Gifts Ungiven by Nathanael William Stolte

Posted in Nathanael William Stolte with tags on December 1, 2016 by Scot

 

When I was 15, Zack de la Rocha told me with a whisper
Your anger is a gift
I didn’t understand what he was giving me
I didn’t understand what this meant
But I liked the way it sounded
Still do
His words have stayed with me through the decades

When I was 25, Vic Ruggiero told me
Every day the human race is
filling me with more disgrace
This I understood
These words have been a mantra
As I’ve trudged in heavy boots
Through a cringe-worthy world

When I was 35, she asked me
Why don’t you write love poems
Or poems about nature?

Darling,
Every poem I write is a love poem
While Mother slowly dies
Everything I do is an expression of love

Look around—
This place
The way we treat one another
The way we value
Imaginary assets &
Fiscal idolatry
Over bodies
Over trees

Is a maddening disgrace
That shames us all

The modern day Atlantis is in the
Pacific Ocean
It’s made of North American rubbish
It’s not getting any smaller
Toxic algae blooms
Choke the coastal beaches

It is said that by 2050
There will be more
Plastic in the oceans
Than fish

When Her last hummingbird
Fills the air with its final poetry
Will we regret what we’ve swapped?

When the last great whale
Washes ashore
With a belly full of plastic
Will it curse us with its final breath?

So yeah,
This is a love poem
And I am angry
And it’s a gift

the burning american by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags , on November 30, 2016 by Scot

(or “citizenship lost”)

the pitchless hum
of an idling greyhound
combines with the suffocating
fumes of diesel fuel
to soak the night air
with noisy poison
a homeless veteran
sits crumpled like lost luggage
outside the brownsville
bus depot
one of those forgotten people
living a half-life
just beyond anybody’s caring
hard times & places
chiseled on his face
like engravings
in a tombstone—
he’s wearing
a faded military field jacket
a large patch
is sewn across the back
an upside-down
american flag
engulfed in flames

two hollow eyes
look blankly
past the human caravan
moving along
with its assured sense
of destination
there’s a wrinkled
square of cardboard
at his side—a kind of
faded-brown, contemporary
american business card
the fractured graffiti
“out of work”
scrawled across the front
one look
at this burning american
& you know he’s finished
the whole story
is right there in his eyes—
like looking
at the floor of the ocean
he glances up at me
as if i could save him

preface by Jameson Bayles

Posted in Jameson Bayles with tags , on November 28, 2016 by Scot

when your entertainment comes in a can
and you realize that your can opener is broken,
and your dog ate your church key because your resume was stale,
and you realize that the campaign ads that haunt you in your dreams
are nothing more than discontinued lean cuisine casseroles
that you have burnt in your microwave while you mulled over
your third eviction notice
and you are too tired
too drunk
too crunked
too oversexed
too under sexed
too lack of free sex
too sodium free
too fat free
too gluten free
too GMO free
too condoms free for college freshman
too sleazy
to sleepy
to dopey
to grumpy
to anti-Trumpy
to care
and you watch digital dialogues transverse your social media status update
and no one really sees the lighthouse in your mind among the tsunami of
insanity
and you watch the ebb and tide of twitter feeds, Instagram likes, snap chat face
swaps and you have purged these recycled conversations without comment
and you watch food bank lines en mass despair, plasma centers donate lifelines to
the forgotten dreams of childhood that hashtag fightforfifteen merely drowns
and you watch suicide/depression ward lobbies weep and moan
during the ethereal silence of man
and you watch the unrehearsed screams of poverty
and you watch
and you watch
and you watch
so no
no
I don’t
watch
reality
TV.

____________
jameson-2Jameson Bayles is a roving correspondent for Poetrybay and his work has been published in numerous literary journals and magazines; most recently in Poems-For-All, Hedgerow, The Ambriel Revolution, Thirteen Myna Birds and on Rumrazor.com. He has been published in ten books. Currently, his work can be found in the collaborative reader “A Case For Ascension” (Asinimali Publications, 2015), the 2016 Hessler Street Poetry Fair Anthology (Crisis Chronicles Press) and “Delirious- A Poetic Celebration of Prince” (Night Ballet Press, 2016). His book “legends of doe hoe” will be published in 2017. Jameson resides in Kansas City, Missouri

 

A boxcar in July by Sissy Buckles

Posted in Sissy Buckles with tags , on November 28, 2016 by Scot

 

In the 60s we were babies
her son and me now it’s 1988
and 5AM dawning in his
mother’s living room
“a poem is some remembering”
said Robert Bly and I’m
trying my best not to look
at a strange fat man’s
naked tootsies
on the spotless rug
in Rancho Bernardo
the community part of the
old Mexican land grant
issued in 1842
Conrad’s heart of darkness
in pink wake-up feet
clean socks and loafers
a powder blue striped leisure suit
with a matching pastel matron
upright dummies picking teeth
in a vinyl booth
smeared with Denny’s
coffee shop grease
from the senior starter
eggs/hash browns
underdone soggy white toast
rancid margarine
en route to the Tijuana aeropuerto
and a flight to Acapulco
chauffeuring his well-bred
mom & her beau taking a
vacation to visit our friendly
neighbors in the south
I forgot my beaded handbag
bought at Purple Heart Thrift Store
in her locked car
w/the bumper sticker
‘a woman’s place is in the mall’
the old mans’ wet
strawberry slicked lips
hanging open
amazed
that his house in Peñasquitos
was broken into twice
a year to the day
almost apart
now he keeps his Cadillac
in the garage to guard
against birdy doodoos and
dirty day labor illegal
migrants living in the nearby
hills & arroyos with their
thieving plastic bags —
in the newspaper I’d read about
eighteen of them involved in
what the authorities called
a bungled smuggling attempt
and violently perishing in a
locked steel-walled boxcar
they boarded at El Paso
90 miles northwest
of Sierra Blanca on the
brutal Texas-Mexican border
the guy supposed to
unlock it at the end of the line
missed his queue while
fierce120 degree heat
sizzled their lungs
dirty nails claw iron sides
convulsions
shitting
screams
fighting each other for air
a lousy peso a job a hamburger
some goddamn fucking hope
the 19th survived by desperately
punching a hole in the
floor to breathe —
he keeps big grey boxer shorts
under his widow girlfriends’
bathroom sink
along with his favorite treat
oreo ice-cream sandwich cookies
raw w/freezer burn
in the gigantic new fridge
her son and me made it
kneeling cum spots on her
silk brocade couch
among Illinois farmwives
knick-knacks preserved
without dust on the shelves
homecrafted dolls and crystal
handed down if I had a bomb
I would blow up R.B.
all this kink
is getting me nowhere.

When … by D. A. Pratt

Posted in D. A. Pratt with tags , on November 28, 2016 by Scot

When …
was America ever great?
The slogan on the hat
has me wondering …
the hats with the slogan
will soon be buried
in the sands of time –
Shelley’s Ozymandias
comes to mind …

Powerful … yes … but
when was the United States
of America ever great?
What qualifies as greatness?
I guess it’s in the eyes
of the beholders – as usual …

I want to say that Americans
have been “at their best”
from time to time …
definitely … many times …
but not as often as some
would want everyone to believe –
this too is all about perspective …

And Shelley’s Ozymandias
keeps coming to mind …

CHASING THE GREEN CARD by Mather Schneider

Posted in Mather Schneider with tags , on November 27, 2016 by Scot

It is absurd
what men have made
of life:
this government office
tucked away in a low rent warehouse district
behind a run-down McDonald’s
where the bitch security guard
makes you take off your belt
and shoes
and give her all your things
and walk through the metal detector
like a portal to
hell:
the big room with 60 chairs lined up
and not a single person
not a plant
or a picture
nothing on the walls
no windows
not a single piece of lint on the carpet
no water allowed
no food, they barely
allow air.
And you sit with your Mexican wife
and wait for the door to open
and the little mousy government official
to poke his head out
and mispronounce your names
(but don’t correct him, god!)
and usher you into his
tiny office, again
no windows, nothing on the white walls
but oppression, righteousness
and a military calendar.
And in this tiny room you will beg
for leniency, for him
to let your wife stay in this country
beg him to believe you are really
in love
that you are good people who just want to live
together and be happy
to live a simple life
without trouble, that you didn’t ask
for this to happen
she didn’t ask to be born
in Mexico with no money, she didn’t ask
to have hope
and courage
and you didn’t ask to meet her and fall in love
and if you can’t properly define
what it means for two human beings
to need each other, he will
tear your life apart.
And you will watch his face
for any signs of compassion
and see none, no smile, nothing
just nods at your answers
as he makes his little checkmarks and notes
on a paper
and looks at a computer screen
you can’t see
and this man who has lied 20 times already that day
will judge you both immoral
and unworthy
and point to a tiny paragraph
in a 1,000 page law book
as proof.
When it’s over
he says you will never see him again
and you will receive notice
in the mail, yes or no, yes or
no
maybe in a week, maybe a month
maybe the post-person
will lose the fucking thing, maybe it will get
sent to your asshole
neighbor.
If your request is denied, what then? you ask
as your wife begins to cry
and he looks at you as if that is a
stupid question.
She will have to go back
to Mexico, he says, so calm
so absurd, so easy
as he sips his water from a clear bottle
and shows you the door
as if you’ve forgotten where it was
and that’s it:
he’s got his paycheck, it’s
Friday
he’ll have his pension
at age 55
he’ll go to Puerto Vallarta
for vacation
and give the poor beggar children
pennies
and think nothing absurd
about it.
You want to kill him and wonder
who is more insane
him or you
which is more absurd
his life or yours
and you leave the building
and stand in the sun
and hug your wife
as she cries.
There’s still hope, you say
pulling her closer.
And so you wait, which is what you’ve been
doing for 2 years
all your life it seems
the small man who has no power and so must
say to himself things like
“roll with the punches” and
“be like water”
and “love your fate”
but the truth is
it hurts:
this absurdity
this waiting
without knowing
what will happen to you.

Thump by Wayne F. Burke

Posted in Wayne F. Burk with tags , on November 27, 2016 by Scot

a loud THUMP on the door of
liberty
has splintered the wood,
shattered the glass;
the barbarians are at the gate:
the alarm sent too late,
Alaric in the driver’s seat
and boots tramping on varnished floors…
A seismic shift and
spin and axis altered–
a redneck win
hick victory
evangelical triumph–
the looting of the shrines begins–
the Know Nothings, disavowed by the Republic
in the 19th century
have arisen from the dead
and the country trembles.