An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics

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ISSN 1081-3500 | Copyright © Mudlark 1995-1998

Editor: William Slaughter | E-mail:



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Mudlark No. 8 (1998)

A Sound the Mobile Makes in Wind

by Sheila E. Murphy

Author's Introduction

It is a privilege for me to share this selection of fifty new American Haibun, as I term them, on the virtual pages of Mudlark. The haibun is a prose passage, followed by a single-line haiku of a varying number of syllables. In the American use of the form, the single line often extends beyond the original boundaries. (Some writers follow the practice of using a traditional three-line haiku at the end.)

For me, the relationship between the prose passage and the haiku that follows is the key to the form. Therein lies a spectrum of kindredness and tension. As discoverer of that relationship, the writer is gifted by surprise as the image starts to clarify within the figurative pan of water being touched to urge forward a kind of small song.

I first became acquainted with the haibun in early 1984. At that time, John Ashbery published "Six Haibun" in an issue of Sulfur. What struck me was the dazzle of American language that stretched and sharpened the form, changing it substantially from the Japanese haibun in translation that appeared in the anthology From the Country of Eight Islands. Those translations seemed to me comforting and quiet, if plain. In fairness, change is inevitable in translation. Clearly, though, the American language seemed to bring forward different possibilities that tempted exploration.

And, predictably enough, I was attracted to the form enough to to try writing one. I discovered that the prose flowed naturally, possibly because the haibun invites acknowledgment of the common. And in that acknowledgment, one is made weightless by the discovery of a deeper layer of reality that (when right) arrives unforced. The sensation resembles that of a harmonic in music, wherein a string is touched lightly to produce a tone of higher frequency than if the string were pressed full force.

My first full-length book, With House Silence (Stride Publications, U.K., 1987) was comprised exclusively of haibun. I have since composed a number of these poems, which have appeared in other collections, including Sad Isn't the Color of the Dream (Stride, 1991); A Clove of Gender (Stride, 1995); and Falling in Love Falling in Love With You Syntax: Selected and New Poems (Potes & Poets Press, 1997).

It is possible that my use of the form has changed over the 13 years I have been loving it. For one thing, the poems arrive quite naturally, along with each delicate surprise that happens at the end when prose is followed by a space that in turn is followed by a line. For me, haibun seem to happen forth in full sound costume as my mind plays in the language only to find what later will be called work.

Sheila E. Murphy
December 27, 1997

He Could Not Sing

He could not sing worth dimples but she let him anyway because he paid the water bills that furnished all their showers. Echo chambers lease themselves to vocalists with appetites to match the butter knives and drapes, the carpet and the patio, the lacy trees with verdigris alert for photographs. A piano for the photographs of relatives unhappy with their fate whatever they might choose to name it. He could not sing worth contents of confessionals in parishes they'd left but she was game for all the notes that sounded tongue-in-cheek. He let them rinse themselves out of the sacrament they were with condiments and vague connections to another earth. He could not sing a capella until midnight wore itself to dawn. When she would hear him ruining the house with what she wished were trepidation but resembled much more closely self affection brightened by the signals he'd received. He could not sing worth unemployment checks that he would never greed. He loved his weight and exhalation. And he loved to hear the evidence of having shucked his childhood with affection pinched out of the Tupperware and all the breath gone from the fresh mint leaves and chicken broiled just right. He had no inclination of a way to celebrate the lime or oven or the toasted light.

Irreverence, a pilot light sustained by the amendment of some purity recovered from the lost and found


Fulfillment Center

A customer has circus on the brain. Beautiful brain, electrified and tantalizing brain that feeds us generously often. Go ahead and mention what you like. I'll look it up. Then waive something that most likely offers the capacity for making music. What do you call that portion of the eye one pays to have peeled off to sharpen sight glands? Out front are satisfaction surveys. Receptionists trained to hear and to absorb taunts and confusion. Guest psychologists to help you love what we will go on selling anyway. To heal what we foresee as an unnecessary emptiness by mix-and-match technology. In the middle of rank-ordered depth, to lift above this planet in a swirl of what is labeled rapture on account of certain items owned. To enter a relationship with something inanimate changes the way you think about the concept reciprocity. That one side "does the work" no longer is the issue. There are majestic ladderings to think about. Drugs to paint onto the body's scape. That likely recall some wonder of the world from an unclear though jubilant perspective. Lifts in the shoes to resurrect prior mentalities.

Tenderness afforded inventory, touch as the deciding...


Securities and Exchange

Opportunity shows itself to the door not properly seated on its hinges. Each time the snare drum mail arrives, I'm in a blanket pondering the cleanest hatch to lift from. It isn't every day a preposition makes you an offer that you can't indemnify. Get lost was all he practiced saying, despite my paying yards of bucks to have her listen to his gibber. Drool ran down what seemed once a coffer, and I held firm to the belief it was whatever I could picture and then scan into my neighbors' heads. What are they thinking to each other without language. The more he doesn't say, the more it costs me. Champions report taking an average dose of the small delicious pink pill of 14.4 milligrams. And that it dampens the downward blink to a degree that's not supported by peculiar body gravity. Relax in the Baroque way of inhering each likely pattern of the stones embedded in my new silk plants supposed to simulate a being that would share this oxygen. The string of words ought to provide a demo mentioning that one had lived within the limits of a certain mood all acre long and spread a little influence like bird seed somewhere bought. It's tempting to give no report at all some days. I hear her skittering in the yard as nervously as something owned. The compass in my pocket points where I direct it. Who's paying bills here. For every furnace that affection comes to, an equal and residual retreat smarts its way back into a centerfold. That would collapse whatever mute extensions happen to occur to the thought process. The concert mistress simply bowled over the thrifty crowd by virtue of how long she'd kept her strings intact.

Knockwurst, tribulations, hosing down the patio and sidewalk, blank paper in the storage shed



Her kiss just like a whisper passed the salvos juxtaposed with sacredness albeit sans configuro repealant's morphity ping prongless saturelment acre-ease my chinstrap en route to grass courts, my glass skirt challenging the light of gravity's hospitable brick fossil path. Play the oceanic form of cradle in amazed left-justified machine inclusive of slip covers and Jurassic lullabilia. So many prose glyphs numen their way sofaward. Until collaborative safety moans into unwanted facial hair of someone salty in the month of June's apres-midi continually lurking east of nest points in the fois gras of contagious dithers who becomes important to have touched within the tone row bylines of an apple aimed at teachers' desktops scattered through the temporary building.

Gel confronted as non-substance, then erased into some substance, fatherwear and things to come



I thought of having a rubber stamp made into just my name, and punching it on things to freshen up this plain white achy paper, make it look like Neiman's where my friend finds solace. She frequently invites me to have meals when someone's being honored, and the best people to have come display allegiance. Sometimes dollar bills exude a form of kindness those without them don't expect. I ask myself continually how instinct relates; how you can place parameters on second hand. I have been schooled, this is not pure, I have been engineered to have believed. And trained in various arrangements of reality, such as: "Whoever falls into your path becomes your (sole) responsibility." That's Christianity in one slanted lump. The right connections are essentially immoral's what I get from this. Setting aside amounts of time to make those webbings would be wrong, when there are people to take care of (Who has time to leaf through space!) right here in our community! You don't get far when worshipping according to a recipe. I'm part of that small domed interior posing as duty-bound with no evil intentions. I can tell you right now, I'm as clear as anyone can get, despite my father's words "There are no pure motives." He simply wanted to de-gush my mother's skewed perspective, which I think he thought concerned an impulse fundamentally acquisitive. Second guessing comes to be a hobby when your faith prevents your knowing things. Ironically, then, time is spent like water. Fears grounded in all things that we have wasted, all that we have yet to waste. To be invited is to have been acquired in some small way. People invest in shoring up support for what they like to see believed. I'm one of them. Can prove what you've been taught may be as insufficient as your yield. But that's another story.

Consecutives all in a row, predictable as the intended flowers placed along intent-ed lawns


What Next

Neighbors who were mild all of a sudden burst into 24-pack types with friends clogging their patio at four a.m. and we are left deciding upon things that we might try, to snuff out the activity without inducing problematic reflex. There is this gland appearing to act up. When all we wanted was to breezeway our small lives into a comfort. No one's fighting, it is just the hour lacking in music and the full assortment of cans left in the middle of the table. Move, countermove, and move again. People milling around to find out where they might hold still. There is the language barrier which dribbles fear across the bibs of the routinely competent who shrivel when it's time to talk with hands. However you might read this filter, it's upstaged by future possibilities. Good morning, say the innocents. Good morning, say the sunbathers. Good morning say the sperm and egg that have not met. What kind of temperature might we be talking about. Hamstrung by others' moods and templates, prestigitators and commandments strung together in a fray of fitness meant to tide us over at the onset of an oligarchic sentencing.

Joystick and its recent disappearance, gender studies, practicing the hymns in English then reverting to the Latin


Safe Places

She telephones Utah, reasoning the date and time, day of the week into her conversation. He has rested, might be resting still. Snow shine, small matters to report. She covers each thing. Bathing. Walking the presiding evidence as shakenly as one would move without a cane through things. Talks of relatives as though their lives were not replete with miniscule details that fashion volumes. She helps him reconstruct the day so far. She says the same thing she just said with variation, filling out the blanks if there are blanks. Having reached the topic basketball, in which her fluency is worthy of a prize. The use of names, a chant. Speaks slowly as though mouthing prayer to some considerate, familiar God. The air conditioning goes on midway between some syllables. She and he enjoy a wavelength. She thus paces the talk, pronouncing what is said. The day was right to call, the other relatives have left his town. He is unnoticeably alone, receives her conversation well. She gentles both their ways past sadness that would come of letting him recall a fleck of what he was. Fills him in on what is true. He might support her, though it's not his habit to be obvious. As support's supposed to be quiet. She mentions breaking of the car she purchased from his brother, now deceased. A car that would have harmed her children. His remarks remain inaudible as far away as in this room. She's waiting to put on the game between the Heat and Knicks. Her plan for Sunday afternoon. The date and time as real as any thunder or residual. She knows he picks up on the flow of story. Something to attend. The tangibles can form a tale. She tells him we will share a car. He shows an interest in details. Food enters the conversation. Her voice lilts in a way I know he finds familiar. Very much her mother's child. Sing-talking all the day's pronouncements.

Semiautomatic love, reading odometers for fun, comparing notes, comparing distances


A Relay

Would you mind feeling my forehead, easing off the see-through pendula with gravity placed top of mind? I'm not sure when I'm comfortable, and my doubt competes with ways to measure rain. Remember all those alto leanings that accentuate the cornucopia, distinct from latitude and long-. A feet-first approach to diving captivates the hearts but not the minds of judges. Whose eyes linger on aquaria, expecting to find results where there were simply false economies. My favorite tracer lifts off parity and borrows trade and tapestry. Remember to write thank-you notes to those you think you'll love during retirement. The one of us most glyphy speaks four languages. How do you know when you are being well? It's time to play the resource game. Permit me to introduce our four contestants recently found playing golf on acreage you would be hard pressed to believe. Who have declared a moratorium on glee and excess paint along the wide diameter intended to escort the entrails of a recent peace. She told me she would not be left holding the body chemistry like that. That I would have to learn to fend...and that whatever I declared to like, I'd have to make myself in green or any colors symbolizing brains and competence and frenzy to prove that I had worked myself into a possible return.

Cavities that grow into analyses of the survivors of the jaundiced practice of amazement handed down


Her Neighbors All Have Power

I am on the phone with the power company that serves South Bend, Indiana, to report my mother's lights and stove and heat are gone, and she is huddled in a blanket, unable to read, at eight o'clock at night, touching the phone occasionally, flirting with sleep. Her neighbors all have power. The street lamp blares outside her window. And the flashlight batteries have gone to seed after the night before, the same as now, when she has telephoned to talk with me as though I were a real adult, and she, a child. Last night it occurred to me that once I weighed three point five pounds. Once I was all eyes. The summer months were all I knew of light that I could not acquire. My mother, premie, too, was balanced on the oven door to simulate the womb warmth in a format more objective, less familiar, one supposes. For the country is itself warm insufficiently, with neighbors far away as stands of trees close to the river, strong unto itself and distant. At no time in my life have I retracted the palaver found in jazz-smooth instruments. That pours now from the speaker of this telephone beside me, into which I will report my mother's solitude, her fear, and mine. I will recite the specificity of her concern, being surrounded as she is by lights she cannot use, belonging to her neighbors who are really very far away. Here in the desert, there can never be sufficient light. Today is muted with an inattention to the weather previously mild. All snowstorm long we wore our attitudes of layered clothes, attempting to be renaissance interior designers, seeing things and hearing how they feel in contexts foreignly desired. A woman's voice keeps interrupting now repetitive tonality and offering apologies and gratitude in general for a projected patience in which I do not partake. She interrupts then a Metheny clone to say they care about our safety, and to watch out for power lines down in our yard, move ladders, antennas, brooms and poles away from those still in position. Her voice is soothing in its age a little bit ahead of mine. Now the music's snappy with a dab of perk. My keyboard seizes the attention, as I hear all representatives are handling calls from other customers. Moths, I call them. Looking for a little light, the way I do. A mother whose warm liquid eyes would radiate a whole room when my size was so small as to be lost in someone's lap. Apart from power lines and sediment. The rocking horse of trees made to house better weather than our forbears owned.

Working in the yard, post storm, from far away a flash of lightning that defines the day and coming days


There Was a Silly Putty Look within Her Lazy Eye

Any time she was engaged in tasks, she failed to drag and click, as if to voice in screaming headline colors to the world this prime injustice. There was a silly putty look within her lazy eye when something was expected. She could exaggerate and make it seem as though something imbued with too high a cost of doing business were ever there. She was an expense. The folly of expecting yams from stone seeds frittered to the point where only lawsuits could provide. No one tuned sane would make requests of her. She stretched things, but she never stretched. Consider the delivery system of her world, entrenched as it continued as a mantra, laden with a corrugated plunge into the dimness that inhibited the safety. Pondered and then strained out of an unsafe situation. All despite the coating of an angel whitening her arms right where the wings would be.

Sequest-, request, behest, unblooming all unwanted


Metonymy as Such(ness)

What a featured city this becomes, with both our living amid shade trees. Owning capacity to sort crust from the softness in these words we choose. Diplomacy is evidence of partial language. Our jobs define us; pointlessly we leisure from them. Cyclical means part of itself to people who like using the word. Subtraction is just one form of arithmetic. Letting go differs from allowing. The swimming pool on three-day weekend Monday will emit a drizzle of the coconut in lotion, and the conversation will be funds-related and intemperate where sexuality's concerned. Who in the world spends any time at all performing or receiving. Conversation trembles to a brief conclusion that it might be possible to order from a catalogue and not come in under the lights and be exposed to all that personality paid to engage. A sensitivity about some missing reciprocity is all. In sum, there typically is little going on. We dub our favorite tapes, dismembering the voice from visuals. A transaction includes both pitch and catch, not simply gathering in one's arms what has fallen. Although these entities have been split into dualities. People assigned to do part of a thing must then convene, a nuisance in itself.

Stardom or career as the excuse for someone's never reproducing



Virtuosi clinging to the prospect of a mother/father boundary refuse to play in tune, refuse not to have played in tune. What ingredient laces former recipes to make sleep non-denominational. That said, verbatim flings cost money when their skewed inflections scamper out of bounds so what was meant differs from what the hearers (naive and intact) declare they heard. "It was nothing," insists the concert mistress. But we know differently. The way she touched the hand of the conductor. All those needlings swelling in her eyes. Binoculars tell what voice won't, as the body lacks defense against at least six senses. Gemological societies defend their prize possessions others might desire to wear. It made no sense the handlers of those instruments consistently would fail to get along. As a rich man, he seemed unable to uninstall the program that had tamed him. The allure of quicksand formed a pretense that itis not the most direct route downward. Insufficent to be shimmering in some field then flounder as a child. Abandonment remains contagious. Those who have been left retain the gift of leaving in a way they do not feel themselves. Of finding ones to love who do. So rifts that canit make sense contribute to recidivism. Language sharpens harsher language. Cinders with the sun on extrasensory small faces that guard morning like a near-term darkness barely understood although completely frequent anymore.

Youth music, foreignness of the applause, solos contiguous and stitched together into something known, unsharable



She wore a blouse belonging to her daughter. Soiled the blouse, retained the blouse, and ruined the relationship's viscosity. Easy-to-induce edges revealed their colors (true) and very soon the rift became its own cement block fence. Where a curse liked being what a curse is best: a kind of rainbow skitterish with scars that everybody knows they caused. What kind of insistence works best on a mind that's like a laser beam and hungry. She told her daughter this or told her that and emphasized the ways in which her life was just her own. Apart in other words from hers. In which the daughter could not find her, course correct, purchase on margin new affection more fitting and more easily described.

Familial treason, impartial links, still printing after learning cursive script



She wore a blouse belonging to her daughter. Soiled the blouse, retained the blouse, and ruined the relationship's viscosity. Easy-to-induce edges revealed their colors (true) and very soon the rift became its own cement block fence. Where a curse liked being what a curse is best: a kind of rainbow skitterish with scars that everybody knows they caused. What kind of insistence works best on a mind that's like a laser beam and hungry. She told her daughter this or told her that and emphasized the ways in which her life was just her own. Apart in other words from hers. In which the daughter could not find her, course correct, purchase on margin new affection more fitting and more easily described.

Familial treason, impartial links, still printing after learning cursive script


Corporate Giving

The body ounces. This is what the body does. Retains its ounces. To have stabilized. So any extra would conform to a known wing. Bring on shapely somethings. Give them back so artfully there wouldn't be a shadow. Calisthenics might remove the swelling from the dance. When anyone might look there grows expensively neuralgia in the taint of things. Is restitution likely, sure, emulsified. Tell me something I do not already know. The nominative redress invites a plum to have been whittled. Drift away from all the profit in the sometimes happy lungs. Express more than you activate. Describe as economically as you are capable of doing what makes up a verb. Elastic fractions filter what is whole. The paper had it wrong. The radio. Whoever wore a mood ring stiffened every urgency. Erased the nap late Saturday as a reminder youth is a prerequisite to desirability. When darkness is in touch, our interest begins to drift. Nothing reportable. Nothing reported. Acres of this inclination last. For once we have a curve to satisfy. Which one of us is likely to be whole. Which fastball will escape the wood. What will announcers have declared.

A review of the parameters defining what it takes to have a thing be over



She said the upper echelon provided her a view minus the perk of ignorance that made her colorize vanilla standalones now looped into a circuitry conspiratorially understood. There also was the issue of her mother and some blamelessness assigned out of convenience. Green visors made both of them feel very much supported and at home in their surroundings. Criminal neglect, though fosterable, challenged the alignment of the status quo, the system and amenities. Imagine how it was, had been, within the room where she was treated amicably. No longer a soprano. License fees draining the principal, to the extent that she was cardboard and afloat in tiers all midnight long. She had to get away, meaning the rigamarole failed to be transfigured once the clientele burned patterns in the screen. Although the igloo was oppressed by warm breath, it remained within the scope of the agreement of longevity. When you work for someone, you accept the healing in the windmill that propels the power. When you earn your living as a priest, you are already living in the afterlife. I am about to close my eyes. My eyes remain about to close. What's hanging on the line. She's listening too attentively. It's close, the air in here is close. Preambling its way to Heathrow. Just a couple floors away from numbered cloud.

Apology, wing wax, key tresses starting to define the shelves



A daily low strength aspirin small and yellow keeps the heart one way. Routine the same as lust only without the need of speed bumps advertises a becoming look and feel. The takers shun the skeptics. Groups form around opinions. Think of a religion as the missing of some points. A-fling around the rosy, more important who is not included than who is. Some exclamation points convene and leave mundane things in rows that don't do many things. Undress and lie down in safe beds. Allow the mind to shuffle days into less sense in color language so desirable it will repeat until what's real shifts to what will not be. A clear coast if not one that's accessible. Consider the communication spattered and impinging. Having the objective of continuance if not of reproduction. Shoulders near another pair of shoulders. Possibly resembling a communion.

Food, shelter, clothing, and a Macintosh



Living in a loft need not be breezy. The Pacific lobs us norms and matching honoraria. Would the correct score please identify itself. Better facts be known than all this hooded fiction. A cement truck ranges from a stalled position to the skid of hovercraft across the speed bumps in our alley. What kinds of improvements must be made to toughen self esteem. This is no time for religiosity to interfere with common sense. In what way do error messages relate to academic preparation. The binoculars are over there. See that you don't waste them.

Furniture, fixtures, and equipment, a hose length away from popularity


The Syndrome of the Catalogs

I have bushels full of opt. again. I mean this inkling that I've had umbilically came true all over. So I'm not so sure that I am here. This weevil side of underthings someone predicted. Where at times like this do you invest. In temperature, in petty norms, in types of commerce people crop about when they have no drug store or toy shop for retreat. Collections and corrections and seashores of dust. We're loose weavings of tentacles reflexively acquiring. He contacts me from space with all his anchors having lost weight and his tone rows blanching. Guide me home, I sometimes ask when he is looking like he's thinking about something else. Is there a wild attraction full of seams that says the "Do not enter" sign's an invitation. Promise me you'll find plainness fulfilling, I imply. Again, he does not hear me. He's ensconced in window shopping in the syndrome of the catalogues. Why don't we leave this one alone, he's sure to say when I am truly steamed and hoping that my germs catch other homes for them. He says again he'd like for us to cruise without control. The arboretum's nice, why don't we go there and imagine why the trees half sturdy and half interesting seem to grope for an uncharted sky. The only Romeo we know about in someone's heart has never had an artist's sketch and never will. Somewhere well within the Adirondacks is a word, a person, and a hope that everything will smooth itself to newmown hay. All things will gland. And everything will sew itself to the companion frenzy everyone has waited for that cannot last. A camera capable of doing that has springs. Leaps forward. Links each of the pictures in a rapid-fire arrangement. So everything that's possible bleeds into everything that's also possible. And dry land makes a showing someplace in the middle of the sea.

Imagination, shown and told and gradually improved upon, the sparks that race like heartbeats, a request for transfer


A Range of Quiet

Preponder health so opusly there is a little pile of things to show. Listen then to steely birds name treatises and low plane moan to go with twists in sky and quiet. In this our neighborhood these squeaking things rehearse their own autonomy. The verbiage slides into home again, people remark on what eventually mattered. Osmosis is the major way of learning what is not worth learning anymore. A range of quiet stays the course. Ethereal when we blush names into another cortex in the hope of code's eventually blossoming into weather. If you land on this one concentration, maybe it will find inherent wings and you will own them and repair your life again. The miniature fragrance is the cool tan of the christened birds the opposite monotony when something has been memorized. Relax, retrace, forgive all sources and enjoy the derivations.

Branches for a reason, scope and sequence of the shoots, a clearing for the purpose of the sky



What makes a pontiff listened-to. The punishable eros maybe that's surpassed the lengths of houses and the textured streets. Form throttles the paced assimilation. Concurs with furnace and the land and several varieties of taxi down the halt zone. Cremation's not the way. Sforzando's not the way. Pavillion's just a quarter hour from here, so here, let me escort you. Three softgels of cod liver oil ease movement. Among the sandstone mountains and fishermen prospecting abundance. Why don't you medicate the self you've advertised, begin the cycle of the cloning and the cycle of impediments. It's treetop time, and time to mourn the space where growth's en route to trespass. Breaking up won't happen by itself. We're destined to accommodate what we already see into the future. And future is a startling guess as pretty and as predicated as a mood swing. Share and shave and panic just alike.

Routine, a sound the mobile makes in wind postured as icy or as heated breath


Forming a Base

Any mediocrity went unnoticed prior to the setting-in of pushy volunteers who wanted something no one could afford to get or give. Motive candles muted pressure of the loaded words disintegrating under pinlights all donated for the cause. The creditors knew how to multiply more than the donors who possessed no names, no business cards, and no addresses. The only one who wore a watch spoke in blood-nasal voice. Unposted signs were all around despite the epidemic switching-off of intuition when there never was a greater need. The telephone rang homelessly until those needing crashed before the inner sancta that belonged to those skilled in scaling brick exteriors. Silence surrounded practice used to sharpen skills others would want. And there were prices to be handed down as evenly as a consideration that concerned inclusion. Results would always be originals having stiff penalties for copying, which in itself intensified the lust for generating multiples.

Who was not invited, far more interesting than who was, and the alliances


Everyone Is Busy

Everyone is busy doing the unlikables. Just barely mentioning the places on the body stung by a routine neglect. Everyone parses logic hovering around vacations as though that were all of the relief available. Vacations thus expected to remove the heat of an abuse as common as a weekday, have it surgically removed or redirected. Everyone is working late at plotting the escape, with the equation yet atop the mantel. Everyone is busy being interesting to people who cannot discern that no one is, it's just the marketplace being its sexy, hard-to-get self, on account of all the frenzy of the takers. Everyone is piecemealing around among the leavings of the other everyones in hope of bringing accidental royalty by virtue of a spontaneous, deep-seated justice. Everyone partakes of the identicality of butterflies and frozen syrup in twin columns. Everyone is "fixing" to go home if they can figure where that is, knowing that it has to be decided once and have that be for all.

Breast feeding versus the bottle, process in relation to its outcomes, formidable-appearing patterns that might furnish happiness, despite the record showing facts placed in a row


Not Just a Leaflet

Pressure need not be political. There's emotional; there's physical; there's even a projection of two of the three types proposed. He wanted the whole heart, not just a leaflet of the things believed. Parading represented one way of reporting to the council, "Here, and there are more of me." Collision coverage should not be confused with the inevitability of crash. "I'm in the market for your money. Tell me what I have to do to get it, short of an aggressive act." These were the very words that started what he thought to call a beautiful relationship. You can take riches, feathers, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors to help make lines touch. Matching's a sweet act. People calling dogs along the sidewalk. Using them as means less obvious for putting out their needs and lining up resources. My preferred solution to imbalance is to meet head-on the workpile. Nothing like an obligation to chase bread for clarifying raison d'etre. "So there," were his exact words. And I bought them.

Do you consider yourself radical, do you consider yourself sensitive, what label would you put on gender (yours) for purposes that we consider (ours)



Wood seemed to mean something. I prefer a cover for the floor to foster integration of the accidental soil that oftens there. Likely brought by Magi on their focus visit to discern one tiny thing. My lower back feels lower than it's felt in days. A neighbor who uses illness as a point of linkage asks how my arthritis is. I discourage any inference that my case equates to even half a case. For I'm in general a pillar of good fortune and good health. Each night about this time there is a knuckle cracking sound that's centered on our rooftop as though someone pressed a foot into a brittle part. Now there is a man shouting directions to the night. For a moment, I turn down the air-conditioning. His voice ceases; I begin to chill the room again. My sentences that used to be in shards like being spoken whole. The matter of them teaches in whole language. A teacher accidentally of my acquaintance typically preempts the other half of conversation and lies down beside her own soliloquies. When it is dark, the rumor parses everything we know. Offers a string of intervention so the supplicants will easily quintuple in the daytime. Factor in the earnest-seeming ones who come at night to edges and request to have bequeathed to them unreasonable fractions.

Hardwood floor versus a soft place to lie down


Something to Show

I heard her youthful skin go gray. It was a brilliant afternoon that seemed to last a whole birthday. I withdrew as typically I do, sensing the comparative worth of learning hurt. Leaned back into my cocoon and thought ahead. The walls felt handmade, so the question I would pose was are they to be trusted. People allege that no one can predict timing. I'm not sure that I agree. Basic psychological indicators show on the same page. What a comprehensive offering. I noticed she invested in a lid atop her productivity, not a pleasant hat. But could not become infectious in my segment of the room. How do you not become friends easily. The duration of relationships has been the length and width. Whatever happened to the institutions we were taught to have admired. We would have not a wink of room to talk or touch. Unwanted on both sides, the treason behind fears.

Piercement, placemat, sponge, the premised reputation cast like worthwhile dice onto a decorative table of old wood


Keening with an A

Keening with an a was what he did intuitively to the point that inhibition had a transfer in its hand that pickled inclination (some of me). Least sum of squares perfuncts its way into a shadow's crash part. Ask for authenticity. Be granted bag of rocks. Humidity comes closest in the weather realm to lust. Don't hold against me my affordable young midline. I suppose you'd call this leafless wilderness my middle age. Possession is a fraction I can't quite remember. Passion's do-able. Who names this software (Quark). Words such as evidence tone down my feeling. So neglect resides against some slivers coarsening the green enamel of a park bench. I like to be outside but not without my shirt. We are quite spoiled in the Southwest where if you happen to adore the heat there's no such thing as punishment.

Canary flesh, rose zones, parchment drying on the midline


The Ralph in Each of Us

Warmups welcome the plate glass of me known as intensity in our relationship. I do combouts but not for free. Settle for guest bed analysis free-thrown in dragnet moss. I promise not to use the word weave. If you'll equally deliver curves in firm grasp of the city (morph and kiss). I'm using words that do not patronize. Rubricity comes closest to salvation in the whittled hills. Dance rubber bands back into habitats. The Ralph in each of us is evidenced by touch ups the photographer forgot. Ralphette. Ralphine. How predisposed need we be to mandatory gender floss to twiddle the expected pink or blue dichotomy before the faces of the lambs wearing merely curtains it is said that God assigned. Yea verily the silver comes to blest things: semitect, adroitness, loam, and threnody.

Cause control, perfunctorily arranging things taken for granted, flows with energy all through them



Digits partly cooked will resurrect as if to set the whole (meta) establishment afire. Pensivity aloofs loom central phosphate you might striate farmfully. Acumen's a spate, a flurry with duress in tow. Things that destroy grow thin before the damages sequestered in new rooms. Drum cakes divide one isthmus from another. Skills meant to be tangible release themselves from situations. Victuals seed wash along the line. All falsehood long, the judge patched calls from continents. The lemon that she brought made juice to die for as the lingo goes. White boots, a breath mark sky, some riddles past the point of homing. Cement in its soft state is fleeting, useless as the place lines will be painted when a craftsman gets around to it. The maze of easels fails to interfere with a rose's elasticity.

Blinders on our favorite horses, all bets off



We split plyboard one-handedly each one of us while talking a consecutive demeanment. I grew tired of hearing him forget ensemble. Having learned the weight of the fedora's equal to the total weight minus the weight of one man previously wearing the fedora (this same). Having approached the masterminding of half horsepower disposal while a ratings war is on. He thought himself the soloist of expertise, ignored grammarians as kind old feed alerts with motherboards about to be replaced. Playing the market by name against a lofty instinct's ever ripening.

Jump starting a vehicle not one's own, vicarious alignment, process service



Beebonnet's earthly symmetry bereaves elastic. How to capture market share is to infect the soul of the competitor. No virus needed. Tell some story that inspires fear, and watch spines wrinkle to lifeless blue balloons. I don't like talk's evaporative affirming rosychill all through the otherwise penned weather. She won't converse without her infancy imbued in conversation. Won't memorize self worth. But will chime in on the existing tales, the quarantined noon brawls so they're unlikely to perspire the first deserved cash royalty and swashed main lace of thick and thin dichotomy. The earth lanes silver us ahead of dormitory style ketosis, all ones alert to styles and their antithesis the miles ahead to have been walking.

Normed answers, how they look inclined, eternally green eyes


An Inabundant Spine

Slouch occurred parentally. The children saw no reason to first guess an inabundant spine. Some field of lavender might put a soul to hours of sleep. Distinguishing intention from desire. Throttled words of a rejection she is not aware of. Firefly in a corner, putty in her eyes. Shelf muting the small dolls with a net to breeze them out of here so something new can be created. Voulez-vous (myopia) the closer to caress (my dear). Dependent on the depth of prior injury.

Closeup, share draft, pinking shears



Out of context everything looks good. Onions, inclemency, rotundas. Whipsaw mercy, yodeling. A manufactured friendship operatta milestone. Rubricity enflowers pasty nuns (how would it seem to be alike). Siphoned intrusion, forensified wide lute as warm as stippled mill tax. Actuarial tables pressed to my chest, your chest, her chest. Gender needs no eyesight. Fortify fuss-budgetly the aftermath of no-show. Trap me in my own words (of our making). Literate new swells advancing cause in miserere overtones. The organist was clobbered by insistent sprinklers en route to the off-key church. Her letter said she shoulders things. She basks. She rub-a-dubs accord when geeks leave limericks along her doorstep with a whippoorwill to dandle like a hive homespun.

Semantitude, foxglove, decision point of our own making


World Flow

Paint justice on the timpanum to weed the scales of their beleaguered homily fort blue. Lace lovely, sly, and intuition-charmed like lanes come-to. Where worlds from here sopranos light upon the gilt-safe paint so we'll enjoy the house. What tiny fingers you have Martined onto for the neck of this guitar. I wonder who has carried a harmonic pursed and laved. Ivy demonstrates its breeding sanity in nectar words or less. My body scant with shivering what makes a nest a nest. Brianna was her name, a chemotherapeutic twinge. Hypotheses on long walks typify do lunch attentions. Lips precipice our blond brick femur. Claustrophobic in a seven-fold pronunciation of the dowry broken into elements reputed to comprise a world.

Creased into a car that really runs, a game of dominoes, a record of who won



Remaindering sofas my cupboard wealth, yin-yanged squeeze-toyed across from musty satchels elephants and combs (write with me soldier free-based match points of eternity's cool lisp of intellection shuffled like new breast of card stock foddering the length of temple sheet-rock blither comb. I want I want I cover purl cream corn accommodating dream of drastic measure sleeve bend comb immodesty's surf level caveat with plenary indulgence where a throat would be. Come leave cadaver of us chilled behind the dress mock parcel out accordion in lessons (what is nice about the ought in things is definition moved away from fractioning.

Eclair for starters, change around the sequencing, first undress


A Holiday

Independence muffles sly wash on the wear to corner-lot my sequel of long-practiced differences. Remainder me, she huffed into her doorframe. Pillow oughtness dignifies modalities of past performance, quasi shuffle, logjammed moderati. All new berry cusp, the wayward lea is bunched like socks. And hemorrhage decides to fast a good long wrinkle in the way of tomboy features fine and tweed and comma-spawned. When listlessly in love with present tense one feeds one's inner oligarchic sponge the expectations littered near sea-based triath- where folks alleged to love come rattling into new awareness, lipperware. And such good grooming fortifies from blueprints safe within public domain.

Places no one thought to look, the act of an erasing, sockets and the issue placement



Your hand with the 82 dollar ring I gave you in the seventies equalling relatively thousands stays as we god-givenly remain surrounded by night air rehearsing all the way to morning light the petit four of nest mentality. If I redeem you I have clothed myself in cellophanic forms of light. Those of us taught to be working have convinced ourselves an honest day of life is worth an honest splinter of an occupation that lives on in its small celebrated pieces mid-air Brandenburg through speakers a priori same integrity runs through our parlor, common to the tube socks and tuxedo atmosphere. My want is just the no fly zone of suffrage as it was defined in little items where no cable has been run.

Tumult as a partially descriptive word enlivening the hemisphere and caulk around the edges we encamera to our suddenly long-lasting lives


Snail Mail

Posse of handmade love that you can read curves in extra dry blue ink no longer washable, a little on your jeans the way a spirit feels with touch to add to tryst cared for and manicured directly from the body years of spirit's evidence of challenge and caress, the struggle 'tween resistance and support the whole matter ethereal as tangibly the market shares and shares alike oceans of trail blazing feats commiserato on the salty shelf innumerable chefs once there.

Subscription to a magazine, a paper trail, the longing that occurs in nature


The System

Veritas shames politics into belief for show. Portfolios drag icons from embedded source lake mantra after mantra of economy, a Saturday with fill dirt all the suffering enraged father to detoxify the body from the heart. Beautiful father. Beautiful trained pet me.

Short sleeves under a dress suit until it grew so warm...


Two Urges

His agenda looks embarkive and sustained misindications to their mother. Poverty backfills on-time sleep. Periodontal germ warfare, something ominous to crack your hard drive more than alter ego, is a cache to make whole distance between pet care and jalopy. Circumstance breeds surface gentry past the length of combs. Surrounds the apparatus with blood sugar and alleged imbalances. Where these two pulses came from, I mean urges, I formed people who were slivers of myself. It's obvious their stares were waltzed alike. I saw them glide in what I thought was unison, be broken, dabbled with, estranged.

Interrogation as a process, an addiction, definition of a self



Medical indulgence pierces lollygag, so anymore a fire is not a thing to mention. Preach goes numb with foyer toothaches. Glib purls, knitted brows for long walks tempesting our smooth calves' liver on the continent. Served prawns and veto power. Animals are treat germs we can high five in our summer sleep. The kindred icing on the cake is to have midnight dotted swiss few cars and meadows near the favorite cot. Melange shows too much white against the surface in the sprawling frame. Was it myopia or simply gabardine left wanting. Human skills keep showing they amount to everything. Possession of a cup of coffee and some basic clues to the alarm out back. Formica slices to remember eras by, when we were unprepared for figments of the everything we claim to be today.

Gentrification process, color photographs, weaving the distances between segregated nouns



Thebes crossed swords it's rumored, so go last if you can bear the silt, and I will warm your ever ready yarn approaching the yell festivals. That endear us to the throats' design near treetops in the soffit mood of see-through fortresses. The better to be sanguine with your decibels, my drear. We saw the catacombs. We walked the arbor lanes. We treated selves unheard of to emotive linguists in the habit of design flaws better for worse tantrums. Mild dichotomies brand-named soft if you illumined flavor with a floss to ride across the kingdom (mine) intaglio. The broiler a lost cause.

Crimson lanes, a form of repetition, faced by the surprise of someone's maxing out the schedule



Cool litres of imbuances reciprocate curved lines. No longer afternoon, the power alive and throttling some conflicting urgencies. A mother and a son respond to the abundance as though there were no rigor, limitations, or forensics. Where a tattoo would be, he's laced the insecurities to seem intentioned. Myocardial's a word that neither uses. Out the window, scenery and rapidly moving fresh air trespass by. A painting in somebody's head drifts toward the forefront after paintings. The one more loved has left the frame. Sculped to power by virtue of beholding. Rarely do they cross creeds. Ballast crumbcakes its way out of relationship. They settle in the wear of what they've known. Pondering injustice as they've known. Semiautonomous as riddles are. Baked slyly in the name of whole grain futures. Dependable, illusive, bronzed through repetition.

Portraiture, as moving as a text, revolving door, dissemblances


Shoreline, Traffic

Philosophy presumed to be the girl next door. Trading indices presented as vanilla not all bland. Some of the impression made in colors traded places with the movement of some traffic in the middle of the hedge. Pale blades rotated hives along supremacy. A full-flown frost to meld with summer in a hasp of dimly colored valse starting with "v." Trees touching across the road taken for granted.

Insomnia, these premises within a format heretofore unrecognized


The Chemistry of War

That there is more than one of him occasionally comforts me. One who gentlemans my path retains his high regard and bookmarks anger somewhere I don't think to read. Another stays away, as though I am a human weapon with invective toiling in the summer grass. One more of him is motherless, confines me to the recognition every moving part is glass. See-through identity that creases one whole sheet of the addendum. Chemistry between, perfect in symmetry. Within another life we'd dance, but here the boundaries wash out immodest differences. How do we know each other in familiar darkness. If by vision and not touch, personified by blades held back, instructive as the wild blast furnace never keeping to itself.

Hands with worth in them, full blend of blades and sanctions



Palaver keys in formed affection. He was different ages in the dream. Adopted margins, colored in discrepancies to mean political invective. Row of objects in the morning different from a row of the specifics painted in the afternoon some form of bronze. Tell tale affection. She allowed the body to have spoken a known language taught by weather or a film emerged to trace the boundaries between earth and skin. Whatever touch was there, intoned affection. Full barometers walled their findings in the semiautomatic blossoms that refused to wilt. Gathered by breathing. He would have thought her politics...but slowly, gesturing, he moved his preferences to slim the space between the window and the frame.

Tangibles cross protective lines, the skin as we have known it, parcels recollection


Cue Cards

They spoke of violence as though it were a hobby or a choice. Within another sphere, grenades escaped no one's attention. Impoliteness ceased its understated quality. The blatancy of horns regressed the human spirit. It was hypthetical and comfortable within the living room neglect of truth. Where pictures pasted globules on the rent wall suited to a mosque trade. Speed demons no longer comprised humor of a phrase. Whoever balked became apprenticed. Crescent lines moved towers. There was land to bake, and there were threesomes vitual and pronged. Dementia let go qualities we would have liked to zero out from prior victuals, but who was counting the presentia.

Trespass, mourning, empty jar


Dial Tone

Risk seemed sexual, unthinking, taken prior to my speaking in a language unfamiliar to named skin. What was the resilience trying to be worked, I asked myself. There is no leaning into body warmth, no shame, no cardboard box, no certainty. To paint a reasonable morning, I configured obligation and immersed myself in what appeared a lightened version of the trespass. Wild rice, furnace, time of apparition. Ice sculpture "I saw it with my own eyes, honest..." urgent as desire for miracles. Curved pelt near wheat, the surface glow's immaculate inherency.

Treason, neighbors who do not speak (volumes), certain dissimilar repair


Washing on the Pretty Line

I'd like this hive configured for the Olivetti, please sir, perfect for my thumbs. The crescent lipwear bottling up indifference the same centrigrade as all the worthy time zones in our sphere. There are roster fees to build upon, and scales to leverage shade trees and their valences. The shoelace portion of our program sees the dust accumulation near the fiber climb down furniture and speed traps. Homilies won't work the numbers. Silence thumbs its way clear to the park and back to what you think is home in your own words. I'd like to merchant my way forward, not be littled here in slide trombone capacity with battery-dependency and tales to tell. Besotted lives are dearthy in the nearby window. See the plain wide booths with the reputed merchants drinking coffee. Not one of them unless you live here has been named apology. Create one, says the priest, and live a better form of thriving in the dreamful haze of washing on the pretty line, the atmosphere of one redemption at a time.

Lozenge after lozenge, some particulars, routine the way my offering congeals after a fashion



Embroidery once kissed me. Divinity's inherent, not a sluggish fling with ossobuco. Merely chaliced inflow vectors, calling card paraphernalia. Massage retains fair market value for the Agamemnon in us all. Never telephone me with redundant fill dirt. I've too many things to mind abidingly. Snow cone for starters. Yellow craft on blue sea water, a resultant green paler than shamrock. Relentlessly, air purifier works its way into our kickstand hearts to try and cauterize years of causality. Prerequisites for parenthood include self knowledge and eccentric brands of sanity contagious to the touch.

Ice water will be fine, relief in the first person


Not the Single Notes

Monks continue singing like a salve. The men outside install a drainpipe to avert the downpour funneled just above my door in the infrequent hours that rain occurs. Phone calls interrupt what might be happiness in someone else. I'm in here hiding from the world smelling the incense of imaginary churches trying to preserve my faith. Plainsong needs no compass and no flavor. Not the single notes but their continuance. My each day practices its mattering in front of the ongoing test tube. Maybe when I'm tired I will be happy to lie down. This week intended to be just the miracle we have awaited turns out on Monday to be stinging. I'm not available to perform errands your province. Nor am I awake to your considered jamboree replacing deep connective tissue. There are sufficient thoughts to think. Only dysfunction teaches. My each day devoted to the fixing. She projects what the repair person must know without attempting to absorb it. A pretty quiet atmosphere impacts the slimness. Copy me on shadow mercy for a time. Errors practiced turn out to resist correction. Fluid as they seem to be, there's plenty evidence of the intractible.

Commencement at this time of year and recollection of the melody

Sheila E. Murphy

Sheila E. Murphy's book manuscript Letters to Unfinished J. was selected in this year's open poetry competition sponsored by Sun & Moon Press, and will be published by Sun & Moon. Dennis Phillips was the judge. Falling in Love Falling in Love With You Syntax: Selected and New Poems has just been released by Potes & Poets Press. Recent works include A Clove of Gender (Stride Press, 1995). Murphy's work has been widely anthologized, most recently in Fever Dreams: Contemporary Arizona Poetry (The University of Arizona Press, 1997) and The Gertrude Stein Awards in Contemporary Poetry (Sun & Moon Press, 1994, 1995). The Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series recently brought out an autobiography of Sheila E. Murphy, including photographs of Murphy with family and friends.

Sheila Murphy co-founded with Beverly Carver and continues to coordinate the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Poetry Series, now in its eleventh season. Murphy is President of the management consulting firm Sheila Murphy Associates. Since 1976, she has made Phoenix, Arizona her home. Murphy can be reached by e-mail at

William Slaughter, Editor
Department of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, Florida 32224-2645

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