R  A  L  P H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities

Special 100th Issue

Best Poems
1994 - 2003

Carolyn Creedon
Tom, will you let me love you in your restaurant?
i will let you make me a sandwich of your invention
and i will eat it and call
it a carolyn sandwich. then you will kiss my lips and taste the mayonnaise
and that is how you shall love me in my restaurant

Song to Onan's Complaining Hand
Manuel del Cabral
I am the passion of the condemned.
Not the bedroom game that makes lives.
I am the lover of those who don't love.
I am the wife of
les miserables.
I am the moment before suicide.
Only of love, but never alone;
limited by skin, I pull out people...
My fingers fill me with angels,
fill me with untouched passion.

The Ladies of the School
A. W. Allworthy
The Ladies of the School
Of Bliss have announced that each evening
They are preparing to crush thyme
Against their hearts. The hot waxy juices
Will result in something that's to be known as
"The Fat Solution For Dying Stars,"
(So named after Susie Star or Susie Dying).
Logs (or legs) will be counted up as they turn
Manfully to eat up all the wimps like Arthur Q.
Freud, son of the master.

Fly Love Poem
Leslie Seamans
This morning, at approximately ten forty-two
Immediately after me & my love had come
Up together out of the sea like behemoths ---
His back scratched with passionate
Barnacles --- he my sweet god's love of ages
Calls me a "bloodsucking witch."

January 1940
Roy Fuller
Swift had pains in his head.
Johnson dying in bed
Tapped the dropsy himself.
Blake saw a flea and an elf.
Tennyson could hear the shriek
Of a bat. Pope was a freak.
Emily Dickinson stayed
Indoors for a decade.
Water inflated the belly
Of Hart Crane, and of Shelley.

Judson Jerome
If you were to leave a burlap bag,
bunching and clicking, full of live crabs,
on the beach, tied at the top, stuffed
with shifting shells inside its sag,
each sticky stalk-eye blind and tender,
claws pinching claws --- or nothing --- clacking,
hard, hollow bodies scraping as
legs worked them through bodies, backing,
you would know how full of things I lie,
dry, out of reach of the folding sea.

The Battle At Little Bull Run
T. F. Bierly
My family eats love for dessert
Topped with nutmeats and cherries.
When asked, they smile out of the past
And crush the small rebellions we bring
From school: crayon drawings of skulls,
Paper dolls with scrofula, dead pups.

The Vivisection Mambo
P. J. Weise
She does bite the blade, doesn't she? By my
White god I miss her, and her thighs lurking there
At the edge of my taste, the knowledge that she
In her ripe estates of lavender could so easily
Abandon those of us who love her god knows
Forever, a great streaming out forever.
       She pushes love around the floor, ruffling the panes.
       What in god's sweet name can she possibly mean?

Aquiles Nazoa
I believe in Pablo Neruda, almighty creator of heaven and earth
I believe in Charlie Chaplin
Son of violets and mice
Who was crucified, died, and laid in the grave by his era,
but who each day is revived in the hearts of men
I believe in love and art
As ways to find joy in the hardness of life
I believe in the crickets that people the magic crystal night
I believe in the miller that lives to create stars with his marvellous wheel
I believe in the highest gifts of humanity configured in the memory
of Isadora Duncan
brought down like a pure, wounded dove under the Mediterranean sky

Death Is Sitting at the Foot of My Bed
Oscar Hahn
My bed is unmade: sheets on the floor
and blankets ready to fly out the door.
Ms. Death announces she'll make up the bed.
I beg her not to bother: just leave it like that.
She insists and replies that our date's for tonight,
snuggles down and adds that she's in love and in the mood.

Moon Dog Song
Angel Pérez
Venus is in bloom tonight.
There are a thousand or so comets
Leaching across the southern sky.
I pretend that they are friends visiting
From Antares coming to visit me Coming to visit me
To visit me with love
From the cold and wandering star
They call Antares.

A Cricket in the Telephone (At Sunset)
Ignacio Schwartz
I could hear the border guards cheering
So it must have been after midnight;
A mosquito (Stegomyia, not Anopheles)
Was singing love songs in my ear.
You called to tell me something about
Mothers, or was it Mother, or was it me?
Microscopic electrons from microspace
Turned your voice to fruit-salad. .

Edna J. Lacey
They took my boy to Loos.
He smelled of leather.
He died there in Loos
In trenches, of lead (they say).
They decorated the lads
Most dreadfully.
No-one was there to bless him.
Teeth turned seeds to bloom,
Eyes to roots, a grey below innocence
In the field they call
Which means,
I hear,
"Still in bloom."

Jesus under Water
Al Hefid
I've been told that Jesus came on a dung-colored mule
His beard moving in the wind a bloody rose
His feet dripping on the thighs of a mule
      They called "Agnes Dei."
They say his eyes were clouded like the wind
That beat across the Kyzyl Kum Desert;
They say that if you listened closely,
You could hear his heart beat and beat and stop
      Like the wind
      Across the desert.

Love and the Flowers
Jeremy D. Colon
Darling there is a worm in your flower
Among other things
And the sight of his grey face
Brings to mind the night
On a slow trolley
Beating down the tracks to Madrid
I saw a young man of wit and determination
Eating a wild red carnation.

Tootie-Fruit ME & Ass-Grasp LA
Brook Morris, Jr.
In our town we have widows watering their proud
Buttocks, witches who would let us off, without
Consultation, in Pork Chop MO or Dog Stool IL...
All twelve of us at the depot with our bent ankles
      And a blind (and healthy) love for sweet waffles.

Song of Welcome
Joseph Brodsky
Here's your Mom, here's your Dad.
Welcome to being their flesh and blood.
Why do you look so sad?

Here's your food, here's your drink.
Also some thoughts, if you care to think.
Welcome to everything.

Here's your practically clean slate.
Welcome to it, though it's kind of late.
Welcome at any rate.

Hitler's First Photograph
Wislawa Szymborska
That's tiny baby Adolf, the Hitler's little boy!
Will he grow up to be an LL.D.?
Or a tenor in Vienna's Opera House?
Whose teensy hand is this, whose little ear and eye and nose?
Whose tummy full of milk, we just don't know:
printer's, doctor's, merchant's, priest's?
Where will those tootsy-wootsies finally wander?
To garden, to school, to an office, to a bride,
maybe to the Burgermeister's daughter?

Hurricane Fred
Pete Winslow
A guy came along on a horse
Shouting into a bullhorn that the turtles were coming
We said so what
He told us they'd eat the furniture
Drink the gas from the cars
Run up the phone bill and keep the lights on in the daytime
Well we battened down the hatches
And sure enough they came millions of them
Moving in off the freeway
Eating doorknobs and drinking fuel
Wanting only to be loved.

The Ballad of Hans and Jenny
Aquiles Nazoa
The love of Hans and Jenny was intimate and sweet, like the first day of school in winter.
Jenny sang ancient Nordic ballads with infinite sadness.
One time some American students heard her, and that night they cried tenderly over a map of Sweden.
And (I tell you) when Jenny sang, it was the love of Hans that sang inside of her.

Why The Do It
Cheryl Savageau
Uncle Jack drinks because he's Indian.
Aunt Rita drinks because she married a German.
Uncle Raymond drinks because spats have gone out of style.
Uncle Bébé drinks because Jeannie encourages him.
Aunt Jeannie drinks because Bébé does.
Russell drinks because he's in college.
Uncle Jack drinks because he's a perfectionist.
Dave drinks because he's out of work.
Aunt Rita drinks because she's a musician.
Bert drinks because he's married to Rita.
Renny drinks because he likes a good time.


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