editor's notes

The White Crow

Poetry - Selections from The White Crow v2, i4 - Osric Publishing
(Originally published September, 1996.)

(More poetry from Mary Biddinger, Anselm Brocki, P.L. Grimaldi, Dane Cervine, C.D. Chase, john sweet, Seth Wade, mark hartenbach, Mark Senkus, John Millett, George Gott, Nathaniel H. Herdt, Fred Boltz, and Jools Skeet in the print version of The White Crow, available for $2.00 ppd from Osric Publishing.)

Notes on Mass Transit

Your ribs arch into a railway
for my fingers. You are proud
of this empty-stomached city,
proud of the mirrored elevator
creaking up to your new apartment.
You do not kiss me.
My hands turn to glass
beneath your jacket.
I am afraid to touch too hard.

There is no freedom
from the elevated train,
I learn on this first day.
Even the bathroom is no escape
from the shrieking brakes,
the rumble upsetting
my bottle of five-dollar perfume.

I lend you a sweater.
You pretend to be dieting,
blame fat grams for empty
cupboards, refrigerator chilling
beer but no milk.
See how much I've lost, you say
tugging ripped T-shirt up
to show smoothness at hips.

Your skin has stopped tasting
like soap.

I always misbehave
on vacations.
Already drunk, I giggle
as you secure my sleeve,
slap my arm like a disobediant
child, I don't even feel the sting.

Later we share the toilet
and I love you over a symphony
of sickness. I want to stitch
all the holes in your clothes.
I want to share steak and eggs
at a dirty diner and talk about guns.

Instead I watch the tile
move downward in waves
like an avocado-green waterfall.
We sleep there until Sunday.

Your idea of a tour
is a train ride.
I enjoy the landmarks;
a boy's fingers caught in the door,
gems of blood circling his wrist,
plump suburbanite reading Gourmet,
conductor ignoring the bleeding boy.

You drink vodka from a Pepsi bottle,
yank your fingers through hair tangles,
stare at the jagged lights
whipping past the window.
I examine my red-polished nails.

When I leave you
there is nothing to pack.

- Mary Biddinger

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Claiming the Dead

They asked him if he
wanted the body. He said
No, he didn't want it.
They said Somebody's got
to claim it. He said Why?
They said So it can be
buried. He said You mean
they won't bury it if
nobody claims it. They
said Well, after a while.
He said Well, there's
no hurry. They said Well,
most people want to
claim the body and
give it a decent funeral.
He said Do you think
she gives a damn? They
said We can't make you
claim it. He said Then
I'm not going to. Any
business we had ended
when she did that. I'm
not mad but I was never
anyone to clean up after
anybody else and I don't
intend to start now.

- Albert Huffstickler
April 14, 1991

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My Dis-ease

I want to blow out your birthday candles
before you make your wish,
scribble your darkest secrets
in a public restroom.
I want to scratch all of your records,
scramble your channels,
mute your t.v.
I want to dog-ear your favorite book,
stain your best shirt,
bite every chocolate in your box.
I want to let your cat out
and cough in the middle of your performance.
I want to stare blank-faced and empty-eyed
while you do your damnedest to make me laugh.
I want to be the one
that gets drunk and loud at your wedding,
come late and wear red to your funeral.
I want to cut you
from my photographs,
erase you so completely
your name cannot form a word in my mouth.
I want back
the blue flannel sheets,
red glass candlesticks,
three potatoes,
one can of white meat tuna.
I want to make love to you
while moaning the name of another,
slide, and slam a thousand doors in your face.
I want to read your diary
out loud,
marry your best friend.
Take a different road-
turn right where I turned left.
I want you to return
every smile, every sleepless night
every naked surrender I left behind.
I want to be the one
that holds you back
no matter how many others draw you near.
I want to wash away
the earthy scent of your neck,
the rough edges
of your voice,
the stubbly cleft in your chin,
and give you back
this hollow spinning in my guts,
this relentless heart
that paces and howls
like a beast in the night.

- Lainey Hashorva

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never touch the sun

monday morning
flying high over the houses
of endicott

i've learned to accept the fact
that i'll never touch
the sun

this familiar emptiness
washes through my chest
and stomach

this waiting to fall
with no one's hands held out
to catch me

i'm twenty-seven
and fading
and this is as good
an autobiography
as any

- john sweet

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Self Portrait

i'm painting myself blue
& into a corner
nothing conceptual about it

i am indifferent
to bright & shiny
american things

i'm in a box
it's a beautiful box.

- mark hartenbach

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Last updated 05.05.2001