October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007

Il principe ignoto
Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! Tu pure, o Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza
guardi le stelle
che tremano d'amore e di speranza...
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
che ti fa mia.

Voci di donne
Il nome suo nessun saprà...
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir!

Il principe ignoto

Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

* * *

The Prince
Nobody shall sleep!... Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess, in your cold room,
watch the stars, that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know... No!...No!...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...

The Chorus of women
No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.

The Prince
Vanish, o night! Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!

Adieu, Maestro...

THE SUNNYSIN by Felicia Florine Campbell

He could have been piloting a boat on the Oronoco, but he wasn't. He could have been guiding travelers through the Andes, but he wasn't. Instead, Floyd Atkins was a mailman, driving his tiny, white, red, and blue truck from mail post to mail post. People called him Sunny instead of Floyd because of his disposition.

Often he didn't feel sunny at all. Oh, he smiled and greeted his customers as always, laugh lines crinkling around his eyes and mouth, his pointy chin making him seem almost elfin, but the eyes themselves were haunted. For Floyd was pursued by a small host of human vampires who had gorged on his inner strength and financial resources until he felt that he was nothing but shell, that even his bones were becoming so light that he might rise into the air and be unable to get back down, or perhaps implode into a powdery mound. It might have made him feel better to know that, in Hindu terms, he was a very old soul, one who had been around the track, -- wheel, if you prefer-- many times, but, of course, he didn't know.

He knew that his dreams carried him to far off places. He seldom thought of his mail truck in terms of being a mail truck. Instead he drove a motorized three-wheel ricksha, careening about the streets of Karachi to the squeals of his passengers, or piloted a paddlewheeler along the Mosquito Coast. Sometimes he even lurched up the Silk Road, riding the lead camel, head bent against the dust and glare. Indeed, his dreams were always modest, never carrying him to the reaches of power or wealth, but to existences that would offer him peace and serenity, his adversaries only the elements which one endured but did not fight.

The dreams were hard fought, fading always as he entered his front yard, greeted only by the soughing of the huge cottonwood, looming solitary against the bright blue sky, itself an old soul, fiercely protected by its owner against all those who warned, "It's old and rotten, Sunny. You should really cut it down. It's gonna crush your house." Sometimes before he entered the house, he'd detour to the tree, and rest his forehead on the bark, pushing back his loneliness. Often when it stormed or the wind blew very hard, he would slip outside and whisper, "Hang in old friend. Just hang in." As though it heard him, it hung in except for the losses of a number of peripheral limbs, always when he wasn't home.

The big tree and the fireplace had been the main reasons that he had bought the rambling old house in the desert, twenty minutes outside of the city. He'd come home one day to find his oldest son sitting under a rose bush in the tract house that he had just purchased, saying, "Look Daddy, a tree." Earlier that day he had noticed that the house with the cottonwood was up for sale, purchased it and insisted on moving in before Christmas to Doralee's insistence that no one moved before Christmas. The house was too good for them, she shrilled and did all she could to destroy it for all of them.

In time the house enclosed a chaos as Doralee and the children, shrikes all, vented their daily discontent on one another while they waited for Sunny's return. He'd made a mistake when he married Doralee, but she had seemed like she needed taking care of and he had sort of drifted into it. Then the children came, three sons, and he made up his mind to endure for their sakes. After ten years of Doralee's drinking and abuse, he divorced her and proceded to raise the boys himself. A gentle man, he attempted to teach them to be honorable, generous men by watching his example. What they learned, of course, was how to rip the old sucker off. The more he bailed them out of trouble and squandered his meagre resources on their motorcycles and cars, the more they demanded. Their needs were his fault, they told him, for making them live in an expensive neighborhood.

Over the years, as the city had expanded, their country dwelling had been engulfed by a weathy neighborhood. Floyd bowed his head and worked overtime, wondering where he had gone wrong. An honest person, he was a prime target for his children's lies, because no matter how much people lied to him, he just couldn't understand it. His work was his bond and he felt that a person who was dishonest was sick and needed help to get over it. His task in this incarnation was to learn to accept the existence of evil. He had to learn to stop saying to himself, "if I did something like that, I would feel really terrible."

The boys loathed one another with the intensity of Greek tragedians. While they often worked, they never had any money and were constantly at Sunny for handouts. When Nick, the youngest, finally moved out, Sunny sold the battered house, taking a tremendous financial beating. Making the buyers promise to care for the tree, he left, and almost wept when he drove past several weeks later to discover that they had cut it down.

He retired and bought a small house on the outskirts of town, vowing that none of his sons would ever spend the night. He had managed to save a sum large enough to let him travel around the world and he spent hours reading travel folders and planning for the trip of a lifetime. Sometimes he thought that he would never take the trip so that it would always be before him. Of course, he still traveled in his mind, his sweet expression deepening as he relaxed, free of the boys and free from the demands of the bureaucracy that he had served for so long. His cat, purring in his ear, provided all the company that he needed.

Of course Doug returned. Like a malicilous dust devil, he captured the serenity, the bright folders and the sunlit dreams of Sunny's new life, and whipped them in his vortex before spewing out their tattered remains. Definitely Doralee's child and completely ruthlessness, he pretended to have a good job that was starting in a few days. "Let me stay," he begged, "let me make up for being such a bad son in the past." He asked only for a few days, so that they could get to really know each. Sunny didn't want to let him in, but he felt guilty and told Doug that he could stay for a week.

Doug devoured everything in sight. Poor Sunny, believing that a parent always owed his children food, made reluctant trip after trip to the market, to feed the beast inhabiting his home. On the way home from one of these trips, he realized that something was wrong and shivered in the hot desert wind. His hands trembled on the steering wheel and he noticed that one of them sported a large liver spot that he hadn't noticed before.

Both the garage doors and the house door stood open. His inside cat stood uncertainly outside. Doug had looted the house. The few treasures that had survived the halocaust of his marriage were gone. His grandfather's gold watch, all of his wood working tools, his few paintings, even the recently acquired piano that he'd planned to learn to play during his retirement. The television and video-recorder were, of course, missing, as were the few remaining pieces of his mother's silverware. He opened his dresser to find that his carefully hoarded silver dollar collection was gone. Dazed, he walked slowly to car and lifted a single bottle from the six pack he had been bringing home. He sat on the step and drank, stroking the cat, fearing to look for his most prized possession, an exquisitely carved and painted, antique chess set that he had had kept in storage, safe from his family, until he'd moved here. When he'd seen Doug at the door he'd shoved it hurriedly under the couch.

To look at the chess set was to visit the India of the Moguls. The kings sat in hawdahs on prancing elephants, while the queens dressed in burning colors were worth fighting any battle for. The knights' faces were individualized. Even the pawns carried individual identities. It had taken him three years to pay for the set, which he had laid away at the gallery. Never had he regretted the purchase until now, when he suffered the agonizing pain of its possible loss.

Leaving the empty beer bottle on the step, he rose and walked through the house, stiffly kneeling to peer under the couch. Only one queen remained, peeping from behind its back leg. He held her, momentarily marvelling over her tiny sandle-clad feet peeping from beneath her cobalt blue sari. Her kohl-rimmed eyes looking over the silver veil held by one hand to cover her nose and her mouth accused. "See foolish man," she seemed to say, "you refused to see evil where it existed and made yourself a pawn of it. You have much to learn."

For a moment, he tried to convince himself that perhaps it had not been Doug, but he knew better. Setting the angry queen on the breakfast bar before him, he opened the telephone book to antique shops and began to telephone. The third one had purchased the set. "Of course, the value is tremendously decreased by not being complete. I'll probably break it up and sell the pieces individually," said the huckster's voice on the other end. "A nice young man sold it. Said he'd inherited it from his father who'd died, and he needed the money to bury him."

"He stole the set from me. I have the missing queen."

"Well sir, I'd be happy to buy that queen from you, or you can buy the set back for what I paid for it."

"It was stolen."

"You can't expect me to take the loss. The only way I have to return it is if you press charges against the thief; then I collect from my insurance."

Sonny hung up and turned the queen's back to him, so he wouldn't have to face her gaze. How could he condemn his own son to jail? Even if he did, they'd let him out and he'd come after him.

Somehow, Doug had missed the tummy television by Sonny's bed. Either that or he'd had a moment of humanity and decided to leave the old man some form of recreation. Sonny brought it out and put it on the breakfast bar, turning the queen's face toward the screen. "Here, you can watch Jewel in the Crown." He poured another beer, tossed a tv dinner into the oven and watched the rerun of the Indian soap unfold on PBS. He began his dinner as the show ended and another show began, a documentary about customs in India. He felt an immediate kinship with the man doing the talking, who was describing his mental struggle as he decided whether or not to become a sunnyasin.

A sunnyasin has himself declared legally dead, his possessions are disposed of, he makes what provisions he needs to make or wishes to make for his family and devotes the remainder of his life to meditation, to preparing for the next turn of the weel, or, perhaps to getting off the wheel. Free of worldly responsibilities and desire, he can devote himself to the important things: life and death.

"You just may have to go Queenie," he said to his carved companion.

He would become a sunnyasin.

He could have gone to India to sit by the Ganges and eat at the communal kitchen where twentieth century Indian sunnyasin eat, but he didn't. Instead, Floyd Atkins sold his house, got a post office box in another city for his pension checks, and bought a small self-contained motor home from which he could devote himself to the important things: life, death and meditation.

The little queen rode happily on his dashboard, while the cat curled in the passenger seat. Summers they spent in Sitka and winters in the desert. He was sunnyasin.

...Felicia Florine Campbell writes from Blue Diamond, Nevada. She teaches Literature and Asian Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


The miracle of the Grail - Lohengrin is chosen to be the protector of the king's daughter Elsa of Brabant. Wall painting by Wilhelm Hauschild.

The Lohengrin legend is the continuation of the Parzival legend.

As the son of Parzival, Lohengrin is predestined for the life of a Grail knight. Through the "miracle of the Grail", he is elected to protect Elsa, a king's daughter who is in danger. Elsa's father, the King of Brabant, died without leaving a male heir. When he was on his deathbed, everyone around him swore to be true to his daughter Elsa. However, Count Telramund does not accept Elsa as ruler after the death of the king, and maintains that he promised the king he would marry Elsa and become king himself. Suddenly Lohengrin appears in shining armour on a boat drawn by a silver swan. He defends Elsa's rights in a duel with Telramund and defeats his opponent.

The swan knight of the Holy Grail then marries the king's daughter Elsa. Before Lohengrin takes his beautiful wife home, he reminds her of the vow to which he is bound by the order of knights to which he belongs: "You must never ask me where I come from, Elsa", he warns, "never. If you break this vow, I will be lost to you forever!" When their two children are already growing up, Elsa's curiosity is however so great that she asks the fatal question. The swan which brought Lohengrin reappears and takes him back to the Grail castle, so that he can fulfil his vow to help noble people in need.

Lohengrin's arrival, tapestry painting by A. V. Heckel, 1880/81.

The Bridal Chorus...

Treulich geführt ziehet dahin,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr'!
Siegreicher Mut, Minnegewinn
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.
Streiter der Tugend, schreite voran!
Zierde der Jugend, schreite voran!
Rauschen des Festes seid nun entronnen,
Wonne des Herzens sei euch gewonnen!
Duftender Raum, zur Liebe geschmückt,
nehm' euch nun auf, dem Glanze entrückt.
Treulich geführt ziehet nun ein,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr'!
Siegreicher Mut, Minne so rein
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.

Faithfully guided, draw near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, the reward of love,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
Champion of virtue, proceed!
Jewel of youth, proceed!
Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
now takes you in, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guided, draw now near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love so pure,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!

THREE POEMS by Sara Dammann

Before This

I've scraped my legs bare,
scrubbed and sloughed off
all accumulations. For you—
to be petal nude.
I've risen from this tide-pool,
clean as I'll ever be.
You have taken me for granted
in my absence,
forgotten the stubborn muscles
holding shells closed.
Only precision, certain deftness,
and a sleight of hand can release
and open halves.
You will remember this—
in the oyster-light of the bedroom.
As pale as I am,
the blue threading of my life exposed,
deceptively delicate as most webbed things are,
but each connection attaches to another
never to be pried or rent from the rest,
and surprising— this resilience
trembling on a half-shell
always there.

For My Friend

From behind the counter, the old lady says,
"Honey, you just hold your head high and move on."
There is sympathy in her eyes, and an earthy practicality
as she adds up the 3 silver rings. They are charged
to the soon-to-be-ex-husband's credit card, and my
girlfriend is armed then with hands of her own
adornment. If it is true that love expands you,
makes you more than you were before, opens
you wide to this world. How do I explain the
pencil-sharp contraction, closing in her gut
like a pupil hit with too-bright light?
There is no comforting adage. There is no
amount of bloody-marys that can file
the fine point of a life that is over.
There are no disco songs at triumphant volume
as her soon-to-be-ex-husband hustles his
half of things out the door. There are pleas
and carrots for her little boy, and bone-tired
late night over-analysis, silly chick flicks,
and elaborate plots to get her laid. I tell her
that this is the in-between time that will make
later moments glow. And I can only promise her
that she will never have to stand with palms open
and naked hands again. Once her head
is properly aloft, she will not even see
the ground sprouting tender green shoots at her feet.

Last Call

Some day before your wedding,
you’ll tell your almost-wife
of some business here you must
tend to (she’ll believe you).
And I’ll open my door
to some stolen time.

We’ll go out to the bar
where they’ve forgotten
my name (but that’s okay).
Slow dance with beer in hand,
breathing in deep enough
to make molecules of you.

Later, we’ll kiss by the car,
tugging lips, pulling minutes.
I’ll always, you’ll always
be a question mark. Never
aligning, forever orbiting,
cul-de-sac, my heart.

...Sara Dammann writes from Denton, Texas. Danse Macabre welcomes her poetry to our pages.

TWO SONNETS by Robert David Michael Cerello

The Class of 1949, Hollywood

I knew the blithe days of their April's prime!
Eager, lithe, keen-ey'd, their young beauty
A glow infus'd, a core whose light should be
Admir'd by all...That was an honest time
(Seen in compares to this much-shadow'd Age);
Now, as they wither, as their vigor's lost,
I read dim suff'rings, frustrate years, the cost
(To them and us) of Good with Ill engag'd.
I sum their lives with my impartial hand;
And in the register of truths I know
The bitterness Injustice breeds, and more:
How they'd seen joy fade even as they'd star'd
On what appear'd a landscape vast and free--
Turn'd wildness where rude savage tribesmen
Their sentence grim: the death of Hope's bright

Lost Generations: Hollywood 1932-1994

When I was young, they were the golden youth
Of Hollywood's studios. But now they pass;
Each day we lose them; each day, the page I grasp
Speaks of great promise wasted, and the truth
Of their neglect by tsars who never car'd
That they were train'd minds, eager for justice'
To match their greatness with what others made
Of birth and skills and mind...How their art
Is matter for historians to sum.
What we've been depriv'd--this wound in our sick
Concerns us all. Our government--the same
(Incompetent, arrogant) caesardom
The movies knew--now misses what films lack'd,
As their lives miss'd it; and we who knew them
Curse black injustice: But who shall call lost

...Robert David Michael Cerello writes from San Diego, California.

THREE POEMS by William Thompson

The Redemption: Sunny Days

Today is my bright sunny day
from whence does my sunshine come
Is it from some shiney tiara
from a gambling ladys golden crown

But you are not the casino snowqueen
In Ontarios frozen tundra breeze
Youve always been an angel in the snow
Its your halo that brings my sunshine to me

her wooly hood is her tiara
Her royal gowns a pair of jeans
As she plays all the courtly jesters
Wink and say "god save the queen"

She accepts every offered token
from each jester she has found
And when she hits a jackpot
one lucky jester takes the snow queen home

Now she wasnt always this wild snowqueen
Whose laughter fills the gambling place
No once she was an ice princess
filled with style and filled with grace

Adminred throughout both Niagaras
Boys begged her just to share her kiss
She outshined the falls itself
The lovely maid of the rainbows mist

With childlike anticipation
she gave the winter its special glow
No snowqueen of the tundra gambling
was this lovely angel in the snow

Going to Japan

(I left on a Sunday, when I arrived it was almost Tuesday
--Where oh where did Monday Go?)

Silver Wings crossed over the dateline
High above blue waves and brine
Speeding somewhere with indifference
In this silly game that we call time

I didn't notice missing Monday
I missed not one single minute
Would have been just another day
Another lonely day without you in it

So I flew on to the Asian shores
Where I just bowed and made some funny grins
Cause I didn't understand barely a word
Then I flew back home again

Flying Home
Two Saturdays to home, too many days, and extra one to miss you

Getting Home
Ah! I know why I will miss Mondays from now on!

* * *

Its between me and ATT, If you don't mind

It is cheaper than therapy
its less expensive than pills
when I hear your voice
It damn near cures all my ills

doctors arent socialized in
our good ole US of A
whatever medicine we have to take
ole number one has to pay
The shrink cost two dollars a minute
Each pill three dollars or four
Your voice just costs pennies
But it is worth so very much more

Your voice makes breathing come easy
It brings my cholesterol down
Honey you calm all of my nerves
you make my heart beat strong

Hilary's health plans are contentious
the politicians cant seem to agree
But our national crisis would be solved
If everyone could just talk with Honee

Lucky me....oh deposit another....poem

...William Thompson writes from Las Vegas, Nevada. He teaches at UNLV.

EVA ZEISEL: Beset and Bewitched by History by Joyce Corbett

What do you say to a Living Legend? On meeting Eva: It is hard to connect this beautiful, frail person with the iconic Eva. She begins the conversation with her famous: “Now tell me about YOU!” I tell her about the planned large retrospective exhibition of her work at the Mingei Museum, the first on the West Coast. Eva is full of questions: about the Museum, what it will be like. After a tour of her studio she asks, “Do you want anything here for the exhibition? Just choose it!” Instead of my interviewing her, she has interviewed me! And she has offered us everything...what more can you ask? We like to tell our heroes how much we admire their work. When they ask “what about YOU?” there is a genuine one-on-one connection; and with Eva it is always straight from the heart!

Eva Polanyi Striker was born 1906 in Budapest Hungary, then a center of Central Europe’s diverse intellectual life, and a flowering of the arts and architecture. Eva’s extraordinary family included many dynamic women, all part of the intellectual avant-garde of the time. Eva was well educated in fine art, but chose her own path in becoming a potter. Certainly she would have been aware of traditional Hungarian folk pottery as well as the ideas of Walter Crane, who often visited Hungary promoting William Morris’ Craftsman movement.

Eva emerged as a genuine industrial designer with her work in Berlin in the late 1920’s at a time when the Bauhaus had revitalized European design. Her designs from this period still remain fine examples of “art deco” style. Eva’s adventurous journey to Russia, where she met with great success, was abruptly ended by official political paranoia. Fortunate to escape with her life, her friend Arthur Koestler later recounted her terrible experiences in “Darkness at Noon”.

Emigrating to the United States on the eve of World War II, Eva confidently entered the world of commercial design in New York. Her revolutionary all white dinner service for the Museum of Modern Art in 1942 put her on the map as an established designer.

Eva has always been an enthusiastic part of the artistic vanguard. For the more casual lifestyle of post World War II , she designed whimsical, colorful pottery forms. Just as easily, she could design formal tableware in the traditional European style Her “playful search for beauty” produced delightful bird-form table pieces, reminiscent of folk art. With her stamped patterns on stoneware, we see motifs reminiscent of ancient tribal symbols, also seen on Hungarian folk textiles.

From the 1980’s until the present, Eva has enjoyed a unique renaissance. Her work is as fresh and exciting as ever; and it is reaching a whole new generation of enthusiasts. Completing the full circle of her long life, she returned to the Lomonosov porcelain factory in Russia, designing elegant porcelain pieces. Similarly, her return to Hungary to work at the Zsolnay factory, utilized their trademark iridescent glazes for works of great beauty.

In San Diego in December: “I’m learning, I’m learning!” Her natural curiosity about everything is astonishing. Visitors paying homage to her at the exhibition opening were treated so graciously by Eva that each person was able to leave feeling renewed and uniquely validated. We are fortunate guests to be invited to share in Eva Zeisel’s table!

...Joyce Corbett writes from San Diego, California. She is Guest Curator of the Eva Zeisel exhibition at the Mingei International Museum, in whose Communique this article originally appeared.

Eva Zeisel: Extraordinary Designer at 100
opens at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles September 8 and runs through December 30.

THREE FURTHER POEMS by Elizabeth I. Riseden

Tonight, I think of Jonnie Belle,
transplant to Nevada.
My toes remember her, as her house soothed
feet with silk carpets. Miracle.
I of sandy floors knew nothing of Chinese splendor,
wrought over ages, lives, fingers---
gently pounding harmonies of color---
violent red, most subtle violet.

What I knew was I loved her son. No silk carpet, he,
bearded, trifocaled, ungainly in much
but humor, huge brain. My toes sought his.
I helped him clean his fridge, put up
with banana slugs in his dog’s dish in the rain,
then I tired.

I sought a magazine
cover man, so silly
was my definition of evolved, I forgot
toes in carpet, colors subtle enough
they massage being, regardless
that heels can’t dig in, must savor texture,
feel orgasmic, create
the Grail of feet.

Only Divinity figured worms to spin,
to die, said worms to elevate humanity one
toe at a time. Thus to propel evolution.

We need more silk carpet,
more Jonnie Belles.

A Short History of Mistakes

I sometimes forget names,
but not if I imagine connections.
Often lists become muddled
by store or item.
Yet, I haven’t set people
against one another, a cock fight junky.
Sometimes I fail to gasp at
a sunset’s beauty,
or the most delicate leaf
of a May tree
Yet I haven’t propelled children
into war for lies.
not presided over
bloodied limbs, fractured brains,
loss if dignity and personhood---
maiming for murky cause.
It’s true, I occasionally eat
to much. Gold Fish
& Chocolate Trufles
excite passions
with a martini or two, very dry.
Torture is not my stock
in trade. I never
found myself important
enough to throw weight
in an infection of righteousness.
I was born a citizen of a megalithic
power; thankfully that power,
to a lesser extent all the time,
still fails to save
from myself.


These thousand-seeming hands
of Canfield and Thirteen
my ritual
prayer wheel
send mantras into the silent
snow world
with each deal
poised to receive the future.

Child of my child
ritual spinning
my self sending
kisses for
my daughter’s swollen self.

come now
come to breathing,

...Elizabeth I. Riseden writes from Carson City, Nevada

"Fliegenschnauz' und Muckennas'
Mit euren Anverwandten,
Frosch im Laub und Grill' im Gras,
Ihr seid mir Musikanten!"

"Flysnout and Midgenose,
With all your kindred, too,
Treefrog and Meadow-grig.
True musicians, YOU!"

(After Goethe).


(as in, Ten)
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