Steve Nathaniel Reads “Burning the Christmas Greens” by William Carlos Williams

Burning the Christmas Greens
    -William Carlos Williams

Their time past, pulled down
cracked and flung to the fire
—go up in a roar

All recognition lost, burnt clean
clean in the flame, the green
dispersed, a living red,
flame red, red as blood wakes
on the ash—

and ebbs to a steady burning
the rekindled bed become
a landscape of flame

At the winter’s midnight
we went to the trees, the coarse
holly, the balsam and
the hemlock for their green

At the thick of the dark
the moment of the cold’s 
deepest plunge we brought branches
cut from the green trees

to fill our need, and over
doorways, about paper Christmas
bells covered with tinfoil
and fastened by red ribbons

we stuck the green prongs
in the windows hung
woven wreaths and above pictures
the living green. On the

mantle we built a green forest
and among those hemlock
sprays put a herd of small
white deer as if they

were walking there. All this!
and it seemed gentle and good
to us. Their time past,
relief! The room bare. We

stuffed the dead grate
with them upon the half burnt out
log’s smouldering eye, opening
red and closing under them

and we stood there looking down.
Green is a solace
a promise of peace, a fort
against the cold (though we

did not say so) a challenge
above the snow’s
hard shell. Green (we might
have said) that, where

small birds hide and dodge
and lift their plaintive
rallying cries, blocks for them
and knocks down

the unseeing bullets of
the storm. Green spruce boughs
pulled down by a weight of

Violence leaped and appeared.
Recreant! roared to life
as the flame rose through and
our eyes recoiled from it.

In the jagged flames green
to red, instant and alive. Green!
those sure abutments . . . Gone!
lost to mind

and quick in the contracting
tunnel of the grate
appeared a world! Black
mountains, black and red—as

yet uncolored—and ash white,
an infant landscape of shimmering
ash and flame and we, in 
that instant, lost,

breathless to be witnesses,
as if we stood
ourselves refreshed among
the shining fauna of that fire.

Dr. Lania Knight Reads “The Catch–All” by John Palen


    -John Palen

When we cleared out the garage
for the last time, it was still there,
the grimy-white bookcase that held
paint cans, tools in a fishing tackle box,
jars of unsorted nails and screws.
He owned a store; she played organ
at church; they raised three children.
Only people who believed walnut
would always be plentiful in America
would have painted over it. Only people
who believed things don’t fall apart
would have relied on one screwdriver,
a saw, a hammer and a pair of pliers.
Scrubbing, scraping, sanding,
I bring up the old, close grain.

Sol Ennis-Klyczek Reads “Apostle” by Graham Lewis

    -Graham Lewis

I’ve preached and preached
until my throat burns, my hands
heavy bricks.  Some nights
my poor feet bleed, cracked
from delivering you Gospel.
Who but You could have seen
it would last this long, go this far?

Women fall in front of me,
naked of all things, begging
for my touch.  Old men weep
at my smile.  Even across
the forsaken desert they’ve heard
of You, Your Son.  And they want
blessings, they want fish, they
want wine and dead men talking.

How can I, how can we deliver
those goods?  As the soliers
hammered the nails, teased Him
with water, smeared Him with shit,
I thought Uh oh.  This’ll be it-
The End Of The World.

Ha!  Even that seems a long time ago.
Back when He was angry
and hungry and we feared
Your wrath behind His eyes.

Then He appeared to us dead
and Thomas had the gall
to poke his fingers in the holes.
I thought My God, that can’t be right.
I was wrong then too.

Now there aren’t enough of us
to lead these sinners home.
They are too many and too far gone.
When You killed Him, brought

Him back, then took Him again,
we suffered lonliness
no men have suffered before.

Sometimes still I feel Him hidden
in sand, in smoke, in water.
I look but see only my face.
I speak but hear only my words.
We pray the prayers He taught us to pray,
but we will never forget
how You Both used poor weak Judas.

We’ll ensure Your tests and games.
We’ll tend Your labyrinth.
We’ll write books for You.
We’ll save and save and save
even if it kills every last one of them.
But remember this:  they believe
You will one day make good  on it all.

Tj Martinson Reads “A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg

A Supermarket in California

    -Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked

down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking

at the full moon.

  In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon

fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!

  What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families shopping at

night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!

–and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?


  I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking

among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.

  I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?

What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?

  I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,

and followed in my imagination by the store detective.

  We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy

tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the



  Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in a hour.

Which way does your beard point tonight?

  (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and

feel absurd.)

  Will we walk all night through solitary streets?  The trees add shade

to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.

  Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-

biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?

  Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America

did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a

smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of



Gabrielle Knock Reads “Your Catfish Friend” By Richard Brautigan

Your Catfish Friend

    -Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life 
in catfish forms 
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers 
at the bottom of a pond 
and you were to come by 
one evening 
when the moon was shining 
down into my dark home 
and stand there at the edge 
of my affection 
and think, “It’s beautiful 
here by this pond.I wish 
somebody loved me,” 
I’d love you and be your catfish 
friend and drive such lonely 
thoughts from your mind 
and suddenly you would be 
at peace, 
and ask yourself, “I wonder 
if there are any catfish 
in this pond?It seems like 
a perfect place for them.”


Scott May Reads “Number 10″ from the Blue Notebook by Daniil Kharms

Blue Notebook #10

There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears. Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically. 
He couldn’t speak, since he didn’t have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose. 
He didn’t even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all! Therefore there’s no knowing whom we are even talking about. 
In fact it’s better that we don’t say any more about him.

Rebekah Simcox Reads “I’m the Most Wonderful Person I Know” by Jack Perlutzky

I’m the Most Wonderful Person I Know
    -Jack Perlutzky

I’m the singular most wonderful person I know,
I’m witty. I’m charming, I’m smart,
I’m often so brilliant I actually glow.
I’m a genius in music and art.

I’m super. I’m splendid, I’m stunning, I’m strong,
I’m handsome, I’m dashing. I’m bold,
I know all the answers, it’s rare that I’m wrong,
I’m an absolute joy to behold.
I’m strikingly handsome, I’m thoroughly grand.
I’m uncategorically clever,
there’s only one thing that I can’t understand-
why nobody likes me. . . not ever!

Claire Terveer Reads “Stanza” by Tomás Q. Morín

    -Tomás Q. Morín

Because in medieval Italian it meant “room”
I tied the curtains at their elbows with
what could have been honor cords or worse
yet, a belt from the 60s, so hideous were the
tassels that were dancing a little tarantella
after I had propped the windows and the wind
had carried in the song the rubbing trees
were making, without any accompaniment,
mind you, from a tambourine, although the bells
of   the occasional sleigh played that part,
while I waited for the vixen and their shameless
yelping to follow the music and the cold
and the night inside where I sat half man,
half snow, to investigate my squeaking
pencil and the flapping of the bird-white page
I couldn’t seem to catch in those years when I
lugged around a frozen heart and was infatuated
with whiteness, since I had read somewhere it was
the absence of color, which could not be true
since I had once loved a pure white duck with
a white bill and feet and I had even torn its white
flesh with my teeth that were still then white,
which should have been all the proof anyone needed
to debunk our outdated theories of absence.