Locust Eight - May 2000

Locust Eight
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 8 - May 2000

FOREWORD


May has somewhat stirred the editor (usually a dormouse at a tea-party!) to activity. Vague plans, which were sadly dormant in an unredeemable limbo, have been resurrected. The enthusiastic idea to give Locust Magazine a real human voice is once again buzzing in his head. There are also some other plans, but talking about them now would mean blowing the surprise. However, have you noticed that Locust Magazine has a Newsletter? You can subscribe to it at the the Newsletter page, and you'll always keep up with the latest changes in the zine. And that's just to start with!... Finally, a tribute to Vladimir Mayakovsky's death anniversary, which should have been online last month, appears now in Locust Papers.

May 2000

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THREE POEMS by Jenny Howard

*

PAS DE DEUX


They carve space
to their liking
cut air true a arrows
flip from a bow string


Points etch patterns
in a void, describe
arcs, shiver like steel
quenched in water.


They dissolve in their pas de deux,
white toe to white toe mirrored
they melt and fly, travel,
leap and fold,
like petals
in perfect accord,
settle.

*

MOLECULE MAN
(A Jonathan Borofsky sculpture)


Do they spar?
Man and woman?
Androgynous couple?


A shout
Mouth to mouth
Or a preamble to a kiss?


They dance
a two-step
with the wind
sing
through their orifices


on stormy nights
do they rattle
like a paper couple


chatter like teeth
in the cold

*

HANNIBAL'S WOMAN
(After Turner's painting)


She isn't waving a red banner,
but wearing it, shawl-like.


She is Hannibal's woman
astride a mesmerised elephant,
the silk of the howdah
is spangled with rime.
Hers is no victory procession.


Dreams of queenship spiral
into the eye of the storm.


Her eyelashes wink away snowflakes.

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THREE POEMS by Townee

*

ANTI-MATTER


a soul escapes
cells as gases;


joins in
this nucleus


the
sun


and no longer
is suspended


in its mixture. a
fluid pull like the moon.


battery of the heart,
corroded,


played out,
ended.


avoids iron ore
of another


planet
dead;


misses comets
that procreate omens.

*

DONE IN HONEY WINTER


she sees more hornets
than at a fall hole


in trees,
leaves, these
mortal busiest bees.


seems limbs tumbled from
trunks, untrimmed; and if
trucks rumbled underneath them, with
their idling tremolo hymns...


both these seasons
were her workmen dying.

*

HOMESICK FOR THAT LATE-GREAT DEMOCRATIC ART


coarsely,
this poetry of poverty,
done bluntly, untroubled
and untortured--


under
grasping


elemental
angles


--in an
unlearned, non-curiosity;
a specter's aberration;
classic as night.

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LA POESIE DES GAR(C)ES, OR THE ROMANCE OF ESCALATORS
~ A Prose Piece by Andrew Gallix ~


Paris, Gare du Nord. Imperious, impervious, Girl on the escalator going up, pulling her case behind her like a lapdog on a lead, going up. Nifty, shifty, eyeing up Girl going up, naughty, haughty, hoity-toity.


Did she condescend to look down upon you as she went up, angel at a 25° angle? Did she even so much as acknowledge your existence as she plucked celestial chords on her flyaway hair and breathed honeyed tones down her cellular phone? Did she fuck! No: your eyes did not meat. You looked at me looking at you looking at her looking up, all high and mighty, pulling her case behind her behind like a slave on a lead, soaring up--she mighty high, you mighty sore. Looked at me you did, with your chastised eyes, all hot and bothered, hot, hot under the collar, your face a slapped arse.

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TEST OF TIME
(Part 2 of 2)
~ A Story by Vasilis Afxentiou ~


...The creaking door started me. I went to it towel in hand. It was the breeze and no-one else. Still, I nourished hope that Evangelos would be standing there.


On occasion Evangelos tripped to Athens for his concerts or rehearsals with the orchestra. Whereas Athens, depleted and exhausted, fostered nostalgia of how things once were, the island of Aggistri personated creation undiluted, manifest. He composed brilliantly of a war-weary city on an island overwhelmed by light.


He strove to save that which men in boots had covered, trampled and abandoned. Anastasis he called it. Resurrection.


Arthur, on the other hand, as naval attaché, had become engrossed in the finesse of diplomacy and absorbed in the details of his charge. He charmed me by his evolvement. I observed him unfold, elicit skilfully, educe assertiveness and carping that only evoked more admiration.


I too could boast devotion to my craft. The city was my citadel, the Academy facilities my turrets, and the ancient land of the Hellenes my realm of reign. The artifacts I unearthed, timeworn and hoary, thrummed of a phoenix, a rebirth that struggled tumultuously not to be passed over. Alongside Arthur opportunities emerged to dig and salve...

***

By certain media Victoria ensued the legal paper to engage in maiden digs bringing to light precious treasures at Samothrace, Aegina, Thera, and Orchomenos. Out of convivial companies at the University, happy-hours at the Walkers and cocktail evenings amid the upper crust, her exposure grew and ripened into influential purviews.


Evangelos would composed upon her prizes, transposing his music to the splendor of her findings.


Corroboration in A sharp, and she cheered along side of him.


She listened to the music chant of renown and magnificence, in major and minor modes, and found no intimidation there. She could not compass any discord that alarmed her of usurpation. The motifs were tense but pastoral, sensitive, interlaced with sensibility and counterpoint. The flute reigned, the oboe complied and the tympanies and orchestra filled and coalesced inflecting a dithyrambic cadence.

***

...Arthur, Evangelos, his music, and my archaeology instituted the quartet of my haven. For two years this foursome prescribed and routed my future. I was the node, the juncture, of their convergence. I was the exigency of our intrigue.


Arthur presided over it all by some intrinsic prerogative availing him to grasp and control, barter and negotiate liabilities and ‘benedictions’. He ushered clout and pull to expedite my excavation permits and licenses. There was, back then, the time I aggrandized him as the cornerstone in the ascendancy, the mother wit that unfastened, released, revealed, and dispensed all in its proportion and rank.


But Evangelos with his exotic Victor Mature eyes was the afflatus. He complemented and augmented me. His music chaperoned the digs and accompanied the troves I expositioned. It was a natural marriage.


Arthur took delight in my delectation, and I could tell the magnitude of his joy through my own. The laughter in the eyes, the patent glow on his face, and his inherent shyness, so naively puerile, incarcerated me.


The gulls plummeted indolently into the calm water. A few just skidded their wingtips sketching on the sea's even surface. Some simply floated on the air currents behind the boat.

***

Aggistri's evening shadow cast upon the boat, a kind of giant whose hunched back emerged from the plane of the sea eclipsing a quadrant of sky. A Zephyr blew and comforted me in its coolness. The scent of iodine not spice was pervasive now. While the caique cleaved through the inert span of sea, I looked at a solitary figure that went and sat at the edge of the receding wharf. Little-by-little the form thawed and blended into the grain of the landscape. And I, bit-by-bit, sifted once more the tesserae of my own life.


I had waited in the hospice turning Evangelos's words in my mind. The small room shrank compelling me to push on. I had lain down instead parched and fevered and sapped.


Lest being wrong I had let half hour more pass. Then gathered my things, and despite my affliction, had boarded the boat back to Athens.


Now the sun crept over the rim of summits of a single broad mountain that was the island. From this vantage point I clearly saw Aggistri's full profile amidst other isles, till a while later they all melded into the craggy fringe of the Peloponnese...

***

"Arthur--" Victoria speculated about the coming night.


He would be stirring the martinis. There would be guests, the Walkers, perhaps even Sara and Theodore. He would ask what she had prepared in the order of snacks slighting her appeals.


"Arthur--" she imagined still another scenario.


He would turn and look, in his navy blue uniform, and she would see the emotions tangle on his face, lines from weariness, tired green eyes. In his hand the note.

***

...I retrieved the sunglasses hanging down my neckline and put them on.


That Friday night Anastasis inundated throughout the outer lobby of Concert Hall. Latecomers queued at the box office. The motif was intimately familiar to me.


"I will not be absent from my own premier," Evangelos had insisted perturbed a week before. "We can go together, Victoria--or go alone."


My attempt to shift his priorities for this one occasion had failed. I must have seemed to him to be nourishing a threat to his muse. I had not persuaded him to let another conduct his music nor spend that last weekend together on the island before the new digs at Delos took me away.


"Victoria--"


I turned.


The happy hour regulars waived from the ticket booth with tickets in hand. Among them Arthur. His uniform was a bit creased. He had come directly from the office, or gone to see how the kids were doing at their first day at camp.


They were all happy I had made it.


I fabricated the excuse of really being too exhausted from driving to the Thermopilae site and back to stay on.


"I'll go home, freshen up, and wait for you all there." Arthur offered to go with me.


"I'll manage," I said.


I went up to him, gave him a kiss and exited.


As I drove home the radio continued Evangelos's Resurrection broadcasting it live from Concert Hall It said much to me. So subtle an ally. One that completely eluded me, one that Evangelos and Arthur do not know about to this day.


I crumpled the note that had been in my pocket and tossed it out the car window.


I know now where Evangelos's loyalties had lain, but a spark of vanity I call hope had compelled me to trip to the island that August morning.


So it came that I had chosen.


Once, in the solstice of my life, Victoria had promised me to search for love. In this pursuit, among the resurrection of a city and a score of treasure troves unearthed, we discover today, forty-eight years later, that Arthur alone has endured, has remained the one true, unscathed by the test of time.


[Part 1 appeared in Locust #7]

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BLUE REINCARNATION ~ NARCISSUS ~
(Oil Painting by Paul Jaisini)
~ A Review by Yustas Kotz-Gottlieb ~


The theme of Narcissus in Jaisini's Blue Reincarnation may be paralleled with the problem of the two-sexes-in-one, unable to reproduce and, therefore, destined to the Narcissus-like end.


Meanwhile, the Narcissus legend lasts.


In the myth of Narcissus a youth gazes into the pool. As the story goes, Narcissus came to the spring or the pool and when his form was seen by him in the water, he drowned among the water-nymphs because he desired to make love to his own image.


Maybe the new Narcissus, as in Blue Reincarnation, is destined to survive by simply changing his role from a passive man to an aggressive woman and so on. To this can be added that, eventually, a man creates a woman whom he loves out of himself or a woman creates a man and loves her own image but in the male form.


The theme of narcissism recreates the lost object of desire. Blue also raises the problem of conflating ideal actual and the issue of the feminine manhood and masculine femininity. There is another story about Narcissus' fall which said that he had a twin sister and they were exactly alike in appearance. Narcissus fell in love with his sister and, when the girl died, would go to the spring finding some relief for his love in imagining that he saw not his own reflection but the likeness of his sister.


Blue creates a remarkable and complex psychopathology of the lost, the desired, and the imagined. Instead of the self, Narcissus loves and becomes a heterogeneous sublimation of the self.


Unlike the Roman paintings of Narcissus which show him alone with his reflection by the pool, the key dynamic in Jaisini's Blue is the circulation of the legend that does not end and is reincarnated in transformation when autoeroticism is not permanent and is not single by definition.


In Blue, we risk being lost in the double reflection of a mirror and never being able to define on which side of the mirror Narcissus is. The picture's color is not a true color of spring water. This kind of color is a perception of a deep seated human belief in the concept of eternity, the rich saturated cobalt blue. The ultra-hot, hyper-real red color of the figure of Narcissus is not supposed to be balanced in the milieu of the radical blue. Jaisini realizes the harmony in the most exotic color combination.


While looking at Blue, we can recall the spectacular color of night sky deranged by a vision of some fierce fire ball. The disturbance of colors creates some powerful and awe-inspiring beauty.


In the picture's background, we find the animals' silhouettes which could be a memory reflection or dream fragments. In the story, Narcissus has been hunting-- an activity that was itself a figure for sexual desire in antiquity. Captivated by his own beauty, the hunter sheds a radiance that, one presumes, reflects to haunt and foster his desire. The flaming color of the picture's Narcissus alludes to the erotic implications of the story and its unresolved problem of the one who desires himself and is trapped in the erotic delirium.


The concept can be applied to an ontological difference between the artist's imitations and their objects. In effect, Jaisini's Narcissus could epitomize artistic aspiration to control levels of reality and imagination, to align the competition of art and life, of image with imaginable prototype.


Jaisini's Blue is a unique work that adjoins reflection to reality without any instrumentality. Blue is a single composition that depicts the reality and its immediate reflection. Jaisini builds the dynamics of desire between Narcissus and his reflection-of-the-opposite by giving him the signs of both sexes, but not for the purpose of creating a hermaphrodite.


The case of multiple deceptions in Blue seems to be vital to the cycle of desire. Somehow it reminds one of the fate of the artists and their desperate attempts to evoke and invent the nonexistent.


Blue is a completely alien picture to Jaisini's Reincarnation series. The pictures of this series are painted on a plain ground of canvas that produces the effect of free space filled with air. Blue, to the contrary, is reminiscent of an underwater lack of air; the symbolism of this picture's texture and color contributes to the mirage of reincarnation.

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RECOMMENDATIONS
(Just A Very Short List)

Books

ERRATIC SLEEP IN A COLD HOTEL by Marie Kazalia, from Phony Lid Publications, P.O.B. 2153, Rosemead, CA 91770, USA ($ 4.95):
Style so essential and cold, sometimes freezing cold. Perfectly slum-smelling atmosphere. Surprisingly obsessive sex themes as well. If you love underground poetry, just buy it.


PAUPER ESTATE by Andrew Duncan, from Shearsman Books, Lark Rise, Fore Street, Kentisbeare, Cullompton, Devon EX15 2AD, UK (£ 6.00):
Powerful and extraordinary. Nothing else?...Andrew Duncan is simply a must!

Magazines

TREMBLESTONE edited by Kenny Knight, Corporation Buildings, 10F How Street, The Barbican, Plymouth, Devon PL4 0DB, UK (£ 4 single issue; £ 12 for three):
A new British print magazine of high quality poetry and prose poetry. Issue #1 (out November 1999) features work by writers and poets from UK, USA and Sweden. Issue #2 will appear by November 2000.

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