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poem o' the week


"I have a city to cover with lines." - d.a. levy


2004 poem o' the week archive

dec. 27, 2004

Cleveland Cinquain
(for & from Joanne Cornelius)


Bearfield’s coffee,
from seeds of foil and ice,
she weaves complete and bright new worlds
with words.



beauty defined.
Twenty-seven hundred
Clevelanders await the sunrise,


Sound Waves

This air.
These four voices.
united in one breath,
send prayers to the four sacred winds.
This air.

--J.E. Stanley
“Aluminum” first appeared in 103: The Journal of the Image Warehouse.

dec. 20, 2004

Back Room Mood

Under the cracked moon, cold midnight light
falls blue on distant melodies.
Chimes of the Pleiades
illuminate the remnants of safe harbors.
In the backroom of Bearfield's,
hand drums beat out dark Cleveland poems,
invoke d.a. levy in dream rhythms of the now born days,
smack harmonica pulses
into air pockets of peace and being. Sing deep.
Sing deep.

-- Joanne Cornelius & J.E. Stanley

dec. 13, 2004

Everything I know about poetry
I learned from Pete Franklin

goodbye Pete, my poet laureate of Cleveland sports radio
I miss your gurgles, farts
and jabs at the absurdity
of sports figures and fans
I miss your
barks at the insanity
of it all -- your
hang ups throw ups laughs
what a groove
man, what a ride
I didn’t do poetry back in the ‘70s
when you were my hero
all I wanted to do was be
a major league baseball
the first
woman major leaguer
maybe play center field, next
to Charlie Spikes, hang out with Oscar Gamble,
pop his cap back on over gorgeous exploding afro
yeah, it was always you Pete,
'cause I knew
you’d tell me like it was
I listened Pete and listened
and listened
I never made it
to the big leagues
but I’m working on
my bark
and groove
and maybe I’ll even play center field
till then,
I’ll keep listening.
rest in peace
you crazy, beautiful S.O.B

-- joanne cornelius

dec. 6, 2004

Cleveland Your Lights Are Bright Tonight

out at the airport guiding us home
motel and hotel flash the dark 
the kidnapped children crying
stabbings and shootings on the radio
in the fifth district and the suburbs
like a woman on the corner haunting the night
your necklaces of green,blue,yellow,red
the bars emptying like rivers of empties
poets are singing from bridges
your lights are so very bright tonight
gasping for breath
the river murmurs I love you
and the stars wink knowingly
such domestic violence overwhelms
the poets leap
oh, Cleveland your lights so bright tonight.

-- dan smith


nov. 29, 2004

the dreamfog of kingsbury run

there's a murderer loose in kingsbury run,
he's a clean & pious sort, a gentleman
with a black frock coat & a proper
hat, maybe he had coffee with
eliot ness at a social function, maybe
one of rockefeller's main men, &
tonight i'm a bum asleep beneath the
bridge, the dreamfog of a failed life,
my old dismal haze & a poor cleveland
demise. when odd footsteps crack the
hard stone corridor, i barely awake
from my code of honor, a knife to
the throat is a welcome revenge, the
daylight emerges beneath rusty bridges,
the caramel twilight of raging alarms,
15 cents for a ride on the rails, wheels
speak like the echoes in the old stone
church, candle smoke & after shave,
iron ore & sewer pipes, miraculous
visions painted like murals upon yr
conscience, oh i believe what i see
here in the lonesome waggle of right now

-- markk


nov. 22, 2004

the death of cleveland (& other poems for the holiday season)

thanksgiving is coming, i'm thankful
i live in a country with a collective IQ
of about 17, a country where murderers
are reelected president, where holier-
than-thou pretend christians vote
against gay rights, but have no issue
with watching desperate housewives
or reading playboy, this place is a real
hoot, it is a place where the proud &
the many release venom like mustard
across a hotdog, where a stiff like toby
keith passes as entertainment, where
guns don't kill people, people who
put bullets in guns kill people, & how
can the news networks get away with
their conservative bias all the time
functioning with the label that they
have a liberal bias? what a joke. but
listen to the ring of the morning in
this country, the sour ring of a death
bell, as more people are reduced to
chipped beef & chopped liver in a
hell hole called iraq. who's fighting
for our freedom? our freedom to eat
big mac's & drink coke, die of congestive
heart failure & diabetes, everyone fat
& happy upon the manna of this phony
notion that democracy will prevail.
yeah, there he is on tv, drew carey,
talking about what it's like to be
a conservative republican in liberal
hollywood, screw you drew, we disown
you, it's the death of cleveland (& other
poems for the holiday season,) so
ride yr polar express to the mall
& drink up, love (as always) will prevail

-- markk

nov. 15, 2004

buckeye state

my sister was in fla last weekend
on a school trip with students
she said the folks that hosted them
thanked the people of ohio
for taking the pressure off fla
in the recent election
the buckeye state being a large reason
the election went junior's way
i've lived most of my life
here in the ohio valley
except for a few years
further north in cleveland & kent
but i still haven't found any use for a buckeye
other than to drill holes in them
& make necklaces like my daughter did
i still have one hanging in my kitchen
i'd like to aplogize to those democrats out there
& let you know
we're not all the stereotypical
squirrel-hunting republicans
not that's there's anything wrong
with hoopies
as they're called round here
i did some research this morning
after i wrote the river bank poem
looking for other interesting folk
from my neck of the woods
many i already knew
like the six presidents
the most from any state
at one point
not sure now
also happened to be some of the worst presidents
in u.s. history
harding, taft, mckinley, grant
also was aware of jazz greats
albert ayler & rashaan roland kirk
bands devo, pere ubu & the raspberries
some writers include kenneth patchen
& james thurber
a couple of my favorites
also great poets langston hughes, hart crane
paul lawrence dunbar & d.a. levy
popular western writer zane grey
do we have beautiful women you ask
halle berry, carmen electra, angie everhart
sarah jessica parker, chrissie hynde
doris day, daisey duke & marilyn manson
the greatest pitcher ever cy young
the wright brothers
paul newman, ted turner, stephen speilberg
martin sheen & roy rogers
so yeeeehaaaah

-- mark hartenbach

nov. 8, 2004

Buried inside (or say NO to Steelyard Commons)

city bones city bones
they’re pouring
orange smoothies
over Grandpa’s
hot rod rubbish
anguish over
now we’re
held as
steaming screams
steel city’s
that red glow
that red glow
oh no
pissy poised
shifty eyes of
criminal guys
busting down
her crusty landmines
with all of our friends and
still buried inside
you ripped us off
dipped and dripped us into
shiny aluminum City
Zeleznik’s stash
got rolled up in Grandma’s window shades
your burnt offerings
sobered suburbia and
now you’re not
honoring green stamps anymore
you’re ripping off again
vintage molten runs through sore souls
fertilize her land with it and sprout health clinics
re-employment and training centers
parks and playgrounds, arts &  rec centers, food markets
community gardens and
living wage industry
her future can glow again
through real community and education
no instead
your pop rocks deaden the
cries of steel armies
crawling out of volcanoes
scratching and begging
those that built her
are buried in her
suicide bombers
now dreams of City’s
future generation
blow up
as smoke stacks
and you rip the uterus out
of the City’s core
and render
her infertile
Steelyard Commons
is an immaculate deception

-- joanne cornelius


nov. 1, 2004


in cleveland, we can lead
this state into the next era,
this country into the next
epoch, but we gotta, gotta
. . . .VOTE4kerryNOTbush. . . .
( ( ( bushSUCKSbushSUCKS
bushSUCKSbushSUCKS ) ) )
* * * voteNOissueONEvoteNO
on issue one, stop this
bushit, full of bushit
discrimination hatred
their modus operendi * * *

(as springsteen says)
we let freedom ring

-- markk

oct. 25, 2004

Mermaid on the Edmund Fitzgerald

I ate four stars last night and exploded flew through the sky and landed in the Cuyahoga I drowned and was dead for four minutes until the Captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald invited me in to see his paintings I could no longer walk I had no legs I had fins I was a mermaid I was a mermaid in the Cuyahoga River on the Edmund Fitzgerald with the Captain who was entertaining other guests lots of torsos I told the Captain his ship’s name had the same name as my man's favorite beer we ate barbecue we could barbecue right off the river we laughed we talked I fluttered just getting used to my fins the Captain reminisced about the old times on Lake Erie Carl Stokes was there he was more handsome in person than in pictures much more handsome than Jane Campbell that's for sure Ray Chapman showed up huge bruise on his face everyone was abuzz about the doctor's house that just went up for sale in Bay Village seems it's going for cheap also heard that the doctors a boxer in prison now suddenly the ship began to vibrate the guests gasped the Captain clamored to his controls he sounded the alarm just then an enormous roar crashed through the air I flapped my fins as fast as I could to see what the ruckus was and what ruckus it was indeed to my horror the most hideous creature emerged from the side of the ship a huge slimy thing who's shape resembled a cross (if there is such a thing) between Bob Hope and Richard Nixon's noses I was a mermaid on the Edmund Fitzgerald being attacked by a Bob Hope Richard Nixon monster nose and I was nervous everyone was nervous we were in a tricky dick situation but I had Bob Hope that we could all get out of it I screamed for the Captain to alert NewsChannel 5 of the situation he did they sent help Dorothy Fuldheim jet skied over and tried to reason with the nose monster and when they wouldn't show her proper respect, she threw them out of the River just like that wheeeew lucky break Fuldheim's good she stayed we all partied longer I asked if levy might show up, no one thought so, he usually hung out on land at the Harbor Inn with some bookseller they were fighting to stop pyramids from being built I started to get tired and attempted to rest but a something clunked me in the head got up and looked around and damn if empty beer cups weren't flying everywhere seemed to be coming from Cleveland Stadium I heard they had some 10 cent beer night deal geez then I heard sirens sound saw fire over in the distance at first I thought it was Ralph Perk’s hair again, but I looked and realized it was over on the east side the smoke rose forming these weird sad clouds clouds burning dreams probably to linger over the city for years I was sure I heard screams and crashes then as quickly as the noises began, they stopped and nothing nothing but  quiet I dug my fins into my makeshift waterbed and drifted away I’d say I rather enjoyed my first river cruise as a mermaid on the Cuyahoga River

-- joanne cornelius


oct. 18, 2004

the merry pranksters pass d.a. levy in the night (1964)

must have been the middle
of the night when the merry
   pranksters passed through
   cleveland, that neon day-glo
bus wailing around dead-man’s
   curve with neal at the wheel,
   kesey no doubt waxing eloquent
on some esoteric subject while
   babbs yapped away in the front,
   & the bus roared further into
the dregs of a summer thick
with smoke & grinding teeth,
   & they blew past unaware of
   d.a. levy, probably at that
moment agonizing over the
shards of ‘cleveland undercovers’
   with salamon urging him on,
   history being made quietly
the way it always is, just
like a dog sniffing at a lamp-
    post before he takes (a leak)

-- markk

oct. 11, 2004

saint henry

old saint henry,
loose again upon the
the stones of denison
weighing his reflection
in a window pane caked
with soap & dirt, fond
of his recent catastrophies,
a crazy spiral in the red
torment of ruby limelight,
(he never saw the debates,
so far from case western
that his shoes grew wings
& his hands flew free)

-- markk


oct. 5, 2004

An arsenal of words

An arsenal of words is absolute
   power/a fish tale we heard
in seventh grade English,neglecting
to file this fairy story under the heading
Important Information:use it
lose it and have no chance
at life/get back
into the streets we went back
to the crap games on basketball courts
back to drama queens,fallen angels
three card monty and raunchy jokes we retold
one time
twisting punchlines and preparing
to scrounge up a living
packing fast talk,loaded pistols and flip
dialogue we ripped off Saturday afternoons
at the Scrumpty Dump
shut down years ago to expand Cleveland
    Clinic for sick folk
while the truly sick folk died illiterate
scraped from asphalt
carted away in coroners' wagons

-- Barry Phillips

september 27, 2004

Oh, Cleveland Mighty Worker

ball-peen my mind in the foundry

of lost wax jewelry artifacts

and afterthoughts of love and commerce

forge your truth into rolling sheets

of thunder and banners of flame

as coke furnace necessity consumes

the sand core shovelers

who shake and bake till dawn

oh,Cleveland mighty worker

tower shrouded lawyered up

the ying and yang of Erie shores

I drink the copper ripple

of your sunset river

toasting sunlit days shipped out

wasted away by the optimates

squandered in dark boardroom minds.

-- dan smith


september 20, 2004

Centered in the Hidden Soul of University Circle

Barking Spider brain bliss.
Juniper smoke drifts through yellow gels.
Very Sharp and Midnight on stage:
Bree sings BreeSongs
and "Nothing compares. . ."

Kathy scans the room,
her pen in perpetual motion.
Peter just listens,
barely touching his bottle of Kaliber.
I explore the effects of deep breathing
on the autonomic nervous system,

focus on Bree,
close my eyes,
absorb the music.

Afterward, totally sober,
I lie on Arabica grass,
fall through unseen clouds,
embrace invisible stars,
and become the night.

--J.E. Stanley


september 13, 2004

& the urinals all overflow

first sunday of the football season
& the browns win, white grass-
stained jerseys stinking of raven
feathers, but i wasn't down there
to watch. can't really get into
the vibe of that clean new stadium
my heart is still in the wreckage
of old municipal stadium, in
section 35, in the upper deck,
on the 45 years line, in those
seats where doc & joe watched
the 1964 browns rip apart a different
baltimore team on a cold december
day, yeah it's the ancient steel
girders & the cracked concrete of
the concourse, & the smell of
beer & sweat & hotdogs & rust,
& blood on the field & howls
in the stands & a forest of
orange & brown shirts & the
urinals all overflow & you
live & die with each snap of
the ball while airplanes streak
overhead pulling signs & the
scoreboard blinks in a huge
glitter of numbers that the browns
win again. dammit, now that's
football, isn't it? yes, yassss it is.

-- markk

september 6, 2004

labor day weekend 1982

we stand on the loading dock
eyes surveying the september
sky, we hear the roar of the
blue angels as they shred
the clouds like toilet paper
flying in rapt formation,
they turn in precision, arc
upward, dip & flip their wings
then vanish behind the skyscrapers,
one more brilliant summer
coming to an end. you going
to the air show? billy asks me.
hell wit' that, i say, speaking
'plane' english, the way i
always do, then vanish into
the guts of the warehouse,
me, the tom wingfield of
cleveland, writing poems
on cardboard boxes, wishing
for dark clouds, the beer & rain

-- markk

august 30, 2004

drunk at d'poos

i'm on my hands & knees
in a puddle of old water
on the back deck of d'poos
in the old emerging flats,
looking for my lost contact
lens, i don't know, maybe
it's 1978, & i'm drunk,
& it's a hot indian summer
& everyone around me
is drunk, & ore freighters
barge their way up the
cuyahoga & draft beer
is still a buck a cup, &
we've spent all night
putting the make on
these strange women,
& someone says something
about hearing the dead boys
play at the pirates cove,
& someone else staggers
away up the little ramp past
that garden & babbling brook
& who the fuck is admiral
d'poo anyway, & what did
he do with my contact lens?
somehow i find it in that
stagnant puddle, & everybody
laughs like hell, & when i
get it stuffed back on my
eyeball, I can see again,
i can see, man I can really see


august 23, 2004

a little triggeration

electric emmett is blabbing
once again about triggeration,
he says he can walk into a
a room full of people, into
the guts of a loaded bar,
& visually disarm every
person there, he says this
with that raspy laugh, a
mad wobble of the head.

it's called triggeration,
he whispers, an almost
conspiratorial confession,
my granddaddy willed
the book to me, handwritten,
a set of magic spells for
makin' the mojo crawl.

i never know when to
believe electric emmett,
lost prophet of the sad
cleveland streets, the duke
of scovil ave., con-man
& ludicrous lover, his
eyes as yellow as egg
yokes, his skin as smooth
as a shot of cuban rum

-- markk



august 16, 2004

chief wahoo is dead

later, when he smashed one
out of the park, it littered the
atmosphere with vapor trails,
refrains of a lost lullaby,
cheers of the pagan crowd,
red-faced & obnoxious, lost
upon the last blast of a suicide
squeeze, chief wahoo is dead,
killed by illiterate fantasy, the
forms & symbols of forlorn rage,
it's no use fighting now, he
will fight no more forever, his
vacuum of smoke & feathers
like the sound of dakota elders
who rain down fire & freedom
from the coat of an alabaster sky

-- markk


august 2, 2004

A View from the River

in the fall
is like
any other
tired city

liquid smoke
curling round
sleeping architecture
amid cherry-red faced
itching instant
lotto dreams
as bygone buildings
burn an
ardent grey

all this
and a young man's
to trace
a city's skyline

dancing lightly
with the wind
while this pen
it's very


--C. Allen Rearick


july 26, 2004

Poetry reading orgy

I suggest a duo
she considers a threesome
we laugh / his neurons
flash sharp images
electric siren songs
impossible menage explosions
of sudden criminal beauty

from an awkward
Bearfield's court dribble
startled syllables
spark poetic fragments
raw words intertwine
capture lines
in spontaneous seduction
instant combustion

we tread overhead
fingers travel quickly
through pages burning
hot with soul-bared ink

contemplating duties
intimidated by mic
but true to selves
our charge firmly set
the sacred dance begins
elemental rhythms
brought to life
in primal

words once sheepish
now feverish
one on top
of the other

she goes
he goes
she goes
they all go

synchronized lovely sounds
bleed through
this reading

three virgins

--Joanne Cornelius & J.E. Stanley


july 19, 2004

Cuyahoga River Blues

This river/my life
exiled to aimless wandering
(no straight canal path conceivable).
Constant current
perpetually seeking
some elusive,

Water, waste,
polluted by life,
imprisoned by valley
and riverbed.
High ground,

with molten steel heat
in brief
and shallow flame.

No chosen destination,
arrival anywhere
solely by accident.

Slow descent the only constant.

This crooked river,
this aimless life.

--J.E. Stanley


july 13, 2004

Cleveland Heights - 6/25/04

Tonight city alive premiers
a film. Clementine sunset
does deliberate backflips
over a three-story skyline
of integrated high schools
& beer-joints & aesthete cafes.

In an Elysian punch-palace
motorcycle cowpokes steal shy
laughs with nickle-brew slurs.
They found these blocks first --
blocks of Gilded Age homes
& opulence; Rockefeller's party
broken up by Harley Norsemen.
They slosh hops in the hereafter
with d.a. levy & Langston the same.

this flat Heights this plane fortress
fought for with trench-rot attention
by post-boomers in Prada & gutter-punks.

This flat Heights this plane fortress
home to Ohio's most beautiful women
with their mulatto blood & indiscretion.

This flat Heights this plane fortress
homestead of Mac's Backs bookstore
& the old Grog Shop & the Cedar-Lee.

The only place around Cleveland i can
kiss a cocoa-butter brown girl or grab
a thin rocker-boy's waist & feel safe.
Food from four continents on one block.
Synogogues not so far from black churches.
Hiphop spinning within earshot of Nighttown...

me reading poetry aloud as patrons pass
the cosmopolitan threshold & glimpse
canvasses painted in bohemian toil
& the mad man me at the microphone
as sweat bunches the ends of my hair.

The sunset sleeps in the lake
& the street spectacle only interrupts itself
when cars pass -- their windows rolled up.

-- matthew estvanic


july 6, 2004

4th of july, cleveland

michele tells me that from the
upper floors of the cleveland
clinic, on the 4th of july,
in the inky veil of night
you can see fireworks
crackling to life all over,
sprinkles & explosions
from this suburb or that,
& it's like watching gushers
of color explode skyward
from the terrain of the city.

i'm just a roman candle,
you are a rocket's red glare

-- markk

june 28, 2004

Cleveland, raw

(on the event of Spencer Tunick's Cleveland installation, 6/26/04)

from near
Steamship Mather catwalk
he debriefs
frozen unbelievers
until nipple rivers
sushi City's
the tattooed,
rippled, pimpled,
the thick and thin;
peach and ebony;
our eternal glee unleashed
we are bouncing babies
on Cuyahoga earth
we are a smooth new space
set on this ancient sacred place
we are  peaceful
we are  poetry
we are
a freedom poem
we are
a free stamp
we are
Cleveland's raw

-- joanne cornelius


june 21, 2004

fire music for joanne cornelius

deep keeper
of the levy lighthouse
but more

rock & roll
cuyahoga soul
deep woman music

spit fire
vented ire
barbed wire
purple haze choir

3rd sun stone
expanding to infinite "here i am" E

promethean fire-balm gifts
to her city
electric ink match
to raw paper rivers
ignite and burn
brighter brighter

as she burns
and always returns

gravity in motion
tandem dance locked
in centrifugal spin
woman & city
city woman

music & fire
fire music


all her own

--J.E. Stanley


june 14, 2004

weather, by land or by lake

don't like the weather
here in cleveland?
the old saying goes,
wait 15 minutes &
it will change, yasss,
change from clouds
to rain, or maybe
from rain to clouds,
when billy left town
i asked why he was
leaving, he said because
living here is like a
death sentence. i told
him it's not really as
bad as all that, weather,
by land or by lake,
calls for sunshine
today, & always,
always a chance of rain

-- markk


june 7, 2004

captain zero: a poem for rjs

what do you say to the
master alchemist, he
who weaved paper & type
into gold, side by side
w/d.a. levy, who took
those silkscreen rabbits
of t.l. kryss & pressed
visual hallucinations
together like a peyote
sandwich, who sat on
the floor of the jailhouse
& told the cops not to
bother him while he was
meditating, sed that
injustice would not
stand, who scraped the
litter & dirt & blood
& piss off of the grim
cleveland streets &
twisted it into art, who
burrowed his way deep
into subterranean burton
ohio, in a concrete bunker
of the mind, neck deep in
the genius of the mimeo
revolution, what do you
say to the man who, to
this day, presides over
the famous d.a levy offense
fund (needed now more than
ever before) -- you say,
here's to you, captain zero, &
let yr (head) do the rest

-- markk

june 1, 2004

Gloria In Her Glory Days In Ohio

Jimmi was in New Mex, Los Gatos
and saw a ufo, and it scared poo
out of him he told me. I mean,
I just think he was drunk again.

He told me here in Buckeye that,
I was goners and this thing made
me more goners. But I still love
ya hon. So I goes, I gotta think

about all this. Too much info
for my weak mind to gather, rest
with, and technically discuss in
any deep way. I mean, I have felt

that those things were figments;
you know, in the past. Jimmi says,
well, it's time for you to relook
at the outer world. I goes, that

scares me so I wanna leave ya. &
he goes, ok. So, Linn, that was
my day just before I got on Bus
#32 near E9th to find a job selling

insurance over the phone; some co.
called Heart Insur. Co. as that
damn hurricane, Isabel, or what-
ever, heads up towards our state.

-- Daniel Gallik

check out all of Dan Gallik's Linn Poems

may 24, 2004

Dark Cleveland Hear The Song

d.a.levy falling on the sword

for the undead with poems unraveling

their mummy mysteries

seeing the terminal tower giant pederast

laughing and dancing shutting out the sun

hearing the screaming down every street

the police coming to your party

muscular with guns and steely stares

never wanted to dance but held you close

like an insecure lover

so you threw yourself on the rod for them

to wake in lightning bolt flash of you

and hear your thunder poetry crack open hearts

nightmares overcoming dreams you couldn't see

any legacy in the art of the dawning of your days.

-- dan smith

may 17, 2004

The Golden Screw

Maidens seek it but do not brag about it.
Young boys look furtively around,
Then, eyes cast down,
Make their move in the right direction.

Girls tend to giggle at their successes
Younger women exchange looks with the older,
Both acknowledging that the other
Has somehow passed one of life's little tests.

For some, it happens as a private enterprise
The golden screw a nightly, feel-good ritual
Something to be hidden from a spouse,
Not acknowledged to those near or dear.

The boys, who you would expect to brag
On completing another rite of passage
Instead seem confused about their victory
And do not meet the girls' eyes afterwards.

Friends often share the experience
One with another, introduction to joy.
The golden screw both melody and harmony,
A fresh discovery each time the door is opened.

Do not be shocked that families partake,
Each seeking the golden screw for themselves,
Willing to share their delight in the ritual
With cousins, in-laws and other close relatives.

For generations, the ritual remains the same:
A squeal of delight, head-back laughter,
Some giggling over the golden screw
Then quickly moving on as if nothing happened.

Some seek the golden screw on Friday nights
Others, after a drink or two at the bar, on Saturday.
But all, initiated to the ritual, tacitly acknowledge
They can not return to the innocence of pre-screw days.

And so it is--young and old, male and female
Whether excited in the most public of forums
Under dim lights or glorious architecture
Still seek to recapture memories of the golden screw.

Every Clevelander, priest or nun, youth or elderly
Knows the delights of the golden screw
Can be found any time below the stairs in the Grand Foyer,
Pounded into the floor tile at Severance Hall.

-- curt harler

may 10, 2004

My Cleveland Is Everywhere

in books and faded photos of sad backyards
 grammar school of  elaborate perfect pretend days
 marriage under the lilac tree with Tim McCoy
 galloping on t. v. and Geronimo charging up driveways
 where our porch became a flying fortress enhancement
 reenactment of the movie at the Variety and real
 with the death of knife sharpeners wheeling wheels
 and ice boxes and street cars across the river
 on a spider web of girders that is the everywhere
 Cleveland of my head and heart pumping Standard Oil
 flames into night sky industrial  lighting up ore boats
 for the molten maw of U.S. Steel
 whose workers walked to corner groceries with wives
 who made pies and cakes from scratch
 my Cleveland is everywhere with Bill Veeck 
 diamond heroes of '48 and Marion Motley power
 yardage of time when the Barons slashed
 across the blue lines of our winters into spring
 the everywhere Cleveland force of poetry and riots
 d.a. levy and Hough with rock and roll angry as a sniper
 anthemic as avenues pedestrian as a car crash
 heavy as the smoke screen of politics
 when the river and a mayor's hair caught fire
 and a young mayor battled giants 
 my Cleveland is everywhere in suburban nights unrested
 pill and poetry induced dreams past misunderstanding
 futures bleak with gulls struggling against the wind
 empty promises filling empty hands as the fast food garbage
 is picked clean and the gravity is all that keeps me
 from floating away to the Cleveland of memory

-- dan smith


may 3, 2004

cleveland, 1936

billy rose whispers sweet
nothings into eleanor holm's
ear backstage at the aquacade,
lake erie bobbing behind him,
(fanny brice nowhere to be
found) while the churn & bustle
of a mighty exposition
explodes in grainy twilight,
they reclaimed a dump
& turned it into a million
nations, with giants &
dwarfs & monkeys driving
cars. cleveland showed the
world how it was done, didn't
they? back then, they showed
everyone (just how it was done)

-- markk

april 26, 2004

advice for yr clinging initiate

ring ancient cowbells
initiate feeble fabrication
call in the calvalry
enter the corinth meter
rabble the faint traces
change the vacuum tubes
decorate black turbocharge
overstate the obvious
jam the yellow ions
presuppose jacked outrage
nibble the tense giblet
crash the stormy hollow
return to cleveland graces
place a furrowed matter
create the rose of sharon
invert small triggerations
notice the fine yangtse
reverberate in ornate rolls
nether the holy synopsis
hanker into youthful cargo
liberate heaven's method
vibrate incognitio vito
fold the new york apprentice
appreciate nets & troubadors
cascade the orion streams
jest the pale of the morning
cling to hard vestibule dreams
joke with the rabid habit
understand the cleaving rides
vocate the usher's season
force the garden gazette
calibrate yesterday's tableau
novice the metered cello
gravitate into colored trust
find a lenexa two-step
freedom, yr original face of angels


april 19, 2004

Tracing the places of d.a. levy

on the monitor

in front of me

I see

Larry Smith's color pictures

of residences

from downstairs apartment

on Denison

next to the sign for Kools

to box on Tuxedo

& brick building near West Side Market

to the ruins of the death site


top floor

corner apartment

on Wymore

last place

to hold the breath

of a poetbuilding condemnd today

like levy's poems 40 years ago


but the breath of lines

lingers in bare hallway

escapes into East Cleveland nite

opens gates

waits for the new sun


a poet walkd here

tracing the places

clears the ears

to hear

pries the eyes

to see

 -- Alex Gildzen

editor's note: check out Larry Smith's "Tracing the Places of d.a. levy" page

april 12, 2004

Cleveland Haiku


The pidgeons line up
to wait for the bus
but decide not to get on


Strip club next to
Party Headquarters-
one a much higher cover charge


The early fall frost
bites my face
as I ride my bicycle


The downed power lines
whipping around
in a spastic ecstatic dance


The first fall leaf
has floated by-
A tide of color will soon come in


The cold autumn breeze
shrieks through the trees-
a harbinger of Halloween


A second shopping cart
does double duty
as someone's moving van


A third shopping car
contains the whole of someone's
worldly possessions

-- michael ceraolo

april 5, 2004


Dominique, markk said you were a poet ahead of your time
Dominique who were you?
were you the red flower you wrote of?
I think of you and think of sugar granule
words melting into unknown color bursts but no
red no Dominique no red
I think of you and think of muted electric tones
squeezing through tight book bindings oozing onto
blank pages trying and trying and trying
Dominique, what were you thinking when you
wrote about the red flower? were you
frantically screaming and scaling coming years, Dominique?
Dominique when I think of you
I think you were roses in January
blooming in snow

-- joanne cornelius


march 29, 2004

By Words Alone
((for Bree))



oxygen, yet exhales
only poetry.

of words


to the page.

I drink
too deep,
too fast,

become dizzy.
Swept away by jazz rapids,
whirlpool syllables in green and blue,
so "very sharp
and midnight" deep.

Wondrously drunk
on words alone.

--J.E. Stanley


march 22, 2004

lake erie refrain #45

where does cleveland
end & lake erie begin?
the line of demarcation,
the point of no return
land that meets water
at the point of infinite
merging, vertical lines
& horizontal crosses,
the brink of departure
where we all undertake
a calamitous cargo &
the ghost of the edmund
fitzgerald still heads for
port, disappears (like us)
where lake erie ends &
all of cleveland begins



march 15, 2004

Spencer, OH- asleep

3:37 in the a.m....
winter world frosted
a shade of December
blue; moonlight starlight
clear 30 miles from
the city. most sleep now

stashed away on beds
wrapped like cabbage rolls;
the sauce of sleep poured
over them. so still, two
hours before the wives
awake & start up coffee.

singular people rustle
the snoring air, crack
snow drifts all the way
down to the frozen ice
beneath. hop into a
green 4x4 pickup truck

& drive to the intersection
of routes 301 & 162.
this is downtown
Spencer; a glacier
south of the Lake.
bank clock says 4:23.

u-turned truck heads
back down South Main.
the concrete river flows
through lake-effect
tendrils, towards a
decent brown ranch.

& as the fresh drifted
snow re-cracks, breathe
deeply. watch the steam
as the silent blue-purple
burns into your eyeballs
like the missing piece

of an eclipse.

-- matthew estvanic


march 8, 2004

hearing levy

I hear you
I can't believe
how young
you are
familiar &
desparate &
in your voice is
quiet word cries
and the
round little stones
rolling down
your face there
is no trace of
artifical flowers
you are so young
you are so old
are a delicate voice
crying in the wind
your pauses
even furtile
your voice shakes
at funny moments
like a a hummingbird
on pointed finger
you are layers
peeling away
so raw
under the
I hear your
it's just the
way I knew
it would

-- joanne cornelius

march 1, 2004

Luv In The Ruins Of A Dead Town

He's a tenacious, self effacer,
but more often than not, a ram-
shackle of a Cleveland Heights
kind of fellow. But I love him.
This from an out-of-prison gal to
her best friend Linn from Buckeye
close by the mall. Linn says,
Yeah, I luv him too. So, what
do we do? Cheryl goes, nothing,
just wait and see. Anyway, if
he don't work out, we can go for
that guy, what's his name, Hank,
or something, from Lyndhurst?

Hell, guys are from all over.
This buzzcock kind of talk came
often, in fact, every evening
during the summer when Lake Erie
got melancholy, and ants ate dead
flies in backyards, in kitchens,
and by young things' beds. It
was a machine gun kind of eti-
quette among women of the new
age. Cheryl said, hey, they're
all bozoes anyway. Will marry
one just cuz he's got a cause
and a reason to have a tiny tad

-- Dan Gallik


february 23, 2004

vote fr issue 31

vote fr issue 31, yasss,
support arts & culture
issue 31 vote fr vote fr
issue 31, arts & culture
arts culture arts culture
vote for issue 31 31 31
31 31 31 (bush sucks!)
31 31 31 arts art ar a
vote vote vote fr vote
fr issue issue 31, arts & culture
(did i mention bush sucks?)
issue 31 issue 31 vote
arts & culture
vote fr issue 31 vote
vote vote fr issue 31
31 31 31 31 31 31
vote fr issue 31, vote
bush out of office, vote
fr issue 31, for cleveland
for arts, for us, yassssss

-- markk


february 16, 2004

Incredible (downtown) wandering home

the eyes just feast upon all
of this all of this clay unfurled
under quaking feet
magnified and baking
affectionate so close
this rail covered in

a mysterious graffitti
so many names scattered here
where the tracks move
ominous in transit upon
amtrak nightveins

leaning over taking it all in
the eyes they turn huge
dilate and twist with the sun
reflects off the angles
of the rock hall pyramid

they startle into binoculars
looking outwards into a space
so vast so incredible wandering home

back upon I-77, the shoreway
our lead dreams removed
in western suburbs entwined

-- andrew lundwall & markk

february 9, 2004

uber-cleveland detonations

each sudden sound
like the clanking of skin
rough walk against

the sidewalks of st. clair
either camouflaged
or exposed heartless under
the shadow of huge buildings
terminal tower glower

peeling before the eyes
as if there could be
an after-effect that this
statue of cold metal
in the center of a fountain

convex, rattling in speculation
i was in the harbor inn
when the world exploded

& nobody noticed at all

vast surroundings
should just detonate with
mysterious brilliant light

-- andrew lundwall & markk

february 2, 2004

cleveland redux (stretching out)

shake yourself out of this destination
crawl out of the home to the red-eyed

spaces outside there out in the wilderness
a framework of steel oscillating
in optical patterns where
the flats meet the warehouse
district on mystical nights

all of those paragraphs left hanging
within the telephone booth, club
light alcohol brooding

the white pages now scattered
wandering along the scarred walls
posted with circulars, the crux of

an alien city i feel for ruts
all of those lost places my mind

dashed upon broken concrete,
rusted metal, those back alleys
where wild giraffes ran free

just must now perch upon the sudden
wild groove of cleveland redux

-- andrew lundwall & markk

january 26, 2004

broker than the 10 commandments

what would electric emmett
say right now? with
the city in financial
shambles, police
& fire layoffs,
a dire forecast for
the future. "cleveland
in a shithole a mile deep!"
electric emmett would
blow a smoke ring,
consider the situation,
then say what he always
said, "man, we broker
than the 10 commandments!"
shake his nappy head,
pull on his red stocking cap,
make a noise that goes,
hmmm hmmm hmmmmmmm,
"man, this is one hell of
a time to be down
in cleveland town, ain't it?"

-- markk

january 19, 2004

Pondering molasses with Pirkko

On a cold blustery Cleveland afternoon sliding down Euclid Ave.
I skid into the Food Co-op, following my Finnish friend, Pirkko

I'm right behind her as she runs silly through the aisles in search of life elixirs
"Flaxseed must be taken as liquid, not tablets," she exclaims along the way

"And raw apple cider vinegar mixed with unsweetened apple & grape juice,
consumed each morning will flush your life's cares away"

I stop when I spot jars of black goo. Aha- molasses
I've heard of it & used it, but I have no idea what it actually is

Is it oil? Is it syrup? Is it tar, coal? Is it real? IS molasses here?
For a moment I am no longer of this world and I know nothing

My mind is as thick as the goo I seek to understand
I like this feeling; an uneasiness about to burst forth some great truth

I like that this jar of black muck is supposedly good for you
I like that it looks like sludge from the Cuyahoga, which is always good for me

I like that they both sit, the goo and the River, thick and ugly, pained and heavy
Their beauty and functions misunderstood completely

These elixirs, life fixes somehow this afternoon in the organic foods section I got answers
so I waved good-bye to Pirkko and headed west to the Flats for a nice slow visual hit

which I like
and need

-- joanne cornelius

january 12, 2004

Murray Hill, East 115th

Skylight dims to Poseidon,
The wrinkle-clocked dark-
Impressive-impassive Cleveland.
Siddhartha blues bums on brick-topped streets
Ethnic smells on empty stomachs.
Second-hand Everythings speak open-mouthed unknowing
Disinterred discussion on ancient textbook conversation.
Schoolyard wonderboys pour into knee-patching surrounding.
Getting pissed on and called Nigger; Joe the Rat at it again
Joined by knitted-kneed counterparts,
A heartful silly battle for decibel control.
Yard-backed clotheslines advertise a mother's day-
Cigar smoke unfolding and folding and unfolding into air
Grape and exposing small yellow, big office light.
Teasmokers coast by, window low, music lower
To plant fresh kisses and fresh faces
And get this whole town dug down
And myself, sitting down.
Excited on the most ordinary of afternoons.

-- The Cigarette Symphony

january 5, 2004

city balm

scratch and itch suburbia burnin'
only way to cure is my city balm
smeared all over me
scent of old smokin' token stacks
market racks of tired of defendin'
bended cows and chickens
without heads tongues of
tired suits and jovial conductors
collections of torched monarchs
living among rocks all these Square
sculptures around erect torpedo
celebrity hostels crumbling onto
lost souls hotels oozing and
blue is blue lost in more blue
by Queen Jane's jester gestures
still won't dim sensual sky
arch and lift smooth
girders and melodic metal
madness pouring over lakefront ice waves
still I slather my mundane inane days
away with C-town's ways
I don't ever wash it
this city balm's all over me

-- joanne cornelius

2003 poem o' the week archive

2002 poem o' the week archive

2001 poem o' the week archive

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