TINFISH • Number 7 • November 1998

Ida Yoshinaga present tense / eleg(ac)y for george
Bill Luoma from Ode
Renee Gladman Sometime late January
Bobbie West Random Access Memory
Stephen Oliver Pat Boone & Tonto
Steve Carll [untitled]
Michael McPherson Misogyny
John Olson All Things Being Equal
Summi Kaipa Swallow the Water, Hiccup
Jason Olive
Trans. Joe Balaz
Dan Featherston L is for Lexical
Rob Wilson Hawai'i Kai Mornings
Hugh Steinberg A Cure for Ghosts
John Tranter My Story
Kathy D.K.K. Banggo Surfing Alone at Silver Stairs
Jonathan Brannen from Deaccessioned Landscapes
Louis Armand from linkage(s)
John Kinsella Noble Gestures
Coral Hull from The Moon Rocket Crashes on Planet Trauma
Murray Edmond Wholly Daze
Hsia Yu
Trans. Steve Bradbury
Eight Poems
John Rieder Book Review: Liz Waldner's Homing Devices

Contributors' Notes


present tense / eleg(ac)y

here, in the emergent now:
there's a blossomest blossom on the BBC
a wet rock from an urchin's pocket
in watery Hagi‹or was it Happy Valley?‹
Lahaina nasu, canned plums from a cellar in
Ladysmith-Wisconsin, vanishing street people
bighearted Boskies, flaming meteors of hair
clear-eyed opakapaka at Wakamatsu's on Market
puddled tennis courts, moldy seabags
two cancer-tough cats /Tuna & Zendo/
two illustrated backs /Parker's & mine/.

there's a thumb with a moving Bumpa-bruise
toenail clippings, wooden planks over lava
balloon-fish soup that makes the body go Shunnnh,    
a black back-alley for MolokaŒi bread
a hospice in Castro‹soft sheets, cool breeze‹
you & Najo at Queen's, amusing the comatose
you at Volcano, red in your stool
you in Marie's class, urging kids not to waste.

you see the shadows in the stream,
the thereness that clings.
even bees let you off easy.

thank you, mother teresa. thank you, peter morgan.
thank you, mau piailug. thank you, tim o'brien.
thank you, dennis potter. thank you, wang weilin.
thank you, miyamoto musashi. thank you, cardinal sin.
thank you, muin ozaki. thank you, joy davidman.
thank you, pauls and pams. "thank you, fugu-san."
thank you, fujita-san.

let go of your crafty self.
the landmarks are set.
something of value persists.


From Ode

Sombrero onions,
your sophie fixtures
are excluding
carbo funs.

2 Bees Red
Cabbages go
heavens Ward
in stinky chair.

Kona gold oranges
rouse the ring and 
old of local.

Skyrocket brand
lemons guess
that we have 
a branch 
on maui.
Yamato Colony Yams
spuge on the eliminator.
Even the sentricon
colony elimination
system yes mams
the tomatoes.

Lyla quality melons
say hurray for
critical faculty.
We need more race
traitors and awards.

You Kapoho grown 
scooper seeds lobbing
grenades over Linda
Maple's house know
Kauai Strawberry Papayas
are named Sunrise
like the big horse.

Tucan fresh limes
your max softening
temp is twenty-five C.
Technical veracruz
is a mexie blaster
wondered at by the
humena fish
in the harbor.

The mango roper
of Yee's Orchard
uses a reaching tool
to obtain the fruit.

If you don't like 
the seeds Green Guava
or the skin to peel
I suggest you purchase
an interisland flight coupon
and plenty of aloe.

You hang in the mangrove
with the cool bunch,
Anna Bananas. You 
co-linger in reverse namaste
with Rudy Romaine,
Precision Packed Green
leaf lettuce, Royal Hawaiian
Pineapples & Royal Hawaiian
Papayas. You retire
with a late nite supper
to the corner of 
Dole & Spreckles.

O woody
of Durian
if I knew 
you better
I'd say
jack fruit.

Santa Claus Melon
your functioning PLU
unleashes four thousand
three hundred & thirty six
fish shacks on kwajalein.


Sometime late January

the 23rd day
of almost rain
to think on
and eat later in my dream

		Dream 	coming on in folds
		for with a taste of
					become music
					and the particulate

When I began to discern figures
and was eating garlic
I was eating a lot of garlic

It made me think about things
		and discover past between buses
	that brought music in 1942, where
					          faces in a depot
					          and I on the brink
					          of dream
					did dream
of something in the weather

		The flautist voice telling me what to read.
		Girlfriend calls, insists on masturbation.
		Her friends circulating pornography.
		And the flautist telling me who to read.

	Night divided in numbers
			starting with 42 and me
				sitting in a Bud Powell dream
				as I watch him doing something

				far from the outdoors
					as is mental health
					in a dream
				his great

		numbers increase while mind loses facility
		but, it's Bud Powell's dream

	Six Flautists come to me in a dream

	Flautists invite me to hear them
	perform in Toledo Ohio
	or Watts Los Angeles
	one day in the 40s.

	Band calls themselves		the Black Air
	to a small audience of eighteen.
	The flautists play
	against strife
	against unvented
	in deep conversation

	Dream later says that
		main flautist
			subterraneanly		that night
			was never more creative.

I came home three months ago
(believed to be the time of my life)
and the phone rang. I picked it up,
heard a fax coming through and thought
‹then I chopped a head of garlic (not
catching a cold) and sang some.
After an hour I moved to the bedroom
dimmed the lights and lay
beneath the covers. Then the phone rang
again. Music put me to sleep.
I had been on hold and easily
fell into sleep.

Now that I am awake I want to do something
that is being made. And spend my life with the flautists
who think I'm all right. Awake and absolutely
alive with bananas. Bananas and apple pie. Fresh
black tea, cream, lip balm, unturkey, lube,
plastic bags, cotton sheets, polyester
pants, dirigibles.

In the air, someone said, in the 80's
there is a new attempt to refine homelife
put color in it and make it interesting

talk about relation		in the 80's
Black people
who have always been smart
seeming smart to dignitaries while
me, trying to figure out my hair
was raised by a pretty good mom

			Abdullah Ibrahim in the 80's
			aka Dollar Brand
			was not known to me then
			is now a member of my 
			night time flautists
			and mostly plays the piano

Last night the Black Air
performed with fire
	further thought on a Monk song
to a knowing crowd
		and rich ladies on the front row

I was nervously in attention

The flautist at their peak

					Players who have come to understand
					themselves by their contemporaries

							as though dislodged
							from my mind
							dream talks to me
		Every night this week with the flautists.

		Among the Black Air
		defined needle marks and friends'
		bow strings
	to frustrated memory

Friends and the sad contemporary
in an otherwise contemporary dream:

	Number one flautist writes a brilliant tune.
	That night he plays it.
	Then he ties up, takes pills, has a heart attack, dies.
	Composition becomes a wonderful tune.
	Friends play it at night.

			And so I have set aside all else concerning life for this
			dream. Paul Chambers, in my sleep, dead at 34. Billie
			Holiday, in my sleep. Lester Young. People dying to be
			onstage. I get dressed up for. Must figure out this death.
			And understand 1930 as an influential year. Who can't
			live in the 60's or so these musicians seem and cannot feel.

		There should be no heroes to talk about it.


Random Access Memory

Coming    home    on   the    catapult   is   an   ancient   device  of
Primitive   Art   suddenly   errupting   from   a   nearly   extinct
school   bus,  we  could  see   the  objectivist  or  surrealist  even
though it   scrambled  the  signal  somewhat  with  strands of
coaxial  cable  across  the  obvious  limitations  of  cornfields,
flames,  and their  non-alliterative  "frittering leaves"  (if I
read her right) while shooting acceptable manners straight
through the attic window.


Pat Boone & Tonto

White-shirted (not blue)
they approach in twos:
"Excuse me Sir, a small
moment of your time?"
Soft-selling Eternity &
the clean-cut Hereafter.
The boyish accent downloads
the serious side of the
American Dream, eyes fixed
computer bright. The other
is slower, slope-shouldered
& disciplined, backgrounded
by a blandished brain.
As a child, when the God
was always friendly,
big as a house, long as a 
street & the day endless,
the knock upon the door
signalled: "Excuse me
young man, is the lady of 
the house in?" Welcome
the suitcased salesman; the
Bon-Brush Man: big bristled,
wooden-backed scrubbing
& bottle-brushes, sandsoap
& Brasso for hard domestic 
usage. Now now. These two
modern peddlers head out
to the brick bungalows of
the inner-city suburbs
selling the Light & the Way,
galloping round the outer
handicapped districts;
brainwashed right-wing angels
confident as professional
sportsmen on a World Tour.


the exhibitionist
the exhibitionist

who lives
who lives

who lives across the street
who lives across the street

has nothing
has nothing

has nothing on
has nothing on

has nothing on you
has nothing on you.

Michael McPherson


She leans to the mirror
and puckered coral meets pink,
blonde curls wrinkle to auburn wave
where her visage shivers and dissolves.
Is it the three bold surfer sons
of Christ, or mother riding cancer
in her distracted eyes like bullets?
Now blue, now green, voices of cold
water drain white, porcelain sinks.
He drinks too much, but her cup is
clear and empty, keeps him guessing.
She's stronger now and needs him less,
craves long winds to dance between
with a certainty never possessed.
Hot liquid wax and scattered roses,
miles of wires crackle moon songs
where warm stray cattle drink wine.
She searches newspapers for houses,
her son moves room to room in a hotel.
She marries again on a plane, takes a job,
points to pictures and smiles like morphine.
He studies glass and conjures her colors.
Blue is in need, green is to want.


All Things Being Equal

We hold these truths to be self-evident, everything
agrees with air.  The simple

is not always simple & the unthinkable
is not always rare.  Some things

involve differences in speed
or direction, permitting

confusion & hair.  One word
follows another word & a novel

implies money 
is a magnet like sand

stuck to a patch
of wet skin.  Meanwhile some poetry goes on

& on inventing Portugal
for no particular reason.  I can understand why

Flaubert wanted to write a novel
about nothing.  Our minds are like salmon

at 88 cents a pound, precipitation
& wind.  Big prickly balls

drop from the chestnut trees every October
& Laotians & Koreans & Chinese & Cambodians

come to collect them with flashlights & sacks
before sunrise.  It is an eery & touching sight
to see so many people searching the ground
for a delicacy at a time of day

associated with the distribution 
of newspapers.  Eventually

the sun appears & all is well among the spoons
& spatulas rinsing by the sink.  A faucet

is a facet of living.  But let us consider letters
as stoves for the geometry of sound.  The solid heart

of an electric guitar with a rosewood fingerboard
tons of compression & top-end boost.  When the string

is squeezed the G naturals turn sharp
as the point of a pin, a sibilance of wind

in a tumult of trees
dumping nuts on the ground


Swallow the Water, Hiccup

You because I. Perhaps I am imagining a puzzle than a river. Perhaps in you I
keep leaving out the "r." Do dead fish still swim? I am thinking of the fin of
your side, the small of your back, my hands big enough. Drizzle isn't the right
word to describe the condition. Deluge sounds? Is it not an unconditional
streaming, instead a swim. A transparency. Peering out without the filter of
goggle or the density of water pushing pupils into a slow-motion illusion. Do
they buoy belly up, the boards of their backs searching a float? [I am asking too
many questions because I am asking too many questions. You are making a
marvelous skeleton. And I don't imagine you dead. How is (about) that?] Eyes
above water. I need my eyes above these crests. The rains in California dampen
the mouth of street, the tongue of street. I don't wish for this swish, the sap of a
too-much-intuition like this. I because you. A backstroke, water flooding my
ears. I've forgotten my bathing suit. I've forgotten the breaststroke. This noisy
water is making too much noise. I can't hear, but the "s," of the "is." Would I 
like it to quit raining? I just want to bathe, you see. Yes, that's what it is.
Showerhead with the perfect pitch. Temperature as hot as? It would kill the 
fish. You're not cold blood. Not icicle toes, icicle toes. All this talk of El Niño, 
La Niña. Children who are warm winds. Who are currents. A temperature 
tantrum hovering over an ocean. A hemisphere. The tautology of a fish,
 whether dead, or otherwise, is to still swim. An escapism. Your stomach is 
warm. My skirt muddied in the hem, violet but the blue.



sometimes da moon
blue hula ovah firewatah
and you cannot get out
da only way is foa jump through
da rainbow
land on da adah side,
bury your head in da sand
and laugh wun big laugh
da kind dat going bring tears
to your eyes.

‹translated by Joe Balaz

*Written in English and translated into Pidgin.


L is for Lexical

propinquities:  Hawai'i
not far from Le Havre
are there Hawfinches



Hawai'i Kai Mornings


The rains return to Hahaione valley, the cloudy mists of winter. Traffic rushed
into the city. A stranger sat on a bench, conjugating the nuances of success and
failure. Joggers trundled past. pudgy with the conventions of warrior saints.
There was no time like the present for starting a postmodern novel. 2. The wrens return to the volley. The chewy mists of wonder. Terrific rust of the
city. A strangler shut up on the park bench. Corrugating nuances. Jugglers
trundled past, pasty with confectionery sugar. There was not time like the
pasta, to start a modern moment. 3. The rains retour. Chewy mast of wandering. Terrible mass of the shut in. A
strange deer trundled past. Corrugating new aces. Juggler veins trembled the
past. Warrior shants. No tiny present like the modem.


A Cure for Ghosts

we watch you lose your helpless shirt, sell your house for pennies,
burn the road we have to walk on: it is simple, I will show you a hummingbird

			a city with rivers, a promise, a potion, a spell, a cure,
someone who loves you where it matters

in greens, in muscles, that kick like your heart,
as a monster, sweet as salt, just a little like a kiss

we want to be free
of the ghosts that haunt us

so tell me, tell me about those nights you gave to us kids,
that are shiny and lonesome and much heavier than they look

even though they are secret, we shall tell them to everyone
until they are real, you want to hide behind us

I will show you what is sacred, the sea, the cage with the open door,
the land that has a road through it, the house we abandoned

we fill the air with sparks, you see us without blinking
I eat oranges all day, I burn from crying your name

I'm killing birds, I have a fever, I say death is what I hear,
I hear your voice like a flame, I will describe how warm my body is

I am always late. I never left your side. I am the eye and the hand
and the shin. I know what I'm doing, I cannot tell you what I do

I am a man because I am driven, because
I'm still here, because you once loved me

the flowers in the earth turn into fruit, into seeds,
you smell a cigar, it is just a ghost who loves you


My Story
Back in la belle époque the hired hand would spend all his savings on a radio, and turn a cold shoulder to the investment bloopers of the rural poor. You learn enough to get along, the rest is embroidery bracketing mushy urban wishes, Stared at by the sun some simpering tomboy wants to buy a drink, but he drops his change‹ a coin rolls into the gutter and down the drain, unimagined voyages to distant Floridas strapped to the wheel of the will, where the water boils in the teeth of the hurricane‹never to happen, dark and cold while the centuries roll overhead. Now some rustic is rubbing my face with his nicotine-stained fingers. Token? They won't remember what the cycle meant. Winter nights...the village draws the snow rug around its knees, the lamps whisper nostalgic baloney from one side of the street to the other, the old schoolteacher peers at his book‹ the book which talks of glory, and later he'll be reduced to getting drunk on beer and watching football through a tube‹ Think of an accordion bought and sold‹boy it must have seen some parties! Or imagine good times, bad times, around the pianola. A rat doesn't need a degree in entomology, he just carries the plague, it's his talent and his gift. This is just one coin, but it speaks for its millions of brothers, gazing down on the planet through the polished lens of commerce: tides, movements, the harbour mouth silting up. It must be phenomenal to be a farmer, every nerve in your body in touch with the seasonal interest rate fluctuations, doing your bit to clog the rivers and pollute the earth, and, given a flexible borrowing rate, able to rent a light plane to spread insecticides almost on a whim‹ploughman as artist. Now the bond ratio climbs, now a family plunges into debt and alcohol, now the Red Man is pressed from this part of the West, miles of waving sorghum cover what was once a prairie, now in Kalamazoo a bookkeeper plots to bring down a bank. The earth revolves, hiding its secrets. I may sleep for a million years, and when I turn up at last my value will be infinite, or nothing. What drugs will replace me? My story, a sixpence shaped like the moon, always standing in for someone else, the soft suffering flesh put behind me, part of a stupendous machine.


Surfing alone at Silver Stairs

	for Angie

First Sunday in March,
and still,
I cannot put my hands on you,
the date you were born,
or the number on the cake.

It's been enough to know
you there, to the left,
a quarter-mile out,
disappearing behind
a wash of waves.

Maybe tomorrow‹
when I understand
why today the whales surround
me with their sacred pools,
shifting below like frigate birds.

In the shallow water
they are silent,
breathe garlands of bubbles
that rise to the surface
and break,
like memory,
lost to the open tide.


from Deaccessioned Landscapes


Trigue terval cluded stigate. Don't let
the darkness catch me here. Sometimes
evenings are one of the Fine Arts.
Sometimes mis amigos are looney-toons.
Of a given space in a given time
of the taken place in taken time
memory tricks the inelegant heart.
Writ in moods recalled in sounds so familiar
that they're only noticed in their absence
friends have died too soon. Nothing can fill space
abandoned. The sky above the roof
is waiting for you outside the occurrence
of this discourse. Sweating out the night.
Thinking back to myself remembering.


      sculptural  win-win
	       in the swim      things
       times	             places
lately		              only
       voice	                   structures	
         damaged		        in tattered
starlight		   harangue


...the frame is missing (the edges of any context open out wide)...

(for John Kinsella)


Noble Gestures

Signal function of thrush dashing seed pod
click click against the asphalt or anomalous rock
beneath crab apples wizening on their mobbing trees
emotionally expressing like traps asymptotic
on a river's edge or out in desert, pandas eating
carrion as bamboo shoots wither enclosures
grown more homelike and natural environments
are accepted as things of the past: the leech barometer
indicates a storm today and in the flask the water
is icy cold, a red kangaroo oils its fur to keep out
the cold evolving into a ducklike creature, proving
a link with platypuses shot for fur, trapped
in Blackfoot country, or lolling in wolf howls
as if giraffes in a Victorian zoo were civilised,
it being contagious like red skins under the sun,
like James Fenimore Cooper or Leichardt
flogging a dead horse, empathetic enclosure
holding delicate organs in dust, defining relativities
as an all out immutable tendency towards self
and God and ochre and occupation theology:
being I-ness in the living room under the sunlamp
and still looking goddamn white, still killing off
ant trails from the sink, drinking beer
and visiting sacred sites and rolling echidnas
in cars without bullbars. See, in the mix
you're the same as the rednecks.
The zoos are full of you.


From The Moon Rocket Crashes on Planet Trauma

The little rocket is launched at the earth. It nose-dived into the dust.
I walked on the planet like the MOON, the day I first walked. Even with
its sun, oceans, stones and trees. It was the wrong STOP. It was trying
to eat me alive. I opened my mouth and ate it first. Stuck my flag into 
planet trauma. These are some thoughts about a mother's hatred and its 
affect on me. Can one be eaten alive by hatred? My mother was so big 
when I was born. She was more landscape than woman. I didn't like where
I ended up. I blamed myself, when I shouldn't have blamed anyone. I was
sinking into a crater, my ship dropping through 50 miles of dust. It's a 
lot bigger when you are 4 ft shorter. Some children go to bed, try to
bury their bruised organs in the blankets. They are found there by their
families shouting, or by their tongues and fingers. I spent time outside
in the backyard, looking at the stars. When no one is looking, dogs 
stare at the stars from the cold chains. Dogs locked outside look for 
another place. A heart. Soon the places far away were calling to my 
wrecked craft. I turned everything I touched to light. Bugs turned over 
to walk again. I stuck the snails back on the fence palings. I brushed
the tangled knots out of the coats of dumped dogs. The kittens were 
retrieved from the sewerage pipes, and the birds were full of crumbs.
This is like a shopping list. Children are little aliens.

Baby rats take first steps into zero compassion aboard shuttle. In 1998
Columbia's astronauts performed the first embalming ever done in space,
replacing the blood of young rats with formaldehyde. Jay Belvry and Dave
Williams injected an anaesthetic overdose into eight sixteen-day-old
rats and then pumped the formaldehyde into their hearts and through 
their blood vessels. Their blood was pushed out the other side of the 
heart, flowing along a wick. The astronauts dissected the animals and 
stored the brains and other vital body parts in the same preservative.
The work was conducted in a sealed chamber with gloved openings for the 
men's hands. Friday's dissections were tricky given the rats' small size.
Sixteen-day-old rats are as big as a man's thumb and weigh a mere
half-ounce, their brains are the size of a fingernail. Once the ship 
returns to earth in May, the team will examine the brain cells under an 
electron microscope. It's an unfortunate thought, but "yes" One fatal
step for rodents, one giant step backwards for HUMAN-KIND. "We think
it's really neat as their nervous systems will develop in outer space,"
Kerry Walton the neuroscientist said. Rats with their eyes recently 
opened, used their front legs to scoot around their enclosure inside the 
shuttle. Later, more than half of the 96 baby rats that were launched on
the research flight, have died from starvation and dehydration. The
astronaut heroes nursed some of them back to health, so they could
dissect them.

My moon rocket crashed here. It looked inviting. Can you blame it for
believing? Will I go on to prove the planet wrong? It has been wrong but
there is no blame. It has been right but there is no credit given. My
flesh soon loses life and falls loose, like the rope of light from a 
dead star skipping through the galaxy. I cannot say where it goes or
where it came from. My bones are all I have left. The river of blood
rushes across them. My eyes fill with blood. The hills are blood seen 
through them. The sun is setting. Blood leaked from my body when I cut 
it. The maple trees are oozing syrup‹gum trees bleeding sap. The blue
fly has green guts squeezed out of it. Its side exploded on a 
windscreen. Corrupted rocket. Sometimes I feel like a tree trapped 
inside flesh, or a whale with an ocean inside. Tearing through tides of 
blood that surround my bones. I could flood this earth with blood or at
least the universe of an ant. My greatest moment, yet to the earth it
will be like a red drop spilt. Please don't kill yourself, life's too 
short. It will be killing you soon enough. Russian scientists want to 
send mirrors into orbit to reflect light down into the bleak nights of
the arctic winter. It would involve sending satellites carrying mirrors
into orbit around the North Pole to act as artificial moons to reflect
the sun's rays back onto small areas of land. The effect on these areas 
would be greater illumination than that given by a full moon. The
scientists said that 2-3 kilometres could be lit up by quite a small
mirror. The natural pattern of light and dark in the arctic disrupted,
by reflections as fanciful as unwanted space junk.

The astronaut was ordered to kill the adult male rat after its electric
cap came off and its brain electrodes came out. The cap, which had been
attached to the rodent's head more than a month ago, apparently was 
loosened by growing scar tissue. The animal was no longer useful for 
brain research. Inside the shuttle a couple of vivisector astronauts
keep a watchful eye on 1,514 crickets, 4 oyster toads and hundreds of 
pregnant rats and mice. Before launching the shuttle NASA was having
trouble with the toads, who were so frightened they buried themselves in 
their tank, the proper readings from the transmitters wedged between the 
rocks. Once in orbit baby rats simply floated away from their mothers
and could not suckle, whilst the mothers were stressed out by the 
strange space environment. Two hundred from 225 young swordtail fish
died on the mission, which also provided water that was too warm. No
snail eggs hatched in orbit. Two of the 4 adult oyster toadfish were
DOA. As soon as the landed spaceship was unloaded, scientists began 
dissecting the few dozen surviving baby rats, as well as the nearly 
2,000 crickets, snails, fish and older rodents that were onboard.
Researchers had to move fast, to see how the animal's nervous systems had
adapted to weightlessness. When you initially see this you think, "Oh
no," because the vivisectors had not been transformed by their 
experience. They wanted all the baby rats back as soon as possible for 
dissection, before their flesh deteriorated any further and spoilt the 
findings just beyond the gaze of the earth, for still they sought to 
destroy sentient life. They would travel no further.

Before astronauts and rats with unopened eyes explored the heavens,
another species of space traveller tested NASA rockets in flights that 
bolstered the hopes of star-gazers: the nation's astro-chimps. Recruited
by the Air Force in the late 1950's, 65 toddler chimpanzees grew up 
learning to be at the helm in the Mercury space capsules that paved the
 way for an American to land on the moon. These animals found stardom in
1961 when one sharp chimp, 3-year-old Ham, won the honour of preceeding
the first U.S. human, graced the cover of Life Magazine. But as manned
space flight took off, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
no longer needed chimpanzees, which can live more than 50 years. Ham
died years ago; the air force grounded the other chimps. Now, the
nation's 33 surviving astro chimps‹along with their 110 descendants
are suffering from zero gravity associated trauma. There are deserts of
unlaunched rockets. Civilisations of machinery rusting in the outbacks.
I went back again and again looking for the fuel of rage to fuel my 
flight, my long journey. Hindrance is the great learned fuel. If someone 
had helped me, I wouldn't have known what they were trying to do. I felt
like I was only living in half a landscape, stumbling over invisible 
rocks. Something whistled in the sky, half a wing cut by light. A not
quite an animal close by my cheek. I decide to return from where I had
come using my instinct as internal combusters, and my rage as the
launching pad.


Wholly Daze
I will write/a double life/lifting you/from the baking powder
‹Paula Green

More is not less
‹Robert Venturi

Any Thought utters a Dice Throw
‹Stephane Mallarmé

Spindrift pages
‹Dylan Thomas
Expressions of freedom require no freedom of expression
Self turns back on self with bitterest remonstrance
Losing the plot losing the remote the picture won't stop
Not either nor but both snoring together gothically

Beach houses make the best poems
Snakily expressive yet freely sinewy
Torturedly lying on the if of a headland
The whether of sand whips the wave of cause

The kitchen bench becomes a haven for self-conscious ants
All looking for each other wave on wave
From the murmurous breath of late sleepers
Free and expressive in holiday trauma

After a few days it's no longer the place it was when you first arived
The 81 steps are as embedded as that line
I want to come over to hell with the consequence
Is late waking like late flowering?

Those tomentose buds those tormented toes that total rose
That vegetarian burger for that matter that matters
That hay fever pill in one hand and in the other the water you must not drink
The big monster narrative casts a shadow

On the wall behind you you do not notice but carry on
Throwing the dice while a pair of patched and shredded trousers hangs
	over the end of the bed
The Book of Birth Memory and Honeymoons lies open
Three wild cards mark the page

The other 49 lie face down
You will know when you have met a force
They are like seeing stars lapidary constellations that fly out of your mouth
At night you create waves of absence and useless mitigation

A bach is toujours artificiel toujours gai
A throw of the dice will determine whether the whales will breach
From the bay waves of sound depart like raiders
Nothing so indeterminate night after night as the shape of the shore

Sure thing a pattern written or ridden over sand
The horseshoe shapes both big and small are washed away when we wake up
Rural oval ruined idyll idle oral ideal
We meaning the enormous collective us are the viruses of trees so the holists say

One dot two three four five six quoting Mallarmé
The one with the bad tears in his trousers
The poet asleep on the camp bed exercises in the still night
Look where the legs lie midst dreams of cream and jam tart

Two new constellations appear late at night the sinking ship and the
	drowning rat
The seven lost sisters are not eight
There is a very good reason for this
So hungry you eat up everything on a good full plate

From sun to sin in one I
Deal a good hand of eyes and ohs and yous
The stolen page grows cross and hot with luck
The narrative prints her return with shoes on sand


Seven Poems from the Chinese


I have decided to land here, here among my own kind,
the legions whose every fantasy is fulfilled at heightened velocity.


Actually what I am really thinking of writing are some poems that 
	deliberately digress,
accommodating every stylistic vice.

The Art of Printing

	No animal tamer ever tamed an animal as obedient as this.	

But how then shall we begin our breakfast
If we do not first read the paper

How will we butter our toast
Fry ham and eggs

If Iran had not attacked Iraq
If you, the happy mistress of my house, did not leave me

The Sentence Left on the Wall

Those early mornings with their tearful separations
The first kiss after getting out of bed pale green as a stalk
Facing a filthy mirror
Putting earrings back in place
Leaving a sentence on the wall:
"The secret joys of the melancholy heart."
The icy April seawater that we missed and
Those wasted hours when by chance we could not meet
The brass shop that we missed
Where at noon there flashed the face of a cat
One copy of a guidebook called the "Lonely Planet"
Some ships leave the harbor.
Some people never again appear.
A certain Grecian blue tinged with Turkish green
The music and dye sealed within a water bottle.
And the ruins.
"You are my most consummate ruin."

I am Stealing a Glance to See Whether He is Stealing a Glance

			An afterword for a second impression

A completely unadorned room
Insulating walls
Swallowing every sound

A cat lands
Silently and softly
Fleshy pads like lips

In the cat's eye resides time
The we that it perceives
Is gray 
And ashen
 But we feel ourselves to be mouldering
In need of technology
And endless hugs and kisses

The present invades the past
The past invades the present
But present and past bear no relation

He is stealing a glance
I am stealing a glance to see whether he is stealing a glance
				March 1997, Taipei


A crab
On the tip of the tongue

The Tongue

In its hole
A cold irresolute fearsome
And defiant crocodile

The Mercury We So Carefully Raise

Passing through
The ruins of the black see-saw
Oozing out of the borderlands
Prolonging the dance
Pressing upon the chambers of the flesh
Early morning 6 A.M.
We tender the pale moon

‹translated by Steven Bradbury


Liz Waldner, Homing Devices, O Books, 1998.
"The small thing, it is good. / The thing and its shadow meet in the small thing," 
she begins.  But the poem mimics an academic transcription of an ancient Greek fragment, 
"number of lines lost unknown."  A series of appended parenthetical notes flit from JFK 
to Baudelaire to Sappho to HD to the Beatles.  "Ancient Greek / Berliner Also," the first 
poem in Liz Waldner's new volume Homing Devices, rehearses disconnection, fragmentation, 
getting lost.  The thing doesn't seem to be able to find its shadow because‹or even 
though?‹"thisalphabet is verysmall."

	Yet by the time we reach the three longer poems that end the volume, "The Burden
of a Prayer," "The Singing Underneath," and "Homing Devices," the cramped and desolate
space that dominates the book's opening movement accommodates the shape of "SweetBee 
Smoothfield," the addressee of the embarrassingly simple lyrical core‹"I need you,"
"I love you"‹of the poet's quest to "unnot the nots" in "some essentially 
non-essential in between" that might turn into a meeting place for her and her 
lover.  Smoothfield is the sweet bee that gathers the poet's pollen, tucking it 
into "those hinge-joint knees like memorial arches to also ephemeral crustacean 
kin, moments, monuments, to non-selves beneath their own notice."  Those crustacean 
kin are more small things, ants as alphabets, whose trails across paper mimic maps 
or scores or poems, figures oblivious enough to their own notice to elicit "the 
singing underneath," and so become the cyphers the poet hopes will help her finally
spell her way, lexically or magically, home.  "The ant runs circles around the place 
I keep for you, text, score, washable globe, diagrams from the dictionary, dioramas 
from the museum, map, sentence, x marks the spot, you are here. Me. Too."

	In between is a glittering drift of words, signifiers melting into one another 
across a field of eclectic allusion and free association.  The physical sites criss-cross 
America from Southern Mississippi to Vermont and NY, NY to LA, while the cultural and 
literary landscape ranges from Ananke, Augustine, and Andromache to Blake, Baudelaire, 
and Berryman, from Genesis and Gaia to the Enola Gay, Tikal to Treblinka, Mary Magdalene 
to Maypo, Job to Janis Joplin, Eurydice to Elvis, Osiris to Oz, and Quetzlcoatl to the 
Here n Queer Social Club.  Sometimes Waldner slips her way through homonyms and 
multilingual puns, as when the chorus of "Hansel Und Gretel Also" follows the 
trail of crumbs from "Rodeway Inn. / all the way in" to "no room in in" to "no room, 
so manger. in. / voilà, bulimia. in."  Sometimes the words assemble images: "the arcing 
shape of the double ax, of the crescent moon, of the stalagmite, of the bull's horn, of 
the bird's wing, of the egg's shell‹the arcing shape of the snow along the window sill, 
the face outside in the dark looking in, the flow formed and fixed by the frame."  
Sometimes allusions collide and light up, as when pathetic Lear thinking dead Ophelia 
breathes segues into the simulacral redemption of old soldiers disobediently abandoning 
their roles during a tv reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg.  Sometimes these tightly 
constructed lyrics estrange language by insisting on its solidity, as in the insanely 
precise, numbered statements in "The Grass is on the Grass:" "1) A dog and a cow are on 
the mountain. / 2) Sheep have hearts; cows, too, have hearts."  Sometimes the words fade 
before our eyes, as in the slowly disappearing refrain of "Quartet."

	Almost always the words make time, memory, language, and quotation brush up against 
the delineate desire and its devices.  The trick is to make the pathos of lost love 
invest the act of writing itself.  "Now I am writing my way into now, again and still, 
now, now, full of then."  In poem after poem Waldner's crafty intelligence manages to 
transform the poet watching herself watching herself writing into a way of building a 
believable, brittle refuge from an irredeemable past.

	With its panoply of symmetries, echoes, ironies, and cross references, Homing 
Devices demands that it be read as a sequence rather than a mere collection.  This 
is an excellent, rich volume of poetry, challenging, harrowing, funny, convincing.  
Rarely does one find such vulnerability and sadness so luxuriantly, inventively 
dressed out, so playful, so cured.

Contributors Notes

Ida Yoshinaga's childhood home in Maui is a short walk away from Happy Valley, where the late psychotherapist George Fujita grew up. She wrote this poem for George and Pam and for their upcoming book about dealing with terminal cancer, To Live: Hope for the Dying. • Bill Luoma lives in Honolulu. His book Works and Days came out this year from Hard Press/The Figures. • Renee Gladman is a writer and editor living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Proliferation, No Roses Review, Mass Ave and in An Anthology of New (American) Poets from Talisman. Her chapbook Not Right Now came out recently from Second Story. • Bobbie West writes that, after drifting into various jobs as waitress, union machinist, and English teacher in China, she discovered poetry. Her poems have appeared in Gas, Misc. Proj., and Key Satch(el), among others. She works at the San Diego Public Library branch near her home and is hard at work on a chapbook, Scattered Damage. • Stephen Oliver is an antipodean whose poetic concerns are global. His collections include Guardians, Not Angels (1993), Islands of Wilderness‹A Romance (1996). He lives in Sydney, Australia. • Steve Carll lives in Honolulu. • Michael McPherson has been widely published in Hawai'i over the last two decades. He is a lawyer on the Big Island. • John Olson has been doing reviews for Sulfur and The Stranger. He lives in Seattle. Swarm of Edges (bcc) is his recent chapbook. • Summi Kaipa is a graduate student in the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. She focuses on cultural poetics‹primarily Asian American‹and is currently editing a journal by the name of Interlope. Its emphasis is to publish Asian American writers whose work is experimental either in the scope of American poetry and/or in relation to the tradition of Asian American poetry. • Jason Olive was born in Los Angeles in 1972 to parents of mixed heritage. He attended the University of Hawai'i and graduated with a degree in English literature. He lives in NYC. o "Electric laulau," a new cd of pidgin humor and music by Joe Balaz is available at http:joebalaz.iuma.com • Dan Featherson lives in Tucson, Arizona. He has recent and forthcoming work in New American Writing, Poetry New York, and Sulfur. • Rob Wilson is Professor of English at the University of Hawai'i • Hugh Steinberg's poetry has appeared in Grand Street, Antioch Review, Melodion, and Epoch. He is currently attending Stanford University as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He is co-editor, with Jennifer Harris, of JackLeg and a board member of Small Press Traffic. He lives in San Francisco. • John Tranter has published thirteen collections of verse. Different Hands (Folio/Fremantle), a collection of seven experimental porse pieces, was published in 1998. His work appears in Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. He recently co-edited the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry, published in Britain and the US as the Bloodaxe Book of Modern Australian Poetry and is editor of the free Internet magazine Jacket (www.jacket.zip.com.au/welcome.html). • Kathy D.K.K. Banggo is a fan of Lucille Clifton, an endless list of other poets, and singer Etta James. She often hid in the bushes of a CSU campus to answer the question: How does a poet run? Phil Levine routinely jobbed by at just about the same time every day. She lives in Honolulu. • Jonathan Brannen lives in Minnesota. His most recent collections of poetry are The Glass Man Left Waltzing (Meow), Thing Is The Anagram of Night (Texture Press), and nothing doing never again (Score Press). He edits Standing Stones Press. o The Australian writer Louis Armand has been a permanent resident of the Czech Republic since mid-1994, where he teaches cultural theory at Charles University and serves as poetry editor of The Prague Revue. His first full-length collection of poetry, Seances, was published this year by Twisted Spoon Press. • John Kinsella's latest books of poetry are The Hung and Poems 1980-1994 out with Bloodaxe/Dufours and Fremantle Arts Centre Press. He is editor of the Australian journal Salt and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. • Coral Hull was born in Paddington, New South Wales, Australia in 1965. She is a member of The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria and is an animal rights advocate and the Director of Animal Watch Australia, an online publishers directory and resource site on animal rights and vegetarian issues. Her most recent book is How Do Detectives Make Love (Penguin). • Murray Edmond lives in Auckland, New Zealand and teaches at the University of Auckland. He writes: "The largest baking powder manuracturer in NZ is called 'Edmonds,' though I am not related (not even spelt the same). 'Baking Powder' was always (one of my) nicknames at school!" • Hsia Yü is arguably Taiwan's leading contemporary poet. Her volumes of poetry include Memoranda, Ventriloquy, and Rubbing Ineffable. She was born in Hong Kong, educated in Taiwan, and currently lives in France; she continues to publish out of Taiwan in newspapers and anthologies. Steve Bradbury teaches literature at National Central University in Taiwan. He is translating a volume of the selected poems of Hsia Yü and (the rock upon which his ship has foundered) a new version of Ho Chi Min's "Prison Diary." • John Rieder has taught at the University of Hawai'i since 1980 • Gaye Chan is a professor at the University of Hawai'i, department of art. She loves working on Tinfish covers as they provide a means for her to use up some of the debris that has collected in her office. She is currently collaborating with Lisa Asagi on two artist books. • Lisa Asagi grew up in Kalihi (near the airport). At the moment she resides in San Francisco (near Hungry Joe's). She is a writer presently obsessed and working on a novel about islands and atoms. She is also pre-occupied with a project in collaboration with artist Gaye Chan.