The Transcendental Friend




Chapter 12

Six Nuts of Crystal


And notably illustrated from the Contents of that Romane Urne preserved by Cardinall Farnesse, wherein besides great numbers of Gemmes with heads of Gods and Goddesses, were found an Ape of Agath, a Grasshopper, and Elephant of Ambre, a Crystall Ball, three glasses, two Spoones, and six Nuts of Crystall. And beyond the content of Urnes, in the Monument of Childerick the first, and fourth King from Pharamond, casually discovered three years past at Tournay, restoring unto the world much gold richly adorning his Sword, three hundred golden Bees, the bones and horshoe of his horse enterred with him, according to the barbarous magnificence of those dayes in their Sepulcrall Obsequies.


* * *


our lives including birdsong

robin audible in the mouth
to tongue, this delay cannot be made
up, the singing of spice and a chance
for my brightest red quite as red like
cherries for me the robin singing is
my presence when it does not respond to
extreme urgency or a color, the
brightest red it is almost isolated
against me and remembered the way a
tragic hero is silence (quiet the singing)
the robin is transmission and inexpressible
as a single but when a tree fills with
robins and singing is testified, they
sing experience, color, cherries the
materials triumph bravely, brightest

Jo Ann Wasserman


* * *


Four Poems

[Unorthodox & impractical              one not led]

Unorthodox & impractical              one not led

easily    and conceals my greed under

friendliness        I am a tiger wife

a tiger in each knee        like silent

pissed-off Kaufman         I am guilty

I am tragic        I must die        being

Ho Chi Min & Grocho Marx and also

Isadora Duncan


[Flying colors land      divide a place   You]

Flying colors land      divide a place   You

have this        I'll take it            swirl like a

target radar eye        I am a crowned bird

on a pointy nest        the monster next door

crowned bird on a pointed nest where

we're from two colors   two maps

dividing land   ugly lots

garden variety ones


[Exhaustion break through challenges]

Exhaustion break through challenges

it's a swirling sea then calm where

clashing rocks spell moist alarm

& life's absurd toad flaunts its nose

Nine for the bird-boat flags

Nine for the wand-raised hill

Nine for the stone steps crossed

I create you        still push hard


[Grow baby          grow a brain with curly]

Grow baby          grow a brain with curly

hair      blow a leaf         a leaf

shaped love      hold the swirling

life-lasso          draw pretty bubbles baby

(soft rabbit)                  the center is

light green        the tender part

is the newest part

Hoa Nguyen


* * *



Today, I see, your gaze is particularly forlorn,
and your hands particularly thin, embracing your knees.
Listen: far away, far away, on Lake Chad,
a refined giraffe is roaming.

His proportions are harmonious and his legs are long,
and a bewitching pattern adorns his skin;
nothing dares compare with it, save the moon,
fragmented and flowing on the liquid of broad lakes.

He juts out like the many-colored sails of ships,
and his gait is floating, like joyous birdflight.
I know this earth has seen many wonders
when at sunset he hides in a marble grotto.

I know the happy stories of secret lands,
about the dark maiden, about the passion of the young chief,
but you have breathed in the heavy mists for too long—
you will believe in nothing, except rain.

And how I would tell you about tropical orchards,
about elegant palms, about the scent of extraordinary grasses...
You're crying? Listen... far away, on Lake Chad,
a refined giraffe is roaming.

Nikolai Gumilev
(translated by Katharine Gilbert)





Issue No. 12 Copyright © 1999 The Transcendental Friend. All rights revert to the authors upon publication.