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Month: September 2008

New Poetry and a Short Film

New Poetry and a Short Film

We have some new poetry on tap from Sheema Kalbasi, Alessio Zanelli and Tony Jones. Sheema also tipped me off to a very good short film and hopes our readers will view the movie here.

The filmmaker in question, Hossein Martin Fazeli, is also a poet. One I hope to publish here soon.



If I had another life to live, I think I would be a filmmaker. The ability to make art that way, to combine prose, poetry, music, soundscapes, landscapes, paintings, photography, motion. It has it all. And I don’t think that “all” has been fully exploited. One could do a life of a poet, a musician, a novelist, a painter, a philosopher. One could utilize most of our senses and hint at the rest. He or she could create a world and go beyond any one form of art by itself.

Of course, it can not match the sustained connection between reader and writer provoked … Click to continue . . .

The Shriek: New Poems by Alessio Zanelli

The Shriek: New Poems by Alessio Zanelli

The Shriek

On the edge of her lip, like a car
balanced on the brink of a precipice,
the shriek has halted, swaying.
Just one spasm, and all of her anger
would gush down noisily, sweeping
sighs and placid thoughts away.
We could try to rescue those inside
the shaky car before it plunges
to the bottom of the crag, but nothing
curable is in that mouthful of vibrations.
And the force of a thousand hurricanes
locked in a chest then suddenly released
would not suffice to wash such evil.
In the end what is unavoidable befalls,
and the tenacity of her facial muscles
is not worth the trouble. Ineffectual,
however long she strives, to hold her breath.
No human can contain a lifetime’s pain.

The Effort

Moon shines while billions
of corpses rot
beneath earth’s crust.

  —Shinkichi Takahashi

Man’s sight is dim.
Man’s look is squint.
Man’s eye is corrupt.

Man is the end.
Man is the end.
Click to continue . . .
New Poems by Tony Jones

New Poems by Tony Jones


Grind your teeth on atonement pangs. Lone rocks crop the low sky. You reach up with a steady hand. The clouds elude you.

Walk the brown stream, dip in your hands and face, drink deep. Forget the water leads always down. Brown drops crumble in heat to ascend, as must you.

You’ve got to stumble three times. You try to walk, and that staggers your first summers. Drink love and fall forever.

You enter the brown room, where an hour stretches to blackness before time, songs flash bright between your ears, there is no difference between the song and your voice, your mind.

You bleed brown into your chest, your head.
Luck cleaves to the gray channels. Don’t cling
too tight, you might miss it. Keep one eye open,
or you’ll miss her. Two eyes, and she’ll run away.

You dive through the murk to the stone, pry it loose with tired fingers. Every day you … Click to continue . . .

Paper Spoon: India Meets Persia

Paper Spoon: India Meets Persia


Paper Spoon


This night holds me so tightly in its palm,
as if to never love another, but outside

what remains is the inheritance
and an unfriendly notice.
I fumble through the memories, recalling
promises of life, never loving another.

Softly, I wait until the lush beginning
comes to me. I am pale yet ripe,
seasoned with night clouds,
wondering how the skin is perfected

before the portrait of a wrinkled woman,
from my kitchen to yours, is secretly hung.

My heart weighs the love and lust
as I sprawl within this page, inking
aloneness, swinging the papers
or a naked spoon inward.


–by Lekshmy Rajeev and Sheema Kalbasi



Lekshmy Rajeev is a poet, and literary journalist and translator in English. Her poems have been published in many highly regarded literary magazines & journals. She has translated The Narayaneeyam, a devotional Sanskrit work in the form of a poetical hymn. For over the period … Click to continue . . .

Practical Ecstasy

Practical Ecstasy

Whirling Dervishes, Istanbul. Photo by Lohen11
Whirling Dervishes, Istanbul. Photo by Lohen11

Recent events have me thinking yet again about ecstasy, mind, spirit and the power of suggestion and belief. The laying on of hands by Pentecostals. The ecstatic motions of Sufis. The chanting OMs of Hindus and Buddhists. The trance-states of shamans, west, east, south and north.

The universal appearance of X proves that X is not uniquely the province of any one region, culture, or religion. By definition. As in, if there are instances of peanut butter all over the world, then no one religion can claim ownership of peanut butter or its source. No one religion can logically claim they hold the only key to the peanut butter cabinet, when members of dozens of religions have access.

To take this sticky metaphor a bit further. Each case of peanut butter appearance has a story regarding the origin of that peanut butter. Many will pull resources and agree to the same origin, but across … Click to continue . . .

Las Meninas

Las Meninas

Las Meninas, by Diego Velasquez. 1656
Las Meninas, by Diego Velasquez. 1656

Perhaps the first post-modernist painting, well before the period assigned to that name. Pespective. Multiple perspectives. Meta. About painting. About the act of painting. Velasquez paints Velasquez. This is not a pipe. This is not Velasquez. Are we, the audience, looking at the painter painting us? Or, does our vanity blind us and prevent us from seeing that it is the king and queen of Spain in that mirror, not you? Or eye. Too easy, that one.

Mirrors. Pictures within pictures, plays within plays within plays. Rubens on the wall. Hamlet stages Shakespeare. Velasquez stages Nietzsche. Velasquez stages Barth and Coover and Barthelme and McElroy.

All is vanity as the Infanta Margarita tires of being painted. So tired, they have to bring in her court dwarves to keep her in the picture. Is Velasquez mocking the royal family, mocking their pride? The dawn of the Enlightenment and the precursor of the postmodern.

I think … Click to continue . . .

Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain

On the way there.
On the way there.

Took a drive then a walk then a climb then more walking. The walk became a discussion with a park ranger about an accident and a bike. She blocked all cars. No one could pass except the ambulance. Bike hits car or car hits bike. Too fast. All too fast. The Blue Ridge Parkway should be to dwell, not die. To dwell inside the blue, to derive the flesh of the blue air from the sky as it is, as it was hundreds of thousands of years ago. This ridge is that old. This sky is older.

Who saw this sky a thousand years before me? Ten thousand? Twenty thousand? There is no such thing as Young Earth, but there were places on Her, on Her soft green body that lacked the human touch. Our hemisphere is young in that way. Across the Bering Straits they marched. Some say only a hand-full of humans on their … Click to continue . . .

Doctor Zhivago: From White to Silver

Doctor Zhivago: From White to Silver

David Lean's Doctor Zhivago
David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago

In some ways it is unfortunate that I saw the film first. Having finished the reread of the novel, I now see the book as suffering, at least in translation, from the mouthpiece syndrome at times, and in need of some editing. As in, at several points in the novel, characters engage in extended dialogue that seem out of place, given the circumstances. That extended dialogue strikes me as more about Pasternak and his views than something organic, growing out from the lives of the characters themselves. While I love the novel, I think it would have been much stronger with some solid editing to remove such passages. I also think Pasternak included too many characters to follow, to care about, to have sympathy for, and probably could have done away with most of the epilogue altogether.

David Lean’s powerful image of Yuri on the trolley, seeing his Lara after so many years, and having a … Click to continue . . .