November 29-December 5, 1999: Duane Locke and Clay Burt

week of november 29-december 5 1999

Duane Locke and Clay Burt

Duane Locke

Bio (auto)

Duane Locke (from Tampa, Florida), Doctor of Philosophy in Renaissance Literature, Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, Poet in Residence at University of Tampa for over twenty years, publisher of over 2,000 poems in over 500 print magazines such as American Poetry Review, Nation, Literary Quarterly, Black Moon, and Bitter Oleander,  author of 14 books of poems, his latest being WATCHING WISTERIA (to order see or call Small Press Distribution-1-800-869-7553), cyber-poet,  since Sept 1, 1999 has had 383 acceptances by online zines, photographer,  listed in PSA’s WHO’S WHO as one of the top twenty nature photographers,  painter, currently having a one-man show of over 30 painting at the Pyramid gallery in Tampa, winner for poetry of the Edna St Vincent Millay, Charles Agnoff, and Walt Whitman awards, now lives alone and isolated in the sunny Tampa slums He lives estranged and as an alien, not understanding the customs, the costumes,  the language, some form of postmodern English, of his surroundings The egregious ugliness of his neighborhood has been mitigated by the esthetic efforts of the police who put up bright orange and yellow posters on each post to advertise the location in a shopping mall for drugs His recreational activities are drinking wine, listening to old operas, and reading postmodern philosophy.

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


Lemon tree street, a short street,
Starts at sailboat bay, ends with a mountain Twilight, thunder, lightning
Taps its fingers on the contours
Of metal-segmented plate glass Flashes illuminate across the street
The interior of a white sofa-ed, circular room She, Italian, slender, in flowing white nightgown,
Combs her long dark hair On white circular table,
One glass of white wine With each
Lightning flash the glass becomes a garden
Of passionate diamonds I look
At the mountain, it has large white rocks
Scattered over its declivity She has pearls
Rippling between her breasts With my
One glass of wine, I sit on a wrought iron balcony,
Watch I can feel the warmth
Of her pearls between my fingers.


On other side of the plum branch,
A glass topped table with a plum
And red wine The sun with its spade of twilight
Was digging a grave The moon whispered
She would at midnight step across space,
Cover the grave with her breasts I decided to stay up all night At midnight the moon came,
Undressed in the wine glass At sunrise, I fell asleep The sun redug my grave.

Broken Streetlight

Yellow streaks on black butterflies’ wings
Flared out of the cedar tree’s shadows The red wine was radiant in dim light After the third glass, her clustered, bound hair unloosened,
Spread its white gold over white plum blossoms Her lips opened like the door of a coral cave,
Tongue flickered like fire and fireflies Repairmen arrived, fixed streetlight Light flooded the yard, I saw I was alone
With an empty wine glass, an empty bottle, an empty life.

Underwater at Midnight

In coral cave’s dark hollows
Spear the side
Of the old poet
The old poet was walking underwater,
Carrying a fin from a lost mermaid
The fin’s rainbows colored the lonely hairs on his wet arms He saw the lips of past hours open
He will as always open his mouth to sing;
But this time,
The salt flowers of the water
Will rush into his body,
Flood and suffocate.


At street corners,  blue bedsheets
Leaned against grimy shop windows,
Held out a bent tin cup to beg-
This morning when sweat was snow,
When the sidewalks were crowded with crutches When Death disguised as a Gypsy
Sat on one of my ribs and with Tarot cards
Told my fortune, something about unrealized zeroes
Being erased from unbuilt blackboards All the cars speeding by looked like coffins,

The world looked like a hallucination,
I grabbed
My one-legged lover, the wine glass,
Held her close against my cheek.

Covered With Ashes

She put a sign on her breasts, closed;
She closed the path to her wilderness Now the trees will not become dark birds,
Fly through my dark brain and dark blood I will amuse my emptiness with souvenirs I hold a slab of agate up to the sun,
Gaze at its clouds becoming breasts of light,
Quickly changing back to clouds,
Dark clouds like smoke
From a burning home or a wasted life I find my wine, put my lips to its body.

Bio (auto)

I’ve been writing poetry for over twenty years Recently I’ve been poking around on the web and finding a new audience My poems have appeared in Riverrun Magazine, Beloit Review, Evolution,  among others Back in my college days I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Olsen, a lead performer in the Swiss mime troupe, Mummenschanz He performed my poem, The Art of Pouring Soda, for national audiences Sometime in December my poetry will be featured in Editor’s Picks @ Web Del Sol I live in a farm house on Eastern Long Island with a good view of some very good wine grapes

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

Father Proteus

Dark brother
when will Father haunt again?
We are homunculi
drowned in the dark matrix of his name Swelling in the black liquors of secrets
Let us contemplate his skin:
miles of taut canvas
on which we paint ourselves His leather skin wraps us in the clothes of caution,
dresses us in violent sleep
God has dried you, Arizona man
and filled your living bones with light Mister Cactus tree, what once were leaves
evolved into perfect fangs
Dark brother
come quickly he is changing:
shape shifter, pumpkin head,
swamp walker, gun smuggler,
who competes with heaven,
who loathes his very breath
Now there is the silence in him Careful husbandry of his breathing He has dreamed of predation:
meadow mouse, you are meat for the Corn Snake,
for the winged gypsy, owl, that roars through night air
on his way to the killing ground There is a great restlessness of wings
when evenings romance us to windows
his signature everywhere, enveloping everything,
everything covering itself until his red engine torques down
it is you and I Messengers plunge and sing
around our shining faces
When he is stilled, (if that can ever be),
then we will know with sobriety that he is Father,
Father, he need be nothing more.

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