Guidelines



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Thursday, June 30, 2005

DEATH A HARD SELL

by Eve Rifkah

Would be volunteers
hold up hands in sign of cross
back away as the numbers
roll in across TV screens
in tiny print inside pages daily rag

Powers-that-be are concerned
seeking bodies to hold the line
have foothold in shifting sands.
History born in bloodspill
Cain to today
did god look away
jiggling dice in hand?
Are the suits bemused
the not-quite on the up and up
elected officials?

Would be volunteers
out of work classified
columns shrink each day
thinking most any employment better
than this scrabbling for temp and odd jobs
now turn away from jobs to die for

Eve Rifkah is the co-founder and artistic director of Poetry Oasis, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit poetry organization and editor of Diner: a journal of poetry. Poems and/or essays have appeared in The MacGuffin, 5 AM, Chaffin Journal, Porcupine Press, The Worcester Review, California Quarterly, ReDactions, Jabberwock Review, Southern New Hampshire Literary Journal and translated into Braille. Her chapbook At the Leprosarium won the 2003 Revelever chapbook contest. She received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College and lives with her husband, poet Michael Milligan.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

REMEMBER THE PLEDGE?

Ten Years After
The Million Man March

by Alicia Benjamin-Samuels


Hush and
raise your right hand.
“I (say your name) pledge to …”
love and never abuse and never
misuse the children for sexual pleasure.

Have you
told the pimps your
promise?
The little girls are
twitching and shaking from the
touch of satanic dogs who
like to lick the wild
sweet dreams of our
angels.


Alicia Benjamin-Samuels is a poet and performer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her family. Her poems have been published in London's X Magazine, Black Arts Quarterly, WarpLand, Philadelphia's Open City: A Journal of Community Arts and Culture, Yale University's Black Ivy, and Web zines: The Eintouist and SeeingBlack.com. Her poem “The Way of a Lover” was featured in Londonart.co.uk's 2005 Art of Love exhibit.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

LIBERAL HAIKU RANTING

by Michael Shaler


Political prose
arguments grow old and worn
yet new outrage comes

The solution is
liberal haiku ranting
still gotta speak out

George W. Bush
for sure lost in 2000
Supreme Court railroad

then 9/11
first the terrorists, then us
good-bye civil rights

war half-world away
new twist pre-emptive striking
for God death to them

outsource your career
health care too expensive
hope, Bush drops in polls

meanwhile way out west
moderate steroid hero
join gropenator

they say no actors
except Arnie and Ronnie
cyborg and bonzo

Kerry wins debates
too smart, can see both sides
Jesusland and Rove

W, again
now take off velvet gloves
nuke-lar strikes for all

Condi Rice at state
lack of WMD can't stop
many thousands dead

give tests & close schools
but save Florida brain dead
no cash for students

can't afford doctors
maybe see your pharmacist
if viagra, yes

in California
Arnold's found the enemy
teachers, nurses, us

invite minutemen
free style ranger on the border
no questions, just shoot

gasoline way high
death, Iraqi oil, three bucks
drive, buy, spend, party

Deep Throat hero told
some critical even now
truth telling not vogue

deny marriage rights
we must only procreate
can't really say why

desperate housewife
indeed, here we are all this
it's a free country


A former bilingual teacher in California public schools, Michael Shaler earned an MFA at San Francisco State. Currently at work on a novel, his fiction is forthcoming in The MacGuffin, and his nonfiction is forthcoming or has appeared in Elysian Fields Quarterly and The Dusty Shelf.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

THIS WILL BE A WAR POEM:

IN MEMORIAM, THE FLAGS NOT WAVING
by Britton Carducci



My family has let go
Of most of our traditions now.
But each Memorial Day,
We all still gather in my father's
Office, on Main Street , to watch the parade
Through the gold and maroon lettering
That says in arcs:
seciffo wal
nelyom & iccudrac

our place of prominence
in this small town.

Each year, there are fewer
Old men marching
With paper poppied lapels.
My town boasts one
WWI vet, riding in the back of
Cherry red 1958 Chevy Impala.
Which is funny to me,
Because he was bayoneted
40 years before the car was even born.
And this year, there are the lucky ones
Walking, waving, smiling
In worn-in boots and desert fatigues.

It's also funny to me that we,
My family, have chosen
This particular ritual
To keep alive.
We, the former Patriots,
Repulsed by our country and
Now suspicious, frightened almost;
Careful what we say--
We swallow our bile-flavored words,
From the yellow bumper-stickered masses
Who can't see past Fox News and
Michael Jackson anyway.

But inside the office
There is no talk of the administration today.
No talk of politics.

Today, we avoid
The war that
This day, this country, is saturated in.
We are all smiles.
We are careful to only steal
Glimpses of Nicolle's face
When taps is played--
And we note that her four-year old son
Is more interested in catching candy
Than ogling the tanks that barrel by.

This year, the mini-American flag
On a rough wooden stick
Hangs limp in the fist
Of her seven-year old daughter.
This year, no one is dressed
In red or white or blue.

And Brooke, the seven year old,
Is handing me the flag;
She is emptying her fist
So she can take my hand

And tell me that her Daddy
Would have liked
To see that old man
And the Impala.


Britton Carducci is a recent graduate of Rutgers University. She is an aspiring poet and fiction writer who is eternally rubbing balm into the rope burn on her palms. She is the winner of The Crucible's National Flash Fiction Contest and has been published in Objet D'art, the literary magazine of Rutgers College.

Friday, June 10, 2005

BY ANY OTHER NAME

by Truth Thomas

Latest Military Fatality Date: May 26, 2005
Total Fatalities since May 1, 2003: 1583
--Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count


Beware of
                   
                   parlor

generals
                   
                   who call

cheesewhiz
                   
                   brie

crackers
                   
                   hors d’oeuvres

war
                   
                   theater.


Truth Thomas is an emerging musician and poet from Washington, DC. Musically, Thomas incorporates a wide range of musical expression from the African Diaspora and beyond to form his own personal artistic expression. In his poetry, he strives to marry crafts of both "page and stage" in an introspective style that is lyrical, spiritual and political.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

THE FAN

by Charles Harvey

A majority of Emmett Till's family members said Thursday that they object to plans by the Justice Department to exhume his body in order to find clues to solve his brutal murder 50 years ago. . . . Till was 14-years-old when he left his home on Chicago's South Side to visit relatives in Mississippi on Aug. 21, 1955. His mother advised him about how to behave when interacting with white people because race relations there were a lot different than in Chicago. On August 24, Till and his cousin, Curtis Jones, went into the small town of Money, and stopped at Bryant's Grocery store to buy some candy. Some local boys dared Till to speak to Carolyn Bryant, the white store clerk. He allegedly whistled at the woman when he left the store. Four days later, Till's body was discovered in the Tallahatchie River, weighted down by a cotton gin fan tied around Till's neck with barbed wire. Two men, storeowner Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, were charged and acquitted of the murder. They bragged about the crime three months later in a Look magazine article.
-- Karen E. Pride, Chicago Defender May 6, 2005.

What y’all aim to find by
digging up his old bones?
Old old bones, old and innocent bones
Why y’all want to disturb him?
He ain’t with his bones.
He down here in the muck with me
and ain’t nobody trying to dig my rusty ass up.
His Mama, bless her heart, she got the bones
and that head that looked like a bad cabbage.
Thousands seen it in Chicago . Millions through Jet.
Where was my picture? I suffered.
I used to gleam prissy and howl
now mud bugs nest in my teeth.

I kept the good stuff off that boy—his spirit, his soul, his spleen
caressed it out of his naked body
The real Emmett sometimes he runs up the road to Money
gooses that white gal between her legs—boy still gots
that spunk in him.
Then he runs back to me for shelter.
Carolyn wakes up, rubs her thigh
goes back to sleep. 1955 was a long time ago
She wants to rest. I want to rest, and even Emmett.
You got the pictures. You won’t forget
Every now and agin some black boy still gets
drugged behind a car, still gets strung up in a tree
or the roof rafters of a county jail
They still make fans like me
heavy enough to drown boyish devilment.


Charles Harvey is a writer living in Houston Texas. "The Fan" is part of a collection of Poems he is working on tentatively titled The Toaster Speaks.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

PLIGHT OF THE LOST WORLDS

by Damien Blair


Turn up the funky music
those neighbours’ screams
are really annoying


Damien Blair lives and writes in Canada’s capital. He has been published here and there and is in control of Sorrowland Press www.kdme.ca.

Friday, June 03, 2005

SHELL SHOCK

by Scott Malby


In Eastern Oregon are there concentration camps?
I've never been there--in a concentration camp, I mean.
Where you're alive only as long as you think you are
and your mind prowls around its own razor wire.
Lately, I've dreamed of living in a small town
of mocking laughter where it rains ashes and I'm afraid.
Afraid of what I might do or become.


Scott Malby is a frequent contributor to journals worldwide.