Five New Ideas - Part Three, THOMAS DELAHAYE


Treatment of my first time out in plainclothes
Still at attention, more toward a window
Than a drawer, rendezvous with the middle
Steps with bad footing
For coinage, costs closing in
Making good on promise on arrival
Arrangement argument
Skin specific of networks
Stood up as flaxen reeds
To a tied together meal
Leaves gobbled
Why wait amazed at people
Never arriving to see them?
When on that current of drowning
Or desperately saved, will standard operations
Begin again? I must see to this business
You may give me one penny to do so
Reel ends flapping, people depart theater
Quick to tuck their skin back in
To wait for limousines 
Far away seems impossible
Scratching your no-name knees
Distantly lie on a bed
To be tickled


I’ll talk, I’ll talk
We live by the sea
Evacuate by land
Friends appear ass-backwards
In the corridor
Think this is a joke?  Stocks are 
Down, ruminants run free
We’ll all be fed something
And no buildings will remain standing
The weeks will wisely go by
Before our assembled husks are shook
By sudden rainwater
We are heading south
On lumpy terrain
We’ve stuffed our pockets
With produce past its prime
To swallow would be to retard our progress
Wipe out our ETA
Groundwater is property

Man Dying

Ahem thank you I love this bed
I want to lie in it and look out
My childhood window
And there’s my seventh dog wagging
It’s my smell she smells
What you told my face was right
It’s the moon that wakes you up
And gets you going, not you
Or maybe I’ll take your face outside
With my blanket and tent
And memorize it
After that you could leave but I won’t say I’m sorry
But anyway you’re not included
In this thing like my knees are
Like mountains in bed
As blue as a blanket
My sister knows just enough of me to talk to
So I listen
I have a timer it’s buzzing
Have you noticed my birthday only lasts a few days
I received a card from an insurance agent
Thanks but I have plenty of horse sense
Little plasticine horses that live on the bookshelf
Just in case I get sick (no prognosis)
But gnaw on this donkey bone
The blood moves to a catchment
First lunch
I love peanut butter and honey
But what about almond butter and mixed pickles—
Have you even thought of that?
On white bread naturally
Before you stop breathing
Race you to your stomach 


Preparing for a great comradeship
Or being pushed into it
Hot sand
Hot peppers for dinner
Night and day
Many opportunities on the front lawn 
Lakes filling up with water
Terrible fear of quicksand or sandstorm
Fear of sleep
As much as anything

Moving further down the beach
Pushing all the sand to one side
Got you first prize
A crown of hot peppers
Making you a regent

What of our friendship?
Yes, Thomas
We’ll always be friends
Let’s invite those who have already eaten
To dinner
Nothing can stop us now

Wind of It

What’s in a computer?
People are developing around me 
They must be confronted and stopped
Same here
Listening is the problem
Oh, sure, there’s always the courthouse
Why don’t they stick me in there?
I am without peer

If it’s a case of what I do or don’t say
It’s already on Broadway
New Haven at least
Or just tryouts somewhere
You’re invited, so are they
Personal and civic functions not far apart
Unity of place! 
Everyone comes from somewhere to here

You are one who knows
On your own with a megaphone
It’s time you moved over
What not to touch in the room
Paper, lamps, me
General public line up here

Tell me about the places you’ve been
Other than the airport
I’ve been there too
So long ago
And I’m there now 
Good for you, Louie
Thanks for asking how I’m doing

What else did you want to know?





Five New Ideas - Part Two, RICHARD CHAMMINGS


Efran sat listening to the Goldberg Variations while gazing at winter constellations through his upper-story window. He knocked over a glass of wine just as the pianist splintered a passage Efran had never admired. After sopping up the spill, he spotted a man tacking up signs on posts across the street. It was public property. A uniformed guard from the padlock company nearby ran toward the fellow with the staple gun. Sensing trouble, Efran threw on his cardigan and ran down six flights to head off the guard who, it turned out, was a friend of the man posting notices.
They sang in a choir and told Efran there’d been a concert the night before that. Chuck, the stapler, had missed it due to laryngitis. Samuel, the security guard, advised Chuck that the freezing air would aggravate his vocal chords, and since he was also the male soloist, it was unjust not only to himself but the community that looked forward to the concerts. Chuck defended his stapling by holding up announcements for future cantatas.
Efran chimed in by stating he’d read “A,” the epic poem by Louis Zukofsky, inspired in part by Bach’s compositions.
“A what?” Samuel wanted to know.
“Damn,” Chuck shivered. “It’s getting colder.”
“Go home,” pleaded Samuel. “I’ll meet you in the rectory before the concert tomorrow night.”
“Boil water, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam,” Efran prescribed.
“Already tried that, didn’t help” Chuck responded as the men parted.
Efran, who was actually shitfaced from his 8th glass of wine (he’d spilled the 9th), slipped just before the 3rd floor landing and went ass over eyebrows down a flight, winding up in the ER with a ruptured spleen.

Anita Baker in France

Journal Entries

Tuesday: The conductor set the portable steps on the station’s platform. He offered his hand to steady my balance as I stepped down. A few minutes later, the train’s couplings rattled as the whistle blew and it lurched forward. I was greeted by an odor of algae mixed with Fiat exhaust.
A man and woman leaning against a wall sensed my disorder and pointed toward the shuttle
stop. “Merci,” I spoke my first French.

From my window cerulean remained the backdrop past 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday: A resort town with a surfeit of untranslatable expressions makes a visitor feel welcome. Diminished by this observation into ludicrous exuberance? I’ll try not to be. 

Thursday: Breakfast at an outdoor cafĂ© with Delacroix’s journal and a French/English dictionary: Baudelaire saw Delacroix at the Louvre one Sunday morning expounding Assyrian sculpture to his attentive servant, Jeanne-Marie le Guillou, a Breton peasant woman, who came into Delacroix’s service in 1834. She oversaw his domestic life in Paris and at Champrosay.

Located brioche. Ate one too many.

Friday: “Sardonic” brought to mind sardines, the sharp metal band twisted around a key, exposing the can’s oily contents, which I detest.

Saturday: Ugliness any day over beauty; pretense mustn’t be tolerated.

Sunday: Slept poorly on my last night. “You said it was too short, so I shortened it.” This from a dream I wish I hadn’t had.

Monday: Bought a copy of Annie Ernaux’s La place as a departure gift for the trip home.

Our State Fair

The fair deflected attention from the highway with its rising tolls and trucks that hummed deleterious tunes. It left everyone to his or her own compulsion. A retiree awaiting the start of a demolition derby used his cane to point out the arabesques made by a biplane before it burst into flames near the Ferris wheel. The pilot crawled out of the wrinkled cockpit, waved to the crowd and proceeded to a side tent where a documentary on duck hunting was being shown. The narrator repeated “participatory obscurity” until a clown, still in costume after selling his supply of cotton candy, stood up and challenged anyone to locate the blind where the hunters were hidden. Gun barrels peeking up among the reeds were a dead giveaway. Meanwhile, at the horse show, an equestrian was thrown off her mount when her skittish sorrel balked at the penultimate jump. “Ernie!” her mother shouted when she saw the horse’s ears flatten as it approached the railing. The rider, uninjured, jumped to her feet and ran to scold the horse. It snorted in the dirt, reins dangling from its bridle, satisfied with the weight off its back. “What is your problem?” Ernestine demanded as she stroked the animal’s mane. “I’ve totally misjudged our compatibility, you immature sack of meat.” She was a levelheaded, perhaps intelligent, girl who realized an object’s aesthetic value is predicated on its functionality. Her mother arrived, grass seeds stuck to her slacks. She reminded Ernestine that the exhibition of ambidextrous gunslingers was about to begin on the other side of the fairgrounds. Ernie let the horse graze and hurried with her mother, arriving just as two cowpokes from Gulper’s Gulch appeared. She realized actual gunfighters never drew their pistols with both hands as shown in Monogram Pictures. Soon afterward, an octogenarian dressed in an antique baseball uniform was drawing considerable attention at the dunking tank. He wound up and threw with a velocity Bob Feller would have envied. The Fire Chief perched in the chair didn’t have a chance, and splashed the crowd with one plunge after another.


Petey made a pair of stilts and practiced walking on them. He’d seen a picture in a magazine of Giacometti’s sculpture Man Pointing from 1947. The caption said a companion figure was planned but was never finished. Petey couldn’t find a mirror tall enough to see what he looked like on stilts, so he went to a lake and stared at his reflection with an arm outstretched and an accusatory finger at its end. This pleased him. He threw the designs he’d made for the stilts into the water. On the way home, he took a shortcut through a park and into a clump of trees but struck one and fell. He dragged himself back onto the lawn. The stilts became entangled when he tried to unstrap them. Finally, having freed himself, he threw them under a hedge. No more stilts for Petey, he thought.
That night, discouraged by his failure at trying something new, he took himself to the Mocambo lounge. He knew one of the waiters, Bret, from the old days. They’d been extras in forgotten movies. Pleased with his table at the room’s center, away from the glass cages along the walls with their squawking macaws and parrots, he ordered a Singapore Sling. Faces of bit players he’d met long ago were scattered among a few of the surrounding tables.
He flagged a waiter after tasting his cocktail. “Pardon me, too much grenadine,” he held the glass at arm’s length.
“Of course, sir.”
Brett came over. “Sorry, Petey.”
“No harm done. Has Bogart been in?”
“Away, on a shoot.”
“I’ve heard he wears lifts in his shoes.”
“Could be,” Bret replied. He kept his eyes on his tables. “What have you been up to, auditions?”
“I tried to walk on stilts today.”
“Really? Bataille wrote a raven on stilts/goes into the eye.
“Where do you come up with this stuff?” Petey asked.
“I like to read,” Bret shrugged as he took the menu to a scriptwriter new in town.

Road to Utopia

Phil Waynefil sat in his sled holding a compass indicating the magnetic North as a reliable direction. He was yanked by impatient huskies across the tundra with a vision of a baby seal disappearing with sea bubbles in a polar bear’s jaws. Finally a structure appeared. An Inuit woman with an ivory hair-band answered the door. She kept her radio tuned to a progressive jazz station as he slept on a futon. When he awoke, inadequately rested, he referred to the “pyro-specific walls” that the woman concluded were riffs on something he had experienced in a former life. She reconfigured the futon into a couch so he could sit up “while the sun’s glare does its dirty work,” as he put it. The woman hung a hand towel over the only window to fend off the light.
“Would you care for a Caesar salad?” she offered. “It’s been vacuum-sealed.”
“No thank you,” answered Phil. “A glass of Gatorade would be nice.” He could hear the ice shifting. Ribs of a portable heater’s elements glowed orangely in a corner. “How is it that, without fail, I anticipate what I’m going to bluster before switching on the tee vee to channel surf.
“Applicable signals prompt us to locate the remote while we sleep,” the woman suggested. She handed him the remote.
Quel installation!” Phil belched.
“Exactement,” she responded as she filleted a violet grayling. The initial incision was precise as the wet gills shifted, shiny as mica, on the cutting board. His ichthyology lacking, Phil couldn’t ascertain what would be on his plate. The slices recalled the grotesqueries in a Grimm’s tale. Perhaps “The Juniper Tree,” he thought.
The TV screen was disproportionately large for the iglu’s size. Robert Mitchum appeared in  pinstripes. A ceiling fan circulated billows of smoke from a peroxide blonde’s Pall Mall. Blackened eyelashes spanked her sockets. She addressed too many questions to her empty glass and woke up the lush sitting between her and Bob, who was on-the-lam. The bartender juggled olives and mocked the girl’s insinuations with “ baa la do o say.”  The Inuit woman flipped the fillets in the sizzling pan. “This iceberg is nothing but one enormous sound-scope,” she explained. ‘You think what you like.
You’ll never get a response.”
“It’s even emptier than I think it is,” Phil blustered. “Can I use that towel in the window for a shower?”
“It’s only a hand towel. Anyway, Monday night—no water,” the woman removed the band from her peroxide blonde hair. “I’ve seasoned your fillet with ginger and scallions. Are you an ice fisherman?”
“I used to install satellite dishes,” Phil answered.
“Do you know anything about microwaves?” she inquired.
“Only that they scramble thought patterns.”


Five New Ideas - Part One, DIANA ADAMS


You were alone
You fixed the problem alone
Now the house is crowded
& everyone needs to be fed
A ladle in each hand
The problem of boredom was solved
Because you used your head
When in Rome
Rome of curtains, gardens and Augustus
& these delightful people
Who have been hunted down
& bound & gagged
To entertain us
With what passes for new


Do I need a governess
to prove I am a child?
Here come The Furies

Their drums remind me
of my mother
jumping out in front of the TV

The Furies are naked
& stinking
they have knives

Don’t move
or they’ll stick you
again & again

Who let these bees out?
I am stung & stung
with other children

A snake too
beaten with a club
by the aimless one

Lights on the Way Out

This galaxy makes me thirsty
I was hoping for a darker ride
with a few turrets
these cities think it’s all about them
they could have been ordered online
all those heads huddled over the same book
for me it’s different
I like my light grainy (ecru)

Fighting in the refectory
& powerful storms
that shook the bricks
& froze the burning candles
cities in black
thinking it’s all chemical

The Composer

The man in my dream
hands me a hammer

it reminds me  
of coconuts

too bad he’s based
on a photograph

in the police museum
a young man  

murdered with a meat cleaver
& stuffed in a freezer

part of his brain
under a simal-focal microscope 

revealing his musicality
his notes on copulation

his fear of disappearing
before singing something wonderful


little umbrella 
with a hell fetish
on the shower floor
the dog ate you
like a potato chip
you could have been 
my kid brother