Dissident Editions
Home - ==- -Blog - ==- - Reviews - ==- - Feedback - - ==- About


nogod help us...

POETRY

poems of the month

fish

vagabondage

measuring my face

ostracism

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

fearful symmetry

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

imagepoem


TRANSLATIONS


BETWEEN POETRY AND PROSE

good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper

disgusting

art, truth and bafflement

 

SHORT STORIES

godpieces

the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story

 

ESSAYS & MEMOIRS

a curious and peculiar
kind of queer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars

happiness

londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian

genocide

a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

combatting normality

shoplifting
in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

prelude NEW LINK

 

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france

western values

 

 

 

 


EYELESS

BUT NOT

HEARTLESS

 


poems by Mike Cluff


 

FEVER

Three police officers
from the new precinct
unzip the dark bag,
I am inside
but won't tell them
how I got there.

Cal and Bibi
can't enlighten them either.
They were there, though
and saw more
than they should have .

Security on the trolley mainline
was never all that strong
Officers King, Del Barrios and James
seldom felt that
until they saw me face to
face up
staring at them.

Cal and Bibi
have a house
in Houston
although they don't really live there.
Del Barrio is the one who
knocks on their cottonwood door.

Macaroon and Montoya the dogs across the alley
are barking.
It is between three and four.

James drops his cup
on the pavement
outside the cruiser's door,
King picks up the pieces

and throws them in a black bag
with plastic keyrings
from the all-nighter
up the road.

Bibi married Fred
in North Carolina
about a week ago.

Cal won a bicycle race
in Denver a night or two after.
He never knows how to let go.

James was a year ahead of me
in junior high school.
He was never really good with a bow.

And I
have nothing more to say
except I don't miss the alarm clock and
my contact lenses.
Cal, Del Barrio, King, Bibi and James
notice them scattered on
the basilica floor.

What Fred thinks
doesn't matter any more.

 

 

JEFFERY OWENS

Jeffery died
at the edge of a parking lot
on Orange Street
between University Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard
just northwest of the gay bar
he just left.

Hate crimes
are not unusual
in Riverside...

Just ask her family -
Taisha Miller's -
she was shot by the police
over at a gas station
where Brockton, Central and Magnolia meet

no less than three miles from the spot
where Jeffery died,
for maybe no other reason
than being part of a

demographic...

real close by
to where
I have lived
for too long a time.

Taisha,
young and black.

Jeffery Owens was profiled too.

 

 

STAN ARGOTTI

Of course we know
the French eats frogs.

What's so bad about that ?
Norm wonders.
As well as never bathe.
Take that from me,
a dirty Dago,
adds Stan.
(Such low self-esteem
and why
am I
putting up with,
listening to this ?
Norm wonders silently within.)

And here's my good friend...
Stan now grasps Silas' shoulder
in a police-like grip.
...Jewish to all get-out.
How does it feel
to be a Jesus-and-,
Christian-baby-killer ?

he adds straight-faced, serious.

(Why don't the others,
sitting here at a table
in a fast-food restaurant
say anything,
help Silas,
me -
each other - out ?
- say something ?
Norm desperate, silent, asks himself.)

But he ain't so bad,"
Stan concedes.
"Not bad like the fags and fairies...
(O God!
thinks Norman)
...that I work with.
I could kill them all.

(I've paid for Stan's dinner
so many times, Norm remembers.
Forty-eight at least,
and never did I know...)

Norm...y'all come back now...
y'hear ?

Stan drawls in his bad
Beverly Hillbillies accent.
And Silas, my boy, he continues,
Have I got a sister for you!
Kosher too.

 



THE IRAQI MONOLOGUES
a selection


 

 

FAITH GRANT

I helped unload his - Lloyd's - coffin
in Seattle
A guy was taking pictures
of the disenbarkment
against some edicts
I was told

I stopped it
Rules are rules you know
and nothing should change them
no
not even the human heart.

 

 

DANTE GUERRA

August 31st
I have yet to put
recruiting Daryl Sedler
away from me
for all the trouble
it has caused the Marines
and me.

And now
his brother Chad and Chad's friend
Dewey Kilgore
come in
wanting to see
what's up
with the armed forces.

I called their parents -
and Dewey's grandfather
when he picks him up
instead of his dad or Belinda
who, believe it or not,
I used to date,
couldn't get off work,
nearly hits the boy
for making such
"a bone-headed move,"
as he called it,
"with your brains,
which, I think you left home today,
they can keep you out of that...
(what ? I wonder)
and this town
in the long run,"
Kilgore said as he jerked
his grandson
up from his seat
by the collar.

I just turned away
did nothing

and Chad was watching me
said "What a bunch of wimps!"
to my face

and then walked out
all on his own
to his battered cherry red
pick up truck
and then spat into the sewer

"like he was gettin'
somethin' bad out of his mouth"
as my immigrant grandfather
used to say
when I watched him
do the same
with his chewing tobacco
he always had in his cheek
especially when cutting the hair
of the Kilgore, Foster, Sedler, Gottlieb
and Sewell men
about a baker's dozen or so
years ago.

 

 

GARRETT KILGORE

If you ask me,
he got away too light
and this "not talking" stuff
of his
is just a cover
to keep his ass
out of jail
if you ask me.

They should have put Sedler in jail
and erected a monument
or memorial to his son
or better yet,
sent Daryl over to Iraq
to finish out Lloyd's
term of enlistment.

I lost my son in Vietnam
and was damn proud of him
for not chickening out
and hot-footing it up
to Canada
like one of Daryl's cousins,
I heard.

And my daughter Belinda's husband,
her second,
I think,
put time into guarding
the Berlin Wall
just a couple of years
before it came tumbling down
and good old democracy
returned to that hitherto
godless land.

So, I have no sympathy
for Daryl,
the whole family really,
they were always antisocial

never attended the Kiwanis Club,
Fourth of July barbecues
and Lloyd,
bless his soul
but otherwise,

he even took a couple of
comparative religions courses
at the local college

I know that for a fact
because my grandson,
Dewey was in his class
and told me once
that Lloyd seemed
a little interested
in that Arab
religion,
Mo-hamm-ed-ism
I think

it's called.

Whatever happened
to good old Christianity
the kind we used to have
around here
before

things changed ?
I think
you
know
what I
mean.

 

 

SAMANTHA SEDLER (Lloyd's sister) SHOUTS


Lloyd is dead,
you did not stop him,
Dad,
from going off to war
it doesn't matter
which to me, it never will....
and you,
Papa, could have

made him not to

his love for you was stronger
than everything,
it always overcame you
in good ways
for the both of you
except in that instance:

in the front porch swing conversation,
your argument, no,
agreement with this wild castle-in-the-clouds-pie-eyed dream
you could have quashed
with a simple raising of your grey left eyebrow.

Today is November 1st,
Daddy,
remember it well.

 

 

HEINZ GROSBECK

At least over here
in America
you can
at least protest
against what the government
does or
does not
do.

Sixty-five or seventy years ago,
according to my parents
and grandparents,
no dissent was allowed
unless
you did not mind
dying for it.

Yet,
George does some
things
acts
like Adolf

except one was articulate,
not as good looking, like...

but
at minimum
could hold
an intelligent audience
in the palm of his hand

alack that day.

 

 

ALFRED MAYES

Schooling can make you
too smart,
I
found that out today
in my econ class

Marxism,
Mr.Alferez,
the professsor who wears
those lame ass saddle shoes
and argyle socks,
told us

He states that those with power
usually the ethnic, racial, moneyed majority
forces those in the minority
in all ways
to do their bidding,
fighting
suffering

while protected
by laws, guns
and lies.

Well,
that was what Mr. Alferez
said

that the underclasses
have no say
in anything at all.

Don't really
matter to me,
if he is right or wrong.

All I know,
my sister,
Addie,
the first Black
homecoming queen
here at the community college
is now in the Navy.

Ma and Pop
could not get a loan,
no property,
no real, solid collateral
to float through the University.

She had a 3.8
Me:
half of that.

I don't mind.

I'll just go
from quarter-time
to full
selling stuff
to dumb shit
kids
down at the local high school
trying to get the best scores
on those stupid SATs
my sisters Addie and Gretchen
once took.

I'm not takin' them

they are only takin' themselves
for a hope at happy, ha,
and golden dazed
dreams.

 

 

EMMETT THATCHER

Oh, yes,
I drove what was left
of Sedler's and Tanguay's
bodies
and faces
to the nearest triage
hospital,

Hunter was left behind
for the second ambulance
move to bring him to
where his two pals,
Lloyd and Hal,
I learned later their names was,
were
no more
finally.

I would like
to say
one or both
of them
gave me something
to pass along,

unfortunately,
neither one did
but fortunately,
another dying,
faceless,
but not
soulless
soldier
did.

Glenda Fujiwara
of Casper, Wyoming,
as again, I learned later
laid her lump of a left hand
in mine
and said,
"I never gotta chance
to really love a man

like you

and I am now sorry
I didn't
meet you
just a day
sooner

for that
would have been enough."

If it was meant
for me
or just delirium
or drugs...

it doesn't really matter.

It was just that enough
to keep me
going on
and on
until today
when I leave
Iraq
eyeless
but not heartless

as is so easy to happen
all the drop of a hat

or bomb
over here.

 

 

WALLY ACKERMAN

Being his best friend
these last eleven years
since junior high school.
he told me everything
or at least what he wanted
me
or anyone
to know.

I doubt that even his fiancée,
Hilda,
knew as much about
Lloyd and Lloyd's dad's relationship,
about how good it was
until...

Daryl's decision
or - truly - non-decision I should say.

It wasn't an acrimonious split,
just an iceberg, invisible
that always loomed over their talks, get-togethers
no matter
what side of the world
either one was on.

Lloyd thought his dad
disapproved completely and deeply,
I really don't think so.

I think it was more

puzzlement

than anything else
on both
their reserved, non-talkative parts.

I can't name or define it.

Never having a father
I can only speculate

speak out of turn.

 

 

BEATRICE HINES

Right before Daryl
and his crew,
family,
left town,
he and Chad
took a photography class
from
me
here at the local
junior college.

Brittany had recommended
them to me
and both did well,

Daryl
especially.

He speaks well
through his pictures,
portraits really,

much better than through
his voice,
which I
and all the town
have never heard
in a long, long
spell.

All his subjects
have had
their
mouths
gingerly and lovingly
air-brushed away
into oblivion.

Chad and he spent
days doing so
I heard
at home
in the basement.

Daryl got a B+
for it all,

there more fantastic
unique
gallery qualities,

but they spoke too much
of suicide and mutilation.
My fiance
Barry
told me
so....

Chad got an A-,
he still lives
on avocadoes, kale
and celery
in neon greens

these appeal
to my
psyche,
much,
much
more.

 

 

JENNIFER HILLGES

I don't know
much about history
or current affairs,

I leave that all
back at school...

Myspace.com
i-pods
and the internet
are
what I think
are the most important things
in my life
right now
besides my freinds,
clothes
boys

like
Chance Cole

not that weird
Dewey Kilgore or Chad Sedler.

The way he acts
has gotten worse
ever since everyone
started making such a big deal
about his brother,
father
that war
over in Iran,
Iraq
or India.

I don't remember
which one

like it really matters
to me.

I think I am getting a B
or a C
or a D
in Civic and
Math,

just as long
as I keep my grades
just above passing

I am set
for life.

Next year
I am planning
to go to Aruba
or college

whichever one
my parents will spring for

I don't care
about anything
'cept what I can do
not
on my own.

 

 

ALTHEA SEDLER (Daryl's mother) SPEAKS

Now in Calgary
on this Arbor Day
after his death
I still blame
his father, my son,
for not telling Lloyd
to delay or deny his "patriotic duty"---
the bevelled lie of little men
to keep control over us common folk---

but allowing Lloyd to choose his own
path to mankind
that leads boys to bullets and bazookas
before they understand the real nature
of what Wilfred Owens and Randall Jarrell
were saying in their anti-any war
poetry, grotesque imagery.


Daryl is too free-thinking
even for a woman like me
raised to revere Trotsky,
not Lenin.


He left it up to Lloyd
and now he sleeps
unsoundly
for that decision
to, at least once,
forbid his son
to join the Navy.


This time "freedom to self-determine"
one's solitary fate, as I told Daryl
has come back to haunt us all to hell
and never back.


Anita Choppen Chimes In

I am the Sedler's orthodonist,
started with Lloyd at thirteen,
Samantha four years later
and then,

Daryl just about fifteen
or sixteen months ago,
he finally could afford it
after all the others
and at his age then
it was a tough row to hoe
for us both.

Both he and Daryl,
not so much Samantha,
went with the anethesia
a bit too easily
and really became talky, chatty.

Once when Lloyd came back to me
at around nineteen,
he took a dose
and began to spill
the family beans.

Never heard a young man
cry like that
all out
and unrestricted, unreserved,

had to tell Ella
my nurse to shoo
all the other patients away
for the rest of the day,
lost a good three hours' pay
because of Daryl and him.

Saying it over and over,
"Why didn't my dad
just tell me no
like he knew
I wanted him to."

This was just about
a month before they shipped him off
to North Carolina
from what Ella told me.

Just rockin' and blubberin',
it was sad.

I just hope Daryl
is happy
and can live with what
he did
to his son.

And as for him,
Daryl,
who was usually talkative
too
when I gave him the anathesia,
clammed up real tight
the day
when I asked him,
off-hand like,
how Lloyd was doing.

How was I
supposed to know
Lloyd had been blown up
just outside Basra
a week earlier?

But Daryl, cool as
a cold-blooded frog,
just stared at me
not saying a word

and still hasn't to this day
from what Ella and Ruth Sewell
tell me.

Just looks at the world
and never comments on it

it's too

unsettling

for words.

I just hope
what Ella told me
isn't true
that Althea,
Daryl's mother,
is planning to sue me,
me
with never a claim
against me
for malpractice
or disfigurement of her son.

That Selena Hicks lawyer bitch
is pushing it too,
I heard from Reverend Sewell.

That the thanks
for cutting the Sedlers a deal
if they would
let me have
free access to their summer home
in Antioch,
I get.

Daryl and Lloyd
were never really for it
but Helen didn't mind
all that much

it was her dad's place
anyway

and she was always
the nicest one
even though I never had to work
on her teeth
like all the others,
Chad
too.

 

 

VINCE(nt) MADDOX

I am more worried
'bout keepin' my job
and retirement paln
than someone else's problems.

The Sedler thing
was of his own makin'
and that's his bed
he's got to sleep in.

Too bad his whole family
is bein' dragged
into it all
but that ain't
my problem

'Specially when
they can repossess
my bed,
car,
house,
life
at any moment

at the drop
of a hat

which I couldn't
own anyway
in these times
when gas may
always
go up to
four or more dollars
a gallon

and my time
at work
down to
thirty-two to
thirty-five hours
every other
week.

 

 

CASSIE REISS

I saw the whole saga
of the Sedlers
in all its twists, turns and
tragedy
long before it began
in the river
north of town
over there
running plum thick
and purple
in the late afternoon sun.

I never tell
anyone of my visions,
which,
by the way,
all have come out
true
since
the Arthur Dodge
and Winnie Maggart
murders
of 1967
and 1969.

I now live in a rickety old shack
just west of the decrepit cemetery
and spend all my days
watching the stream
I get my
water from
flow into Lowinge Creek
that,
of course,
ends up in the river

like all liquid
around these parts
ultimately
does.

 

 

DISTRICT ATTORNEY DON COLE

If only Daryl Sedler
had desecrated the American -
or just the state - flag
it would have made
my life a whole lot easier.

A conviction would have been delivered quickly
in these austere
and wishful times.

A hung jury is what
he
and I got
and now the state has to pay
for his defilement of decency
of the law
of the family
and its values.

My duty is to prosecute
wrongdoers
but only on the legal level
as I repeatedly tell
my children Judy, Imogene,
Chance and Prudence
every day or chance
I get.

As for the social,
moral issue
I always leave
that
for others to decide
as my wife Connie
can easily, quickly
and effortlessly
attest.

 

 

TANTALUSA TRAINOR

The touch tingles
in too many places

Comfort should not
be allowed

The mustard colored dress shirt
sleeves so sexily rolled up
the strong arms,
are just too tight
to keep my emotions
and elsewhere
flat and even

I am a bi-sexual clothes whore
yet the male use of
wingtips and ties
and vests and herringbone
tweed and glen plaid
suspenders and argyle
all dressed up
and spat and polished upon
has become my El Dorado
and a Ponce De Leon
in such attire
perfected appearances
rejuvenates
parts of my fountains
irregularly used
since my fleckless youth

In Edwardsville
I met Eathan
in a bathroom

He was fixing himself
Light-orange
and mid-brown-striped tie
Combed his full
yet crisply-trimmed moustache

and I was in love
again

He put his dark-green
and black houndstooth sports coat
back on
and I was already closer
to being his

He corrected the inseam
of his tan slacks,
pulled up his tan socks
re-tied his black plain-toed dress shoes

I bought him a double latte
afterwards

His beautiful head
grey hair cut fashionably short
Each side
divided by a blemish-free
bald scalp
caused me to contemplate
a gift of a roll or
bagel
almost the color
of his long-sleeved
dress shirt

Now
I celebrate
every dawn and dusk and
in between
with him
by my side
even in
my sauna
or bath

Too many places

 

 

TUCKER NYROP


Move me from Baghdad to Kabul
It does not matter
Any war
or area of engagement
declared by my superiors
as imperative to the spread of democracy is
okay by me.

My kids and cousins back home
if not now
will eventually
understand this necessity.

They will ultimately
recognize that I did it
for six year old Sonia,
two year old Ted
and newborn Nicole.

They do not remember
what I look like
Just the photographs.

Nicki has never seen me
she may never.
But duty before
being a daddy
that is what my step-dad said

Da dying in Vietnam
so very long ago
and just after I
was prematurely born.

 

 

MALCOLM HUNTER

I am not from here,
no,
no way at all,
back home
in Gastonia, North Carolina
I didn't think
such a problem could exist.

Yet,
I do have
that dream where Lloyd is in it.

He was my pal
in the Marines
we were sort of like brothers,
not always agreeing
but close enough
on the important things of life
and loving.

He and I
and Hal,
used to smoke pot together,
'cept I got caught stoned
by the MPs
and was put into the brink
about twelve-thirteen hours
before he and Hal died
in the explosion,

didn't get out
sorta
until the very next day...

Please
don't tell Lloyd's parents
but he loved his pot
just like his daddy did
at that age
from what I understand
after all the hubbub
I have since heard
about the two of them.

So Dr. Croft,
I guess there is no more my delaying it
aloud
here is my nightly dream:

It's gotten worse
since I came here to live
to get away from the upper South
and my
repressive papa.

Lloyd sold me on this place
despite
and kinda because of
his dad,
so opposite of mine.

Anyway,
I am entering this town
all bombed out
and gritty, dry and sharp
no one on the streets
even bodies,
animals,
no insect sounds

complete
scary
engulfing silence.

I get near the center
of the village
just a second before
IT
is to come
into sight
around a deep black corner
and then

I see them

all in light gray,
chalky skinned, sand edged
and gummy, mucused eyes,
just standing -
not even the wind
can cause an iota
of anything
on or near them
to even microscopically
move.

They stare at
and through me
and then smile
one by one
chorus-line fashion
and then part
Moses-like
until at the far end
of the square,
I see
Hal and Lloyd
and two women, backs to me,
wait.

Hal and I
then match each other
step by step
some High Noon showdown
until we are nearly
nose to stinking nose,
he reeks of death
I of pot
he of rightness
me of guilt

and then
he says,sweeping his hand in a grand fashion,
"Then Texas
and Washington D.C.,
even Maine
if necessary..."

He pauses and smiles
lipless mouth and states
"If you get out
of here..."

The woman to the right
at the edge of dark and light,
arid earth
and lush fields,
turns and holds out her left arm
imploring me silently
to join her.

She is my now maybe fiancée
Patti
and then...

I don't move,
not at all
and she is gone
a complete off-the-screen wipe
and I do miss her
just a little,
every several breaths between
the now slicing sound
of drums
and bombshells.

Then Lloyd turns to the other woman
and directs her towards me,

his eyes plead with me
to take her
Hilda
here
out of there
to a better place
to her home

Our three heads nearly touch
and then
I swivel,
see a dripping crimson number
on a steel sign
like those announcing a city's limits
but now with a larger number -
digits always inching upward
like miles on an odometer
and never stopping
once,
all these long
hours and seconds and now years and nights...

Doctor Croft,
I do not know
what I will do
having met Hilda now
but keep thinking on Patti
and ponderin' just why
Hal or Patti or Lloyd
or Hilda
maybe his daddy Daryl
or even mine
or myself
my self
my guilt-
needy
soul
will not let me rest
here in a peaceful place
in farm-like land

 

 

ON THE CORNER

where the road leading
from the mailboxes
back to the street,
where Town and
Country meet,
a quiet little group
is positioned, strategically,
by a flimsy card-table

from which,
hanging down to the dirt,
is a big blown-up photo
of the President - with
Hitler's mustache
crudely markered on.

Hatred can have many pretty,
wholesome faces
like those of the women
gathered round
the card-table calumny.

And the diffident
sincere white faces
are probably
polite to all,
even niggers,
redskins,
muslims,
commies, weirdos
lesbos with kids
and chicanos

and would be
even to our
clean-shaven President.

 

next page


Mike Cluff lives and works in the Moreno Valley, California.

top of page