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featured poets & artists


nathaniel s. rounds

his works have previously appeared in the pages of scrivener, the pottersfield portfolio, and blueShift, to name a few.



Starving artist seeks grocery flyers and newspaper articles,
Found photos and labels from imported films,
Maybe an opera hat and then again
Maybe a one way ticket to Iceland,
A corduroy suit and a man’s full wig in a conventional cut,
Or maybe a poem dealing with tapioca
And how it’s hard to break up the ice flow, or
Some tap shoes or a sofa.
Send the item you see purposeful
To delineate shaded meanings between
Midsummer’s fire and fulcrum to:
*Cow meets robot/executive decision formulated in mind meld*
(Attention: Emperor Norman, Ethereal Documentarian)
Community Kitchen, 13 1/2 Waller Street.
San Francisco CA



Letter from the Crypt (or Crib)

To my sister in Nazareth:

Thanks for the fish box ready-made, a
Molten brew of Shostakovich-stained colors
Sealed in brooding encaustic
Over worm-ravaged pearwood.
Yea, a time capsule
Of burr-prickled, horsehair inelegance.
Inside: Your travel itinerary,
Complete with ribald poems and travel postcards.
(Why bother to color the obvious?)

Its unraveling compelled me to join you,
Which, of course, is impossible.
Instead, I untapped a full case of Madeira
And, having emptied it some two days later,
Came to find Franklin, Churchill, and Gandhi
Playing draughts inside.

Enclosed please find one gramophone,
Some sinful Cossacks in authentic garb,
And some pithy proverbs concerning

Yours in the relative sense (nyuck nyuck),
Danny the Younger,

St. Petersburg

Yes, one paints what one hears.



Dandeliar Charles Merrill Mount,
Stanley Merrill Suchow,
Kicks up a shoeshine down San Francisco streets.
His cane is a cavalry saber.
Behind him,
Wind rattles his suit pockets,
Shakes lockets of confederate generals
daguerreotype scowls.

Stephen Carrie Blumberg,
Malodorous savant book bandit,
Pedals up hill in an ice cream wagon.
Hack saws, glass cutters and door knobs turn cartwheels,
Steal free from the deep freeze to dance in the sun.

Emperor Norton bows to Lord Buckley,
In turn
Bows to Thursday October Christian.
They exchange cards and courtesies in synchrony
With vinyl hiccups from the Tijuana Brass.

You fold your hands and take in the scenery,
The gentle-hearted pageantry, the last Big Three
Plus two middling Merrills
In this dandelion-garbage-dump-fruit-fly Yalta.

You say the model prayer by the Caltrain railroad tracks,
Even though there’s no money in it, there’s no bottom line,
There’s no tax refund, there’s no free gas for a year,
There’s no company car, and
There’s no executive office to be gleaned from it.
You have some sense of remorse for prying the stars from their settings in the sky.
That was a bad left turn, Mr. Juke, for the sky took sick and covered its hurt with a long, Black cowl.



This is a Waltham gold fob watch,
heirloom from your paternal grandmother, pawned
innumerable times by her contemptible husband
to compensate for income lost
to three day drunks. It bears, inside,
this inscription:
To Olga, Oct 12, 1916,
as well as several rows of rudely etched numbers,
one scrawl for each time it was pawned.
Incompetents from subsequent generations
pawned it, then reclaimed it--
a talisman for inherited failings.



The sun bleaches
peeling paint of white
on a cement building
for laundry. Windows,
tall and narrow, checked
with blue bubbles, reflect some
of the light and drown the
rest in blue waters.
The building’s on a corner.
The sun shines on one half
while forgetting the other.



By the feral river bank
rose shrubs with thorny stems
coalesce with November grass.

Catbirds call
after field mice.

Pin cherry trees
clothed with Bengal-red leaves
haunt the hole
in which the farmhouse fell.

There remains nowhere to dwell
save under the stars
by the vagabond's fire.



Through polished circles of clear glass
held primly in place with gold frames
you can see your summer house
and a dirt path wander
from its door to your feet.


Seized by the shutter of your mind’s eye:
You and I--
costumed in bed sheets--
(poorly disguised)
past the summer people’s sign

Burnt spruce trees haunt the clay road.
We dodge their condescending glances
and travel uphill
to a place familiar

Let’s circle in silence again
three times
around the rose-colored farmhouse,
courting shuttered windows
left longing
to follow.


By half-past-eight
the night's come.
Having fathered all poems,
I sleep.


Dedicated to Auro d’Alba


Mama is an armada

of Technicolor dreams,

bravely crossing reality’s ocean,

cutting through the white foam

of arpeggio waves.


Kodachrome transparency

mounted in aluminum.

At 12 o’clock, a window

with a handwritten note

which reads:

# 202. Our first home,

summer 1952.


Mama stands in the front yard

in an orange taffeta bride’s maid’s

gown, its bold style characterized

by whorls, curves, and an appearance

of Jell-O powdered scallops

in a multi-tiered musicale,

a DNA spiral of

Betty Crocker/Dinah Shore/Lucky Strike

prodigality, her lips

molded into a Victory Red,

non-stick smile

for the observer’s Brownie.


Behind her, a dogwood tree

blooms against flawless sky,

cotton ball clouds caught in passing.


Mama is an armada

of Technicolor dreams,

bravely crossing reality’s ocean,

cutting through the white foam

of arpeggio waves.



The Great Tabulating Machine died one day

leaving me to fend for myself

I had no reason to fear


I just turned the big box upside down

grabbed a mallet

made a hole

scooped out its brains

like pumpkin pulp

and strawberry ice-cream

stuck in some soil

and a bonsai tree.


Peace has returned

to this place, although

I can’t make a pie chart

to prove it so.

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