panic switch and other poems

by Cher Bibler


panic switch


I am quite intense, my dear,

it’s easy to be afraid. let me

walk you through the parameters, let

me introduce you to the fear. here is a

safe room where you can take

refuge; it’s quite legal,

I have provided it for you.

look, there is an escape door out

the back. you will enter the

street from there so make sure

it’s what you want.

you won’t be invited back,

I don’t take rejection well. you will have

to step out into the world with

a smile on your face because that

is what the world expects and we

like to provide what the

world wants, don’t we? we don’t

like to stand out, that is why my space is

far removed, protected.

here is the switch you can turn

if it gets to be too much, if you

want to slow it down. it will

alert me, it will send

sedatives pulsing through my veins.

it will give you time to think, you

can reconsider. no other

relationship offers a panic

switch; it is unique with me.

one of the perks, one of the

reasons you can feel safe.

I will take your heart, your

soul, and check them behind the

desk. don’t worry I’ll keep them

safe. I will take your hesitation,

your doubt, and pack them away. only you

can decide if you want them back.

only you can decide how far

to go.





my line of work


I drag it around like the

mother of a marriageable daughter

shoving her in the faces of

eligible men

dressing her up like a gift wrapped package

I pull my poems around in a

cage like circus animals on display

in sad small towns where men sit

in the square with beer drunk by noon

I whore my words out on

street corners hair teased faces thick with

paint tarted up to look

like they’re a big deal

the lure the only thing that matters

the deed unimportant

I dip each word in chocolate to

disguise the bitterness

drown each stanza in gin to

make it slide down faster

and I am quite successful in my

line of work




working out a solo


last night at practice listening

to him work out a solo playing

the rhythm part over and over as

he tried it one way and then

another as it got better and better

only to fall apart and start over

and over I drifted away and

thought of other things the

rain in the afternoon and standing in the

car garage talking shelter with

the guys who always wave

at me when I go past they stood in

the doorway and watched the rain

I did too

the streets were flooded and I

waded through, the water warm

from the hot pavement

over and over sometimes my mind

wanders so far I screw up my

simple 4 chords but all of a

sudden the solo came together and I

was there again and when he finished I had

to say Oh I like that





painted truth


I have painted truth between these words

I was unable to keep totally silent and yet

I can’t be totally honest either

I hide behind lies and fiction

but I have cleverly planted truth

I am hoping you’ll see it and know that

you’ll be able to understand because

I have no other way to reach you

I have planted truth between the rows

like covert marijuana they will

reap a grim harvest if consumed

their smoke will rise in a slow line

to the sky






a bowl of memories


I have a bowl of memories on

the coffee table. They glow

in many hues. Some are too dark to

look at for very long. Some

bite when you touch them.

Some of them will stain your fingers.

Others are happier, of course,

many of them are happy but

they are overshadowed by

the darker ones. When people look

into the bowl those are all

they see.





this is how the story ends


this is how the story ends

the silence at the back of the room

the respectful pause

the breath before the sudden freedom

the pull before the last binding breaks

the last look around at the

world you thought you couldn’t live without

memories that dissolve like dust

a happiness that fills you

unexpectedly when you realize this

the dropping away

the shedding of your fears

the realization of how little you actually need

the rise of your heart



Cher Bibler is the author of one book of poetry, California, California. She has worked as editor of Amanda Blue, a poetry magazine, and co-editor of a literary magazine, the Wastelands Review. She was a fiction reader for the Mid American Review and worked as poetry editor for the Heartlands Review. She was a book reviewer for Literary Zoo.

She was a founding member of the alternative band Tinfoil, as bass/rhythm guitarist, singer and songwriter. Over their career, they released 12 albums. One of their songs, People Don’t Know, will be featured in a film, Certainty, directed by Keith Mosher, due for a fall 2011 release.

Her short story, Not Waving But Drowning, was a winner in the annual NOBS competition, and her current novel, Billie, was a finalist in this year’s (2011) Faulkner competition.  Her poem, Merida, Easter, will be included in an upcoming Evergreen Review.

She now resides in Mérida, is in the process of forming a new band, and serves as editor of this publication.



photo by Dan Griffin


Correspondence on Too Thin Paper and other poems

by Lydia Tomkiw


Correspondence on Too Thin Paper


You wish to make me dinner

Having spent your life in the kitchens:

“Come, woman, we must dance,

But first I have to feed you.”

We were so wicked at the zoo that day,

I imagined you dark and subtle

With eyes so large they seemed tempted to

Drip off your face.

Or perhaps I imagined you washed out and shallow-eyed

With nothing of a chin;

I don’t remember,

Since then I have sent you boxes of inflammable birds

And you have replied with decorative blindfolds

And books that smell of brown paper bags.

Today, while reading them,

I feel too buffered by this house,

Waiting for the postman

Or telephone panic,

Waiting for the doorbell’s novocaine hum

When I could be strapped in yellow satin

Waiting on a hill

For an exiled young actor to offer me refuge

In a taxi that will take me to Coney Island.



Cafes I Have Known


The Café of Mismatched Silverware.

The Small Animal Café.

The Café of Too Many Teas that Taste the Same.

The Revolving Table Café.

The Windowless Café.

The Café of Dead Telephones.

The Fur-lined Cup Café.

The Café of Dwarfish Waiters.

The Café of Voluptuous Salt Shakers.

The Inflammable Café.



Recalling the Last Encounter


There is no anemic embrace on the street;

A kiss is thrown, meets another,

Drops to the sidewalk and goes for a tumble.

You warn of tight clouds that

Wriggle like army worms;

A form of algebra suicide, I guess.

I want to telephone the sailors,

Curse their songs of gasoline,

As the light in the booth turns me hideous.

I want to become hydraulic,

Hit the newsstands—national exposure,

Feel the world crawl into me through the fingertips,

As the traffic locks, stops, goes soft.

I want to talk about milk,

About the invisible bones of the face,

About the brain that sits too close to the skin

While I hear you say that we can be chainsaws

Under the stars.


Under what stars?



My Favorite Dadistic


A delicate young artists stands:

Switchblade at his neck, snakeskin at his feet;

A siren sings, the city turns away,

And all I can hear are the cries of those who are

Being eaten by the music.


I dream I wake in a striped blouse

somewhere in Jamaica.

Each time I blink, a million sounds escape my eyes,

Run out into the waves

And kick themselves to death.

Then I dream the dream called laundry.


But when he comes near, I admire the glimmer

Of doll’s hair,

The muddiness of complexion as

He reassures me through the side of his mouth

“The yellow eyes of fish are not sad,”

And I reply

“Yes, but have you ever caught the whispers of sidewalks

As pale women walk by?”

He shakes his head, sends lucite chips scattering

And keeps repeating

“The moon has no odor,

The moon has no odor……..”



This is To Notify You


Here I am, doubled over,

Dreaming again in Manhattan,

City as dull as

Death by natural causes.

I can not bear the stars anymore;

They just hang there, silly, useless as neckties,

My fingers are stained with newsprint

And my lips are nervous.

Where are all the hungry boys,

Those who will want my shoes after I die,

Those who taxi drivers are afraid to touch,

Those who wear their hair like some

Badge of beauty?

Yes, overproduced things appeal to me.

I crave an ex-husband,

Chilled perfume, a pillow that smells of hairspray

And now you even want to take this from me.

I will take off my arms and go to bed;

I am so sleepy,

I don’t care to hold hands with anyone.



Speed of Light

(for Donnie)


In previous lives we were born in cities

We really didn’t admire;

We ate atomic breakfasts,

Hid in map factories,

Sang foreign hymns until my brainwater ached.

We were a kind of Siamese twin,

Severed lungs cut at what doctors called

“The Golden Bridge.”

Even then they sensed something uncanny,

Seeing we were somewhat happy on our crutches,

Spread slap against the sky

Which is another man’s floor.

The memory dazzles me.

Now, in the sonic dashboard din,

I can sense the traces of aluminum in my blood

As we begin to breathe in unison

And our fingerprints become






Everyone is so boring:

No cure for colds, no carlot chases,

Nothing to make this a faster asteroid.

Even your fevergiving drone makes me pensive,

Puts me at a melancholy pace, as if embodied in an egg.

I should freeze oxygen at midnight and thaw it at dawn,

Plow fields just to make the earthworms nervous,

But instead, I am ready to throw bricks

(but only something as dull as bricks);

Pardon me

While I

Strip and melt.



A Shot in the Head


I fear science, I fear math,

I fear anything thick and inflexible:

The space between your ribs, too tough

To poke my fingers in.

And you decide to move to Pittsburg

Where men shovel on their knees making

Their stomachs hard enough to dance on.

What is left for me to do?

I have lost my desire to provoke noise;

No longer want to flirt with the enemy or

Terrorize Alaska;

I’ve stopped stealing books for a living

(that small time crime),

Test driving cars and never coming back.

This is quite serious.

I go to bed, still in parenthesis,

A mere elbow nudge.

It’s things like this that make you find refuge in sleep,

So dreamless, you could slip into death

And never find out about it.



On My 21st Birthday


Like a gesture held back in an elevator,

So is this day.

I strap these hands to my hips

When they should be waving in frenzy,

Dance with the nude bamboo man when

I really should be waltzing.

I know no one who has died in August,

No legal holidays attached to it;

It’s all mine:

Month of eternal redheads.

Look what I’ve created for myself:

A butterfly grows dizzy in heat,

Buzzes into a wall and drops.

A girl, picked at random from the crowd,

Sits on the roof of a decorated Chevy,

And as it pulls away,

Waves to the empty streets.



Published 1980 -1981 in Amanda Blue. Used with permission.


photo by Dan Griffin




Poems from Insurgentes

by Marc Nasdor


Courtesy Flush


Name the birthplace to start the buzzard

coughing; make certain others obsess

on it, bothered in their dreams & those


of their partners. Waking in spurts

from a sleepwalking apnea, telepathic

narcolepts preach: “Hairline fissures open


(echo) long enough to entrap you

into full-on three-toddler punishment

playdates, or otherwise similar regret.”


Thus pirouettes a bone-bent behemoth

dangling his Forager’s Clamps—one pair

wired to his dead-hand detonator—


some venal attempt to fully reconstitute

his clan’s erasured nativity grid, minting

for insatiably smear-crazed public


its facts on the ground (fabrications, 

whatever); whoever legitimizes any

& all atrocities himself, uncommitted


& stuck in reverse [osmosis]; or how

even to appear as fractionally skanky

as a class-denying faux-hawk, shifting


on membranes loosely stretched over

buckets of mucous, commingling them-

selves with their last interactions in lip-


locking legacies, & other plainly obvious

featherbed, for the family of post-trauma

crackup that visits them sooner than later.



Personal Hygiene for Menhaden


Swap meet at the uptown funeral event,

wherein saints excrete their sinful turds

into absolution toilets. Men look down


at their numbers, ogling LCD displays

for prostate score fluctuations, tracking

bullish & bearish trending piffle deep


into the classroom. As subjects desanctify

biopics, giving it up (i.e., motor-to-poet); or

with slaps to his anklets, whispering slippage


by judgment, by hues in the irises. Accidental

rhythm books scheme to re-digitize “I want

not to know where you are,” or “I want to


not know where you are/are not,” an assay

(what? ever!) speaking confluent cusses

to malodorous mower-blowers, pestilent


as invective directed at specula. Spousal

crawl onto the birthing bed re-incubates

the neonates, fully plunging fungibles


tonguing unguent into cud-chunks

to protect the human larvae from far-flung

business prism Creep Crap Creosotes,


exactly the final birdsong heard before

syncope initiated its glorious tilt, a slow

leaning to gentle thuds to the sidewalk.


Where is I? More precisely, where

was I? “I want to bean / myself with those

numbers / when complaints go marching in.”



Lean Cuisine Marine


…or living out a year in a hippo’s transverse

colon. One learns one’s lesson in projectile

waste deployment & storage, as if, as ifn’t—


“What a load of spent hippo!” In the pocket

of afternoon screening room wackoffs,

smartphones tweet a follower’s au revoir.


Correct? Insubstantial? Concrete galoshes,

tossed into reservoir, exclude the cadaverous

dance; but tracking bacteria support


its insurgency; soon it’ll morph to under-

sea zeppelin, that kind of inflation

even moms get worked up about! Corpse


filtration feeds the poor fish; omnivore dines

on reduction of ball, diffusion of puss,

& that’s about all ‘til nolo contendere, close


file. Bodies of water mediate bone-cracks

as bits of marrow seep into fluidspace,

lapped up by coelacanths when fishers


& implements, connected by filaments,

snap amid the attentions of business.

It may be laudable to exit one’s hippo


after all the gases burn off, but in the end

the living dirigible floats over under-

sea rubbish, makes weed-twists, embraces


each little sea thing with leathery bulk,

drifting in its wastewater with currents

to dispersion, to natural divvying up.



Brain Balanced Precariously on Brainstem


Apoplexy morphs you back into Back Into.

Often over-simulated, more often pro forma

Exterminating Angel, its willard flapped


sideways in odd service to itself. Precisely

what level of performance enhancement

is acceptable to seller, whose available


leverage the lending source covets?

Isn’t a pseudo-decoder-ring demon

with stinger-enabled-brickbat enough?


Data entry simmers here & around, stuck

in a soft keypad’s membrane. That sounds hot,

so it’s written—really hot! So what sets off


ensuing calamity? What else concatenates

instructions to recipient? Same kind of syrup

that poisons your pillow talk? Same breed


of talking point flash-mobbed in sermons

as overage accumulates & later transforms

into billable units for a few, it turns out?


Deep fiscal sanctity flakes or peals off

to succor, & with it brings comfort,

or comfit (as in pralines) as bowls of ‘em


posit to weigh heavy in on it. Addressing

a mandatory quarterly sphincter-sniff,

one exec bats off a phalanx of shareholders,


[distractedly] posturing personal privilege:

“Apoplexy rules! Get on with it, Sponsors.

Invest in this!” (triggers timer on warhead).


photo by Dan Griffin




Marc Nasdor is a poet, writer and musician; a native of Baltimore who has lived in New York City since 1980. He was involved for a decade in international literary festivals with the late poet Allen Ginsberg and several prominent poets in the promotion and translation of world poetry for publication, the stage and the radio. He has also spent more than 25 years involved with the Hungarian arts scene in the US and in Budapest and Pécs, Hungary. In 2009 and 2010, he visited Mérida as a participant in the US Poets in Mexico program, and formed close friendships and contacts with the Mérida literary, arts and music scenes scene, giving readings at the Mérida English Language Library and the Café Poesía reading Series at Cafe Chocolate. His most recent book of poems is Sonnetailia, published by Roof Books in 1997.

In addition to his literary activities, Nasdor is well known as a world music DJ, resident at Mehanata Bulgarian Bar in New York City, and presently at Pilsener Haus, a massive Czech-German beer garden in Hoboken, New Jersey. He has also DJ’d in Budapest and Pécs (Hungary), Nantes (France) and in Mérida.


The literary scene in Yucatan

by Fer de la Cruz


In the state of Yucatán, where decentralization is only a political slogan, literary things happen mostly in its capital city: Mérida. In a way, things are rocking among the chaos of UNESCO´s “City of Peace”: 2 schools of creative writing have been founded within the past 3 years: 1) Escuela de Creación Literaria (where I teach) of the State Institute of Fine Arts, in which Spanish and Mayan-speaking adults earn a 3-year degree in Creative Writing, and workshops are offered for children and teenagers. 2) Escuela de Escritores Leopoldo Peniche Vallado belongs to the State Institute of Culture (ICY), which is currently in the process of becoming a Ministry—so much for descentralización! Both schools are inconveniently located in the same building, across from the zoo. On the other hand, two universities, one public, one private, have been graduating Literature majors for a decade. And there´s a number of private workshops throughout town.

Back to the issue of centralism, the only living Yucatecan writers who have been truly influential (big names like Agustín Monsreal and Raúl Renán) have resided in Mexico City for decades. Also, Raúl Cáceres Carenzo resides in Toluca; Jorge Pech in Oaxaca; Reyna Echeverría in New York… Among those who reside within the state borders are those who are native Yucatecans (Francisco Lope Ávila, Roger Metri, Jorge Lara, José Díaz Cervera, Lourdes Cabrera, and Mayan writer Feliciano Sánchez Chan, to name some) and those born elsewhere who must be considered a part of the community of Yucatecan writers, such as Cuban-born Raúl Ferrera Balanquet and maestro Jonathan Harrington, who calls himself Orgullosamente yucagringo.

There are two main independent groups of writers: Centro Yucateco de Escritores, A.C. (CYEAC), which was created over 2 decades ago, has been hosting an on-going workshop, a magazine (Navegaciones Zur), an has its own publisher (Ediciones Zur). Also, five years ago or so, la Red Literaria del Sureste was created as an alternative. Some politically active writers from both groups hold public offices. There are also those with academic credentials in literature, such as Manuel Iris, Ph.D. candidate; Jafet Israel Lara, Ph.D. candidate; Cristina Leirana, M.A., and your humble Fer de la Cruz, M.A. The rest have never heard of Terry Eagleton.

There are lots of writers, it seems. The problem is, local bookstores show little interest in marketing their works. To publish a book, one may submit it to the editorial council of either ICY or Ayuntamiento de Mérida. If selected, the book will be published but not necessarily promoted. One may also try her/his luck in state or nation-wide literary contests for money and/or publication. Librerías Dante sponsored 2 contests for publication. The second batch of 10 authors from all three states of the Yucatan Peninsula is being published this year. Other than that, there is no such thing as agents or talent-hunters, and big name publishers appear only on display, especially for those who lack political connections.

So, how do local writers earn their daily bread? They pray: Some pray to God; some (with political connections) prey on smaller fish. Those who don´t hold a public office may have steady jobs in private institutions. There are those with two, three, or even four part-time teaching jobs, whose paychecks (in the case of public schools) may be delayed for periods of five months year after year. Some writers may be asked to present a book, write a prologue, or preside over a public event without pay. Some others are invited to jury in a literary contest, with pay—the honest ones are seldom called for the latter.

New generations of local writers are starting to emerge. Also, new generations of critics are earning degrees in literature. There is hope that these young professionals learn to separate art and politics and that the way things are may actually be challenged without losing one´s job.

Better laugh than cry in México´s “safest city.” Following the steps of maestro Agustín Monsreal, I have become a satirist who hopes not to have disappointed the readers with my view on things, since writing is my way of making the world a better place.





photo by Dan Griffin


A Simple Life and other poems

by Jonathan Harrington


A Simple Life

You close the screen door

of the motel room

behind you

and follow the sandy path

one last time to the beach.


The smell of salt

lingers in the air

and a cool breeze on your neck

takes your mind

off the long drive home.

The boardwalk is closed for the season

and the reflection

of the slumbering Ferris wheel

shimmers in the wet sand

at the water’s edge.


Beyond the breakers

gulls plunge into the sea.

In the distance you see something.

It must be sea-weed.

You keep walking.


Sandpipers race from the foam

leaving the hieroglyphics of their tiny tracks behind.

You’re thinking: What a quiet summer it has been

when you glimpse a body receding with the tide.

A gull drops.

You push your way into the sea.

It sucks at your legs.

You fall back

plunge forward

fall back.


Through the smear of salt

you watch the bloated corpse of a woman

rise into view on a crest,

her tangled hair covering her face.

Another gull falls as she disappears.


Straining against the surf, you reach the body.

Her neck is twisted;

she stares backward,arms floating outstretched

like broken wings.

You grasp her clammy waist—

already slick

with the mucus

of a water death—

and struggle toward shore.


You drag her to the edge of the dunes

and fall panting on the sand.

It is a nightmare

you tell yourself.

But you know better.


You stare wildly up the beach.

It is still, deserted;

the flawless summer nearly over.

There is still time

to give her back.






One by one

I watch them go in

and file out again.

I overhear

their stories—

as if Mr. Brown could care

about their lives

as much as their typing speeds

and the way they wear their hair.

Their dreams are all so similar

(and so similar to mine)

that even after thirty years

it’s like I’m walking in

with each one of them

each time

and walking out again


of all that’s boxed inside.

No wonder they look so empty

when they take

Mr. Brown’s hand

and lie

that it was a pleasure

meeting him.

Then heave a sigh

and disappear

behind the elevator doors

like shells

of what they were before

they made this trip up here.

And they go




to face the blinding light

of noon in Midtown:

the breathless air, the strangled sky,

the next, and next, and next guy

with whom

they interview.

So what?

It’s how the world’s

always been.

At least just one unlucky girl

will have to make this trip upstairs again.






I have almost lost you completely,

can barely remember the curve of your jaw

your nose, your gray hair beneath a cap to ward off the sun.

I remember cigarette smoke, the smell of nicotine on your fingers.

But I cannot rearrange your features to make sense.

You are a puzzle.

I have the nose, blue eyes,

even the sound of your voice.

But I cannot assemble them into a proper face.

Sometimes, coming up from the A train at Columbus Circle,

hurrying to work, work, work,

I see you hunched in an overcoat against the wind

lighting a cigarette in the doorway of a deli on 8th Avenue.

But as I get closer you grow younger,

with a haircut not of your era,

brown eyes not blue,

your features already receding

into someone else’s face.






I´m against plants that don´t bloom,

faulty fireflies

blinking on and off;

I´m against noise and rudeness,

garbage and dead batteries,

and motors that won´t start,

and wet matches, and slow computers;

I´m totally against wounds and against tears,

against hunger and thirst, insomnia, envy…

“But señor,” —they say—

“you´re against all those things.

What political party do you support?”

 Well, I am a proud one hundred-per-cent supporter,

and a life-long member, of the party of Love.


(written in Spanish by Jonathan Harrington

Translated into English by Fernando de la Cruz)




A Charmed Life


I remember one bitter winter

in Park Slope,

waiting with my cousin

for the A train

at Jay Street

to carry us over

the stinking Gowanus Canal.

I looked down the tracks

into the black tunnel

as if looking into hell.

I leaned out

straining to hear the bang

of metal on metal

and the scream of the train

as it bulleted into the station.

I won’t lie to you

I was drunk—

a young man drunk

on freedom and the City of Brooklyn,

with its rows of tenements,

like rotten teeth,

and piles of dirty snow.

I fell,

pitched forward

and broke my head open

on the tracks

just as the train shrieked

into the station.

My cousin,

God bless him,

pulled me back up

on the platform

and held my broken head

in his arms

and screamed at me

as the blood ran

all over his lap:

“You stupid son-of-a-bitch.”


I am lucky

to be writing this poem







Somebody picks at the sores

of her new tattoo.

Somebody stares at the mustache

drawn over Madonna´s upper lip

on a torn poster.

Somebody listens to an Ipod

no one else can hear

her head thrusting back and forth

like a catatonic

or a strychnine victim.

Somebody mumbles her rosary.

Somebody reads the Daily News.

Headline: “Mother Tosses Baby From Roof.”

A crippled beggar clears his throat.

Somebody is praying.

Somebody studies a book on macroeconomics.

A woman is polishing her wedding ring with a tissue.

Somebody stares blankly at absolutely nothing.

A boy reads the sports section

over a hunchback’s shoulder.

Somebody sneezes.

A coach (whistle around his neck)

plots football strategies on a piece of graph paper.

A man and woman argue.

A little boy scratches his elbow.

Somebody is writing this poem.


photo by Dan Griffin


Jonathan Harrington lives in an 18th century hacienda that he restored himself in rural Yucatán, Mexico where he writes and translates poetry from Spanish and Mayan. He is a weekly featured reader at Café Poesia and Café Pendulo in Mérida. He is on the permanent faculty of US Poets in Mexico and a reader for the University of Arkansas Press’ Miller Williams Poetry Prize. He has read poetry throughout the world and has been invited to the International Poetry Festival in Havana, Cuba, Semana Negra in Gijon, Spain and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have appeared in Poetry East, The Texas Review, Main Street Rag, Green River Review, Kentucky Poetry Review, English Journal, Epitaph, Slant, Black Bear Review and many other publications. He has published two chapbooks: Handcuffed to the Jukebox and Aqui. His translations from the Spanish and Mayan have appeared in World Literature Today, Visions International, The Dirty Goat, International Review of Poetry. In addition to poetry, he has edited an anthology of short stories: New Visions: Fiction by Florida Writers, authored a collection of essays, Tropical Son: Essays on the Nature of Florida, and has published five novels, The Death of Cousin Rose, The Second Sorrowful Mystery, A Great Day for Dying, Saint Valentine’s Diamond, and Death on the Southwest Chief.



Abide and Abode and other poems

by H.E. Mantel



…Would spawn

gamboling a fabulous house!,

of stone and glass and

Jakarta teak…

at the hill

of a roaming meadow set in turquoise and

lavender Echinacea, silvestre susans

and Girasoles,


on a Summer pond,

a visage to the Promethean Autumn,

of Bosc PearApple trees,

les biches and snow…

Rooms begetting rooms, Stories

below and above

with every detail

gossamered in Love

thru every Portal and,







…Sewing needles will

thread in the dark, lightning’ll

be a stored source, green

on the table, no need for

stables, old a collection


no need for savvy,

or to ask a farmer’s wife

does she sow, parades

of air dancers, kenny g

exiled, and dogs named erskine


airwaves owned by the

people, the true meaning of

steeple revealed, no

one leaves on a jet plane, no

need for blame, no laws-no law-


enforcementors, health

food deemed redundant, shelf-life

an oxymoron,

weather’s for sailing, who is

ailing, harp seals pandas


potable water,

people needing people the

only people in

the Morlde`, Barbra unexiled

to real-ly sing happy days


are here, again, and

everyone’s in a slow dance

expertly in charge

of the Love, every game ends

in a tie, all qualify!


(novus vetus universitas)



  – MH



was just a girl

‘splaying rubiauburn caracole

in dingy sunlight

as hungry danced ’round

hungry for something


she was just a girl


a daughter-mother


to skill & scullery

as the others danced

merry into dingy sunlight

hungry for something


& jessedressy


she was just a girl



the strains of music assuaged,

like an unfamiliar bosom’s

familiar melody,

to the wireless

or of the paucitous street

marconi ‘n cheese

never cheesy enough


she was just a girl


whirls, & whirled

of pirates & barons


like a vested, barren jessedressy



restive for something

beyond vacancy

& vacated friends,

now coveted


she was just a girl




of violate pianokey smudge:

what size?  critisize,

home to eyes

streaked like windows

in her dingy sunlight

born to moaning,

when our cord was cut

she cried



is the necessity of invention


she was just a girl


two centenaries

rubiauburn caracole

too soon silvered

to bleach white

like marrowless bones

fed on resentaplenty…

wilting silk flowers


was just a girl


she was just a girl




H.E. Mantel-HaroHalola, Aquarian male, of Hallandale Beach, Florida; poet/writer published extensively in print and Internet e-zines/journals/anthologies, including Ascent Aspirations, Shampoo, Record Magazine, The Apocalypse, A Hero’s Journey Anthology, International War Veterans Poetry Archive, Poetry By Moonlight Anthology, Dilate, Concisely, A Dream In The Clouds, Doors Anthology (I & II), World Artist Network Magazine, Anthology Of Food, Poetry Soup (Featured Poet/Competition Award Winner), The National Quarterly, Caper, Eye On Life (Featured Poet/Competitions Award Winner), Hennen’s Observer (Featured Poet/Competitions Award Winner); awaiting the publication of poetry collections, Bananas’ On The Moon…A Collection Of Revisionist Haiku, & Sophistigates: A New Book Of New Poetry;  musician-vocalist-songwriter, an avid reader, athlete, and devotee of holistic health through vegan lifestyle, ecology and his writing to help our Earth to heal.



photo by Dan Griffin


Heart Emoticons in the Moonglades and other poems

by Sharon Mesmer

Heart Emoticons in the Moonglades


Poon pregret is the signature position of the nigh-immortal

half elf/half octopus Bitch Queen of Hell.


All druids are welcomed into the sacred lands

of the coprophageous level 44 night-noodling mongoloids.


Level 44 blood elf mages are sewed down the anus,

ready to burst, and give the impression of pregnancy.


Mark the moonglade on the water, stretching like a silvern pathway

to distant molting genocides of dolomite cognomen.


Almost everyone in WW2 were elves, including the Whole Foods types

and my savage and instinctive hot mom friend.


Snogging is a way for elves to clear their mind of emotion – a form of goo igloo

self-expression that frees their indecent lemons of tensions.


The horned mooncow dies …  and the hopes and emotions of dwarf ladyboys

become the new mooncow patriotism.


You’re a mooncow if your parts don’t fit together and you call yourself a man

where others are elf-men, dwarf-men, or gremlin-men.


What gorgeous high elves you have, Moon Geek!   Sporting their own condoms

and encoding your geckoloader.


Don’t dank my mantrum, Prince: no buck born of a doe can ever dream of

defeating Sister Mooncow!


This is a right-brained world, where things are always what they seem:

there are no decent mooncow moobs.




I Am No Longer Missing Out On Visions of Spontaneous Presence

— in collaboration with George Carpenter, my student


This guy writes these sprawling poems about life and expansion and how we are all

in this and how he feels like we feel now.


He demonstrates that this is the National Identity of America, and this Identity is

demonstrated quite well in Superman.


Superman does what Superman wants to do and there is always something noble

and grand in the quest of the All-American boy that does what he wants  for the

good of the people.


I believe this is very American, even though he’s not calling the place “America.”


This in and of itself is American because right here he is going against the grain of

what everyone else calls the place and is using the name which he believes the place

should be called, which is not the name everyone else is calling it.  He is going

against the grain, but at the same time he’s “going with the flow.”


“Going with the flow,” and “Going against the grain” are both parts of what it means

to be American.  The National Identity of America was born with the idea that we do

whatever we want without some other country telling us what to do.  At the same time

however we burned people at the stake and enslaved a whole race.  However,

I would not call us hypocrites because part of what it means to be American is to

work at it and figure it out and make amends with the yin and the yang.


Part of what it means to be American is to be a go-getter and get it done.  In the few

moments that Americans allow their souls a few moments of reflection you can

probably find us on a beach trying to figure out what is really going on around here.

This in some ways is why Americans are very electric.  We are electric, and because

we function at a very high level that usually means a lot of coffee. We are also

adventurous people and we are always willing to walk on a beach to find the

inspiration needed to continue to keep the ball rolling.


Currently the theme song of America is, “Yes we can.”  I believe part of that idea is

seen right here with a bunch of leaves and sand coming together to be part of a

whole beach. It is very American to believe in beaches, and in God, and more

specifically in the God that we believe in.  I know what I am about to say is very

opinionated but I would also say that there is something American about going to

the beach and figuring things out.  I believe beaches are one of the few places in

America where the sand gets into everything and the sun is bright and the ocean

refuses to be ignored so we have to look at what is going on and take a breath and

acknowledge the unseen.  Mainly because are a lost people.  Now while this sounds

like a negative statement it really isn’t. Being lost is a beautiful state of being.

Because there is something very American about admitting that we are working on

it and that while these aren’t maybe the best answers we have so far we are going to

go far to protect them and we are definitely trying new things.  We don’t round up

gay people and kill them in camps.  Unless you live in the Midwest.


Television is where most Americans find their identity.  Specifically the Emmy

winning shows that center around a man in the middle of a cut-throat challenge

having regrets and having to make hard decisions and how no one can really see

who he is because of how many masks he wears.  In other countries I am sure that

there are searches for who people are.  The search or rather the journey is one of

the founding bricks of what it means to be an American.  Just for the first of us to

get here we had to leave our homes and everything behind to get on boats to come

here.  If you want to go real far back apparently a bunch of our very distant

ancestors had to get here by crossing a strait of ice hundreds of miles long.

I really hope they had special boots.


In America the path usually asks everything from you and in return you get freedom.

Freedom and the power to bring light to the dark parts of the world and our own

consciousness eventually.


I think that part of the American Identity is that God helps those that help

themselves and while in some dark ways that means that God doesn’t really help

those that don’t help themselves I think that the American Man (or woman) feels

closest to God when he is out there in the world sharing himself with what is going

on around him.  Growing up, I remember these stories about how we would shout

our glories to God in the highest and all that jazz and there is something very nice

and wholesome and American about sharing a nice walk on the beach with God,

shouting glories.


I believe it is very American to keep on going when we have absolutely no idea what

we are talking about but we go on anyway because the only way out is through.


A stroll just about anywhere here in NYC is a reminder and usually not a gentle one

that we haven’t solved this game for everyone yet and we must not get too involved

in progress to forget those that cracked in the high sun of their lives.  Part of our

National Identity is found in the forgotten pieces of ourselves that get dispersed

through everyone’s juices flowing.


The core of this message is, “Fuck you God I am still here and no matter what shit

you throw at me and no matter how many of these great mysteries of life I am going

to have to solve I am not going to quit this game that I don’t remember putting

myself into.  No matter how laid out I become from all of this I know you are up

there and in some way we are in this together so make sure you don’t forget about

us down here walking the beaches and lightly lamenting on how underneath it all

we have yet to have a steady grasp on what the hell is really going on.”  I believe it is

very American to be pissed.  We have road rage and we love fights as entertainment

and sources of potential income.


Anger at God apparently got us into this predicament in the first place.  Hopefully

though we will learn to chill out a bit more and hopefully not by taking too many

chill pills but actually dealing with it.


Maybe it’s all about a guy on a beach trying to piece together who he is and what

part the beach plays in it.



Why Am I Suddenly Responsible for John Cougar Mellencamp’s Castration Complex?


So, you want to be a rock star but don’t have the talent, money or skills?

Just take a look at how Bono’s pre-programmed Al Gore blood Passover

unravels the “castrated Jonas Brothers” allusions of Mussolini eating chalupas.

Then you’ll understand what it means to be under the influence of Aerosol Jesus,

dilating like a mo-fo satyr upon a farm of cysts.  Back in 1980, Ronald Reagan

painted Jimmy Carter in a garden and deprived him of androgens, opening a huge

soft spot in the previously impenetrable defenses of Scandinavia.  It is this spot —

wan and constipated as the Moody Blues, melodic and dripping with emotions —

that inspired the massive fish murder of Congressman Sonny Bono, followed by

a comical theft of 118 minutes of dismembered Taylor Swift.  Even Alfred Hitchcock

could never have imagined that.  And even when you reach the near-insanity of

Bono perched on an angel by a hearing aid store in Dublin, you’re still nowhere near

John Cougar Mellencamp, poisoned, castrated, shot and drowned all in one night

by a priest when he was 13.  Talk about 24/7 dwarf-dark undertones!




Why Is It That Plunder Always Explores Me Like Some Kind German?


Why is it that plunder always explores me like some kind German?

I’d love to know who is going out wearing these shreds of entropy.


Why is it that plunder always explores me like some wind turbine?

I’d love to know why the One is the power of the sacred within all energy.


Why is it that plunder always exploits my wine-colored turban?

I’d love to know why stillness has been ignored by the recording industry.


Why is it that plunder always exploits my finding a blind surgeon?

I’d love to know why I arrived on this planet a barefoot “pickaninny.”


Why is that plunder always exposes my fine southern region?

I’d love to know how having channeled gifts has reduced my life expectancy.


Why is that plunder always exposes me with king-like discrimination?

I’d love to know the strategy for achieving 20,000 hours of true humility.


Why is it that plunder always extemporizes with kindness and perfection?

I’d love to know before I descend the tar-thick shadow-side of celebrity insanity.



I Heart That You Wrecked My Community Musical . . .


. . . after I introduced you to my pen name.

You can love people, you can pour your f*cking heart out to them,

or you can listen to a Nikki Sixx album

with an open mind and heart.


Oh. My. God. Why. So. Sad?

I work on staff at Park Community Church in Chicago, and

I. Don’t. Matter. To. Jesus.

That’s. Why. So. Sad.


What about Hate Crimes?

Um, what about A White Guy’s Guide on How to Deal with

the Black Community for Dummies: Chapter 12?


How’m I doin’ now?

Milkin lots of cow.

Just like Nikki Sixx.




Sharon Mesmer’s most recent poetry collections are Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008) and The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose, 2008). Fiction collections include Ma Vie à Yonago(Hachette, 2005) and In Ordinary Time (Hanging Loose, 2005). She has a selection of poems in the forthcoming Postmodern American Poetry — a Norton Anthology.



photo by Dan Griffin

Poetry, translation

First Dream (The Beginning) and other poems

by Feliciano Sánchez Chan

(translated from spanish to english by Jonathan Harrington)


First Dream (The Beginning)

I am the Sacred Ceiba Tree (the Kapok)
from which your children will dangle like fruit,
if you claim them
before their seeds ripen.


I am the vertebra that unites
the thirteen canopies of heaven
and the nine levels of the underworld
where the spirits travel.


I am the breasts of your daughter,
where the old man nurses,
his long gray hair spilling over
the four directions of the universe,
as he walks nude
through the heavens
by your tears.


You entrust to me
the lives of your children,
on my trunk you see
their footprints.
I am the Ceiba,
I am the Sacred One.


Yáax Wayak’ (U káajbal)Teen le kili’ich X-ya’ache’
tu’ux ku ch’uytal a paalal
wa ka bisiko’ob ta wiknal
ma’ayli’ k’anak
u yi’ijo’obo’o in Na’.Teen a baakel nupik
óoxlajun u yáalal ka’an
yéetel bolon u yáalal metnal
tu’ux ku xíimbal pixano’ob.

Teen u yiim a x-lóo’bayan aal
tu’ux ku chu’uch le nuxib
ku jayik u sakil u pool
tu kanti’itsil yóok’ol kaab,
yéetel ku xíimbal chaknuul
ta ka’anil tia’al ka’ a búukint
yéetel u ja’il a wicho’ob.

Ti’ teen a k’ubeetmaj
u kuxtal a paalal in Na’,
ti’ yaan u pe’echak’o’ob tin nak’e’,
teen X-ya’axche’,
teen Kili’ich X-ya’axche’.


Sueño Primero (El origen)Soy la Ceiba Sagrada
donde penden tus hijos
si los reclamas a ti
antes que sus granos sazonen.Soy la vértebra que une
las trece capas del cielo
y los nueve niveles del inframundo
donde transitan los espíritus.

Soy los senos de tu hija,
donde amamanta el anciano
que dispersa sus canas
en los cuatro rumbos del universo,
y camina desnudo
por tus cielos
para que lo arropes
con tus lágrimas.

A mí encomendaste
la vida de tus hijos,
en mi tronco se ven
la marca de sus pies.
Soy la Ceiba,
soy la Ceiba Sagrada.



Second Dream (The Word)

I am the conch
my voice born of the sea
that speaks through your children,


My singing travels throughout the world
opening new trails.
I have penetrated the labyrinths of caves
so that the old gods
write on my lips
the word that the dove
spills out over the world
on moonlit mornings.


I am the first voice that gathers together the echoes
planted yesterday along antique roads.
I am the ancient word that is only spoken
after midnight
if your son does not return from the jungle.


I am the conch of long past echoes
that you have recorded with your voice,
I am the conch.


Ka’a Wayak’ (T’aan)Teen le jub
siijil u t’aan ich k’áa’náab
kin t’aan tu yóo’lal a paalalo’
in Na’.In k’aaye’ ku jolch’aktik
u beel wíiniko’ob yóok’ol kaab.
Ts’o’ok in xíimbaltik u satunsat bejilo’ob áaktun
tia’al ka ts’íibta’ak tin chi’
tumeen in úuchben Yumtsilo’ob,
u nikte’il le t’aan
ku jayik sakpakal
yóok’ol kaab
tu ja’atskab k’iinilo’ob Ujo’.

Teen le yáax t’aan
molik le éets’nak’o’ob
ta pak’aj jo’olje
te’ej úuchben bejo’obo’,
teen le úuchben t’aan
chen ku ya’ala’al
wa ku máan chúumuk áak’ab
ma’ suunak a paal k’áaxo’o.

Teen le jub úuchben u éets’nak’
tu’ux a ts’íibtmaj a t’aano’
in Na’.
Teen le jubo’.


Sueño Segundo (La Palabra)Soy el caracol
con voz nacida del mar
que habla por tus hijos
Madre.Mi canto recorre el mundo
trazando caminos.
He penetrado en el laberinto de las grutas
para que los dioses antiguos
escriban en mis labios
la palabra que la torcaza
derrama en el mundo
en mañanas de lunas.
Soy la voz primera que recoge los ecos
que ayer sembraste en viejos caminos.
Soy la palabra antigua que sólo se dice
pasada la media noche
si tu hijo no retorna del monte.

Soy el caracol de ecos antiguos
que has grabado con tu voz,
Soy el caracol.



Third Dream (Life)

I have come from the underworld, Xibalba,
to visit
your shrine, Mother.
I am the anointed gust of wind
that springs from your womb
which lives and dies here
day by day
over the face of the earth.


You gave me, Mother,
the icon of a deer of royal lineage.
That is why I fly over your face
so I will not wound you
with my footsteps.
For an eye you gave me
a precious gem.


I am born of your womb of corn
from which you feed
my children.
The gust with which you overwhelm
my nostrils
flew away like a
nocturnal hummingbird.
In this way I am born and I die
every day.
I find myself linked
to your eternal shadow.
I am from corn, your child of corn,
corn is my flesh, corn you are Mother.




Yóoxp’éel Wayak’ (Kuxtal)Taaliken tak Xibalba
tia’al in xíimbat
a Ka’anche’il in Na’,
teen u yiik’al le kuxtal
yaan ta jobnelo’,
le ku síijil yéetel ku kíimil
sáansamal yóok’ol kaabo’.Juntúul Siipil Kéej
ta ts’áajten in jo’olintej
leti’ beetik xik’nal
kin beetik ta wóok’ol
tia’al ma’ in xek’ik a wich
yéetel in pe’echak’.
Jump’éel Ya’ax Tun
ta ts’áaj tin wich.

Sijnalen ta j-ixi’im jobnel
ba’ax yéetel ka tséentik
in paalal.
Le kuxtal ta wustaj
tu jool in ni’o’
J-áak’ab Ts’unu’unchaje’
ka’aj líik’ u xik’nal.
Beytuuno’, kin síijil
yéetel kin kíimil sáansamal,
tumeen taabalen
yéetel u piktunil a woochel.
j-ixi’imilen, a j-ixi’im paalen
ixi’im in bak’el, ixi’imilech in Na’

Sueño Tercero (La vida)He venido desde Xibalbá
a visitar
tu santuario Madre,
soy el soplo
ungido en tu vientre,
aquel que nace y muere
día con día
sobre la faz de la tierra.
Un venado de estirpe real
me diste por signo,
por eso vuelo
sobre tu rostro
para no herirte
con mis pisadas.
Por ojo me diste
una piedra preciosa.Soy nacido de tu vientre maíz
con el que alimentas
a mis hijos.
El soplo con que inundaste
mi nariz
erigió su vuelo
de Colibrí Nocturno.
Así nazco y muero
todos los días,
pues me hallo ligado
a tu eterna sombra.
Soy de maíz, tu hijo maíz,
maíz es mi carne, maíz eres Madre.




Fourth Dream (The Light)


I am the thunder that has come
with its light
of eternal profundities
to illuminate the Sak Be, the White Road
where your children travel, Mother.


I am the bolt that invented light
to announce to mankind
the fall
of your tears of corn,
the Sacred Grain that sustains my brothers and sisters.


Lord Fire
is my older brother.
Today I have come
with my four sisters:
the Rain from the East,
the Rain from the West,
the Rain from the North,
the Rain from the South.


I am, Mother,
the most willing of your sons,
I walk the world
without leaving footprints
only lives reflect my presence
from day to day
only my memories remain
and the hope
for what still needs to be done.
I am the Light, I am the Light,
I am the Light.




Kamp’éel Wayak’ (Sáasil)Teen le kíilbal taalen
yéetel u piktun
taamil in sáasil
tia’al in jop u sak bejil
tu’ux ku xíimbal a paalalo’
in Na’.Teen le kíilbal ta sutaj sáasilil
tia’al in k’a’ayt ti’ wíinik
u yéembal
u ixi’im ja’il a wicho’,
u sujuy i’ijil
a tséentik in láak’o’ob.

In Noj Suku’un
Yum K’áak’.
Bejla’e taalen
yéetel kantúul in kiiko’ob:
u Cháakil lak’in,
u Cháakil chik’in,
u Cháakil xaman
yéetel u Cháakil noojol.

Teen in Na’,
u jach péeka’anil a paalal,
ma’atech u chíikpajal
in pe’ech’ak’ yóok’ol kaab,
chen kuxtalo’ob
éets’nak’tik in chíikul,
ikil u máan k’iino’obe’
chen kin k’a’ajsa’al
yéetel bajun ba’al
u bin u ts’o’okbesa’al.
Teen sáasil, teen sáasil,
teen sáasil.


Sueño Cuarto (La Luz)Soy el trueno que ha venido
con su luz
de eternas profundidades
para alumbrar el Camino Blanco
por donde transitan tus hijos, Madre.Soy el relámpago que hiciste luz
para anunciar a los hombres
el descenso
de tus lágrimas-maíz,
Grano Sagrado con que sustentas a mis hermanos.

El Señor Fuego
es mi hermano Mayor.
Hoy he venido
con mis cuatro hermanas:
la Lluvia del oriente,
la Lluvia del poniente,
la Lluvia del norte
y la Lluvia del sur.
Soy Madre,
el más presto de tus hijos,
yo camino el mundo
sin dejar huellas,
sólo las vidas
reflejan mi presencia.
De un día a otro
sólo quedan mis recuerdos
y la esperanza
de lo que falta por hacer.
Soy la luz, soy la luz,
soy la luz.



Fifth Dream (The Spirit)


I have flown
so many times
I am a reflection of your own flight,
You taught me
to breathe life
into everything that lives
in this world.


I am the spirit of your son
that nurses
from the Mother Ceiba.


Beyond the clouds
I have traced a rainbow.


You have told me,
that accompanied by the hummingbird
I can lead to you
those who have lost their lives.


You intentionally made me ageless
so that I might be reborn day by day
with the Father Sun,
I am your spirit,
I am the spirit that gives off light
I am your gleaming spirit




Jo’op’éel Wayak’ (Pixan)Ts’o’ok in xik’nal
piktun u téenel
ch’uyukbalen ta xik’nal xan
in Na’.
Teech ta ka’ansen
in ts’áa u kuxtal
tuláakal ba’ax kuxa’an
wey yóok’ol kaabe’.Teen u pixan a waal
ch’uyukbal tu k’ab
ki’ichpan X-ya’axche’.
To tu paach le múuyalo’
Ts’o’ok in bonik jump’éel chéeli’.

Teche’ ta wa’alajtene’ in Na’
wa ku láak’intiken Ts’unu’une’
uchak in bisik ta wiknal
le máaxo’ob ku kíimilo’.

A wóolili’ ma’ ta ts’áaj in ja’abile’e
tia’al in síijil sáansamal
yéetel Yum K’iin,
teen a pixan,
teen le yaan in sáasilo’,
teen a sáask’ale’en pixan
in Na’.

Sueño Quinto (El espíritu)He volado
tantas veces
prendido en tu propio vuelo,
Tú me enseñaste
a soplarle vida
a todo lo vivo
en este mundo.Soy el espíritu de tu hijo
que amamanta
en la Madre Ceiba.

Más allá de las nubes
he trazado un arco iris.

Tú me has dicho,
que acompañado del Colibrí
puedo conducir a ti
a los que dejan de vivir.

A propósito no me diste edad
para renacer día a día
con el Padre Sol,
soy tu espíritu,
soy el espíritu que emana luz,
soy tu espíritu resplandeciente,



Sixth Dream (The Otherness)


I am the hummingbird
that sketches a rainbow in the sky
with the splendor of its flight.


I am your image embroidered
on the Rain,
child of your mirror
seven times transparent
where you do not find me
when you want to
and you see me
when you don’t want to find me.


I am the Sun of autumn
that hurts the eyes
of the white cloud—your daughter—
so that she will cry rain.


Drink, Mother, from my sap,
I will eat your precious grain
so that in me
your son will be engendered.
You will know tomorrow
that the road I choose
is only one step
so that the dream that I create
will bring us
to the place of origin
where you will be my flesh
and I will sustain you.




Wakp’éel Wayak’ (U yaanal)Teen le Ts’unu’un
bonik chéelo’ob te’ej ka’an
yéetel u léembal u xik’nalo’.Teen a woochel chuya’an
te’ej Cháako’,
u yaal a néenil
uktéen sáask’ale’en
tu’ux ma’atan a wiliken
wa a k’áat a wilen,
tu’ux ka wiliken
wa ma’ a k’áat a wileni’.

Teen u Yum K’iinil yáaxk’in
xek’ik u yich
sak nookoy -a x-ch’upul aal-
tia’al u yok’oltik ixi’im.

Uk’ in k’aab in Na’
tene’ bíin in jaant a wi’ij
tia’al u síijilten
a waal.
Teche’ bíin a wojéelt sáamal
le bej kin bisika’
chen u xíimbalil
tia’al k-ts’o’okbesik
le wayak’ kin kalaantika’,
yéetel ka’ u biso’on tu’ux
bíin in bak’eltech
yéetel bíin in tséentech.

Sueño Sexto (La otredad)Soy el colibrí
que traza arco iris en el cielo
con el resplandor de su vuelo.Soy tu imagen bordado
en la Lluvia,
hijo de tu espejo
siete veces transparente
donde no me hallas
cuando quieres mirarme,
y me miras
cuando no quieres hallarme.

Soy el Sol de otoño
que hiere los ojos
de la nube blanca –tu hija–
para que llore maíz.

Bebe Madre de mi sabia,
yo comeré tu grano precioso
para que en mí se engendre
tu hijo.
Tú sabrás mañana
que el camino que elijo
es sólo un paso
para que el sueño que prolijo
nos lleve
al sitio de origen
donde tú seas mi carne
y yo tu sustento.



Seventh Dream (The Other Dead)


There are already many, Mother,
already many.
They hang from my branches
at the point of spilling
beneath my shadows
like filth.


You never told me
that the dreams you cultivated
over so much limestone
would become today the suffering
over which I cry.


I am the Sacred Ceiba,
The other hands
plant in my entrails
a woman of the night,
a bad woman
who carries off men who cannot sleep.


In this way I know your sons
and those that suckle
abundant milk
from the breasts of your daughters,
they are not my dead,
I do not take them
Aj Puch, ni Ixtab,
other dead that I do not know
sang in my ears.
They are not my death, Mother,
They are not my death.




Ukp’éel Wayak’ (Yaanal kíimilo’ob)Ts’o’ok u máan p’iis in Na,
Ts’o’ok u máan p’iis.
Ch’úuyench’uuyo’ob tin k’ab,
ta’aytak u lúubsikeno’ob,
yéetel jayakbalo’ob tin wáanal
bey ba’al ku pe’ekekaabe’.Teche’ mix juntéen ta wa’alajten
wa le wayak’o’ob ta pak’aj
tu yóok’ol le seen cháaltuno’
bíin súutko’ob muk’yajil
tia’al ok’ol tin wóok’ol.

Teen X-ya’axche’, in Na’.
Bini’it k’abo’ob
tu pak’o’ob tin jobnel
juntúul x-áak’ab ko’olel,
juntúul x-káakbach
bisik le wíiniko’ob
ku máano’ob ich áak’abo’.

Tene’ in k’aj óol a paalal in Na’
ba’ale’ le ku seen chu’uchiko’ob
u k’aab yiim
a x-ch’upul aalo’,
ma’ in kimeno’obi’,
ma’ Aj Puch’, mix Ixtab
taasik u k’ubo’obi’.
Tu xikino’obe’
k’aaynaj jump’éel kíimil
ma’ in k’aj óoli’.
Ma’ in kimeno’obi’, in Na’.

Sueño Séptimo (Las otras muertes)Ya son tantas Madre,
ya son tantas.
De mis ramas cuelgan
a punto de derribarme,
bajo mi sombra están
como inmundicias.Tú nunca me dijiste
que los sueños que cultivaste
sobre tanta piedra caliza
serían hoy las penas
que sobre mí lloran.

Soy la Ceiba Sagrada,
Las otras manos
sembraron en mis entrañas
una mujer de noche,
una mujer mala
que se lleva a los trasnochados.

Aun así conozco a tus hijos
y estos que maman
leche abundante
en los pechos de tus hijas,
no son mis muertes,
no me las conduce
Aj Puch, ni Ixtab,
otras muertes que no conozco
cantaron en sus oídos,
no son mis muertes, Madre.
No son mis muertes.




Feliciano Sánchez Chan was born in the village of Xaya, Tekax, Yucatan, Mexico, in 1960. His work Retazos de Vida (Slices of life) won the Itzamna Prize for literature in the Mayan language. “Seven Dreams” are from his book Ukp’eel wayak / Siete Sueños. He works as a promoter of culture in the Department of Popular Culture of the state of Yucatan.


Jonathan Harrington has published translations from Mayan and Spanish in World Literature Today, Visions International, The Dirty Goat, and other magazines. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has published nine books in English, including novels, poetry, short stories, and essays. His translations of two poems by Maya poet Briceida Cuevas Cob appeared in the January 2010 issue of World Literature Today. Jonathan lives on the Hacienda San Antonio Xpakay in Yucatan, Mexico.


photo by Dan Griffin


Last Light

by Janet Phelan


They gathered together to kill each other.

Still beating, the hearts were torn from the chest

and eaten

while their bodies were thrown from the temple steps

for the beasts to consume.


The reasons were many:

the neighbouring peoples were bellicose

and the gods must be appeased.

These were the simplest explanations, although not

the most honest. The stories that came down to the elect

were clear—only by sacrifice would the universe

maintain its coordinates. Everything eats something

and this dimension demands to be fed.


The rainfall stopped. The corn blackened in the fields

The conquerors came

and in revulsion, killed the killers. The practices continued on

with different protocols

under the mantle of the new order.


And the rainfall stopped. And the tsunamis began.

And the earth began to move, first shifting her weight

from side to side, then with larger and more violent distress


And no one saw the upheaval in other dimensions

The giant form of a sorrowful God crashing to his knees

as the lights went out in the sky

and galaxies rippled forth from the point of impact

his voice echoing through the spheres (though not ours)



The photograph of you in the yellowing album

Looking up with surprise as the photographer (who loved you)


and somehow caught your soul

smiling with the incandescent joy

of one who has arrived

to find things just as she had dreamed of

your hands just so on the hips

which would give birth to the one


who would rise up and kill her


how could she know


I’m ready to lay down my pen.

Maybe in some future time

travelers will take heed

of the devastation that followed

the weapons lying in the empty field

gleaming in the sun

from the smallest projectile

to the silos buried deep underground

Maybe they will take note

that the food, the water, the herbs

were poisoned and fouled


and that no one survived

the final sacrifice


In the evening

as the light fails

I can almost see her now

she gets more substantial every day

hovering in my doorway

smiling and radiant

bits of star stuff caught in her hair


beckoning me home




Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The American’s Bulletin, Sovereign Mind Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet focuses on issues pertaining to the legal system, ranging from the heated subject of adult conservatorship– revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants –to international arms treaties. She maintains a special interest in eugenics. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides in the Yucatán.



photo by Dan Griffin


Merida (Yucatán)

by Kelly Cherry


Too Anglo to sit still for a siesta

I roamed the streets of Merida, city

Of sun and open markets and museums,

The stone buildings with Spanish arches grand

Yet discreet, a model of good manners.

In early evening everyone assembled

In the posada, on benches beneath old trees

With spreading, leafy branches, the first of the stars

Strung like piñatas from the velveteen sky.

The city seemed to wear a signature fragrance,

Something light and elegant, purchased in Paris.

A city in which a woman could disappear

For a week or two or three, leaving behind

Controlling men, or a controlling man,

And dine alone al fresco on red snapper

Caught that afternoon and have a glass

Of wine in which the moon lingered like

A stop watch, or a small sailing boat.



Kelly Cherry has published twenty books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, eight chapbooks, and translations of two classical plays. Her most recent titles are The Woman Who, a collection of short stories (2010), The Retreats of Thought: Poems (2009) and Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life (2009), and in 2013 she will publish The Life and Death of Poetry. She was the first recipient of the Hanes Poetry Prize given by the Fellowship of Southern Writers for a body of work. Other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bradley Major Achievement (Lifetime) Award, a USIS Speaker Award (The Philippines), a Distinguished Alumnus Award, three Wisconsin Arts Board fellowships, the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook Award for Distinguished Book of Stories in 1999 (2000), and selection as a Wisconsin Notable Author. In 2010, she was a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Currently Poet Laureate of Virginia, she is Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her husband live in Virginia.



photo by Dan Griffin