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photograph copyright 1996 Tim Clark Words From Under The Refrigerator
by Kate Holly-Clark

“Her dreams, she said, had lost their furious colors.”
--Leslie Ullman

And my dreams have lost their furious colors--
wild and unrestrained
they used to bloom technicolor in my sleep
vermilion clouds and cool green dreams
I used to sleep in meadows with brown Wyeth wheat
and white stark New England houses
I used to sleep in orange jungles
and the blue-that-blinds would
carry me to the endless silver white
of snow.

My dreams have lost their furious colors
and I walk down the streets
with my heels clicking gray on the
a dry whisper of a sound
and dream with wide dry eyes
of my chartreuse nights
in satin sheets
my velvet black rest
my swathes of red and yellow
across the night.


(To the member of the Sarajevo National Orchestra, a cellist, who sat on a
chair in front of a shelled bakery and played cello for 22 days for the 22 who
had died in the breadline when the bakery was shelled.)

For twenty-two days
for the twenty-two
who gave
their lives
standing in a line
for bread
for twenty-two tunes
and a city torn
with twenty-two hundred
years of hate
he sat and played
a rising chain
of music in the dark
with the clatter of
the Russian guns
in the air
as on other streetcorners
the breadlines broke
and for twenty-two
he played
and to a dying
a single cello


And the laughter
and the music
and the Guinness
serve to hide
the longing
for a fine soft evening
and a pint at the pub
and the green dream
that their fathers had
crumble to dust
and rotting potatoes
in their fingers
the soft voices
burring over
the work
that day
my sister’s boy
in trouble again
she’s too soft with him
and the clink of
the glass
and the
black beer
that whispers
can never forgive
the loss
of the green dream.

The Pickup

Your poetry reminds me of
emerson or
maybe thoreau,
he said for the third time
over his Red Hook bottle--
I like your work--I do
I might have been flattered,
had I not been reasonably sure
those were the
only poets
whose names he knew--

he was the third of three from the
next table far side of thirty
to try and make a pass at me.
I guess that’s what you get reading
poetry in a bar with a hot bass line
to keep the voice company
and given that my poetry
runs more to talk
of cigarettes
and thick ankles
and man’s inhumanity
to sheep
than self-reliance
I thought that Thoreau
would thoroughly disapprove
but something about it nonetheless
seemed to do it for these three
as they revisited past conquests
by attempting to conquer me.

The last move was the best
and the oldest one
put an arm around my shoulders
told me he would catch me later
not realizing it might take
a lion pit or two
who knew
exactly what he had in mind.

Taking Thoreau for my hero,
I thoroughly thought to myself
that self-reliance
and coffee and smoky bass poetry
earned me the right
to stand on my own two feet
and stamp on his.


(In Governor Bradford’s diaries of the Plymouth Plantation, a young indentured
Irish servant, Thomas Granger, was tried and convicted of intimate relations
with two horses, some goats, five sheep and a turkey.  He was hung for his

They would have herded them onto the lineup,
made sure the withers met the line--
picking out the fleece patterns
matched the police descriptions
you contended it wasn’t really wrong,
you were just looking for a piece of ass
that little filly flicking her tail at you--
you could hardly resist--
like any good Irishman when
they were flocking around,
asking for it, you gave in--
in the most revealing way--
you denied at first, but then you confessed--
it was the turkey who told
and got you in
this mess.

Biddy Mulligan’s Bar
Fall, 1997
Dedicated to Mike Murphy, owner, who forbade poetry at an open mike event on
the basis that it “wasn’t music”.

They should have had a sign--
after all, we’re not exactly musical
although I had not
in the usual poetical way
by dropping acid
on the stage,
frothing incoherently in
at the existance in the world
of pink drink umbrellas
or puking on his feet--
really mostly harmless
I thought--
but no dogs or poets allowed
in an irish hoot--
gonna start me an SPCP--
Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Poets--
sign out front--
Free Poet Manure--
and see that a load
turns up
most awkwardly
on the doorstep of
a certain Dover bar
that isn’t fond
of poetry.

Big Trucks and Motorcycles

My mother said
when tires are pumped
that far up
something else
is not.

The last nickel

Morning over the graveyard
fog twisting in a conspiratorial
dance of joy...I remember
his slow am voice
saying --he always flipped
one to me--
here’s a nickel, boy
must’ve had forty dollars
in change
that that last coin
my grandfather flipped me
got mixed in with
reluctant to part with any
lest that last wishful
bit of him
got spent
took me years until
I bundled up the lot  and
took it to the bank--
took me forever, though
to get over
my grandfather’s last nickel.

“So you set yourself up as a master of black magic and started teaching
people your evil spells?”

“Yes, but I needed the money!” “

    --from “THE SHADOW’ radio series, circa 1947.

No secret that the contract for your soul
always had something to do
with the current market value of gold
and how much you  think you are
worth and how long you think
you’ll linger on this earth
the weed of crime bears bitter
fruit but the toasted seeds
are a delicacy
and all those who
bow down and worship
can still reach their pockets
and twine the vines around
quite willingly.

Kate Holly-Clark is a Seacoast, NH native who regards herself more as a poet in comic's socks than a "serious artist". Kate is a storyteller, enthusiasic jewelry maker, tailor, harmonica player, craftsperson, reader, writer, and confirmed dilettante. She resides in Dover with her husband, two cats, and lots of stuff that will be useful someday in something, honest.



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