September 1-7, 2003: Jeffrey Alfier and Aurora Antonovic

week of September 1-7, 2003

Jeffrey Alfier and Aurora Antonovic

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Jeffrey Alfier

Bio (auto)

Jeffrey Alfier, a former Air Force officer, is a technical writer living in Schwedelbach, Germany He is published in several journals including The Adirondack Review, Border Senses, Columbia Review, The Explicator (forthcoming), and Valparaiso Poetry Review His work recently appeared in Penumbra-the Art & Literary Annual of California State University, Stanislaus.

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

Highway Begins South of Window Rock

The enemies you made in this town know
you said too much to another man’s wife
telling her that she smelled like a warm bed,
taking to heart Billy Holiday’s words
that bread and love must come before sermons,
though it’s not worth the crushing obsession
when betrayal stings like a Phaedra kiss
Such are the debts this town never forgives
when even longing is loss The last place
you swore was home didn’t have your address When protest turned riot in 89′
and strip mines on the San Juan burned your lungs
you gave up on offers of redemption,
your patience worn thin as invasion routes
Now you claim this road puts all behind you,
where the sky dreams in ecstasy of hawks
and vanishing points grieve for horizons The reservation stretches behind you
where Route 12 runs like a scar Its echoes
sound like lovemaking in an empty room.

Apache Trout

Spring means spawning in the tributaries
and legends say willows are a birthright Your disguise of yellow and olive skin
melds your compass to the late summer moons
that glint off shades of conifer forests Here, your ancestors dreamed six hundred miles
in a profligate span of three rivers
that outsiders stocked with your hostile kin
while men corrupted to indifference
made you a refugee in headwaters
But you were summoned back by your namesake
long before the grazers and timber men
repented in hatcheries Natives say
if they build you one more stream, your rebirth
will make history buy back the legends.

Early April: War Funeral in the Midwest

The blue shroud trimming his shiny coffin
and your black dress are brushed by a spring breeze
that finds your eyes downcast like Andromache,
when she saw the future of her city
dragged behind a chariot of madness
Some other headstone in the field reads ‘Bach’,
but no one thinks of Leipzig cantatas
distilling an incoherence of tears
when stock futures are up, oil prices down,
and cities we conquered drift with snipers.

Aurora Antonovic

Bio (auto)

Aurora Antonovic is a Canadian freelance writer, visual artist, and the former co-editor and columnist for the now-defunct GT Times Her poetry has appeared in six countries and three continents, most recently in Megaera, Thunder Sandwich, Skyline, Reflections Journal, Poet’s Pen, The Sidewalk’s End, Makata, write-away, The Moriarty Papers, and Poetic Voices, the latter in which she appeared as featured poet for May 2003 She is currently completing work on a collection of poetry entitled, “SoHo in September” She resides in Ontario, Canada.

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

Interview With A —  “Poet” (for lack of a better name)

She told me how “her people” had always been the victim of prejudice,
and that the reason she qualified for so much grant money was because
of the “disability” her race offered her;
The thing is, I couldn’t tell what “race” she was
I saw an aging woman before me, bitter with her cheating husband,
complaining because she wasn’t pretty enough,
or, truth be told, talented enough, to really make it,
everything was everyone else’s fault you see;
I heard about how the world owed her funds to keep her failing gallery going,
even though the work in it wasn’t any good, anyway,
the world owed her money to self-publish terrible poetry books that no one really ever read;
I had only consented to interviewing her because she had begged to be given a chance;
I did a quick skim at my notes to be sure I had her name down right:
it was a typical, Anglo-Saxon name What was I missing?
“You know,” she said as she stuffed greasy fries in her already-full mouth,
“It’s the Jews who kept me back, those neo-cons who control every facet
of government, who don’t want to see someone like me succeed” I looked away from the sour-smelling ketchup that slid down one corner of her flabby lips onto her shapeless jaw that was still gabbing,
while she went on and on about how she was a victim of bigotry,
as she bashed an entire people and culture for her pathetic shortcomings

Conspiratorial Whisper

“You know,” she went on in self-important tones
in what was, I imagine,  supposed to be a whisper,
“Jewish women can’t have orgasms” I bit my lip
to stop myself from wildly laughing, tried to deep breathe
and tune out this ridiculous conversation;
I did weigh the option of shutting her up, but thought it best
to let her ignorance run its course Perhaps it would spare someone else from having the trouble of hearing such drivel
that day hey, never let it be said  I’m not a humanitarian
By now, she had finished her burger, fries, and Coke,  began to rise her considerable
bulk up from the table, her closed purse in tow while my coffee sat untouched,
then changed her mind and leaned across the table,
“I’ve slept with a hundred men,” she said with a superior sniff,
then looked quickly to see if I was buying any of it “My people are real women,
and we know how to satisfy men “
“Say”, she said in an injured tone, “I haven’t had a date in so long, not even
a freaking kiss”, then, brightening, “Think you could fix me up?”


She rose up from the table, wiping her greasy fingers down the
front of her jeans while I looked at the full napkin dispenser in front of me
“You gonna write this up?” She asks
“Well” I begin
“Tell people all about me?” she asks
“I will write something, “I say, “maybe in poem form” “Cool!” she says
“Can I see it?”
“Oh, you’ll see it all right,” I say with resolve,
Glad to get out of that grease-filled diner
Glad to get into the great outdoors
Where I can get my first breath of fresh air all day
And then quickly home where I can wash away the scent of
Cloying bigotry and the sourness of rampant racism.

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