FROM LIVERPOOL - EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2008 ___________________________________________________________________________

Guest Editor - Dan Masterson


William Heyen

I'd entered gates & seen spires,
   walked Magdalen Bridge & looked down
      into marshes of historical emotion.
I slept as guest at Saint Peter's
where I wrote postcards & shivered.
   The insult struck me on High Street
      where, in a musty shop, I'd bought
a deathbed edition of Walt's Leaves,

From The Beautiful Daughter

Introduction by Jim Bennett

Hello.  Welcome to CITN 28. In this edition we present the work of an outstanding poet from the USA - William Heyen.

For this edition and for the next the next five issues Dan Masterson will be sitting in as guest editor, and making what I am sure will be shrewd and insightful comments on the poets and poetry presented.  In addition to his academic work Dan runs a professional critiquing service which many poets both new and established have benefited from over the years.  I have no reservations in recommending it.  Details can be found at Dan's website  -

Poetry Kit Magazine, this is a webzine which appears on the Poetry Kit site which can be found at -
http://www.poetrykit.org/  We are seeking submissions of poetry, reviews, essays, articles and illustrations for that magazine.  When submitting please ensure that the magazine title to which you are submitting is clearly marked in the subject line of any emails.

There are already over 2000 subscribers to CITN which is an email magazine so to keep this number growing please pass it on to your friends.

You can join the CITN  at -
http://pk-poetry-list.port5.com/  and following the links for Caught in the Net.




2a - THE HOST: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (Time Being Books, 1994)
2b - CRAZY HORSE IN STILLNESS (BOA Editions, 1996)
2c- THE ROPE (Mammoth Books, 2004)
2d- SHOAH TRAIN (Etruscan Press, 2004)
2e- THE CONFESSIONS OF DOC WILLIAMS (Etruscan Press in 2006)
4 - Afterword

You can purchase these books on-line through Amazon at Poetry Kit's Bookshop -



Commentary by Dan Masterson, Guest Editor

There are the razzle-dazzle poets we see scurrying about the marketplace where marquees blink their names, and then there are the quiet ones who dedicate themselves to working their craft away from the clutter and clamor, where only dappled sunlight and evening starlight flicker across their book-lined walls. This month's poet, William Heyen, far more monastic than monarchic, might  well be tracked, if we were to involve ourselves in such matters, to the kin of John Donne and Robinson Jeffers, for there is a gentle spirituality and fierceness of spirit in the man. And the interior life of Wei Ying-wu (c. 737-792) comes to mind:

"It's snowing on Stone-Gate Mountain. We leave no tracks. Pine Valley's icy mists are thick with incense fragrance, and in the courtyard, cold birds descend on scraps of food. A tattered robe hangs in a tree. The old monk's gone now."

Toward the end of the twentieth century, Heyen wrote:

"Their light reached down the water
to a dark flame, a fish: it hovered
under the pads, the ponds held it
in its dim depths as though in amber."

It was W.S. Merwin, another of the more cloistered poets, who wrote: "The urgency and authenticity of William Heyen's voice are unmistakable, and the plain directness with which he presents his sense of the beauty of existence and the menace that overhangs it, and our share in them both. He speaks for the conscience of our time, and for what in our days is worth caring for."

In the twenty-five poems that follow, chosen by the poet himself, we are given a glimpse of what poetry can become when created by candlelight rather than klieg light. Ying-wu was correct: we leave no tracks, in snow or not. But these poems will. There is no "tattered robe" hanging in a tree; it covers the monk's shoulders as he writes on.

2a - THE HOST: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (Time Being Books, 1994)

The Return

/ will touch things and things and no more thoughts.
Robinson Jeffers

My boat slowed on the still water,
stopped in a thatch of lilies.
The moon leaned over the white lilies.
I waited for a sign, and stared
at the hooded water. On the far shore
brush broke, a deer broke cover.
I waited for a sign, and waited.
The moon lit the lilies to candles.
Their light reached down the water
to a dark flame, a fish: it hovered
under the pads, the pond held it
in its dim depths as though in amber.
Green, still, balanced in its own life,
breathing small breaths of light, this
was the world's oldest wonder, the arrow
of thought, the branch that all words break
against, the deep fire, the pure poise of an
object, the pond's presence, the pike.


Maybe you've noticed that around here
red-winged blackbirds aren't rare,
but aren't seen often, either, and then, at distance,
banking away from roads as we pass.
But one morning, I saw a hundred,
more, feeding on seed I'd scattered
under a line of pines planted
more than a hundred years before.
Almost at rest, their feathers folded close,
only yellow wingbars
break their black bodies. But when, as they did,
all at once, they lifted, that red . . .
I've tried for a long time, and maybe should,
to tell you how the disembodied redwings
flared and vanished.
I've lost them in every telling.
So much for me. I could die now, anyway.
Could you? We will close our eyes
and rest, in case the blackbirds, in slow motion,
assume again the flames they are, and rise.


Poem Touching the Gestapo

Behind the apparently iron front of Teutonic organization, there
was a sort of willed chaos.
Edward Crankshaw
The system of administration [at Auschwitz] was completely
without logic. It was stupefying to see how little the orders
which followed one another had in common. This was only
partly due to negligence.
Olga Lengyel
You now, you in the next century, and the next,
hear what you'll almost remember,
see into photos where he still stands, Himmler;
whose round and puffy face concealed visions,
cortege of the condemned winding toward Birkenau,
and how to preserve Jews' heads in hermetically sealed tins,
der Ritter, knight, treuer Heinrich,
visions of death's head returning in Reich's light,
the Aryan skull ascending the misformed skull of the beast,
the Jew, Gypsy, lunatic, Slav, syphilitic, homosexual,
ravens and wolves, the Blood Flag, composer Wagner
whose heart went out to frogs, who, like Martin Luther,
wanted to drive Jews "like mad dogs out of the land,"
Heydrich dead but given Lidice,
Mengele injecting dye into Jewish eyes —
1st das die deutsche Kultur? —
this vomit at last this last
cleansing and an end to it,
if it is possible, if I will it now,
Lebensborn stud farms, Rassenschande, Protocols of
the Elders of Zion, SS dancing in nuns' clothes,
Otto Ohlendorf, who left his Berlin desk to command
Einsatsgruppe D and roam the East killing
one million undesirables in less than two years' time
lamenting the mental strain on his men,
the stench of inadequate graves,
corpses that fouled themselves in the gas vans,
graves rupturing, backs, backs of heads, limbs
above ground as they are here, if I will it now,
the day-in, day-out shootings of Jews, some attractive,
brave, even intelligent, but to be dealt with
in strict military order, not like at Treblinka where
gas chambers were too small, and converted gas vans' engines
sometimes wouldn't start, the thousands already
packed into the showers for history,
their hands up so more would fit, and smaller children
thrown in at the space left at the top,
and we knew they were all dead, said Hoess of Auschwitz,
when the screaming stopped,
Endlosung, Edelweiss, Lebensraum, Musselen, Cyklon B,
"and his large blue eyes like stars," as Goebbels wrote,
and the Fuehrer's films of conspirators on meathooks,
we cannot keep it all, an end to it,
visions of loyal Heinrich, what engineer Grabe saw at Dubno,
he and two postmen allowed to watch, the vans arriving,
a father holding his boy and pointing to that sky,
explaining something, when the SS shouted and counted off
twenty more or less and pushed them behind the earth mound,
Stahlhelm, Horst Wessel, Goering in a toga at Karinhalle,
 redbeard Barbarossa rising,
that father and son, and the sister remembered by Grabe
as pointing to herself, slim girl with black hair,
and saying, "twenty-three years old,"
as Grabe behind the mound saw a tremendous grave,
the holy orders of the SS, Lorelei, the Reichstag fire,
Befehl ist Befehl, Anne Frank in Belsen, jackboots, Krupp,
bodies wedged together tightly on top of one another,
some still moving, lifting arms to show life,
the pit two-thirds full, maybe a thousand dead,
the German who did the shooting sitting at the edge,
his gun on his knees, and he's smoking a cigarette,
as more naked victims descend steps cut in the pit's clay,
clamber over the heads of those already dead there,
and lay themselves down. Grabe heard some speak
in low voice . . , listen . . .
before the shooting, the twitching, the spurting blood,
competition for the highest extermination counts,
flesh sometimes splashed on field reports,
seldom time even to save skulls with perfect teeth
for perfect paperweights,
his will be done, and kill them, something deeper dying,
but kill them, cognac and nightmares but kill them,
Eichmann's "units," the visions, the trenches
angled with ditches to drain off the human fat,
the twins and dwarfs, the dissidents aus Nacht und Nebel,
Professor Dr. Hans Kramer of the University of Munster
who stood on a platform to channel new arrivals —
gas chamber, forced labor, gas chamber — and later,
in special action, saw live women and children thrown into pits
and soaked with gasoline and set on fire —
Kramer, a doctor, who kept a diary filled with
"excellent lunch: tomato soup, half a hen with
potatoes and red cabbage, sweets and marvelous vanilla ice,"
while trains kept coming, families with
photograph albums falling out of the cars, the books
of the camps and prisons, the albums imprinting the air,
as here, we close our eyes, and the rain falling from photos
onto the earth, dried in the sun and raining again,
no way to them now but this way, willed chaos,
visions deeper in time than even the graves of the murdered
daughter who tells us her age,
in the round face of the man with glasses and weak chin,
Himmler, Geheime Staats Polizei, twisting his snake ring,
as now the millions approach, these trucks arriving with more,
these trains arriving with more, from Prinz Albrecht Strasse,
from the mental strain on Ohlendorf's men,
from the ravine at Babi Yar, from the future,
from the pond at Auschwitz and the clouds of ash,
from numberless mass graves where Xian prayer and Kaddish
now slow into undersong, O Deutschland, my soul, this soil
resettled forever here, remembered, poem touching the Gestapo,
the families, the children, the visions,
the visions . . .


The Candle

It would do me no good to travel to Auschwitz.
It would do the dead no good, nor anyone else any good.
It would do me no good to kneel there,
me nor anyone else alive or dead any good, any good at all.

I've heard that in one oven a votive candle
whispers its flame. When I close my eyes,
I can see and feel that candle, its pitch aura,
its tongues of pitch luminescence licking the oven's recesses.
A survivor, forty years later, crawled up into an oven and lay down.
What of his heart? Could it keep pumping its own pitch light
here where God's human darkness grew darkest?
Whoever you were, please grant me dispensation.
Rudolf Hess praised the efficiency of these ovens.
It would do me no good to travel to Auschwitz, to kneel or lie down.
It would do me or God or anyone else alive or dead,
or anyone else neither alive nor dead no good, no good at all.
The survivor did crawl back out of the oven.
He took his heart with him, didn't he not, it kept beating.
He left his heart in the oven, and it keeps beating, black-black,
black-black, the candle of the camps.
Eyes closed, staring up into this, eyebeams of pitch luminescence,
and the pulse of it, the heart, the candle — you and I,
haven't we not, have met him, the one who lay himself down there
where the Nazis had missed some, welcome, welcome home. . .
We have spoken the candle heart of the camps.
It does the dead no good, nor us any good, doesn't it not,
but it keeps, black-black, its watch of pitch light,
and will. Any good at all. Wouldn't we not? The candle.


When I was a boy,
I found a mutilated turtle
emerging from mud.
Something, when it was young,
had broken its shell
almost in half,
but the shell,
as though welded with glossy solder,
had mended;
something had chewed
its back legs to the joints,
but its stumps were hard.
How did you survive,
I asked it,
but it was mute, still half adream
from its winter sleep.
I spoke to it,
warmed it in my boy's hands,
but it boxed itself up. . . .
For some time
after her mastectomy,
weeks of hospital and chemotherapy,
my wife woke toward me
in slow spirals,
as though from ether,
unsure of where we were
or how we'd live
in our new matrix
of scar and fear.
But it was April, again.
In windows before us,
as we changed her dressings,
the days rained, and warmed.
One morning, I pressed my lips
to her chest until, at last,
she believed,
and opened up to me,
our answers so slow to come
that came.




The American Civil War

The blood & piss
& the lock of hair sent home
with a white rose, & gangrenous
suppurations, breeches filled with the dead's shit,
& the lock of Ramseur's hair Custer sent home
to his enemy's beloved wife who had just birthed
their first child,
a daughter,
a lock of hair & a white rose,
& Custer at Appomattox as Colonel Newhall sketched him,
"Custer of the golden locks, his broad sombrero
turned up from his bronzed face, crimson cravat floating
over his shoulders, gold galore
spangling his jacket sleeves,
a pistol in his boot,
gangling spurs on his heels, a ponderous Claymore
swinging at his side—a wild daredevil of a General,"
in front of thousands of blue-clad troops,
ordering his band to play
"Battle Hymn of the Republic,"
& then he sees General Robert E. Lee
stepping down the McLean House steps, majestic—
in one historian's words, "radiating a solemn grandeur
with his trim silver-white beard and noble stature,
immaculately garbed
in an untrimmed gray
full-dress uniform buttoned

to the throat, his ornaments a beautifully embroidered
red-and -yellow sash, gold spurs, gold-sheathed sword,
his hands encased in glowing white gauntlets"—
&, since this is
the American Civil War
preserved in annals of roses
 & dysentery & punctured lungs & brain-splattered
blinded faces & written in perfume on lavender-
scented billets-doux carried over the moonlit killing fields,
Custer, as General Grant
tips his shabby fedora
to salute Lee, & the rebel
raises his gray immaculate brim respectfully,
murmurs to his bandmaster that word, you know the word
above all, not death, not love, not flag, not futility,
not honor, not stupidity, not slavery,
not delusion, not beauty, not union
or secession, but one word
comprised of these & more, & the bandmaster signals,
that word's sound fills peaceful Virginia countryside,
 I wish I was  in Dixie: / Hoorah! hoorah! I In Dixieland
I'll take my stand,
To live and die in
Dixie . . .
& in these woods ravens glut themselves on viscera,
beetles roll balls of dung through caged hearts twined
with music & roses in the shattered starlight ecstasy
of Dixie where we take our stand,
to live & die
in Dixie. . .

The Steadying

Where we are, & at what speed: I know
we're spinning 14 miles a minute around the axis
of the earth; 1080 miles a minute in orbit
around our sun; 700 miles a second
straight out toward the constellation Virgo,
& now Custer is charging maybe a half-
mile a minute into an Indian village; but
from many eye-witnesses we know
Crazy Horse dismounted to fire his gun.
He steadied himself, & did not waste ammo. 
 Where we are, & at what speed: I saw
on display at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.,
the black boots & tophat Lincoln wore that night;
at Auschwitz, a pile of thousands of eyeglasses also
behind glass to slow their disintegration;
in a Toronto museum, ancient mummies, ditto;
in Waikiki, some glittering duds once worn by Elvis; but
from many eye-witnesses we know
Crazy Horse dismounted to fire his gun.
He steadied himself, & did not waste ammo.
Where we are, & at what speed: I remember,
in Montana, a tumbleweed striking the back of my knees;
when I was a boy, a flock of blackbirds & starlings
beating past Nesconset for the whole morning;
at Westminster Abbey, in the stone corner, a poet's rose
for just a second drinking a streak of snow;
cattlecars of redwoods vowelling to gotham in my dream; but
from many eye-witnesses we know
Crazy Horse dismounted to fire his gun.
He steadied himself, & did not waste ammo.



What did it signify, then, that as the 1200 men
of the 7th Cavalry Regiment set out
in a two-mile column from Fort Abraham Lincoln
in mists of that early May morning,
they beheld a mirage: themselves in the sky,
there they were, wavery but clear where
some had before seen sylvan landscapes,
or lakes, or huge fish that once swam here? . . .
But now the soldiers themselves were caravan,
but bodiless, each man or horse or wagon in a kind
of trance. Even when Custer halted the column,
they all moved in apparitional undulation,
staying but going, undetermined, willful, in spelled
passage so beautiful, so biblical,
but more: as though they'd been here before,
as though they'd be here forever; but, no, as though
the column in all that vast language of sky
had only marked time, for them, for synchrony,
as though that legend awaiting them,
already written, could, as it were, continue.


The Tooth

After the beheading, they found
the one gold tooth in Custer's mouth.
They propped open his jaws,
cut away his upper lip,
& looked into the tooth in firelight.
It was like a small television
tuned to the news, & a white man
in a white suit was already
stepping down onto the moon.
Desert Moths

Over the Vegas strip I see the clouds you saw,
Crazy Horse, black in a depth of blue so deep
you felt the world was eye—awake, asleep—
& saw you. Last evening, I & other gamblers
brushed through a thousand moths enraptured
by the pheromones of neon. At the huge cowboy,
one touched my lips & fell, then fluttered up again,
ecstatic in the midst of others. In this way
the dead still visit us as dust, as vision.



2c- THE ROPE (Mammoth Books, 2004)

The Beautiful Daughter

Skinhead leaned out of a truck, & spat.
   Oxford autumn, 1982. Sputum  on  my cheek.
      He & the driver laughed, & burned rubber.
I'm not even Asian, Hispanic, or black.
I'd entered gates & seen spires,
   walked Magdalen Bridge & looked down
      into marshes of historical emotion.
I slept as guest at Saint Peter's
where I wrote postcards & shivered.
   The insult struck me on High Street
      where, in a musty shop, I'd bought
a deathbed edition of Walt's Leaves,
from which, that evening at the festival,
   I read "Song of the Open Road."
      The book had been punctured
halfway through with an accidental
packing-crate spike, or maybe purposeful
   icepick, or I couldn't have afforded it.
      Four pounds for this transcendental bible—
if I'd bought a gun instead, I'd have killed
skinhead in a second.... (In Tom Brown at Oxford,
    Tom asks himself, "How was it he could not keep
        the spirit within him alive and warm?"—
for me, derisive laughter answered)...
The next morning at Pitt Rivers Museum
   I memorized a Blackfeet history of creation,
       charcoal & berry dyes on buffalo skin.
I appeared somewhere in its margins,
among cavalry & cannon, a white world's arrival
   & to come, circling the beautiful daughter,
      the earth, & ritual dance, & slaughter,
& the sun, & maize, & stars streaming....


A seventeen-year-old Onondaga County boy admitted that he
                & a younger friend
had been drinking, had jumped a fence at the village pond
                to attack a Mute Swan,
Obie, who met them to defend his nesting mate.
                The boys killed him, 
left his head on steps at the entrance of the police station.
                In court,
they confessed they'd tortured & stabbed Obie repeatedly,
                then broken his legs....
The swan's head lay at the station's entrance
                for several hours
before discovery that morning. During those hours, Obie's eyes,
                open or closed,
absorbed the last signals of starlight, & whatever birdcalls
                tinged their cells,
as dawn awakened this village once part of the Iroquois longhouse
                where two of our teenagers
climbed a fence to torture & decapitate a winged creature, then
                left its head here.


In my dream, my car is an aquarium.
I'm on the hood, prone, looking in,
wondering how I could ever drive again.
It's evening, my interior lit with tropical fish
& desire for a new life. I didn't know
 I was this tired. I place my forehead
against windshield, close my eyes, & wish
for you know what. In the beginning, friend,
each word was a dreaming plant or animal
until our traffic changed everything, but something
seems to be happening for the better, now,
if only it's not too late. I fall asleep
against this glass until I wake, a few
guppies & angels convulsing in the drying soul
of the world until our ecstasy, &/or our end.


She told me that during the Second World War
she'd found herself on a Pacific island.
One hot morning, walking forest patched out
by bombs and Seabee dozers, she came upon
the corpse of an enemy soldier. Apparently,
 some days before, after a near concussion,
he'd crawled from his hole, and died there.
Now, she tasted a fruit-sweet putrescence in summer air.
But what she needed to tell me, what needed her
to tell this story, what happened to her
was that the maggots swilling in the soldier's face
were golden, a beautiful browngold glistening.
When she saw them, her heart unclenched. She knew,
despite everything she'd witnessed, she could,
possibly, be happy again.

Blackbird Spring

Mid-morning, walking ocean shoreline,
I found a hundred blackbirds
frozen in ice,
only their heads protruding,
black eyes open,
gleaming, most of their sharp beaks still
scissoring in mid-whistle.
 Feeding, they'd been caught
 in sea-spray, must be—
all males, up north early,
scarlet epaulettes aflame
a few inches under. I chipped
one bird loose with a stone,
held it in gloved hands
 under the rising sun until,
until I realized, until I realized
nothing I hadn't known.
The tide retreated & would return.
Within the austere territories
these would have filled with belligerence
& song, spring had begun.


2d- SHOAH TRAIN (Etruscan Press, 2004)


The Annunciation

Munich's Odeonplatz,  August 2, 1914.
Stone lions stare out across the square.
In the crowd of thousands—
a photograph exists—
one young man appears in a state of ecstasy,
mouth agape, eyes wide
& slashed with light,
as though, in these moments, a divine destiny
were being revealed to him:
in Mein Kampf he'd write,
"Those hours appeared like redemption
from the troubling moods of my youth,
and I am not ashamed to say that,
overwhelmed by passionate enthusiasm,
I had fallen on my knees and thanked Heaven
out of my overflowing heart
for granting me the immense fortune
of being allowed to live in those times."...
We close our eyes: disembodied,
chorus of witness, we float down
into that photograph,
surround the one riven:
he falls to his knees: we know
what is next, & next:
we look up to heaven in supplication,
but know, now, we are helpless
in this roar of light.


Reports in Dresden, November 1944,
of mass murders of Jews in the East.
The troops had to be issued schnapps.
Some had committed suicide, some before
& some after their special actions.
 It's time now, isn't it, for us to drink?
One schnapps for this memory,
& one for this; one for you, one for poetry,
one for me, & so on.  Our nostrils detect anise,
our heads begin to drown in sweetness....
Tell me a story, a story of long before
when tresses swam in Germany's golden rivers
& heroes paused at the shore on their steeds
in legends before the slaughter of innocents.
We will forget. We will click glasses.

The Bear

Was alone, was carrying her bear with her.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her,
bear to counsel, comfort, & protect her.
Arrived with a thousand other children
given toys to keep them quiet.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her.
In the gas, her bear clawed free of her.
In the gas, her bear clawed free of her.
She held her bear as tightly as she could,
but in the gas her bear clawed free of her.
The mind & heart of her bear are wool.
The mind & heart of her bear are wool.
Its eyes black & shiny as tiny mirrors,
her bear is stuffed with wool.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her,
its eyes black & shiny as tiny mirrors,
its heart wool, its mind wool.
Was alone, was carrying her bear with her.

The Berries

Translucent red berries shine
from honeysuckle branches rising
above my windowsill.  I'm reading
of a camp commandant playing
cards with Jewish women
before sending them to the gas van.
I picture him just whiling away the time,
until it's time.
This spring again, everything is in memoriam,
berries are drops of lungblood
floating in the breath of one
who was and/or wasn't there with them,
their God.  One woman holds
a winning hand, we see her grimacing
up at him, at Him.  Everything
hovers in place.  I keep reading,
the commandant hears the distinctive rumbling
of the idling truck, & checks his watch.
He's enjoyed them, these women.  Schade, it's a pity
he'll need to break in new ones,
most of whom won't know the game or be
competent, in their own turn,
to shuffle, to deal.  He returns her smile.
He checks his watch again.


Another thick book of testimonies—
I  knew I could not remember them all.
It was as though the survivors
were moving past me in a line,
& I were choosing among them:
that way to oblivion, this way
into a poem with my rhythmic baton.
But this spring morning  a catbird sang
outside my door while I was reading,
while Rabbi Solomon H. remembered his son,
a nine-year-old who had,
Solomon tells us,
half the book of Psalms by heart.
When he was taken to be murdered,
he was saying the Psalms from memory.
Just before being gassed, the boy said,
"I am still going to pray to God.
Maybe at the last moment we will still be saved,'
& I looked up,
&, as catbirds will, this one
kept singing like crazy, its song
losing track of its beginning,
never the melodies of final meanings,
but going on as though nothing
within its own singing
could ever not remember



2e - THE CONFESSIONS OF DOC WILLIAMS (Etruscan Press in 2006)



The Tower

In England at the Tower,
I stood with others & heard
that we could see, if we looked closely,
bits of bone in certain outer walls—
persons had been hanged, or beheaded,
left to compost for years,
then their useful remains crushed
into a rich mortar....
This history transpired
hundreds of years before I stood there
decades ago. The guide said
you could see this better
when the sun shone, which wasn't often,
but as I stared at the wet walls,
white shards already seemed foretold
between my quatrains, here. Until then,
I didn't know what I felt, exactly,
if you know what I mean.
Memory fills the future with poetry.
Long live these watery walls of bone.

The Colony

I'm in darkness, 10th floor, Central Park West.
Streaks of city light on this page, bullion from El Dorado.
Chapman murdered Lennon next door. Widow Ono still lives there
across from her strawberry fields forever.
Almost midnight, rain gusting against my window.
Over there, lights come on, go off, shadowy figures appear,
vanish. In a few minutes, I remember, it will be spring. The whole city
seems to be weeping
for the English boy who sang love until love twisted
to kill him. On, off, the cells lit, then dark. Now, a single
chamber blooms red, awash with flowers, as though ants had dragged
millions of red petals through a tunnel.


The Streetcar: August 6, 1945
For several hours just after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima,
            a professional photographer,
Yoshito Matsushige, wandered the city, taking five pictures,
            not taking many others,
as when he walked up to & looked inside a streetcar jammed
            with dead passengers.
"They were all in normal positions," Yoshito said, "holding
            onto straps, sitting
"or standing still, just as they were before the bomb went off.
            Except that all
"leaned in the same direction—away from the blast. And all
            were burned black,
"a reddish black, and they were stiff." Yoshito put one foot
             up on the streetcar,
raised & focused his camera, fingered the shutter, but
            did not take the picture....
This streetcar with its stiff reddish-black & leaning passengers
            now travels our city,
stops & starts at crossings for our relentless traffic. Behind
            the dutiful driver,
no one is going shopping or visiting old parents or working figures
            on an abacus
or remembering a poem by an ancient master. We must not question
            or detain them, must not
stop this streetcar with our ideas in order to accept or understand,
            or to take their picture.


The New American Poetry

It is the poetry of the privileged class.
It inherits portfolios.
It was born in the Ivy League, & inbred there.
Its parents filled its homes with bubbling Bach, silver & crystal brightnesses
                for its surfaces.
It does not hear the cheap & natural music of the cow.
Its vases hold gold-stemmed roses, not ponds with logs
                from which turtles descend at our approach,
                                 neckfold leeches shining like black droplets of blood.
It swallows Paris & Athens, tracks its genes to the Armory Show.
It waits by parlor coffins, applies rouge to Poe & Beau Brummell.
Its father is Gertrude Stein, not Whitman, who despises it,
            though it will not admit it.
Old women with children do not live in it.
It does not harvest thought, or associate with farmers.
It does not serve in the army, or follow a story.
Inviolate, buttressed by its own skyhook aesthetics,
            it revels in skewed cubes,
                        elliptical appositions.
Ultramarine critics praise it, wash their hands of subject matter.
It is tar-baby minus the baby, minus the tar.
 Its city is not the city of pavement or taxis, business or bums.
It dwells on absence & illusion, mirrors refulgent flames.
Deer that browse beneath its branches starve.
Its emotions do not arise from sensible objects.
It passes rocks as though they were clouds.
It does not flood out its muskrats.
It sustains itself on paperweight petals.
It does not define, catalog, testify, or witness.
It holds models before the young of skilliul evasion,
            withering heartlessness.
It lifts only its own weight for exercise, does not body-block,
            or break up double plays,
                        or countenance scar tissue.
It flails in the foam, but has no body & cannot drown, or swim.
In his afterlife, Rimbaud smuggles it along infected rivers.


Slow Burn

Listening to David Bowie while
looking up outside my window red-
winged blackbirds streaking from beneath
as though hearing him   slow burn, slow burn
revealing spring
honeysuckle bursting clouds racing    slow

burn, burn   these vivid days since
September when the two towers when
arterial city & Townshend's guitar
the ears of our eyes redwings Bowie's
slow burn   marsh reeds swaying
blackbirds crying out warning flaring
do not forget never not forgetting
in this awe of ours black sheen & blood con­
gealed in dust & bone    slow   slow burn    burn


3 - Biography

William Heyen was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1940. He is Professor of English and Poet in Residence Emeritus at the State University of New York at Brockport, his undergraduate alma mater. A former Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Germany, he has won awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, Poetry magazine, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and other fellowships and awards.

He is the editor of American Poets in 1976 and The Generation of 2000: Contemporary American Poets and September 11 2001: American Writers Respond.

His work has appeared in over 300 periodicals including Poetry, American Poetry Review, New Yorker, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Ontario Review, and in over 200 anthologies.

His books include Pterodactyl Rose: Poems of Ecology, The Host: Selected Poems 1965-1990, Erika: Poems of the Holocaust and Ribbons: The Gulf War from Time Being Books; Pig Notes and Dumb Music: Prose on Poetry and Crazy Horse in Stillness, published by BOA Editions, Ltd., was awarded the 1997 National Small Press Book Award for Poetry; Shoah Train: Poems, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award, from Etruscan Press, and The Rope: Poems, The Hummingbird Corporation: Stories, and Home: Autobiographies, Etc. from MAMMOTH Books. Carnegie-Mellon University Press has recently released his first book, Depth of Field (LSU P, 1970) in its Classic Contemporaries Series.



4 - Afterword

email John Howard -
jjhoward99@yahoo.com  - if you would like to tell us what you think.

To have your work considered for inclusion in this series please send a
sample of five poems and a publishing history to

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine
is Poetry Kit Magazine, this is a webzine which appears on the Poetry Kit
site which can be found at -
http://www.poetrykit.org/    We are seeking
submissions of poetry, reviews, essays, articles and illustrations for that
magazine.  When submitting please ensure that the magazine title to which
you are submitting is clearly marked in the subject line of any emails.
As this is a new style CITN and we are hoping to attract a wider readership
this is posting is going out to everyone on Poetry Kit mailing lists even if
you have not subscribed to CITN.  All other editions will go to CITN
subscribers only.

There are already over 2000 subscribers to CITN which is an email magazine
so to keep this number growing please pass it on to your friends.