A bunch of poems appearing recently in Crystal Drum...

Those Who Fall

by Alan Catlin

He waits his turn

hot for love

too impatient to sit in the front

room tight as his

shirt collar noises

from her bedroom

coiled springs letting

go inside him

Outside on the walkout

porch the air is so

cool fresh as a woman's

breath on his neck

and hair porch railing

for leaning back on

support for the main

slugging down the last

of that half-pint

of dark Barbados Rum

unless the railing

is not secured as

the one he puts his

weight on falling

from Grace as that was

the name she had set

business up under that

summer as a kind of joke

or so she would say

later after the three

point landing of her john-

to-be on the front steps

of her walkup that night

on Steuben Street

no expert creative story

telling could completely

explain away

--originally published in CRYSTAL DRUM 71

After Last Call
(for Robin)

by Lindsay Wilson

The wildflowers are almost out
under the waxing April moon,

and you said, "We have to amuse these people,"
and came into the Starmart with me

to buy a single pack of condoms.
We discuss ribbed, lubricated or sensitive

with you finally going for sensitive, and
the woman behind the counter blushes

as she needlessly tells us
to have a good night.

--originally published in CRYSTAL DRUM 72

by Raymond Mason

The phone rang. The old lady
answered. The voice said:
This is Jim from Excel Ladder, and--
Don't want any.
--we'll be having a demonstration
in your--

Don't need any. Click.
She went back to the kitchen.
Who was that? the old man said.
Somebody selling ladders, I think.
The old man said: Those bladder transplants,
the waiting list is too long.
The old woman dug into her grapefruit.
I thought he said ladder, but
it's probably bladder, you're right,
you'd be dead before they found you a donor.

--originally pubished in Crystal Drum 74.


by Wm. H. Garsi

Luann is different in the dark

(Well, isn't everything?); in the dark,

Luann is more than just Luann;

And in the dark, what Luann says

Is true.

Here is what you want to do

Says Luann (in the dark)

And to your shock, it is.

Colors bleed to different colors

In the dark, and everything is gray

Except that strange color you find

Inside your tightly shut eyelids

Which is not so much a color

As a tremor

Luann holds that color in one curved hand

Touches it with her tongue and turns it red.

From now on

It is always red, says Luann

And (in the dark) it is.

She stands at the edge of the carpet and smiles.

(There is an ocean behind her eyes. Well,

Behind every eye. But this ocean is alive

With tiny luminous creatures, visible

Dancing at the edge of her iris; and slowly you realize

You are not gazing at the surface of her secret sea

But staring up, drowned, lost, altered,

Through countless miles of cold water

Towards the strange light of some black sun...)

This finger which traces the line of her lip

Belongs to her, though it extends from your hand

And the eyes which see what she demands they see

Belong to her, no matter in what skull

They reside. Be careful as you follow this worn

Carpet, in the dark

It does not end in the same place

It did when the lights were dimmed

It does not end.

Where you think it does.

--originally publihsed in Crystal Drum 69

Me And God

by Ralph Haselmann Jr.

God ordered up a funny dream for me last night because he knew I was feeling down in the dumps.

God alerted me to the fact that there was a car about to jump the curb and it missed hitting me by an inch, because God cares about my well-being

God drinks with me at the local bar on Sundays to pass the time

We share a bowl of beer nuts and watch the football games silently scream their energy across the screen

God whispers poems in my ears in the soft sweet silent dead of night because he is my cosmic muse

God took my best friend away from me in my teenage years because he knew it would cause me deep pain and make me reexamine my life

God watches out for me through my best friend, an Angel on my shoulder.

God walks with me in the shadow of the valley of death, and sometimes we run like hell through the valley of the shadow of death

God comes onto me with lipstick and high heel shoes in the form of a beautiful woman or man and I have to laugh and smile and shake my head as I pull him into bed with me and comfort him in the sad lonely night

God screams out in pain at how the fuck ups of the world are ruining his beautiful green creation

Sirens and boomboxes and pollution and garbage stink up the wretched night as God cries on my shoulder and mutters, "Why?"

God has existentialist conversations with me over lunch

We talk about Sartre's play No Exit and how many angels can fit on the head of a pin as we pass the wacky weed and toke up

God and I psychoanalyze each other sometimes

He says he can't think sometimes with all those 6 billion voices inside his head

Me and God

We're quite a pair!


originally published in Crystal Drum 78