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Issue 45/46 : July - Dec 2009 : Volume 12 No 1/2

Christina M. Rau

Lament At The Butcher's Block


A Butcher On My Back

Don’t tell me her name.
I’ll pour through
White pages, web pages,
Old yearbook pages,
Trying to figure out
What’s lacking in her
Which is the projection
Of what’s completely wrong
With me, which is
The truth of all relationships,
The trick of living—
Faking it long enough
To live through the flaw,
Or through to the flaw,
Until it becomes the sole
Purpose of being.
I know her first and last.
I know what her lips feel when
She kisses you.
I know how her olfactory glands
Open quickly when you’re beside her.
I know her reasons for taking her fingers
 To yours
 Running them along your spine,
 Over your abdomen,
 Your thigh,
I know her name as well or better
Than I know mine.
I know her name better
Than she or you do.
Now I know her
Outside to in
Without seeing her face,
Imagining—no, knowing,
because she must,
Knowing she has long red hair.

The Butcher Goes To Bed

The room is hot.
You’re supposed to sleep in a cool blue room.
He sleeps there
After she took off his shirt.
The weight in pounds falls
Into the center of the mattress.
They roll into each other
Into the center of the mattress.
Her arm meets his and he does
Not move. He stays on his belly.
The letters across his back
Give him an unearned identity,
Grant him an unwarranted swagger—
I’m the butcher, he proclaims,
Expecting others to swoon,
And they do, we do, me too.
The ink is that typical blue-
Green in typical fancy
Font, but tinges differently
Against olive-skin,
Serif font that spans from
Before blade to after blade.
A hamsa on Jewish skin,
An oxymoron on his bicep,
Reflects the tautology
He lives at every moment,
The reason he needs his false
Identity inked permanently
Across his back—
To affect others, to intrigue us,
And me,
In case he couldn’t do it
On his own.

Long Island

Babette Albin

Time and Space

Time and Space are my sworn enemies.
They set about to ensnare me daily.
My night they wait for me, hiding in corners.

Time and Space would define me,
limit me, spell me into measured definity.

They would over-rule me, out-mode me
and finally abolish me.

Poetry, will you befriend me?
Give me comfort and nourish me.
Sustain me when my sole heart is failing.
Extend me when I am found wanting.

And I am wanting. To be untied,
to be free of the obligations
that would pin me hand and foot
to a world that would waste me,
use and abuse me and never remind me

That I am someone with a mind,
and a body and a spirit that wants to be known,
attained, realized and recognized.

So wave to me in my seldom-felt solemnity.
Acknowledge that my growth is important.

The children are calling and I must adhere
to my lost cause. Goodbye.
Don't open the door to strangers like love,
peace and harmony. The world is not ready
for our song.

New York

Ekok Soubir

I Am Not

You are a monkey.
No! Not me!

An ape is a monkey.
A gorilla is a monkey.
A monkey is a monkey.
But not me!

Then you are a cat.
No! Not me!

A cheetah is a cat.
A tiger is a cat.
A cat is a cat,
but not me!
I am me!

New York

Please read more poems in English in the hardcopy...

Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Journal, edited by Hassanal Abdullah