Monday, September 01, 2014

HOMO NON SAPIENS

by George Salamon



A 2008 cartoon by Simon Farr (The Guardian)


Seventy-five years ago,
in a dive on Fifty-Second Street,
on the day Hitler's Panzers rolled into Poland
W.H. Auden lamented the end of
"a low and dishonest decade,"
with "waves of anger and fear"
rolling over the earth's "darkened lands."
And here, in the middle of another low and dishonest decade,
I sit at my computer desk in St. Louis, Missouri,
sniffing the same "unmentionable odour of death"
as Auden did, this time rising from the sandy dunes
of Iraq and the glutted bloodlands of Ukraine.
I endure the same "negation and despair,"
as blood flows instead of milk and honey
promised us by psychopathic gods we worship.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO and contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WAR STORIES

by Richard O’Connell


Image source: How Stuff Works


         Lindeman

Lost most of my hearing
In the Bulge.  I forgot
to wear ear plugs firing
a One O’Five.
                        After a while
 I didn’t need ear plugs.


         Leveler

Couldn’t stand to see
a building standing
no matter how small
—not a stone, but
wanted all down
to the geometric line
of earth and sky.
 

       Winter Offensive

Slipped our condoms on
the barrels of our carbines
in the snow-packed Ardennes,
stretching, snapping tight
to the butt.
                        Worked great,
Keeping out the wet and dirt.


Richard O’Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Paris Review, Measure, Acumen.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

WAR

by James Bettendorf


“Suffer the Children” by Janice Nabors Raiteri (2007)


I cannot see the sun rise
            red white yellow horizon
                        I see blood of children
                        form rivers in the streets.

I cannot hear the muted moans of lovers
            passion arms legs tangle
                        I hear keening of mothers
                        Sons, daughters ripped from their arms.

I cannot taste the melon or berry
            sweetness tongue juice chin
                        only the dry residue of lead
                        cannon smoke clouding my face.

I cannot smell the aroma of lilacs
            roses garden blues lilies
                        only the acrid cordite of gunpowder
                        copper odor of innocent blood.

I cannot feel warm breath on my cheek
children grandchildren friends lover
                        only the sharp pain of shrapnel
                        tearing holes, shattering bones.


James Bettendorf taught math for 34 years at various levels and in his retirement begin writing classes at the Loft in Minneapolis, MN. He was accepted for a two-year poetry internship in the Loft Master Track program in 2006 and has been working on a manuscript with his mentor/advisor, Thomas R. Smith.  He has had poems published in Rockhurst Review, Light Quarterly, Ottertail Review, Talking Stick Vols. 18 - 23 and Free Verse.

Friday, August 29, 2014

THE EARTH’S FEAR

by Paul Dickey


Syrian refugee children in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photograph: Sam Tarling (The Guardian, May 9, 2014)


I would not say
the earth was afraid,
although it shook terribly
at each of my steps
in the moonlight.
It was only protecting
the children, it seemed,
who had poured
themselves out,
like soft drops of rain
over the hills and valleys.
But I carried on.
I had a business of fire
in the city and in the night
that the earth knew
nothing of, work
that could not be ceased
even had I wanted.
In my own way,
I too worry for the children.
How will they become
as hard now as diamonds?


Paul Dickey’s first full-length poetry book They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January 2011 and was nominated by the press for the 2011 National Book Award in Poetry.  His second book Wires Over the Homeplace was published in the Fall of 2013 by Pinyon Publishing.  Dickey’s poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Pleaides, Bellevue Literary Review,  Crab Orchard Review and online at www.linebreak.org.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ICARUS

by Louise Robertson


Top: Carcass of a bird set alight by focused sunlight at the Ivanpah Solar Generating System (seen below) along the Nevada-California border. Top Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Earthweek; Bottom Photo and caption: Earthweek.

Environmentalists and animal rights activists are in rare opposition, because birds are being cooked alive when they fly through the concentrated rays of the world’s largest solar thermal power plant, Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in California. Solar thermal plants are excellent means of creating renewable energy and jobs. They help reduce US reliance on foreign oil. But the reputation of solar energy as a whole could suffer unjustly from the charred feathers showing up at giant solar thermal plants. --Michael Howard, Esquire, August 20, 2014


Ever since Icarus took to the sky

we have been talking about nothing else.



At once posing ourselves as the boy, aloft,

or falling;



but also we put on the father's shirt and wings

and grieve.



We paint ourselves into the figures

minding our own business on the ground



with the corn and the book

and the spiked tool.



Over and over, we say where were you when

Kennedy/9-11/whatever happened.



Then the sunlight catches the birds

on fire



who know best of all

how Icarus really felt.



Burn. Burn. Burn.



Louise Robertson has earned degrees (BA Oberlin, MFA George Mason University), poetry publications (Pudding Magazine, The New Verse News, Borderline) and poetry awards (Mary Roberts Rinehart, Columbus Arts Festival Poetry Competition -- twice). She is active as a poet and organizer in her local Columbus, Ohio poetry scene.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LAST PICTURE

by Anne Graue



A couple taking a photo on the edge of a cliff died when they fell hundreds of feet while their young children watched, according to news reports. The Polish couple died after falling from the rocky edge in Cabo da Roca in west Portugal. They were apparently taking a 'selfie' photo of themselves, according to NBC and others, though details of the events leading up to the fall were still hazy. A local English language news site, the Portugal Resident, said the parents had given the children the camera to take a picture. Their children, ages 5 and 6, were turned over to Polish diplomats and are undergoing psychiatric care. --USA Today, August 12, 2014. Photo: Portuguese National Tourist Office via USA Today.

Stepping back, waving
to the boys

smiling as one foot
slips on loose rock
before the other goes

they fall together
back into blue
sky, the camera

still in the hands
of the six-year-old

watching his mother
as she leans
back into the sun

his father as he
reaches for her
to catch her hand

the terror

realizing the cliff
the water below.


Anne Graue writes poetry and teaches online from her home in New York's Hudson Valley. Her poems have appeared in Compass Rose, Sixfold Journal, VerseWrights, and The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly. She is a reviewer for NewPages.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UNJUST KIDDING

by Charles Frederickson


Samira, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is only 3 years old. She has been forced from her home due to violence in the Gaza Strip. Photo credit: Jozef Nateel / Save the Children.


Gaza offspring 3 wars old
Shrapnel unexploded debris littering strand
4 youngsters quicksand sucks victims
Senseless whimsical merciless bullyrag assault

Civilians shouldn’t die 1,780 homes
Mosques hospitals apartment blocs leveled
Leaving distraught families fearing drones
Aimed at tightening stranglehold noose

Power cuts outrage everyday occurrence
Farming limited by security zones
Movement restricted fishermen territorially confined
Raw sewage pumped into sea

UN found that about 25,000
Gaza minors suffer from post-traumatic
Stress disorder infants asking mothers
“Why is Israel bombing us?”

Invader fights simply because it
Can unstoppable grim forecast game-plan
21% deep poverty 40.8% unemployment
Teenager jobless rate skyrocketing 50%

No childhood to speak of
Disappearing dreams replaced with nightmares
Basic human rights freedoms trampled
Unable to live with dignity


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Monday, August 25, 2014

SOMEONE'S SONS

by Peg Quinn




While glancing in his rear-view mirror
the foreman cracks a beer
floors his monster truck
and roars away
leaving two illegal boys
on their knees
above my steaming driveway
filling cracks from bottled blacktop

I bring them new kinds of masks
simple plastic borders
between toxic dust
and their well traveled lungs
hand them cans of coconut water

Earlier, I’d read a message
from my son, rear-ended by
a motorcycle last night on
the Hollywood Freeway
Everyone pulled over
first responders there in minutes
no one seriously injured

I bring the boys dark, juicy plums
something sweet for someone’s sons


Peg Quinn is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter, award winning quilter and art specialists at a private school in Santa Barbara, California.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE

by Keli Osborn



Image: “In the USA” (2014) by St. Louis artist Mary Engelbreit. You can purchase a print of the illustration for $49.99 at Mary Engelbreit’s Web site, with all proceeds going to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, which supports the family of Michael Brown. Engelbreit writes on her FB page, “When situations turn horrible and I find it hard to move on, I usually draw my way through it. These drawing hardly ever see the light of day, since they're really just a form of therapy for me. But these events unfolding now in my hometown and across the country, shining a light on the ugly racism that still runs rampant in our country, made me think that maybe this drawing could help in some small way. While it's not a cheerful little picture you'd want to hang over the sofa, you might know of a school or an office or a police station that could use it”.


Every day, I do not tell my son to keep
his gaze down, cap on straight.  I do not
tell him to come home before a curtain
of darkness falls on our town. I do not
tell him to bear the right reason, speak
the right tone, make the right movement.
And, when my blue-eyed son tells me
another young, black man lies dead, shot
on the street, a sad, silent weight settles
once more in our parallel universe.


Keli Osborn is a poet and teacher living in Eugene, Oregon, with family, friends and garden. She's a member of Red Sofa Poets, Thursday Poets and the Lane Literary Guild, with poems previously published in Denali, multiple group chapbooks, and the 2006 collection, Dona Nobis Pacem.  Her sons are in their 20s; the conversations continue.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

MANDATORY PRESIDENTIAL VACATIONS

by Mark Danowsky





Parents are getting a lot of flack
for penciling structured down time
into otherwise jampacked schedules
for children barely able to walk.

Presidents are forever taken to task
for taking vacations in hard times
since times are always hard
for Americans who never get vacations.

We want to have a beer with the President
or play a game of golf with him
or see selfies of him with celebrities
or have him take a time out from national affairs
because there is a sinkhole in my backyard.

We are mad the President isn't working
through the night. How does he have time
to drink a beer. Why is he playing basketball
or shaking hands or hugging or smiling
in a photograph with that jackass? They stand for
everything I despise. And he has not fulfilled
his promises to me. Where is my change?

They explain the President needs time with his family.
Needs time to unwind. That he has not forgotten
his job, his country, your country, our world
or your wants and needs and fears and loves
the price of milk or American lives.


Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in Apiary, Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Snow Monkey and The New Verse News.  His poem "5am Summer Storm"won Imitation Fruit’s “Animals and Their Human’s” Contest, in 2013. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Mark currently lives in a van down by the Susquehanna River. He works for a private detective agency and is assistant copy editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal

Friday, August 22, 2014

PRICELESS

by Richard Schnap


James Foley on The Early Show, 2011. Image source: CBS Boston


What is the value of a heart
That dares to dodge bullets and bombs?

And what is the value of a spirit
Who exposes the horrors of the world?

And what is the value of a soul
Whose fate is determined by monsters?

Who offer his freedom for millions
But sell him for an ocean of tears.


Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

WE ARE ALL GAZA

by Laurie Winestock


Image source: Global Voices Online


We are all Gaza

That is why we do not see you, Gaza
That is why you are the blind spot that does not diminish
Why we all allow you to cry like a bird, stripped of feathers
While we are without hearing - deaf to distraction
While you try to breach the sea and reach another world

That is why when we see you torn in half
We are quick to eat large meals of flesh, while you search for water

We are all Gaza
That is why we know nothing
Nothing about Gaza, and want to know nothing
About Gaza

Why our minds glaze at the thought of the nights and days
Of Gaza,

We are all Gaza

Gaza, hunted down, trapped for an eternity
Generation after generation
With enemies to the north and south
Enemies who will not accept Gaza but will not reject Gaza
Because they need to feed on Gaza's pain
And because they use the fear in Gaza to measure their own fear
And remind themselves that they can control it

We are all Gaza

That is why we say to ourselves, Gaza, what is it?

Because we know we are all Gaza
That we are all here under
A merciless sun that we try to outwit
Surrounded by a lost childhood with terror in our hearts
That we must deny every day

Because we think we are not vulnerable
and we know we will always be
Because we dreamt we had a childhood but we know for certain
that the childhood of the children of Gaza vanished
Into air and smoke

We are all Gaza
Not knowing who we really are
Because we have watched you Gaza, suffocated
Decade after decade
And knowing this we know we cannot be, or hear, or smell
Our own flesh too long
Better not to know

That we are all Gaza
And that watching Gaza be forgotten
We have forgotten who we are


Laurie Winestock is a poet and writer who has lived extensively in both Israel and the U.S.  She is an activist and has witnessed the Israeli Palestinian conflict from close range for many decades. Her work has been published in Jewish Currents Magazine, as well as heard on San Francisco Poetry Open Mic Podcast. She can be heard reading at numerous open mics in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is now living, writing and studying Arabic.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BOTTLED WATER COMES FROM THE MOST DROUGHT-RIDDEN PLACES IN THE COUNTRY

by Steve Lavigne



“a state
experiencing the third driest
year on record . . .  
this industry 
has very successfully 
turned a public resource
into a private enterprise . . . 
But still,
the question remains:
why Americans across the country 
drink bottled water 
from drought stricken 
California”

—Julia Lurie, "Bottled Water Comes From the Most Drought-Ridden Places in the Country,"
Mother Jones, August 11, 2014

“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.” --John Maynard Keynes


my mother’s milk - bless her old teats
up for private speculation and public offering
flaccid wrinkled worn - and still unregulated
best to get them - the definition of insanity
while they’re still hot

the invisible hand of the market that moves
me
always was
and was not my father’s
hand
open palm of pain directing
the way toward some fictional future goodness
or goddamn quiet
the need in his mind like a thought
too loud to be drowned out only dimmed
down
by the light of a tv in a darkened room
or the screaming complaints of self-righteous
children
demanding its their turn to choose


Steve Lavigne runs a local poetry group in Champaign Illinois. It meets weekly to discuss, create and share poetry in order to build community through the power and practice of poetry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THE FERGUSON APOCALYPSE

by Donal Mahoney


Missouri, U.S.A., 2014 (Photo: YouTube screenshot via YellowHammer.)


From shimmering oil
of ebony still

will come flailing of limbs
will come hacking

quick slashing
of hands now untied

tattooing no pattern
not even a maze

depriving gray walls
of their stone

will come spittle
wild churning rivers

agush from slack jaws
of blanching gray hounds

till one day at dawn
will come quiet


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, he has had poetry and fiction published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Monday, August 18, 2014

STANDING IN COURAGE

by Jacinta V. White


Image source: KSDK


      for Ferguson, MO and Everywhere Else, USA


Dangerous, wanted
Endangered, hunted        
            Majestic
Beauty protected
Enraged      
            You, young
                        Black man
Stand in courage
            In love
            In honor
                        Resurrected
            In glory
Forget put upon shame
Young man stand
            In beauty
            In strength
            In dignity
Stripped and threatened
Generations down
                                    Hands down
Young black man
            Brother, father, husband, son
Stand in your weariness
Stand in your strength
            In your courage
            In your truth
            In your faith
Stand knee high in the depths of your passion
                        Take your crown, young black man
            Wear your crown
Young black man


Jacinta V. White is a NC Arts Council Teaching Artist and the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships for creative endeavors. She was the first to receive the Press 53 Open Award in Poetry, in 2008; and Finishing Line Press published her first chapbook of poetry broken ritual in 2012. Most recently, Jacinta has been published in Prime Number Magazine and the What Matters anthology published by Jacar Press. You can follow her on Twitter: @JacintaVWhite.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

TEMPERAMENTAL: HALF TEMPER, HALF MENTAL

by Charles Frederickson



Image source: Gricni


Absurd lonesome planet as sensitive
As exposed ice cube nerve
Dripping teardrop slivers awaiting thaw
Collapsed meltdown lost nth dimension

Don’t judge others through prism
Uncensored stereotype warning labels stuck
White light contains all drawn
Shades multiversity spectrum phantasmal rainbow

Karma spinning color matters wheel
Primary secondary tertiary pure hues
Dynamic equilibrium balanced artistic harmony
Music poetry ice cream sundae

Dysfunction not exception but rule
Mind can be prism or
Prison feel free choosing former
Refracting own ever-changing multifaceted image

Dysfunctional cosmos emotionally spiritually disabled
There’s no shame in openly
Expressing authentic heartfelt dreams inspiring
Kinder more tolerantly compassionate humanity

Dysfunctional puzzling world 8-cornered Rubrik’s
Cube imitation of life itself
Use algorisms solving prideful enigmas
Restored initial configuration saving face


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Saturday, August 16, 2014

HATE

by  F.I. Goldhaber


Hands up, don't shoot. Outrage in Missouri over police shooting of black teen #MichaelBrown http://pic.twitter.com/ziXRNVgeUf http://youtu.be/NRaqVIcXIdk


Billy said we didn't start the fire
But the world burns.
Muslims slaughter Christians in Iraq.
Yazidi flee.
Israelis and Gaza break truce once more.
ISIS fights Kurds.
Indians gang rape women daily.
Exiles swarm Chad.
Russia marches on Ukraine again.
Pakistan riots.
Azerbaijans kill Armenians.
Al-Qaeda plots.
Boko Haram kidnaps young girls, boys.
Syria bleeds.

And in the land of the free cops kill.
Unarmed black men
executed by police daily.
Four black deaths in
one month capture the nation's concern.
But we don't learn
of so many more who die only
because their skin
color offended men of privilege.
Driving while black
in U.S., a capital offense.
Mothers teach sons
to raise hands, acquiesce ... but still
must bury them.


After more than three decades, poet and storyteller  F.I. Goldhaber continues writing professionally. As a reporter, editor, business writer, and marketing communications consultant, she produced words for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits in five states.

Friday, August 15, 2014

FERGUSON MISSOURI - AUGUST 2014

by Steve Lavigne





Every morning
     the electroejaculated goats
scream
     my wife texts me from work
          complaining
and on the twitter feeds and facebook posts
     Ferguson Missouri burns -
You don’t think supplying army (military) grade equipment
     to the police was unintentional do you?
That any conflict in the world between police and protest
     looks exactly like this?
That anyone taking pictures, especially reporters, recharging
     their equipment in the local McDonald’s
     wrenched from their seat, their head jammed against
     a cement wall by an ordinary lug saying oops
     before being taken in and arrested
     because they didn’t show their i.d. fast enough
You don’t really still think this is about race or
     race wars like the bigots and racists do, do you?
You don’t think the government had plans for this,
     their contingencies for “growing inequality” Can you say
     pharaohs and slaves, bitches? (No really, in mathematical terms
     you have to look at the modern world’s inequality in those terms
     or even larger)
That we live within a two tiered justice system
     that the effects of climate change have now been brutally calculated
You don’t think they’re worried
     that now the white shit, not just the brown and the black
     is starting to hit the fan
And you don’t think Ferguson Missouri is still
     just a small town in the middle of the country,
     do you?
What? you expect me to say that unless things
     change it’s your hometown next -
     it’s in your heart -
     it’s the whole damn world - boom?

maybe


Steve Lavigne runs a local poetry group in Champaign Illinois - cupoetry.com. It meets weekly to discuss, create and share poetry in order to build community through the power and practice of poetry.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SCREE

by Corinne Lee


“Earlier this summer, President Obama worried about the disappearing honeybee population and what it means for the nation’s food supplies. In a presidential memorandum, he announced plans for the creation of a ‘Pollinator Health Task Force’ to help save the honeybee. . . . Well, not to worry, amazing robotic bees the size of pennies might one day pollinate crops, ending all concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder within the next 15-20 years. At Harvard, researchers led by Robert Wood are developing RoboBees—a completely mechanical flying device loaded up with sensors and batteries that would fly from flower to flower, picking up and then depositing pollen the way a real honeybee would.” —Dominic Basulto, “New RoboBees show that the future of robotics is very, very small,” The Washington Post, August 7, 2014. (Image from a National Geographic video.)


As bees lose home
and gills stiffen     warming warming—

our hunger hardens
to a graspish Devonian

jig. Yakety yak, few talk
back and most rasp, grating forth

a decree: Come, warm as the dead,
let’s pick the bee-fish

from our breath like swill—
                                             
      and eat
                             and eat.


Author's note: This poem responds to last week’s news stories about the likelihood that RoboBees will pollinate crops within the decade, due to a lack of real bees. I was appalled by the exuberant stories about this possibility. It seems to me that our rapacious appetites—easy to witness in a scree of everything from overfishing to global warming—are now dangerously matched by technology’s equally rapacious desire to “remedy” the consequences. This complex zero sum game results in further losses, yet the best solution is simple and obvious: reduce consumption, quickly.


Corinne Lee’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in dozens of literary magazines, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. Her book PYX won the National Poetry Series and was published by Penguin. Lee was chosen in 2007 by the Poetry Society of America as one of the top ten emerging poets in the United States, and six of her poems were included in Best American Poetry 2010. She was educated at U.S.C., the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (fiction), and U.T. Austin (poetry).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

OCCUPIED LANGUAGE

by Chandramohan S


Graphic created at Simply The Best Fonts


The adjectives were abandoned
Suffixes and prefixes scrambled
Vowels lynched and hung upside down
Epithets beheaded
Remnants from shattered strings
Conjoined for a synthetic memory

The unoccupied portions on the
Map of alphabets resemble
A Hieroglyphic of colonial logic symbols,
The refugees flee through edited check-points
And seek asylum in an alien tongue
Bleaching through barbed wire fences of apartheid
Abbreviating their surnames and
Dislocating their punctuations
Silencing their phonetics in sound bytes
Stripping bare the sterile meat of
An evacuated language


Chandramohan S is an English poet based in India. His poems reflect the socio-political struggles of the marginalized, the working class and the nomadic outcasts of the world who are victimized and then forgotten as nations clash and wage relentless war. His work has been profiled and/or published in New Asia Writing, Mascara Literary Review, About Place Journal, Counter-Punch Poetry, Thump Print Magazine, The Sentinel, American Diversity Report, Poetry 24, Green Left Weekly.