junkmail oracle

poem o' the week


"I have a city to cover with lines." - d.a. levy


dec. 31, 2007

Streetlights in Ohio

ragged, torn clothes, rail thin
eyes bloodshot, sunk in your skull
hands shaking, walking with a malformed limp
ripped apart shoes
you fumble for a cigarette
as you sit at a park bench
and struggle to light it with crooked fingers
I saw you, Walt Whitman
there, smoking and clutching your pint
of rotgut like the hand of a dead lover
fiending for some crack
and eyeing pedestrians greedily
did your vision not pan out the way you
had planned?
where are your lovers, your children, your people
although your suffering still remains intact
as you take a swig from a pint of imperial whiskey
and wonder where the money went
the sun is setting now
and it is starting to snow
there is nowhere to go but down,down,down
further into the depths and then into death
Walt Whitman
was your life a dream
flourishing in the wealth of a lush garden
only to disolve into the brutal reality
of having to peal yourself off of the pavement
after the last fume of that dream
and you stare forward
at empty, barren streets
filled with people that don't give a shit
you climb into the dumpster
behind the dry cleaning place
and wait for the steam to warm you
and stop your shivering
you, nothing but a symbol of a dream
gone far to sour, far to dead, far to gone
steam rises and falls
addictions peck at street people
and you shiver in a bed of garbage
wondering what all the fuss was about
as you wait for the hep C
to take over
and sing your body electric

-- kurt lee


dec. 24, 2007

a madness disguised as christmas

--the scholars tell us that jesus was
likely born in august, based on a
deep analysis of astronomical &
historical data, but the early church
switched it to december to wipe
out the day of a pagan festival.

these days the evangelicals
screech that jesus is the reason for
the season, while they fork over
thousands of dollars on presents,
lights, cards, decorations, & fill
their bellies with food & drink, which
is fine as long as you say a lonnnnng
prayer before you eat. the older i
get, the less patience i have for
all of this, no use for a madness
disguised as christmas, i'm looking
out at the snow that falls in the backyard,
the fire that dances in red flames on the grate
with a purpose i can't begin to describe,
& my son asks how santa fits down
a chimney - he's already figured that
one out. it's christmas again in northeast
ohio. & something must be born today,
something more important than the
tinsel & ribbons of a holiday without
spirit. do you know what it is, & can you
find it where you left it? right there.

right now.




dec. 17, 2007

poem for the healing of terry provost

so that yr voice may ring out

like a lion at midnight, calling

out the  masters of war & the

architects of evil who conspire

against the common man in the

fight for the dignity of the human

soul, we invoke the white light

om  of cosmic consciousness

an echo on top of a mantra that

reverberates into the matrix of

universal infrastructure where

healing is instant & we fix the

holes in the intricate highway

that rises, diamond like, across

the vast expanse of the quantum

plain, sketching out mathematical

equations on the blackboard of

the breathing mind, there is no

one that can tether you to the

blue ball of the local reality,

you’re bigger than that, bigger

than the explosion of a supernova,

the creation of vibrant worlds,

the solution arrives in a tiny

molecule wrapped in a trickle

of printer’s ink, & they can’t

keep you down any more, man!

(I offer up this poem for the healing

of terry provost, where it sits like

adam’s atom, ready to be the start

of something we all know will begin!)




dec. 10, 2007


The green graffito on the cement wall outside the Cleveland train window

asked: “Gadzilla?” At first I missed the A, for catching the question mark.

Now I wonder who this Gadzilla is. Does he mince monstrously along the

streets, causing mayhem as he gads about in his vengeance and

well-manicured green scales? Perhaps the letter A was just a misspelling,

quick work with a spray can causing an extraneous line; it did look like a

combination of A and O, or some mashed-up Greek symbol. (I have seen the

engraving mistake on the Lincoln Memorial, where the chiseler started

“Future” with an E.) Or is this some mystic statement about trains, about

the RTA, or the direction of Cleveland? Who lives in this netherland

between stops on the rapid transit line? Do they see themselves as Graffiti

Artists? If Gadzilla came to Cleveland, where would he stomp first? On

another concrete wall, in blockprint scarlet letters, I see a reminder:


-- Amy Cummins


dec. 3, 2007

poetry eyes

outside the record rendezvous
the rorulent angels buzz
sway to the blast of minutes
spinning into hours
catapulted like drunken bees
upon the sounds flowering
where desire saunters
naked down prospect and turns
gripped by emotion sickness
hungup on a turnstile moon
at 45rpm filled with holes
illogical as poetry eyes
blind somersault of days.

-- dan smith


nov. 26, 2007


The tea kettle is whistling…
I am alone,
Poetry is not warm
with flesh
nor touch,
Poetry is a cruel
cold with words
and meanings,
we are alone
all through the night,
neither one
waking up
to a Lover’s kiss
I pour hot water for green tea
and gather my defenses
around me like my warmest
robe on a cold November morning
in Ohio,

start writing these embryos of loneliness
at 5:00 in the morning,

warming up to one another.
I drink my little ceremonies,
never read the leaves.

-- anna ruiz


nov. 19, 2007

Desegregation was never on the vocabulary test

No Bus for Us stickers
On their notebooks.
An incomprehensible picture of a log,
Local 123

Teachers dropped the mask,
For a flash of concerned anger.

The Judge's son is not a mechanic.
The Superintendent's son was not
Punched by NAACP.

Yet the JD. jailed the PhD.
Just for one night, to sober up.

I asked my father,
Why didn't he stay longer?
It's not pleasant in jail, son.

WMMS taught Rock and Roll,
 And the students were disrespectful.

Let's move to Lakewood, its just across the continent.

-- Michael Dediu


nov. 12, 2007


I cannot tell how I feel about you even after twenty years
apart. From time to time I desire your truth - want your gritty but
tender hands all over my body and mind.
I've tried to understand your streets - my veins and arteries flowing
but all it did was trap me on rain drenched dirty roads with old and
tired buildings that hold too much sadness.
Your shore delights me though I am puzzled by its relation to your
soul. I stand on your edge to watch.
It was in your heart that my spirit first opened. Sitting in your
public square church year after year I heard more, much more than
anything about Jesus.
I see now that it was you who first taught me love and compassion,
though later you stole those lessons.
Your tired perspective has become overwhelming, your buildings
oppressive. Windows shining eyes nothing but a reflection of the sad
souls rattling around your streets.
In a recent quiet dawn I walked your empty Sunday streets. I was
seeking the sun between the buildings (yearning to stand naked in his
warm embrace).
The fire in your belly has gone out.

-- Nancy Nixon


nov. 5, 2007

Things To Do In Cleveland When You're High

Play your tambourine at midnight in the middle of E. 9th & Euclid

Paint blue mustaches on all the iconic guardians of bridges

Shout poetry outside the fences of every gated community

Join hands with the sun & accept her jeweled daggers

Bet your last nickel on the Indians & laugh when they lose

Play your tambourine

Get your freak on with hizzoner Tom Johnson

Take moonlit drives down bowling lanes of accordioned time

Trapeze the bridges / skywrite some smokey poems

Ride the #6 bus to wonderland

Recapitulate the ontological divination of all yourselves in the music of Albert Ayler

Fill your mind with the visible voice of poetry now

Be day-glo festivals of one

Conduct a symphony for seagull & wind

Hold a silent auction for the body language of mimes

Convene a confluence of saffron-robed monks & give Cleveland a spiritual hug

Watch the sunlight syrup dissolve that Hough Bakery smell & kiss the child within

Scrawl vatical with a Smith across the cro-magnon canvas hidden in the belly of some overpass

Pull off I-480 to ride " The Big One " at the Atomic Playground

Let a cornelius rhyme you between curses & orgasms

Bum a light off the Haserot Angel

Set loose your biography stanleyicly with an invocation of tear & saxophone

Prowl neon alleys for the ghosts of darryl & daniel

Satiate your munchies on three-eyed sushi culled & cooked in the Cuyahoga's memories

Sacrifice some semblance of privacy to the plethoric boots of a tabasso disrobed on a blade of concrete


Steal a 1970 Dodge Challenger ( white, w/ a 440 engine ) circle Public Sq. trying to set a new land speed record while your radio blasts " Born To Be Wild " at full volume

Make prank calls to your Narcotics Anonymous sponsor


Fish fallen angels out of Lake Erie

Paste a picture of Louis Sockalexis over every image of Chief Wahoo

Climb to the top of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & kiss the sky

Hug the homeless in rainbow sighs

Channel michael stanley singing midwest midnight

Put flowers in the barrels of every gun at the soldiers & sailors monument

Float above e9th & euclid like that silver fractured halo sculpture

Place a chaise lounge on public square & chill

Play guitar in the elevator of the key tower

Dance with seven hundred and five tie-dyed hippies in the old arcade

Eat a steaming plate of potato and sauerkraut pierogi , then another

Wear a hat made from the threads of uncle john's band

Be timeless, man , be timeless

Lie down under grey cathedral skies & wait till next year

Laugh the bones away

Eat cold knuckle sandwiches

Step into the night's blue eyes

Smell old world dough at 4am rising

Hear boney leaves clatter across Marc's asphalt desert

Dissolve the mind's I in humidity's highway

Steal all the orange barrels on Euclid & deliver them to mr. blinker

Look up Charlie Spikes & Oscar Gamble; taunt Gateway

Strand white twinkle lights on graves & install a kick-ass sound system in Erie Street Cemetery

Play a glitter-dipped harmonica in Irishtown Bend for the ladies

Dumpster dive & feed the city

Read poetry at the Gate with levy & Salamon

Jump on & off and sway to swing bridges

Baptize the self in the Cuyahoga

Run wet & naked through the sparkling cold city streets

Flip the pyramid; wait on heavy snow & melt

Help Chris Franke paste his poetry over billboards

Paint polka-dots over directional signs to Steelyard Commons

Poke eyeballs out & replace with ion rays to create bionic Clevelanders

Unroll sushi reroll something blue-green & smoke it ( keeping the rice in )

Light the Terminal Tower purple

Inhale and exhale indoors & outdoors, any feet from anywhere

Exhale and inhale outdoors & indoors, anywhere form any feet

Sprinkle salt on & then eat your shoes ( or boots if famished )

Beg beggars for dreams

Let mind give birth to morning with the gametes the sun gives the eye

Argue that " you ain't seen gray 'till you seen Cuyahoga gray "

Salute the descendant of Jonathon Livingston Seagull, Erasmus Osterhagen Lakegull ( he with varied diet and cold hunkered wing coasting over the eerie Erie in the dreary, dreary morn )

Plant a poetree, give it words and make it grow

Eat its fruit and become the person you always thought yourself to be.

-- dan smith, josh gage, j.e. stanley, markk, miles budimir, joanne cornelius & dexter zirkle


oct. 29, 2007

d.a. levy retires (or not)

it's yr birthday again, pal
65 years old today, the government
says you hit retirement age,
but we both know that's a crock
of crap, they wish you were stuck
in yr easy chair, watching the
birds & dreaming of that soft
sad twilight, out of their hair
& into the afternoon soap operas
of the lost & crippled soul,
WOULD HAVE BEEN, a birthday cake
of verbal pyrotechnics & survival
instinct, street-level gymnastics
& the demolition of bad karma,

i've got a message for you george
w.orthless bush, d.a. levy is ALIVE,
on the streets of cleveland, no one
remembers the name of the undercover
cops that followed him, d.a. levy is ALIVE,
& no one knows who those cointelpro
operatives were that wanted his hide
nailed to the wall, d.a. levy is ALIVE, &
it is unclear who ran the mayor's office,
the night desk at the downtown precinct,
the grunts splitting legal hairs inside
the country prosecutor's office, d.a. levy
is ALIVE & you couldn't kill him, could not
squash his memory, were not able to
make his words vanish like tobacco smoke
& the dank breath of factory stacks over
the silver cesspool of the flats, yes, d.a. levy
hits retirement age today, but he will not
retire, will not go away quietly, instead
he stands like the collossos of rhodes
right where the cuyahoga empties into
lake erie, & watches the water traffic
float between his legs, flips a giant
bird to the city while screaming "i love
you," & no one ever told cleveland the
truth like d.a. levy.

happy birthday pal,
but sorry,
it ain't time to retire . . .
it's time to re-load

-- markk


oct. 22, 2007

cleveland, the beat

cleveland is beat,

beat down

beat up & beat on

cleveland gets beat

& gets beat

& gets beat

it’s a steady beat,

beat like an egg,

beat like billy club

bang! on a bald head, beat

into tiny pieces of beat fragments,

cleveland, it’s the beat

i hear the beat, in the hollow

hog-jowl gutters & alleys

beat down like a yellow dog,

beat down with hammer,

beat down with a bat,

beat down with a stick

beat on the baselines

beat on the yardlines

beat on the court

beat, in true beat uplifted,

beat like kerouac

meant it to be,

the last shall be first,

baby, just you & me

at the end of a long line

so far behind we think

this is first --

holy in the hollers

beat in eternal silent retreat

-- markk


oct. 16, 2007

from prose on d. a. levy (and other poets)

now levy

got charged

with contributing

to the delinquency

of a minor

for reciting

the minor's own poem

with word cocksucker

back to him

okay maybe

but lets look

at the sheer

hypocrisy of this charge

i mean

was lbj charged

wit contributing

because minors

lied about their age

and were given guns

and napalm etc

to go rape women

and burn villages

and stick bayonets

into butts and vaginas?

i mean

who was really contributing here?

or keeping minors

in school

like prisoners

instead of allowing them

to help old folks

who have arthritis

look at all the love

they couldve received

from their elders

rather than being yelled at

for misspelling a word

or chewing gum

or something stupid

and this word cocksucker

i mean

was mick jagger

ever busted for contributing

because he wrote the song

cocksucker blues

or the song

rip this joint?

but twas ok

to arrest levy

i guess

and dick nixon

stone has him

say cocksucker

in the movies

and he also sent young men

to vietnam

more delinquency

i remember

these levites

were really dedicated

church ministers

knocked on doors

like jehovah's witnesses

asking for donations

for levys legal fees

to unslam him

from the slammer

and there were

no poetry slams then

people supported each other

none of this

poetic capitalism

with points

instead of bread

which sometimes goes

to the big point poet

if poetry is meaning-full

you can share it

w/o playing for keeps

and being nasty about it

and slamming someone

over the head with it

or being a slam judge

that gives 3s and 4s

to poets who annoy you

poetry is dead

long live poetry...

-- bernie joelson



oct. 11, 2007


-- joanne cornelius


oct. 4, 2007

th' curse vs. th' racist (& chief wahoo burns)

u havnt won a championship
in 60 years, & it's no surprise,
th' red faced racist symbol of
yr being betrays u, tears a hole
in th' wide fabric of yr curse, i cld
make up excuses until ray chapman
returns (but u refuse to admit u
killed him either) in th' meantime
th' lake erie nation heads down
th' river on its latent vision quest
& i am here 2 paddle th' boat,
catch my fill of breakfast carp,
& ask th' great spirit 2 grant
my wish 2 trade 4 bushels
of corn & muskrat hide 4 a
chance 2 breathe th' air that
r fathers breathed, this place
is just a trading post at th'
junction of 2 waters, 4 all
of us heading more or less west.

-- markk


september 24, 2007

crushed stones, roll your bones

with ice cream
in starkweather
lick stars like vega
down blueberry hills
bottleneck a song
for hummers
on one-way streets
every lorain ever known
falls like your hair
in a haloed pool
hearts skydive
no splash

crushed stones
roll your bones

dead mothers
drip muddy tears
across the sherbet dusk
outside the XXX theatre
sipping wine
wafers purchased
with bloody bread
laid on a red-gold altar
gunfire takes another child.

-- dan smith


september 17, 2007

(Always) After Russell

Eric Anderson chases wild
McGuanes throughout the streets, dreaming
about women who are not his wife and killing
presidents. He drinks in the smoke
like a coyote gnawing after the roadrunner
and builds altars to a man almost eighty

Russell tells me not to call him Mister
because it ages him beyond something comfortable.
Only certain flowers break through concrete
and survive the teeth of seasons. Important
people call them weeds and go after
them with bottles of chemical prophecy,
ignoring the water that winds through
their hearts of the creature that laps
their beaches and holds them on her back.
I want to be a lawn with a dog,
but a friendly dog, with no chain
or fence, a dog who would smell
attar on the hands of a man almost
eighty who isn't a mister, who wants
to know where I was when he was twenty.
When he was twenty, nobody thought
of me. They arrested poets, banned
immorality and when the sky flashed
children curled like box turtles beneath the shells
of their desks. Bones could not carry
the myrrh of their bodies, could not
hold the smoke left after the kiss

breaks, the mug is emptied, and our bodies
leave without us. We're not going
anywhere and the dusk grows blue
now that we have sung the psalm.

-- joshua gage


september 10, 2007

In Ohio After Days Of Hard Rain (for William)

In Ohio
after days of hard rain,
after the humus, loam
wash away,
the brick-red clay of earth form puddles
or red light, washes into rivers, both
large and small, we could so easily
smile--remember a creation story,
there would be no doubt
here is where the Red Man was
brought forth by the hand of God,
I ponder no further clarification
to the mysteries of colour and race,
the sands of time and the journeys of man
come together just when thoughts
fly away, carry a mercurial memory
to the space of awareness, just beyond
contemplation in the antechamber of a
Lover’s heart,
I am dripping with the sky as it
forms around me, the summer heat
hangs low and heavy with thunder
and lightning, etches across my face
around the bend, a hawk awaits my arrival,
he is perched on a dead branch, pinioned
the live tree, he speaks:  “I am at your service,
My Lady”.  I thank him as he returns to the air,
to the denseness of middle earth,
I am bare-shouldered in August
cornflower-blue asters,
ungloved in the Rose Of Sharon,
I am nascent in the Fall.

-- anna ruiz


september 3, 2007



shouts down his lines

louder than deathnoise rain

more full of sunshine than silence



all your channels

to infinite mindlove

breathe flowers! inject radios!



strung out ribbons

black floodwatch memories

in cyclic universe collisions


-- dan smith


august 28, 2007

current events

Buildings swayed in Lima
the death tolls are rising
in Pisco
2 minutes of eternity
neighborhoods collapse
roads and bridges,
churches topple with their congregation

the Pacific Ring Of Fire
is horse-shoe shaped

military deaths in Iraq top 3703,
care to venture a guess for the Iraqis?

my grandson will soon be 19 and they're
talking of reinstating the draft

three would-be rescuers are
dead in Utah
6 or more  injured,
continuing efforts may cease,

Countrywide Lenders are experiencing
financial woes, the stock market tumbles
foreclosures are rising in Cuyahoga County

I spoke with William last
night and wept and wept,
not knowing why

I am caught like a fly in the amber
of ancient tears.

I am glazing over
a one-eyed man
in a wheelchair
riding six white horses,
blazing a trail
across the moon.

-- Anna Ruiz


august 21, 2007

River Trilogy

I. Steel Rivers

A life

between the Black

and the Cuyahoga,

where all blues, all greens, fade slowly

to gray.

II. West Creek

Beer cans,

cigarette butts,

graffiti on gray rocks

but, at least for now – solitude,


III. Pyre

Steel mills

lie cold and dark.

Only the river burns,

snaking through the Cuyahoga


-- j.e. stanley


august 14, 2007

Baseball Haiku

League Park-
the ghost of a mirror
of Fenway Park

League Park-
the ghost of the only
World Series unassisted triple play

Old Municipal Stadium-
mustard more memorable
than most games

League Park-
my mother's stories
come to life

-Michael Ceraolo


august 7, 2007

when cleveland sleeps alone

cleveland sleeps alone
in pastel sheets with a night light
on a summer evening when
crickets rattle like the bones
of mayor tom johnson,
chief sockalexis, the
butcher of kingsbury run,
when the moon shines like
a garbage can lid over the
cowering halo of lake erie,
sometimes i dream of home,
i even dream of my old cleveland home



july 30, 2007

some notes on Dylan performing in the Flats, 7/14/07

on water
a blues
opening act
for the
big river
ore boat
twisted &
Highway 61
rocks & piers
& buzzing
bridges &
aqua bleacher
we were
a hundred
years worth
on life
laid down
till it was
all over
and the River
burned white

-- Joanne Cornelius


july 23, 2007

The Ganges fills with umbilical cords

The Ganges fills
with umbilical cords
bathers in their white dhoti
never get naked
funerary pyres are lit
with shriveling bodies of widows
little candle armies
illumine the night
the Cuyahoga
caught on fire in 1969
and the world laughed
at the rustbelt State of
the Nation
the year Armstrong walked
on the moon, planted
a flag on solid rock,
spoke a few words about stepping

they called the Euphrates
"Cradle Of Civilization",
look mom what they've
done with their song,
they're bleeding with soldier
they're bleeding with innocent
and they're bleeding with terrorist

the oil wells keep on a-pumping
the black oil
of lies,

politicians are born,
soldiers are made,
and God is fanning the fire.


-- anna ruiz


july 15, 2007

Cleveland's Parade of Color

Sun-drenched crowd.
50,000 plus.
Lining the Circle
Eye-popping vibrant color.
Jubilant music ignites dance.
Echous oohs and ahs erupt, watching
bright costumes, giant puppets,
stilt-dancers, strings of iridescent balloons,
painted masks and colorful floats
streaming past us.
Cleveland’s University Circle…
overflowing breathtaking color:
rosso, viola, blu, verde, lilla, and more,
All parade the Circle.
Clevelanders showing their true colors, against
the backdrop of the city’s stunning
art and natural history museums and orchestra hall.
Not a more perfect day possible—
here or anywhere.
Once again,
why focus so much
on what’s wrong with our city,
when so much more is right.

-- Don Iannone


july 8, 2007

Bike Boy

pumps a gold and silver weave
between cars and buses
around the Plain Dealer delivery trucks
over the unseen chuckholes
in the orange cone of dawn
across his pale yellow eyes
scroll black hieroglyphs
in his pouch of gray leathern skin
he carries messages
from Hart
he pedals night and day
from one side to the other
he delivers a word or a phrase
but as always it's up to you to decode it
on Sundays he lets Beverly Potts
ride on the handlebars
and sometimes
in a gray voice thick with fog
he dictates wet fragments
that hang like streetlight halos
in the spokes of his wheels
and splash into my mind.

-- dan smith


july 1, 2007

Orange and Brown Babies

It begins on Superior Ave, where houses cry for 50's legislature, to the ghetto thugs, white bitches and fireCRACKERS, record house turntables under tables in basements galore, spinners spun on chip pebble streets, cd noise skip back retrack mutter "di-lap di-lap!"  It stretches to government checks, my dad's tax, garbage pickers digging for aluminum up to sumthin' cents on a pound, howler dogs, mailbox raids, neon church lit signs singing "holla-halleluiah!"  new digs, ice cream pads for small pink pills, the stink of sticky new dry wall.  This golden lion tames welfare.  It moves to Ansel and Hough, numbered cross streets and dead Eddy.  To bordered houses, to pigs split on barbeques, school vouchers throw in gutters, cardboard over windows now illegal.  This stretches to bong water buildings, bad alleyways and abortions, magazine hustlers, hummers on the street but ain't no coins on the ground.  This is urban.  Or vanity. Or, or, urbanity.  
It moves up Mayfield, the Cleveland people talk about when they talk about Cleveland, Garfield hunts haunting tombstone texture extra-extra: Sherrod Brown brown nosing voting college kids!  Oh these brick streets so romantic, there is panic at the Alta House, moving uptown around Cedar, back down into downtown, Chester avenue pimp step walk and talk, for every drug deal gone bad, twenty go fine, CPD car patrol, tip yr cap to memory. This runs with punk-haired kids, Peabody shows and pizza joints, spray painting Rapid Transit Anarchy on transfer guardrails.  It shifts into the 30's, Superior St. Claire, the Prospect of Chinese gangsters slinging chicken chow, the goose step gaggle of car wash employees sittin' on their asses getting high.  It stretches out to little baggie high-fives, red light scams, two finger getaways, to city corner street poets screaming, "Hey, hey, anybody out here?"

-- sean santa


june 25, 2007

to be x 4

for rj

say nothing
to quiet revolutionaries
of bee glue
and trojan crocus'
maybe it's all we need
all we ever needed
to be
to be
to be
to be
honest oasis
unafraid of raptor
and hyper-glyphs
who can hope
to attain
such illumination
of being
a freedom of
his own
in his

-- joanne cornelius


june 18, 2007

It's Here

among the thieves of Short Vincent

the Roxy Magdalene's

it's here

along the scattered bread of Hough

the gaud of Euclid

it's here

beside our choking Pison

clenched and burning silver betrayal

it's here

in the redoubt of spirit

in the people who build with their hands

it's here

in the sounds of cataclysm and music

that are just now reaching the planets of distant stars

it's here

amid the stones and steel stripped bare

you and I surrendered

to that bright Eden

of a poem.

-- dan smith


june 11, 2007


This wrench, made by men with machine like
skill, held by aching thick grease streaked fingers
ratcheting a foundation to stand upon to reach
unimagined horizons. Turning bolts, pushing buttons
to raise the future with each tick, each tick, each tock
of the time clock.

We have been transported from then to now on their
backs, guided by their hands combined with dreams of friendship
and laughter. Generations stood side by side, sweat dripping,
melting away melting away their youth beneath each setting sun.

Solitary footsteps now echo where the communion of men
and machines was shared through all seasons, dissolving
differences while building lives,
born here, for us, for the world, for more
than half a century.

They bolted together drinks and dreams, through pain and betrayals,
while lifting that fender lifting that fender lifting that fender,
creating music to friends to families. Those notes those notes are now floating
away floating away, behind a rust covered curtain.

-- steve thomas



june 4, 2007

d.a. levy crashes the 21st century

he sits in front of his computer, raging nomad 60-plus years old, updates his web site at three oclock in the morning, another manic all-nighter, scanning photos of his latest artwork, a poem series from tl kryss, more lines for the city, changing the ragged header of buddhistfirstclassjunkmailoracle.com, sending a boatload of emails across the world, in contact with a professor in hungry, an old girlfriend in australia, a young poet in london. d.a. levy, inventor of hypertext poetry, electronic terrorist, milking animation pixels into hologram folk art, from his loft in coventry where he rules the known world, a place defaced by corporate greed and compromised souls, political mafia and military whores, d.a. levy plays his trackpad like a piano, navigating intricate html coding, seismic broadsides of color and facts and mad purpose. and in the moaning twilight of cleveland’s volcano morning, an idea creeps into his graying head, a slash of a smile across his steel-wool face. d.a. levy manipulates his imac g5 like an orchestra conductor, pulsing vectors of light in transit like a shadow dancer, a kerosene factoid in linux disguise, the electrocution of ideas bigger than the heaving grace of uncertain time. what d.a. levy does in those tiny moments is set a trap, a time-release virus of image music, a perfect storm of violetpink vapor visible only from a computer screen. and in the near future, when it all comes down in slabs and chunks, like colors melting, an avalanche of portals and kernels, shells and backbones, like wax dripping on an old chianti bottle, when d.a. levy crashes the 21st century in a supreme act of love, what we will have left are the ragged pieces of civilization, in all of its glory, to put back together again, the way he did in 1968, cutting pictures from magazines, a collage, making art out of garbage, the way it was meant to be. (and still, the beautiful cuyahoga burns.)



may 28, 2007


From shop to showroom
From plant to pavement
The wheel's come off the
Paycheck in a car wreck
Economy / the paint's
Dried up & the conveyor
Belts' down around my
Ankles / the house is
Hungry & the kids need
Siding & I'm still driving
Last year's trade in

Listening to the echo in-
Side my empty lunchbox
Untying my steel-toes for
The last time / I've seen
My last plane or stripper
Take off on the runway
Sitting at home circling
Minimum pay jobs in the
Morning paper with a
Red crayon / drinking
Whiskey in a coffee cup

-- kevin eberhardt


may 21, 2007


I can be Steven B Smith
I can't be Steven Smith
I can't be Steve Smith
I can't be Steve.

Smith can't be Steven.

But if yr interested,
there are 327 million Smiths
there are 84 million Steve Smiths
there are 36 million Steven Smiths
there are 64 million Steven B. Smiths
I make # 2 on that.

The others - I don't even make
the first page.

There are 1.6 million agents of chaos,
of which

am number one.

I'm gonna have a lotta minions."

"You are?" I ask.

"Yep. For all the unpleasant stuff. I ain't doin any of it."

We both zone into some private hash dream.

Now Smith asks, "Does cyber pseudopod god monster want sunshine?"

I ignore him.

"In the old days, in the pre-cyber days, when I would ask a question like that? I would get answer."

"Oh, I can't answer you without consulting." I type away.

"Nowadays my question gets inserted on screen. I get no answer..."

-- Kathy Ireland Smith


may 14, 2007

Cracked Lens

Window watching from a
Rapid position / encouraged
Of every voyeuristic tendency
All is not forgotten in the
Evolutionary dance of urban
Transmigration / of playing
Difficult parts within variable
Degrees of excess / awarded
Over-achievement for coloring
Outside the lines / the primal
Music of Albert Ayler fiddles
From the black & white slag
Heap of a Bourke-White
Composition while industrial
Cleveland burns in vats of
Molten metal / no ashes left
To feed the river / only a
Slightly imperfect rendering
As offering to the Gods

--kevin eberhardt


may 7, 2007

heart's implosion

(a foolish farewell to the Fulton Road Bridge)

i came to say goodbye to
a dear old friend
at 75 she's
tired; her back is broken &
bones are a 'crumblin
her skin is rough and burnt

i thought we'd all come
to talk about all the crazy times
around her;
Brooky and Lawson's
the no. 79 bus excursions to Trowbridge
& serendipitous Mardi Gras parties;
parking at Brookside where at 16
in a Mustang, I discovered
that not all cars had stick shifts

but as the bridge detonation crews prepared
to let her go piece by piece in a majestic
pyrotechnic-like festival on a cool April morning,
no one in the crowd of a few hundred folks
seemed to want to talk about stuff like that,
instead a man in the crowd chanted "BLOW IT UP"

a final minute warning siren sounded and then "BOOM!"
her delicate shoulders slouched and collapsed
she seemed to hide for a moment
and then a silence fell over the

And with that,
my heart imploded

the crowd booed; they wanted more!
more than a mere limb, they wanted
her all gone! Done! Boom! Boom! Boom!

suddenly i was ashamed and
disgusted at myself for being there,
a witness to her execution,
which had become carnival-like;
a spectacle

my heart imploded
I wanted to be sick
I ran quickly from the side of the hill
to get out of the park

(i don't want to see you go i don't want to see
you die I am sorry that i came to witness this
please forgive me please forgive me. I love you
now more than ever and will forever)

turning and looking back I heard someone
in the crowd say that there was a problem in the
detonation line and that no more of the bridge
was coming down that day.

(hooray! You did it girl! You fooled them!)

she, witty as ever, had the last laugh &
wasn't going down without a fight
I could see her off in the distance
still shaky, crumbling & sweaty from the first
blast, but still standing and I swear
she winked at me

(when you're ready old gal, when you're ready-- rip)

-- joanne cornelius

april 30, 2007

The Many Facets of his Demons (disco ball jim )

( for j.e. stanley based on a photo by joanne cornelius )

The chiseled features of his pain
glints poetry from abstract prisms
solitaires sheer cliffs rising
a house of cards spins
aces and eights
across balance sheets of time
maelstroms of the bottom line
drag abysmal geometry into music
in the triumph of his guitar wail
the demons are controlled
his own voice speaks
and every broken mirror
bleeds poetry.

-- dan smith


april 23, 2007

my attorney mails me a sunoco
shirt in a re-used brown envelope

it arrives in a reused brown
envelope, mailed to me
by my crazy attorney,
john porter, it's nothing less
than a garish yellow blue & red
xl button-down sunoco oil
company shirt, with a nascar patch
over the heart. it's a shirt only
a madman could love. not sure
if i'm the madman or if he is.
i shall wear it to the grocery
store, buying grapes & bil-jac
dogfood, i shall wear it to the
next city council meeting,
sitting in rapt reflection while
the mayor talks the same old
shit, i shall wear it to my daughter's
school, parading down the hall
as she runs away mortified by
my lack of coolness and dignity.
i shall wear it to the roar on the
shore, me a stylish gearhead,
the envy of those who love the
smell of fuel burning, & watching
stickered cars race in repetitive
circles. yes, i now have me a
shirt that only an oil company
could love, & in an act of supreme
irony, i'll wear it next time
i fill up my tank to the tune of
forty-five dollars, & i'll sing the
praises of hugo chavez, much to
the chagrin of just about everyone.

-- markk


april 16, 2007

Anatomy of a Poem

For Dan Smith

A poem is
an old man
with hair like
the heart
of a lion,
eyes burning
like Elijah,
mad with light,
fire tongued,
howling at
the prison guards:
"Oh, city! take off
yr pants!"
law and order
for its guns.

-- Miles Budimir


april 9, 2007

tripping 3

for joanne cornelius & dan smith

speeding through clevyland
with the black dog riding shotgun,
howling her siren's wail.

we plummet through the night,
a runaway train,
amtrak squared
& flaming like a comet.

to the twang of dylan,
gone man gone electric,
tires scream,
kick up gravel shrapnel
& shred sonnet roadways.

M129's burst with clusters of poems.
movie fruit carts explode on impact
while pedestrians dive for cover
& mothers hustle their children inside.

nothing but sonic booms
left in our slipstream tonight, baby.

-- j.e. stanley


april 2, 2007


for Joshua Gage

Wild gazelles,
cloaked in rhyme,
run free
and fear no lion.
The prophet dons his purple robe,
nails his palms to the stars
with his pen, emerges
from the echinoid Cuyahoga
though clouds of steel smoke.

He sings the gospel
of Brew Kettle beer,
coffee and cigarettes,
Kerouac, U2,
the word and the Word
and the woman.

Though, skeptical and hesitant,
our hearts sequestered
behind Kevlar vests
and walls of quarried stone,
we listen.
we hear.

-- joanne cornelius & j.e. stanley

march 26, 2007


man it was outta sight
i saw the visible voices
of daniel & d.a.
drip down the walls
like inky plasma suns
and spin globules of moon the room
a carousel of Lincoln Park
hurtled over all our Tremonts
and stained our merry go round minds
aurora borealis incandescense incantation
Lord Buckley shakin' hands with old Will
alive in an ink stained temple
bathed in silver nitrate light
we turned the dials
on our secret decoders
picked up the laughter
of stoned flowers
footsteps of children on tightropes
long ago poetics
like left over leaves
rustling in March wind
guttered and turned to flame
set off cherry bomb Springs
minds in M-8O concussive collective collage
wavered and wobbled the room
ten thousand candles lit the past
the present smelled like peeling rubber
the future glimpsed in spotlights
neighborhood reports of UFO's
just some levy-tating poets
conjuring controlled madness
i heard someone lost? their glasses
it wasn't me
i just threw mine away
i don't need them to hear
the voices that i see.

-- dan smith


march 19, 2007

collage by joanne cornelius


march 12, 2007

cinquain for jack mcguane

okay, so i lied, this poem
is not a cinquain, but the
title sounds damn good --
this poem is more like
a refrain, a phrase uttered
over & over & over again,
words that sound more like
get better soon, man! get
out of that hospital, rise up
take yr bed & walk, skip, run
for the exits, here in the secret
heart of cleveland we're waiting
for you to return, yr own heart
in fine fettle, tripping along
with that natural rhumba that
sounds like yr poems popping
to life off the printed page --
it ain't poetry without jack
mcguane. there are dancing
girls waiting for you when
yr frequency lines up in the
proper order, like a coded
message welcoming you
back to the place you belong



march 5, 2007

Secret storms

                    Like troubadours
Sing songs of dark calculation
Creatures born of political seas
Steal our suffering w/language
Of domestic confusion / now
Steel mills belch less fiercely
Than the days of red dust cars
While fortunes spent in lottery
Bars toast welfare millionaires
Shipyards drift in the corrupt
Wake of broken hearted men
As auto industry autocrats bury
Their heads in foreign sand

Auto-pilot fantasies consort a
Fragile mind

Beneficiary awaits the fickle
Windfall of paternity / hell /
Life's just a pretty alibi gone

-- kevin eberhardt


feb. 26, 2007

a cheap paradelle for d.a. levy

ghost of d.a. levy still flaming cleveland.
ghost of d.a. levy still flaming cleveland.
while in buffalo, i am burned by the morning sun.
while in buffalo, i am burned by the morning sun.
i am cleveland while flaming in buffalo.
morning still by the sun ghost of d.a. levy.

i haven’t felt this dread in a long time, darryl.
i haven’t felt this dread in a long time, darryl.
looking for philosophy in a cereal bowl.
looking for philosophy in a cereal bowl.
a bowl felt dread philosophy for darryl.
looking in this cereal, i haven’t in a long time.

all the poets have come home to roost.
all the poets have come home to roost.
cowering, we made our own death like this.
cowering, we made our own death like this.
we have made all the roost cowering.
our own death, poets come home to like this.

still, darryl of d.a. levy, made in cowering philosophy.
a buffalo in cleveland cereal bowl by the poets.
this morning flaming, looking for a long time.
i haven’t burned the sun we like.
while our own roost felt this ghost.
i am all dread have come home to.

-- i lost the author of this (if it's you, pls identify yrself)


feb. 19, 2007


Our little lake

color of diseased piss

wearing little bow-ties

you struggle to escape

every blue green thing


wanting only the sun

only to lick the rough tongue

and swallow everything.

-- dan smith


feb. 12, 2007

fractal goof on denison

i don't know, here on denison

when the face lifts its visage --

the candy store where i bought

licorice and bazooka burned down.

when that girl disappeared

they never found her. i stayed

in my house for two weeks straight.

my dad worked at the ford factory

i never saw him in the daylight.

i wished euclid beach park would

burn to the ground. fate took care

of that for me. i live in the light

of this factal goof. wishing for home.

-- michael gabrial


feb. 5, 2007

everybody talks about the weather

in this town,
everybody talks about
the weather, but no one
does anything
about it, well, i'm going to do

- something -

i'm asking everyone to throw
open the doors & windows of their homes,
from the east to the west side,
from cleveland
to medina, if everyone all at once,
just lets
all the heat out of their homes
this city will be as warm as july,

there will be no need to cower
inside our houses, we'll change
the weather & build community

all - at - once

if you're with me, at 12:00 noon on friday,
let's make northeast ohio hot, hot, hot

-- markk


jan. 29, 2007

(in cleveland) we have all the fresh water

global temperature rising, the rivers
begin to recede, the polar ice caps
melt, flooding new york & san fran
with salt water & devestation,
in arizona they dry up like prunes,
an arid desert from the dakotas
to the california coast, skeletons
stretched out on hot sand, but here
in cleveland, we have all the fresh
water, a great lake full of it, holy water,
baptisimal water, life-giving water,
and when the great migration begins,
& they flock in droves to america's
north coast, all of their possessions
in a u-haul trailer, begging for a drink,
we will be there to meet them, saying,
remember the burning river? the mayor's
hair on fire? the recall? a lake that is erie
next to a tower that is terminal? all
of those late night jokes on jay leno? you
remember all of that abuse? you may
not enter. head on back to yr 10,000
sq. ft. spread in dallas or phoenix,
& watch yr skin crack like old leather,
i have to water the lawn today, a cleveland
millionaire, yeah, that's me, john d. rockefeller
in tye-dye with an h2o tattoo. yes, here in
cleveland we have all the water, & we're
not giving it up, not to anyone, never, no
uh-uh, forget it about it, nada, nothing,
nope, how do you like us now, countrymen?

-- markk


jan. 22, 2007


Days/ when the light / spilled over
and ran down / every side
a fountain / unsourced / unebbing
filling pools with laughter / at the rain
no sorrow / at the sun's / refrain
a tinkling music / joy that swelled / the brain
filled the heart / like a mother's kiss
that soft / said loud / tomorrow and tomorrow
and nightly / slept in quiet / parade
to march in riot / down heroic streets / of childhood town
where time slowed / palpable / as sky
and more blue / cloudless clear / and flowed
lightspilling ever / over and over
a Niagra of being / huge falling / dynamo
whole and holy / bathed / in sweetness sanctified
worlds / all lost within / without end.

-- dan smith


jan. 15, 2007

electric emmett's car

electric emmett's car rolls into
the parking lot of the warehouse
at e40th & payne, like a furnace
creeping across a factory floor --
rattle trap old ford sedan leaning
to one side, gulping air & spitting
gray smoke. there is a red brick
on the top of his trunk. i ask him,
do you know you're drivin' with a
brick on yr trunk? yeahhhhh, brotha',
he says, it's there to keep the trunk
from poppin' up while i'm doin'
the detroit lean. i ask him: what
if the brick falls off, yr trunk pops up
& you don't see the car behind you
run the brick over & get a flat tire?
yeahhhhh, brotha', he tells me, that's
the idea. if i don't see it go down,
the shit didn't happen. he laughs
in that chisel-on-metal rasp, jukes
& jives, reaches for a cigarette.
stick around, white boy, he says,
today ya'll might learn a little sumpin'

-- markk


jan 8, 2007

the ballad of troy smith

pulled yrself up by yr bootstraps
off the hardscrabble streets of glenville
like a scarlet & gray statue of liberty
there, in the pocket on muddy grass
in an infinite pool of calm & grace
violence & sacrifice swirl in waves
gridiron ballet in chemistry phases
when the television slows to a crawl
& the voices we hear are echoes, refrains
there is magic in leather, cold pigskin
in requisite spiral, there is a poetry
we write in lines on a page, poetry
we witness in yardlines on a field,
each play a meditation in motion
doesn't matter the game or the score
tonight cleveland shines like chrome
(bright on the bumper of a '52 ford)

-- markk


jan. 2, 2007


for dan smith

he curled in fog
hardening of the
arterial ventricular
blinding winds
I cry for
you to
your song
of tired
not knowing
is knowing,
just death
pure & majestic

love you Dan!

-- joanne cornelius

2006 poem o' the week archive

2005 poem o' the week archive

2004 poem o' the week archive

2003 poem o' the week archive

2002 poem o' the week archive

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