September 7-13, 1998: Joel Chace and Nancy Closson

Week of September 7-13, 1998

Joel Chace and Nancy Closson

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Joel Chace


My poems have appeared or are forthcoming in print journals and magazines such as the following: The Seneca Review, The Connecticut Poetry Review, Spinning Jenny, Poetry Motel, No Exit, Pembroke Magazine, Crazy Horse, Kudos (England), and Porto-Franco (Romania) I have also published work in Electronic Magazines such as the following: Ninth St Labs, Recursive Angel, Highbeams, Switched-on-Gutenberg,  Kudzu, Pif, The Morpo Review, Snakeskin, and Slumgullion.

Northwoods Press, in 1984, published my collection of poems entitled The Harp Beyond the Wall Persephone Press, in 1992, published my second book, Red Ghost, which won the first Persephone Press Book Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in that same year Big Easy Press, in 1995, brought out a collection entitled Court of Ass-Sizes In June, 1997, came a full-length collection,  Twentieth Century Deaths, from Singular Speech Press The Melancholy of Yorick and maggnummappuss (nominated for a 1998 Pushcart Prize) have appeared in the past few months, and a bi-lingual edition of my poems is being prepared in Romania.

I am presently serving as a poetry editor for the Antietam Review (Hagerstown, Maryland).

In addition, I have just accepted the Poetry Editorship of the web zine 5 TROPE.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Joel Chace and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


Terrible labor .Such a birth
.Why musta been that ole
.hex chromosome

It lay as deep as the sea can be
.bubbles .little ecstasies
.curling around its face
But a voice floated down to say
.You must not be here anymore

It loves the shade .It loves the dank
.Watch out! .It could grow so immense
.so strong .it wouldn’t be long
till it shatters a world like a fence
.made of lath .like a little glass tank

Make mine layered
.make mine pied

Is this a well-made thing?
.Christ! .I’d better
.take another look

It needed its water .What else could it breathe?
.The voice said .Your sea will always be near
.crawling up to touch your feet
and an ocean will forever
be suspended above your head

Make mine layered .Make mine pied
.But please to turn it on its side

Gotta be the hex chromosome
.vision birth .maggnummappuss conception
.the knotty naughty DNA

It loves the shade .It loves the dank
.Its tentacles weave desire
.enlarging a skein
delicate but indestructible
.Gossamer jettings

What about its mother though?
.What about its father?
.Your parents said the voice will be
the firm but delicate membrane
.forever holding back that hanging sea

Please to turn it on its side

The court also sent Mrs Hutchinson,
.and charged her with divers matters .And after many speeches to and fro, at last
she was so full as she could not contain,
.but vented her revelations .

Thank God! .It’s not a well-made thing!

For we must consider
.that we shall be
.as a city upon a hill The eyes of all people are upon us,
.so that if we shall deal falsely .

Its lungs then burned and burned with awful air
.But in its panic it could feel water tickle its toes
.it could see the boundless ocean domed above
.pushing against
.a firm but delicate membrane

The bastard’s growin’ tentacles!
.The bastard’s growin’ horns!

This love is the fruit of the new birth,
.and none can have it
.but the new creature Now when this quality is thus formed .it works like the spirit upon the dry bones .

Know what ya get
.when ya cross
.a Maggnummappuss?
A horn in your hard heart
.That’s a delicate lesson!

Vision birth .naughty
.knotty DNA

.she had it revealed to her that she should here
.be persecuted, and that God would ruin us
.and our posterity, and the whole state,
for the same So the court proceeded,
.and banished her .

Someone’s monstered a creator!

And its heart filled .its voice bloomed .it thought
.it wanted to cry out for the sea
.to take it .submerge it again
But when its sound burst loose it begged Please! Please!
.Don’t bring that water down upon my head!

Make it layered .Make it pied
.Give it tentacles .Give it pterodactyl wings
.Give it friggin’ grapplin’ hooks!

.so that if we shall deal falsely .in this work .we shall be made a story
.and a by-word through the world till we be consumed out of the good land
.whither we are going .

Whaddaya get
.when ya connect the knots?

The gossamer jettings branch and thread
.spread an airy net .a crazy instrument
.an aperture in the center
in the dark
.in the dank

.so pleasant a sweet air as did much refresh us,
.and there came a smell off the shore
.like the smell of a garden .

What’ll I do
with this hell-wrought urn?

A horn in your hard heart
.is a delicate lesson

It’s made of dustmotes .paper scraps
.Often glimpsed
.in bars of shade
or between the bars of light
.behind venetian blinds

Whaddaya get
.when ya connect the nots?

Someone’s monstered
.a creator

A city
.that is set on a hill
cannot be hid .

I hear it’s moving to the suburbs
.I hear it swallows
.its victims whole

An aperture in the center
.A gunsight that will zero in on prey
.A crazy instrument .its gossamer cords
always trembling
.always taut
.always ready to be thrummed

One good urn
.deserves another

Mrs Hutchinson, being removed
.to the Isle of Aquiday .was delivered of a monstrous birth declared by Mr Cotton
.to be .

It’s loose in the streets!
.Sleeps in doorways!
.Feeds on trash!

.seeing the perfect
.idea of a thing .

Spider spider learning right
.Weaving darkness
.weaving light

What happens when we cross
.a Maggnummappuss?
.He Razz’m Us!

.apes in scarlet .asses in lions’ skins .

I tell ya
.it’s a Locked Mess!

I’d like to see
.that perfect
turned over
.on its side

.a monstrous birth .declared by Mr Cotton to be
.twenty-seven several lumps
of man’s seed, without any alteration
.or mixture of anything from the woman .

.fusion birth

To be jeopardized
.to be damned
.by grammatical mistakes!

.bone came to bone .

I hear it swallows
.its victims’

Step into my parlor

We sure as hell
.don’t need
.another well-wrought urn!

That’s one
.locked nest!

At Watertown there was
(in view of divers witnesses)
.a great combat between a mouse and a snake .and the mouse prevailed
.and killed the snake .

I may be savage
.but I’m awfully
.goddamn noble!

The scum
.of all virtues

What happens when
.ya cross a Maggnummappuss?
.It whacks ya with its irony board!

It gathers together the scattered bones
.of perfect old man Adam,
.and knits them into one body whereby a man is become again
.a living soul .

Hey! Your Maggnummappuss
.is so fat
.it lives on both sides of the tracks!

Step into my laughter
.said the spider
.to the lie

What a fine Stability
.was dreamed

.the snake was the devil;
.the mouse was a poor contemptible people,
.which God had brought hither,
which should overcome Satan here,
.and dispossess him of his kingdom .

He Razz’m Us!

.thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and they shalt be of thee
.that shall build the old waste places .

I hear it lives in alleys
.still’s hungry all the time
.so hungry
it’s even gatherin’ up
.dried ole bones

Step into my laughter

Hey! Whaddaya get
.when ya cross
.a Maggnummappuss?
Sin Tax
.Sin Tax!

And he looked up, and said,
.I see men as trees,
.walking .

He Razz’m Us!

.the Lord will surely
.break out in wrath against us;
.be revenged of such a perjured people
and make us know
.the price of the breach .

.into my laughter

That ole boy jumped
.like he’d just sat down
.on some Sin-Tacks
when he heard
.the Maggnummappuss was comin’ to town!

It loves the dark .It loves the dank
.It shatters a world like a little glass tank
.It’s layered .pied .It’s growin’ horns!
I wish to Christ it’d never been born!
.Its DNA is naughty It’s not

a well-made thing .It thrums
.a crazy instrument .connects the rots
.licks the puss of festering dreams .comes
at night
.comes where it will
.It’s comin’ to the City on the Hill!

Nancy Closson


I’ve been writing poetry since I was six and old enough to print It’s changed a lot through the years but has always been a way to express deep emotions that I sometimes didn’t know I was incubating I have six cats and fortunately live on just under an acre of land so they don’t lack for space I have a fifeteen year old boy I’ve been published in a weekly newspaper with humour pieces but I’ve never published a poem Here goes.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Nancy Closson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


On earth the sleeping princess lies in the guest room
The prince wanders out on the blunt, open prairie He kills a deer with a bow and arrow and comes in the house
To show her but the princess has awakened and come down
To the kitchen for a bowl of oatmeal and is gone On Mercury the rocks nuzzle into the desert
Life! Life! Life! Give us life But there is no life Only heat The prince comes with the slain deer over his shoulder
With a knife he cuts into the belly of the deer
And the blood seeps into the dry rocks The princess touches him with her hand
And beckons him to come, he leaves the deer and follows Venus boils with heat and density, the rocks have all vaporized The prince materializes suddenly, his hair lifts in the sodden,  blatant
heat The princess moves towards him; she stumbles in the crushing kiln Then on Mars they stroll leisurely between the red rocks He is dressed as a financier in a suit and she is in heels They analyze the rocks and attempt to sell them
But it’s late and their skin begins to wrinkle Their hair thins and their shoulders droop The asteroids fall in dark space and Saturn’s rings catch in their hair
Jupiter’s moons line up like bingo markers
Uranus and Neptune are blue in the distance Finally on Pluto they waft downwards in crystals
Of absolute zero, lips congealed they attempt an embrace Locked in this silence they endure the pity of eternity On earth spring has come and new birth
There are buds on the trees and flowers blooming
On earth a new prince and princess are born.


I flung myself about in time and space,
My hands web shrouded
My brain crusted with habit There I found the bright, white center and navel of the world Beginning and end folding in upon itself,
Wet with tears I fell into the yielding silence The poles were white with wanting
The equator yellow, green bright with knowledge
And heavy in the background yet a blood red moan
And on this fractal breaking tide
I rode the navel home.

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