Fredrick Zydek

Letter to Minturn About His Poems

Dear Brian: I've read these poems
with a covetous jealousy
that has nagged at me all week.
If you don't publish these things
I plan to steal at lest four images
and probably seven whole lines.

You asked for advice: I say write
until your bones ache. The only
real difference between a writer
and a nonwriter is that writers
write and nonwriters talk about it.
If the mind's work remains invisible

as wind, how shall we understand
our toes? Thinking would be less
dangerous if thoughts could be seen
clearly as a bridge or thumbtacks.
But to be pedantic, let me warn
you about long lines. They can sag

in the middle if you're not careful.
Watch your step with adjectives.
They can clutter a good line
with so much debris, your readers
will get lost along the way.
Don't be afraid to move in and out

of the dream state. Words become
elastic when we dream. Plant seeds
but remember that weeds often bloom
better than anything we try to sow.
Lastly, if you must have muses, learn
to dance without stepping on their feet.

Letter to Ranek Living in the Land of the Short Sun

Dear Jason: I have finally had time to read through
the last collection you sent for consideration. It is easy
to see how living in the land of the short sun has helped
you capture other forms of light with nothing more than

a few dark marks on paper. These poems remind me of
how social the literary arts can be. So many dedications,
so many poems spun from the bone and marrow of old
friends and the new lives you and Terese are setting out

into the universe to find ways of fending on their own.
I am taken by all the God and journey poems in this group
too. The question poems are among the best I have read
anywhere - and if you recall - my personal library of poets

and poems is the best in town. Nothing and everything
seems hidden in these poems. They prove that none of our
genes must trek through space, matter and time alone - but
without some solitary downtime we can't plug into enough

of the process to feel ourselves pulled toward its center.
These are poems that know how to revive drowned moons
and have peaceful last encounters with one's enemies. I am
writing to tell you we are going to gather them together,

even that little three-line number toward the end of the book.
What the hell. If a collection of poems can celebrate Thor
and Buddha without falling apart, why should it surprise
us to find the sonnet and the haiku nestled so close together?

Laura LeHew

Document 8

if the bed is unmade, if the laundry is undone, if my octo cat children are unfed, if there is no more coffee left in the universe, if alpacas knit pashmina wings, if the Internet implodes, if my fingers are severed, if the swine flu mutates, if my sister remembers—would the world end—if I wasn’t composing, if I didn’t submit

Paul Fisher

Letter to a Lost Brother

Forget about the weather
and whether or not the two of us
threw sticks and stones,
or spat words at childhood's bones.

Bribe an angel, tap a message,
smuggle out a sign.
Silence is the granite
I'd roll back from your grave.

In case you don't know, I'm older,
the world's warming,
and we're not on standard time.
In case you care, I'll stay awake

burning this letter
in some windless recess of my brain,
burning till, through the smoke,
your distant planet shines.


A tree made only
of stars
towers above us.

half a drop
of water,

dry --

no thing
but a thought
rattling in an atom,

no ocean
but this notion
split open like a seed.

Alastair Wilson

exterior cutaway of the planet earth induced by love

a cough on the round trajectory of multiplying lives
the bright arrows of geometry spear the planet to reveal its inner geometry
the sun winks an astonished eye

thunder migrates through tectonic plates continents tug at rubberised sky
the glittering lakes of europe declare war on space
papuan grass creeps round low mountains
north american owner occupier plains shift in colour

carpets of tundra roll out across russia
somewhere in all of this someone pads barefoot from room to room
somewhere gardens fidget underneath their fences
somewhere insomniacs listen to silverfish colonising floorboards
somewhere there’s talk of a wife and kids
somewhere they’re changing the area code
somewhere they’re buying rowing machines repainting garage doors
somewhere journalists’ cameras flap like an upward roost
somewhere the traffic swerves violently
and all the dwarfed cities wash themselves lilac with sunrise
and the drowned pulp of bathtime turns papercuts into gills
and warm fat rainwater drips from skins of peaches
and someone somewhere is finally happy after all this time
and now it’s exposed in all its microbiology
and hope bursts out of throats

Neila Mezynski

Davenport, Ca.

Benji hardly ever left that damned sofa.
He lived on it as a matter of fact.
It had a permanent Benji imprint.
“What was it I was supposed to do when I remembered it?” he asked.
Remembering the truth best to forget.
“I don’t know him anymore,” she said.

Peggy was a tall thin blonde with no hope of ever getting a man.
“With hope, I can dance the night away and dream of love again as before long ago.”
Tense, irritable and opinionated.
Men don’t like that.
Like soft loose-lipped, doe-eyed.
Blonde hair both upstairs and downstairs and lots of questions for big and strong.
Too many opinions for a blonde.

Meredith tended her garden for tenderness which was almost always needed.
Head in the clouds when touching and planting the various sweet smelling bits of color here and there.
Tiny chairs and brightly colored red and green glass apples, ceramic bunnies and metallic Suns interspersed among the roses and peonies and trailing vines of color for funs sake. For the child’s eyes to light up.

Steve rode into town with his tin horn hat stacked high atop his head.
Sitting with a swagger on that black stallion as if he was born up there as comfortable as you please.
He had an air of mystery, very appealing to the ladies.
He was a thoughtful guy more intelligent than most with an air of refinement about him. Riding so high on the black horse.
He knew a fine woman when he saw one and he came to take her away into the sunset. An idyllic life as long as they didn’t let their feet touch the ground.
They stayed high atop the black stallion forever riding into the golden sunset.

Rose stayed by herself.
She had work to do.
No time for others.
Like the work of a marriage once with just about as little thanks. No place for a Serious minded person.
Keep those sweetnesses unbothered, unused.

Pink Girl
Hair the color of cotton candy and pants so tight you don’t need no imagination.
See the hip hoppin’ gum crackin’ smackin’ double mint packin’ candycane pink girl Walking with one of those nervous nellie kind of dogs about as big as a minute and cute As a button attracting as much attention as she wanted to.
“I told that girl not to wear that outfit out”, said her mama.
Don’t listen to a mom’s lament of sadness and grief.
She come home all knocked up, ripped and torn to shreds.
All those pink misunderstood clothes.
“I told her not”, she said shaking her slow head.