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Issue 9
Art and Poetry from the core heart of the Undergr❦und

no 9 cover


paper cutout

Judy Rifka


Black Lapel

I touch I stay
The glass empties
You notice so little
Remember later
Moral anergy
This round’s on me

Bathed mauve in bathos
Crowd meanders
with a purpose
makes me tipsy
Stars poke out of
infinite black lapel
I return to your eyes
Brows no longer soothe
Delusions enter
Ha-ha ha-ha ha ha


_________________________John Godfrey


May the Standing Stones once more
Guard the edge of the space-time continuum
May the Maypole-dance, the dance of Life continue
May we begin the healing of our earth

May brightnesse cease to fall from the aire
May we remember who we are / who we have always

Before “race”
Before “class”
Before “gender”
Before the past 10,000 years’  
20,000 years’ Stupidity
    (means being in a Stupor)

May our only struggle once again
Be the ultimate struggle
within our own minds/hearts
The struggle to open further

Open to all humans
To all beings
To all that is
All that can be




_________________________Diane di Prima
May 1, 2011 San Francisco



Listen to me
What it is
No goddamned excuses
Yawn, yawn, yawn
Ask for more
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Fuck that shit
I said, “No…”
Well, excuse me
Back and forth
Working out good
The blue shirt
Tell the truth
With open arms


_________________________Steve Cannon



Chris Lee



Sirens Tamara Gonzales



When you get that
“I’m going to kill myself.”
_____Don’t panic.
Don’t rush right over.
Don’t argue them out of it. Say:
_____“Go ahead who cares”
Then hang up.
_____Trust me – They’ll
Be so filled with rage and hunger
For revenge
_____They will forget all thoughts
__________Of Suicide


_________________________Rene Ricard
March 8, 2012



except that it measures
less than one inch
and that the male makes a chirping sound

oh female mantella expectata
why are you so mysterious?

is it you who senses a meteor's approach?
are you the totem of that blast?

you've crossed the foothills of evolution
a sleek particle of the wider world
all the time in Her Majesty's Secret Service
cures and poisons disguised within you
as-yet-unread Super Credentials
invisibly flashing like border gates

why not dispense with the cloak and dagger
I'll be the scientist you confide in
I'll be the one changing these words to numbers


the scarf is wrapped around lunch from third grade
pegs of tator tots, a hot dog, canned corn, and milk

I take a picture of it and sell it to a museum
glossy and square it is called
Menu: The Early Years

and though it is remarked upon
through lips both lipsticked and not
it is nowhere near as remarkable
as the mummy downstairs
around whose crumbling chamber
a class of third-graders is wrapped
stinky little people
full of experimental obscenities
drooling sugar

_________________________Connie Deanovich

Words Meaning Less

less than reactions
tantrums hidden from oneself
in shadows of cold sun downs of late fall
suddenly cascading into mirth at the drop
of a silk scarf from a hand unseen yet felt
up the spiny edge of laughter heading for
another descent into the misguided idea
of a haven buried
beneath warm earth’s protection
the dominating suggestion
of an overpowering heaven
all further movement impossible
except for the downward pull of depression.


_________________________Lydia Cortes

Sonnet 193

Like all of human kind the rocks along
The narrow beach are all somewhat alike
Yet each entirely different. We
Pick them up, Honey and I, searching for
The ones we want, the ones that touch us. They
Are like us perhaps or is it just at
First sight or recognizing an old friend
Bending our bodies down examining
Delight or finally not delighted
Letting them drop but oh the ones we want
Spots or lines throughout coming to be loved.
Do the clouds touch the mountain, the mountain
The clouds? Is the stream going down the rocks
Or the rocks up? Do rocks pick friends, friends rocks?


_________________________Don Yorty


spray cans

Krylon Don Porcella



Some nights ashes lay the ground
unseen    the divided shrine     bones
and scattered relics     a bundle
weighing a thousand years    on the lawn
outside the house
afflicted passions rub their bellies
in the four cardinal corners
what sense does it make    to start a conversation
when beginning is calling

Some nights are piles of aromatic kindling
waiting to ignite

Sweet bird    flushed with arrival
how high can you fly    in a lifespan
a ready nest is built
flame up     in desert crimson
shitting seeds to multiply
coded letters on the stars

Unseen    serrated blades     torn shirts
and dresses    dry as dust     the vestige
of a murmuring heart
hear now the last blood stones set in tiles
on the floor    the echoing green
beneath spider veins    outlining
canyons too deep
to cross on a sighing bridge

Some nights are cords of symphonic timber
waiting to be torched

Sweet bird    flushed with arrival
how high can you fly    in a lifespan
a ready nest is built

Flame up
flame up
flame up


_________________________Janet Hamill



(for Cy Twombly, Lucian Freud, and Sol Galant)

Our Grandpas’ hands
Sands of our lands
Slipped through our glass
And then they were gone
In a summer
In the west
An arab spring,
European fall,
American wind
Is the winter
The Great men see life as cycle
Not psychos for the stars
The sycophantic psychological
The evaporative biological
In the most surreal times
They were realists
The burden of carrying the markers
Of what was before,
Hot suns
History beats down
Follows you,
Magna core
Fibers blow in the optics of landscapes
Drip of what was before
These men made their silent stain
Violent impressions
From volcano to volcano
Ocean to bays,
fountains to seas,
mountains to the green,
Fled their countries,
Newsmen call it the greatest generation
Forecasters saw it as their turn in the reign
Silent kings
Live with violent wings
Three men forced from the place of their birth,
The Pogroms, the Nazis, the new world
All reasons to run
Inflamed suns followed

They liberated
They freed
Skeletons walking
In the camps of Dachau
cryptography of antiquity
graffiti of ancient rome
in the poses in garrets of the United Kingdoms’ ghettos,
Who can let go,
Of the thick impasto
Of the way the greats go
The weight of what was before
Lifetimes cross over lines in the infinite
Crosshatch, loop, textiles of time
Scrawls of antiquity
Depictions of what is in front of one
Show you what is behind
Representation is reality
And nothing more

They passed in a summer
Each piece of their work took them a lifetime
The chalkboard is erased
life is not a race
great dark marks are remembered
ejaculations of color
form new generations
fresh fossils and follicles
as our grandpas hairs disappear into air
their blacks hands buried in earth,
the dark can be celebrated,
in the light we tend to
for in and all
our time
we will never forget you.


_________________________Stefan Bondell


xmas tree

Xmas Tree Rita Barros


i’m up till Trang defriends me

I’m up till Trang defriends me
a night of too much wine
to add another filter

while sculpting from abasement
the guns I need for robbing
new majesty from language

the sins I need for scraping
this debt glyph off the base

On Cold Mountain

Basically two
of the finalists

are protégés
of one

of the committee

and a third
edits the one journal

in which the other
member has published

in the last
7 years.


_________________________Rodney Koeneke


One-Word Poem




_________________________Michelle Madigan Somerville


collage painting

Raw Deal Chris Martin (courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Inness & Nash)



Jesus Boner Luigi Cazzaniga


The Left Cross

“Everybody’s got a plan – until he gets hit.”
Mike Tyson

I planned to marry her,
until I lived with her

a few days. Like being
in a theater and making

sure you knew where
the exit doors were located

in case of fire, every time
she looked at me I looked

for a way out. I was willing
to make an entrance into an exit.

Smell Test

Her dog
my crotch.
Was he
it for her?
Did it pass
the smell test?
Does he do that
to all the men
she brings home?
Or does he give
the ones he likes
a free pass?

Hello and Good-bye

Her kiss was light
on the “Hello” but

heavy on the “Good-bye.”
So much so that I kissed

her again to make
the “Hello” longer,

but this time her
“Good-bye” kiss

was so empowering
that she was able

to put it into words.

Playing Dead

Looking through
old family photographs,

there’s a good one
of me playing dead.

Was I practicing
for the future?

Or was it my one opportunity
not to be photogenic?


_________________________Hal Sirowitz


Inhospitable Garden

Imitation ruby flourishing
Scentless, maintained
by an industrious agrarian
Etymology has no bearing,
your writing will,
under all circumstances,
be impaired

Yours are the mellow cares
to envisage while starved
quietude of now
peacefulness lay over,
a pruned expression
amid the muted
red of barren plants.

stalemate authenticity
the smell haunts our footpath
no writhing can transpire
when does fullness
materialize formally?

Pink beast
amongst the
coarse mane
blood filled
streaked wet

the flickering stream
on the path sided by withdrawn blossoms


_________________________Arden Wohl



Actually, do you know how to draw?
That concept's no longer relevant.
And to what is the purpose....
For me, it is metaphor, never meaning.
Do your hands render, sculpt, sew or saw?
Short nailed, square spatulate fingers
Do your hands or heart impact these furred,
felted, plasticized, dangling creations
Ironic replications of fame, fauna, ferocity
Is your art assisted, pansophic, digitalized or dead?
Veracity was never my quest.
The fixed laws of gravity remain unbroken.


To the New Yorker Who Found My Journal

You have found part of me, like a severed finger or
perfectly amputated ear, perhaps an interesting
artifact for you,
But for me,
Something essential, important and fraught
with superstition
Please don’t believe everything
By virtue of recording, these writings
only resemble a fractal of truth
Through no fault of your own, you, the finder
has ravaged my most tender flesh
Shared a solitary and pervasive intimacy
I have lost my daily musings
Poems   my privacy
None of this was ever meant for your eyes


_________________________Ilka Scobie



Vault 2 with Columns Carol Ross


Cold Blue Skies

A two funeral week this
First a rogue
who spilled his seed to compass points
spawning boys and girls
who mourn with unruly hair
blank eyes
and confused tribal loyalties.
Second a theatrical fellow
with flair
who pranced in sunlight
on the Brooklyn Bridge
with a beauty
then years later tumbled alone down stairs
to eternity.
Two Suffolk men
both January deaths
cold churches
mumbled prayers
graveside gatherings
then friends scatter quickly
through the wintery wind
and reacquaint themselves with illusions of immortality.


_________________________Daphne Astor




Sweetwater in the walls, fresco
On the interior of the skull,
Crowned by ruby ovals
Like nothing you’ve ever seen –

Stationed, fair, breathless Zoe
Lying there, pewter, emeralds,
Town full of trees, houses, teeth,
Streets, veins, beneath openness –

As you leave, your system is shocked.
Stark gray, backing starlit white circle
Of sun, a mouth in the universe its
Warmth remembered, all of it uterine –

Touching music of belief essential,
My lips, my intelligence, a brisk walk was there –


_________________________Christopher Stackhouse



Why not?  This place is burning to the ground.
The workers are gone, flown off like vultures.
The embers are oily and stark, as black
and vengeful as the eyes of once lovers
now soulless to you in your soulful eyes.
Isn't there something in this heat, this white
ash from our bed of stinging, flightless flies?
Isn't there some flint of wet delight
apart from the fire?  Some cool other shore?
You know that our resolve is lusterlack,
that we, tweenbe, are combusted sutures,
that this blueprint, charred, this foundation, ruined,
this best guess, blown, this parting of the briars,
dangerous, is the smiling face of desire.


_________________________John Reed


placard painting

Peggy Cyphers


Dream Defective

1) Dream who is the bed whispering sweet nothings to?
Yo tengo tickles.
2) Dream what glockenspiel just sent me a text message?
I grew up in a noun-deprived environment everything was
a thingamajig or a watchmacallit.
3) Dream when did that Knish e-mail me?
He looks a lot younger than his hair.
4) Dream where is the unedited refrigerator?
My tongue is a horny supermarket.
5) Dream why is the air-conditioner so cocainey?
Because even on an empty stomach you're still full of shit.

Dream Detective Election

Dream, who is my cousin shtupping in the Laundromat?
I’ve relocated to the upper reaches of poverty so I’m abused by this message.
Dream, what is an epileptic schlong?
I’m not sure if I’m the chicken or the soup but I approve of this message.
Dream, when is a traffic stop a poetry reading?
I’m working on having my ass kicked from one end of this country to the next, so my cheeks approve of this message.
Dream, where is darkness on vacation?
I tried chewing on a politician once. It didn’t help, but he approves of this message.
Dream, why is the cloudy day leaning on my bedroom window?
Because every party needs a pooper.


_________________________David Mills


From 2012 daily poems

turkey hill diet iced tea is $2.59 in long island by my folks,
for a gallon, a fucking gallon,
that’s 20 cents less than a half gallon in the city.
it’s gonna be a turkey hill night, yep,
a turkey hill night.

i would keep a videotape in my parents’ vcr
with the remote on paused record
waiting for something to pop on to keep
and watch again,
usually something from mtv,
an interview with sting,
any time original vj martha quinn popped on the screen,
videos i dug ’cause i dug them,
videos i dug ’cause i dug them with my pants at my ankles,
like whitney houston’s “how will I know,”
4 minutes and 33 seconds
of 22-year-old first album whitney belting,
and slight dancing
in a metallic grey one-piece clingy sleeveless dress with separate matching sleeves
while black clad dancers kicked and moved all around her
it’s impossible to recall how many times i watched and enjoyed this video,

went to see the vow with my parents.
afterwards mom said she was hoping she would cry.
i hit her in the shoulder.

first boog event in three months
grocery store closed down next door,
buy soda, chips, pretzels, sour cream, onion soup, ice cream
from east fourth street key food
where my dad worked in the forties
when it was klinghoffer’s hardware,
whose wheelchaired, senior citizen son
the libyans threw off the cruise ship they took over
in the eighties.


_________________________David Kirschenbaum



Sea Chris Costan



Collages by John Evans

Invoking the ghost of George Orwell and the East Village of bygone times, 1984 is the title of John Evans’ latest book and also of a recent show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery. The streets back then were littered with the detritus of stories and Evans transformed them into art. From stickers and labels to old photos, stamps and packaging, his jazzy colors transformed each page of the collage-book into a magical mystery land of avant-gardes.

The exhibit was a memorable nostalgia trip that took me back to the past with sightings of many neo-dada ghosts like Ray Johnson, Albert Fine, Edward Plunkett, May Wilson, Buster Cleveland, and Tom Wirth.

“International Mail Art is the most important and most significant art movement in the world today”-proclaims the sentence rubber-stamped on a green paper cut-up square. His collages contain prophecies, mystical symbols, strange photos and fragments of letters and textiles. A collage (Oct 30,1984) frames a damaged photo of Ed Higgins surrounded by ducks staring back at the viewer, with the headline that screams “SURVIVOR by generation one”.

Another historical collage (Jan 18,’84) features a call for a Mail Art show curated by Ronnie Cohen at the Franklin Furnace (a downtown avant-garde collective founded by Martha Wilson).

Spanning the entire year of 1984, the prevailing common element in the 65 collages, the ”Ursulline ducks”, appeared on every single page.

My best “memory collages” are of his twins India and Honor (Apr 4,’84) and another with him and them (Nov 2, ‘84).

On the left front wall of his latest show, I observed 5 large collages that were made recently with the strong bright colors in India inks dominating the composition. One of them contained a cut out with a quotation from a review I wrote about you years ago. What a pleasant surprise.

The back wall of the gallery was a giant collage of collages, a mural illustrating the varied aspects Evans encountered with stuff, ephemera, and a colorful installation that reads like a historical, anthropological map of East Village.


_________________________Valery Oisteanu



From 1984 John Evans (The Quantuck Lane Press)

Water Man

for Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Wherever he walks, it gets wet. That's Water Man.
He gets nourishment from pipes & goes with the flow. Yeah, Water Man.
O Silver Circuiteer! O everywhere! L'homme d'eau.
Crossing streets wherever he likes, & where he wants to go.
Time & Space are no more to him than air to me & you.
Which is to say there's nothing to say that he can't say or do.
Icy hand & tender heart ‑ or the opposite.
"Mr. Man! Mr. Water Man!" The water bursts.
Laugh out loud, soak into the ground, Water Man.
The Water Man is now the ground.
We will never ever forget you.
You were ‑ the Water Man.


_________________________Bob Holman



“Castle Morro” runs aground in Asbury Park Linda Griggs


lynching after Goya

Brushes Arnold Mesches


© 2020 Live Mag! Rights reserved. Cover art: Editor Jeffrey Cyphers Wright. #9 Co-editor: Ilka Scobie
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