October 28-November 3, 2002: Lynne Bronstein and Taylor Graham

week of October 28-November 3, 2002

Lynne Bronstein and Taylor Graham

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Lynne Bronstein

Bio (auto)

Lynne Bronstein writes for Music Connection magazine and has written for the LA Times, LA Weekly, Entertaiment Today, and many other papers Her books of poetry include Thirsty In The Ocean and Roughage She was cited by the City and County of Los Angeles for her mentoring of another writer in the JVS (Jewish Vocational Service) Wo-Mentoring program in 2001-2002 She lives in Santa Monica where she agitates to preserve rent control and keep cats off her de

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Lynne Bronstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Seven Ways Of Removing A Swastika

1 Try soap
and a huge sponge scrub in a circular motion
then counter
clockwise Bear down
with your arm muscles Press hard scrub away The industry
is good for you
2 Take paint
and a brush
and cover it over
3 Lacking soap or paint,
use your spit
or better yet, your tears Rub with your fingers-
hard I once removed
a swastika this way
from a bus bench in Sherman Oaks
4 Take a long narrow knife,
lift it by the corners
and pry it off
5 Or better still,
a pair of tweezers Pull hard
on one spoke at a time With considerable effort
it is possible to bend the spokes
into something more aesthetic A daisy maybe Or a Star of David
6 Take wood
and nails and a hammer
or brick and mortar
and wall it over
7 When you see someone
about to draw or paint
one of these spiderlike gizmos
on a wall or a door
take a deep breath,
call the cops just in case
or be sure you know
a few martial arts moves
and move forward
to stay the hand
before it makes
the deadly mark.

Beat and a Half

Coleman Hawkins
Virtuoso of the tenor
Couldn’t quit serenading
His dream of playing
A jam on bass sax So he lugged the monstrous thing
To a recording session
Like he’d stolen the Liberty Bell
And was going to make
Freedom ring at first breath But though he tried mightily
All his soul and lungs could not
Coax those gold and dark
And lonely velvet tones
From the obstinate tunnel of brass He thought of sleepless nights spent
By young ambitious cats with the urge to be blesses
If they could steal such chops from the treasury of jazz He only heard the death knell of his secret hope
Muffled bell down deep like a harpooned whale The home run hitter swings the bat and hears
A violin solo as he’s rounding third The Senator would rather be drawing comic books In the thick of this inflationary age
Even one talent seems never enough.

Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

I’m a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and help my husband (a retired wildlife biologist) with his field projects My poems are forthcoming in Illuminations, The New York Quarterly, West Branch and elsewhere

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

It Fills the Air

September 11, 2002

We sit here in our breakable
adobe walls On the tabletop, a simple
red clay vessel waits for flowers

while the news from across the continent
numbs us: an overload of wrong
numbers: Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight
77 Uncounted
humans fall from high-rise
concrete and steel no longer standing;
a choke of ash How can numbers
ever count for us again? until
Flight 93, a small band of stranger-
heroes (who knows how many?) lifts
the horn of danger, sounds it

so loud we hear it clear
across the country
even here.

Somewhere in Western Europe

I know who snapped this photo,
but I hardly recognize myself
from 30 years ago in black-&-white,
in mittens and a corduroy coat
long-gone to Goodwill
What war-ravaged country was this
where I’m sitting atop a concrete pier
in a whole cold stubblefield
of concrete piers-Drachenzähne,
he called them, dragons teeth
to catch me in a thought between
fairytale and pensive, woolen hands
cupping my left knee
Even now, I couldn’t name
what battlefield this was, or why
at the last instant I turned away
from his lens, not smiling
When two lovers go home to their
different languages, who’s left
to explain shared history?


Sunlight’s fading through the kitchen window,
falling in flakes on the linoleum No, surely it’s the old linoleum that’s flaking
all over the floor, and not the sun The sun is speeding west down 15th Street,
past litter and graffiti that some kid
carved on a cinderblock wall The lucky sun is sinking to its sea-
bed; it plans on rising somewhere
far away, maybe over a palace with tiled
courtyards and garden fountains,
hidden harems and the perfume of curtained
love Then-so far beyond anything
you&Mac226;d ever see from here-it strikes
a mountain with a single standing stone
where someone once wrote something
worth reading.

Old Dog Last Week

The light of her eyes is leaking
inside It has to do with organs
pumping failure, x-rays
that layer shadows She leaves her food untouched,
she consumes everything
she’s ever been:
sparks of puppy hunger,
puppy wonder What grows there now
becomes her She moves from door
to water dish, window draft
to shade; accepts
our hands almost as if
from strangers,
and we call her “good dog”
anyway, as light goes leaking,
white to black, a negative How daylight cuts,
the sharpest ray.

Snow on the Dogwood

Last night you placed those old dead
relics on the table-ammonites
you traveled to Nepal to find –
we passed them like cups
cradled in our hands As if
a cup could be filled with personal
desire, as if we drained an alien
long-lost life, each cup emptied
as the snow must fall I spun
another vinyl on the old Victrola
as you passed to me another fossil
record spiraling a wider window
on the world, and let it sing to us
its billion-year-old tale.

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