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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MY LIFE WITH CESAR CHAVEZ IN THE HYATT REGENCY

by Lee Patton

on Cesar Chavez Day

When he slipped beside me
in the elevator’s glassed hush
we talked about grapes, what else?
Distressed that the latest boycott
was unknown back in my town, he vowed
to get the word out.  Now it was poisons
killing fieldworkers that ripened his protest--
what could I do but agree?  My whole life
had been adorned by bumper stickers
demanding BOYCOTT GRAPES--the Valley
a boiling California Judea, with Cesar
leading endless charges on the big growers’
money-picking Jerusalems in Fresno and Delano.
And now, here stood this tiny grandpa at my elbow--
it was like finding Marilyn Monroe picking
through the lettuce at Safeway.

The glass cage set us smack
into the Hyatt’s breakfast buffet,
so we passed among the gleaming trays
of grapes and cantaloupe and strawberry.
Not one diner voiced thanks for the safe,
tasty fruit that somebody’s mom
had to pluck in that fertile inferno
where it’s a hundred-ten in the shade
on harvest afternoons.  But I understood
that Cesar never expected gratitude from strangers.
He strolled, a free man, without commotion,
to deliver the keynote address to our union,
and as I left him at the podium, I thought,
when I get home, I’ll stay off grapes
and do my best to get our table manners
back in shape.


Lee Patton, a Denverite, writes fiction, poetry, drama and commentary.   Quarterlies that have published his work include The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. His second novel, Love and Genetic Weaponry:  The Beginner’s Guide, was launched from Alyson Books in May 2009.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PRIESTLY LITANY

by Rochelle Owens


When the world’s
most trusted deceptions
like a parasitic plant
its mouth parts opening closing
Oh song of green leaves and stems
its mouth parts closing opening
Oh song of moisture and tears
of mucus membranes and canker sores
Oh forgiving child of my animal soul
Oh bleeding child
of my effervescent blood
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb

Sweet deaf boys donkey boys
monkey girls
little lambs of the Unholy See
lambs of ME and MY body
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb

Oh hovering winged creatures
Behold the Lord’s Supper
under sacramental robes
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb

Oh grasping thirsty angels
angels of vengeance and repentance
angels of muteness and the Holy Secret
sweet deaf boys
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb

For the sake of my sorrowful passion
for the sake of my effervescent blood
for the sake of my spasm and orgasm
for the sake of my salt and vinegar
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb

For the sake of my ecstasy
and giggling rapture
for the sake of your Holy Rape
and sphincter muscle
for the sake of my Animal Soul
Oh forgiving child
Your blood is the blood of the Lamb


Rochelle Owens is the author of eighteen books of poetry and plays, the most recent of which are Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000) and Luca, Discourse on Life and Death (Junction Press, 2001). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

THE LOYAL OPPOSITION

by Anne G. Davies


Comments from suave Whip Boehner,
Designated GOP complainer
And his pal, squir’l-cheeked Mitch,
Apostle of the very rich.

“Despite our front not cracking,
And no amount of effort lacking
The health care bill made it;
We’ll work like hell to retrograde it.

Among the horrors this would create
Is a monstrous socialist state
Private enterprise, our Holiest Grail,
Will fold, should this law prevail.

Obama’s pushing all kinds of reform,
Opposition will be the Republican norm.
In fact, we reject his entire agenda
From basic concepts to minor addenda.

We can switch priorities in a minute
If Obama’s for it, we’re agin it
Our intent is simple: derail this president
The White House belongs to a Right-minded resident.”


Anne G. Davies is a fund-raising writer by profession and a writer and versifier by avocation. Her work has been published in local and regional papers. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

NEO-WILD SHOWTIME

by Bill Costley

Buffalo Bill & Annie Oakley’s ghosts
possess John McCain & Sarah Palin.

Surrounded by neoinjuns,
Buffalo Bill & Annie Oakley
shoot their way to neoFreedom,
cracking shots at illegals!

Today’s wild-wild-west show’s
restaged for our neo-wild times;
nobody hates government now
more than the tea-partiers who

dump government tea-bags into
the Grand Canyon. There they go,
floating down the roiling Colorado,
churning whitewater into brown foam!


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

EARTH HOUR

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote




Pledging allegiance to whatever flag
Unfurls hand over half-hearted salute
Chanting ‘tis of thee mantra
What’s in it for US

Praying to whatever deity listens
Carefully taught bent knees genuflect
Unspeakable truths higher authority censored
Shitty falsehoods purportedly don’t stink

Tired poor yearning wretchedly refused
Hungry left starving for recognition
Unheard voices pleading “save me”
Drowning cries for help ignored

Climate forecast by nature fickle
How to fake absent-minded proof
Unjustifiable excuses fail to convince
Ex-spurt séance authorities rewriting Fate

Famine drought avalanches volcanoes tornadoes
Hurricanes himicanes iticanes funneling grief
Unnatural disasters taking freakish toll
Floods mudslide tsunamis spilt overflow

Starbuck’s greenbacks Euro dollar doldrums
Uncommon cents penny ante poker
Global warming treaties passing gas
Heir-conditioned chasmal generation gap IOU’s


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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COLLARED QUEER

by Louie Crew


He could preach about his ghetto
     till his cracker bishop wept
guilt dollars into his parish coffers.

He could shout about city managers
     till his people marched
affirmative action
     through every municipal office.

He could narrate family history
     till his boy and girl
joyfully plodded through the books
     their grandparents had been denied.

He could presage his weariness
     till his wife calmed him
with her care.

But because he could share with no one
     the fact that he was queer,
he hitched a hose to his VW exhaust
     and quietly went to heaven.


Louie Crew, 73, an Alabama native, is an emeritus professor at Rutgers.  He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband of 36+ years.  As of today,  editors have published 1,970 of Crew's poems and essays. Crew has edited special issues of College English and Margins. He has written four poetry volumes Sunspots (Lotus Press, Detroit, 1976) Midnight Lessons (Samisdat, 1987), Lutibelle's Pew (Dragon Disks, 1990), and Queers! for Christ's Sake! (Dragon Disks, 2003). The University of Michigan collects Crew's papers.
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DAMMING THE RIVER OF TIME

by Robert M. Chute


In this issue of The New York Review
a picture of the Ku Klux Klan parading,
September, Nineteen  Twenty-six, filling
the avenue, capital dome for background,
lots of American flags were fluttering.
I was seven months old so don’t blame me.

Monday, March 22, Two Thousand-ten,
at the capital protesting the health reform bill,
men shouted “nigger” at a black congressman
and spat on another. Someone it seems
has dammed up the river of time again.
It’s harder to recognize the Klan in jeans
or leisure suits. The heart of their protest may
still be the color of their president’s skin.


Robert M. Chute's book of poetry based on scientific articles, Reading Nature, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

BEFORE THE VOTE

by Martha Deed


It is the day – another of the days –
a day of on-edge spectators spectating
at on-edge politicians and woe to the person
who cares
who is sick
who wonders what will happen if a job is lost
a child wheezes before being covered
an adult’s heart fails before age 65

For now, the safety net rescues the sick
only after the lungs are filled with water
muscles turned to mush
mashed potatoes become a gourmet dish
in an empty kitchen
and missed opportunities for lack of cash
for doctors and tests and medicines
have doomed the now sick tuna
to an early death caused
by economic neglect

the feminist cry:  each woman only one man away from welfare
replaced by an equal opportunity cry: each person only one illness away from destitution

and angry people who are among those
standing only one illness away from poverty
wave flags and teabags.  They are free of fear for their future health
more fearful of the shellgame inside the white domed building in the sun
than of their health while even those who are fearful for the future of their health
shudder at the shades and deals and gifts that twist integrity
into unseemly pragmatism 
status quo dangers of health care economics weighed
against status quo dangers of preserving one’s seat
no matter who’s in charge

As for me:
Only one thing to do:
sleep
eat right
avoid all vices
pray my ancestors’ DNA
will get me through this mess


Martha Deed watches world events pass by like boats on the Erie Canal.  Her 3rd chapbook, The Lost Shoe, was recently released by Naissance chapbooks. To see its video trailer click here.  Recent publications include: Poemeleon, The Helix, Dudley Review, Unlikelystories and many others.
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BUT I SAY, DE WOMAN IS SMARTER

by Louisa Calio


Dedicated to Carol Ann-Marie Cooke, a 41 year old woman who died from the flash flood April 27, 2005 near Somerton, St. James and all those who have lost their lives as a result of increased development, deforestation and destruction to Jamaica’s once pristine environment; as well as to all those men and women who are working hard to reclaim and preserve it.



de woman work hard every day
she carry de water on her head,
wash de clothes by the river bank
bring de water home for de children to bathe,
and de man say, you work good woman, but  I’m smarter.
Look here, I bring you de pump
and de woman she say, tanks.

In the land of wood and water
the water wheel made real headway.
Water began to flow for woman and man.


But de big boss come
and say, I bring you ‘lectricity today
and make de pump work faster,
but you must pay, pay, pay
and de  woman she say, you call this progress?
If you make de rate increase
I go back to carryin’ de water.

But he say, I make bigger progress now,
development now,
you come work for me
be a maid in de hotel
she say, I can’t afford to travel so far ‘way
and pay, pay, pay...
you development will wash me away!
goway...you build on de river bed
you build where you shouldn’t
soon de rains will come
cover me up and de river, she will reclaim herself.

But de big man say,
“woman, no way.  I  control de water,
I control de flow, I tell de water where to come and go,
how high and how low.
I know... Everyting.

And de woman, she know de water like herself
and she say, mahn, you must go with de flow, work with de nature.

But the big boss is stubborn
he refuse.
He say, what you know, you a woman.
I  rebuild de road, rebuild de house, hotel
if de rains come.

And the Spring rain came last April
as it always does
and the road filled up with water
and the hotel went under
and the mud slid down and covered the town
and the cars on the road could not go
and Carol Ann Cooke, on a mini bus coming
home from work got swept away.


and de women dey say,
you can rebuild the house, hotel, road
but who can rebuild the lives that were lost that day?

“So I say, and listen when I say de woman... is smarter!”


AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is not an attempt to write authentic Patois, but it is intended to offer the musical quality that makes Jamaican English a delight to the ear. The title is that of a Jamaican folk song.
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Louisa Calio is an award winning poet, performer, and photographer. Director of the Poets and Writers Piazza for Hofstra’s Italian Experience for the last 8 years, she was Winner of the 1978 Connecticut Commission of the Arts Award to individual Writers, the 1987 Women in Leadership Award, Barbara Jones and Taliesin prizes for Poetry, The New Voices Trinidad and Tobago, and most recently honored at Barnard College as a feminist who changed America. Founder of City Spirit Artists, New Haven, CT, she has spent a life time bringing arts to people of varied economic levels. Her writings have appeared in the anthologies I Name Myself Daughter, She is Everywhere, Italian Heart American Soul, dark mother, Shades of Black and White, More Sweet Lemons, as well as in journals and newspapers. She has traveled to East and West Africa, lived in the Caribbean and documented her journeys in photographs and the written word, recently completing an epic poem Journey to the Heart Waters which was also the title of an exhibition of photos and poems that opened at Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay in 2007.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

WHEN I HEAR THE FAT MAN ON THE RADIO

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


mocking the little boy who lost his mother
I hear Shiloh, Spain, Rwanda, the Congo
I hear the drums and the sticks and the midnight clicks
which signify that the time is nigh the time for coddling over the time for teachers, doctors, mothers, fathers to grab a machete and slice the long black ribbon that runs around the false center of our world the false center that was promulgated by the former masters of science the masters disgraced the masters of what used to be known as the human race the human race expressed in the voice that reeks of fat and success the human race that has a new face the face with its maw that opens yellow with the dawn, as yellow as fat around the heart a mouth that speaks in the language that ennobles the wealthy only, the language that is spat and farted and shat as sic transit gloria mundi, the language that shoots the buffalo for sport, the language that calls here, here to the harmless dodo, the language that has no word for come and a million for go, the language of fat triumph and fat the throne on which it sits, the language of the sun, the father, the holy spit


Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady County in upstate New York. Between storms, he writes poetry that has been published in New Verse News, Haggard and Halloo and The Kennesaw Review. His poetry has earned Honorable Mention in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (2007 and 2008), as well as The Mary C. Mohr and Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. In 2009, his poetry appeared in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. In 1990, Never Leave Nevada, which he wrote and directed and in which he co-starred, opened in Dramatic Competition at the US Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CARNIVORE

by David Chorlton


There’s no pretty way of killing a pig
which is why nobody shows you
how it’s done
from the squeal to the hook
where it hangs
when the life has drained out

and there’s no comfort for a calf
however it stands or folds
itself into the crate
where it spends its days in the dark
until somebody kicks
or laughs it to death. Nobody wants

to think about hens
strung up by their feet
shedding feathers and blood
when they eat. When they bite
into sandwiches nobody tastes

the bars of the cage
that an animal bit
when its jaw was all it could move,
but you see the plate in all
the commercials with gravy
and a glass of wine, never

the eye turning white
and too large
for its socket
as it rolls there like the loose change
you might leave as a tip.


David Chorlton lives with his wife, four cats, a dog, and some birds in central Phoenix, where he also organises a monthly poetry series at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater. After thirty-one years in the USA he continues to appreciate being an outsider, which sharpens vision and makes otherwise mundane observations meaningful. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appeared in 2009 from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

YOU CAN'T SWAT FLIES WITH A MONITOR

by John D Wilson


I love the smell of newsprint in the morning.
Picking up the paper from the sidewalk
Scanning the front page for the state of the world
This is how my day begins.

Now, add the smell of the coffee and my leather chair.
The crinkling sound my newspaper makes is the overture
To the symphony in which I will now revel.
The crescendo of the headlines, the tinkling of the comic page
Movement after movement of news and information
The mad cacophony of the opinion section
The infuriating melodies provided by the letters to the editors
Those same editors carefully considered thoughts
And, finally the obituaries
Where, thankfully, my name does not appear

Now my curiosity is sated, my fingers are covered in ink.
I thank Herr Gutenberg for his marvelous invention
And all that it has provided me.


John D Wilson, Long Beach Ca,  Novice, Retired Government employee and political organizer.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

SERVICE

a documentary poem
by Ian Demsky



Mamallo explained that he was previously
in the US Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq.

He stated that he had to kill an entire family
while he was there and now has significant
problems dealing with his actions in Iraq.

Mamallo said that he decided to help
the dead girl’s family because he thought
it would help him get over the guilt
he feels about his own actions.

He denied that he ever jumped over any walls
and said that he is always respectful
when he visits the cemetery.


Ian Demsky, a longtime investigative newspaper journalist, often draws from public records to help make visible what J.G. Ballard called the "invisible literatures" of our society.  He is enrolled in the MFA program at the University of Idaho.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

AWAKE

by Laura Rodley


Thank the Lord we have solved the crisis
all the missiles have been put
back in their tiny holsters,
all the grenades stuffed under
the pillows, pins put back in them.
We have put bread into the mouths
of starving babies, and seeds
into the ground to hold
the wolves at bay by growing
food and bought two sheep
to send to Africa, we have
bottled a distillation of
hope and drunk every drop.

We have cordoned off
an area and called it Spring.
Here Spring, come forth,
we say, show your greenery,
your wide-eyed sprigs,
be blue only in the morning
gay in the afternoon
and forgive the frogs
if they start singing a little early
the heat from our continuing
has woken them up.
It’s no longer a closed casket,
it’s an open casket ceremony
and the body has gotten
up and lives yet again.
Bring on the dancing girls
the accordions, the mouth organs
the flutes, swirl, dip and
swing your pen, breathe in
the damp dew of Spring’s shy beginning
her virgin breath like peppermints, her
slippers snowdrops by your doorway.
Even deer in the woods
are pulling buds off the trees
chewing bark to lick the sap
underneath, they leave tiny
notes in crevasses where the snow
has melted in a ring around the tree,
trust us they say, be silent, be silent
and then write the story, your story,
and keep everyone of us in it.

See my tiny cloven hoof,
it needs each of the other three
hooves to keep me leaping.
There, a dog, I must leave;
remember, write it down,
and take this, a scarf from my budding antlers
wear it around your neck
breathe in the cool breath of morning
just before the birds awake
before the pink fingers of dawn
caress your face, breathe in
the four leaf clover promise of green,
the nectar of coffee, aroma
we can smell from the woods
and check your tires when you
leave; they are your tracks
they tell us which way you’re headed.
And then if you must, close the door.
Come lay down with us in the woods,
make a snow angel, an imprint
in the snow to keep warm, and
when you get up, we can remember
you knelt there, right there, just before the sun
melts the snow all away.

And hold in your heart then this thin breathing
How we deer take in such little breaths
so quickly to bundle us through the snow
blast through the woods, keep this
thin breathing to hold you, this
thin breathing to hold the bark now
grown around the tree of you in
place for now you see you’ve grown
roots, you’re a tree, a maple, whose
body we lick to draw our sap, to
give us energy, to soar.
Here, let me lick you,
the sap is sweet and running,
Spring is here again,
I can taste it.





Laura Rodley's chapbook Rappelling Blue Light was nominated for a Mass Book Award. Nominated fora Pushcart Prize, her work has been in anthologies, Massachusetts Review and many others. On the advisory board of the Collected Poet Series, she works as a freelance writer and photographer.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

RED RIVER LULLABY

by David Feela



For water to solve anything
it must wash away every
trace of what went wrong.

Here.  Wash your face.
The river will crest tonight
and the world you know

will be sodden by morning.
Sleep if you can, the high road
still runs beside dreams.



David Feela's work has appeared in regional and national publications. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Free Press. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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THE BALLAD OF HEALTH CARE
BY THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS OF THE UNITED STATES

by Lynn Hoffman

musical accompaniment on the penny whistle

Little Marie has outgrown the braces
That allow her to walk and to play
There's no insurance for little Marie:
The dumb little kid was just born that way

Hey diddle your dee and whoop Dee doo
We're Republican senators all
Perhaps her church and the Tea Party Gang,
Will catch her if she should fall.

Tony's kidneys gave up the ghost
And his dialysis credit did too
Tony'll probably be dead in a week
Aren't you glad that he isn't you?

Keisha's meds cost a thousand a month
And she makes just a grand and a half
Could we lower the prices and give her a break?
We could, but don't make us laugh.

Jose got a cut while harvesting grapes
And he's now filled with fever and pus
We'll see him deported if he doesn't die first
We're so happy that he isn't us!

Way out here in our dark red states
We all hate the government doles
Except for the millions in farm subsidies
Which keep us in health at the polls

Hey diddle my middle and fa-la screw you
We're Republican senators all
Our friends in insurance are as pleased as can be
We know they'll remember next fall.

So bend yourself over and take a deep breath
We're about to give you the wood
And then we'll convince you that we're your best friends
And it's all for your very own good.

We've taken good care of the rich and the strong
We've done everything that we could
And now we'll convince you that we're your best friends
And it's all for your very own good.


Lynn Hoffman is the author of The Short Course in Beer and The New Short Course in Wine.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

FIRST CRUSH

by Barbara Eknoian


I am only nine-years-old,
when I feel my heart flutter
watching the tall, blond cowboy
on the screen at the Alvin.
I don't even know his name.
Every night, before I fall asleep,
I daydream about him.
I live out west and work
at the general store,
a stage coach stop.
I sell calico and ribbons
for granny dresses and bonnets.

I am fickle and soon forget
my movie star to fantasize
about Johnny, the boy in 4th grade
that all the girls like.
While watching TV, years later,
the actor looks familiar and I realize
my cowboy crush was Peter Graves.
I recall sweet musings,
when I wore a red pinafore,
my heart, a pitter-patter,
waiting for my handsome cowboy
to amble into the general store,
tip his hat, and say, "Howdy Ma'am."


Barbara Eknoian is the first recipient of the 2002 Jane Buel Bradley Poetry Chapbook Award for her chapbook, Jerkumstances published by Pearl Editions.  She is a long time member of Donna Hilbert's Poetry Workshop in Long Beach, CA.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

BANKRUPT ON SELLING

by Andrew Hilbert


they'll get the votes
when they get the votes
it's only a matter of time
until they get the votes
they'll soon realize, i hope
that it's too late
to argue over language
in a law
while kids already breathing
and playing
and laughing
and smiling
are told that mommy and daddy
are too poor to keep
any of them alive
and the country they pledge allegiance
to
refuses allegiance to them

they'll get the votes
when they get the votes
soon, i hope
some kids can't wait

kucinich will posture and make his stand
at the risk of ruining everything
stupak will posture and make his stand
at the risk of ruining everything
and maybe the country'll go bankrupt

from the way these assholes talk,
it already is.


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

STICKS & STONES WILL MAKE A WAR & NAMES WILL ALWAYS HURT ME

by Rasma Haidri


I can see them now
my children's grandchildren's children
their heads bowed over history books
(or screens or holograms or whatever
the state-of-the-art futurorama schoolroom will offer)
scoffing at what they read:
that a cartoon drawing started it all
first in a Danish newspaper
then copycatted in a Norwegian one
then again in a Swedish one
(nah nah boo boo
we'll draw Mohammed
as a pig or a dog or a bomb if we want to
freedom of speech, of the press
and you can't do us do-do)


They will shake their heads at us
the way we shook ours at our own grandparents
who did nothing to stop Hitler

Because when the offences grew
and men raged full fury in the streets
and curbed their cabs in protest
and swaddled their young in tripwire
and sent their priests to demand apology
the Swedish paper that printed the drawing
did not say Sorry
not even Sorry you can't take a joke
or Sorry you overreacted                      

No, no, no my great great great great grandchildren
it is true what your books say came next:
that in week 10 of 2010
ALL the newspapers of Sweden printed the drawings

They called it solidarity
the way the weak join the bully on the playground
to get in on being mean while the mean is getting good

America had already taken Iraq
and Afghanistan
and Pakistan
and even though Israel had not yet taken Iran
we were fighting each other in the streets
and fuelling the fire in our schools
with hijabs and skullcaps
and crucifixes on chains

You may well shake your heads over what you read
that we did nothing
as fear grew and festered all around
that it started with a cartoon
and the rest was history


Rasma Haidri is an American writer of South Asian and Norwegian descent who grew up in Tennessee, spent childhood summers in Manhattan, studied in Wisconsin and lived in France and Hawaii before settling down on the arctic coast of Norway where she currently lives with her daughter and domestic partner. Her poetry and essays have appeared in many literary journals including Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Kalliope, Fine Madness, Runes and Third Genre. In addition, her writing has been widely anthologized in collections from publishing houses such as Seal Press, Bayeux Arts, Pudding House, Marion Street Press, Bluechrome, Grayson Books, and Chicago Review Press. She co-authored the textbook International Focus (Gyldendal, 2007) for the Norwegian National Curriculum upper secondary course in international and cross-cultural English. Her most recent work appears in Not a Muse (Haven Books, 2009), Eating Her Wedding Dress (Ragged Sky Press, 2009) and Lavanderia (City Works Press, 2009). Among recognitions for her writing are the Southern Women Writers Association emerging writer award in creative non-fiction, the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters & Science poetry award, finalist in the Elinore Benedict Prize in Poetry and the Barry Hannah prize for fiction, and a fiction residency scholarship at Vermont Studio Center.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BP DEEPWATER BRAZIL DEAL

by Victor David Sandiego


We want to buy Brazil
and all the mealy peasants to forge our footprint
there – and in London, under a natty truce flag
spill cups of Caspian Sea on our trousers.

Barrels of elastic dollars roll out of the pipeline
to death knell the small boats, the smell of little fish people
bent in an exciting missionary position.

Crude oil sands the rough spots down when we fall
beneath the train wheels of yacht payments
or (God save the Queen) slip in a prolific basin
of muddy stock shares.


Victor David Sandiego divides his time between México and the Pacific Northwest. He was the winner of the 1st WordStorm Poetry Competition held on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a winner of the 2008 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize, and the winner of the 2009 Crab Creek Review poetry contest. His work has appeared in various journals, and he loves to read and play drums in poetry / music collaborative settings.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

AFTER WOUNDED KNEE

(A. M. A. 1945 – 1975)

by  Darla Biel

                                                “But what is denied actually does exist
                                                 And eventually comes to the surface.”
                                           
–Joy Harjo

Anna Mae Aquash, thirty, a Mi’kmag,
shot in the back of the head off State 73
outside Kadoka, South Dakota. A doctor unwrapped
your frozen body ten days after did not report
your wounded head or your ten missing teeth.
He said “death by exposure” and cut off your hands
to send for fingerprints. They dug a pauper’s grave
and buried you as a Jane Doe.
Eight days later, they brought you into the light
again and uncovered a .32 caliber bullet from your skull.
The one accused of shooting you
as you knelt to pray is thanking God today.
The federal charges have been dropped.
Annie Mae, if he's the one I pray that now you haunt him--
     his rape of you, your hair around his fist,
     the pleading in your voice never lets him rest.


Darla Biel is a poet who teaches at South Dakota State University and enjoys cross-artistic collaboration.  She was recently commissioned by Heartland Opera Troupe to write a libretto based on "The Trickster and the Troll" by Virginia Driving-Hawk Sneve and is completing a poetry manuscript titled "Sparkler Bomb."
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

INDOLENT SUN

by Michael Lee Johnson


In early March
an indolent sun
persists in tossing
volunteer rays of
soft flickering sun silk
through dark desolate
willow tree branches-
melting remnants
of snow diamond crystals
from weathered wooden planks
on my balcony.
I’m starting to think life
is an adjective exaggerated
by the sway of seasons.
It’s normal feeding time.
Below two floors
wild Canadian geese
wait impatiently
for the tossing of morning feed;
the silent sound they hear─
no dropping of the seed.


Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. His new poetry chapbook with pictures is From Which Place the Morning Rises, and he has a new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom. All of his books are now available on Amazon.com. Michael has been published in over 22 countries. He is also editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

TURD BLOSSOM

by John D Wilson


Poor, poor Karl
Ten years old, Nixon sticker on your bike
Little girl from down the street takes offense
JFK is her choice, fisticuffs ensue
Now we all must pay the price
For your long memory



John D Wilson, Long Beach Ca,  Novice, Retired Government employee and political organizer.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

JIHADJANE

by Anne Harding Woodworth


                “What do I remember about her? Nothing. Wasn’t nothing to remember.”
—Sheldon “Buddy” Barnum, one-time husband of jihadjane, Washington Post, March 11, 2010


To be remembered for nothing,
not for blond hair, not for blue eyes—
mediocrity she didn’t know the word for—

was intolerable, until in her teens
she thought she could be memorized
by whoever took her to bed.

She remembered well.
Why didn’t the others?
She remembered Buddy

and hated him and his dogs,
the stubble on his face,
the smell of his teeth,

how it was to be sixteen lying
next to a male body twice her age
who memorized nothing,

not even the Lord’s Prayer.

Now sleepless at night
she tries to figure out memory
and why it’s so mixed up

with saliva inside her mouth,
sweat in her fist, sperm
dripping between her legs,

and that dark, mysterious place
under her sternum
that aches and screams

and forces her to shout to the world,
I’m going to explode, to kill you
so that you remember me.

You will know the color of my eyes
through the slit in my niqab.
You will remember me, you bastard kafir.



Anne Harding Woodworth’s most recent books are Spare Parts, A Novella in Verse (Turning Point, 2008) and a chapbook, Up From the Root Cellar (Cervena Barva Press, 2008). Her poetry, book reviews, and essays have appeared in U.S. and Canadian journals, such as TriQuarterly, Rain Taxi, Cimarron Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Antigonish Review, and Poet Lore, as well as at several sites on line.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

THE COLOR OF BONE

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


Dreams are the fabric of countries
at war; patterned, sold to natives,
painted with oil, dipped in lye.  Colors
of egg shell,  ivory, or bone
outline skeletons, cloak history
only the buyers remember.

 Neither can sellers remember                          
 names of rock-piled countries;                         
 where, lying in dark history,
 in the mottled flesh of natives,
 they covered  the buried bones
of  ashen dreamers drawn to color.

Earthen, flesh tones, colors
of  mass graves remembered,
scattered  like gnawed chicken bones
in the stilled air of a sleeping country,
where dreamers weave history
warp and weft, in native

 looms.   Life belongs to natives
dreaming patterns of bold color,
in blanched landscapes; their history
witnessed and  remembered
by refugees  of a tortured country,
inked on charred flesh, and nibbled bones.

When bright red darkens, vivid colors
 disappear in manufactured history.
 Will there be one person to remember
 the fabric of a country,
who will gather its buried bones,
who will awaken its sleeping natives

from black tears and stupor?   Who will promise native
looms,  tribal customs,  and dreams colored
in  fetal flesh and  bone?
Who will print dreams from oral histories
of  dwellers in self- fashioned countries?
Who will stir others and remember?

I beg you:  Remember those forgotten natives
whose dreams for their country can never color                        
pieced history,  clothed in skins dyed the color of bone.


A workshop leader,  Lucille Gang Shulklapper writes fiction and poetry. Her work appears in many publications, as well as in four poetry chapbooks, What You Cannot Have, The Substance of Sunlight, Godd, It’s Not Hollywood, and In The Tunnel. Living up to traditional expectations led to work as a salesperson, model, realtor, teacher, and curriculum coordinator throughout schooling, marriage, children, and grandchildren.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

THE LAS VEGAS TUNNELS

by Millicent Borges Accardi




Black widow spiders
Abound in the wet darkness

Under Las Vegas
The unemployed and the addicted

Run schemes during the day light.
A credit hustle, picking up slot machine

Credits and found chips to buy food.
Their beds held just above the impending

Flash floods.  The ever-present damp cement,
A cool testament that they are not just camping out.

Plastic milk crates hold books and a special
Rigged shower made from a water dispenser

Echo this temporary life. Temporary, like Vegas itself.
Lucky some days, not so lucky other days.

Amid the gold and glitter, the city seems
To take more than it gives, everywhere are signs

Of impermanence, everyone here is a visitor of sorts
There are no natives, no real locals. Ever the tanned

Well-seasoned cocktail waitresses came from somewhere
Else. A good storm could flood the tunnels, caving into a roaring

River in a matter of seconds with rain.  Or, a roll of the dice
Could give the 700 underground residents another twenty years.


Millicent Borges Accardi is of Portuguese-American ancestry.  She has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the arts (NEA), the California Arts Council, the Barbara Deming Foundation(Money for Women), Jentel, and the Corporation of Yaddo.  Her work has appeared in over 50 literary publications including Nimrod, Tampa Review, New Letters and Wallace Stevens Journal as well as in Boomer Girls (Iowa Press) anthology.  She’s been a writer in residence at Yaddo, Jentel , Vermont Studio Center, Fundación Valparaíso in Mojacar, Spain and Milkwood in Cesky Krumlov, CZ.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

THE HOLE IN MY HEART IS SHAPED LIKE OUR COUNTRY

by Scot Siegel


When I reach for the fair-
trade chocolate bar

I cannot afford
something tugs from the periphery

and I am snagged by a reverie
with clear green eyes

and amber hair
She has an altruist’s smile

though she’s done nothing heroic
She’s just standing there

in the checkout line
working her way

through junior college
as evidenced by the yellow sticker

on the spine of Advanced Calculus ––
And when she asks me

ever so plainly
and without the pretense to which

we’ve grown wearily accustomed
in this age of exclusionary

tuition, no public option, & no jobs
for the newly-minted teachers among us:

Are you all right, Mr. Siegel?
––

All I can do is shrug. I have no answer
No credit history

I am self-employed


Scot Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and their two daughters. He serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford.  Siegel’s first book, Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), was selected as one of Oregon's 150 Outstanding Oregon Poetry Books. Pudding House released Siegel’s chapbook Untitled Country in 2009. Siegel edits the online poetry journal Untitled Country Review.
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

DANSE MACABRE

by Mary A. Turzillo


The sudden movement of tectonic plates that triggered the February 27th quake in central Chile shifted immense masses of rock a few meters closer to Earth’s core, tilting the planet’s axis a few centimeters and imperceptibly shortening the day.
--Science News, March 3, 2010

Earth, you hitched up your skirt,
and shaking your hot flashy flesh
triggered those big tremblor twitchings.

First number, a Haitian death-mereng:
two hundred thousand trampled
underneath your bloody heels.
.
But that didn't do it;
it took the second step, that cueca chilata,
a dance like the rhumba,
mimicking roosters and hens
hot to do bedroom flamencos,

to send your rotation arsy-turvy
tip you flat off your axis --
what were you drinking, señora?
That pisco sour a bit too fuerte?

Or that empanada,
served up on the Nazca plate,
maybe too picante:
made your gut rumble like planets colliding?

Ah, Earth, you tectonic hoofer:
you chose Chile
not just for its eponymous pepper,
but for its slogan:
Por la razón o la fuerza.
By reason or by force.

You made our day a beat shorter.
So impatient, my hot-blooded planet!
You just can't wait the full 24 hours:
for your end-of-day party.

Where next will you dance?


Mary A. Turzillo is a science fiction writer who has had a few poems on The New Verse News.   Her most recent poetry collection is Your Cat & Other Space Aliens (vanZeno, 2007).   Her collaboration with Marge Simon, The Dragon's Dictionary, will appear this April from Sam's Dot.
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Friday, March 05, 2010

I ONLY EAT ON FRIDAYS

by Ray Brown


50,000 people die of hunger each day.
A child, every 5 seconds.



Every 5 seconds,
as the world devours a McDonald’s french fry -
starvation consumes a child.

The path to this destination of death – contorted.

At first, pains of hunger turn to numbness
then tissue thin skin
clings to the skeleton, like a balloon out of air
falls amongst the netting on the circus floor
below the high wire of life….

In Costa Rica, 53 years old,
he trudges for the 40th consecutive year,
the 14,600th consecutive day to the refuse dump
where he fights with the other human scavengers – and the rats
for rotten, left over morsels to sustain his family.

When the garbage truck arrives, a rush like lemmings
or vermin avoiding the exterminator
to be the first - push to the front
when the dump body releases rotting, days old food.

Sheltered in a tin covered lean-to,
an anxious family awaits
having returned from a difficult walk
to the stream below
- where people
bathe, drink, urinate, defecate
and catch amoebic dysentery.


Upon his return, his pickings,
food scraps parceled out among family members
each - with their own day of the week to eat.

In the intervening days,
when the growls pull on the heartstrings of a mother -
when the cries can no longer be tolerated
she mixes clay with salt and water -
a paste more suitable for a child’s nursery school project,
and bakes dirt pies -
so the stomachs of her children feel full.     

On the beach at the resort -
with the white colored sand, the crystal blue waters,
under the green trimmed cabana
the ocean waves lullaby my afternoon’s end.
I invite an emaciated urchin to share
half a local unfinished sandwich,
one the restaurant’s garbage purveyor can do without.

I offer it up
encourage this thin replica of a human child
to pick it from the plate -
tears from the child’s eyes -
at first - I thought appreciation
but when he still resisted,
my inquiry answered:

“This is Thursday, and I only get to eat on Friday…

Friday is my day to eat…..”


Ray Brown lives in Frenchtown, NJ. His first collection of poems, I Have His Letters Still, will be published in June. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, his poetry has appeared in the 13th Annual Poetry Ink Chapbook, Moonstone Publishing, Philadelphia; The Star-Ledger of Newark; NJ Lawyer Magazine; and at PoetsSpeak.com. He received a NJ Poetry Society 2009 Recognition Award, and will be published in upcoming volumes of The Edison Literary Review, The Big Hammer, FreeXpresSion, The River Poets Journal, and The River. Three of his poems have been published by The New Verse News.
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

PROTESTING CHEVRON'S CRIMES

by Buff Whitman-Bradley
 
A cold wet December dawn
Bundled in our rain gear we sit blocking the driveway
That leads into the World Headquarters
Standing behind us is a phalanx of police in riot gear
Brandishing their batons
On the street just in front of us rush hour traffic roars past
Sirens scream bullhorns blare

Above the buildings across the street
A small flock of Canada geese is heading in our direction
As they approach I am able to hear them converse
In the primordial language of their kind
And when they are directly overhead
All else grows still all other sounds drop away
The streets the cops the cars evaporate
The offices and malls vanish
We ourselves evanesce into the honking of geese
And the gray morning light

Not far away now
Where the World Headquarters once stood
Seven wild geese descend through the icy drizzle
And come to rest on the cold waters
Of a small pond they have returned to for a thousand years


Buff Whitman-Bradley is a peace and social justice activist in Northern California. In addition to writing, he produces documentary videos and audios. With his wife Cynthia, he is co-producer/director of the award winning video Outside In, about people who visit prisoners on San Quentin's death row.
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

MIXED-UP MAXIM

by Kim Doyle


Stock Market prices rise and fall
and, surreal-ly, that's not all.
Lehman Brothers is gone, AIG is propped-up
failing.  Housing market bubble bursts
ignoring real estate profiteers wailing.
Billions become trillions so easy;
the Treasury must be run by someone weasle-y.
The Fed is on tricked-up meds,
its leader a seeming bottom feeder.

All these financial tools can't
be deciphered. But we citizens all aren't fools.
The same trouble still brews:
"He who has the gold rules."


Kim Doyle says, "This is my Big Bonus poem."
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

REVELATIONS

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

 
The guilt and shame for
Having barely managed to survive
Stab deeper than tormenting pain
Rusty blade decayed tissue gangrene

Gold frankincense myrrh Magi gifts
Moral parables unlucky thirteen apostles
Loaves miraculously become communion wine
Stale crumbs feeding unfledged squabs

Brut champagne bubbly effervescence flat
Bottled up decanter crystal stopper
Clear-cut glass refractive gazer prisms
Losing undiluted aromatic essence potency

Tearful artesian well stonily hardhearted
Sunken wishes rising to surface
Disgraced swans awkward ugly ducklings
Never learning how to swim

Mortals survive anything except death
Live down whatever save virtue
Unconvincing rooster eggs bullswhip justifications
Fearful humiliation sneaking up behind

Shaky existence shrieking boomerang horrors
Anguished echoes keep coming back
Taunting anima hurt deep inside
Unhealable scars festering crusty scabs


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Monday, March 01, 2010

CONSIDER THE SNOWFLAKE

by Jill J. Lange


Consider small six-pointed lace-star
of frozen water vapor--

Consider the magic
children watch for each autumn,
the white dots in crayon drawings of winter,
the cut-out icons on school windows.

Consider snowflakes as social entities
flocking together to fall heavy and deep
when they are ready.

Consider February,
snowfall recorded in 49 states.

Consider havoc in Washington, DC
and on most of the eastern coast,
double removal costs for municipalities
with already depleted budgets.

Consider the time, Vancouver, BC
winter games to postpone, nearly cancel
due to 47 degree temperatures,
snow banks melting faster
than truckloads of the precious cargo
can replace.

Consider snow catastrophes--
the willful act of God,
a wicked tantrum of Mother Nature.

Consider total neglect of a certain species
so self-involved it cannot see
the ripple results of a butterfly dying
on the other side of the world.

Consider the tea party members
who abhor Al Gore
and congratulate themselves
on, of course, being right.


Jill J. Lange, is an attorney, poet, and environmental activist. Her poems reflect her deep connection to the natural world and have appeared in The New Verse News previously.
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