PAGE 5 - N.C. ESSAY
by Celia Sparger
I will not go proudly into battle.
Singing last war’s songs until this one has its own;
It is not convenient for me
To forget the number of last war’s maimed and dead;
To forget, when now another number is forming.
Replacing strangers I no longer pass downtown.
I will not celebrate Veterans Day,
Watching one unknown soldier’s eulogy on television;
It is not convenient for me
To forgive the murders of last war’s innocent soldiers;
To forgive, when now soldiers are being made
From young men no longer in school.
I cannot forget until the war songs
Remind others of the nightmares
Too clearly remembered in the morning;
I cannot forgive until the unknown soldier’s grave
Reminds others of the casket in the den
That is wept over and not praised.
Now three times stricken with cancer,
Two times cured -
I cannot believe that she will live.
She never anticipated cancer;
When it came, she expected a cure,
(I did not)
The second time, too, and now the third.
I must wait with her while she waits with death;
She will soon fear the end; I do now -
I will be left alone.
But I will be relieved to see flowers
Instead of her pale, contorted body.
Each illness comes sooner, lasts longer;
She grows weaker, now feeling the cancer’s strength -
I can only watch.
She is confined to bed.
Too weak to knit or read,
Depending on a nurse and tubes.
She wants to scream for death.
The only relief from this consiunptive pain;
But breath is all that remains of her;
She must not let it go.
She is losing and knows that she is.
In her last days, she is trying to reconcile the end;
To accept is to admit defeat -
She cannot ask for death,
Her final struggle is not for life,
(She lost that the first time)
It is for memories of the lives untouched by death.
The lives distorted by death’s shadow.
It is I who will find memories,
After she is gone.
"Sand" by Gavin
All her time is spent beneath the fields
In the wooded area where the animals and plants
Have come to know her.
She takes care not to step on any plant
That it’s seed might be needlessly wasted
She eats only fallen fruits
And runs her fingers through the ripples in her hair.
Alone she rises from her father’s house;
Her hair sweeping the lines of a twisted face in the brook.
A turtle she’s seen once before
Eats tomato from her hand
And laughs not at her distorted features.
Her eyes never numb from weeping
And her throat busies only with singing.
The birds sing with her.
The scars of a million cruel stones
FYom school children long ago
Assure her that her soul has not been touched
By the disformation of her flesh..
Her fingers caress a small field mouse
As she sits in the sand on a stone
And dreams of a better world.
Scheme Four (Only Lovers Alive)
The candle you held-
when you were crazy-
lit Victorian stairs-
In the house of lunacy-
Vampires sucked your blue veins-
Sweet Sister Morphine-
sat at your bedside-
in her eyes-
You were the one-
who kept changing-
from midnight to day-
Listening with anticipation-
when his footsteps-
stalked the stairs-
your mouth foamed-
unlocked your door-
The body you were trapped in
opened up its soul-
to his black-eyed desire-
in his midnight velvet-
beckoned you to need him-
There were no questions-
of right and wrong-
just the passion-
to give him-
all your time-
Spread on red sheets-
you laughed at my trembling fear-
and left me-
in empty hallways-
and lur^g needles-
stuck in my arm-
In my rage and terror-
to God and to Heaven-
I could stand no more-
your dark lover-
and offered him a choice-
When I spoke-
a gray mist settled-
and a pale woman-
stood at his side-
drinking sparkling red wine-
from the cup of Christ-
When I screamed-
and he became the bitch-
In the haze of moming-
the murky hour of dawn-
she was anxious and greedy-
She kissed my lips-
and stroked my neck-
whispering words I’d never heard-
as she sank her shining teeth-
gently and deep-
into my neck-
The sun lit the ancient castle-
and she screamed a curse-
Ii broke a stake-
in her heart-
and she bled-
and cried for Satan-
and in half-
the cup of Christ and black velvet-
by his side-
The sky grew black and festered-
as I ascended your Victorian stairs-
In the room-
where midnight had lived-
I took your hand-
and you quietly sighed-
wait^ for midni^t-
to drink the juice-
of the sweet sweet blood-
numing through your-
black velvet veins.
by Shelia Creef
A metropolitian mammonist approached me
with no less grace
than what he was
asking me with no misgivings
what I was
I being not too far from adolescence
answered him with no less grace
than what I was
saying if the world turned blue
I wouldn’t complain
as long as I had a front row seat
and a pair of rose colored glasses
to watch the spectacle
His left ear twitched
as he drew his mouth across his face
and played with some words
on the back of his tongue
Then quoting from himself
It’s men like me
It’s men like me
that make this country
Conquerors Of Men
Remember your Uncle Mark who swung you by the heels
and made you laugh so hard
and rubbed your temples when they ached
kissing your forehead with every stroke
You were his onty love
and the little girl down the street
were the conquerors of men
being used as nature’s temporary storeroom
for twigs leaves and blades of grass
while tumbling in the sun
Each one so bright so pure
like the first evening star
Yet ready to be yanked from their heaven
to lie by the side of every stray dog in town
that was all of us once
moving with the masses in disorganized tribes
letting our beauty and wit run free
sharing it equally with the butcher
and the old lady who sits on the porch
every afternoon about four
It’s good that was once us
it makes the lonely hours not so long
the chances of love not so slim
by Wanda Crouse
Bury me beneath a tree
Where I may take great delight
In the final giving of my energy
To the greatest bearer of leaves.
Though I may write poems, verse, prose.
Words - A hundred books of these,
I will never be the bearer of so
Many leaves as the smallest of trees.
School Room Scenes
by E. Henry Power
Apollo 13 - birthed with fire,
parts from the umbilical tower,
rends the air with splitting noise,
complains of leaving native earth -
then goes for something thinner
not so secure; ’
and [wllutes &e air with parting smoke
Like inner, outer space is wreckage strewn
by some mechanic’s faulty hand.
And on the capsule’s frantic return
it pollutes the sea with its excess life-giving fuel
Science who says save our earth
send us to space
and all throughout the trip,
nearly kills us.
by Robin Kaplan
Brotherhood is claimed in poems
And so is its murder;
Our very thoughts eiUist
The venom that rives our dreams.
We ensconce the tangle of our days.
The longest and most bitter life is brief;
Time is that which separates
One failing from another.
Our clumsy persistence
Concedes a single hope:
This life, this savage monster,
Can only be ended.
Children, from their sweaters kniti>icked.
Created and designed miniature wool rugs;
The old professor chopped his rule stick,
Timing out the tables of the universal language.
How could they know (innocent weavers, all)
The future of mankind may rest on that board-
Black, with marked lines.
Paper wads, clips, rubber bands.
Fly through the learning room.
Breaking the barrier of sound,
Clipping and chipping light rays •
Smashing nothing the children can see.
Kneading fingers probed
Buried, dreamed-of treasures.
Little labor yields pearls,
More than are needed.