The Cleave Poetry Webzine [ISSN: 1758-9223]

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Alice James Books at the Bowery Poetry Club

In announcement on January 31, 2009 at 8:35 am

Alice James Books invites you for a reading and book give-away extravaganza on Thursday, February 5th at 6pm at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, (Between Houston and Bleecker). For more info please call 212-614-0505 or

The press will be celebrating its latest collections by Idra Novey and Carey Salerno and giving away free books and Poetry Bailout pins. Come by and pick up a book, hear some poems, and help celebrate 35 years of poetry publishing with Alice James Books!!!

Idra Novey is the author of The Next Country. Novey’s chapbook of poems was selected by Carolyn Forche for a 2005 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems have also appeared in Slate, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Agni. She received a PEN Translation Fund Award for her translation of The Clean Shirt of It, by Brazilian poet Paulo Henriques Britto (BOA Editions, 2007, Lannan Translation Series). She currently teaches at Columbia University and in the Bard College Prison Initiative.

Carey Salerno is the Acting Director of Alice James Books and author of Shelter. Salerno has an MFA from New England College. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and have appeared in Rattle and Natural Bridge. She lives with her husband and dog in Farmington, Maine.

Hosting between 20 and 30 shows a week the Bowery Poetry Club (BPC) is proud of our place in the lineage of populist art: the Yiddish theater, burlesque, vaudeville, beat poetry, jazz, and punk that gave the Bowery its name.

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A cleave by any other name…Welcome Michael Williams

In submission on January 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm

A cleave by any other name… just as sweet? Indeed – this is very exciting.

Michael Williams created this form in 2005 predating the cleave form by a year or so.
To me this is a sub-form of the cleave meta-form and philosophy.

I had assumed that I was not the only person to
arrive at the concept of cleave poetry,
but it was a novel idea for me –
re-inventing the wheel?


I found out about your site from Steve Parker, one of the poets you’ve published, and I was quite excited to learn of it. I’ve written a number of pieces with the same idea, using the tanka and haiku forms. As you will see from the dates on the individual pieces below, these were written in 2005 and 2006. I did not know anyone else was experimenting with the same ideas.
In addition to the dual-poem pieces, you will also find two triple-poem pieces below – one tanka and one haiku.
My idea from the beginning, with what I first called “SuperTanka” (a pun on “supertanker”), was that the two individual tanka must make sense on their own as well as form a unified thought when combined side-by-side. When I was trying to get others to try the form, I also stated as an ideal (though not a requirement) for the two separate tanka to seem unrelated and together to create something not quite either one. I used “A Palette for Nature” as one of my best examples of the idea, splitting it into its two halves and titling them “A Palette” and “For Nature” to show their individual themes.
Yes, it was very interesting to see the website for the first time – even more so when I read the descriptions of what constituted a Cleave poem and realized how close it was to my idea of a SuperTanka (which I’ve taken to calling Dual Tanka and Treble Tanka – and Haiku – though I’m still partial to the original name).
The Treble Tanka, by the way, came about when someone asked what would happen if two SuperTanka collided. I wrote two SuperTanka – one with the first and second tanka and one with the second and third tanka – and then stated that if those two collided you would either have a massive word spill or get a Treble Tanka, presenting the triple-wide result.
Summer Storm
Summer day overcast – rain is on the way
air so heavy with moisture – feel it on the waxing breeze
creatures seek shelter – rumbling from the west
bright flashes growing closer – the waiting land anticipates
pelting raindrops fall at last – nourishment for summer crops
A genie appears – I smile at the sight
offering a perfect life – stunning beyond mortal words
undreamt wealth is mine – scenes from paradise
if I foreswear all I know – I hang my head in regret
I cannot accept the gift – the asking price is too high
A Palette for Nature
color in a world – dawn begins afresh
golden rays of morning sun – deep breaths of awakening day
lighten for midday – shadowless noontime
add gray for afternoon clouds – evening rain refreshes
deepen to a midnight blue – all quiet in cool night air
Lighthouse Guardian Companion
lighthouse of my soul – keeper of my heart – true love of my life
beacon on my stormy seas – sole guardian of my hopes – companion of all my days
give me peace of mind – calm my worried fears – stay close by my side
guide me surely through turmoil – show me the future’s bright light – accompany me onward
provide safe harbor at day’s end – love me as long as we live – for I will love you always
The Lure of the Road
my road has a curve – rising to its bend
I cannot see around it – my road hides a mystery
though I crane my neck – nothing can be seen
with no progress I am blind – to learn I must move ahead
thus my road draws me onward – only then is all revealed
A Tank/A Life
alone in a field – walking by myself
a water tank sits rusting – stopping and looking inside
once full of water – I think of my life
little more than scum remains – of potential and promise
existence without purpose – a sense of disappointment
Rainy Day Tango
rain thrumming outside – Tuesday afternoon
unheeding of life indoors – watching the rain pouring down
refreshing the earth – making puddles dance
pattering down through the leaves – moving in lively rhythm
the bobbing and swaying leaves – keeping a tempo of life
Summer Idles
summer’s day meadow – a mind at leisure
butterflies flit at random – aimless thoughts without purpose
yet always moving – seeking a focus
another blossom’s pollen – next fantastic idea
beckons to the gatherer – waiting to be fertilized
Arctic Circle Commander
bitter winds whistle – shrill knives through parkas
rocky glacier’s frozen waste – men shiver against the gale
jagged iciness – Colonel Tim is grim
deep crevasses lie hidden – twenty souls depend on him
death only a step away – “Timmy, supper!” “Coming Mom!”
January 2, 2006
January storm – thunder and lightning
windy afternoon surprise – hailstones patterning the ground
raindrops lingering – dark clouds dispersing
vibrant spectrum solid arc – color in a window framed
nearby trees tinted with stripes – rainbow show for us alone
Guardian Pines
snow-wrapped evergreens – in winter’s embrace- lit by a full moon
stand sentinel in our yard – alone and yet together – laden branches softly glow
guarding the maple – equal partnership – soul inspiration
Snow Trails
journey to sunset – striding into night
following your destiny – where few will ever travel
past snow-covered hills – to the very end
hard to walk the icy path – so easy to fall and quit
strike out to create your own – be a pathfinder instead
Light Lesson
setting sun colors – multitude of reds
wash across land and sky – light obscuring all colors
teach understanding – observed is not real
Fall Crimson
a blaze of colors – reflect in the stream
makes each tree an autumn torch – flicker in ripple’s passage
lighting the season – fire on the water

Bio: Michael Williams. I live in southern Indiana, USA. I’ve been interested in writing most of my life, but gave up on poetry while in college. This lasted for nearly 30 years before I returned to it in 2003. I’ve been writing poetry ever since, and I enjoy experimenting with forms and styles. In “real life” I do computer support for a manufacturing corporation. Other interests include antique marbles, chess, and other games of skill.

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A Thank You Cleave by Dennis Kelly

In submission on January 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

Dear Phuoc-Tan,


Well, well—thank you very much.

For posting “The Pact”—on The Cleave.

“The Pact” pretty much—says everything.

Everything I know—about The Cleave right now.

Which isn’t much—I keep it minimal.

I keep the baggage light—I let the Spice flow.


I want to let your—Cleave idea “gel” in my mind.

To give it time—to do what it wants to do.

It always seems—to surprise me.

With something Spontaneous—and NEW.

That’s what Pound said—“Make it NEW, baby.”


Making it NEW is easy—if you trust your Intuition.

It’s best in the morning—with a cup of coffee.

With a cat on my lap—and my Fujitsu tablet.

Glowing in the dark—in my bedroom womb.

With the Cleave-stream—flowing thru me.

Thru my sleepywake-up cerebellum…


I’ve made this Pact with Pound—like Pound & Whitman.

The New Sentence in my head—the New Line on the screen.

Sometimes the stylus—can’t wait to get going.

The graceful horizontal slide—of words left to right.

Cleaving it with hyphens—letting the diastic flow go free.

Then the best part—letting the Cleave speak to me…


Letting the 2 verticals—crawl up and down the page.

Like cicadas climbing—up the World Tree

Three Voices talking to me—the Spoken Word inside me.

Saving it on a memory stick—plugging it in later.

Editing the manuscript—on my Roll-top desk laptop.

Each morning—I make this Pact with the Word.

And the Word—says Cleave Me Baby!!!!!


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The Pact by Dennis Kelly

In submission on January 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm
“I make a pact with
you, Walt Whitman”
—Ezra Pound
i make a pact—with you
ezra pound—my fascist father
bollingen prize—badboy poet
pig-headed—pisa prick
st. elizabeth—prisoner of zenda
poet—of the new woode
you broke it—that whitman Line
now it’s—time for cleaving
time for—commerce
words—between us

—based on Ezra Pound’s “A Pact,” Personae (1926)

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The Killing Fields by Thane Zander

In submission on January 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm
                In Kampuchea | the memory burns 
          the killing fields | lost in dying memories 
            where once stood | mighty Oaks 
            children playing | with one leg, an arm missing 
        now barren, memorium | a past lost 
         soldiers once stood | the shouts of pain 
              barking orders | to innocent walkers 
           in concentrations | the line littered 
              with skeletons | marking the path 
              where the dead | lying aghast 
cried for the loss of honour | the loss of hope 
                   in Rwanda | it is reborn.

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The Girdle Sensation by Steve Parker

In submission on January 21, 2009 at 10:15 pm
in that her presence was itself some zonesthesia past mere atmospheric cinch
he breathed tight.
shallow noticeably different yet for a week or more would not look would not feel
the girdle sensation /the swoon
or more hives or hives of her a hive or several of hives
that hemmed
upon him as poetic asphyxia he wanted to smash it the cincture
as poetic asphyxia the drowning the press which in such ways accompanies to perform a delicate an intricate task
the cincture which accompanies the drowning zonesthesia task at the very limit
past mere ability several or more hives that hemmed upon him at the very limit of ability

Ricardo Reis by Dennis Kelly

In submission on January 19, 2009 at 8:02 am

Ricardo Reis
“No one by choice
or inclination would
remain in this port.”
—Jose Saramago,
The Year of the Death
Of Ricardo Reis

here the sea ends—the coast begins
it is raining—over the colorless sea
the waters of the river—polluted with mud
the riverbeds—flooded
a dark vessel—ascends the somber river
to anchor—in lisbon
back & forth—the same ports
london—buenos aires
la plata—montevideo
santos—rio de janeiro
pernambuco—las palmas
one does not speak—or ask
which is—the greater river
which is—the greater town
a curtain of water—descends from sky
we come to know—what we don’t know
which is what—we know already
there is nothing—but names
beyond the reach—of writing

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Balancing Equation by Victoria Rivas

In submission on January 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm
                    Tasha talks out - it smells like 
                        tricks to stop - old women 
                 solving equations - in this classroom
    it is more important than - you think I’m
stopping insolent comments - talking about you
                           I ignore her - innocent look
             my expression stern - narrows into a smirk


Victoria Rivas has been published in many journals including Bogg, Connecticut River Review, Caprice, Common Ground Review, and the Journal of Asian Martial Arts; and in the anthologies Working Hard for the Money from Bottom Dog Press and Along the Lake from Ye Olde Font Shoppe. She has one chapbook Doing Laundry, and is working on a new book, Yo Miss! I Need a Pencil which includes poetry and prose.

Victoria was on the board of directors for the The 8th Annual National Poetry Slam Championship & 1997 Connecticut Poetry Festival, and the 2001 and 2003 Connecticut Poetry Festivals. She was also an alternate on the 1998 CT Slam Team.

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The Cleave Anthology 2008/9

In announcement on January 14, 2009 at 10:12 pm

…arriving in Spring/Summer 2009…


When Styx Freezes Over by Boris Kipnis

In submission on January 14, 2009 at 2:38 am
your impulses stimulate my mind
heart make me want to wake up hungry
ready to act irresponsibly the dead again
waking up like a child toothless helpless
naked crying for love wide smile when I see
you calm my temper tantrums swallowing the world
urges subside when your breast cold and empty
touches my lips hair stands up vastness of grief
turning into find yours twin blades blue steel on glass
hardness soothing cuts part flesh and bloody
waves of happiness wash away depression
slamming rocking my senses like cancer
in remission my stilts still crumble why?

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