PACAC Quarto Spring 2004
A Verse Anthology
Spring Term 2004
The poetry printed in this first edition of the PACAC Quarto was submitted to the PACAC Poetry Writing Contest in the Spring Term 2004. The PACAC Editorial Board selected these 8 poems as the Coe students’ top submissions; “i need cockaroaches” by Joe Mills won first place in the PACAC competition.
by Joe Mills
if you think about it
the continental divide is total bullshit
it's an imaginary line machine
just like the protist the little green machine that couldn't
and the emperor penguin (laughs)
mountains just sit in their assigned seats
and never ask questions
they like to be tickled by tiny elks and bears
and flourishing with woodcocks and other funny birds
tiny automatonomous gels aren't real either
whoever heard of a euglena anyway
but they do have flagella and an oral groove
and baby you know if they were real they'd be orally groovin nonstop
as for penguins they have no hierarchical governmental monarchical constructions
all they do is quack and fly around in circles
release their streams of consciousness in golden arcs spelling one giant swear at the moon across the antarctic ice sheet
so far they've only got F U
but they're very organized
blame darwin and those damn lewises and clarkses
the discoverers namers and profiteers
frankly i've had enough
the only thing that's real is the fizzy tingling of a cool soft drink
and we can't really say anything bad about chairs either
or the compass
by Eugenides Oroszvary
The chalk so loose in her hand,
She doesn't even look at it.
"This is what they thought an atom looked like,
This is how Virginia Woolf wrote,
Weaving in and out and always coming back to the center."
I am in awe.
How can I make an asterisk out of language?
What can I write my words into?
How can I pretend to understand the depth of these authors?
James Joyce looks at me through a dirty, stained-glass window,
Virginia Woolf offers me a recently-purchased pencil,
Jozef Konrad wipes the salt-water from my cheeks.
We converse through my reading, not my words.
by Aliza Fones
Dear Mr. Teller,
I saw your picture in Life Magazine's "100 Great Images"
your noble profile offset from
the Great Image, your creation:
You improved on unimaginable cruelty,
created helium from hydrogen,
scorching heat from cold science,
quantized death from the particles of life.
No longer concerned with critical mass,
by Debbie Heckert
Waiting in the windowed room that first day of class,
located on the second story
of Hickok - Drexler didn't show. I forget
why. A woman entered - that I remember –
Wrote on the board the poem to read
for homework. Five minutes. Then class was over.
I glanced over
the other students. The class
was small, just ten in all. We had much to read –
a poem, a play, a story
and dates to learn; so much to remember
I was afraid I would forget.
The dates I did not forget,
studying them over and over
for the mid-term. I thought I would remember
the points made in class
about how to date a story,
or poem, or play which we had never read.
Dr. Faustus and Volpone were two plays we read,
sometimes taking parts. Did the others ever forget
to turn in their poetry responses, or get behind reading a story?
On a cold, windy afternoon, I walked over
to Stewart to research Fanny Burney for a class
presentation. It went fairly well, as I remember.
Gulliver's Travels I remember
had a political theme, and we read
Chaucer with his colorful descriptions of class.
I doubt I will ever forget
certain expressions we read over,
allusions to sex in many a story.
Occasionally in HEL-1, Dr. Drexler told a story -
something he would remember -
a bit of humor, or trivia, or of his travels. Over
the semester, his embellishment of poems and stories we read
gave us reason not to forget
what we learned in his class.
The dates I may forget, now that HEL-1 is over.
But I know I will remember the students and the humor,
as well as the things I've read,
in that windowed room in Hickok, my class on the second story.
by Allison Carr
That time when I learned the ellipsis had to be
smack dab jam packed right up against love.
And the time when the sounds seemed to take a
life of their own and we could say fuck without
wincing or getting that cold sweat dizzy thing
because language is good and it is our
vehicle; it is what we're good at. It explodes
in our faces and it is our god. At least that's
what he told us. I think... I can't remember
anymore the things I have created, the words
I have used and the things I have read. They
seem more real than it makes sense to
be so I have to wonder then about
holograms and brain cells being killed by
my need to be spinning late at night in
front of my keyboard with a glass of
amber at my side and I have to ask, does it just lead
to a digression and an extended discussion of the kitchen
sink or Tristam Shandy or page 500 and will it ever get anywhere?
And why do I even care because do I? No and yes
and no again and again I start wandering and
boom, I'm off like lightning wearing sneakers
and I forget about the finer things and focus
on the things that matter which are the things
that never happened but things we created to
make our lives more interesting. Except they
did happen because I felt them and knew them
and learned from them and they exist because I
say they do. They happened. They happened. They
had to have happened. Otherwise what else is
there if these things we create aren't real
or concrete or solid or something I can hold onto?
What can I hold onto? What? Then I had to
think about who came before me to see where
they were and where we're coming from. I had
to think about it precisely because there was too
much that I thought I might weep so I had to
stick with the basics like Hemingway's tendency
to stare at the light-bulb and swig his whiskey
and think about the war and then I had to think
about Willa's Czech friends who just wanted to be
wholesome but bored me to death on the plains of
Nebraska but I tried so hard to learn from her
and when I got tired I had to try Faulkner to learn
from his grammar and his use of italics and think
about what I would think about as I lay dying so
then I was warm and dizzy from the drinking
and the talking to myself in the shower and writing
when I should be paying attention to Gen's story but
instead I think about music and I want a crescendo
and there's Virginia going crazy and drowning
and Clarissa (there she was) and Lily's painting
which was shit but she had her vision. And
I came to the war, the first one, when so many
women were left widowed and feminism happened
but Virginia didn't want it to happen like that so she
leapt 50 years ahead of her time and turned
it on its head but nobody understood or appreciated it because
when the Fascists came and all that shit went down
with Japan invading Shanghai, modernism died.
If I'd been there I would have held her hand
but I'd have to let her go, would have helped her
find the rock and watched her walk into that stream
in her trench coat with the madness and I wouldn't have
cried because what good is that? It was ok and I
wanted it to happen and I wanted to learn from them
and write like them and read that book
and find my voice and finally I would light a fire
to say goodbye to all that stuff because ashes are better
when you see them happen and that's just the way it would
go, if it happened the way I wanted
Reflections on Marvin Cone's "The Road to Waubeek"
by Betsy Friedrich
A cloud looms over the land,
Out of sight, but creates new vision with each viewing.
I remember my Aunt Kathy's farm
And her big mean horses, in that exact same barn
On those exact same hills.
Water runs down the folded fields,
Cracks in the land show its path.
A stream, out of sight, has shaped everything you see.
A road leads to what must be a small town.
I want to be there,
Right on the curve, in the middle of the blue clear night
Where no one can see you coming.
by Rachel Gearhart
My body is my temple
yet the "god" to whom
I present it, is all the world
I must clean, shine, wax
reduce and decorate
Because my temple
is on display. Here,
“god" is worshiped”
But worshiping society breeds
power, and charges my temple
Temples are corporeal, but
my body uses a soul
that extends past my flesh
From now on
call my body my “god
by Nathan Nass
Rice Chest, Palace Lawn, Picnics
Do this for honor
"Kill yourself. Kill yourself fast."
Heads of eunuchs for the princess.
Wooden weapons for the naked boy
Who did not become the man that...
He became two
He became his fear of clothing
And his coffin
Or the hole in the ground
Where he also slept.
So you had no choice
But to seal him in the rice chest.
He was unable to do it himself.
Besides, what would Confucius do if
A boy forsook him for madness?
He's wrestling with his clothes again.
The sweltering days
It's July already, isn't it.
What will you tell him
The next time he's lying before you,
And his tears soak your robe?
"Kill yourself. Kill yourself fast."
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