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poem o' the week


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


december 27, 2005

I Was There When Ray McNiece Sang "Hello, I Must Be Going"

Ray McNiece stirs a freeway
Ray McNiece falls to Earth
Ray McNiece chatters with performing teeth
Ray McNiece swallows the meat loaf story
Ray McNiece departs from the here of no value in evaluation of the new of undetermined value
Ray McNiece goes to the chosen land to oversee Pacific poems
Ray McNiece breeds new thinking ahead
Ray McNiece is shored against rosebuds
Ray McNiece brings in mystifying shoes
Ray McNiece whistles, always ready to juggle with three balls in the air
Ray McNiece exhales the devil Christians hate the devil
Ray McNiece is against growing up
Ray McNiece departs survived by a family of troubling questions
Ray McNiece is hooded like a hawk in compliance with a rather stupid petition
Ray McNiece encloses a research marine biologist with each bill paid
Ray McNiece word's flow over here
Ray McNiece sits in a highly regarded position elevated by the local media
Ray McNiece knows nothing is parallel to the cut axis
Ray McNiece is stumbling into the pam anderson of sailboats
Ray McNiece bumps into a poem
Ray McNiece is leaving
Ray McNiece raises poetry to the top usa finisher in the coveted china poetry cup
Ray McNiece crawls into the details
Ray McNiece is wrought with then pulled away from
Ray McNiece breeds peace
Ray McNiece carves an expanded role as new president of the rotary club
Ray McNiece runs out of office
Ray McNiece colors incoherence with meaning
Ray McNiece a very special surprise gift
Ray McNiece sings special collections
Ray McNiece snarls at tom waits
Ray McNiece whistles to stupid dogs everywhere
Ray McNiece is?
Ray McNiece foresuffers here
Ray McNiece raises free hair care awareness
Ray McNiece carves then reduces poems to their actual proportions
Ray McNiece says to read and governs those who give birth to life such as our pioneers and inventors
Ray McNiece guesses the Ray McNiece is moving toward the surface
Ray McNiece is unlit but by governed by our license
Ray McNiece is winding above the short
Ray McNiece is stirred by a shout for the "persistence of vision Ray McNiece tracer"
Ray McNiece responds to emitted in a transition from the n = 2
Ray McNiece stirs the juice facing up
Ray McNiece is crouched by then drawn in blue on the diagram at the right
Ray McNiece puts on the viewer
Ray McNiece prolongs permission to travel for a transplant operation
Ray McNiece whines to the too causal focus of life
Ray McNiece carries a hanky that's not so sexual
Ray McNiece confuses china cup
Ray McNiece tumbles at cassiopeia
Ray McNiece is broken by a molecular graphics program written for windows
Ray McNiece retracts the details
Ray McNiece leans out into the night, pulled away from the travel lift for final transport preparations
Ray McNiece fiddles with thanks for your name here
Ray McNiece walks among a gorgeous head of hair
Ray McNiece sits into a big favorite in indy pole qualifying
Ray McNiece chatters with sometimes
Ray McNiece feeds only with food absorbed by the atom by transferring all of its energy to an innermost electron powders called the "McNiece Photoelectric Effect"
Ray McNiece thanks God for beer imported in large numbers
Ray McNiece is awaited by a muse to get at it again
Ray McNiece tolls a general purpose renderer that produces stunning high quality renders
Ray McNiece has on file with the copyright office and library of congress for participation in the compulsory statutory licenses allowing public performances
Ray McNiece gives up on stupid Please Stay Ray petition
Ray McNiece wallows brilliant
Ray McNiece is unheard of professor of religious studies
Ray McNiece stops at a free food sign
Ray McNiece looks ahead to performing
Ray McNiece prolongs incoherent because there
Ray McNiece digs it baby, he digs it
Ray McNiece never speaks to a fucking nutjob
Ray McNiece is stirred by a rap song
Ray McNiece stops a speeding bullet, able to leap tall building?
Ray McNiece smoothens clothing with chosen irons
Ray McNiece explores back in the day
Ray McNiece plucks out eyebrows of no value in evaluation of newer eyebrows
Ray McNiece creeps into a room always ready to recite
Ray McNiece whispers to a research marine biologist while a blue whale looks on
Ray McNiece swings into a muddy brown and fattish with a long tail
Ray McNiece creeps by the other Ray McNiece who is moving toward the surface
Ray McNiece is falling down into ridiculous
Ray McNiece says the devil, why christians hate the devil
Ray McNiece talks to pretty colored rocks found in circumtropical waters between here and over there
Ray McNiece stirs in the details
Ray McNiece is gilded with soft as hell hair
Ray McNiece strides with purpose
Ray McNiece wants someone who was almost arrested to just be quiet about it already
Ray McNiece crawls into the education office, asks what time school starts
Ray McNiece is unshaven
Ray McNiece remembers nothing of wage radio
Ray McNiece responds to stupid Presidential decisions
Ray McNiece puts on brilliant colored t-shirt while Terry Pluto dissects
Ray McNiece forgets playing football in high school
Ray McNiece shakes for real
Ray McNiece swarms with a sunny fangun
Ray McNiece stops thinking ahead
Ray McNiece fishes with mystifying bait
Ray McNiece counts from 1 to 100 by ones
Ray McNiece moved along the projection plane in the upward direction
Ray McNiece swears a research marine biologist with the us army engineer research and development center actually was a nature poet in disguise
Ray McNiece lives governed by our license
Ray McNiece loiters in the short pants
Ray McNiece smoothens with the causal focus of life
Ray McNiece pursues dreams drawn in blue on the diagram at the right
Ray McNiece falls into a molecular graphics program written for windows
Ray McNiece laments getting the blues insits that Ray McNiece wants a luminous blue
Ray McNiece surrenders to a great notion sometimes
Ray McNiece swears the incident of the convex mirror which stops the correct exit of Ray McNiece through the green squares is the focal point of the conspiracy against him
Ray McNiece sits upon a labor of love
Ray McNiece tolls an extremely patient man
Ray McNiece shuffles on in a public form
Ray McNiece is not to be found in Cleveland
Ray McNiece plays an animal that should be taken for a walk
Ray McNiece is leaving, long live Ray McNiece

We await his return

-- John Stickney


december 19, 2005

Cleveland, do you snow?

Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow for Tower city? for RTA passes?
for late nites for noisy neighbors for
nosy neighbors for community colleges?
for frigid frozen stares and glass? for sympathy?
Cleveland, do you snow for realization
of sewer covers of light fixtures of burning tires
of MLK drive of fish flying on route two?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow because I love you or
because I leave you in summers?
do you snow for the local scene?
do you snow for your ego, for my ego, is there enough snow?
do you snow for dead bodies on dead man’s curve?
for Little Italy eateries for Hessler hash houses
for your super-imposed suburbs for your fragmented flats?
do you snow for your homeless? for your moneymakers?
for your heroin dealers for your high rises?
do you snow because you’re miserable?
do you snow for bursting? do you snow to bursting?
do you snow for Severance Hall symphonies
for purity for grace for desire for selfishness
for the Cuyahoga for the Indians?
do you snow because I gave up the guitar?
do you snow for poets for cigarette taxes for
forgiveness for one more hit for one more thing?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow for the levy of the levities?
for O’Cunnigan? for Warner?
for Jackson or Campbell or White?
for Danny Greene, the Porrello family?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow because I’ve had too many lovers?
because my lovers have had too many lovers?
Cleveland do you snow for first kisses?
do you snow for virginity for anal for one nite
stands for three-somes for the fuck of it?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow for footprints for fingertips for foreplay?
do you snow for tea drinkers for eX droppers for
acid rain dancers for needle-arm diggers?
do you snow for self made men made women made
babies made brides made metrosexuals and all
the other sexuals? out of loneliness out of laughter?
do you snow for gardens? for noise? to be a whore?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow for my mother? for my father?
for my daughters granddaughters sisters girlfriends?
for my sons grandsons brothers boyfriends? for
John Hopkins for Peter Lewis for loonies for yourself?
Cleveland do you snow do you snow do you snow?
do you? do you snow? snow do you snow? do you?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow for crazy people?
do you snow because you’re afraid of monsters?
Cleveland, are you a monster?
you can snow on my shoulder you can snow
Cleveland, do you snow in Heaven will I go to Heaven
will you snow there?
Cleveland, do you snow?
are you in cohorts with petroleum companies with General Electric
with the church’s heavy hand with Nate Gray?
do you snow for racist cops for unstaffed fire patrols
for ticket punching flash warnings and signs?
do you snow for Sam Shepard or Judge Talty? for evidence?
do you snow out of ignorance out of grace out of spite?
do you snow to cover your breakwalls your banks your back
alleys your bomb basements your home-baked bread?
Cleveland do you snow
because I can’t stand the thought of you not snowing?
do you snow to compete with I-90 smoke stacks?
to draw my attention? to get back at Pittsburgh?
do you snow for inspiration? for common sense? for
the lighthearted, the idealists? do you snow for the communist
party platforms on Public Square? for W. 6th brothels?
Cleveland, do you snow?
do you snow because Detroit lays waiting?
do you snow because Chicago has stolen your pottery,
because New York steals your intellectuals?
Cleveland, do you snow for America?
do you snow for a lot of other things?
Cleveland, do you snow?
Cleveland can you teach me to snow?

-- Sean Santa

december 12, 2005

Short Vincent

a street of 500 feet

its day was gone

before my nites

but on boyhood trips

I’d walk behind Hollenden

to that quick block

where notes of

Bobby Short at Kornman’s

Dorothy Donegan at Theatrical Grill

hung in the air

where strippers

dancd for the mob

where Judy Garland

came for highballs & jazz

that was before

I ever heard Little Jimmy Scott

who must’ve felt like shit

walking past those marquees

on his way to the hotel

when he was a shipping clerk

instead of an angel

-- Alex Gildzen


december 5, 2005


for sarah tomm 1994-2005

now who will i tell my secrets to?
that's what her younger sister said,
(angry & lost, she was not at the funeral)

11-year-old girls are not supposed to die
on the ragged edge of this ohio winter

they should be there to keep those secrets,
to sing songs, & dance, & dream about the sun,
to swim in clear water & laugh at sweet stars,
to embrace mad challenge & emerge unscathed,
to open up to every possible outrageous chance

to one day look into the eyes of her own
11-year-old & tell her it will be alright

11-year-old girls are not supposed to die like this,
alone & in the middle of the coldmetal night
with a rapture of soul & pure conciousness
left to tell the tale, still warm to the touch

sarah has finished the work she came to do

i have no explanation to offer, my questions
are holy stones rolled through tides of mud

love is not emotion, it is white light energy,
& in that matrix all spirit merges as one,
in that i am certain, sure (I hold fast)

we are unknown in our misery, immune to
a quickness of forms, unaware of the secrets
we spill into air, secrets that sarah now keeps
for all of us, no silence, all blessing (divine)

-- markk


november 28, 2005

Wedding Dance

She twirls over November snow
and origami birds take flight,
fly in formation
through clouds
of garters and bouquets.

The prophet sings
the “Ode to Joy”
while their clans and The King
dance at Woodside
until dawn.

Do you take this woman,
take this man?

Rosann and Joshua
now one flame
burning bright,

“Forever and Ever,

-- j.e. stanley


november 21, 2005


for d.a. levy

The rifle seemed like exclamation mark.
The send off, after a wonderful performance.
The unapplauded poems, messages of a lone
being among cemeteries in sneakers: you have
been mean to me I am leaving.

But no, the rifle is a question mark. Who is doing
this incredible fate, those repeating wars, these
children on amnesia drugs? Who keeps killing
the future with old dead minds? The questions
keep living.

I thought we may be answers together, but
we are answers apart. We have not yet organized
the shattered fragments of Mankind, of truthkind.
And can truth walk free in a universe of lies?
Can one codify gleams of light in eyes?

Can buildings grow solid from mere wish,
and will powers notice death is not power?
You wanted telepathy and this is telepathy.
Feel me thinking? But telepathy needs language.
The future language. See those poems growing
branches in eyes of people starving for shadows
of themselves?

Bodies mark the spot of our defeat as beings.
But they do mark presence. If you have one,
bring it to the parade: the future is coming.
It is a free future with light in eyes. Answers
come into existence after fierce battles. Who
is Man and who are we in this green city
with blue eyes?

Of course you still exist even after being
nothing for a while. It is your right. Because
you are a fragment of freedom parts of us
are still missing. The future is empty without
our knowledge that puts down pillars inside
thought. The fortresses are life refuges.

Each of us brings a future to which people
run for safety. We have found the words
that open spaces. Earth turns in linked

-- Russell Salamon


november 14, 2005

At levyfest

mimeo me d.a. levy
stencil my soul
soaked through with
blue liquid

until my speech
becomes a cacophony of
indecipherable imponderables,
thoughts as
unfamiliar as a
Roersch ink blot
dying to leave
the page

and avenge
the silence of the lyric,
the lamb of the dead God
destroyer of worlds

your city today
from the 19th floor
of Rhodes Tower
flows like a river of copper
into the mouth of the sun

its foot soldiers
fighting the battles of
dead grandfathers
whose bones turn to dust
under this field of youth

where young Siddartha
sits dreaming of steak
laughing at the joke
on all of us

come nearer, he

and here’s the secret;
in charge.

-- Miles Budimir


november 7, 2005

i dreamt i took a tour with d.a. levy

we travelled cleveland at synapse speed
drunk on images from manicured brooklyn to east cleveland tenements
we disrupted the poetry forum with a jones for reality
hovering over the asphodel we speed read every book
shouting walt whitman & bob dylan to moses c. go home,man, go home
we screamed fuck convention as we caromed off pillars of salt
and laughing our asses off we surfaced just in time to see the mayor set
his hair
on fire which was emblematic being burning bodhisattvas chanting
for lost souls as black smoke night trained toward oblivion tracked and
out of collinwood into flamingoed parma dawns
copping an attitude of beatitude we lollied on the trolley with blue haired ladies visiting the rock & roll hall of fame and laughed till we cried still no fuckin’ poetry museum!
dragging me down euclid we passed the gate which was still closed and i saw it take the wind out of your sails then you yelled this really blows!
and we came upon a moonlit public square where folks were still protesting
and the pro-war people still controlled most people and would stone the dali
lama in jesus’s name
we cruised the malls like fire breathing oracles handing out free poetry to
mass media consuming sheep hitting them between the eyes with outrageous
that in a flash of consciousness they would awake to the god within
hitching a ride with a beat hipster in a maroon 49 merc we stoked up on all
the necessary ingredients:
baudelaire,rimbaud,whitman,catullus,corso,ginsberg & kerouac and headed back
howling at the moon over east cleveland
double parking we ran up the stairs with our bags of goodies & found the
police had started the party without us which made us blue so we flew down
the stairs & took off before they could give us a ticket for deseminating
poetry without a license
jumping out of the car we gave the driver a tip get the hell out of here bef ore they capture your soul and we fell in a heap laughing realizing we had left all the poetry for our friend in the merc.

-- dan smith


october 31, 2005

At the Beachland Ballroom (9/15/2005)

in the middle of an always
mourning September
couples hug and kiss under
fading murals
of rustic folkways,
a four-piece band in
white pants stands
in the middle of some green field
under infant blue skies,
a Yugoslavia of the mind
this upright citizen
of the distant past

but here, tonight,
from New Orleans to Cleveland
the Rebirth Brass Band,
born of Bourbon Street
wits and storms
of energy,
of brass and sax and
bass drum beats
these cats are jumpin’

‘cause they ain’t got
nothin’ anymore
except their breath
in a horn
and their words to us
“We will rebuild” and
“Let’s do it again,”

-- Miles Budimir


october 24, 2005

to d.a. levy

in your city
that will never be mine
i walk the night
past the ghosts of deaconess hospital
and the broadview theater
knowing that whatever gravity is left here
began with the weight of your words

it’s the weekend before levyfest
but what i think about now
is what you didn’t write
what you would have written
had that bullet not found you so soon

through walkman headphones
shirley manson sings
“hey baby,
can you bleed like me”
while i wonder if today’s antidepressants
could have saved you
turned the bullet
into 32 grains of useless scrap metal

i cross the brooklyn-brighton bridge
protected by the horizon’s orange moon
knowing there could also be a bullet
with my name engraved on it
in aloisen script
and maybe someday
it will find me
but not today
not on this night

-- j.e. stanley


october 17, 2005

Secrets of Good Driving Etiquette

I still watch for you, especially on 480 West:
your slick black car (and your sleek dark head)
in all the traffic in every rush hour of my life.

The Irish brain can’t help but create new curses
for The Wicked, The Cruel and The Very Stupid --
something Slovenian decorum overcomes.

I know your cuffs are linked, your brow composed,
and because the air you breathe is elegant,
and though you’d laugh and say it's fine,

I just can’t risk your catching sight of me
in mid-snarl at the slack-jawed jackass in that pickup
or the brainless blonde in the Saab.

Bad enough that I’m old enough to know better;
have made too many mistakes; don’t drive a Saab
and am not blonde, myself.

It would not be fine, really, because it’s never been
fine, and because the proof of my unfineness
is that I watch for you. If it was fine . . . really, really,

I’d be fine. You would kiss me, before and after
rush hour, and I could calmly fix my daily gaze,
and lesser women would then watch for you, afraid.

-- Victoria Greenleaf

october 10, 2005

calamari gangsters

i dream of a 1950s murray hill,
with you in a dark suit & new car,
when a handshake meant something
& a man's word was good as gold.
when a favor was a favor, & trucks
were filled with mobile goods & fine
commerce. where they sat inside
the cafe & told stories of running
rum from whiskey island, of how
the girls pushed strollers filled
with moonshine, blankets & a
baby laying on top. these days,
you tell me, it's all theatre,
a bunch of calamari gangsters
playing pretend. meyer lansky
was always a gentleman, you say,
he'd send a christmas card from
miami beach, he always sent his
very best to yr wife & the kids.

-- markk

october 3, 2005


i hear you ask me the question,
the words that have no reply,
the metaphor living like a hawk
upon steel branches, ready to
pounce, what?cleveland/what?
i can't hear you, i know you're
asking me the question, i have
no question to ask, yr answer
living in ecstacy like a blue balloon
swept upward by the currents,
down-word, downwind, the colors
i measure in this cache of rare
moments, melting away like candle
wax (right after flame defies wick)

-- markk


september 26, 2005

Ohio sonnet

Ohio bebe doll so flat & Celtic green
flinching toddler-light at each flash
of electricity on leafy young skin
as I count the thunder seconds
& try to keep my ribs closed-up.
The heart will escape if you let it,
onto steel scales at weigh stations
jammed with truckers in pocket-tees,
thru the exits the manicured woods
clasping ghosts of Indian wraiths
& smuggling the forest floor animus.
71 your sash & I your pageant beau
         fat fingers slid over your radiant gown
         prurient thrill for your skin & my bones.

--matthew estvanic

september 19, 2005

still drunk

steel symphony
three part
am harmony
dislocation of
iron ore nation
she whore
torrid morning
mourning for
a esophagal
Eagle Ave.
above the RTA
Rapid Station,
I explode into
liquid lust
years of you
pouring out
of eyes
banjos beatitudes
accordian winding
wind calls wild
strands crazy rubber colors
blow out of my pipes
a backwoods warped tornado
accept the invitaion
for colored rocks
a Zappa and Hendrix catman cocktail
i love you i love you i love you
i love you over speed bump fucks
amid ruckus funk tucks
suck in suck out blow
malignant obsession fever
very clever
a sequestered
centennial dunk
and still
drunk still
still drunk
still drunk
still drunk
on you

-- joanne cornelius


september 12, 2005

On Thursdays divorcees always wave

There are five of them,
Women of a "certain age"
Who live in the far West Side.

They wear their hair
Upswept in an ersatz fashion
That says money, not pretty.

Most are divorcees
But one of the ladies
Might be a merry widow.

Each drives a statement
Rather than a car
Van or SUV.

On Mondays they whiz by
Blazing down Pearl Road
Intent on making up for lost time.

Tuesday finds them aloof
Ignoring a simple wave
Their mind set on a post-weekend call

That does not come on Wednesday
When they might raise their heads
Over the dash to see who is there.

On Thursdays, divorcees always wave
Even though they well know
I am happily married with kids.

For a Flats-less Friday looms
And a solo Saturday is too much
Even for the scene-hardened to bear.

Friday is too late for waving
An admission from their leather interiors
Of a failure to yield.

And so we'll wait again for Monday
When cars and arms pass by.
But on Thursdays, divorcees always wave

--curt harler


september 5, 2005

to new orleans from cleveland

here in cleveland ohio I watch --
the emperor fiddles while new orleans drowns.

a catastrophe of whirling wind; dank driven rivers
of water; bulldozed buildings, highwater highwater
rising at the foundation, rising at the windows,
rising up the living room walls, a ferocious
yelp of screams & reverberations, a waterlogged
hell just getting its horns (& there he sits in creature
comfort, oblivious to suffering, cindy sheehan
still twisting his panties into tiny fits & catcalls)

when katrina blew in, she ripped hard at the reeling
roof, tore the siding off the house like fingernails
from fingers, uprooted trees & geometry in torrents
of rain & rush.
                         there is a moon that knows no
daylight, a sun that knows no dark, i watch for
signs in the bulging balloons of cloud, the way
a ragtime mama sings in the alley, lost on
a bourban street binge.

                                       (& there he is again,
yellow like a coward, scarlet as a dry drunk, his soul
as sour as curdled milk in a hot cajun summer).
when the levee broke i heard bob dylan singing,
“if you go down in the flood/its gonna be your fault.”
bush wouldn’t understand dylan’s words if they
hit him in the pampered perfumed frat boy ass.)

abandon all hope (ye who live in new orleans)
marooned & invisible & left without hope.

a lady hacked through her roof with a hatchet,
the way a coyote chews off its own leg to save itself
from a death trap, the water around her neck, not
like a string of pearls, but like a klansman’s noose.
highwater, highwater, the world reduced to a few
sandy shingles and the remains of a brick chimney,
lo, i bring ye a plague of locusts, a tall flood of
fisherman’s blood, the grim reaper waving a
chicken’s foot, i am among the forsaken, in
chains of the lost, this prison of my own mixed
blessing. there is pain that knows no treason,
joy that tastes like sewage and salt. (he flew
over the cauldron of floating bodies, starving
babies, old men dead in wheel chairs, & said,
“let them eat cake," this scarecrow sock puppet,
this phony pious frankenstein monster president)

gone! the twisted lamplight of new orleans,
gone! the streets of clay brick & soot, gone!
the primitive art of sad, lonely canal street,
gone patchwork quilt of tiny beat houses,
corner stores where they offer the new
bread & coonfish of gulf manna. you take
nothing from nothing you have nothing,
all is lost, this wet sleeveless shirt on my back,
my pothole sneakers, water water everwhere
& not a damn drop to drink. in the stink of
calamity, they dodge sniper fire outside the
ruins of the superdome, in the arches of
the catacomb convention center, no help
on the way, nothing organized, no one to
help, everyone at risk, they sneak off in dire
darkness with looted booty, fear in the heaving
turmoil, rape in the shadows, terror in the
trashcan boulevards (the head of fema
says he didn’t even know people were
in the superdome, can you tell me why this
weasel still still works for us? the psychotic
president says he’s doing a heck of a job.)

there is lightening over the port of new
orleans, mandolin music from jean lafitte’s
pirate house, chicory coffee on battered
plantations, the branches that droop down
dripping with saliva & tears. he drifts off
in the direction of the french quarter,
deep in the mud of coffins & wrought iron,
lost, lost, completely lost. there is nowhere
to turn, the political leaders raise money
for the next election, turn their backs on
the black tide of misery. (If a hurricane were
to hit a lilywhite red state suburb, they would
fall all over themselves to bring on federal aid.)

who is there to rescue the poor of new orleans?
not one. i’m riding on the city of new orleans;
we fired once more & they began to runnin’
down the mississippi to the gulf of mexico;
oh when the saints oh when the saints oh
when the saints come marchin’ in,

                                                    & the swamp
begat the city which begat the swamp, i am
here on the banks of the cuyahoga river, on
the tranquil shores of lake erie, in the faint
howl of a september cleveland afternoon,
dry as a feather, light as a bone, sunshine
a frantic blessing upon my head, I am with
you new orleans, in the days that come
we march together to take this country back.



august 29, 2005

it was when

it was when you looked at me
through the smoke of a
camel filterless cigarette
at the harbor inn
as the jukebox played
some bad song by toto
or mister mister, &
the dart players remained
mired in collective consciousness
& my shot of slivovitza
waited as dangerous
as leaded gasoline,
& you looked like a black
& white photo from the 1950s,
our conversation drained
from years & years in the
chains of mutual neglect,
or fine turbulence, that i realized
we had nowhere to go,
nothing further to lose,
no one to report back to,
wings clipped like a caged
canary, lying dead on the
paper of yesterday's news

-- markk


august 22, 2005

Ohio - 5/15/05

The world de- & re-evolves
so obliquely          

                 From geometric
suburbs rife with traffic jams
& mothers chewing prescriptions

Into gentle hills & roadside
stands - auto-repair garages
at the hips of houses where
a rusty school bus holds court
in the patchy yard

And ending at tract housing
glued and finger-woven
atop soybean fields &
behind a massive, garish
retail store where nothing
stood before.

-- Matthew Estvanic


august 15, 2005

no moose in Cleveland

thousands packed
tight together on W.25th's
communal blanket
peppering the fire station
Plasma Center,
Aragon Ballroom
& peek-a-boo shops
all heads looked east
as BB King played
and Rachel Ray
giggled with Sam
Fullwood over
of arugula
Beth was nearly out
of gas but we tried
anyway to
escape the shootings
while the sirens blared
black & blue;
we made a
wrong turn
and ended
up sliding downhill
landing in
Brookside Park's
elephant mud pool.
and though a thrill
we couldn't
quite make it
back up
to level ground
and see
that moose
on the streets
of Cleveland

-- Joanne Cornelius


august 8, 2005


Overweight rent-a-cops
sit in a van
eating fried chicken
their plump legs hanging out
of the open sliding door
watch over

Latino girls in sandals
bright red fingernails
clutching small pink

barbecue smoke rises from crumbling black-top
parking lot
not even decay can
get in the way of
this spirit

on the radio,
a woman sings,
her Arabic
stops me dead,
lingers, lamenting
cries for a son,
a husband,
a mother,
this earth’s dark
shadow-playwright penning
its latest volume of misery,
a cry to on high
sand swirls noiselessly

here, fan blades
slice through still air
folks watch Wheel of Fortune
the soul’s lemonade.

-- miles budmir


august 1, 2005

the names we sing (in dark columns)

the names we sing,
(in dark columns) we march,
down euclid avenue,
past the soldiers & sailors monument,
where they die, & keep dying
blood is the same color in 1918, 1942,
1954, 1969, 2005, we die, & keep
dying, there will come a time
when sanity will eclipse savagery
linking literate hope with
the brain of the beast,
free in the ruins of the world again

-- markk


july 25, 2005

cleveland (with two names)

the native american medicine man,
asks he who lies in dire sickness:
when was the last time you sang?
when was the last time you danced?
when was the last time you told your story?
i’m here to tell my story, it’s the story
of a cleveland (with two names) the
strangers who inhabit our feeble memory,
the friends dead drunk on asphalt streets --
a rapid evaporation of lake erie’s waves,
the cuyahoga river, chippewa lake,
on obsidian shores we dance the ghost
dance, bullet-proof we will keep the
white man at bay, singing rock & roll,
a tribal yap, the same scream you hear
in ‘won’t get fooled again,’ (& i won’t --)
this sickness rising into the smoke
of high noon, a noxious vapor, i stand
ready to rise in strength (once more)

-- markk


july 18, 2005


Downtown druids
rock tourists
awash in orange creamsicle
I welcome you
Oh, Stonehenge solstice
with gazpacho and couscous
on this
longest day’s journey
into the shortest night of
the year

where spring breezes become
sultry summer winds
the cool death of autumn
just over the horizon
standing with the

wondering where,
ladies and gentlemen,
we would be without poetry;
slouching toward

-- miles budmir


july 11, 2005

welcome to cleveland (round two again)

yr vast pools of ethnic color & imagination,
intricate architecture, neon dirty boulevards ,
cheeseball neighborhoods, shady characters,
heavy cuisine, thick lake consciousness,
tangle of bridges, winding shine of river,
ore freighters & sailboats, motorcycles, muscle cars,
rust & rivets, tarnished bronze & dusty pearl,
storm clouds, brick roads, factory smoke & hearth fire,
acid rain, sweat & sex, tattoos & gasoline,
yr soundtrack of rock & roll, polka, classical symphonies
& garage band euphoria, (wrapped up in an inferiority
complex a mile wide) welcome to cleveland, man
it’s round two again & my smile is crooked & sly

-- markk


july 4, 2005


eyes flickering over spineless books

shitting bone and napalm into

june mornings that never begin

if there was something that needed to be done

ive forgotten by now

owl never lied owl was my friend

"i never wanted you to know"

she suspended me between the roof and the sky and laughed within the darkness

but i know that she was right

i should stop asking stop demanding that

clouds break

lightening sing

asphalt weep

i lost the right to suggest

that nature let me in on her secrets

when i threw lit cigarettes onto I71

at 4am on a tuesday

i swerved to miss a fawn

but it didn't stop me from meeting the hedonistic gaze of the nymph in the rear


mouth smeared with high way smoke odds

off ramps inter sex road map dead end

i always wondered why a light in the east always had to be dawn

why no suprises?

seen one day seen them all

each exhalation pre-measured for effectiveness

should i turn around and face that imperial garbage heap

neon leaking blurry tumor



i know you

but only in the dark

-- monica moore


june 26, 2005

Crazy day thoughts

They sit on their swing
In the backyard
Shooting the bull into the wind

Whispers about
They open their blinds
Wondering what you’re up to
When you stand there smiling
Kids ride their bikes
Mean cars speed about
Dogs barking
Nothing stands still
Mosquitoes jump
Children play
The sun burns your existence
Into the day
Welcome to 45th and Lorain
Houses half constructed
Ohio City signs on corners
A mixed palette among these streets
Old and new
All are welcome

-- Roberta Ferguson


june 20, 2005

Love Poem

otherwise known
how to restore my faith
in life,
in you,
my city

Latin timbale
beats, Afro-Cuban
down street rhythm
cold spell lake effect
September sky
in June Saturday afternoon

all-beef chili dog
West Side Market
W. 25th and Lorain
dreadlocks swayin’
patchouli, black mulch
blowin’ in the wind

middle-aged beer bellies
neighborhood folks
mismatched shoes
gray hungry beards

Hungarian women
hair permed, gold-plated
jewelry droops
from wrists and necks
hold unimagined sweet delights
in white square boxes

white-smocked barbers
smoke, breathe in deep

and I love you
my city
I’m on my way

-- miles budimir


June 13, 2005


Sun-dried man
beat-up six-string
slung on his back,
fading number 69
tattooed on his wrist,
watches the
homeless lady
dragging her ragged bags
down the rough steps
of St. John’s Cathedral,
her eyes looking down,
grunting, shooing me
out of her ecstatic way

on this day when the heat
of Hades accuses and punishes,
slows down time
today, when the greatest
mystery is why anything,
anyone, would want to be alive

still, the dread-locked
sax man
shapes his hot breath into the Simpsons theme song,
the heavy air oozes
over the filthy sidewalk

and a man,
his round gut
straining at his crisp blue
Polo shirt tosses some coins
in an old velvet-lined saxophone case
“For some lessons” he tells his
friends, their bellies filled with pizza and
Diet Coke

but if we would just open our eyes,
smell it all in
it’s the only lesson we would
ever need

-- miles budimir

June 6, 2005

ghosts of ohio

i would expect ghosts:

the lingering scent
of concord grapes
and spring meadows
through avon lake developments,

m-1 gunfire
and kent state screams
haunting new gymnasiums
and echoing
through rhodes tower halls,

hands reaching
from underwater
toward safety
below north point erie cliffs,

poetic revolutions
streaming unabated
from wymore street windows,

fire from cold blast furnaces
stained by the blood
of lost pension suicides.

i would expect
some sort of comfort
to emerge
from old b&w photos
of weddings,
chippewa summers,
snow fort winters,
shot in a time
when futures
were still thought possible.

yes, i would expect ghosts,
so i search and scan
and listen

and still,
sense no spirits,
only silence.

-- J.E. Stanley


may 30, 2005

chanting on the shore

on western shores I prayed
to settle my chaos mind
and haunted I heard the words
astrolabed and above the birds
there came a voice in the wind
d.a. levy singing to me across
the sand and the fields
like a bell above the din of crows
keep going, he said, keep going
and so, I found myself here
a pilgrim, home at last, home at last

-- jota


may 23, 2005

Can't abandon meaning

Those trees, I drive past them and they're 
purple like my favorite Crayola
which happened to be periwinkle, come to think.
Blossoms like Smurf bruises shivering
in the seasonable breezes.
Make me think of satellites,
some conspiracy of gnostic forms
dripping down the ionosphere.
The northern lights once peeked up the skirt
of Cleveland
I spied them wriggling low over
the PCB encrusted Flats
like they were slumming and didn't want to be seen
on a street where nobody lives.
Earlier that same evening
I got a chicken neck in my Paprikash
and John Davidson played a transvestite killer
across from Karl Malden's strobing nostrils.
Those trees,
they make me think of that.

-- Dave Grill


may 16, 2005

Cleveland Snow, Late April

Too late in April
for snow, but
it snows anyway.
A rare calm,
mutes the ubiquitous static,
blankets the relentless white noise
of the city,
of my mind.
Perpetual motion
turned Tibetan,

I sit with my wife
in the Broadview Arabica,
gaze through the window
as white Zen drifts down,
listen while Alan Studt
sings his favorite song:

“Here comes the sun
and I say. . .
it’s all right.”

And I know
that the sun will come
soon enough,
imagine that right now,
in some tropic nirvana,
George Harrison, d.a. levy
and Buddha
sip impossibly exotic teas,
trade guitar riffs,
read brand new issues
of the first class Third Class
Junkmail Oracle

and smile.

-- j.e. stanley


may 9, 2005

I Walk A Cleveland

of charcoal graffiti
across tragic bridges
freighted with commerce and dreams
I walk the Westside Market
haggling over lost love
what price memory! what price emotion!
I walk the jazz infected
Euclid of organ trios
playing in the front windows
jamming life down my ears
I walk across town
to a blues oasis
of John Lee Hooker
brooding hypnotist
absorbed in the darkness
I walk a fabled Coventry
of reggae and dreads
in my Panama
and heads turn to see
the queen of Lithuania
floating on my arm
I walk a Cleveland
in burning chemical sunrise
into sulfurous night
red-eyed drunk
on particulate matter
I walk savannahs
around the zoo
where lions
dream bipedal lunch
I walk on radio waves
that rock n roll
forever sun splashed
jukebox days
evergreen youngblood
I walk
and blue
I walk
into poetry readings
with no education
awkward sad performance
failing to convey
my addiction
my heart's affliction
I walk
as in a dream
beginning to realize
is a pile of worn out shoes.

-- dan smith


may 2, 2005

Radio man

with thanks, to Fei (Shu Radio) Dong

in the eye of swirling Circle
up from haunted underground vaults
they come
punching on
the heavy door

gentle radio man
opens up
and lets them in

the poets come to sing their Cleveland
songs of rusted rain,
Cuyahoga fires
and urban desires
he sits and listens, still

and in the end
is the truest poet of all

-- joanne cornelius
(with a little help from the deep cleveland poets)


april 25, 2005


one of d.a. levy’s
with a naked woman
in the center
and everything else just

the camels
six of hearts
lucky seven social club
eagle stamp
the man she is straddling
all the other women in the piece
even the topless woman
with her arm around
the other topless woman

nothing left but that one woman
it’s as if i’d never seen
a naked woman before
there’s just something compelling
about her
this particular woman

and i’d bet you’re no different
if you’ve seen this collage
you haven’t seen it
not the whole anyway, just

that woman
that naked woman
that nude woman
that woman
that woman

--J.E. Stanley


april 18, 2005

From St. Lukes Medical Building (Cleveland April 2, 2005)

the city
is quiet.
a bland
wonderland &
believe me
i like that.

winds blow
blue awnings
(hard) & roads
are slippery &
but the cars
don't care & i am
happy....just being

what a gas.
8 til midnight.
saturday afternoon.
spring? yeah, right.
forget the calender.
(but remember)
time springs forward
in the morning

one hour closer
to your
coming home.

-- Barry Phillips


april 11, 2005

mr blinker and his velvet roof

around Dead Man’s Curve
going east
a 1970’s gold velvet
sofa teeters funky
atop your
burnt orange
Pinto’s roof
and it’s
deflated tires
your right blinker’s
been on since
71 & Bagley
but hell,
that’s just fine
with me
I’ve decided
miles and
miles ago
not to pass you
motor manner
I believe
I’ve fallen
in love with
you -
your salt & pepper
crazy hair
and free
blinkin’ ways
highway man
I dig your
faded WMMS
bumper sticker
that stretches
over your
and the butts
that you toss
out of holes in
garbage bag
but steady
hitting 55 mph
with a
piece of
on your head
and you
give a
you just
keep on

-- joanne cornelius


april 4, 2005

C*levy*land (his city)

*clevyland/c*levy*land c LEVY land**
c levy land*cccccleveland clevy-
landland*LEVY levy LEVY ***


(his city)

-- markk

march 28, 2005

requiem for tony walsh

+++ the last thing u roared
before u left (the night of
levy lives!) stalking out
into a wet october 2001
night: +++ 'if u ever need anyone
to read some poems, let me
know -- i can read for hours
& hours!'
+++ tony walsh, friend
of d.a. levy, keeper of the ashes,
yr voice rocked the room in
a million decibels. i never got
to hear u read again. there
is a loud echo i am straining
to hear, an irish echo +++
my guinness & jameson smile
wishing you safe passage to
places where dreams meet
the foam of the sea +++

-- markk

march 21, 2005

cleveland from the 15th floor

silver crown of fog upon
the fifth/third bank building,
cold saturday morning,
left to my own devices,
staring out a 15th floor window,
cleveland a cluster of blocks
& bricks, stuck together at random
no rhyme or reason, a connection
of iron pipe & electric wire,
aluminum vent & tarpaper roof.
the bones of construction are
rusted girders worn out by
an aggravation of years,
skin of a skyscraper
tough like lizard hide,
stark as jagged black glass.



march 14, 2005

slaves to cleveland

all of us are nothing more
than slaves to cleveland,
where we work for gasoline water
& purified nicotine air; love
in the backwaters for
the price of yr raw oak smile,
emit the odor of contraband
sanctity, like a euclid avenue
maverick, like a greek
deli fire escape, there are
giant whispers in grand canyons
of epic foundry steel & aluminum
dust, the byproduct of yr nervous
embrace, & how many times can
i tame the elixer of yesterday's
remembering? oh, the toothache
sky & the roses of soft side streets
the majesty of profound silence
upon winding waves where the
sky crashes in glass on water.
the boards of these doors are
meant to open for me, to
tell me stories about middleweight
fighters & laundry queens, of
mosquitos & gadflys walking
the neon tubes of youth. no
one is really free here anymore,
shipwrecked in conscious remorse
crashing onto the shoreway or
roads that lead us back (retreating)
right here sweet doom we belong

-- markk

march 7, 2004

lady in red

for joanne cornelius

she spreads her palms
to reveal dominique’s red,
red roses
thriving in ohio snow.

“eyes full of stars,”
she wears a red raincoat
in dry weather,
covers walls with posters of
levy & lennon
levy & zappa
levy & patti

and thirteen buddhist third
security blanket,

she jams with the fugs
in the flaming glow
of pre-steel lava,

pulls a bright red sun
from her pocket
to heal our skies
with her electric dreams.

--J.E. Stanley


feb 29, 2005

for immediate release                         december 2004

geauga illuminati financial advisory

     this year's federal budget deficit is $413 billion, and next year's "guns and butter" budget is expected to be worse. the total government debt is now $7,550 billion and rising. where is today's 15 year old going to get $20,000 to pay off his share in 10 or 20 years? the only answer can be is by hyper-inflating the currency, so those government bonds can be paid back to wealthy retirees (here & abroad) in worthless dollars. tomorrow's clerks & burger boys will be drawing $250,000 each, so their $25,000 in taxes can be used to pay down the debt & interest. today's smart money is already moving to Euros, which have already risen recently from 80 cents to $1.30, and the OPEC arabs want to reinstall the gold dinar (one of the 5 pillars of islam) as the world's currency.

     3 dozen years ago gasoline was retailing for 19 cents a gallon. after the first OPEC oil spike, the Treasury turned on the greenback presses (i.e. loose credit). Inflation went to 20% with 18% interest rates, gold went to $800 from $35 & silver dollars sold for $50 (before falling back), and those same poetry chapbooks which were selling for 50 cents or $1 are now selling for $25 to $250. we therefore recommend investors buy poetry as a hedge against inflation. it has consistently outperformed gold, the stock market & real estate, and has the additional advantage in that in can be an inspirational read, & what One reads becomes part of Oneself; it cannot be taxed or confiscated by the state. furthermore, "Old Masters" mimeo poetry is scarcer that other investments because they ain't making any more of it.

     we expect the poetry you buy today for $25 will sell for $500 in a dozen years, at which time you can sell it for a tank-full of gasoline. those who don't own poetry will be unable to afford gasoline & be unable to travel. they will have to park their automobiles and let them rust.

-- rjs

geauga illuminati
p.o. box 493
burton, ohio 44021

feb. 21, 2005

the winds we ride

for and from d.a. levy

in this sad cleveland
that gave you nothing,
took everything,
“through the endless
days of rain and fire”
we gather, still,
to voice your words.

we shout to the sky
and universe within
that energy equals
times the speed of light

let others embrace
convenient delusions,
follow savage voices
into the alone night.
we will scream to the sun
that civilized evil
is evil nonetheless
and we do not bow
to the hollow-point myth
of the machine savior.

the tombstone,
you once said,
is a lonely charm,
but know this:
the days unborn are here
your sisters are here,
your brothers are here
and armed,

your dreams
the wind
that we ride.

-- j.e. stanley


feb. 14, 2005

the view from the jackknife bridge

standing on the jackknife bridge
in the flats, i can see it all, visions
of blue orange vapor & metallic
candy, the yesterday of bent frames
& the travertine marble that makes
up the scat rap of yr eyes, where
the peace of all singing rides on
the periphery, useless knowledge &
the toast of the town, the mechanism
of hallowed fragments, the yellow
frightened glimpse where yr gaze
finally falls, the apotheosis of the
comet's tail, haggard like a bent
ridge across lake erie's beltway,
moons & cornrows, cash & ellipses,
mistakes i refuse to make (anymore)
careful like a thief on a raven's wing

-- markk


feb. 7, 2005

cleveland clinic blues

the cleveland clinic is a place
where lives are saved, where
health & wellness are goals,
then george w. bush shows up --
someone who ends life without
remorse, who ruins the health
of americans & destroys the
wellness of iraqis (with gusto!)

am i
the only
one to
see the
in that?

-- markk


jan. 31, 2005

convention center blues

cleveland must have a new convention center
cleveland don't need no stinking convention center,
we can't attract new business without a
convention center, we don't need no
damn convention center, we cannot be a
worldclass tradeshow destination
without a new convention center, we
don't need to spend all that money
on a new convention center, our business
climate will be derailed without a new
convention center, fuck that new convention
center, a big white elephant sitting on
the lakefront, while everyone heads
for vegas & on the cold streets they
still sleep on steam grates for warmth,
the flats rot away back into the old
boarded-up warehouses they once were,
you can't build a diamond on a pile
of cow shit, i got yr convention center
(right here, man, i got it right here)

-- markk


jan. 24, 2005

cleveland tsunami

maybe it's impossible,
i don't know, but let's
say there's a vertical
plate beneath lake erie,
& it shifts like a cliff break,
sends a wall of fresh water
rolling toward downtown
would i watch it from the
deck of the u.s.s. cod? from
the observation deck of the
terminal tower? from the
back deck at shooters, drink
in hand, sprinting hard for
safe haven high ground, the
water like a flood of words
speaking fast fast fast fast
sentences run for their life

-- markk

Jan. 17, 2005

d.a. levy on the path of grace

when the message comes,
it comes from texas, a
19-year-old enamored of
d.a. levy, the energy of
beauty scorned, (how's that
for a fat thorn in the hide of
bush's ass?) & she says
(without saying it) that
d.a. spoke with her, words
that spoke to her, fireworks
from across the decades
that we have all felt,
& it's cold monday on
the streets of cleveland,
d.a. levy is on the path
of grace, from that distant
way station, singing steel
songs from the rivet bridge

-- markk


Jan. 10, 2005

roses in the snow

the snow melts
& beneath the gray ice
of euclid ave.
i find a rose,
looks like a flower
of a lost summer day
petals like yr lips
& that lost perfume

there is nothing, nothing
there on euclid ave.
except the rose of
what i can't remember
at all, about you

-- markk


jan. 3, 2005

new yearz refrain

another new year, another
voice calling in the wilderness
another cleveland buzz fleeing
across vapid limelight, another
throne vacated, its occupant
defected to hairshirts &
locusts -- one day on public
square i framed the statue
of mayor tom johnson,
the man who turned his
back on fortune in the
holy name of social reform,
damn, those pidgons,
they back off, in awe,
i go his way (not mine)

-- markk

2004 poem o' the week archive

2003 poem o' the week archive

2002 poem o' the week archive

2001 poem o' the week archive

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