrier, the very moment turning numb,
shivering and hoping no one
who looks stunned and nailed to the floor
is cold, but she is patient, waiting for
whatever is in hand to be worked out.

The snow falls and no one comes back.
Say, Doppler Effect;
this always grabs their minds. Yes,
she bends a benevolent glance;
it corners like a dream.
Down the road and in the next state,
warily, formally, circle the old bone.

But who is that young one, pallid,
posed never long or nakedly enough?
No one can tell him who his mother was.
So that within each dream is another, remote.
It is intolerable having nobody present
to breathe the smells and the heat.

even small change is weighted with
scolding in their ragged voices
of marriage, memory and tombs.
Once otherwise--
it's over, fallen leaves, forgotten weather.
Just to die!
To deaden the shock.
This is the smallest point in the sea.

Think of only this:
to be kind and to forget, passing through the next doors.

When on those white and sudden afternoons
bird may whisper, a frog rasp,
hums the steady mysterious
into a trembling, luminous confusion of bright tears,
many a self holds its breath in this room.
The grasping hand
is wrong. Madness is what sparkles.

Last words
in broken black and white, a shattered parquet.
None of this is true.
Is there anything earthly that can't be made to rise?
A baffled sun is struggling to come out
and will again, but not today, thank goodness, not today.


Oratorio By and For the Survivors

Human presence is suggested
inseparable from a sense of loss.
The camera obsessively scrutinizes,
struggling to comprehend.

A young girl can be heard
sometimes speaking solo
or catches the eye
surrounded by a cyclone fence.

A ruminative environment
eerie emptiness
with wavering striations.

Projections of water
suspended in midair at different angles.
Making some of the words unintelligible.
Houses seem less stable
breaking to a rhythm all their own.

Silhouettes of former inhabitants
become oddly compelling
repositories for thought.
Their faces let us see
a life interrupted--
circles and arrows.

How we daydream
returning to retrieve what we can.
Pushing through sandbags,
trying to understand
splashes and veils of color
long concerned with domestic structures.

What it means to dwell.
What drifts into the ear,
a landscape thick with fog
lapping off the coast.
Effluvia of earth and sea
before they are washed away.

What it means to inhabit,
like suddenly being plunged deep under water
to be absorbed by a whirling vortex.

A girl in a white dress spins and spins
lost in a moment.


Painted Visions Owing Something To Mystery

The landscape's preoccupation:
still life in the foreground,
cut up and imperfectly collaged,
fit together like warped pieces.

Reminding us that
what is nearest to hand
presents as empty containers,
which are so accurate
breathed onto the paper,
bent on reconnecting
with their material purpose.

A floating pair of figures
glimpsed in adjoining rooms:
their elongated outlines
the confounding of masculine and feminine,
each covered with a grid of blue.
We have reshaped the behavior
to meet the wildness within us.

The most legible signs:
tiny stamped words and phrases
run slightly askew,
the green interrupted with purple;
the paintings appear to separate.

A sort of slippage or stutter
activates the fragmented images,
looking for all the world
like a vehicle of desires.


The ear recognizes all sounds of pure tone

one wave coincides
with the pitch of the voice
the voice utters a prolonged tone
rolls from top to the bottom

the open palm striking
the surface of water
sixteen complete vibrations
of a house swallow

the chirrup
exceedingly acute
notes of a piano

we are surrounded
the lowest whisper transmuted
from the ultimate source
the echo may be heard