May 10-May 16, 1999: Eugene Ostashevsky and Josh Magnuson

Week of May 10-May 16, 1999

Eugene Ostashevsky and Josh Magnuson

Eugene Ostashevsky


I am Eugene Ostashevsky from 9X9 Industries, a San Francisco poets and writers consortium We hold a monthly reading series at a bookstore in the Mission District, and organize performances and alternative publishing projects I’ve recently had work appear in Lungfull!, Log, Oxygen, Shark, etc ; one of my pieces, translated into Russian by Alexei Parshchikov, came out in a major St -Petersburg literary magazine I normally work in long forms, but I find them less suitable for Internet: hard to read Here are several short pieces from my chapbook Fish Stick,  designed by Darin Klein:

The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by
Eugene Ostashevsky and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

How Fragile You Are, My Little Verses

How fragile you are, my little verses!
On seeing you my heart collapses
No reader comes to you and you stand
Like homely girls at a high school dance

In a huddle, while things get funner And your author strides by, smoking marijuana.

Homage to Sextus Propertius

As if into an armchair, barbarous
Amor sat between your eyebrows

Over your jaw his feet dangled
You walked down via Colleoni, 
.chewing on candy

He fired volleys of grappa shots
And tied with our innards a lovers’ knot

Our eyes traded in vicious wishes
Their sockets became as satellite dishes

Mine were covered by horn-rimmed glasses
You had lenses he flashed diamond compasses

So after a squeaking salient
Four circles clinked on the pavement

Void of pupils in Milan
We built a monument to Laocoön

And you combusted so agilely
At the sally of sperm cells in your vagina

Metaphysical Poem 1

For some reason .during last night’s slumber
I saw you in rubber

Your curves were arranged as if on a grid
And your nipples popped out through it

Your hips held the contour of infinity
Between them inverted emblem of the Trinity

And upon meticulous inspection
I could make out its bisection

As if a suprasensual compass had
Thrown up arcs to bolster my irises

You said “In supermarkets of phenomena
The aisles appear parallel, but aren’t, and

All lines, whether through meat or vegetables
Gather up at the cash registers

Before which pilasters of lettuces
Beef, sour cream in shopping carts’ lattices

With consumers loom into aperture
Outdistorting the rise in curvature

Thus our loves, pale, ætherial,
Free gifts in a box of Alphabits? cereal

Shall converge at the point whose steeple
Renders all vectors equal “

Metaphysical Poem 2

O lotuseater .please protect your skin
From becoming a colander for heroin

In being full of holes, it’s true, to a T
You imitate reality

I could place you next to my eye and look
Via you at some item across the room

If it doesn’t get magnified or diminished
That’s because there’s no lens between me and it

Only a tube, whose exterior comes complete
With your shoulders, hair, navel and feet

O my spyglass .through you I see
As if in a kaleidoscope, the 14th street

Room our wings filled for two years till
Broach-like, we stiffened atop a needle

For some entomologist monstrous
Made like a small r to study us

You, the fixed foot, tremble at home
Me bear my useless body to Rome

Tracing on my return a scrawl
Of eternity or of nothing at all

Josh Magnuson


My name is Josh Magnuson I currently live in Austin, Texas and work as the Webmaster for the City of Austin.

The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by Josh Magnuson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


I have been known on occasion to sniff the edges of books
in the hidden corner of libraries
where smells are more evident Then walk outside into the evening air
like a childhood game
and see the city-light-refinery sky
with my own two eyes,
through telephone poles
and godless spires It’s something rarely done these days To really see the city-refined lights How they hypnotize They take no country lip Just suck your eyes And in the distance, even further, a great crater
with much sad laughter and gnashing of teeth A calamitous loss
waiting for things to slow down a bit I can hear it just slightly above the scrannel
of image-noise-nothings,
when the TV is off
and her breath is beside me It stares back into me I walk until my legs get tired,
then I turn the corner down my block
and hope like hell
she’s home.

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