scraps of Alcman
         (tr. after Lattimore)

Aphrodite never but Eros at his filthy games
like children stamping flowers and the pristine grass

there is the play of iron and the playing of the lyre

you lout you were never
boor nor swineherd
nor of Thessaly born nor
Erysichaia and no shepherd
but of great Sardis

I cannot hear the sound of girls enticing
and rise would I were a seabird
above the flora of the ocean waves
on the breeze and happy blue as ocean holy

Working Back with Original Energy

It’s hard to keep from swallowing when the tongue wants it bad,
when teeth and jaws join the coalition of the salivating.  It’s the
dream of the mouthpiece tenderized, its bitten-off morsels headed
for the throat where you manage to spit them out.  It’s not a fear
of choking; it’s that you know they’re for external use: effective
because of a unity and density that won’t return until morning. 
It’s in the nature of the mouthpiece to be a gleam in the eyes of
Founding Fathers such as Puffy Coombs and Lord Jeffrey A.
Someone says it might be good for headache, but he looks and
he’s never able to find it.  There could have been some wounded
animal digging it up in the shade of a maple.  Nobody watches. 
Not with all the government blankets Lord Jeff’s giving away.  
Even if the mouthpiece hides in some smallpox infested pillow
the germs are bound to be dead—it was that long ago.  Which may
be why it lacks the gleam beachcombers look for.  Why it’s closer
to the watermelon rind that bees and flies feast on.   Like most
soft droppings it wears the faint smile of offal.  Try to pass it on
anonymously; it slips the sieve and no one gets it.  They know
that handling changelings is a danger fraught with thrills, exacting
penalties.  Those who fail are dragged to the swamp for burial.

For Breastworks

That fall, I am standing
In the sun
Hair no longer golden

How they killed their horses
In summer

How some were moved
From the hill

That fall, I am reading
Others’ panic
At my leisure

In shadows
Almost winter

I am almost

My father is also

All the markers
Where this man fell
Where that group was cornered
The debate
Over how many and who tried
And to do what

The certainties
Of living

How I keep wondering
If I really need a jacket

How the car
Is just over there

Past the store
With the extra books
That one could be

From where
I was standing
From where
He was reading about

That winter, I am warm
And eating
When I learn
Of my mother’s

An emergency

That fall
When I was reading

How men
Killed their horses
For breastworks

When my father
Was reading
Some seasonal markers

Like so much snow
Breaking into crystal

No clear messages

For your protection
They say

Like markers

Firing once and twice
To mark again
The long dead people

Until the air itself
Seems to retaliate

How we start
To bleed in secret
They aren’t
Supposed to read


They refuse
Our immediate attention

And we dilute
The soft crystal
Blasts of red

Christopher Mulrooney
has written poems and translations in Compass Rose, Ezra, New Translations, Pacific Review, and Orbis

Gerald Yelle worked in the office products industry.  Now he teaches high school English.  He has published poems most recently in decomP, Prick of the Spindle, and The Pedestal.  He is a member of the Florence (MA) Poets Society.  Notes, comments, and links can be found at geraldyelle.blogspot.com.

Susan Marshall holds degrees in education and film from The University of Iowa, and in writing from The University of Texas, Michener Center for Writers. A former Michener Fellow and ACA Associate Artist (working with Ishmael Reed), her poems have appeared in a range of publications, including Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cream City Review, From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, Lungfull!, The Midwest Quarterly, and Quarterly West. She teaches/consults at FRCC in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is also seeking a publisher for Wordhugger: A Writer (Re)activating, a recently completed first book.


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