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Friday, April 30, 2010

SYSTEMS OF EQUATIONS

by Isabel Wolfe-Frischman


But when you hear
of wars and rumors
of wars, do not
be troubled  Mark 13: 7

For example:
y = mx + b

b is the y intercept
Why intercept
An IED

Why intercept

y, where the x is
silent

Silent

when the x is
cancelled out,
when the viable
numbers are
negated

when x is my son
And x is less than
or not equal to
your son

When y = Join the Army
y is greater than
stay at home,
get food stamps

Don’t forget that
m is your slope
Start out at positive one:
down one, over one,
negative one,
Multiply this by
the number of land mines

Then graph;
Use your
rifle to draw a
straight line
in the personnel

Look for the point
that is definitely
in the middle of two lines

The generals can
change
the signs
Negative becomes positive

Make sure you do your homework
This will help you in your life


Isabel Wolfe-Frischman has been a tv writer and an actress (Isabel Wolfe) and has been writing poetry for about a year.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

ALL THAT WASN'T

by David Keefer


(But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make; when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day, and cry all, ‘We died at such a place.’)

I never really
Woke that day;
Tossed round in
The back of the track
We rolled through
All the checkpoints,
Were in and out at the
Magazine, broken lead
Seals pressed into boot prints
On the light green floor panels,
Out to the open autobahn out to
The wide open wild gap and then,
Lightly backed
Into the break in that tree line on the
Wooded hillside to stare off at the green
Rimmed horizon and wait for what end would
Be: secure in the hope that we should go first and
Perhaps the rest should never see the impending silence.

For all that martial
Balk and ballistic
Terror when the
Moment finally came
For all the world
To see,
It seemed that one
Could bring millions
To their knees, break
Thousands down to
Dust with but
A simple lie warped
Into true conviction.


David Keefer grew up in upstate NY in the town of Greece, located on Lake Ontario’s shore west of Rochester.  Having enlisted in the army as an infantryman in 1987 at 18, he served two years in Europe and in the Army national guard until 1995.  He was never deployed for combat during his service. Keefer received a BA in English from SUNY Geneseo where he studied with the resident poet, David Kelly.  He received his MA in English Lit from UMASS Boston in 1997. Keefer lives with his wife and Airedale in Wollaston, MA.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ARIZONA 2010

by David Chorlton


Arizona hasn’t been a state for long enough
to have traditions the way
older places do; Nuremberg for instance
where Lebkuchen has been made since
the late fourteenth century. Six hundred years
of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves
with citrus peel and flour and more spicy
ingredients baked at three hundred and twenty-five
degrees until they taste German. When Germans
come to Arizona they want to see the canyon
that is older than any confectionary
and ride along Route 66 just to say
they were there. Or if they travel south
it will be for Tombstone, where they’ll find
a celebration of being quick on the draw
and shooting straight, not knowing
anymore who is armed and who is not when they
stop to buy refreshments for the road
at a supermarket or, now it’s legal to carry
hidden weapons, who has a six gun
on his lap at the restaurant with a cold display
of pies that makes them gasp
although Europeans are more disturbed
by not being able to drink
a beer at the sidewalk table of a café
when there isn’t a fence
to contain the space. You’d think the scenery
was custom built from the way
it’s used attracting visitors with waves of yellow
brittlebush from March until the June heat
dries them out, and rocks so red they look
as if they’d fallen directly from the sun. We also
have the blue uniforms of police
empowered to stop and ask are you now
or have you ever been a Mexican? They never
ask how much you like Sedona.


David Chorlton has lived in Arizona for more than thirty years and loves the landscape, but laments that the state legislature has more thorns than the cactus.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RIM SHOT

by Matthew Quinn




Parchment and papyri
sealed in clay jars
are broken open
by a random rock
sailing into their cave.
Leather fragments
inscribed with Hebrew
and Aramaic reveal
when reassembled
Larry King’s first marriage
and divorce decree.


Matthew Quinn is a freelance writer, editor and genealogical researcher. He resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with his muse and a menagerie of disembodied voices.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

SECRETS

by Stephanie Lippitt

Mr. Hawking doesn’t believe in communicating
with extra-terrestrial life.
He’s issued a warning
against alien mailing or phoning;

and I’m quoting

“Such advanced aliens would
perhaps become nomads,
looking to conquer and colonize
whatever planets they can reach


But isn’t it odd
that such a scientific mind,
one that has vowed
to prove the impossible
and clarify the improbable,
would NOT want to
indulge his curiosity
and share a conversation
with our galaxy brethren?

Something is wrong here.

Hawking’s a little
too scared.

I think he’s hiding something,

something about himself
something that might explain why
the sciences of space
come so naturally…

I think Mr. Hawking is an Alien.

I think he’s on the lam.

They’re looking for him,
won’t stop till they find him,
and destroy him,
and obliterate
any planet he calls home.

Oh, Mr. Hawking,
what did you do?
Whom did you wrong?

Mr. Hawking,
we want to protect you,
we want to trust you,
but first,

you must reveal your secrets…


This poem brought to you by Stephanie Lippitt, a hyperactive creative writing and publishing student from Hofstra University who spends most of her free time taking photographs of people flipping her off. Oh yeah, she's worked for DC Comics too. No big deal or anything.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

TWO

by ayaz daryl nielsen


REFUGEE

Thunder across the valley.  Hands clinch
a stranger's walking stick. 
You have seen too much.  You forget
how it will be dying this alone.


DRUG LORD

Ever more distant from yourself,
you've made a decision:
Evil suits you.
It can't do everything from far away.

  
ayaz daryl nielsen is a poet/father/husband/veteran and a hospice nurse; he is editor/custodian of bear creek haiku.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

THE HARSH REALITY OF EARTH

by Andrew Hilbert


we can and have been robbed
in the theatre of the day
we can and have been bombed
in the theatre of the day

men without masks
gun toting business suits
do it to and for us
in our name

there are those who want to die
for what they believe
and there are those who want to kill
for their ideals

there has been nothing in my thoughts
that has given me a reason to kill
i've been robbed blind with eyes open
i've seen the bombs fall and looked the other way

some stand proud and yell
fists clenched
the means justify the ends

the means will take us
to the end

for all to see,
full of sound and fury
we will not die in our sleep
it always happens in the day


Andrew Hilbert lives and works in Orange County. He also edits Beggars & Cheeseburgers
magazine.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

FOR PHOEBE

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


When she walked home from school on January 14th
The girls drove by and called her names
Irish slut! Whore! Bitch! Cunt!
One of them threw a full can of Red Bull at her
Phoebe’s twelve year old sister found her hanging in the hall
How do I know these things?
I read the report
Phoebe’s mother washed her clothes
She held her daughter’s jeans and thought: She has such long legs
When did she get so tall?
At South Hadley High, where Phoebe went to school
There was a Winter Cotillion two days after Phoebe’s death, a dance that no one saw fit to cancel
A Student Assistance Counselor had written about the dance in the January school newsletter
She had written that
“…the excitement of New Year’s Eve is followed up by mere weeks by the major winter event which brings out the ADULT in all of our teens…They hit the dance floor with a vengeance! They are totally committed to having a fantastic time.”
Phoebe’s mother holds Phoebe in her hands
Phoebe’s mother passes Phoebe to her father
Phoebe’s sister isn’t tall enough to reach the rope around her neck
At South Hadley High School there are many clubs
There are The Cultural Exchange Club, which “promotes exchange and diversity…”
Irish slut!
The Leo Club, which is “a community service club focused on helping children…”
The can of Red Bull, full
The Peer Leaders Club, which “promotes civility and respect…”
After she died, the mocking of her on Facebook intensified
The Peace Club, which is “open to anyone who wants to learn about and advance the cause of peace, locally and globally.”
A good example of the peace they seek is that place in Ireland where they buried her
Phoebe’s mother reads that two of the girls charged in torturing her daughter made the high school Honors list
Phoebe’s family stands in the cold and looks back
Phoebe’s family holds the pair of jeans that collects knives in the wind off the Atlantic
In the February newsletter of South Hadley High School , someone wrote that
“We were shocked when we got to the field and saw how many people were there. We really didn’t think they had enough time to get the word out…We would also like to thank PILGRIM CANDLE COMPANY for donating 150 candles for this vigil.” (We thought that would be plenty. – WRONG).
I hold my daughter’s jeans
My daughter is one year younger than Phoebe, who was fifteen
Kyle W. is thanked in the February newsletter for
Volunteering to sing
“and what an outstanding job he did!”
In the March newsletter, we see:
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
3/22/10                6:30 – 8 p.m.                  Library
Task Force to Increase Civil and Ethical Behavior – Steering Committee Meeting
CANCELLED – SEE NEXT EVENT BELOW


Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady County in upstate New York. He has won Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (2007 and 2008), the Anna Davidson Rosenberg and the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Awards. His poetry has appeared online at New Verse News, Best Poem, The Kennesaw Review, and switched-on gutenberg. In 2009, his poetry was published in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. Swartz is a nominee for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. His film Never Leave Nevada opened in Dramatic Competition at the 1990 US Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

OH MOTHER, OUR MOTHER

by Mary Saracino


When the sun rises
and the moon sets
when the earth sings
and the sky sighs
will we remember
that clouds are kin to every human
that every woman, every man
is mother, father, sister, brother
to every bird that soars
every tree that welcomes the wind?
Oh Mother, Our Mother
when will we remember
we are aunt and uncle to every flower
every bee, every field of grain
grandmother, grandfather
to every river, every ocean, too
that water blesses each of us
and blood binds every living thing?
Oh Mother, Our Mother
when will we claim your rhythms as our own
heed the secrets in our DNA
one human race, one planet
one precious home, one sheltered haven
for every living creature, great and small?


Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Lafayette, CO . Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.
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SILENT HOMAGE

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


Where would you find forests
Without trees rivers without water
Car-less roads cities without buildings
Journey without maps inset key

Deforestation unbending dreamy conscious awareness
Before missed after it disappears
Small kingdoms vanishing into oblivion
Pockets full of seedpods emptied

Joshua trees thickly carpet Mojave
Yucca plants Promised Land lilies
Forty feet high-rise monumental towers
First to glimpse dewy sunrise

Hundreds of years hearty survivors
No growth rings to measure
Thriving sagebrush sepia dipped shades
Colorless palette hazel ochre beige

Close communion with universal spirit
No pretentious screams for attention
Poised silence bearing deep serenity
Natural perceptions seemingly permanent invincibility

Taller bigger older once commonplace
Axed for timber newsprint currency
Burnt sienna wasteland mute cries
Stark beauty buzz-saw blade damned


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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AN ALBATROSS AROUND OUR NECKS

by Charles Portolano


Our garbage travels far
across the ocean,
floating on the current
to the tiny atoll of Midway,
dead in the middle
of  the Pacific Ocean .
Our throw-away culture,
where everything
is disposable,
impacts the inhabitants,
killing many thousands
of albatross chicks
after they eat chunks
of our plastics that
they mistake for food
that we just toss
away without a worry
of where it might end up,
tossed away after
being used only once;
if only we could all
bear witness firsthand
those baby birds
flapping around,
gagging as they choke
to finally flop down dead
on the sandy beach
to quickly decompose
due to the heat,
the rain, and the insects,
thousands of dead birds
litter the beautiful beach,
their decomposed feathers
and the eaten plastics
are all that remains…                                        


Charles Portolano lives in Fountain Hills , AZ.   He started writing poetry 14 years ago to celebrate the birth of his daring, darling, daughter Valerie.  He wanted to preserve all the memories of the first time she walked, talked.  Valerie was born with many obstacles to overcome giving him much to write about.  Writing soon became his way of saving his sanity.  Valerie is doing great now; she is quite the young writer. This year he has been published in The Clark Street Review, Plato’s Tavern, Poetswest, Nomad’s Choir, Bellowing Ark, PKA’s Advocate, Pegasus, The Saturday Diner, The American Dissident, The Pink Chameleon, The Back Street Review, The Storyteller,  and Soundings Review.  He has a new collection of poetry out, Storytelling.

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NO EXIT

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya


Hell, frozen over, erupted
The world almost ended again
Fire and ice became ash and flood
and stranded us in Paris

It's one cold spring in Paris
New yellow leaves barely fan to green
Each patch of grass sprouts
oblivious kissing couples

SoCal's amber light, gauzy air trailed us
A volcano's lush black billow
Chased us to Paris, and when we landed
Word sifted down from on high:
We're stranded.


Author's note: Karen Greenbaum-Maya . . . was supposed to go home Tuesday.  She is typing this on q French keyboqrd.
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Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Claremont , California . In another life, she majored in German Lit so she could read poetry for credit, before making the seamless segue into psychology. Her poems and photos have appeared in O Tempora!, Superficial Flesh, Still Crazy, NewVerseNews, The Dirty Napkin, Umbrella Journal and Lilliput Review. A poem of hers was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

THE OBSERVER OF SEASONS CASTS SOME CURSES

by Molly Redmond


A barrage of mindless talking heads
prattles and preens through the news hour
in this, our last week of a snowless March
(the first since the 1800's)
with temperatures climbing 30 degrees above average,
and the number of Americans believing in global warming
declining dangerously.

May the local blow-dried anchorman, who pompously introduces
the chirpy weatherlady by saying,
"Well, is there another beautiful day in store?"
see his large suburban mansion consumed by grassfires
as the volunteer firemen can't save it
in this waterless season.

May the bubbly weatherlady, ecstatic over 70’s and no rain,
who thinks all food flows forth (plastic-wrapped) from Con-Agra,
see all her shade trees die because winters here
no longer kill alien elm beetles and ash borers.
May she have to remove their huge remains at high expense.

And may the oblivious, trivial sportscaster,
exulting on air over his March game of golf
contract aspergillosis, dust-borne from
the winds over early-bared fields.

A myriad of curses on them–
wrapped in soothing, impenetrable cocoons of self–
and on others who think the universe is ordered for their pleasure,
ignoring cycles, seasonal links, supporting webs.

May they, and all those who do not understand
or care that life awaits the long soft rains,
or that soil should spring, not crunch, beneath our feet,
be cursed with the consequences of what they request
as they swoon with desire for June days in March.

  
Molly Redmond lives in St. Paul, MN. She’s retired after years of careers blending environmental education, writing, and science. She frequently cites Aldo Leopold’s statement from The Round River: “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” In March, she prefers snow to sunburn.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TO EYJAFJALLAJOKULL

by Rowena Silver


Hi gorgeous!
I love your name
and your ability
to spin the moon purple
evacuating skies
while frequent flyers
munch on stale croissants
in overcrowded bistros

Our regionalism defines us.
Certainly we have drowned out
congresses of sparrow song.

Sorry

True, we dig deeply - raping caves
unblooming leaves,
to suck out seeds
and then bestow the yield
to cackling loons

But, you my love
are spewing dust
into the open wounds
of continents.

Please, let us bury dead presidents
return home to clean the larder
of our own sweet poisons
mind our fizzers and mines,

breathe.

                                                                        
Rowena Silver is an editor of Epicenter, A Literary Magazine. Her work has been widely published.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

168 WORDS

by Lee Patton

Across Oklahoma, April, 1995

Pastures, green spears
in standing water
NATIVE AMERICA
EXPIRES 4/95
“We gotta put that sticker on, Addie”
Cherokees in a Cherokee at 7-11
Pigtailed girl craves a Slurpee
“No, honey, later, okay?”

Headlights blur through rain
OKLAHOMA IS OK
A little copse north of Sallisaw
already in full leaf

Clouds abate over Tulsa
In fleet sunshine headlights
guide the statewide procession
through vacant downtown streets

Down at the capital’s airport
the President deplanes
Rain pelts tarmac like static
in the broadcast’s live feed,
eulogy that twangs against emptied
city canyons, his accent
like those of the silenced

On the river, the rain resumes,
each droplet a sting
for the swollen surge
to bear, clear down
to the all-accepting sea

At river’s edge, a grandma
sings out, “Tom!  Mandy!
Let’s hurry back, now,
we’ll catch our death of--”
As if evaporated from sight,
the kids don’t answer.

The downpour gentles.
Grandma slips downstream
through shrubbery.  Lilting, pitched
high, her voice still free of alarm,
she cries their names


Author’s note: Today is the 15th anniversary of McVeigh and Nichols' bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.  I wrote this poem after I happened to be driving across Oklahoma on the day of the memorial service for the 168 people, mostly daycare children and office workers, who were killed.
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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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Saturday, April 17, 2010

FROZEN GOLD

by Bill Costley


The infantile Pope
pisses in the snow
& declares its virtue:

“Only I can make
frozen gold from snow.
Look! Taste it!” he

shrieks. Nobody does;
he still has decades
to perfect this trick.


Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

SPACE FOR RENT

by Howie Good


I love you, America, your big sunglasses,
your grisly experiments with dogs,

the silence of your empty offices at night,
your trees like the bars on windows.

I love your unguarded coughs, too,

your presumption in naming babies
for cities all over the world.

Oh, I love you, America,
and your half-smile, half-smirk

when I say it.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 18 print and digital poetry chapbooks and the full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick (2009). His second full-length collection, Heart With a Dirty Windshield, will be published by BeWrite Books.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

AFTER THE GREAT RHODE ISLAND FLOOD OF 2010:
AN UPDATED SAINT

by Kim Baker


Wait for me, while I go preach to my sisters, the birds.
St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Nature

St. Francis of the Ozone, that can’t-be-too-hasty prophet,
foretells that sales of kayaks and sun hats will swell
while dogs will grow fins and gills
and the Provincetown Monument will run with the humpbacks.
Humans poo poo his imprecise premonition
snatched from the approaching loss of seasons and beaches,
from the prescience of polar bears and penguins
buying flood insurance and sump pumps,
from trout uninvesting in rain and glaciers and lakes
overflowing into malls and basements,
from the murmur of birds heard feathering nests in synthetic
and relinquishing trees to the more evolved specimens
who angrily wet-vac an inconvenient truth from their cellars
never noticing Lightening dismissing its never-strike-twice myth.


When she isn’t teaching the abundant virtues of the comma, writing about big hair and Elvis, and doing the Cha Cha, Kim Baker works to end violence against women.  Kim performs in the annual Until the Violence Stops Festival Providence.  Her poems have been published online and in print.  Her most recent reasons to cha cha cha include fourth place in the Poetry Society of New Hampshire National Poetry.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GUNNER'S PANTOUM

by Ian Demsky


Last conversation Hotel Two-Six?
Do you want Hotel Two-Two element—
Request permission to engage.
Roger, received.

Do you want Hotel Two-Two element?
See all those people standing down there?
Roger, received.
I can’t get them now because they’re behind that building.

See all those people standing down there?
You are free to engage.
I can’t get them now because they’re behind that building.
Hotel Two-Six: Crazy Horse One-Eight.

Repeat: You are free to engage.
We’ll be engaging.
Hotel Two-Six: Crazy Horse One-Eight.
Light ‘em all up.

We are engaging.
God damn it.
Light ‘em up.
Come on fire.

God damn!
Just fuckin’, once you get on him, just—
Fire.  Fire.
Keep shooting.

—once you get on him, just open ‘em up.
We need to move. Time now.
Keep shooting.  Keep shooting.
We’re still firing.

We need to move.
Roger, I’ve got ‘em.
We’re still firing.
Oops, I’m sorry. What was going on?

Roger. I got them.
God damn it, Kyle.
What’s going on?
All right, you’re clear.

God damn it.
Got bunch of bodies laying there.
All right, you’re clear.
We’ve got one guy crawling around down there.

—bunch of bodies laying there.
Hey, you shoot, I’ll talk.
We’ve still got one guy crawling around.
Crazy Horse One-Eight, this is Hotel Two-Six. Over.

You shoot, I’ll talk.
Oh yeah. Look at those dead bastards.
Crazy Horse One-Eight: Hotel Two-Six.
Good shootin’.

Look at those dead bastards.
Location of bodies: Mike Bravo five-four-five-eight.
Yup.  Good shootin’.
There’s one guy moving down there, but he’s wounded.

Location of bodies: Mike Bravo five-four-five-eight.
We’ll let them know so they can hurry up and get over here.
There’s one guy still moving around down there.
We have a van that’s approaching and picking up the bodies.

—so they can hurry up and get over here.
Possibly picking up bodies and weapons.
We have a van that’s approaching and picking up the bodies.
Right down there by the bodies.

They’re possibly picking up bodies and weapons.
Let me engage.
Right down there by the bodies.
Can I shoot?

Can we engage?
Roger.
Can I shoot?
We’re trying to get permission to engage.

Roger.
Are they picking up the wounded?
We’re trying to get permission to engage.
Come on let us shoot.

Are they picking up the wounded?
They’re taking him.
Come on let us shoot.
Bushmaster Seven: Crazy Horse One-Eight.

They’re taking him.
Fuck.
Bushmaster Seven: Crazy Horse One-Eight.
Bushmaster Seven, roger.  Engage.

Fuck.
Clear.
Bushmaster Seven: Roger.
No more shooting.

Clear.
Clear.
No more shooting.
Oh yeah, look at that.  Right through the windshield.

Clear.
The vehicle appears to be disabled.
—right through the windshield.
Bradley element turning south down the road where the engagement was.

The vehicle appears to be disabled.
I think I drove over a body.
Bradley element approaching engagement site.
Maybe it was a visual illusion.

I think I drove over a body.
Last conversation Hotel Two-Six?
Maybe it was a visual illusion.
—permission to engage.




Author’s Note: This poem is adapted from radio traffic heard on U.S. Military gun-camera video depicting a 2007 attack in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad that killed two Reuters news staff and wounded two children. The video, which Reuters had sought under the Freedom of Information Act, was made public by WikiLeaks.org.
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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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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SIXTEEN TONS AND WHAT DO YOU GET?

by Alan Catlin


Fines for sixteen
hundred violations
of federal regulations:
unsafe working
conditions, bad air
quality, emissions;
the coast of doing
business the Massey
Energy way.
Twenty-nine funerals
for workers killed,
factored in, as well.
Blowing the tops
off mountains equals
progress.
Closed mine pending
investigations of miners'
deaths, plunging stock
prices muddy bottom
line, slow expansion
plans, news reports say.


Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, Thou Shalt Not Kill, an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the previous administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

AT THE PRO-AMERICA RALLY, I'M STRUCK BY THE TWO WOMEN

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


Not the stars of this rodeo, but
Two Grannies
White of hair and hair tightly-permed, the
Two Grannies
Stand on low bleachers behind the speakers
The speakers, well, you know them
Maybe you’ve tried their lip gloss or spent an hour with them staring at the sun
But it was the
Two Grannies
That caught my eye
We’ve been told we know them
We’ve grown up – all of us
Moslem, Christian, Jew
Black, White, me and you
Being told how well we know them
When I was a kid they wore dresses and pearls, and they were always mixing something
Mixing, mixing, mixing
When they weren’t they were seated demurely on the couch, fixing
But today, the
Two Grannies
Stand behind the two young stars of this particular lynch mob
Their Granny lips garroting every vowel, the good and the bad
Their Granny eyes shining brightly
Their 2 for 1 hearts beating in perfect harmony
Two Grannies who have never been in need of anything more than a ride
Two Grannies who have never been in need of anything that the God of April couldn’t easily provide


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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Sunday, April 11, 2010

HEROES

by Scot Siegel


His mother’s name was Diane. Remember
Moshe Dayan? Covert Jew in kafiyah?
Ben-Gurion protégé with a black eye
patch? Led Israel to victory

in a Six-Day war? His mother loved
him. Remember the way he stood by his men
astride a tank with one arm in the air
and that crooked smile under a

perfect sky? After Hitler, who could
blame him? After the Holocaust they
needed a hero… He wanted to be
Dayan. It didn’t matter that he was

from America. He wanted to enlist
in Israel’s army, fight in Israel’s honor…
Because his mother said: The Arabs are
       crazy and want to kill Jews ––

That was forty years ago. His mother’s lost,
a ghost now. He doesn't talk about Arabs
like that anymore. Because everything is
different now. Isn’t it.


Scot Siegel lives in Oregon. In his day job he works as an urban planning consultant. Siegel’s poetry books include Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications, 2009), and Skeleton Says (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). A second full-length collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in early 2012. Siegel serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford and edits the online poetry journal Untitled Country Review. 
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

POEM FOR POPE BENEDICT'S CHURCH

by Christopher Woods


Children walk back and forth,
wait
for their parents to finish
praying.
Children know so little
about prayer.

But they have seen
and felt
the devil's breath,
and how rare it is
for angels to come
down to them
to rescue their bodies
from the devil's work.

Pray for them, won't you?
Even if prayer is a forgotten tongue,
If supplication is just another word
on Dictionary.com.
Someone, somewhere,
Might hear,
Come down from on high
To make things right,
To cast out the monsters
That took so many prayers away.


Christopher Woods has published a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill, Texas. He shares an online gallery with his wife Linda at The Texana Review.
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Friday, April 09, 2010

CONTAMINATED MUDSLIDE

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


Whole villages slither by downhearted
Desperate needy souls without recourse
Abandoned huts cling to hillsides
Knee deep red clay slicks

Stray dogs buried under rubble
Cherished family heirlooms grime infested
Pet songbird trapped behind bars
Gold cage exposing blackened ribs

Picking up bits smashed pieces
Of beloved lives devastatingly lost
Decomposed bodies clear tarpaulin mummies
Unceremoniously dumped mass grave victims

Rancid stench permeating burial mounds
Grief-stricken anxiously trying to cope
Calloused digging soiled rotting debris
Tragic avalanche reeking sorrowful guilt

Triggered flash floods preceded disaster
Sheer bluff came crashing down
Shaky grip cliff hangers-on gritty survivors
Struggle to rebuild eroded future

Saggy tightrope power lines sputter
Hissing current fizzles aspirations crushed
Tattered album scavenged layered refuse
Worthless rubbish glossy memories dulled


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

FINANCIAL SENTRY DUTY

by David S. Pointer


Computerized bankers/accountants

asleep on Exhausted Faith's foldout couch

recruiting worldwide walking dictionaries to the data base
recruiting alphanumeric code stalkers from the classroom
recruiting money supply stock broker blogineers

camo up the international currency

eyes on the exposed principal
ears on the unnoticed interest
mouse mitts on the extra always

ammo down the enemies intelligence

low crawl over large and little economies
carrying a sniper log book

Is there a natural fluctuation to economic extremism
Is there a more sustainable economic exploitation
Is reality a wastewater to be treated with fountain coins

The Financial Ministers of Death need to know to grow


David S. Pointer earned a master's degree in sociology from The University of Central Missouri in 1990. David also served in the Marine Corps as a military policeman.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

MINE

by Barbara A. Taylor


barred
unscripted emotions
outside the mine...
journos are pushed away
grievers cannot have their say


Barbara A. Taylor's poems appear in international journals and anthologies: Landfall, Atlas Poetica, Modern English Tanka, Haiku Scotland. Canadian Zen Haiku,, Ginyu, Riverbed, Lynx, Presence, Sketchbook , qaartisiluni, Ribbons, Frogpond, Wisteria, 3lightsgallery, Shamrock, Eucalypt, Lynx, Simply Haiku, Kokako, Moonset, Magnapoets, Poetic Diversity, and elsewhere. Poetry with audio is at http://batsword.tripod.com.
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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

COFFEE WITH THE SAGE

by Andrew Hilbert


he met with me to discourage
me from publishing
it takes away from writing
he used to write 300 poems a year
now he's down to 100
he talked to me about many things
and i couldn't help but feel
ignorant and bad

the health insurance thing
he said
where you have to buy it
even though you can't afford
it, that'll set me back
he said
it's like out here in california
you have to have car insurance
and i have the cheapest
just to be legal
so when they pull me over
i can point to my card
and smile
in an accident, i'm fucked
he said
you know?

in my blind youth
in my blind ambition
just to see the world changed
i did not know.


Andrew Hilbert lives and works in Orange County. He also edits Beggars & Cheeseburgers
magazine.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

TOO MANY UNCLES

by Lynnie Gobeille


she waits at the bus stop
thinking of ways
to avoid tonight’s darkness.
this newest one’s random attacks.

tugging on her sweater
pulling it higher
hiding his love bites
those marks that remain.

this one pays the rent
gives her mother some cash.

why would she shout
encourage their wrath?

dreaming of any other place
praying for detention
a reason to stay late
to not have to go home.

who is she gonna’ tell
who’s  gonna’ listen
to the sadness hidden deep
in a twelve-year-old's moans

too many uncles
have climbed into her bed
leaving her naked
bruised and alone.


Lynnie Gobeille has  published in The Sow's Ear Review, Crone’s Nest, The Avatar, The Prairie Home Companion, This I Believe (NPR), New Verse News, The Providence Journal (Poetic License) and The Naugatuck River Review. Editor of the Providence Journal Poetry Corner (South County Edition). Member of The Origami Poems Project, a state wide “free poetry event” based in Rhode Island.
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Sunday, April 04, 2010

THE LAST POPE

by Bill Costley


Disgraced
beyond endurance,
The Last Pope
writes his resignation
in invisible ink
on virgin vellum,
so that as he writes it,
nothing appears.

He smiles at the efficiency
of The Holy Spirit that
reads all, erases all.

Ritually, he drops the sheet
into a flaming brazier.
These illegible words
appear & disappear:Consummatum est.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Saturday, April 03, 2010

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'

by Alan Catlin

overheard in an Irish tavern

"You went to Catholic
school, right?"
"Eight years."
"Me too.  Ever hear
about priests molesting
boys like you keep
hearing in the news?"
"Never."
"Me neither.  They could
be pretty sadistic, though.
Beat the living hell out
of you."
"Talk about sadistic.
The nuns were the sadistic
ones."
"I hear that.  Amazing how
much damage they could do
with a three-sided ruler.
But, boy molesting, never."
"Girls, though."
"All the time."
"Times have changed."
"They sure have."


Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, Thou Shalt Not Kill, an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the previous administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims.
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Friday, April 02, 2010

WHAT ENTITLEMENT REALLY MEANS

by Norma Chapman


When I sat at the top of my heap
yesterday, a century ago, two centuries ago,
Mr. Moneybags, Mr. Fat Cat,
Thomas Nast and later Herblock caricatured
me in newspaper cartoons.

I was fatter than they thought
and emptier,
my money bags filled with IOUs
and my bills paid with someone else’s cash.
So, I took food from babies, so?

I am entitled to my place right here at the top
and when the top topples
it’s got to fall on something,
but not on me
Let them eat cake, as Marie didn’t say.

The expendable people want to nip
my heels, but they’re out of gas,
a good thing in their case.
It was better when they slaved
in the cotton or the mines,

when the losers were left to lose,
satisfied by a jug or scraps
and died young,
when only propertied white men
voted and ruled in the name of God.


Norma Chapman grew up in a small town in Southern California, child of a far leftist father and far rightist mother. She now lives in a small town in Western Maryland, and is firmly settled on the left. Some of her poems have been published in various journals, including River Styx.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

SEVENLING: DEPLOYED

by Suellen Wedmore


He drove to New Hampshire to adopt
an abused dog,  he loved cheese-steak sandwiches
and the South Woods.

He walked away from those who ranted
and lied, disliked down time,
white wine, and vegetables in cans.

. . . And last month they sent him to Afghanistan.  


Poet Laureate Emerita for the small seaside town of Rockport, Suellen Wedmore has won first place in the Writer's Digest Rhyming poetry Contest and in the Greyson Press annual chapbook contest.  Her chapbook On Marriage and Other Parallel Universes was recently published by Finishing Line Press.

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