Word For/Word: A Journal of New Writing (Issue 12: Summer 2007)


The full version is available at: www.wordforword.info



Word For/ Word is seeking poetry, prose, poetics, criticism, reviews, and visuals for issue #13. We read submissions year-round, but the deadline for issue #13 is February 1, 2008. Please direct queries and submissions to:

Word For/ Word
c/o Jonathan Minton
PO Box 231
Glenville, WV 26351

Submissions should be a reasonable length (i.e., 3 to 6 poems, or prose between 50 and 2000 words) and include a biographical note and publication history (or at least a friendly introduction), plus an SASE with appropriate postage for a reply. A brief statement regarding poetics, process, praxis or parole is encouraged, but not required. Please allow one to three months for a response. We will consider simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if any portion of it is accepted elsewhere. We do not consider previously published work.

Email queries and submissions may be sent to:

editors at wordforword dot info

Email submissions should be attached as a single .doc, .rtf, .pdf or .txt file. Visuals should be attached individually as .jpg, .gif or .bmp files. Please include the word "submission" in the subject line of your email.

Word For/ Word acquires exclusive first-time printing rights (online or otherwise) for all published works, which are also archived online and may be featured in print anthologies. All rights revert to the authors after publication in Word For/ Word; however, we ask that we be acknowledged if the work is republished elsewhere.

Word For/ Word is open to all types of poetry, prose and visual art, but prefers innovative and post-avant work with an astute awareness of the materials, rhythms, trajectories and emerging forms of the contemporary. Word For/ Word is published biannually in the Summer and Winter.





Sommer Browning

How, During Certain Evenings, I Fend Off the Sorrow of Wrens and Swallows.

not a bite. a sick and bent syllable, an oath taken tragic and rash. not even a drunken louse's swollen stitches, a strong note held on the peak of Known Rock, not a partner's trumped hand nor silvery fetid fish skins, not a village-ragged dog, a forced and muddy filth-stream climbing the top of my old boot--it will soak me--not this. not three days of sea dreams in a burnt white hospital bed. not a song. not a woman. no black-berries, no. not any wild freak-will.



The Story of Three Rusted Suits of Armor, Two Filigreed Chests, and a Rum-Soaked Corsair.

nothing much to tell, but a tale of love beat-bloody suffocated on the ocean's floor.
the sea, worse than cold-blooded, chills shine from every man's sunken

death-greed. like boring sleep its patience flattens thick across a traveler's means.
there is nothing to do but travel and so it is easy to be cursed. the sure story

hides in the telling, any child can see, in the once-upon-a-vile-road, in thus-our-golden-
heroic-ends, all the middle-rest lovely lovely useless.



Of an Adventure in which my Double Befuddles Plans for the Treasure of Hidden Scarab Lee

ease with a sword.
luck in love.
decisions, rash and varied.
tends toward morose.
ease with saber.
love's sinking mystery.
above all appropriate.
heavy limp.

music. and scenery shifting behind them unnoticeable. we're alive they say and this is fuel. moribund rancor. vicious diction. it's a game we don't agree on the scoring. the generic thrash wildly, the neutral screech wheelies. one corner slacks and rounds to fulfill the spheric plan. slogans fume across the field: intuit this. bastardize precious in '04. sicken it. miniature powerhouses fuse the air and dictate hail, rain—this is the proportion. we'll wait for intricacy to weave us anew.



Sue Carnahan

Stained Glass Beach Seen

Blue glass representing light sent back from particles in waves

One can see through what the window is aimed at

A shore
A figure in copper wears a sparkly beach dress over fair skin

(she pushes at or holds up the embankment)

Fine sand: solder
Trees in red glass take shape
House or changing hut

The abstract as explanation of rain in threaded streams on a tilted surface as per prediction

Whether we think we have swum here before

From the Introduction: “a veritable ocean of gratitude, outpourings, etc.”

(she stalks off)
Perdition: the tide about to turn





Life, Etc., Science

“You don't need to know things”

wrote the principal investigator

referencing the disciplines

microbiology and crystalline geology.

Things are in flux.

We are

             —accretion and erosion

responsible for nearly all that one sees. Lunch

equations teeter and take on ballast, dump some over

to recreate the terraced landscapes we associate with geothermal springs, falls.

Rainfall amounts up.

Experiment one             (pictures were taken)

They made a model.

It matched up well with reality

like: a duck and a bus. Thus, in terms of success, a modicum.

But, it was cautioned, “more work needs to be done.”

Life in concert with death, for example, rates of deposition tied to rates of withdrawal.

How this is likewise a dance

            you might entertain proposals of

                      at the next coincidence.

            Here, have a smoke and mirror.

“O, I don't really know”

                       heard on all sides.

Experiment two             (the several models hypothesis)

One, says Jenny (hurricane), will hit here X on the dot

with force equivalent to blank megatons and excess.       Or not.

Another, clinging to the idea its offshore platform was built

from molecules (scratch),

blueprints atomic weaknesses nicely.

Thirdly, I should like to talk about butterflies, shell games, aleatorics.

                       “Let's just enjoy”

Experiment three

in which small streams are braided and run like rainways coursing a window pane,

                                                            where it is asked: What's,

if anything, the angle, flow, viscosity needed to set up continuous offset (skew).

Everyone plots a solution and courses a mile with it in their shoes,

satisfied withal,

the parameters chosen according to the authors.

Do this do that. Grabbing, in the case of thus, one's hat.



Raymond Farr

Cranes Approaching Its Singleness

“Suppose you go now while it is still
day, for there is no denying it is still
day.” (They all look up at the sky.)
“Good.” (They stop looking at the sky.)
— Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

My program is simple: to surrender to
the city and survive its inundation. To
read it, and in reading order it to read
itself. Not a doctrine, but a public notice.
— Stephen Rodefer.


Part One:

A city as though
a woman
closes its eyes
all at once.
Its life a language
cast into echo
reverberates intensely —

“March along now you fours you twos together in mystery in sentences of love.”

But the city refuses to awaken & be kissed.
Its dream (a camera) pictures a camera leonine at crosswalks.

[What is the word? What is the value?]

Love's blonde Stradivarious
sings doo-whop at curbside
oh yea // oh yea
both cranes approaching
its singleness —

a white crane
a beaked crane
avian as drink

meaning .
a tall crane
a lifting crane
a dozer over




Part Two:

In the city is circular
comes drumming
out of trash cans.

One river-light
intuits the throng.

Its glare — an anguish,
pauses over populace,
haggles over contours.




Part Three:

On camera a city
is a page is a boy
sent on an errand.

His alms of neglect
suffice intermittently.

On visits to the park
he snaps over shoptalk

arrives alone

in decadent




Part Four:

& filed under:

Instructions for the Application & Interpretation of This Text in Urban Corridors—

six televisions impeach parochial sexuality on notice on fire & on Saturdays
growing ultimately a second brow a third set of lips a first death etc etc.

Just one flight up the city remembers its moniker.

& in the bath
language slips its silken night clothes off
moves swiftly through—

late August—
shell fish crabbing open
a poem




Part Five:

While dreaming on one leg.
“Man” is vehicle of.
Writing is charted & charting.
In a good place.
In a bad tenement.
Non-events get underway.
Suppose the m( oo )n of m( a )n many.
Both at once.
Language a slot of.
The same as ever I shall.
Poems = Person.
The language is clear.
Isn't clear. The words're “paranoid.”
& “ampersand.”
The entity it serves.
Manacled to “boy.”
Kisses blunt.
Contemplates nuclear.
& certain of spoken charms.
They look up.



Garth Graeper


[Gravel or Crushed Stone (41%)]

Stone masonry arose from the belief that two bodies pressed together could no longer outline malice. Large monuments built to blot out the stars and measurements of distance, pushing the eye to the ground. Surface claimed to be fixed.

Steps across pavement mark this place, accumulating pent-up force. By design, buildings expire on a different calendar than an idea.


[Air (6%)]

Remember the carved screams. Wind tore a fur off the trees, crystals that spread sound waves through the night. Currents too strong for us to move. No course across land when symphonies fire down with such accuracy.

CAVE is an old and necessary solution, a place to change our density, to channel anger into stronger wings.


[Water (16%)]

Built in echo chambers, vibrations push up and sink unnoticed. It's difficult to identify with canyons, to measure the water level in our own deep spaces. Not drowning inside a body requires a thorough almanac.

Map the ghosts below: drill a hole, fill it with bone-dust, insert a hot metal plate to capture the earth's condensation. When the moisture dries, a genealogy will remain, set in place like a spine.


[Portland Cement (11%)]

The threshold cycle. Slow muscles and streams of old blood cling to the valley walls. History occurs when a crust forms, inching outward, thickening the air away.

Everything seems solid, but the mud inside pushes up new obstacles. Explosion; rivers; a storm that erases all signs etched in the surface.


[Sand (26%)]

Underground gathering strength. Left here so long, counting keeps us warm. We name each other by shifting sand. These spaces mirror our last night above, in the fires; our remembered stars in place; our tunnels following unfairness in all directions.

On EXCAVATION day, our shadow will recast the surface boundaries, tracing the roots below.



Andrew Grace

Ex Log

Let us begin, Lest

Whose scorching trees
Among snow
Shrivel us back to
The salt story

Gods love threes
The harrowing of a master thirst
And I

Grant me cave
I will hang
Seen by a wolf

Myself Amaryllis
I was entirely still
Your lip bruised
His palest gifts

Love berries
As if with blood
Feed goats
To the world

Amaryllis says
You are the game I
Can never win

Give Amaryllis
The Argo haircut
Prune the face
Whelm her under

Tamarisk and flint
This field
With our own eyes

Enough grotto
Sterile barley
It's time for two

To placate a calf
Yield all precedence
To its love of

Boy you
I ambush

For blush
A little soot
Easy he is
Already erased

Wanton boy
Speckled with wax
Be quiet

Him I call
Amaryllis Amaryllis
I call

Ground covered
In his white flank for Amaryllis
And she sees

“What is his name”
Fire to hold
You up to

Poison to be all
Cure forgetful to be
All song to be
All-throated god

Behind the hazel
I meet Amaryllis
All flock

We used to murder
Straw women
Come on Amaryllis
We're only halfway killed

“No” Bacchic cornflower
Sirocco-yoked hazel
Cried out

Goat god man
I thrice mimic Pan
Grassfield charmfield

Exit ilex
Amaryllis said no
That face will grieve
When I left me

Twine I
To that which it longs for
Bits of cold
Charge the ground

Bride your maidens men
Cast joy utterly
And when you do
You've fed them

So raise
Your fistful of thorn
Lovely the skin
And lovelier still the vestige

Dogs with
The blood of children
Can be heard
In the events to come



Eryn Green

Stillness / Forgiveness

i / Or I can see an albatross in you

Collar bone / Broken blinds / The sun, lousy with guilt. Or I am not afraid of being alone with you / Hung down on ribbons / Muffins and appearances / Chairs under windows / Aspens under tree houses, glowing orange in my hands / In the park: Crook of neck / Russian poetry / A litany of more than casual , echoed in the timbers and the dump truck rattles toothbrushes in the morning. On the news a fire in Russia burns half the churches in St. Petersburg / Only there is no God / And ash against ash against snow, street sweep, silver.

Forgotten: Fire's failure to register as fire / Church as Russia / Collapsing the main cupola—



But I can see a blank postcard, a caterpillar digging. And I am not an albatross of love in you / A hole too big / Mittens just your size / Stillness / Baby blue birds sick and changing / Color / There is: A bumper sticker / Despite the rising cost of living, it remains quite popular / Through tunnels lined by tree and trolley car: If , only if / And I am still looking in you. There is: A basket of black daisies / A fracture / Gone missing / And nobody should have to—

Recalled: A thunder, a voice / This body I found / Recalled: Rattled to the point of





ii / There is a slow and weary harvest in the fields

Swords into plowshares / The widow son / Embellished, in secret / Overnight: A cathedral, freely rising / A way of seeing that touches / Building of stone, building of nail / Closer to / Geometry and moisture / Do you not say four more months and then the harvest? Look / Three stones cut from the field / Building / Only there is space between harvest and God.

Forgotten: Stones as houses , home / The river / Forgotten: Take him



Only it's cold and the helicopter flies past again.

The room / Shutting and shuttering / I found you two other oceans / Girl stands by river / A brown leather suitcase / A window of blossom / The sun / A mountain / It's cold and the helicopter crashes / The snow outside / Three black windows / One white / A girl stands by a river / Explodes.

Each feather, felled from skin / Recalled: Tongue of bone, with these hands





iii / I don't remember there being any hounds around here, either

Still, listen / Stuttering / Breasts, shook with mercy / Or rain / A humid space / Cameras in the mirror / Cinch the shutters, eat the heart / Outside, I can't believe he's not dead / On the news two newlywed morning glories swallowed by a house / A house swallowed by a whale / A whale swimming alone in the ocean, holding its breath.

Nobody, in the ocean / Forgotten: A noise, a mass of noises / Bigger than



Thirteen boys walk up a mountainside, eleven walk down.

A bird tries to fly but its wings are already on fire / And it was not a man / If you made the mountain, not the boys / The cliff, not the trees / If somehow the way up did not have to mean now , the boulder / Six hours / Eleven boys and a helicopter / God can build children of stone / Thirteen boys take the shirts off their backs, soak them in blood / A bird tries to fly but it is a man and we thought it was dead / It does not have wings / Already on fire .

Recalled: A footstep slipping, blood having been there / Bodies we rescue / Recalled:



T.A. Noonan

Multiple Choice

What I remember from my study guide:

Antediluvian is an insult for great-aunts.
Proctor sounds a lot like proctologist .

Cystoscopy. Apoptosis. Prostate. Prostrate. Men that might have taught me their language withdrew without forwarding test scores. All that vocabulary I never had to repeat. No spelling bees, multiple choice. I failed every section

[ “the results aren't good” ]

& place my hand to the scar on my mother's breast      divot wide enough for 2 fingers      another surgery      it will be 4      perhaps an entire hand      in a space too small to tear with a pencil      my mom teaches me      her vocabulary      book closed      later I refresh the verbal section      pretend I'm learning cognates——



Sundog / Zodiac of a Fingernail

If you could clip me, I would be waxing crescent / Once I was a mouth, gibbous until I closed over you / You took my name from Ptolemy— terra australis —to balance me against something higher / My shape was all flats and ice / Katabatic winds rended my plateau at the edge / Interior, they moderated themselves / Sometimes the sun touched my white skin, and I burned like Brazil / My diamond dusts shimmered carnivale , radiation tricky as an open circuit / Now, this ridge slit through, a quick: something little, rough / The nail in front of your face slides under your waistband, parhelios to the snow / Parhelios to the snow, the nail in front of your face slides under your waistband / Now, this ridge slit through, a quick: something little, rough / My diamond dusts shimmer carnivale , radiation tricky as an open circuit / Sometimes I burn like Brazil when the sun touches my white skin, and the interior moderates itself / Katabatic winds rend my polar plateau at the edge / My shape is all flats and ice / You take my name from Ptolemy—— terra australis ——to balance me against something higher / At once I am a mouth, gibbous until I close over you / I could / would / being / wax crescent if you clip me



Predictable Contemplations of the Body as Planet as Body

It's a formula, the body as planet as body.

[Not quite

2C 4 H 10 (g) + 13O 2 (g) ? 8CO 2 (g) + 10H 2 O(g)

; stoichiometry is one part art, two parts math.


Complex colonies of bacteria camp in human hair, but those unicellulars also live in the geyser's sulfuric curve.

Low mass means less life retention. No atmosphere. Too smooth to stay that way. Cue the eruptions, quakes. Then, geological death; no energy to crank.

Fat people make better planets because they have gravitational pull. Large iron core. Magnetic fields blocking solar wind.

High metallicity in their stars, spitting off sparks, proplyds, secrets of the Drake equation.

The notion of a habitable zone may have to be expanded or discarded as too restricting.

The Fermi paradox refutes astrobiology's assertion that I'm hot, and extrasolar bodies grow sexier every day.

Poets consider themselves habitable, unaware they're the most hostile environments.



Ruy Ventura (Translated by Brian Strang)


(for Palácios da Silva)

the stone accompanies
the shape of the world

the image grows, accompanies
all the city
and, some time later,
a stone is born
—a face,
a voice lost for so many years

the night keeps:
everything dies
above all the secret book
(the skin opens its pores)
a vein
the breathing, in the interior
of the stone
a pillar holds up the building

it disappears

the house remains on its feet—
a statue of sand
in a winter garden
the street is, at this moment, another
the world is woven
in the collision of another city

that grows




I design a plan,
encounter spaces that no hand enlarged
or demolished
they divided the building at the top
so it would be easier to arrive
at the firmament
—an opening in the foliage
the design of a window
some voices singing

should I photograph everything?
the light is not at the desired intensity

for the first time
the stone is born again.
I hide your body in the vestiges of
the man
whose name disappears

I descend to the place where the earth

the water corrects everything




a single loquat tree stood
where you are now sitting—
this is the end of cities,
we change rooms but are not able to
change the house

the key placed on top of the table
the bread placed on the kitchen bench, the shirt on the shoulders of
the chair—the breathing
small number or perplexity

this afternoon—a ship
glass door which we dim little by little
a right handed thumb
a road descending to the river

special equilibrium
or storm—framed profile or





the door disappeared—with the night
the image remained in the middle of the house
and the light
so we can all see
its face

we sit
on the wall
resting the morning
or the shadow
in search of a photograph

on the return road
the sidewalk became
a labrynth
a painted tile

and inside of its design
a face

our own



Craig Santos Perez

Review of clutch: hockey love letters (Tinfish Press, 2002) by Sawako Nakayasu

Sawako Nakayasu’s clutch: hockey love letters embodies the movement, unexpected angles, and near violence of both hockey and love. In relation to these themes, Nakayasu explores the variable denotations of “clutch”: (as verb) to grip something tightly, to grab hold of something; (as noun) control and influence, a crucial moment in a critical situation; (as adjective) dependable or accomplished. Each poem develops the tension inherent in the word “clutch” and funnels this tension into the eroticized forces of sport.

Reflecting this dynamism, the chapbook takes on two forms: long lines sprawling across the page and short condensed lyrics. The latter are contained within brackets, giving them the look of a hockey puck:

intimations at the nearest blade
[ ]
curve—rescind—extenuate—[ ]or wrap
aroundings at the fastdoor,
to the[ ]quick
eyes spin to the play—circomfiting
this here, or andlessness ]
speeden’d weight continues,

holding ]

Nakayasu’s “quick eyes” curve and extenuate through the “speeden’d” syntax of perception. The rhythm wraps “arounding” and attempts to hold, when the whistle sounds, the “andlessness” and “fastdoor” of the play:

if short or quick to draw
back at the top of
[ ]
shorter breath—locality

all dropped g[ ]loves
whole fleet of such [ moment

cross ]

The subtle moment when “gloves” opens to “loves” hints at the complex relationship Nakayasu sketches between love and hockey. The sport, as metaphor, becomes a site for love’s volatile emotions while also representing the poet’s real love for hockey (in the dedication, Nakayasu sends “hockey love” to the San Diego Hockey Players, Puckheads, and Gino & the Providence Lady Reds, among others).

Although I’m always weary when a poet shifts formal gears in such a short chapbook, Nakayasu manages to move from these “shorter breath” localities into longer, sprawling prose poems. In “Long Distance Hockey”, the desire abstracted in the above poems becomes fleshed through a manic narrative:

& it’s summer it’s summer but & I still can’t & I still can’t & I still can’t let it go & the glide of it & the speed of it & no man is worth very & no sentence worth completing & I want ice & I want ice & I want & I want […] everything but everything but everything but & the good stuff & the faster & the wind of it, bring it in & ship me out & back to the ice whose hand I hold & hold & hold

The intimate tone of this poem creates an emotional depth in “clutch”. Although we are never given the exact relationship of the “I” and the hand she holds, we acutely feel the tension of not being able to “let it go”. The “forces of time and memory” seem to be what the poet clutches with a convincing fragility:

We played a game of hockey today on the floor and as I picked myself up for the first time this year, it struck me that. Oh, pain is relative when your goalie is involved, but not when there are ex’s, lost ones, floating pucks and other bruises in assorted colors. I didn’t sub out the whole game through because I was afraid I would never find my way back in.

Nakayasu manages to bring together the assorted colors of her two themes into one epiphanic pain. The continual intensity in clutch seems to embody this fear of never finding her way back into the bruises of memory haunted by “ex’s, lost ones, [and] floating pucks”. Without this moment, the emotional impact of “hockey love letters” would’ve only been a poetic game.

The clutch of clutch, so to speak, is the title poem, which occupies the final four pages. In this poem, the two aforementioned techniques collide into a dynamic formal exchange: while some lines stretch to the end of the page and continue onto the next page, short lyric stanzas balance and disrupt the horizontal movement. Because it’s impossible to replicate the look of the page in this review, I will only quote one passage to give a sense of its conditions:

A given distance from ice to no ice translates itself
into the time it takes and which it is from. If you
drop/give and that at a breath-width, the taking
and the running out the clocks and the witness
[…]I was once at a party that left me hanging on the balcony with a cigarette a motive and a match but […]
continues as it breathing never stopped for either
of us. Drawing up constitutes the other side of
the line, I take from this each suggestive point to
hold and to cover,

blue to shining blue line

Reading this poem becomes a sport for the eyes as the long lines push us horizontally across the page and the stanzas lift us either above or below that space. Through re-reading, I learned it’s impossible to read the poem the same way twice because each reading forces us along different lines of flight and force. Nakayasu translates the “given distance” of desire into a poetic space resembling a hockey rink where our imaginations skate unpredictably from “blue to shining blue line”.

Throughout clutch: hockey love letters, Sawako Nakayasu creates a work in which “breathing never stopped for either of us”. We never learn who the “us” is, but we can’t help but feel the book’s emotional depths. Nakayasu clutches the remnant forces of memory while each poem holds the moment in its clutch. In the end, she proves that she’s clutch at the moment of composition, crafting “those conditions above which allow for multiple necessities of tightened breath.”




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Word For/Word: A Journal of New Writing (Issue 12: Summer 2007)