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   Jacket 32 — April 2007        [»] Jacket 32 Contents page        [»] Jacket Homepage
Holiday Album cover art

Cover image : Dirk Rowntree

The Holiday Album

Greeting Card Poems
For All Occasions

Edited by Elaine Equi

Collages by Kevin Riordan

Calendar of Poets and Days:

[»] Elaine Equi: Best Wishes (Introduction)

[»] Elaine Equi: Happy New Year

[»] David Lehman: Time Frame

[»] Wayne Koestenbaum: Short Subjects

[»] Rae Armantrout: Address

[»] Nick Piombino: Valentine’s Day
 — Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14th

[»] Kim Lyons: Red Couplets
 — Paper Lantern Festival (Chinese) — the 15th day of the first lunar month

[»] David Shapiro: Colorful Hands
 — Holi: The Festival of Colors (Indian) — first weekend in March

[»] Tom Clark: Equinox
 — March 21/22

[»] Vincent Katz: Back From The Dead
 — The Veneralia (Roman) — April 1st

[»] Eileen Tabios: Eggs: Pulp Fiction for Easter

[»] Jeanne Marie Beaumont: Fête of the Little Boats
 — (French) — April 6th

[»] Martine Bellen: On John Ashbery Day — A Cento
 — April 7th

[»] Cathy McArthur: At the Wildlife Center
 — Bird Day — May 4th

[»] Jerome Sala: Mother’s Day

[»] Jeanne Marie Beaumont: Flower & Camera
 — Flower & Camera Day — June 29th

[»] Patricia Spears Jones: The Perfect Lipstick
 — July 4th

[»] Chris Martin: Independence Day

[»] Mark Lamoureux: Bride of Frankenstein’s Birthday
 — July 9th

[»] Stacy Szymaszek: Hammock Day
 — July 22nd

[»] Erica Kaufman: admit you’re happy day
 — Aug. 8th

[»] Erica Kaufman: elvis week
 — Aug. 8-16th

[»] Fanny Howe: Our Lady of Knock, August 21, 1879

[»] Joanna Fuhrman: At the Evil Boss Convention  — Labor Day

[»] Jerome Sala: Anniversary

[»] Gregory Crosby: Columbo Day
 — Oct. 12th

[»] Connie Deanovich: Happy Hamlet Day
 — Oct 15th

[»] Bruce Covey: Definitions
 — Dictionary Day–Oct. 16th

[»] Amy Gerstler: All Saints’ Day
 — Nov. 1st

[»] Joe Brainard: Thanksgiving

[»] David Trinidad: Doll Memorial Service
 — Doll Memorial Day — second Saturday in December

[»] David Shapiro: After Ryokan
 — Winter Solstice — Dec. 21st

[»] Ron Padgett: Season’s Greetings

[»] Ryan Stechler: Pirate’s Christmas Carol: Dec. 25th

Best Wishes (Introduction)

Like many people, my first exposure to poetry was through the medium of greeting cards. Before I knew Lorca, Desnos, Stein, or Celan, I knew Hallmark. It was the habit of my mother and grandmother to save whatever cards had been sent throughout the year in order to know who should receive a reciprocal one, but to me pouring over those ornate decks was a stimulating and rewarding pastime in and of itself. From them I deduced that brevity with words, sometimes arranged in shapes called stanzas, was often rewarded with a unique and lavish visual setting that included bouquets, cakes, hearts, and gilded lettering among other things. Being very young, I couldn’t quite figure out exactly what the relationship between word and image was in a poem, but I sensed it was important. Thus poetry was originally for me a kind of picture-writing  — and greeting cards, the hieroglyphic flashcards that taught me to read it.

Another idea I formed back then was that part of the very nature of poetry was to greet — i.e. to show up unannounced on someone’s doorstep in order to profess love, congratulate, and wish well. It was a portable, sociable type of writing. Later, of course, I became familiar with more serious poems, the kind that internalized their pictures and suppressed their desire to call out. But I’ve always retained something of these early ideas and thought it would be fun to create a context that allowed for both a literary and a more exuberant greeting-card aesthetic to co-exist.

Our calendar here has been entirely dictated by highly esteemed poets. Its holidays are a mix of tradition and invention — the sacred, the secular, the romantic, the ridiculous, and even thank goodness, the mildly profane. From John Ashbery to Columbo Day, to Holi: the Festival of Colors, Elvis Week and more, I hope you will refer to The Holiday Album often and that it keeps you in a meditative, celebratory, and poetic mood throughout the coming year!

— Elaine Equi

Happy New Year: Siameseve

Elaine Equi red floret Happy New Year

Push and pull.
Squeeze through
the breathy bottleneck.

Music thunders
over inconsistencies
of plot.

One often hears
of cheap sentiment,

but of what
would expensive
sentiment consist?

I would surround
your words with the finest
of kittens and steeples –-

a blood orange sun
dripping over snow koans
in summer.

There are some for whom
this would be anathema,
but I can’t imagine you’re one.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

David Lehman blue floret Time Frame

In every cathedral a clock.
Trains emit smoke in museums.
Fog dissolves rock.
Leave Lisbon. Come to Rome.

In the shadow of a statue
That shows no sign of moving
The actors run like military ants
As the train heads home.

The portrait remains disapproving
Though the night was made for loving
And the garlanded couples continue
Their nightly unsightly dance.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Wayne Koestenbaum
red floret Short Subjects


Greetings, stomach.
Greetings, humanity.
The girl with foamy hair
walks past a private fountain.

Mother lives on the highest ledge
of the shared bathroom,
her hair dyed blonde
for the masturbator’s wedding—

a vegetarian ceremony, Irish.
First there will be a short subject,
then Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
Find four seats together.

That will be difficult or easy,
depending on the cineplex.
Find a place not near fascists
and not in the first row.


Ash Wednesday, the movie, is
almost as good as Ash Wednesday,
the movie. Trumpery. Brisket
confuses patrons who expect

a matinee of Hair, haiku-for-hire,
a sneak preview of Chinatown
without objectification,
a shot of testosterone as chaser.


The prizefighter,
the fumigation,
the festival of tears,
the Huguenot shield,

the tattered sail,
the good luck tie,
evil personal questions,
the abstract painter,

women who look like little boys,
a colloquial expression,
getting it up,
the girl with foamy hair.


Greetings, reporters. I bought
a fountain pen to celebrate
The Anna Moffo Timbre Hour.
I’ll devote one hour each day

to remembering her timbre,
reactiving its sheen
via my deeds. Welcome
to The Anna Moffo Timbre Hour,

sponsored by Rexall. Recently
I decided to be factual.
Rhetoric travels quickly,
oatmeal-colored against the bulkwark dawn.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Rae Armantrout blue floret Address

The way my interest
in their imaginary

is secretly addressed
to you.


Without intention

prongs of ivy
mount the posts
supporting the freeway.

It would be possible to say
each leaf

circumscribes hope

or that each leaf,
fastidiously coming
to one point,

suggests a fear
of the unknown.


These glossy,
laced-up, high-heel boots

(each leaf)

addressed to you

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Nick Piombino red floret Valentine’s day (February 14)

                [from Contradicta]

Never reveal what makes you happy, or at least conceal some things, because unless you can be surprised, you will never be loved.


Hidden hearts, like flowers in darkness, wilt quickly.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Kim Lyons red floret Red Couplets

Days as measure, implacable boxes
Contain too much scrawl and hours thicken

Thin where worn remain to hold their place
Bending over the bathroom sink I

Heard the news inked on air
The moon is new but love is old

And in the spattered mirror
See the slightest cloud of her filmy dresses

Black ribbons made of spit and ice.
Traces of reddish orange in the dark

Immeasurable as thought yet
Taking a thought’s impulsive path

Red couplets invisible illegible prophecies
Soaked on Canal Street sidewalk dissolve

To blood, exploded into
Lanterns reignited by lunar light

Back to the Contents List: [»]

David Shapiro blue floret Colorful Hands

I put hands on your feet — a green hand
A yellow hand near your knee — colorful hands
I put a purple hand near your neck
And a green and light green hand on your spine

In the air beyond your bed, an orange hand
To the right of your night table a dark hand
I put an outstretched purple hand over your hair
A red hand on your hip says Goodbye, evening, enemy.

One red hand could cover you. I placed a guitar on your upper lip
And a trumpet. And between your lips a conductor’s baton
And on your lower lip two violin bows and a red banjo, silent.

And on your pattern I placed more music.
And on your breast, nothing.
In the sky, I placed a bridge of violets held up by no string.

                Holi: The Festival of Colors (Indian)
                First weekend in March

Tom Clark red floret Equinox (for A.) March 21/22

The rich deep hues of the floppy opened tulips —
purples blushing pinks cadmium lights a wildly alluring vermilion  —
beautiful long past nature’s due date

remind me of you these first cold spring nights

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Vincent Katz blue floret Back From The Dead

Eros in various guises
At unexpected junctures
A large stain on the bath mat
There are different kinds of love
And it behooves us to honor
The different propensities
Hence, the gods, and their
Division of worldly splendor
We shine only a brief moment
And all our work is taken away

I was looking at river late
Afternoon a hazy sunset
Barge my vista tugged rapidly
Lavish snaking splash of light
From sun’s demise settled
Point of view could see
Mistakes become of no
Importance dissipate nagging
Distress would I need then
Relinquish good emotions too?
Could there be imbalance,
shedding bad, keeping good?

I thought I’d get out of there
But not the way it happened
I love sex can’t get over it
Every time I think I’m over it
I realize how fantastic it is
We have this thing driving
Us together making dusk
Push splashes in streams
I was running and running up
Never arriving at lights
A lone bark dogged my steps
Lights’ liquid spread in dark

A cold traversed my body
Till I remembered the day
Thought I need to call on
My friend, which is you, ask you
To come with me, join hands
To make sacrifice to Venus

To recognize she is
The omnipotent, ruler of
Several spheres, these days
Will make offering in her temple
Grains and wine, boiled
And baked, festoons, solemn
Priestess in tight-fitted garment
We will run through streets’
Alarm at her joy, and we will
Love each other, freely, every one
Taking every one, as pleases her

Come to the Veneralia —
Women in myrtle wreathed
Bathe in men’s public baths
Let’s pay homage to Venus
Verticordia “HeartChanger”
Imperfections be hidden
Stay a few more days
Celebrate the Megalesia :
Cybele, Magna Mater
Black Stone Phrygia
Vomited forth to Roman
Eunuch-priests parade
Themselves bloody beat
To tambourine raucous
Flute and cymbal carry
Her turreted image some
Sacrifice a bull’s balls
Instead of their own

See the young girls
What’s on their minds
Don’t know don’t talk
Simply, to Venus, dance

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Eileen Tabios red floret Eggs: Pulp Fiction for Easter

“The vulgar boil,”
proclaims Alexander Pope
in The Second Book of Horace,
while “the learned roast an egg.”

The ancient shepherds
ignored the Pope,
cooking their eggs
without fire
by hoisting them
into a sling
they whirled so rapidly
over their heads
air friction heated
the eggs to hard.

This nugget comes from
Soyer Shilling’s Cooking For the Poor
published in 1854.

Peg Bracken, in her memoir
A Window Over the Sink,
suggests modernizing
Soyer’s impoverished title
to the text of a sign hanging
over a gift shop’s door:

Shoplifters Will Be Happily
Beaten To A Pulp!

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Jeanne Marie Beaumont
red floret Fête of the Little Boats

              (April 6, France)

Handkerchief sails
             sneeze of a breeze
                   stowaway bee
on the stern
             Gently the petite boat
                   dreams toward the green horizon
Called her

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Martine Bellen
blue floret On John Ashbery Day—A Cento

              April 7

This is perhaps a day of general honesty.
But the new dimension of truth had only recently
Burst in on us. All boarders between men were closed. The phantom
Watched them from the roof, not guessing the hungers
That must be stirred before disappointment can begin.
There is no way to prevent this or the expectation of disappointment.
And, as my way is, I begin to dream, resting my elbows on the desk and leaning out the
window a little. We escape
Down the cloud ladder, but the problem has not been solved.
Are you afraid of trembling like breath…
But there is no breath in seriousness; the lake howls for it
Before the air mirrors us, yet I cannot escape the picture
Of my small self in that bank of flowers:
Something like living occurs, a movement
Out of the dream into its codification.
At night, comets, shooting stars, twirling planets,
Suns, bits of illuminated pumice, and spooks hang over the old place.
You were painfully stitched to hours
The moon now tears up, scoffing at the unrised portions
In the flickering bulbs of the sky, raised passed us, taken away from us,
Yet ours over and over until the end that is past truth.
Much that is beautiful must be discarded
So that we may resemble a taller
Impression of ourselves. With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try
To tell us we are:

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Spring Cleaning Fairy

Cathy McArthur
red floret At The Wildlife Center

Anyone can initiate a mass movement of flocks: a loon of rafts, a crow of congresses, a parrot of companies. In the case of formation flying by large birds, there’s an energetic benefit: following birds can take advantage of the air produced by ones ahead of them.

    Observation shows that there are no leaders (at least not for more than a few seconds at a time). Different birds will be at the front every time a group changes direction.

    A flock moves flawlessly as an organized unit, even if individuals make misjudgments. If a party makes an error in direction, it will swerve side-to-side rapidly. This keeps misjudgments under control, quickly spreading imperfection. A coot of covers might be on the left side of the flock, then in the next instant move to middle. Mistakes are diluted before they have a chance to be visible.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Muther's Day

Jerome Sala blue floret Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

When God
handed out
the Oedipus Complex

He didn’t give
me one.

You are so hot.

With Love,

your son  —

Blind Lemon Jefferson


Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Camera and Flowers Day

Jeanne Marie Beaumont
red floret Flower & Camera

        (Flower & Camera Day, June 29)

an f-stop for flowers
a bud’s shuttering open
a bulb’s flashy
each posy as pose
move in close
say say freesia or

style is part of a flower
a rose is a pose
even in repose
likenesses multiply
all colors smile
when asked
bring on those
floriferous machines!

Patricia Spears Jones
red floret The Perfect Lipstick

When the life-sized replicas of the Niña,
the Pinta, and the Santa Maria
precariously sailed into New York harbor
they looked like toy ships.

Just think, Columbus in a toy ship
Off to discover the perfect route —
the fastest way to China, the Indies,
all that spice.

He never got this far north,
But all the same, the slaughter of whole peoples,
buildings that even God had not thought  of in 1492,
and “expulsion,” “discovery,” the “Slave Trade”
all followed.

Out of these horror came
new foods
new clothes
new shoes
a language as mixed as the blood of the people
and as alienating.

But there are times when the connections, no matter how fragile,
hold, like the thick sails of those tall ships
which decorated the harbor — July 4, in fog and gentle light.

It is why I appreciate my favorite shade of lipstick:
Sherry Velour.

Sounds like the name of a drag queen from the early seventies.
One of those strapping Black men who had enough of playing macho,
put their feet in five-inch heels and made saints of Dinah Washington,
Rita Hayworth, and a very young Nina Simone.

So on goes this lipstick. Pretty for parties.
Fatal for festivals.
Sherry Velour and her hot discoveries:
light above the fog
a toy ship
Black men in sequined dresses and the click of new words
in the new world where the most dangerous of dreams
come true.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Chris Martin
blue floret Independence Day

I was trying to land
A plane in the Andes only
To wake to

The squealing brakes of garbage
Trucks once again, the soft
Focus of death reflected in a pigeon’s

Rooftop warble, this is
What it means
For me to be in love

To swallow grief
In wondrous subvocal
Gulps, I think

Of all the fingers
Wriggling in their crepuscular
Pocketlight and wish

These cloistered sublimities
Of touch to open
As when the singer says feeling

He says it seven
Times and the rain that wasn’t
Due until evening falls

In tiny drops against
The ketchup of your hotdog
As you prepare

To watch America
Swim, Long Beach lifeguards
Drowned out by the shrill

Calamity of spangled
July, this is a film
About the ankles of a man

Cornered in the alleyway
By a sudden vortex
Of refuse, a song about a woman

Trembling in relief
At the absence
Of god, her windshield

Speckled with elliptical
Distortions, the day
Calamitous and it was I who

Dubbed the cat Thirsty and I
Who staked claim
To Dirt Bottle Island

Where spokes of illumination came
Crashing through its canopy
To fill the meticulous scatter of glass

With glints, your shins
Ornamented by scars, one
Hand around my

Waist, the other flat
Against your lips and you
Have said nothing

Of me until you take into
Account my most personal views
About chicken salad

And the weekly catharsis
Of montage, I
Who left Colorado

To revel in the obscene
Pageant of tender idiots we call
Art, to fail in

Habituating the scotomas
Of class, to daintily
Hone the hallucinations

Into viable texture
And listen as
The baby downstairs cries

Out to the world its astonishment.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Mark Lamoureux
red floret Bride of Frankenstein’s Birthday

As though airborne
pathogens, they came
to this green oubliette
what must be
universes ago. Fecund
& numerous stretched
the demesne where
even hours sank, breathless
into the shifting sand
pits that littered the verdant
swathe. Entropy alone
could unseal the marred
circle of them as the hail
of days beset their
faculties & made them
gaze right into the blank
hum of afterwards.
& so they learned
to trick life into
its abandoned hovels
— thus were we:
fashioned of the disparate
gazelle parts, fluted
wings & horned jewels
of beetles. We chitter,
the scorned & execrated,
in this wordless Eden
while the fires burn
on all sides & millennial
clouds shroud the winking
sun. Afterwards
we will populate
the necropolis,
the penultimate people
of the proxy creator,
when origins are so much
ghosts and embers,
when the garden sheds all
of its names.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Stacy Szymaszek
red floret Hammock Day

Did you know
people almost never fall
out of hammocks?

Today you will not be at risk.

Happy Hammock Day!

                This is where I hang out all night
                just to dream of you.

in a Hatteras Hammock®
swingin’ to Guy Lombardo

Happy Hatteras Day!

                Hop in…

Today we move in concert.

                                (don’t forget July 22
                                is Hammock Day)

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Erica Kaufman
blue floret admit you’re happy day

it’s easy to put the lab coat
over the house dress.

to embrace quality
only call it “lower.”

lover not the same
as social work. really,

take a moment to feel
hands holding. to knock

off nerve eminence
in favor of sweet

gleanings. nails on neck.
remember a spectrum

that starts

                            (august 8)

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Erica Kaufman red floret elvis week

                    for CA Conrad

first realize the body
is moving. learn to spell

“image.” even if you
only know a two-

room home. a pair
of boxing gloves. a new

souvenir. celebrate with
an impersonator

on every floor. date
only those with side-

burns. call her “pelvis.”
rent an amusement

park. pretend he
serenades you each night.

                            (august 8-16)

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Fanny Howe blue floret Our Lady of Knock, August 21, 1879

Was in the month of Mary
That I lost my desire to pray.
It seeped away like yellow.
As blurred as sorrow.
It was me singing hope as a solo.
God growing weak and subtle.
Birdsong was my last communion.
The burn of karma was the loss
Of sureness and of eros,
Mental delirium, the triumph of the strong,
A sacred heart in iron,
It was the end of an eon, winter
Was coming. The seeds were fires
Inside the children… . Knock, knock, Mary.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Evil Boss Convention

Joanna Fuhrman red floret At the Evil Boss Convention

They are plucking live chickens again —
or so the official website claims.

In reality, they are stretching out.
Their shoes already off,

they watch the spider webs
expanding between their

spread toes, admire the intricate
work of the most practical of arts.

Being an evil boss used to be easier.
There used to be places to go:

evil boss clam shacks
and evil boss barber shops,

full of evil boss fun house mirrors
and evil boss double-jointed scissors.

To be an evil boss in the century of evil
bosses was to meander the avenue.

Oh how they would yodel back then —
showing off the full range of their robot falsettos,

decked out in their finest evil boss
metallic rubber togas, their gold-plated

bat-shaped fang-augmented slippers,
their super-genius evil boss grins.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Jerome Sala red floret Anniversary

To my dearest husband.

First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes cruising
down the streets
of Baghdad in a tank
with “Smoke on the Water”
blasting in the background.

Wish you were here!

Your loving wife,

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Gregory Crosby blue floret Columbo Day

It was a compromise that Indians,
Italians could agree on. Calendars

changed. The turnout for the first
parade was great: four, five deep.

They made their way down Broadway,
round the renamed circle, its statue

draped with a trench coat, themselves
a rumpled trench coat wave.

Squinting into October light. Cigars
poised in thought, mid-air, mid-wave.

The spectators cheered, until, one by
one, the beige shuffling mass began

to drop out. Distracted. Turning
back to faces behind barricades.

Crisp autumn air, leaves. Excuse me…
I hate to bother… Oh, there’s one more thing…

One by one, smug faces began to
betray everything: how they planned

it. How they thought they could get
away (why else did they show up

today?). Slowly, the parade moved
in reverse, each arm (no need for

cuffs) held by a rumpled arm. Led
away. We thought we were so

smart. Somewhere down by Macy’s,
the innocent crane their necks

up an empty street.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Hamlet Day

Connie Deanovich
red floret Happy Hamlet Day

His gowns dangle by wires
and his speeches shake inside maracas

His many heads
the many heads of many actors
float through history like elderly hurricanes
whose names no one recalls

Sometimes he crouches like a lithe librarian

By this I mean the skull, of course
that big, neckless scene stealer
at which it’s healthier to laugh

Sometimes he wears bullfighter’s sandals
and hisses the famous venom

This is only when he’s revived
taken out of his tottering trunk
to waft and billow
rise and swell
and then once more
to be borne along

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Bruce Covey red floret Definitions

  1. To gaze, retract, and subsist only on carbonation
  2. At the end of a long day, to imbibe, to mock orange
  3. To abdicate all surviving matter; to vacuum annihilation
  4. See also knot; to pretend pig for the purpose of absolution
  5. To vote on whether or not to vote; to tie an untieable clean
  6. To Freud & to Jung, to Adler, Klein, or Horney
  7. To match a strike in the pins of maze and made
  8. In food preparation, to construct butterflies from carrots
  9. To fluster by talking incessantly about genitalia
  10. To park on a decline, for instance, one’s sport utility vehicle
  11. To deceive by calling, “Caw, caw; I’m a crow!”
  12. To remain motionless while the surrounding cement laments
  13. To be bricked into a wall while clutching a cask of amontillado
  14. In basketball, to hang on the net until the backboard shatters
  15. To refrain from smoking, drinking, dancing, or hopscotch
  16. To prefer thick fabrics, including leather and velvet
  17. Every other weekend, to worship the neverending lines
  18. To pack sausage into parallel densities, one visible
  19. To pocket the three in the omnivorous corner
  20. To dust with the expectation of umbrella
  21. To dictate one’s skeleton to the annals of tape
  22. To deflect and chew the gamey library
  23. And aftermath, to fledge & bowl sublimely

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Amy Gerstler blue floret All Saints Day

The holiday arrives
quietly like phrases
of faint praise
in Braille. Famous
saints bow at the waist,
then step back, making
room for scores
of unknown saints,
to whom this day
also belongs. Not
a glamorous bunch,
these uncanonized,
unsung ones, shading
their eyes shyly
in the backs of the minds
of the few who knew them.
Hung-over, mute, confused,
hunched, clumsy, blue,
pinched, rigid or fidgety,
unable to look the radioactive,
well-dressed major saints
in the eye, they wonder
terrified: What (the fuck)
Am I Doing Here? Still
drenched, the tobacco
spitting fisherman who dove
after a dog swept downriver
looks in vain for a towel,
too timid to ask. (His dog
now sports a halo, too.)
Robed in volcanic ash,
a brave Pompeii matron
is mistaken by St. Catherine
for a sooty statue. An old
coot who serenaded
his dying wife with her
favorite ukulele tunes
is still trying to find her,
as his map of the afterlife
proved unreliable. What can
we offer these reticent saints
who lacked press agents?
Flowers? Lit candles? Floating
lanterns? The nerdy
fat whistle-blower from
the chemical plant
whose plaid slacks
made his coworkers
laugh behind his back
nervously jokes sotto
voce that he’d give
his soul for a Coke,
but no one can hear him.

Back to the Contents List: [»]

Happy New Year: Fall Farmer

Joe Brainard red floret Thanksgiving

      It seems to be that Thanksgiving Day is nearly upon us. And I’m wondering (and curious) as to what (if anything) Thanksgiving Day really “means” to me. Or, rather, what it makes me think of. Recalls to mind. And so now – (emptying out my head) — let’s see what pops up. Well, first is turkey. Second is cranberry sauce. And third is pilgrims.

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David Trinidad blue floret Doll Memorial Service

                    for Elaine Equi

There are many ways
a fashion doll can
die: chewed limbs, split
neck, ponytail snipped to
the hair plugs. This
beauty perished because her
owner left her “pearl”
earrings in their holes:
stored in the dark
for twenty-five years,
metal interacted with vinyl
and turned half her
face green—wicked witch
in profile—a condition
known as “green ear.”
And isn’t it right
that they should die.
This lovely elicited angry
indifference in a tomboy.
This gal incited rivalry
in sister, jealousy in
best friend. This is
the charmer responsible for
inspiring the ache—eternal,
inevitable—in an introverted
boy. Age has robbed
her of her face
paint. And this is
the stunner I bought
at a doll shop
an hour before my
mother died. Though I’d
fly the doll home,
dress and display her,
I knew I wouldn’t
keep her long. Sold
to the highest bidder
on eBay, she’s out
there somewhere, loose in
the world, death set
in her side-glance,
on tight red lips.

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David Shapiro red floret After Ryokan

In my cup

In the thin snow

In front of your window
In the window sky
In the blue distance
In the scattered doors

In the pool near your room
In the shadow on the highway
In every quarter of the evening land
In the staves of the sky

I seem to hear your voice

                    David Shapiro
                    Winter Solstice — Dec. 21st

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Ron Padgett red floret Season’s Greetings

                                      i.m. Philip Whalen

The holidays are said
to give one a chance
to get in touch with others
but what held back that chance
the rest of the year?
What it means is
that the holidays are a time
when we should behave
like other people, as if
in junior high school,
jury duty, or the Army,
whereas what Philip Whalen
wanted was to take a holiday
from holidays, and then
he wavered, beautifully.

Ryan Stechler red floret Pirate’s Christmas Carol

We travel on our sleighship,
Across the evening sky,
We'll hunt him down, the fat buffoon,
Aye, Santa's death is nigh!

A year ago while a’plundering,
We boarded Santa’s sleigh,
We seized his toys but in the fight,
Kris Kringle got away.

So we tied up in the rigging,
One of his tireless elves,
And we wrote a note of ransom,
To Old Saint Nick himself.

Aye, we’re bloodthirsty and mangy.
Aye, aye! We’re mean and vile!
We made poor Rudy walk the plank,
(And he fell fer quite a while!)

He’s wished for a white Christmas,
Of white he’ll get his fill,
His beard is white, his flesh is white,
His bones are whiter still!

So if you hap’n to see our sleigh,
Quick! turn out every light,
Ye landlubbers will learn to fear
The pirates of Christmas Night!

                    Ryan Stechler
                    Christmas — Dec. 25th

Happy New Year: Winter

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Bio notes

Rae Armantrout’s most recent book is Up to Speed (Wesleyan, 2004). Her collection Next Life will appear from Wesleyan in 2007.

Jeanne Marie Beaumont’s newest book is Curious Conduct (BOA Editions, 2004). Work is forthcoming is Pool, Court Green, Natural Bridge and Fairy Tale Review. She teaches at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

Martine Bellen’s books of poetry include The Vulnerability of Order and Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems. GHOSTS! is being published fall/winter 2006 by Spuyten Duyvil Press.

Joe Brainard was one of the most original and influential poet/writer/artists of the New York School. His books include the classic, I Remember and Nothing To Write Home About. He died in 1994. Jacket has a special feature on his life and work.

Tom Clark was born on the West Side of Chicago on March 1, 1941 and married, to Angelica Heinegg, at St. Mark’s Church, New York City, on March 22, 1968. He lives as quietly as possible in California and has two recent books of poetry, Light & Shade: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House) and THRENODY (effing press).

Bruce Covey is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Elapsing Speedway Organism (No Tell Books, 2006) and Ten Pins, Ten Frames (Front Room Publishers, 2007). He lives in Atlanta, GA, where he teaches at Emory University and edits the web-based poetry magazine Coconut (

Gregory Crosby was once an art critic in Las Vegas. Now he’s pursuing an MFA in writing at the City College of New York. Strange, but true.

Connie Deanovich is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, editor of Building B21:Broadsides, and the author of Zombie Jet and Watusi Titanic (

Elaine Equi is the author of many books, including The Cloud of Knowable Things. Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems is forthcoming in Spring 2007 from Coffee House Press.

Joanna Fuhrman is the author of Freud in Brooklyn, Ugh Ugh Ocean and Moraine all published by Hanging Loose Press. She recently completed a young adult novel called Still Life with Liver.

Amy Gerstler’s most recent books of poetry include Ghost Girl, Medicine, and Crown of Weeds. She does a variety of kinds of journalism, including art criticism, and teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars Program in Bennington, Vermont and at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Fanny Howe is a poet and writer who now lives in Boston. For more information on Our Lady of Knock visit

Vincent Katz is the author of eight books of poetry, including Rapid Departures (Ateliê Editorial). He won the 2005 National Translation Award for his translations of The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius. He is the editor of Vanitas magazine and Libellum books.

Erica Kaufman co-curates the belladonna* reading series/small press and is the author of the chapbooks: from the two coat syndrome, the kickboxer suite, and a familiar album (winner of the 2003 New School Chapbook Contest). her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in puppy flowers, bombay gin, the mississippi review, jubilat, good foot, CARVE, and elsewhere.

Wayne Koestenbaum has published a novel (Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes), five books of poetry (most recently, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films), and five books of nonfiction (Double Talk, The Queen’s Throat, Jackie Under My Skin, Cleavage, and Andy Warhol). His next book, Hotel Theory, is forthcoming in Spring 2007.

Mark Lamoureux lives in Astoria, NY and received his MFA from the New School in 2007. He is the author of 5 chapbooks: Poem Stripped of Artifice, Traceland, 29 Cheeseburgers, Film Poems and City/Temple. His work has been published in print and online in Fence, Mustachioed, miPoesias, Jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Conduit, Lungfull!, Coconut, and many others. In 2006 he started Cy Gist Press, a micropress focusing on ekphrastic poetry. He is Reviews Editor for Boog City, a Manhattan-based literary paper, and teaches composition in the CUNY system.

David Lehman is the author of When a Woman Loves a Man and six other books of poetry. He recently edited the selected poems of A. R. Ammons for the Library of America. His work has appeared often in Jacket.

Kimberly Lyons has new poems on the Critiphoria website and in OCHO (print). She has a chapbook, Phototherapique, forthcoming soon from Portable Press/Ketalanche Press.

Chris Martin is the author of American Music,
forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. When he speaks
American, foreigners perceive it to be without accent.

Cathy McArthur’s poetry has recently appeared in Lumina, X-Connect, Shampoo, The Melic Review, and sonaweb. She received The Malanche Prize for Literary Translation at The City College of New York (2005) where she is a candidate for an MFA in Poetry and where she teaches English Composition and Literature.

Ron Padgett’s most recent collection of poems is How to Be Perfect (Coffee House Press). Other books include You Never Know (poems), If I Were You (collaborative works), Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard and a translation of Pierre Reverdy’s Prose Poems. In 2008 Black Widow Books will issue Padgett and Bill Zavatsky’s translation of Valery Larbaud’s Poems of A. O. Barnabooth. For more information, go to

Nick Piombino’s latest chapbook is Hegelian Honeymoon from Chax Press. His weblog, fait accompli is at ; fait accompli: the book is forthcoming from Heretical Texts; his home page on the Electronic Poetry Center is at

Kevin Riordan is a Chicago based graphic artist who will try anything once, then forget and try it again. Lots of misguided work at

Jerome Sala is the author of many cult classics such as Spaz Attack, I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent, The Trip, Raw Deal: New & Selected Poems, and most recently, Look Slimmer Instantly!

David Shapiro is a poet, translator, and art critic. His books of poetry include January, Poems from Deal, A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel, The Page-turner, Lateness, House( Blown Apart), After a Lost Original, Burning Interior and the forthcoming New and Selected Poems (l965-2007).

Patricia Spears Jones is the  author of Femme du Monde, Tia Chucha Press; The Weather That Kills, Coffee House Press; and Repuestas!, Belladonna Books. Contributing editor to Bomb Magazine and columnist for Calabar Magazine, both Brooklyn based. Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting premiered  August 2007-a second commission from Mabou Mines, the internationally acclaimed theater company. “The Perfect Lipstick” is from The Weather That Kills and was first published in Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Café (Henry Holt, 1994)

Ryan Stechler is (late 2008) an undergraduate student at New York University, and is hoping to move on to an MFA program in the city. He will eventually be the author of Esoterica, but isn’t yet.

Stacy Szymaszek is the author of Emptied of All Ships (Litmus Press, 2005), Program Coordinator at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and coeditor of Instance Press.

Eileen Tabios prefers multi-genre poetry collections, such as her most recent book, The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes (Marsh Hawk Press, 2007). She blogs blindly at

David Trinidad’s last two books, Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse and Plasticville, were published by Turtle Point Press. He teaches poetry at Columbia College in Chicago, where he co-edits the journal Court Green.