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Friday, July 20, 2012


by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

AURORA, Colo. — A former neuroscience honors student dressed head to foot in body armor and brandishing three weapons, including an assault rifle, opened fire in a crowded theater at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a Denver suburb early Friday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59 others, police and federal officials said. --NY Times, July 20, 2012

In the Colorado Flatirons
air is so dry your eyes go beige,
the only color the scuttle
of rabbits over the stubble,
of hawks over the rabbits.
For flowers, columbines
unfurl from a gun-barrel,
a dandelion-head of bullets,
600 a minute, sparking in the dark.

Neuroscience showed him dendrites
spiking out like a dandelion,
every which way.
He studied, looked for clues,
but it was no use.
He used the Emergency door
to give fair warning.
He opened the door.
He made a wish.
He blew.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist in California.  She came of age politically when she was 12, and her mother compelled her to make phone calls for Barry Goldwater.  Karen complied, but told her victims that her mother had signed up for the job, and that if she didn’t care enough about the candidate to do it herself, they probably shouldn’t vote for him.  Her mother still doesn’t know about this. For five years, she  reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier, variously in heroic couplets, anapest, and imitating Hemingway.  In an earlier life, she was a German Lit major and read poetry for credit, earning her B.A. from Reed College.  Since 2007, more than 70 poems have appeared in many publications, most recently Word Gumbo, The Prose Poem Project, and dotdotdash, with more forthcoming in poemeleon, Inlandia, and Convergence.   Her first chapbook, Eggs Satori, was a finalist of note in Pudding House Publications’ 2010 chapbook competition.