Monday, November 16, 2009

Lines for Salinger at Ninety - Lamont Palmer

Tables are often "lousy with glasses",
a messy significance on Broadway.
Will we see the world as it is or as
it was, when it was only a globe in class?
Often lives soar wildly like the Lunts
over the East River. This is theatre,
the cynical lessons taught and told,
the old man, Jerome, and the young neck-tied boy
of wisdom, in one pimply universe.
We wonder about the absent ducks
(perhaps our own imminent absence)
and the "secret slobs", untested for the better.
The pianos are playing and the big men
are playing them. The noise is closing in,
trains are barreling to nowhere quickly,
holidays no longer support the tinsel
they cling to. It smacks of grim martinis,
the misanthropy of the dazed dim bubbles
springing up in the glass of a long life.
I need rest, like the boy: time away
from situations, contrivances and
f-words (cold implications) in rude stairwells.

Used by permission of Lamont Palmer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Congratulations to the following nominees:

"Forever" -- John Kay
"Elegy for No One" -- Ron Padgett
"Primavera" -- George Szirtes
"Winter Walk" -- Llewellyn McKernan
"The Long Goodbye" -- Llewellyn McKernan
"Still As I Was" -- Dzvinia Orlowsky

Thank you to all the 10x3 poets who appeared in the #4 issue. I was only able to publish one journal this year, but it was still a difficult decision selecting six poems for the Pushcart.

Good luck to these poets and I hope to see their work presented in the 2009 Pushcart Prize edition.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In a Twilight Town - Caleb Barber

At these hours a girl shows me the scar
she earned after her father's chainsaw
bucked against her calf while he evened
the backyard stumps. "It cut clear to my meat,"
she says. "They had to fly me to the city."
The rough, shiny lump is not grotesque.
Her leg has grown around the wound
same as how trees will hatchet swings.

She still wears skirts, for now, because
her body won't be a woman's for a few
more years, and free magazine offers
don't come this far out in the country.
The bald slice through one eyebrow is either
from barbed wire or dog. Could have
been her brother, before they sent him
to that school for boys just like him.

I'd like to hear about all those goldfish
that never survived through winter
on her parents' porch. I'd like to know how
the couch felt when it froze through.
But the plane for the mail route is spinning on
and this place will always be her stop.
The night makes us all older, and just walking
toward it, she covers her thighs with the dark.

First published in The New Orleans Review

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Go at the Lifting Stone - Ralph Culver

"For many years a nearly round granite stone
about two feet in diameter sat at the easterly
corner of the front steps of the store now
owned by Frank E. Brown. Few men in the town
could lift it off the ground."

The hands, arms, shoulders and back
consult briefly. A new challenge
of some dimension, of serious intent.
Promise heaves in the brain. This
is our provincial glory!
The bet down--budge it, and you won't
have to buy your own beer for a week--
you think in a sense your future
lies bearing its secret under the stone,
the days breaking in your favor
or not an equation of space--
its possibilities--
conjuncting with the flesh
and its limitations;
all borne up forever on the skin
of the earth, a place that seems
suddenly new and somehow
getting younger by the minute
until you have the confirmation
you seek. By God,
you are about to learn something
(this being your sole duty);

and you learn something sure enough.
Next day, when the usual warriors
clap you on the armored brace,
your lips roll back like a dog's --
the bloody thing having not given
an inch. The sudden multitude
of flea-like urgencies in your ankle
you would rather die than bend
to attend to. Closing your eyes to this
and the uncompromising grins
stretched across the faces of
these yahoos buying you
beer after beer after beer.

First published in Seven Days

Friday, May 15, 2009

10x3 plus...Choosing a poem to publish

Someone recently asked me how I choose the poems that I use in 10x3. I really wish possible contributors would read the actual magazine, but if you are not willing to order a copy of the journal, then you could always examine this blog or do a google search of the contributor's list and read the poems that these poets have published online.

However, I did compile a short list of some of what I look for:

1. Does this poem read outloud and can I hear it?
2. Do I understand this poem?
3. Have I read the same poem before? What's new about this poem? Does this poem take me anywhere that I haven't been already?
4. Does this poem relate to the next issue's cover artwork and/or any of the poems already accepted for publication? Is this poem worth a page or more, using up valuable space in the magazine?

I never really thought about the space issue much until Martin Turner pointed out to me on more than one occasion how much space I had used on certain poets (including him)! Now I give it more thought.

It's wonderful having a choice of poets for each issue, and as the journal continues to grow and gain more recognition, I have the pleasure of reading more good work. I hope those who are already familiar with the journal will pass the word along to their poetry-loving friends.

10x3 plus...Looking ahead to issue #4 featuring Dan Casado's artwork

The #4 issue is due out on Saturday, May 23, and I will begin mailing to contributors and subscribers right away. The contributor list for #4 is the longest of any issue yet:

The Ten: George Szirtes, Grace Cavalieri, Ron Padgett, Caleb Barber, Jefferson Carter, Llewellyn McKernan, Wendy Mooney, Ralph Culver, Michael Wurster, Dzvinia Orlowsky.

Plus: Mieczyslaw Jastrum (translated by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman), Nimal Dunuhinga, Ron Pisciotta, Gary Witt, J.J. Steinfeld, Sara Warner, Penny Bayless, Mark Jackley, Saba Syed Razvi, Gabe Heilig, John Kay.

Featuring: Under the Eaves: selected entries on poetry and the muse of language by Martin Turner.

Price per issue is $8.00. Any 3 issues are available for $20.00. You can visit the web site to find out subscription and submission information.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The War Dead - Sue Ann Simar

These are the bodies that must be cared for.
This hush of flesh, these swollen lips
that cannot offer praise or promise.
These glorious eyes look through me
and what I see are children, a fanfare of
children performing pratfalls on a stage.

First published in Endless Mountains Review

The Desert at Daybreak - Sue Ann Simar

What slips through my fingers is swifter than wind
with lively breath and a scent of death
a wisp of light
the first spoken words of a child

First published in Endless Mountains Review

White Pebbles - Michael Wurster

We were walking through the bees
under the trees that do not sing.
Smoke everywhere. And in the cottage
at the center of the forest, the rain
dripping from the roof. The children
would sleep or stare out. It was as if
I were a boy again, going down
in a white bed, not knowing.

They are what they are, he said,
handing us our check.
I remember that natal soil,
mother preparing the lentil soup.
What to predict, what to prefer?
White pebbles in our mouths smooth smooth.

First published in The Blue Guitar.
Collected in THE SNAKE CHARMER'S DAUGHTER, Elemenope Productions, 2000.

The Theology of Stones - Michael Wurster

Consider the theology of the stones,
how patiently they wait in some lost arroyo
for a further incarnation.

They like to stay up late
in the cool night air.

They ignore the obvious that
if they started rolling together
they could destroy us.

First published in Pig Iron.
Collected in THE SNAKE CHARMER'S DAUGHTER, Elemenope Productions, 2000.

Stones at Night - Michael Wurster

The stones sit
in an all night diner,

tough guys,

Their coffee
grows cold
before them,

they are oblivious
to the pinball.

When you go in
in the morning
before work,

they are not there.

First published in Pig Iron.
Collected in THE SNAKE CHARMER'S DAUGHTER, Elemenope Productions, 2000.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Avoiding History - Jesse Weiner

avoiding history is a family tradition,
draft dodging, missing wars, as far
back as my fathers go, I find
no soldiers, no warriors and also
no lovers. we don't write
in my family, we withdraw
our stories on objection, stop
telling them. we keep secrets.

I keep my own secrets and rarely
tell them, keep my truth
from coming back to hurt me.
I learn slowly but I learn well,
to keep my secrets, avoid history.
I avoided history by protesting war
and by refusing to marry.
I learned late, but I learned well.
your eyes tell your history, your belly,
in its soft geography, hints at mine.
I don't enlist, I avoid being drafted,
my bridges burn behind me.

I read history in the slope of her breasts,
her silence uses me in my telling.
I have many ways to lie,
using a sharp knife to separate
flesh from nerve, bone from tendon.
how many times have I undressed you,
hearing you tell me that I don't care
about anything, until you turn
away from me, turn on me, turn
to stone. I turn you over, exploring
history in the cleft of your ass,
touching with my hands but never
touching you, feeling alone finally,
shedding uniforms and telling stories.

lies return in the secrets I keep, hints
I cover with long explanations.
you come to me, naked, asking questions
and feel betrayed, telling me finally
that I don't matter and never
was real to you. I tell you
I was a soldier, that I fought,
and you lie to me by undressing yourself,
nakedness concealing your aims.

I read history in the curve of your thighs,
my tongue seeking your skin, seeking
you in your skin, tasting
beneath your skin. I find
your secrets, I tell your history
and turn my back to you. in sleep,
you back away, waking,
you dismiss me and I write a secret
history, full of lies and silences.

First published in Black Bear Review
Collected in OFF THE RECORD, an anthology of poetry by lawyers,
(Special Issue: Legal Studies Forum)

In Harm's Way - Jesse Weiner

"Surely all art is the result of having been in danger, of having gone
through an experience all the way to the end, to where no one can
go any further" -- Rilke

the reason we're together tonight
is that we're both aware of the fragile,
tissue-thin cords which connect
these words. we know how precarious
it is, what stories we listen to
and which ones we believe. some
will take voice and the rest, like flowers, will
tantalize us, tease us, dare us to choose
which among them are more than light
in the sky. the light speaks to us, too,
we know the stars by their light,
we know each other by gentle vibrations
of air, vibrations of other things, like
strings, glasses, throttled together
with the substance we hold on to,
that viscous fluid we share and
believe in. it is a flower, shining, it can
cause us to see past walls and fabric.
it is a gentle flower, casting
a thin light on the fluid of
our stories and the fragile tissue
of these words. this flower, this reason,
brings us together tonight,
and we go out walking,
picking among the stories and the lights.

First published in Zang Spur Review
Collected in IN HARM'S WAY, Linear Arts

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Constellation - Lamont Palmer

It wells up, strewn pieces of moon.
Outward, the parts split benignly,

sky, wind, flesh, debris, the skin of rocks
floating, in unison, with the asteroid belt.

Look up to see the image. Striking, in its sharpness,
known vistas tremble - there is a lone glow
reaching a thousand eyes in a thousand nights.

First published at

Confederate Flag - Lamont Palmer

let them fly
their defeated
dead banner.
let them fly that
cloth with the
stars and bars that signifies
division, wasted blood, and a
president with a hole in
his head; that signifies
the 400 year old evil that
shackled nearly an entire
race; that
signifies uncle sam
was split like the red sea; when
uncle sam nearly perished.
don't stop them.
don't picket.
don't protest.
let them fly their
defeated, whipped,
beaten, and shamed
banner. and let them
sing praises to
jefferson davis and
john wilkes booth as they
do it. it's a beautiful
colorful reminder, this
confederate flag. my yankee chest
swells to enormous proportions
when I gaze upon its
stars and bars.
know why? because
we won the
we won the war. we won
the war.

First published by

Pier Pressure on The Eastern Shore - Lamont Palmer

Consign to the wind what you will, or might have;
if you stand on the pier, looking out, you have consigned
the essence of it; and the wind knows.

It is a trifecta: water, air, you.
Emitting from the three is my needfulness.
I gamble on mix, standing on the edge,
spotting trash strewn nearby, tossed by lazy ones.
But nothing is ruined by the debris.

I looked out over the calmness of the blue.
I used to think it was beautiful.
I still do but I am not assimilating as I did before.
One can be the same, yet different.
Small waves make an eventful, lapping sound.

The event is the notion of standing here,
the notion and the physicality,
the realization of being partly here,
of being partly everything, only a half.
I am as still as the boats docked here,
waiting discontentedly to be propelled.

Lamont PALMER,
First published at