November 1-7, 1999: Roy Samana and Taylor Graham

Week of November 1-7, 1999

Roy Samana and Taylor Graham

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Roy Samana

Bio (auto)

My name is Roy Samana, I’m 20 from Bat-Yam, Israel I write mostly short stories and when I’m in the mood some poetry too I write my works in Hebrew and translate them myself to English My works have not been published anywhere yet [Editor’s Note: we’re proud to be the first ]

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


I remember us rolling in the mud like two capitalist pigs
In black Neo-Nazi boots
The earth was shaking underneath our long leather coats
But we just kept rolling, holding each other tight
While the rain was dripping between the wrinkles of our faces
Burning the silence that just seemed to wait for this moment
For the first drops that would remind us how much we used to love each other
Filthy, our tongues wrapped together, we both knew the bitter truth
By the time the sun comes out again this sweet piece of communism
would be all digested
And all that will be left are two small imperialists
and one disputed area

Distant and Small

The dawn came slowly but steadily
Taking away the stars that had twinkled for us the night before
Revealing the gray morning sky that was full
Of clouds
In all the colors of the bow
That has sent an arrow from hell in order to extinct our fragile time
In these metallic clouds no pets can be seen
Nor fairies or puffy pillows
As we stare up above all we can see are dragons
And monsters and sinking lifeboats
In calm seas

I suddenly recall that one night
When the light was still afar
I told her: ‘the moon is full’
And she said: ‘but look, he’s sick’
Yes, I too noticed his dirty yellow color
“It looks so small from here, and so far” she whispered
At that moment I realized that my pain appears exactly the same to her
Distant and small

Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

I’m a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada (Somerset, CA to be exact) My poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Folio, The Iowa Review, New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Yankee and elsewhere “A New Regime” is from my latest collection, NEXT EXIT, just out from Cedar Hill Publications

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

A New Regime

They’re playing in the rubble of the Wall,
which at last fell down No, it was yanked
down stone by stone because the people
hated it Now kids are playing
where used to be Wall, tearing the stones
in pieces Now that it’s snowing
they’re throwing snowballs No,
they’re throwing stones that used to be
Wall They’re burying each other
under stones, just so they can play
“Rescue from the Wall “

And after each child is buried
and again dug out,
they throw more stones as white
as snowballs They make heroes
of each other throwing stones,
turning each other pale as bruises,
blue as cold, as numb
as saints They keep on playing
until it’s dark, they all go home And then the Wall
heaps back up for morning,
to be unbuilt again.


“Never enough light,” you said,
but you burned film like breath,
recording everything in intensities
of black, gray and white
I saw you squint at your last
son’s birth, clicking the important
event to life, cursing his squirms
as he bawled at the light
“Never enough light “
But your cameras played the eye
in all its depths and distances,
all its distortions, its lights
Ten shots for a true exposure Your lens tried to read in the dark
a drunk’s old eyes where he hunched
at his impenetrable glass
“Never enough light,” you said,
and worried through your nights
by the stop-gap glare
of strobes and streetlights
Afterwards we divided what you left,
a few good prints and untold
negatives, images of black sky
and luminous earth.

Arts on the Square

A monk is juggling in the atrium
while a gypsy ups his tempo and the temperature
with her skirts and tambourine Already
sidewalks in a sweat, the street-crowds shuffling
and who cares who spread post-modern graffiti
all across the walls? A look-alike’s reciting Shakespeare
two doors down, a black-tail troupe does takes
on the Marquis de Sade
The sun has slipped away to privates, shadows
steal whatever strobe and streetlights cannot
A monk these days is not above suspicion,
nor a gypsy girl below But here
on Main a swing band’s got the microphone
and spot-lights, everybody’s
dancing in the square.

Soul Food

At the front plate window two guys
are stiffing checkers Wild gray hair
(the one), you’d think he’s Einstein,
the other balding, both slumped
with their noses at the pieces
almost dead from thinking Except
they’re dummies, haven’t made a move
in weeks They draw in commerce, says
the girl behind the counter And
just then in walk two One orders
an espresso, the other mocha, “soul
food,” she whispers in his ear
In the back we go on trading poems,
politics and jokes More poems,
plain old coffee (black) With luck
a dozen images beyond description A half-rhyme sonnet stuffs my mouth
and leaves me famished for a week
to come.

His Lame Rhymes

The song’s
buttoned into his overcoat He sighs
into his hands as if to warm them,
leans against a light post
under her window He might
be waiting for a cab But the old songs unravel,
he braids them back, wishing
them right this time, not crippled For words, the names of roses
twisted in the skein,
every petal reminding him
of thorns
Too cold to hear the song
he keeps re-threading Under threadbare trousers,
what keeps his one knee locked
against a chill as iron-clad
as braces? For himself,
he keeps re-rhyming, wishing
he’d be someday right
to sing that lady on her balcony
for a smile she hadn’t meant
to touch him So lovely
on her two good legs.

Sacramento Slough

A baglady only begs
off working hours,
lives her life in the bushes
where the shopping carts sprawl
and the hand-me-down man
sniffs from handout to hand,
sniffing for the knife that would kill
for a bag-full of cans
And each in his push-about life
knows, even penniless he casts
a shadow six feet deep.

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