March 3-9, 2003: Karen Harryman and Nick Bruno

week of March 3-9, 2003

Karen Harryman and Nick Bruno

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Karen Harryman

Bio (auto)

Karen Harryman lives in Burbank, Calif , with her husband Kirker Butler Her poems have been published in Poetry New Zealand, Writing Who We Are: An Anthology of Kentucky Feminists and 52%, a literary magazine published by The Womynís Center of Ottawa, Canada More of her work will be available after July, 2003 on and

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Karen Harryman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

William Carlos Williams in The Valley

I So much depends
on stucco
and sprinkler heads
dousing plastic flamingos
beside tomato plants
in August

II This is just
to say
I have eaten
the last of the
freezer pops
which are probably
on sale at Sav-On
Forgive me
It is summer
Here’s five bucks

Anne Sexton on Interiors

She was all money, crisp and green
folded discreetly in an old gold clip I remember the fabric shop,
the way she leafed
through the bound samples
of thick brocade florals Then, the book on the floor,
lifted her heel,
removed the white sandal and stroked
a swath of velvet with her long toes
like it was Tuesday
and she, home alone, was just
climbing the walls, just
walking on the furniture.

White Trash Blessing

May we rise up from harelip legacy —
burred heads and matted braids, liceless
against the wind May the dogs
in clapboard pens eat beef tonight
and root, unscolded, in creeping phlox
May the factories, the churches
the beauty boxes hire Our checks, may they
always come in Let broken toys regenerate
in grassless yards God, remember us Handlebars will sprout tires, frame, banana seat Second-hand pant legs and sleeves
will trail in extravagant folds, releasing
our cooties into a coal-town breeze, 
and our names won’t rhyme with anything.

Nick Bruno

Bio (auto)

Nick Bruno’s poetry has appeared in publications such as: Verse Libre Quarterly, Electric Acorn, Poor Mojo’s Almanac and Another Toronto Quarterly He holds a Masters in Sociology along with a T.E.S.L degree He recently spent several years in Europe, where he taught English as a second language He is presently living and writing in Montreal, Canada.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Nick Bruno and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

One Hand Clapping

What is the Sound of a Single Hand? When you clap together both hands a sharp sound is heard; when you raise the one hand there is neither sound nor smell
Hakuin Ekaku Zenji (1686-1768)

She speaks to me-a foreign movie
without subtitles; a dubbed version
of an english feature-snippets of dialogue
recognizable amid aphasic speech Audio
and visual feed out of sync in dyslexic pattern;
the face familiar, the words incomprehensible
It is in the eyes that I read her meaning,
double projectors they impress
on cognitive screen Imploring her
to slow the reel of words, she shrugs,
breathes deeply and retraces her steps;
rewinds the sequence of gibberish through
dysfunctional dendrites and starts over
Unexpectedly, there is a freeze frame,
the spool unravels and all goes blank She attempts to splice severed synapse
of film; grabs an HB pencil with balled fist,
scribbles and pushes the pad towards me
with the lead firmly implanted into the paper:

When I speak, it feels like I’m one hand clapping.

A Piece of Broccoli

At dinner tonight she considers how
the body’s digestive system
might have been fashioned to absorb
all the comestible elements introduced She thinks of life’s quota of time
wasted on the process of elimination
The last glass of Chianti downed
and distilled into urine-She yawns,
looks forward to the third of her life
spent inert and imagines God
studying His ledger, calculating lives
as He tweezes ear-hairs and chuckles
at the piece of broccoli stuck between her teeth.


Atrium voices bleed over threshold,
enter salon 6, linger with the wreaths
of dead husks of color that nod to eye,
their vivid dirge resonating-beneath
the canopy, she lies sheathed in vestment
The conversation filters in like jabberwocky
lies, lacks girth or conviction: incantations
muttered to ward off the lack thereof Three deaths in three days: three rooms full
of the necessity of natural progression
We are trespassers in this house with death’s
hands pounding the walls into acoustic purity
so that all is heard-no word escaping
the debate-a silent and futile discourse.

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