Catherine Basilicata

Catherine Basilicata, Australia

No more Goodbyes

What if I never kissed your lips again
Or feel the touch of your warm embrace
How would I go on
Without you my heart has no place to belong.

Someday I’m hoping love’s going to draw you away from the sea.
Until then my heart remains empty,
So, I’ll just have to believe
Somewhere out there you’re thinking of me.

The day you let me go and your next hello,
It’s not goodbye.
I’m hoping to see you again,
I’ll be remembering our times, and if time is on our side –
There will be no more fears or cries.
Deep in the ocean, there’s one thing you can’t deny:

You think I’d be strong enough to make it through,
And rise above when you emerge from the sea,
It’s so hard when you’re missing someone so long.
Please no more goodbyes.

 

Catherine Basilicata lives in Wollongong, Australia

Walter Hoelbling

numbers game

our lives are fraught with numbers

so many fractions of a second faster in a race
most wins on record   best jury votes
highest flight   deepest dive   most goals
meters of rising sea levels
millions of refugees   and more displaced
tens of thousands  honor killings
thousands of deaths with Ebola
millions of Zika virus victims next year
billions of deficit or profit in import/export
or the stock exchange
votes in elections    or for beauty queens

polls    tweets   virtual friends  & followers
likes on the social media    on hellopoetry

we have been taught to measure our status
our importance   and the significance of our lives
in clicks of other peoples’ digital devices

even our time has been reduced to numbers
the digital has long replaced the comprehensive
instead of the round disk that shows 12 hours
suggesting the duration of a normal day
we have a punctual display  without the whole
the cyclical has lost against the linear

0101010101010101010101010101010101
we all look forward to our numbered future
no past  and very little present

our hands on smart phones    homes    TVs
pushing a button makes things move
swishing a screen displays the world

over all that we easily forget
that we ourselves have been reduced to numbers
of customers for businesses
of voters for the politicians
of workers for the corporations
of citizens for our nations
digital quantities is what we have become

and if we take a global view
we are a part  of seven billion plus
that currently inhabit our earth

all of which do expect their individuality
be honored  and their dignity respected

numbers don’t  honor individuality
they simply count the units
items  or people  are for them the same

it’s left to us to find a way
that leaves the numbers in their place
yet guarantees us dignity
as individual members of the human race

Augusta Laar

Two Poems

the poetry class machine

takes stories starts with Wolf’s
dogs in Umbria (2 dogs 2 men
||: 1 push 1 move :||) the magic
of kites in Berlin Katharina
(red white & blue) Maria’s
Chile hanging on sadness for
ages without  father Allende the
goddess of poetry dreaming
multilingual universes waving
a big goodbye to 9/11 Syria
Egypt Iran evoking past times &
bigger worlds Emily Dickinson
cried out in her room: the world
is not conclusive! the mocking
bird sings: lightness falling! the
air commands: brightness dance
dance dance! Anne Waldman
shamanic priestess vows: go
down wall street sipping Arabic
coffee from Israel Latin America
we end up training performance
skills at Vienna Poetry School
holding postcards of ghosts &
koalas from Sydney/Austr(al)ia
& soft coloured nails in heart
shaped boxes saving poetry
now useless verses on our ipads
whispering: carefully (pp) (pleno
titolo) honoured guests for your
pleasure Ide Hintze declares: the
flood will come the golden flood
will come here this evening
friday 1st of june 2012

bee poem

how will it feel to be a bee
maybe the queen of bees in
beehive company with million
other bees to feed me and to
be with me to mix my ego me
with insect mimikry will you be
mean to me when I’m a honey
bee or will you be with me I
mean in this reality of bee-ing
has to be a change in family
you see – my ancestors will be
the wasps are you so sure you
like my exoskeleton anatomy
my beastly sting inheritage from
grandmom killerbee & will you
touch me as a bumblebee would
it enrich your sense of curiosity
my dear your taste of instability
to live with me will it be finicky?
will you still hear me humming
on a tree? will you be free to
like this kind of mystery? if
you have screened me recently
on BBC did you experience
how it will feel to be a bee?

Hillary Keel

Poetry

About Wittgenstein

Welches sind die einfachen “But what are the simple constituent parts of reality,” she wondered die einfachen Bestandteile and she spelled out the words onto paper, photocopied a pile and folded each piece into addressed envelopes, placing them in stacks on her desk to be brought to the post office.   Und die einfachen Bestandteile eines Sessels? “What are the constituent parts of a chair?” she grumbled, “The bits of wood of which it is made? Oder die Moleküle, oder die Atome? Or the molecules? the atoms?” and typed the letters m-o-l-e-c-u-l-e-s and a-t-o-m-s into her mobile phone, sending out first a mass of text messages, then emails to everyone in her address books, accidentally sending it to those she had meant to delete from her lists. Einfach heißt: nicht zusammengesetzt. There was so much to erase or rather forget, leave behind and just get on with things or to the next step. To at least get to the next step. Und da kommt es darauf an. And the next step was this: to define the word ‘simple’. “Simple means: not composite,” she copied in blue ink in her notebook, leaning on her bedside table, dripping ink blots on the page. She thought, simple means basic, means having no other parts, means pure and unadulterated. She had an obsession, no, a need for simplicity and remembered her 7th grade drawings of atoms with protons and neutrons in their nuclei and the sea of electrons surrounding them.

She remembered how at the age of five she’d go grocery shopping with her mother and examined the packages of Land O’Lakes butter at the supermarket. These had a picture of an Indian squaw, who held the exact same package of butter also with the same picture of the Indian squaw. She remembered how the pictures went further and further inward, getting smaller and smaller, going on into infinity. Even then she wondered where it all ended and began.

Es hat gar keinen Sinn “Besides,” she added in her musings, “there’s no point in talking about a chair being simple.  von den „einfachen Bestandteilen des Sessels schlechtweg“ zu reden.  A chair is not as basic as it seems, all those molecules, which can be divided into atoms, which too have been proven divisible. But can’t a sub-atom, too, be divided?” she cried out, sitting up in bed only to then search for her bathrobe in the dark and walk into her kitchen. There she warmed herself a cup of milk with honey. Drinking this late at night soothed her. And she soon slept with the sweet flavor of milk and honey on her lips, to dream wie trist für möbel nachts von bäumen zu träumen of her own art-deco chairs dreaming of trees.

Note: „wie trist für möbel nachts von bäumen zu träumen“ from the poem, geschändet, by Gerhard Rühm.

#43

I am in Boulder, I am in Vienna,
I am in New York, I am in Norwich,
I am in Constanta, I am in Istanbul,
I am in Minsk, in Prague, in Bratislava,
I am in Philadelphia,
I am in Paris, I’m in Albany,
I’m in Spotsylvania County,
Herkimer County, St. Lawrence County,
Montgomery County, Tuscany, Burgundy,
Bucks County, Sullivan County, Pike
County, Bezirk Zwettl,
Ich bin in Wien, in Wien, in Wien.

I am in a coffee house, I sit in a park,
I lie on Freud’s couch, with my leg’s propped
up on a chair, my knees are bent, I sway
my hips, do an ocho, a plié, I pray.

I think of you, I don’t think, I
have sorrow, I am free, I notice
things, I stop.

I noticed you, I didn’t love you,
I loved you a bit, I loved you
a lot. For a minute. Not a minute,
it was a series of moments, it was
an entire year.

You are an immigrant, from New
York, where I am not from, I was born
in New York. You led me to a door, to
a stairwell, there was no door, it was the
N train, it was a street.

We stood at a bar, didn’t stand, just
hopped there, drinking smoothly,
you spilled your beer as we sat,
you stood up, undecided.

We are both interested in
Modernism at night, we
have nothing in common at night.
You speak of the golden ratio,
you are not mathematic. You are
a mathematic constant.

I study a map of Constanta, studying
a map of Constantinople, I
translate. You are in Queens, you
are in Pennsylvania, at the Black
Sea. You sit in my bath tub, you
stand there. I glance at you, I turn
away, you are so much older, you’re much
much younger, you are not much, you
are just my age. Your friends,
you don’t have any.

You are impossible, possible,
It is possible because we have
the exact same birthday, the
constant, I am so rational.

You say I like this, I don’t
like that, you hate my apartment,
I hate your apartment,
you like my chair, my towel,
my sheets, you say they should
have chopped off all those heads,
you don’t like to be rushed, you
are always rushing, you are
gentle, subtle.

You are an abstract concept, I
like it, no I don’t. You are so
grounded, I am the native
here, you!

You are traumatized by
Communism, I am traumatized
by Capitalism, we have
everything, nothing
in common.

I am sad, it dawned on
me quickly, I am happy.

Birth Day

Oh! You day of days
of the screen door
and grandmother’s sweet sofa

You! Adirondack lake on
my Dalmatian coast

I dreamt of you
your Ferris-wheel-chair
and the Kornati cruise’s
jeweled sea gushed from
my opening, that night
at the hour of my birth

The elevated mid-wife
lit the match and illuminated
my bookshelf swan

of young men in black berets
waving flags on a pebbly beach
their tarot cards laid
on the table

my heart forever rotating
in sugary rose
and fuchsia glacier

of the mid-wife anticipating
my daydreams:
Don’t forget the gold bracelet
that mod jump suit
your grandmother’s ghost stories
she whispered

like Venus
born of the sea
I gave birth
inside myself
to glass shoe liberation
and shivering lust

Homes Until Now (2012)

in chronological order

Note: Home, a fixed location (abode) where I’ve lived for at least one year.

  • Middleville, New York – rectory (birthhome)
  • Canton, New York – rectory, corner of Church and Main Street (early childhood)
  • Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania – rectory, Levering Mill Road (childhood, teenage years)
  • Fredericksburg, Virginia – Mary Washington College campus (college student)
  • Vienna, Austria – 8th district, Albertgasse (Wohngemeinschaft i.e. shared flat with four roommates)
  • Vienna – 6th district, Amerlingstraße (married, birth of first child)
  • Rittendorf bei Traunstein, Lower Austria – Rittendorf 8 (married, birth of second child)
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Pritchard Avenue (married)
  • Rittendorf bei Traunstein, Lower Austria – Rittendorf 8 (married)
  • Vienna – 12th district, Hetzendorferstraße (married)
  • Vienna – 23rd district, Wittgensteinstraße (married)
  • Vienna – 8th district, Langegasse (separated)
  • Vienna – 23rd district, Wittgensteinstraße (married)
  • Vienna – 6th district, Hofmühlgasse (separated)
  • Vienna – 16th district, Seitenberggasse (divorced)
  • Callicoon, New York – Lower Main Street (divorced)
  • Brooklyn, New York – Sunset Park (single)

Karen S. Nowviskie

Lit-Mag #39 – Berlin

On Bebelplatz

On sunny days on Bebelplatz,
the burning room reflects a soft blue sky,
as tourists gape to see an empty shelf.
Ghostly volumes, dimly glimpsed amidst the rush,
reflect faces of the curious, eager to be off
to find the next Big Thing.
One man, unawares, steps hard
on echoes of the burning leaves,
while far away, under an Appalachian sky,
a child peers up through burnished leaves
that dapple tales of her dark knights, never once
in her wildest  dreams perceiving
that books may burn
or man may step on thoughts
or smoke may stain the soft blue thinker’s sky.

Paul Murphy

Lit-Mag #39 – Berlin

Two Poems

Who Killed Rudi?

Was it the wind in Moluccas Street
Or a giraffe in the zoo?

Was it the tell-tale stains on the back seat
Of your BMW kalamazoo?

Was it Frank, Mike or Steve?
Was it the 1960 Trabant

You owned for a day then banged
Into the boot end of 1962?

Was it anyone really, was it me or you
And what if it was?

Can he feel it now, cold, dumb, dead
Can he really come after you?

Is he dead really or merely pining?
What if he died or didn’t die?

Can he disrupt your stag night
Or interrupt your first night

Of onstage delirium, can he fly
Past your window or settle cat-like

Licking ash from your window pane?

Rudi is dead there’s no doubt
Never to come again.

There’s ice and snow tonight
And Rudi is dead. And Rudi

is dead.

Bertolt Brecht’s Bedroom

Here the poet Brecht lit a last cigar
Rolled over onto his side, expired.
Are you Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht dead?
To annotate the future, he thought,
Downstairs Helene Wiegel
Lay watching Soviet Olympiads
On her regulation plastic DDR Fernsehapparat.

She felt the failing clutch of a Trabant
She felt the last polluted raindrop fall.
Onto the bare graves of Hegel,
Fichte, Heinrich Mann.
Who lay quite dead in
The neighbouring Friedhof.
Soon to be joined by Bert and Helene.

Failing the future as the past
Bukharin’s unworked dithyramb
Compounds the morning’s cigarette-
induced hangover: Mao’s latest verses;
Your ‘Ode to Stalin’ or King Kong.

White vines disappear into the backgarden
Trellis, ashen, shivering as dawn
Find the shadow of an unworked reshaped heel.

Edward Mackinnon

Lit-Mag #39 – Berlin

Taking Sides in Germany

It was in 72
that I became indirectly involved
in the Cold War, when I fellow-travelled
in unequally divided Germany
across the border with students
who wanted to study their strange cousins
in the eastern state,
and on the way back to the West
a quiet man in uniform asked, and no,
he was no ordinary officer or official,
for our passports and no, it wasn’t the Stasi,
this was the other side, so what a relief
when he didn’t take away mine with the others,
for mine was royal blue, and in this way I escaped
the frontline filing squad, squeezed back unnoticed
through a chink in the iron curtain
and avoided what? involvement
in the Cold War? no, later that year
I witnessed in divided Berlin
a late-night skirmish:
in Munich on TV
a ball drops through a hoop and all hell
breaks loose, through a bottomless basket,
the world’s a divided arena, battle lines
drawn in each half and a net
hangs from a ring like a gibbet.
Symbiosis rules. Pandemonium
rules as the ball with an invisible
hammer and sickle breaches the basket
of stars and stripes with a second to spare,
yes, a ball’s been hurled through a hoop
and behold there’s whooping on one side
of the divided world and wailing
on the other, while I’m watching
in divided Berlin with long-haired students
fired up on the sidelines, for one side’s
bombing Vietnam, which is why
they’re dancing a crazy conga
and doing their best to touch the ceiling
while the victors lie in a heaving heap
of limbs on the floor, it’s on TV,
and the defeated don’t know what’s hit them,
for this is war, the Cold War
in divided Germany, where one of the students
asks another, one with shorter hair,
why he’s punching air, you don’t care,
he says, for the Reds – no, the other replies,
but I like the Blacks even less,
and the first one feels a rush of blood
to the head and hits the other in the eye,
and which side that’s one in the eye for
I’m not sure, but all hell breaks loose
till the landlord pulls them apart
and the offended one delivers
to the offender’s bleeding face
his parting shot: Auf welcher Seite
stehst du denn, du Arschloch?
Yes, which side are you on?
to put it politely,
for this was the Cold War,
in Germany,
in 72

The televised event to which this poem refers is the 1972 Olympic basketball final between the USA and the USSR, which the latter won with the last throw of the match.

Louis Gallo

Lit-Mag #39 – Berlin

Wall

. . . Wierds broke it.
– The Ruin

Let’s make that weirds. Must always
translate into a current vernacular
or else lose the flavor, texture, the onion.
Wall, which wall? Stone, outdated,
cumbersome, residual . . . now it’s
barriers of the mind we erect,
the nimble, wet mind,
a buoy with glossy red stripes,
that nobody sees, not even the pelicans.
And yet the weirds chip away
with chisel and pickax, each
crumbly chunk a spoil of war,
the triumph of still another wall
against which we all stand,
blindfolded, arms spread wide,
pleading forgiveness because
we forgot to buckle up or lift
the lid or let the word Eskimo
slip from our oily lips or
laughed at the wrong joke
or admired a woman’s breasts
or sneaked in a quick drag
in the smoke-free chapel. . .
This new wall does not span China,
does not obstruct invaders;
we merely dissolve into it
and disappear.

Ian C. Smith

Lit-Mag #38 – (Not) at home in Vienna

Non-Fiction

I have visited the disease of Alzheimer’s
where flickering shadows softly come and go.
The patient’s repeated mantra
her look of worry and displeasure
pierced me, lone pleas breaking
from the soporific jetstream of a mind
jarring me into thinking of what I am
what I might have been and done
and where we all might go.

In panic I ran wide in the human race.
Of a loveless tribe, I missed the start
moonwalking through indifferent space
outpaced, pretending nothing mattered.
Then I found solace, blanching at emotion
losing myself in words that shield my heart.
I think I was appalled by the commotion
of everybody’s devout scramble
to mount the victory dais of happiness.

If not for the attraction of rhymers
I might slavishly praise grandchildren
named for places and famous faces
could have trained in tomfoolery
memorised television buffoonery
caressed a cell phone like a tiny pet
developed an addiction to trends
even kept a diary with end pages
boasting alphabetical lists of safe friends.

Now, in seclusion, I turn to my books
though silverfish dismay, and silence
to guide me to the finishing line.

Mirko Bozic

Lit-Mag #37
Myself & Others

Poetry in Translation

Kisa Mostar

Kisa gori na bijeloj mostaskoj jeseni
Vrejeme smrti poslije ponoci
Misise na staklo posije pijanke

Rain Mostar

Rain is burning in the white Mostar autumn
The time of death after midnight
It smells of glass after a drinking party

Caffe

Dva upaljaca
Kutija cigarette
Jeden covjek pije
svoju sudbinu.

Café

Two cigarette lighters
A packet of cigarettes
One man is drinking
his destiny.

Translated by Jennifer Compton