Avery E.D. Burns and Joseph Noble




The process of writing "Differing in Common": in call and response style, each poet wrote every other poem playing off the previous poem in some way, i.e., using the same word or passage, continuing or varying a theme, etc. We arbitrarily chose a stanza length of nine lines as something between a tanka and a sonnet.



D i f f e r i n g   i n   C o m m o n


each word carries two

word for word

word to word

over against

with hands between to carry

ink and breath a saying


for no reason

but to


saying the breath of it

(we) lock our lines

within gesture & spittle

brittle fluids of disappointment


lacking those little round syllables

our bodies walk off without us

leaving us to run for the station

that last ticket

that tremor of motion


each listens in

an ear to the page

drops a line

just as much to himself

as to the other


riff skins

tremor a pitch

between fingertips

wondering each tune



a pulse, a heartbeat

hearing to reach

skyline moves skyline

love like blame

swirling around in fog


"accept no substitutes"

scuffed shins

a strange




sloughed fins

in the scuttlebutt

tickle our throats


can't blame the skyline

for fog

no less a substitute than


walking with reach

tantamount to

part of speech



verbs, hooting through the tunnel,

arrive with nouns in tow


crimes, like paths, returning

to sour the already full air


your walks are guesses

brushing the surround


that newspaper in the gutter

talks s'nuff


crumples the rest of day



skin and word

trade places

what counts upon coming up


the song splits remainder

a path between the teeth

guessing each foot


what lasts is tapped

scratch and blow

crackling with acoustic startle



brand new page

the skin of morning

scrubbed and ready for the world


pigeons abstract the skyway

dotting the light with wheels & veers

an unsung day no more


sentience awaits

lurking behind the horizon, like dusk

tremors of later opening now





Avery E. D. Burns edits the magazine lyric&, and runs the Canessa Park Reading Series in San Francisco, CA. Two chapbooks appeared in 2000, A Duelling Primer (2nd Story Press), and Ekistic Displays (a+bend press). An interview appears in the just published Syllogism 4. A book, The Idler Wheel, is due out January 2001 on Manifest Press.


Joseph Noble has had both creative and critical work published in Hambone, lyric&, Talisman, Antenym, and TO. He has criticism and poetry appearing in upcoming issues of Sagetrieb and Aufgabe. He is co-editor of the poetry journal, lyric&. His chapbook, between them, is due out this winter.