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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jo Balistreri ----- Three new poems

Walking with the Wild

As I make my way to ocean’s edge,
the sea raises its voice.
The wind puts its mouth to my ear.
Along the shore, a graveyard market
for vultures: snook, grouper, jack, jellies,
one immense loggerhead.
Gulls skirl, keening part of the salt-
stippled air. Against the jetty,
waves chew into stone.

To walk with the wild is to slough off
the tangle and puff—the week’s gabble
of words, political, honeyed words that slide
off the tongue—to dump the head rush
against groaning buoys, into the slash and slice
of tides. Here where words do not exist,
the mind stretches and swells,

surges with the billowing waves.

In late afternoon, a woman watches time move
through the landscape from her perch in the tree house.
A breeze swishes incantations among dappled leaves
            and stalks of goldenrod,
ferries the chit and chatter of squirrels across the pond.

            Songs of cardinals, grosbeaks, and a wood thrush
ring from the nearby woods. Finches at the feeder
            sing the melting color of butter.

In this liquid song, when day’s not quite night,
            when the earth is charged with presence,
the sun rests on treetops. A lone leaf spirals down.

            Blue shadows begin to creep across lawns,
amethyst crowns the tonsured hills in the distance.

            Everything quiets even the barking dog.                   
In this liminality of stretched borders,

in the rousing final movement of the sun’s syzygy
with the moon, something wondrous happens,

and the awe we never lost as children reappears,
elemental, inexhaustible.

Musing in the Tree House

To be where you are
To wait and watch
as a huge oak leaf
dives from the tree’s
highest branch
to a current that ferries it
to another shore  
where snagged
by the screen
the leaf tugs against wire mesh
loosens its tip
turns sideways
and falls to the sill
where autumn breath gives it wing
among murmuring leaves and 
dappled shadow
Where everything moves
like a Pollack painting
all is silent

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Two new poems from George Held


The photo shows me sitting in the old
Jewish cemetery behind my office

At Charles University, not far
From where gothic Charles Bridge

Crosses Vltava, on a sunny fall day,
And I am well aware about six layers

Of dead Jews are stacked below me
Because the Christian Czechs forbade

The burial ground from expanding
Beyond this space in the dense ghetto—keep

The Jews in their place—before they were rousted
And shipped to the extermination camps

By the Nazis under General Heydrich,
Who declared from his office in Prague Castle,

High above the other side of the river,
“We will Germanize the Czech vermin,”

Who had built this magnificent city
In concentric circles around Romanesque

VyŇ°ehrad Castle, making it a living
Museum of European architecture.

A friend took this picture of New World me
Sitting in the heart of Old World Prague. 

Weather Alert

     “Thunderstorms have also been observed on Jupiter and Venus.”

Imagine that! Heavy weather
In the solar system but no
Busted umbrellas or downed trees,
No power outages on gleaming
Venus or giant Jupiter
With its Great Red Spot.

All the while, blue Earth
Rumbles and roars with thunder
And lightning, torrential rains,
Hail as big as golf balls,
And floods that would merrily
Float Noah’s boat away.

Yet the drought grows ever
More perilous in California
And the old Dust Bowl states,
Where there’s no water for irrigation,
Crops fail, food prices rise,
And the quest for oil and gas
Intensifies like that televised tornado
Bearing down on your lonesome house.

 George Held

Saturday, October 10, 2015

David Fewster ------ two poems


I remember Patrick McCabe,
Sort of a cross between Charles Baudelaire and
a young John Waters
(Bart Baxter called him “the mascara man”)
climbed the stage for his set at Red Sky Poetry Theatre.
Patrick’s oeuvre had one unifying theme—
The Poet Sorely Abused By Crass Society.
His piece this evening opened with the pronouncement
“Being a Poet is like
 Banging your head against a Brick Wall.”
Then he walked stage left and proceeded
to bang his head against Squid Row’s brick wall.
About a half-dozen times.
He finished the poem somewhat woozily
with a very red forehead.

And it was then I realized
that a literary vocation might be
More Strenuous than I had imagined.

(with a nod to Gregory Corso’s “Bomb”)

O Citizens United
Everyone hates you.
They say you are ugly
And Fascist.
They call you
And no one will dance with you.
They don’t understand
Your true nature.
One billion dollar the Koch Bros.
Promise to spend.
Where does this money go?
Advertising revenue for your local
TV, Radio & Newspaper outlets.
Print shops run by uncles and aunts
For flyers and posters.
Party supply stores for
Multi-colored balloons
And confetti.
Bakeries and donut shops
For delegate’s snacks.
And when corrupt scumbags
Skim and embezzle funds,
Who gets burned?
The Koch Brothers!
S’alright—they can afford it.
43 million for the Scott Walker campaign.
We have that money now.

They used to say that War
Was a good way to boost
The Economy.
Thanks to you, Citizens United,
We can change that.
And no one was ever napalmed
Mailing in a ballot.
Citizens United,

I love you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apologies to Lorca -------- Koon Woon

Apologies to Lorca

I am in a city without time
Where food and sex are squeezed out of tubes.

The three friends ascend the green balustrade
To view the changeless sea from the balcony,
Concluding with infinite sadness
That beneath the green, green waters, fathoms
Deep, lie early sunken Greek ships with corroding

I am in a house without a number,
Where food and sleep come at unpredictable hours.

Maria hides behind the purple curtains
As the three friends descend the balustrade,
Talking of white horses with black manes
And comparing the saddle to the mantle piece.

By and by came Lorca himself speaking sadly to his friends:
“Mocitoes, if I can, this house is your house,
And your horse is my horse,
But I am no longer I and my house is no longer my house.”

The three friends bid the old man adios
And vanished in the Andalusian air.
It is said that sadly from Maria’s green, green eyes,
Silver tears began to flow
As the moon climbs further with the night.

I am in a city without a name, galloping
On a horse from the high mountain pass,
heading toward the water, where the silvery streaks
In the moonlight tell of countless sorrows
In a note in a bottle with the script of the Chinese Empress
That no one can read.
Finding the bottle and leaving it remaining on the beach,
The three friends gallop now to another city,
Another city without time,
As the waves undulant, undulant roll in.
Beneath these fathoms of green, green water,
Lie sunken ships with useless treasures.

Koon Woon