«Ruby Every storm is Jesus chasing spirits, twister blowing through the clothesline of the dead making waves. There’s a sure thing in the high wind, ...»
KAUFFMAN • TARN • GONZALEZ • SIERRA • GYŐRFFY • ROBINSON
GRABILL • LISA B • DIGBY • CLAY • J. BENNETT • LIU • RAPHAEL
WILT • GERBER • HAUPTMAN • B. BENNETT • ARGÜELLES
C. BERNSTEIN • FARR • CASSIDY • STEWARD • KOSTELANETZ
HEMAN • LEVINSON • KOMOR • HOUSTMAN • SWANN • GREGORY
SIMMONS • HARRISON • LAPINSKY • MYCUE • SMITH • SWEENEY
Every storm is Jesus
chasing spirits, twister blowing through the clothesline of the dead making waves.
There’s a sure thing in the high wind, old as some stick in the ground.
Time makes an hourglass out of anything.
Forget thunder, forget the reckless past.
Keep your hymns short and your fuse shorter.
Tell your children there’s no free ride to the reckoning, no blaze-of-glory color to paint this wicked world.
Blue is some skinny dog lapping brown water on the side of the road.
Green is his cup of sorrow.
Red is for knowing who’s blind.
What Hope Is Think of the weight of tenderness or faith. What is willed, what is opened. The way someone whispers someone’s name into a glass, then empties it, swallowing that small word.
Cover: FLOW by Barbara Lai Bennett, 2015 watercolor on vellum (17” x 13”) FLOW, GOLD DISC, and BLUE MOON by Barbara Lai Bennett Collection of Valerie Thomas Collages on pages 12, 30, 83, 97, and 111 by John Digby Table of contents art by Daniel Estrada Del Cid Cover and title page design by Gary R. Smith, 1986 Typeset in Baskerville by Daniel Estrada Del Cid, HS Marketing Solutions, Santa Ana, California Lawrence R. Smith, Editor Deanne Yorita, Associate Editor Daniel Estrada Del Cid, Production and Design Editor Calibanonline is published quarterly. Viewing online and pdf downloads are free.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
From Transcript for a Preparation:
RAY GONZALEZA Rhino Howling at the Moon I Look at My Stones Seven Fires The Lice in Arthur Rimbaud’s Hair The Spider’s House It Flew Away
PAUL SIERRATemple The Landscape Imagined Inheritance
ELIZABETH ROBINSONOn Walking in the San Andreas Fault
JAMES GRABILLBusload at the Metro Entanglements Energy on the Loose
LISA B (LISA BERNSTEIN)From Persephone Post-War The Other World Plum Juice His Living Daughter
JOHN DIGBYWolf Lion Bulldog Black Buck Owl with Obelisk
JOHN M. BENNETTdice foundation ruego
TIMOTHY LIUInfdels As Far As Cho Fu Sa Legacy He Held
DAN RAPHAELSo i push out
ELLEN WILTThe Counterpane
DAN GERBERNeruda Falls
TERRY HAUPTMANShekinah of the Owl’s Soul
BARBARA LAI BENNETTBlue Moon Gold Disc Dimensions Blossoming
IVAN ARGÜELLESthe unraveling (twenty fve)
DALE HOUSTMANFrom The Somnambule’s Crime Cofee Before Touring the Pyramids In the Dinghy Something Stirring at the Airport The Unerring Approacher Up the Driveway with Alice Wounded Wonder Excused From School
RAYMOND FARRSleeping in a Room in Which No One Had Ever Been Happy A Flaming Fucking Death Car Tattoo!
S. MARIE CLAY The Refugees on the Boat Are Talking Basic Training: the Gas Chamber Dear Geometry D. E. STEWARD Atlas Peak
RICHARD KOSTELANETZFrom Rondelays Bingo Peninsula BOB HEMAN From INFORMATION
HELLER LEVINSONpolymerizing alphabets on irregular incline querying oscillative from collapsible cordon
ZOLTAN KOMORPrego Peggy BRIAN SWANN Four Untitled Paintings
ROBERT GREGORYJust That Kind of Morning Wolf These New Easy Mornings
ALESSANDRA SIMMONSDear Sky Neither here, nor there, always The Key
JEFF HARRISONQueen Nab Masquerade
STEVE LAPINSKYIn the Crumbling Blacksmith Shop of My Father’s Ear
JOHN M. BENNETT & THOMAS M. CASSIDYTwo Untitled Collages
EDWARD MYCUERumble Seat Pierce Arrow
WILLIE SMITHHow Too
CHAD SWEENEYEfect Lantern LÁSZLÓ GYŐRFFY The Hell of Repetition: Deadly Sins—Gluttony CONTRIBUTORS’ ADVICE
JANET KAUFFMANUndercurrent They were able to live invisibly. Like Lazarus dead, but not absolutely, before Jesus wept and said, roll away the stone. You can imagine, they lived without limits. Fully functioning, with none of the usual obstacles.
There was artistry in it. So much water-coloring, or drawing of chalk lines, pastel and charcoal, burnt sienna and beige, they were camoufaged even in bed, in plain sight. When they pulled a sheet over their bodies, they were gone. The space looked like a feld, contoured, the soils striated, wavering in the heat.
And of course the same cloaking applied when they were out and about. Air settled on their shoulders, infltrated their hair, and passersby noticed nothing, maybe a shift in temperature as routine as that fow of cool across your arms from the dark of an alley.
No more than an undercurrent in daily life. In that way, they couldn’t have been more ordinary.
It’s difcult to assess them morally. Did they kill animals for food?
Or grow tubers and greens? Did they hurt each other in small ways, or worse? Did they seek justice for any reason?
Did they attend to the world at large? Or live wholly apart, the newsworthy world a nebulous swirl, not even a context for their unique situation, their struggles and passions.
Whatever. They were a pair, we might as well say virtually, as we say about so much these days that’s out there somewhere we can’t go with our own bulk and substance.
But still. They were more than that. We know this. They were what they were—fully realized, and shameless.
They apparently did more than have sex, though that was the core of life. Imagine, unseen, with no schedule, how much time they lavished on the body, how they abandoned restraint, and didn’t give thought to anything but the expanses and apertures, ridiculous topographies,
the startling landscape of inlets, protuberances, appendages. How the fngers played and the belly shuddered.
They certainly entertained themselves, to the point of hazard, and invented out of those recreations a system of marks, some call it a language, we have yet to decipher.
All of this comes to us remotely, like the digital images from the Mars Rover, out there rolling up and down the landscape, communicating with 0s and 1s, like words from letters, alchemic, and we recognize the red rocks in heaps, and the crusty sand. We presume these two still collide and orbit in that way, as we understand from the snapshots of Hubble the collisions of spheres, catastrophic in glitter and neon, now placed in evidence.
The consequence of their connection, in other words, can be registered, envisioned. A look of to the side, or, for more precision, close your eyes completely, as you do when you wake, to set in memory the landslide you just dreamed, tall brick buildings slipping into a ravine.
An odd swatch of intense color, a rock in sharp focus that blurs and fattens then returns to solid rock, a surge of cascading emotions, then calm—there’s that. And touch. Alone in a grassland, you’re aware of the hairs on your arm, something blowing, there.
They have never been named. So far as we know. If they were, the names would no doubt be strings of vowels, spoken while breathing.
Or the names would conjure other invisibles, remote and scurrilous, geographic couplings with no witnesses, Mount Kailash with Lake Manasarova.
Some try to track their whereabouts, upheavals in grasslands, the steppes of Kazakhstan, or that fow of fabrics and waters of Manhattan.
Various underpinnings or overthrowings of modulated landscapes.
Their blurrings and breathings.
They are best known by their refusals, and endless indulgences.
Their nomadism. Their naked opposition to restraint. The way they suck down polluted waters and spit them back clean. We presume. Even here. The Great Sulfur Pond in Lake Erie, a black hole in the lake on the old maps, has migrated onshore and bubbles up fabulous algal paints.
Hundreds of egrets stroll the shore on black stilt legs and strike at fsh. The water roils. Legs and beaks fash above. Fin and fesh below.
From Transcript for a Preparation:
Two Pre-Booked after J. P. Auxemery One in this very wide or very ancient land… in this very wide & very ancient land up to us to praise drab things
a whole devastated vegetation there is that strange perfection— like a moon destroyed in depthless night a night pierced by lightning fashes in the relentlessness & there is a very grave weight heralding severe headaches at dawn
A Rhino Howling at the Moon Too beautiful to let sorrow sleep, the rhino is devastated and alone.
To leave room for the stroke of luck, “My daughter my dove,” the rhino insists.
In the short blue, men with hats tumble to the moon hunting for the rhino’s horn.
The lilac mask dressed with rain returns alone, the men charged by the rhino on a moon doomed as a beautiful voyage, the rhino dangling on the chest of those who forget a howling rhino prefers moon mud to a punctured man’s leg.
Under heaps of clouds, the rhino is named and his grunting changes.
To mount the female, he wears the rings of Saturn between his legs, necklace of windows worn around his neck to refect a jealous moon that shaves itself each morning before the horn pierces the sun and, done coupling, the rhino is breathless.
I Look at My Stones My stones spell an undecipherable phrase.
The oldest stone is mathematical and spins.
It might attract extinct forms of amphibians.
The smallest pebble cannot be included.
I don’t know how the stones were placed here.
They resemble a broken wall that came down on top of a dwelling designed to cover the past.
The most colorful is yellow with red dots— the frst colors I recall as a child.
My stones form letters of the alphabet.
Even tiny grains beneath them are alive.
The largest stone makes the earth, though the canyons redefne what the stones mean.
I look at my stones and close my eyes.
Nothing happens, so I stare at the rough surface of one stone and it reminds me there are rosaries in cofns of the dead we have never prayed to.
Gonzales/16 Seven Fires Seven fres burn on the U.S.-Mexican border, their fames signaling that something has died.
Each fre starts at a diferent, isolated spot in the desert each night. No one knows who lights them since they burn hundreds of miles apart, seven pyres marking journeys that crossed and treks that ended on the other side of the line.
Seven fres smoke along the Rio Grande, their glow attracting no one, no movement at the wire, no camps to allow water and a resting spot, seven suns radiating over what took place, how often it happened and why few managed to cross the mountains and reach the towns where other fres are dowsed each evening.
Seven fres glow eternally to design a light, black smoke easing down to cover the graves, though embers lead to the path of survival beyond the heat of the ground, faces catching a spark as they move north, seven fres blessing the ones who keep re-igniting the earth.
Gonzales/17 The Lice in Arthur Rimbaud’s Hair The lice in Rimbaud’s hair burn to this day, his stink the cloud of the imagination where centuries pass with his gnarled snot and fres from the senses blazing in his head.
The lice plant eggs that hatch worlds of the lost brain and shimmer the vibrant mind, each nit a note in the universe freed when Rimbaud was shot by Verlaine, fying particles from his bloody arm kissing the galaxy in place of torched words, Rimbaud finging words at Catholic priests because the cross and the poem never meet without youth crucifed, the lice in smoke hiding the last sentence God whispered to the angel before stealing his last piece of bread.
Gonzales/18 The Spider’s House after Paul Bowles Open the eyes of sand because a man walks into the sea backwards, an octopus at the bottom embracing his mother for a thousand years.
Stain the eyes of time because Mayans reached the point in their calendar where time disappears, the end of the world explained by nights and mornings in the library where memory burns until there is nothing left but the true story.
Close the eyes of blood because the tracks lead to the wilderness where the mother’s house is built from afterbirths of women who believe wombs of mud are signs their sons come from the other side where the spider takes then gives, spins and weaves, follows its pattern until the axis of love is plunged into the deepest wound.
It Flew Away