Cyber Corpse 2
Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
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Books by Janine Canan available at (click on title for reviews and ordering info):

She Rises Like The Sun: Invocations Of The Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets, edited by Janine Canan

Janine Canan

When in France

When in France, put your elbows
on the table and order with heart, my Dear.
Look at all the lovely lively people
chatting over a kir.
When in France, sink your fork
into leeks dripping heaven.
As the waiter gazes into your third eye,
savor the flavor, and sigh.
When in France, indulge your beauty-
a small scarf, a silken vest,
some whirling gold earrings.
Your naked joie de vivre will suffice.
When in France, let your hair down,
bend eye to sparkling eye.
Let your feelings snap and soar
like a kite rising in the wind.
When in France, sing your desire
with your entire choir.
A mousse a l'amour
will send your coloratura even higher.
When in France, stay longer than you can-
lay your fortune on the wheel.
And let this incarnation sweeten
like a fat pink carnation.


Girls among the Ruins

Tonight in Teatro Marcello
two young Romans in long black dress
play flute and piano.
Past the massive stones of ancient apartments
the boulevard traffic courses.
A few capped columns stand at attention
as fluid sonatas permeate
the warm filthy air.
No longer required to serve tyrants,
the stones relievedly crumble-
as the girls gaily trill on.
Long brown hair cascades down one slim back,
a dark crop crowns the other,
as four bare arms
move among the moonless ruins.
In glaring spotlights
the audience listens, speechless.
Cars grumble louder and louder, but the flute
does not allow them to drown her out.
Leaning into her notes, she intones
deeper, charging the night
with her radiant will.


A Night in Rome

A beautiful young couple in white and black shirts,
at a white clothed table on the Piazza Navonna,
have asked the waiter to take their picture.
Pausing over creamy cannelloni, they smile
as countless forms of humanity parade
along the cobblestone square.
From somewhere, a tenor sings.
A horse-drawn carriage clops by-
to no particular destination.
The suave waiter in the smooth white jacket
presses a large brown long-lashed eye
against the lens, and clicks.
The silvery woman at a nearby table
needs no photo to recall the vivid instant-
only yesterday she too promenaded in magic.
The lamp of the sky is softly lit-
the lights of the piazza slowly come on.
The waiters, jovial, consoling, know
how brief is this delightful play.
Nor does the ancient city bother to scour
its darkening walls-soon, soon they will be rubble.
And the poet who takes this notation-
who knows how she will be cast
in the next entertainment.


Rama of the Himalayas

Gently the monsoon clouds
roll in from Bengali Bay
to Himalaya's snowy peaks.
A young yogi steps out of his cave
in the first faint light,
carrying his notebook and a long staff.
Waiting nearby, a silent bear
follows the tall dark-haired man
as he climbs through brilliant beds
of rhododendron, orchid and lily,
singing hymns to the Great Mother,
to the top of the white mountain.
To the pure sky he turns his gaze
in search of the One
who planted this magnificent world.


Snow Lotus

The young yogi contemplates
the wide blue snow lotus
half buried in snow between two rocks.
"Why are you here all alone?"
he asks. "Your beauty
ought to be adored.
Shouldn't you give yourself to someone
before your lovely blue petals
fall and return to dust?"
A cold breeze blows
and the Lotus shakes her head,
leaning forward: "You think I am lonely?
Here I am one with all.
I love these pure heights,
the shelter of the blue parasol above."
How he longs to pick this solitary flower
that reminds him of his own life.
"And if I crush your silken petals?"
"I will only be glad," the Lotus smiles.
"My fragrance will radiate everywhere
and the purpose of my life will be fulfilled."


The Mantra

"Why do you come?" asks the old swami
who sits under the ancient banyan.
"I wish a mantra," answers the youth.
"You will have to wait."
"But Swamiji, I need it now."
"Come back next year."
"How many days, then, must I wait?"
"As long as I require," the old one smiles.
And so the young seeker waits patiently.
On the fourth day the swami says:
"I have a mantra for you, but first
promise you will always remember it."
The youth bows deeply, surrendering his promise.
The swami leads him down to the river,
where he stands silent, eyes closed.
At last he says, "This is your mantra:
Wherever you are, whether behind bars
or in hell itself, always be cheerful.
Remember, my boy, cheerfulness
is of your own creation.
Always remember this mantra."


Brief Biography

She loved her dutiful father
and wanted, how she wanted
to love her dangerous mother.
Of course she loved the collie dog
and the buttermilk cat;
above all, the quiet night,
ancestors blinking their diamond eyes.
She didn't feel like an American,
nor did she feel (as one of her patients
later on) like a Martian.
She loved France, native America, the soul
of India where it all began.
She wondered about reincarnation.
Who was she?
Slightly hedonistic- a transcendent gimlet,
steamed mussels (fishermen slumped
in peaceful blue unison on the dock),
bread drenched in garlic,
and an intelligent waitress.
She liked for things not to be perfect
for then they became perfect.
Perfectionist, yes, a vast striving for That.
Was she a feminist? How not.
She adored, reveled, floundered, and soared
to eye-opening heights, pure Himalayas
of shakti, the divine feminine,
the Divine Mother, Her.
Who was she? Only time will tell.


Old Rose

When the rose was told
she looked young for her age,
she was not flattered.
Afterall, she wasn't blind- she knew
she no longer looked like a dewy bud
unscrolling fresh petals.
Was he dead to the rich ripe musk
now rising off petal after petal
that rolled like Persian carpet from her Source.


JANINE CANAN translated Star in My Forehead: Selected Poems by Else Lasker-Schuler. She edited the award-winning anthology She Rises like the Sun: Invocations of the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets, and more recently The Rhyme of the Aged Mariness: Last Poems of Lynn Lonidier. Her short story series, Journeys with Justine, her collected essays, Goddesses, Goddesses, and two new collections of her poetry, Changing Woman and In the Palace of Creation: Collected Works 1969-1999, are forthcoming. Dr. Canan, a graduate of Stanford and NYU School of Medicine, is also a psychiatrist. She resides in Sonoma, California.

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