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Thursday, January 31, 2013

IN SYRIA

by Joan Fishbein


WARNING: viewer discretion advised


          bombs
fly above
mothers stand in line
to buy bread
palm trees splinter
also
        children



Joan Fishbein's work has appeared in the Origami Poems Project of Rhode Island, The Southern Poetry Anthology:Volume One, The Kennesaw Review, The Devil's Millhopper, Helicon Nine, Poetica, The Reach of Song, The Best of Sand Hills and other small literary magazines. She lives in Providence with her husband and cat.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

IN PRAISE OF GEORGE READER

by Lex Runciman

George Reader, the dockmaster at Watchet marina in Somerset, who dived into freezing cold waters to rescue the baby boy after his buggy was blown in by strong winds. Photograph: Ryan Hooper/PA via The Guardian, Monday 28 January 2013


Wind blows a baby stroller right off the edge
and three feet down to water.  It sinks
as a woman shouts, as you jump in.
You do not stop to empty your pockets
or remove your shoes, only your coat.
You do not notice the water's temperature,
only that you cannot move as surely
or quickly as you wish.  The stroller
floats with a current, does not entirely
disappear.  At last you grab a handle,
kick and scull, pulling it, stroller and child,
to where someone else has let down
a rope, which you knot with fingers that
have thickened.  The stroller passes you
as they haul it up, and the child buckled in
looks slumped asleep, soaked.
You are cold now.  You have climbed out
and put on your coat
as a woman you have never seen
kneels, hair in her face as she works
and works, pumping that small chest,
until she stops, leans back a little,
the child moving an arm, the child crying,
water running down your face,
the mother who has had to watch this
sobbing, covering her mouth, and even now
a helicopter angles in against the wind,
with the wind, and the mother and the child
are taken inside and lifted away.
It is the purest thing you can remember doing,
and anyone would have – this bright gift
a privilege you'd wish on no one.


Lex Runciman’s most recent book, Starting from Anywhere, was published by Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2009.  A new book is forthcoming in 2014.   Runciman teaches at Linfield College.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

AT LARGE

by Ana Garza G'z

Someone threw a gallon of urine in the lobby of the Fresno Housing Authority office on the Fulton Mall on Thursday morning, the Fresno Fire Department said. The office, in the 1300 block of the mall, was evacuated briefly while the Fire Department investigated the incident, which happened about 10 a.m. A man described by a witness as "homeless" tossed the container, which then broke, spilling the fluid, a Fire Department spokesman said. There were no injuries and workers returned to the building. The suspect is at large. --Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/01/17/3137073/container-of-urine-thrown-in-fresno.html#storylink=cpy

No pride--just  a glass door, a desk,
a story, an application.
Weeks later, you’re denied
By a scowl when you check in.

You wonder what it takes
to fill a gallon with piss?
Well, first, you need a gallon.
You think you can get milk,

but for that, you need four dollars.
You also need a fridge.
to keep it in, a house,
gas and power service,

and a forty-hour job
that pays at least minimum
so you can try for Food Stamps
and low-income housing.

You have to wait on both,
despite the questions (“where do you live?”)
despite the weather (January),
despite the work you did

in that other life.
God forbid,
the people  who spend four dollars
on a cup of coffee spend

a little extra here
and there. They’ll never miss
a cent. You panhandle for
a morning to buy the milk.

You drink it in a day.
You get the massive shits.
You don’t care. You aim,
and you gather every drip,

every single drip. You take
your time. With dehydration,
it takes five days. You sit
at public computers, filling in

boxes. And then you walk
back to the glass doors and the desk
with nothing for the jobless,
but advice: those who seek find success.

You stand there, under a roof
you can’t have, and you give in
to the impulse to show them
your work, a gallon, which you spill.


Ana Garza G'z has an M. F. A. from California State University, Fresno. Forty-one of her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, most recently in The Mom Egg. She works as a community interpreter and translator.

Monday, January 28, 2013

DECK CHAIRS

by Joseph Dorazio

Image source: Telegraph.co.uk via ArtsOnEarth

'Amid the cocktail parties and lavish luncheons at Davos, there was sometimes a "mood of complacency," said Axel Weber, the chairman of Swiss bank UBS and former head of Germany's Bundesbank.' --the Telegraph (Australia)


The Titanic was said to be
unsinkable.

While many dismiss
the link between
greenhouse gases
and climate change,

the planet grows hotter.
We squabble,   
rearrange
politics.

As for icebergs?—
unthinkable.   


Joseph Dorazio's poems have appeared widely in print and online literary magazines.  Mr. Dorazio lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A MATCHING WIN

by Martha Landman


            Such a deliberate sadist, the man thought.
                        -- Kailash Srinivasan




Image source: Anorak


15 tennis rackets, like swords,
at swift speed surpass compassion

30 experienced vampire-like feet
covertly manoeuvre winning stunts

40 long muscled arms murderously
shoot ball after ball towards triumph

Loveless desire battle-dance for hours
stealing advantage from the opponent

They volley they serve they net they score
spinning the deuced crowd for justice

in key moments their sweaty smiles
not letting up the sadism till the final score.
 

Martha Landman is a South African-born Australian poet and a psychologist residing in tropical Queensland.  She has published on- and off-line and loves everything reading and writing.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

PILATES INSTRUCTOR CALLS 911 AFTER MISTAKING LABRADOODLE FOR LION

by Martin Ott

Dog causes uproar after being mistaken for a lion because his owner cut his 'mane' to look like the local college mascot. --Mail Online, January 9, 2013





Perhaps the doors to the fitness center
should not have been left ajar to let
in air, and the dog’s owner should have
better tied the rhinestone leash to a lamp
pole. The tan mane was freakishly puffy,
and reminiscent of a nascent lion king,
and it was difficult to make out details
in the chaos of leg warmers and shrieks.
They’d been frightened by endless tales
of rampaging death, and the instructor
put the class in a closet, hero that he was,
assured no feline possessed opposable
thumbs to work the knob. They did
not fret about the oxygen running out
or the receptionist getting maimed,
resisting impulses, sharing bareness,
lit by smart phones, bodies pressed,
an excited beast chasing a giant ball
over matts made on distant shores.


A former U.S. Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angeles and still finds himself asking a lot of questions. His poetry and fiction have appeared in more than 100 publications, including Harvard Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner and Zyzzyva. His book of poetry Captive won the 2011 De Novo Prize. He is also co-author of Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press). Ott’s blog about writing has drawn thousands of visitors from more than 75 countries.

Friday, January 25, 2013

JANUARY POEM

by Patricia Davis


When fascism comes
it will come with two

children, a dog,
tell warm, personal stories,
call us Ladies and

Gentlemen, have a
catch in its throat.

When fascism comes
it will raid
the houses of sleeping

children, use stun
grenades, tasers.

When fascism comes
it will seize filmmakers’
work at the border.

When fascism comes
it will study our e-mails.

When fascism comes
the potential hostile
intent of a child

will be reason to call in
a drone strike.

When fascism comes
there will be no lawyer,
no sentence, only

the bars, the dark.
When fascism comes

it will jail exclusively
those who have
spoken the truth.

When fascism comes
it will rise from the ash

of oppression.  On the wall
will hang the Nobel
Peace Prize.


Patricia Davis’ poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Salt Hill, Spoon River Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Quiddity, Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology, Tar River Poetry, and Smartish Pace, which named her a finalist for the Beullah Rose Poetry Prize.   Her translations of Cuban poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, Puerto del Sol and the New Laurel Review.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

HIS NAME

by Andrea Marcusa

Image source: Mansfield News Journal

The most pointless thing of all was how he wasn’t allowed to have his name stitched on his school knapsack – strangers can steal a child that way.  So were those vaccinations against diphtheria, meningitis, polio and the morning vitamin he hated – a chewable pink bear.  Or that car seat he was made to sit in on rides to school, even though most of his friends no longer had to use one, so futile. But there was something about his name – he’d taught himself to write it all by himself when he was two. Wanted everyone to use his full name. Not a nickname, not a shortened version. A good strong one for a boy.  Greek, after an apostle, after a king, and his grandfather in Alaska.  But that morning in the classroom with them all scattered around--there was no way to tell--no trace of it anywhere on him. But inside the neck of his too big, long-sleeved striped jersey, a strange, gloved hand peeled back the collar where he was found limp and face down, and that’s when they spotted it -- in black markered script. Dear child, in those first minutes, even your name was gone, displaced by the one on a hand-me-down from your brother, now a fourth grader in a classroom on the other end of the school, where he was crouched trembling, hiding in the closet.


Andrea Marcusa's  work has appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Ontario Review, The Antigonish Review, Copper Nickel, NewSouth, and other publications. Her work appeared in the essay collection, In the Fullness of Time (Simon and Schuster). She was a finalist in the Ontario Review’s 2007 fiction competition and winner of the Antigonish Review 2008 Fiction competition. She divides her time between literary writing and working in the areas of health care and sustainable agriculture.  She lives in New York City with her husband, two sons and pet cockatiel, Turko.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

EXODUS-TO-DUST

Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

For Palestinians, Israeli elections signal deepening occupation --Haaretz, January 21, 2013


Emptiness echo full of itself
Reverberating eardrum downbeat tambour percussion
Vainglorious ambitions disconnected unanswered prayers
Orchestrated symphony forever left unfinished

Terra not so firma quaking
Earth reopened bottomless sinkhole aftershocks
Natural depression hollow subway passages
Ants streaming through clogged arteries

Shorn sheep led to slaughter
Tough tasteless mutton gyros grilled
Axis rotating in wrong direction
Anti-clockwise alarm no turning back

Unholy land-grab borderless uncivil war
Black white gray distinctions obliterated
Singed hawk feathers decalcified plumes
Phoenix smoldering in spitfire embers

Fearless hate-mongers playing for keeps
Recycled unsettled grievances sold out
Unruly mob committing unjustifiable offences
Numbed conscience bleeding cardinal sins

Mauve dusk undermining tomorrow’s dawn
After dark luminous eclipsed aura
Overshadowed neon deep purple afterglow
Nocturnal rhapsody evocative fallen stars


 No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

WOMEN KEEP ON COUNTING

by Tricia Knoll

Image source: I love it when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is President.


For regular women like me
it’s possible to set an alarm
on any computer to remind
what day is most likely
what day is a bit late
what date is too late

Counting, getting to plus five
and no blood; we have been there,
regulars and irregulars
worrying
keeping silences

the want to be mothers
the can’t be mothers
the victims of others

the girl I knew
had to go to Mexico
and came back bloodied
sick and sterile
rocking in a chair
with her teddy bear

that was a long time ago
and women keep on counting


Tricia Knoll was a young woman before Roe v. Wade. She saw first hand the disintegration of a wonderful woman from a butchered abortion. Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

THE FOUR YEAR PRANK

by David Feela

Image source: campusghanta


It’s not so difficult to believe Manti Te'o.
For the last four years I thought Congress
might come to a meaningful bipartisan
decision, but I was duped.  I trusted

the banks with my home, the stock market
with my retirement, the doctors and
insurance companies with my health,
but I presumed too much.  I was so sure

that terrorists lived abroad, were denied
access to our theaters, malls, and schools. 
Of course I’m gullible, but there’s so much
I want to believe, even if I can’t see it.

Talk to me with a tender voice, tell me
the next four years will be better.


David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays, How Delicate These Arches  , released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.

Monday, January 21, 2013

LETTER IN WHICH I THANK THE PRESIDENT FOR NOT INVITING ME TO READ AT HIS INAUGURAL

by J.R. Solonche





Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for not inviting me to read
at your inaugural.

Believe me, when I heard that that other poet,
that Blanco, got the nod, I was relieved.

Let me tell you, I spent days and days,
weeks in fact, occupied with nothing but America,

I steeped myself in America,
I breathed America, I ate America, I slept America,

I studied maps of America, that familiar two-handled shape,
I gazed at pictures of grain in amber waves,

I read the Declaration, I read the Constitution,
I read the Gettysburg Address, twenty times, I read Jefferson,

I read Adams, I read de Tocqueville, I read Franklin, I read Paine,
I read Huckleberry Finn, I read Moby Dick,

I read The Scarlet Letter, I read An American Tragedy,
I read Walt, I read Ralph Waldo, I read Emily,

I read Wallace, I read Robert, I read William Carlos,
I looked at every Norman Rockwell calendar I could find,

I looked at every Mathew Brady photograph I could find,
I listened to Gershwin, I listened to Ellington, I listened to Joplin,

I listened to Presley, I listened to Ives,
I listened to The New World Symphony, three times a day,

I rented every John Wayne movie I could find,
I ate potatoes three times a day, I ate corn three times a day,

I ate apple pie three times a day,
I drank bourbon, I drank hard cider.

And after all this saturation in America,
when I sat down to write an inaugural poem,

Mr. President, I drew a zero, nothing came,
the only word I could write was the one word America,

so what did I do? Let me tell you, I just started Yankee-
doodling around to see if anything would inspire me,

but all I got was acirema and I am acer and race aim and am Erica
and I care, ma, or Ma, I care.

So thank you Mr. President, for not inviting me
to read at your inaugural. Let Blanco do it. I’m a blank.

Sincerely,
J.R. Solonche


J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies since the 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

MAGAZINES

by Tricia Knoll

Image source: 20 mm AA Guns

Magazines

once  seeing Life

now death 30 bullets at a crack


Tricia Knoll grew up in the 50s when the arrival of Life Magazine was a big deal for everyone in the family. A Portland, Oregon poet, she watches the mutations of word meanings. She maintains a daily haiku practice.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

HE WON MAJOR SCORN

by Jan D. Hodge

Image source: Chumpmonkey's Electronic Cartoonatorium

There was such acid in his smile
And such hardness in his thought,
It was no wonder what deep chill
His conviction brought.

Never considering that words
Extracted from attitudes adjusted
By stress positions and waterboards
Were not to be trusted,

He spoke with infinite scorn
At those who discredited his view,
Lip curled, sullen and smugly stern,
Unbeautiful, untrue.

Not one to retreat from truculence,
Even a change of heart changed nothing.
We are vexed at such intransigence
And such deep loathing.


Jan D. Hodge has had poems published in Western Wind (5th ed.), Writing Metrical Poetry, and many print and online journals, including North American Review, New Orleans Review, Iambs & Trochees, Defined Providence, IthacaLit, and South Coast Poetry Journal.  His double dactyl renderings of Shakespeare, nursery stories, and tales from the Arabian Nights have appeared in the American Arts Quarterly website, Lavender Review, Off the Coast, Light Quarterly, Kiss and Part, Poetry Revolt, and Umbrella Journal.  The title of this poem anagrams John Crowe Ransom, whose "Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter" obviously served as the model for the poem.

Friday, January 18, 2013

DAS CAPITAL

by B.Z. Niditch

Image source: Ron Swanson Wisdom

Grandad said,
"No one should be
a money machine,"
"Greenbacks",
he called money
or sometimes monopoly,
when he discovered
an ATM
outside his bank
after slaving all night
since he was seven
and turned away
he was expiring
on the pavement
because thieves
broke into the bank,
"What's the difference
inside or out"
he whispered,
"Most people
live by default
the bribe taking pols,
editorial writers
monocled judge
and hung juries
even at
this neglected hour
fear on the street
on a bankrupted day,
now grandad
you are gone
encircled by time
in rooted bitterness
of an uncollected
memory
with interest
now stored in my poems
and housed away
at the bottom draw
of an auctioned desk
with no one to give
an account.


B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; Hawaii Review; Le Guepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest);  Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

APOLOGIA PRO VITA SUA

by Richard Meyer

on Christian Ward plagiarizing a poem by Helen Mort

Image source: Brainstuck.com


"The poet Christian Ward has said that he had "no intention of deliberately plagiarising" the work of another writer after it was discovered that his prize-winning entry to a poetry competition was lifted "almost word-for-word" from a poem by Helen Mort." --The Guardian, January 14, 2013


It little profits that an idle king poet
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.”
I am a part of all that I have met read
Now recollected in tranquility.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides, and though to take.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I am the silence in a snowy field.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
When I am dead, I hope it may be said:

"His sins were scarlet, but his books thefts were read."


Richard Meyer, a former English and humanities teacher, lives in the home his father built in Mankato, a city at the bend of the Minnesota River. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various print and online publications, including Able Muse, 14 Magazine, Per Contra, The Flea, Measure, and The Evansville Review. His poem “Fieldstone” was selected as the winner of the 2012 Frost Farm Prize.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

FIREWALL

by Michael Brockley


"The Pequod in the Waves" by Robbie W Hudson. Pencil on paper, 180 x 260cm.
                                                                                                                                                                                 “Viewed through the lens of history, Obama represents a new 21st century politician: the Progressive Firewall.” --Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone, November 8, 2012


You are the kind of woman who wears jewel-colored scarves. The kind who photographs abandoned homes and immigrants at crosswalks. On a Whidbey Island beach, you sat beside a man who owns volcanos. At the close of the year the President reread the tragedy of the white whale. In the month his hair turned gray. A walrus tossed its body onto the blond sand. It bellowed while the man who owns the Black Hills admired your photographs of totem poles. The snow clinging to Mount Rainier. The undaunted shadows of Lewis and Clark over the Cascades. Behind your resort patio, a woman in a yellow poncho walked with the fog along a hiker’s path. Her wolfhound barked at the walrus as it lumbered onto a barnacled pier. A Cessna skywrote dusk into the sky. You told the owner of Niagara Falls the President’s favorite comic book hero is Conan the Barbarian. He pretended to be the Cimmerian reiver while crooning “Let’s Stay Together.”  Shadows climbed the volcano in the mountains east of your sunset. You had photographed its trail sign earlier that day.  A caution for a firewall President ascending to the crow’s nest of a landlocked Pequod. “Falling can be dangerous.”


Michael Brockley is a 63-year old school psychologist who has worked in special education in rural northeast Indiana for 25 years. He has poetry publications in Wind, The Windless Orchard, Spitball, The Indiana Review, The Indiannual, The Spoon River Quarterly, The River City Review and The Ball State Literary Forum. Tom Koontz’ Barnwood Press published his chapbook Second Chance in 1990, and Brockley has lately placed work in Indiana publications such as Maize, Country Feedback, Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal and Facing Poverty. A video of Brockley reading his “Hollywood’s Poem” which was published in Facing Poverty can be found on YouTube. His poem “When the Woman in the White Sweater Asked at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Barry Harris of the Tipton Poetry Journal. Recently, Brockley’s poems have appeared in The New Verse News.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

JERUSALEM IN SNOW, 1/10/2013

by Maryann Corbett


Image source: Occupied Palestine

The pious author of the book of Job

lacked maps of isobars to show him where

pressure allows the tongues of wet, warm air

delicately to probe
the hill country, tickling at slippery flows

where winter chill has settled on the height

of Zion. In his poems, only the might
of God breathes down the snows,
pure as surprises. What the psalm observed,

the morning news reveals: a world scrubbed clean.

Changed utterly. Pristine.

The stones of the Old City softened, curved;
old habits stalled; and humankind’s false starts

brought to a standstill. Ancient poets see

how snow grants us new vision, so that we

dream of our own changed hearts.


Maryann Corbett is the author of Breath Control (David Robert Books, 2012) and Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, forthcoming from Able Muse Press. She has been a winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a finalist for the Morton Marr prize, the Best of the Net anthology, and the Able Muse Book Prize. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in many journals in print and online, including River Styx, Atlanta Review, The Evansville Review, Literary Imagination, Measure, Subtropics, and The Dark Horse, as well as in a number of anthologies. New work is forthcoming in PN Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Barrow Street. She lives in St. Paul and works for the Minnesota Legislature.

Monday, January 14, 2013

RAW STUFF

by Carolyn Gregory


guns and dolls
Their guns become their dolls,
each with a girl's name on it
and carved tattoo
they caress and polish
like vintage cars

With summer on their hands
and nothing playing at the movies
after the slasher film goes
the way of its bloody machete,

they train on tin cans
popping off little soldiers
on a fence,
steady as she comes
before antlers and coyotes follow --
no time for sentiment

Back with their kill,
they puff up chests and strut
as they continue
making men out of raw stuff,
rifle in a backpack,
Glock in a leather pocket.


Carolyn Gregory's poems and essays on music have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Bellowing Ark, Seattle Review, and Stylus. She was featured in For Lovers and Other Losses. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2011 and is a past recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award. Her book, Open Letters, was published by Windmill Editions in 2009 and her next, Facing the Music, in 2012. She has been working on a series about the history of guns in America for several years now.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

GUN CONTROL

by Jonathan Flike



Revolution dreams every policy
opposed to red elephant values
Southern successions revisited
saving colors that don’t run
from freedom hating Kenyans,
change witch doctor huts to prefabs
justifying semi-auto ownership
and mass killing violence with
discount T-shirt slogans,
“guns don’t kill people
people kill people.”
Simple facts that baseball bats
murder less than quickly changed clips
on unsuspecting movie goers
temporary burdens on six
pallbearers carrying bodies
safe to the grave
the only safety guaranteed
soon forgotten by the masses.
Public discourse talks of
policy’s failure to divert death
in totality never touching
the golden cow with a
butt branded number two,
refuse the compromise saying
one life saved is worth more
than circular retorts
clouded necessity for
exploding shells
stashes of bullets
caches of guns
simply to hoard
till the day the Democrats
come to take it all away
failing to confirm America
lacks any form of
self-control.


Jonathan Flike
is a writer, artist, and starving student. His poems have appeared in Viewpoints and Wilde Magazine. Jonathan’s first major collection of poetry, Tales from Room 225, was published in June, 2011. His second collection, It Gets Worse, is set for a February 2013 release date.

Friday, January 11, 2013

CONFUSED

by Eloise Bruce


The bottom of the ad reads, "If it's good enough for the professional, it's good enough for you." Image source: Business Insider.



When you relish Mossberg, Rock River and Rugger
how do we know if you are a good man or a bad man?
Maybe of two minds, you are a good man who kills the bad man

or vice versa?  Are you the kind of man following orders
to shoot students to death in Kent Ohio.
Are you an autistic boy with an AR-15 assault rifle

or a crazy man or maybe a bad woman
with a sig Sauer semiautomatic?
You can get an assault weapon in mossy oak pink camouflage.

Are you wearing a uniform or a badge
and aiming a Glock 9-millimeter while worshipping
the Berretta, Bushmaster, Colt?

Are you armed like the deputy
was at Columbine?  Did you fire at the bad boy?
Did you miss? did he miss?


Eloise Bruce’s book Rattle was published by CavenKerry Press, and she is a member of the poetry and performance group Cool Women.  She has been involved with Playwrights Theatre’s initiative for Poetry Out Loud from its beginning in 2005.  A a Teaching Artist in schools throughout New Jersey, she focuses on poetry and theatre. She teaches for the Arts and Education Center working with middle school writers.  A fellow with the Cloud Institute for Sustainable Education, Bruce is currently working with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania on Beyond Recycling, a project allowing children to explore sustainability through the arts.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

CLIMATE CHANGE

by David Chorlton
 

Image source: The Climate Reality Project
 
After the recorded message
came a living voice
asking for help in stopping the president
weeks before his inauguration.
Which of these issues do you think
is most important?
I said Climate change,
she spoke right over me, beginning with
Voter fraud, and I repeated myself.
Then she suggested the assault
on second amendment rights.
Climate change.
She pretended not to hear, and went on
to repealing Obamacare.
I told her nothing else would matter
when the planet gasps for breath.
She named the candidate
who would lead the way
and asked if I’d help.
Why did you call this number?
She told me I must have supported the cause
in the past. I told her
What matters is Climate change.
She assured me it isn’t too early
to begin sending money.
Let me get this right; we’re heading
into the future fully armed
with God’s love to guide us,
the stars and stripes flying, marching to Souza
and glory bound. She paused a few seconds
before saying
Yes, and I could tell right then
that in politics, the climate
will never change.
 
 
David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978, and still sees his surroundings with an outsider's eye. This helps his writing projects, which include a new poetry collection, "The Devil's Sonata," from FutureCycle Press.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

THE YEAR IN REVIEW IN PICTURES: AN ABRIDGED SECTION

by Alan Catlin

2012 Collage by Laura Serra


“Every war is ironic because every war is worse
than expected.” Paul Fussell 1924-2012



American sailors with captured Somali pirates
Thousands of people return home after ten years of war, Darfur
Frozen child, refugee camp, Afghanistan
Man on fire running, New Delhi
Nik Wallenda highwire walking over Niagara Falls Gorge
Kim Jong reviewing the troops, May Day, North Korea
Human skull and bones mass grave, Mazar I Sharif, Afghanistan
Pussy Riot in Moscow Courtroom cage
Wendy Maritza Rodriquez after seeing the corpse of a relative
Forty six new graves cut in a field, Krymsk, Russia
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary after the fire, Breezy Point, Queens
Aerial View of Manhattan showing blackout of the city after Sandy
Israeli family braced for incoming rockets near Ashdod
Palestine residents clearing debris, Gaza City, the next day
Night in Syria after airstrike in Aleppo
26 killed, 20 children, 6 adults, Newtown, Connecticut elementary
            school massacre (not shown)


Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from Pygmy Forest Press, is Alien Nation.


Monday, January 07, 2013

KNOW WHAT I MEAN

by Stefanie Pickett Buckner


Image source: Weather Whys, TAMU


Heat lightning awakens me and fragments of sky
at midnight—
a brief but rapid winking through the bedroom
window— then surrenders again to dark
night air. Thick thunder soon accompanies this
momentary light. My husband sleeps, his hand snug
in the curve of my waist, each finger pressing into my flesh
deeply at different times. He is reliving scenes from Iraq
in another “dream.” I pretend he is playing one of Mozart’s Sonatas,
perhaps in C. I close my eyes, but hear the sky groan. Tired
or not, we sense violence when it’s there.

In the morning, we sit by the bay window, drink coffee, and read
news about a movie theater massacre—a deranged man who shot
Batman fans with a grin on his face
at midnight—
where 12 people are dead and 58 injured.
We watch cell phone footage, hear the screams, listen
to victims’ stories, gasp and sigh, swallow hard, shake our heads.

Thunder still fumbles heavy and clumsy through
the house as the sun tries to rise. The lonely orchid in the corner
vase quavers at the sound, but stands erect and delicate despite it
all. It shares news too—of looking up while landing
inside a major chord—of every note, light, petal, and touch ending
in resolution—of hearing storm but believing
in sonata—

I grab my husband’s hand, pull it towards my waist,
and ask him to play Mozart again. He smiles but doesn’t
know what I mean.


Stefanie Pickett Buckner’s poetry has appeared in Byline Magazine, Time of Singing, Sacred Journey, The Penwood Review, SP Quill Quarterly Magazine, Ruah, and Lyric.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

GHOST GUMS

by Martha Landman


Ghost Gum, Mount Sonder, MacDonnell Ranges 1953 by Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira. Photograph: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010.

“Australia's totemic 'ghost gum' trees burnt in suspected arson. Two trees made famous in Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira's watercolours were due to be placed in national heritage register. “--The Guardian, 4 January 2013.


A didgeridoo weeps
pristine tears
in Albert Namatjira's grave

Evilly, a fire
belly laughs
Australian desert coloured in ash

twin ghost gums
topple in
smouldering mourn.


Martha Landman is a South African-born Australian poet residing in tropical North Queensland.  She has published on- and off-line.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

FORENSICS

by Tony Brown

Milky Way Clock by Henrik Amberla. Image source: I New Idea Homepage


We have exhausted all leads

as the clock runs out.

People died. Who and what

we should blame is not clear.

If there’s a connecting thread

or line to explain what led to…this,

it remains unseen. It’s not a conspiracy thing;

shit’s just complicated.  Maybe some of it

is about malice, but mostly

it’s about acceptance

of unintended consequences

and ignorance of how to stop

thinking we are so damn omniscient.

We’re not, of course; that’s obvious.

We’re blind little beggars or huge deaf kings.
No one is paying attention,

or paying for us to pay attention.

We’re broke and we’re out of time.

If we want to know who did what,

if we are ever to learn that,

we are going to have to start time again.

Build a world differently — more windows and doors,

fewer walls.  And most of all

we’re going to have to build a better clock.

Something with longer hours, days, years.

Something based on the Mayan model, perhaps,

with lots

of resets.


Tony Brown,  a three time Pushcart Prize nominee,  lives in Worcester, MA, and is one half of the poetry and music duo The Duende Project.

Friday, January 04, 2013

ON A CITY BENCH

by B.Z. Niditch




Rinsing dollops
of rain shadows
on a city bench
before the new year
through a foreign
body of thoughtful
reflection,
with his dark glasses
and unshaved manner
in veteran overalls
from another era
since the cold war
of another season
took a few years
off him,
wearied from exile
homeless,
yet still marching
for peace
now with a walker
on rubble
of pavements
pacing near
the back waters
on your city bench
exhausted
in stretched
out fatigues.


B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; Hawaii Review; Le Guepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest);  Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

MY SIX-MONTH DAR MEMBERSHIP

by Tricia Knoll





The Joining

Because of a maple fife.

My mother did the hard work
chasing down county seats
tracing that Webb girl,
genes where you got a second toe
longer than your big one.
The shoe fits when you honor that toe.

My grandmother, widow of the warden
wanted the grid filled
back to the Webb House,
that bawdy tavern
Braintree’s seat of battle plans.
My mother did the bidding
of grandmother’s nagging, finding

Jabez Cleveland, a fifer
in the Connecticut 8th regiment
died, thirty-eight at Bunker Hill.
He played a simple six-hole flute
of infantry battle calls
wake ups, soldiers, marching tunes
over greens, through woods
in-the-reeds shepherds songs
legacy of wind in thigh bone.

His thick blood of revolution
cries in my veins
--and in yours--
this must end
and heats me up
too many flag-draped coffins
limb from limb
so much this earth has given

Keep the simple six-hole flute
at your fingertips, my girls,
your pulse a beating drum.

The Parting of Ways

I thought learning
of generals and simple bravery
powder horns and compasses
would help me know

Jabez and his flute
the stepping drum
his blood, mine
that of my girls

Then bowed gray heads
chins to chests with golden pins
ask God
to bless America
there the flute calls me elsewhere

My Jabez plays
a humpback whale song,
a mother’s shrill screams in Gaza
above a bloody baby cradled,
plays for soldiers on both sides
wanting home
for monarchs out of milkweed,
AIDS orphans --
an aching god does not single out
the few

or ignores adopted babies
Bangladesh, Korea,
China, the Ukraine --
their blood becomes
our dearest family blood
they too may
hear a Jabez and his fife

I tuck his tune inside
my breath of reed
and boiling breast
to change direction.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who is also a master gardener and a frequent writer of letters to the editor of The Oregonian. Recent poetry publications include RAIN Magazine, VoiceCatcher, Verseweaver, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Pirene's Fountain.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY

by Blaise Allen


For years, I thought not wearing a watch
would protect me from the passage
of time, refused to wear them, stayed
ignorant of passing hours and minutes.
After all, we have cell phones if we really need
to know. The sun rises when I wake to pee.
It sets at dinner time, depending on the season.
Sleep happens, never according to schedule.
It’s not my own life I fear rusting away in bits:
It’s the tarnish in my dad’s hair, the scars
from heart surgery on my mother’s body,
my younger sister’s wrinkles, and mid-life grays.
It’s the dog going blind. My husband’s painful
arthritis.  And, the certain knowing, that one of us
will leave before the other. Banish that thought:
along with watches, things that tock, and balls dropping
as we count down final seconds to the New Year.
It’s the fervent wish to outlaw every clock. To melt
all time-keepers in the desert as in Dali’s landscape.
To bend time to our liking, forgo the relative end   
 of our ticking.

Blaise Allen, Ph.D. lives in South Florida and is the Director of Community Outreach for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

AFTER

by Shirley J. Brewer



                 — Want to help Newtown? Donations, yes. Teddy bears, no.
                         West Hartford News, December 26, 2012


A thousand brand new toys
fill this Newtown warehouse
stuffed with grief from far away.

In a house of loss, parents hug
one old teddy bear—
the fur loved off its face.


Shirley J. Brewer (BaltimoreMD) is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator. Her poetry has appeared in The Cortland Review, Comstock Review, Passager, New Verse News, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and other publications. Her poetry chapbook, A Little Breast Music, was published in 2008 by Passager Books. A second book of poems, After Words, is forthcoming in early 2013 from Apprentice House/Loyola University.