September 15-21, 2003: Elizabeth Willett and Paul Corman Roberts

week of September 15-21, 2003

Elizabeth Willett and Paul Corman Roberts

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Elizabeth Willett

Bio (auto)

I am an ex-School teacher/administrator I inconvenienced students from grade 2 through grad school at one time or another I have a BA in Education, an MA as a Reading Specialist, and an MA in Educational Administration under my belt and no desire for more I freelance design commercial web sites and have four that are up on line I live in Florida or New Jersey depending on the season with my indulgent husband and two eccentric cats (I know, I know, that’s redundant) I am just now starting to submit some of my poems for publication ByLine Magazine: 2nd place in the Humorous Poem category, honorable mention in the Sense of Place Poem category.

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

A Rainy Night in North Carolina

Squinting and leaning
closer to the smeary windshield
I envy his sleeping form
A steady low rumbling
from the rear seat cage
advertises one cat’s misery
the other mercifully asleep
Dear God, what in hell are we doing
roaring along route ninety-five
hauling our lives behind us
like combat-pursued refugees?

The low riding trailer slews
in the wake of an eighteen-wheeler I know my grandmother’s china won’t make it I wrapped each piece
but it’s paper thin and I know I will lose it

joining all my other losses,
one parent too young, one too sad,
my marriage,  a job, my dog,
accidentally run over by my ex,
now all behind me
Navigating by halo rimmed headlights
past blurry imperatives-MERGE, YIELD
and ranks of low priced stop-overs,
an elastic bungee cord of memories
hooks to the past and drags it along also.

One of the Reasons I Stopped Believing in God

Once, I don’t remember how the subject came up,
you told me that on the night
after your father died,
you saw him at the foot of your bed,
just standing there looking at you,
he wasn’t shimmery or wavery
or any kind of unsubstantial,
he just was, the way he always was,
there at the foot of your bed,
looking at you
Now, after your funeral,
I look and look at the foot
of the bed,
maybe it takes more than a day
maybe you need a few days
to get here.


It was weathered, mottled with vines
and seasons of slimy khaki leaves piled
in the eaves and drifting on the roof,
nature’s slow motion wrecking crews
We didn’t question why a house was in the woods,
or try to figure out why no one lived there anymore If we had looked and wondered instead
of searching for stones, we might have spotted

the frayed rope swing, thought of the kids
who’d once played here, pictured the family farming
and eating pies and cobblers, fruits of the
hundreds of trees in the orchard
But we didn’t know the knobby giants around us were
apple trees, or consider the likelihood that they
were warped and twisted from loneliness,
or bother to wonder if trees might have feelings
We were callow residents of the present Old had no value History was what we hadn’t
created yet A venerable farmhouse with more character
than most of us would ever have, was a target.


slowly the buzz grows
all feeling shrinks
ebon edges feather
and stretch
the ball of myself
coils inward
cold invades and becomes
the buzzing conquers
and yellow fades to loud
winding tighter
dawn is eternity

My Un-doing

Unpadded pew-like benches
circle a drab mosaic floor

I thought it would
be clean, elegant and formal,
but perhaps the statue
of justice is not the only blind
one around here
Eight erstwhile couples
sitting, pacing, avoiding A door opens
eyes rotate in unison
to a called name
then fourteen heads droop
I walk up the stark aisle,
bordered by more forlorn pews
to a battered oak table I stroke it in empathy
A robot voice and stare
initiates the I don’ts My oaken sister and I
weather one more insult I, however, walk free.

Heart Racing

Windows wide to the muggy night
my tunnel visioned stare is centered
on glowing tail lights
Tires hum
then squeal around corners
high-speed shadows emerge
stretch and disappear
after-images lick at my eyes
Cars halt at our wailing There is an almost palpable sense
of mortal apprehension
from staring drivers
I curse the remoteness
of the hospital
and consider my heart Healthy blood pushes through
body I don’t want to know
what it feels like to be an orphan.

The Psych Lesson

In Psych 101 the professor blew up a balloon
The president met with the joint chiefs of staff
and shoved his fist in one side,
to plan an invasion that would stop terrorism
we observed stoically as
If we create a coalition of nations
the balloon bulged out the other and send in thousands of troops
“If this is you”, he spoke quickly,
to eliminate weapons of mass destruction
“And my pushing is the repression of a problem”,
we will rid the world of this trouble
we began to get interested
Some nations agreed they should, 
clearly he was getting at something,
quash this evil regime and hit them fast
he pointed at the bulge as he pushed harder
Bombs and guns and tanks swarmed, 
we watched it grow larger, pale
Iraqis hailed the conquering troops
and dangerously stretched,
Fifty-seven Americans have been killed
“What do you think will happen here?”
by sniper fire since the end of the war

Paul Corman Roberts

Bio (auto)

I am the producer of the annual San Francisco Anti-Slam (Worst Poem Contest) each Fall, while keeping a low profile amongst the savage Republican hordes of San Rafael My work has been published in 42opus, Cherry Bleeds and Prosodia, and is forthcoming in Canopic Jar, The Sacred Grounds Anthology #14, and the Muse Apprentice Guild.

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

Dead Lot’s Wife

From behind the near sky
You skin left sitting and dressed
A convention of human ass trudge
A fast please breath waltz and
Rock hard feet working it all out
You felt him singing the
Cold smile and
Everyone made the lingering wild gowns
Of tiny wee-moons though they have
But one giving rose cup like

Watching the night things swim on ship’s sails then
Explore a delicate tongue beat above
A thousand blind moans, no
It is not essential thinking water or

Sweet corduroy melon drool we must
Question which cooking knife will
Produce black poetry smear shines its
Weak and rusted rimshot recall
Stopped by no one above the sky.

Arcata Theater Foyer (1977)

This monolith, lifeless and cold by day
One attraction claims to be Kentucky Fried
Stale popcorn air lies between marquis slots:
Sinbad’s steely sword glare upon the undead

This arcade a cool shelter from stifling hippies
The “more organic than thou” rap spilling
Out from the co-op past the box office
Another movie with Redford and Fonda
Grown ups are always talking about them
But I can’t picture what they look like
You never see them quite like you see

Everyone else on these walls, airbrushed and
Gorgeous, as if they’re all from outer space Sure enough: “The Invasion of the Body
Snatchers” is said to be “Coming Next Week “

Mom has got the brown rice and granola
Time to go home, but she also lingers
Dropping hints about what I might expect
>From enchantments installed in these walls
Cinderella’s dress falls off her shoulder
Within the aural musk of a shirtless prince
Strange, I don’t remember his tongue in her ear Mom says I won’t be able to see that film
There is enchantment enough in this arcade
Who cares about the health food supermarket?
It reeks of dead plants and weird, smiley people
Not the fantastic creatures mere yards away.

Bug U

What void
In the smooth
Delirious ice forest
Springs its winter prisoner
Heaved of dark blue
Blazes an old iron heart Vast steel light
Speaks the sacred moment
To a bug universe

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