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ON THE COVER January, 2008

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Robert Priest (Excerpt)

By  Robert Priest

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What Massive Deception! What Malevolent Drivel! What Malignant Dogma! Whoosh More Doom! Whack More Disease! We Make Death -- Watch Many Die. Weeping, Mourning, Dread. World Mass Disgust. Way More Divided. Way More Debt. Way More Destruction. Wasted Murdered Detainees. Wild manic denials. Women Mowed down won’t Make Democracy.  Wanted More Draftees!


If you have ever seen the green in water that is forever flowing out to mystery and adventure then you know something of the colour of her eyes. I would not talk so foolishly but there is a space in me she steps into -- a tall shadow, an absence that howls like a grave or a dead wind when she is not there. I am a fool for her, letting all of me be a mile-long night breeze if she is but a straw held up -- a single golden hair I might rush over forever. I love Marsha Kirzner like the taste of my own spit, like my own blood in my veins, ready to melt in her heat like snow carried south and dropped in Pacific surges, my mouth dissolved in tropical mangoes and sweet papaya. She is another tall self I keep inside and lean on like a prop -- a magic self that sets me whirling and dispersing -- an anchoring self like a two-ton idol thin and heavy in the bed, me fastened to it like a small burnt lizard. Let me just hold this mantis woman in my arms, this tall beautiful fire with green eyes. Let me just lick the length of this green blade, this lightning filament of her love and I will sizzle with it, a long green furrow in my spirit where a jade lake reaches for the peaks. Her hand is a leaf that can calm the passage of a storm and yet it is a leaf that sings in its work like a reed made of Human flesh, a musical flesh of gasps and sighs -- a high sweet strand of water like a violin string. Aaaah draw the bow down again my loved one across the heart, across the soul, draw the bow down again and play forever the long sweet notes of our love.  

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I will teach you that it’s not enough to be infatuated with the word. You are in a textual relationship with language. It’s not just about you. You have to be sensitive to the needs of the word too -- then maybe it will receive you. Otherwise you are doomed to its hardened exterior. The word will not open, the word will not enter you. This is the most common form of textual difficulty. Perhaps you are rushing the language. You may have to take your time with the poem. Or maybe you're taking too much time. You have to be like radar to the moods, textures and shifts of the lingo. And don't get possessive. When you're “with” the word you're with every word that word has ever been with. Accept it. All words are contextual free spirits. Practice on the smaller forms at first -- haikus, aphorisms. It will seem impossible that one day something the size of the Iliad could enter you but if you are patient -- if you hold the words in your mind -- if you let the word touch you -- energy will enter. But you must also enter the energy. Hold the word as the word holds you. You must be taken. If you just take what you want from the poem then you leave unresolved charges simmering in it. This is how textual difficulties start. It is necessary to attend to the urges of the poem and to do this you must be patient and unctuous. You must focus and receive and let go entirely into the movement and rhythms of the poem. The key is mutuality. To get to where nothing comes between you and the language. To ride naked text, tissue to tissue. Wedged into a book like there is no exit. Full textual engagement will often and some say should always lead to those epiphany moments when insight like white light shoots up the being with a burst of raw alphabation. But remember, as important as it is that the poem satisfy you, this will only happen when you satisfy the poem. Only then will it fill you with the glories of literature. Only then will you be on your way again to a full and happy text life.

Of course not all your textual forays need be bound by such sweaty and arduous parameters. The lure of easy and casual text is everywhere. We've all experienced text in phone booths and washroom stalls, text up against the wall, or on public transit. You can't get away from text and you don't want to. Some people claim too much text can make you go blind, but the truth is text is legal and safe. In fact people have sacrificed their lives and freedoms for your right to experience almost any kind of text when and where you like. In general though it is good to give your words a periodic check-up. Let us compare dictionaries on a regular basis. Let us verify the language. Purify the word. Remember to exchange armadas. To do time in one another's subs. Whether you absorb the word or the word absorbs you. Every time you speak a camel treads the needle eye. This is the true traverse of the double-humped dialectic. This is true textual intercourse. I give you my word.

Saddam demands the U.S. turn over Elvis Presley. The U.S. says “No, we couldn’t, even if we wanted to. Elvis is no more. Elvis died.” But the Iraqi’s claim they have numerous reports from defectors. It is well known -- Elvis has been seen at supermarkets. Not just Elvis, but numerous Elvises. A proliferation of Elvises, unstable, explosive. If Elvis is unleashed again the effect on the masses will be destructive. They demand the turn-over of Elvis or they will attack. It is asserted repeatedly Elvis died on Aug 26th 1977 of a heart attack. The U.S. provides documents: death certificates, coroner’s reports, photos, but they are disbelieved, mocked as forgeries. The United Nations confirms there has been absolutely no sign of the living Elvis for years. Reports of there being a still-living Elvis are considered to be mass fantasies thought up by freaks. Wouldn’t he have told his own daughter, Lisa Marie? They send a team to look for Elvis. They interview Sam Phillips. Still no Elvis. But, they say, that’s just because people are afraid to tell them where Elvis is. Finally, despite world protest, the Iraqi army comes up from Mexico, immediately securing the Texas oilfields. They quickly conquer America, but when the dust settles neither Elvis nor Bush is anywhere to be found. The American people are very thirsty, their water supply has been shut off by the war. Their children have been murdered. It’s reported that Iraq deliberately lied about Elvis being alive. “It wasn’t just about Elvis anyway,” says Saddam. “George Bush was Evil. He was never democratically elected. He executed more people in the state of Texas than all the other states combined.” They leak stories about the Nazi past of Bush’s ancestry. Everybody agrees that America does seem a lot more relaxed now that Bush is gone. Anyway, the capture of Elvis is considered imminent. There is a report that Elvis is likely in Canada. Canada denies having Elvis. Iraq warns Canada that they will treat harbouring Elvis as an act of War. Saddam makes a big speech, saying that the USA, Canada and Britain are part of an Axis of Elvis. 


1. The Zelgs speak in a language that is a cry. To hear them converse is to listen to the wailings, gargles and gasps of those undergoing terrible tortures of the soul and body. To go amongst them, even in their merrymaking, is like walking the corridors of an actual Hell. It is with shrill enraged lizard screams that they greet each other, shouting till they cough up blood. And in instances where most people would choose to whisper -- moments, for instance, of privacy and intimacy, the Zelgs will holler at their loudest volume (about 10,000 dB). For them to utter some small, sweet nothing like "I love you darling!" is to bellow like Prometheus on the cross. Although the Zelgs are fine and sensitive creatures, it is obviously very hard for Earthlings to communicate with them. Listening to the simplest and most superficial discourse is heart-rending and will incite the compassion of all but the deadest and cruelest creatures. Nor can they understand our small chirping and gesturing, thinking instead, that we only truly communicate when we torture each other. 

The Zelgs suffer from an epidemic of the deadly, sexually transmitted disease known as TRAIDS which, for reasons as yet unknown, seems to attack only the monogamous. Alas, it can only be prevented by frequent, uncommitted, casual sex with strangers. Unfortunate as this already is for those betrothed in holy matrimony, it is made even more painful by Bacchic groups who use it to bolster their “vision” of a vast promiscuity amongst all peoples perpetually. These folks take delight in disseminating slogans such as: “Bareback is better!”, “Gay is the way!”, “We’re bending over frontward for immunity.” and “Have you had indiscriminate promiscuous sex today?” And then there’s their ubiquitous mascot: Bruce the safety goose.

In their effort to maintain immunity, the Zelgs put their extreme vocal abilities to a very practical use. I am referring to that practice known as fast-f**king, wherein the object is to f**k a stranger as fast as possible. The engagees (chosen by lot), after spending a day doing something slow and tedious, will approach one another as quickly as possible across a vast distance, usually a supermarket parking lot. As the actual duration of the fast-f**ck is measured from the time they physically arrive at one another, participants will attempt to execute some manner of foreplay by shouting dirty talk to one another as they run. "Oo I'm gonna f**k you so faaaaast!” is a big favorite. Or "In and out and it’s over baby!". Obviously the louder one's voice is, the more time it provides for such endearments. To augment this, on clear days, couples will also make lewd gestures and suggestive poses as they dash, ripping their clothes off in the process. When they finally meet, there is the quickest possible poke and hump, at least one brief orgasm and then it’s over. The couple vow passionately to part forever. A promise they begin to keep immediately by dashing away from one another full tilt.

Read IN's exclusive interview with Robert Priest.
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IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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