Speechless the Magazine

 To render. Be rendered. Awestruck. Awesome.
A magazine of poetry and related arts straight from L.A.


In Memoriam


Anne Silver, 1951 – 2005



Anne Silver worked as a handwriting expert who testified in legal proceedings (what poet anywhere can claim a more novel vocation?), and ran the Moonday poetry reading series with her friend Alice Pero. They maintained a two-and-a-half year correspondence in poetry.


Anne's books include Bare Root: A Poet's Journey with  Breast Cancer (Terrapin Press, 2002) and Ark for One.


We've included here a portion of Lee Rossi's remarkable prose poem to Anne. Richard Garcia sent us a darkly funny poem of hers, one she'd sent him recently. Her fiancé Joel Warren gave us "Limitless," noting that this was her favorite. "Nothing," he wrote," could express her beauty better than her own words."


Speechless reprises the witty "Pantoum" we published a couple of issues back. Anne used the requirements of the form—each line repeated once in a prescribed pattern—to mock cliché utterances and exclamations, which are of, course, things that have been turned into clichés through repetition. The poem closes with a line we think Anne might like us to take at face value, even in the context of all that irony. The whole mad, dithering world—ya gotta love it. 


But the page closes with Cecilia Woloch's poem, written the day she heard of her death—that succint, fleet-footed, high flying tribute in the last line.


In lieu of flowers please send donations to www.breastcancer.org.

Some poets sing like angels, but this one gobbled up experience as if it were the last twist of her mortal coil. Who else ate so well in their poems? She burned like chaparral in a firestorm, the creosote of her imagination flaring at every ambient spark and ember. Some say she has already returned, hungry for more, a cappuccino-cheeked cherub, a prosciutto putto in the well-heeled suburbs of Rome. But I think she's graduated to the next level, and is looking out for those of us too word-struck to take much care of ourselves. They say it takes three confirmed miracles to make a saint. Every time I read one of her poems, I experience another miracle, of language, common as dirt, flowering into fruit which satisfies the deepest hunger.


 — Lee Rossi



It's a Stick-Up


Imagine you're held up,
a gun grinds its hollow dowel
into your spinal rack,
Now start handing over.
Hand over your rings for starts.
Watch, tobacco, Ben Franklins,
overcoat and loafers - hand them
over like a housewife on Hallowe'en
tosses Tootsie Rolls into a sack.
Now open a vein and drain
your river of red into the whiskey glass.
Crow bar your ribs, rip and hand over
whatever heart you have left
after this lifetime of love's petty crimes.
Now you're ready to hand over
your hands - those tools that had you
breaking into the wrong doors
your whole life - for livelihood,
for kisses, for dry crusts to gnaw,
and when you get to heaven or
wherever, don't be surprised
at the gatekeeper's bored expression:
everybody says they've just been robbed.


                                      — Anne Silver


(Poem courtesy of Richard Garcia)



Could I love the starlit sky
if I did not also love the sun
the reflection of the meadow in a horse's eye
the curve of my nose
even the sound of my own voice
though I have spoken with the spite of Esau
and wept because I had asked for too much?


How can I not love and thank the
Host of this entire universe?
I can't imagine not begging to stay
no matter when it's my time,
but when I must, I want to leave
blowing kisses off my fingertips
and using my last breath to say
I have loved it all.


                                      — Anne Silver


(from Bare Root: A Poet's Journey with Breast Cancer)


You got to love it,
For sure
it doesn’t get any better than this.

what’s that about?
It doesn’t get any better.
It’s like, you know, I mean.

What’s that about anyway?
It’s like, you know, I mean

Been there, done that!
forget about it.

Been there, done that.
No problem.
Forget about it.
You’re like amazing.

No problemo.
You go, girl.
You’re like amazing.

You go, girl.
That’s some great shit.
Dig where I’m coming from?

That’s some great shit.
dig where I’m coming from?
You gotta love it.

                          — Anne Silver

(Reprinted from the Summer 2004 issue of Speechless)

For Anne Silver

The kind of woman you'd say Hey, doll
and mean it.
Could have been a moll
in another life.
Could have been a gangster's wise-ass girl.
Could have been a star.
Could have been a spy.
Whispered me into a corner once
and crooned (of my ex-):
There is no cure.
Built like a sportscar.
her own life.
Made a garden
out of despair.
Could have loved anyone
and did.
Could have played baseball.
Played jacks as a kid.
Lit up a room with her mischievous grin.
Would have lit her own cigarettes
had she smoked.
Would have shown us all
had she lived.
who died at 3 a.m.
on a Thursday.
Silver, quick.

                          — Cecilia Woloch


Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach