Thursday, August 15, 2019

Optomotor

I’m watching a creature who watches a screen
a watchman who watches and knows what he’ll mean
when they ask and he tells, and he tells and they ask
about purpose that’s pickled in each daily task

And the music of quicksand like metal will melt
when the crucibles bellow the furies they felt 
They say it’s for knowledge, but knowing is cheap
I can know the whole world if I get enough sleep

A moron can learn all past works of the dead
and still in the present have shit in his head
To understand anything is to understand less
so damn all deductions and let’s make a guess
or profess our stupidity, straight and sincere
find clarity clearly in all that’s unclear

So, do I believe this? Eh, I don’t know
It could be that today is especially slow
I oft throw off caution and except what I mean
when I’m watching a creature who’s watching a screen



© James Cole, 2019





Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Gloves

I am a frustrated compulsive shopper.
Without regard for the announced Christmas sale,
I buy a pile of colorful gloves to soothe myself.

Gray woolen gloves,
blue dress gloves,
green leather gloves,
red rubber gloves,
clear surgical gloves,
white wedding gloves,
and a couple of mittens.

I lost my gray gloves in my American history class, 
when I grasped that Cherokee has not always been a brand name,
but women and children sent away in winter with their bare hands.

I lost my blue dress gloves when my boyfriend married my best friend.
They honeymooned in Paris and adopted an abandoned child.

I lost my green leather gloves in a hospice
where my dying father told me that he didn’t love me.

I lost my red rubber gloves in my new boyfriend’s kitchen
when it became clear that he treasured me as a cook.

I lost my clear surgical gloves in the operating room 
when I decided to stop hurting dogs.

I kept my white wedding gloves 
because my granddaughter loves to play with them,
and I gave her the mittens to keep her hands warm
because this is the only thing 
I can do to make her happy on this cold day.


© Helen Kanevsky, 2018

ANTORINI luxury gloves,
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 22, 2019

St. Agatha Waits for Peter


The National Gallery, Edinburgh, 2015

It’s true. I did not need 
them, the mounds of flesh 
where my children should have 
fed, their milkteeth nibbling 
cracked skin, suckling little drops of 
blood with every gulp of milk. 
Still, as I lie bleeding, 
my breasts carried away in a bowl 
(perhaps given to a hungry dog)
I want them back. I send a prayer 
like a stumbling child to heaven. 
I wait in the blooming red.

           ©️  Ellie White, 2016

(First published by |tap| magazine, 2016)

The martyrdom of St. Agatha
by a follower of C. Welcome
from Wikimedia Commons



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Rain

When I rain
I rain on plastic tents
stretched over heating vents
where the homeless sleep on cold nights
in the cold, cold cities.

In southern towns
I pound tin roofs—
slanting shanty roofs
across the railroad tracks.
There I drum a slum song
to children asleep in one bed.

Under the bridge,
an old man in a dirty sleeping bag
slips into a drunken doze.
He dreams of better days
when he was a young buck,
dancing like rain
on top of the world.


© Peg Latham,  1993

Rain in Kolkata
Photo by Monster eagle
from Wikimedia Commons



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Persist, Resist: 2019, Facing Evil

I will not cease from Mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green & pleasant land.
-----Willian Blake
(To be human in a hurt world is to evolve from being a tear because aware to
being a wound seeking others hurt by terror to becoming ash yet we revive to in peace resist)

Once we were a walking teardrop
Though we shone while we thought.
Then we were a walking wound
Wound wooing other wounds
Wound aiding other wounds
Wound asking other wounds
"Are you truly a wound too?"
Now we are ashes moaning with memory--
Are ashes anything other than moans?
Yet love exists even in ashes
Love may persist even in ashes.
May the Phoenix be formed
Out of our ashes
Whose feathers flash through the air
Like Blakean blades!


      © Stephen Margulies, 2019

"The Garden of Love," by William Blake
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Queen of the Damned

Shhh
I’m only going to say this once
While the god of doves
Sleeps behind a rusted-out Buick
While it’s rained from dawn till dusk

I pulled the bow back and settled
The arrow in the heart
Of the queen of the damned
Her minions rolled forward and vanished
Her black eyes closed

She left instructions for burial
In a far west mausoleum which followed
The arc of the setting sun
But I thought it best to leave her
For the dogs of the night

It rained from dawn till dusk
And then a crescent moon held Venus 
At the end Bonnie and Clyde were slaughtered
By Texas Rangers and Louisiana police
Twenty thousand attended

I made my way back to Manhattan
I made my way back to the city called home
I removed my boots and my clothing
And laid in a hot bath till the water turned cold
I stood and dried my bruised body

While the god of doves slept
While the queen of the damned attracted vultures
I put on a blue robe and lit a cigarette
Watching the crowded street
Through my sixty-seventh floor window

The phone rang
I let it
It stopped but then rang again
I got into bed and pulled the covers to my chin
And while the phone rang over and over
Fell asleep


© Phillip Marlin, 2019

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Photo 1932 - 1934
Available through the Library of Congress
from Wikimedia Commons



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Noble and Sentimental

Eight-thirty.  It’s dark in the room 
at my daughter’s house. Just across 
a blackened lawn the Quaker church 
glows—eight double windows 
blazing bright.  Twelve people pair 
as partners face-to-face, one hand 
on a shoulder, another at a waist, 
two clasped firm, held up high. 
Six couples move, flow over the floor, 
ONE two-three, ONE two-three, 
gliding out of sight, back in view,
out of sight. No music permeates 
the night, silence separates them 
from me. But dresses whirl, couples 
twirl, shoes barely brush the floor.  
I can hear my last waltz so long
ago—Strauss, maybe Ravel.  Lord, 
let me dance this fleeting life.

© Martha E. Snell, 2019

A couple dancing
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov
Originally posted on Unsplash;
from Wikimedia Commons