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2011 issue



We are in the midst… of what? Transition? Flux? Apocalypse? Hasn’t the world always been in flux? What is different about our present 3/11 reality, and what do poets have to offer our understanding–or our striving for it–as we meet the challenges ahead?

Poets who work in the spaces between past and present, between imagination and reality, between history and eternity, between original and translation are bridge-builders. In the poem that is a bridge between, then, where composites of new composures rise out of old composts for the breaking of bread between old and new, let the 108 kinds of sins or desires in Buddhist thought meet the 108 suitors of Homer’s Penelope. In the poem that is a bridge between where out of our coming together and coming apart are a death throes and a birth cry, let us settle for the irrepressible and the undeniable lying down with a loneliness and a flawed, wounded happiness. In the poem that is a bridge between where what’s felt by the body matters to the mind and speaks to the heart one green thought at a time, let us make for the body of our first great love, and remember– humility and hell go together to preserve good humor.

For the journey’s end to an old storyline has come here, to a land of secrets (don’t worry, misunderstandings understand you) where waiting for the “happily ever after” confirms the absurdity of falling in love–the “You love me, I love you” bottom line. Put in perspective, it’s a vocation and a risk we’re talking about, along with promises kept, past the distractions and diversions, in a drama whose casting seems heaven-sent and whose players tap into the moment that, gone but not forgotten, gives birth to a debt nobody frets over– over which one sleeps easy (for a price).

See? No longer counting the cost oceans apart but charting one’s own course deep in a dream, payola-ing on the wild side for a sea-change of words up close and personal, that undarkens outlook and opens doors to answering the question not of how to live (who says enough is enough?) but of what it takes to keep dreaming.

For words are ash unless dreams be real, and made flesh. Every word, if heart-centered, is a myth to live by; wherever you are, horizons not lost. History holds us all accountable. For that, we should be grateful. You can’t discard it. Events like 3/11 last beyond our past. Time is not only linear, it’s cyclical, which puts, and keeps, certain otherwise unavailable energies in play. The poet lowers the arrowhead of his vision to aim at targets he’s already embedded himself in. Once hit, the heart either contracts or expands.

After certain events, then–including The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011– a new energy from the universe churns what is collective into what is individual to produce the mix Jung called “collective unconscious” which we all share. The history we carry is not just our own. What worries and gnaws at us, like a dog a bone, is all of ours, as shown by the soul’s call to human compassion.