THE DAY ANNIE PASSED AWAY by A.D. Winans

Posted in A.D. Winans with tags on August 15, 2016 by Scot

The day Annie passed way
I sat outside Martha’s Coffee Shop
In the heart of Noe Valley
A bird hopped up on to the table
And I fed it crumbs from my scone
And he hopped up on my hand
And gave me a puzzled look chirped
Three times and flew away

The day Annie passed away
I put on a Miles Davis record
Black Hawk 1962
And recalled the night
His magic drew me in
Like a tidal wave

The day Annie passed away
Jazz trumpets burst the eardrums
Like artillery fire
The four walls collapsing like
A row of dominoes

The day Annie passed away
A bank of clouds made their way
Across the sky like an armada of Viking ships
Set sail for Valhalla

The day Annie passed away
Bob Kaufman read a poem to God
A drummer threw his sticks at the moon

The day Annie passed away
God punched a hole in the dance card
One last time
Birds sang dogs barked cats purred
The day Annie passed away

all reason in stillness dies by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on August 3, 2016 by Scot

i sit in this monochrome room
nodding into the dusty half-light
that filters through air holes in the ceiling
my fists are down to the bone
from pointless pounding
against stone
my heart is wasting away
one burnt-out cell at a time
nothing in this gray box is real
not the bench where I sit
not the filthy
sweat-stained mattress
on the floor
not the now meaningless words
of defiance
scratched into concrete walls
ancient rallying cries
that once burned blood red
gone cold
as the nameless men
who breathed them

somewhere
a steel door slams
the “laughing man”
makes his way down the corridor
carrying his “tools of persuasion”

i have nothing of value to give up
i have become a “lab animal”
for the imagineers of torture
twisted men in white collars
who stand with the guards
& watch as the fat man
in the tan uniform
puts the puppet through his paces

when the blinding beam of light
is turned on my face
they expect a show
i will not let them down
there are no longer any limits
to my capacity for pain
i have learned to play out
the implications of my sacred role
in this comedy of suffering
every inquiry & response
from the repetitious interrogation
has been burned by time
into my brain

when prodded with the electric baton
i ask myself the standard questions
& reply with my usual denying answers
i am both the “inquisitor” & the “accused”
to prove to myself
that I still exist
i must hear
the sound of my voice…

“Prisoner number 99, where is your brother, Aali, the terrorist?”

“I do not know this man.”

“We will free you if you tell us where he is.”

“I have no brother.”

“99, are you not a religious fanatic and radical terrorist?

“No. I am a military veteran of this country and recepient of the “Silver Star.”

another searing jolt
i do not scream
i begin to cry
the idiot tears of a madman
the audience is amused
by this one-man inquisition
the fat man howls
with derisive laughter

i am a ghost in imaginary revolt
abiding
inside a bone-cold manhole
where no banners fly
no drums roll
no fires blaze
there are no dying screams
from the martyr
no holy names to invoke
all reason
in stillness dies
with only the wind
to howl
& lament its demise

  

 

I Am Ten by A. J. Huffman

Posted in A. J. Huffman on August 3, 2016 by Scot

legged spider, trying
to find balance in a three
legged world. I teeter on planes
pretending to be flat, knowing
it should not matter. My feet remain
sticky, but my hands are gone.
I am struggling to cling
to memories and mornings.
I watch them slip through the holes
in my makeshift web,
staining the carpet as if they were
my blood.

Life of a White Child by Helen Losse

Posted in Helen Losse with tags on August 3, 2016 by Scot

In the “Good Old Days”
when she was three,
Daddy slid down the pole
with her in his arms and
bought Juicy Fruit gum
from the firehouse machine
for them to share. Neither
Daddy nor Mummy told her
about the savage murder
and the dead family’s bodies
found stuffed down a well
not far from their house
that prompted Daddy
to find other work.

One day on the way home
from Jimmy’s Koffee Kup Kafe
where she got a single-scoop
of ice cream in flat-bottom cone,
Daddy talked with a black
motorcycle cop.
Like other five-year olds,
she’d never heard the word “lynch”
and certainly didn’t know blacks
had been “driven from town”
like cattle, packed
onto a north-bound train.

She never wondered,
even in high school,
why Joplin had so few black people.
She hadn’t read the books
or seen archived articles.

She lived the life of a white child,
her yoke light, moon-glittered
like the world beneath the stars.

illusionist by Bree

Posted in Bree with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

we sit on a bank covered in
sand after you covered me
in it. i smile despite the grit.
you are a part-time prudent
sort of snaking river charmer,
one hand on the basket, the
other on my breast. the
basket opens nevertheless,
like by some magic. inside
are two empty caskets.

GIVING UP THE GHOST by LYNNE SAVITT

Posted in LYNNE SAVITT with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

 

for a.m.

did you get the card for the memorial
our friend, noel, “celebration of a life
most thoughtfully lived” what will they
say about us i ask you as we raise
martini glasses & light a joint looking
at photos of all our old lovers eleven
boxes in the decades we’ve known each
other’s lovers cowboys, convicts, poets,
professors, artists, mechanics, doctors,
chefs, motorcycle racers, an indian chief
& an actor we never thought this day would
come as you are to the service for once
illuminating beauty but dulled by wind &
sun mapped faces once juicy as our sex lives
now dry as feet we cream with aloe & shea
butter me up with kind words praising a life
of thoughtless pursuit & dwindling resources
oh, but the sweet memory & exaggeration of
love lies in stories bloated purple with details
how gentle & obsessed he was, how virile &
devoted our tales become classic swill but
our mirrors don’t lie look at us corpses in
training big red smears for mouths never
close the coffin & sing me a dirge wrap me
in gold-flecked red velvet use movie camera
to capture event i promise if you go first i’ll
take the sea green tulle & sequined scallop
shells float you on a gardenia covered kayak
either way, sweet pal, don’t let the legends
fade crying old lovers pulled from graves &
life to mourn us most dramatically queens
of poetry & passion may we live forever

Listening All Alone To Deep Purple In A Pittsburg Bar (Kansas, That Is) by Jason Ryberg

Posted in Jason Ryberg with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

-as texted to the author (more or less) by Al Ortolani

Well, there’s the bartender, of course,
pouring me another drink
even though I’ve still got one
in front of me (half full and un-paid for),
and there’s big screen tvs to the front,
rear, left and right of me (no escape,
apparently, so I guess I better just
deal with it and have another drink)
and Stevie Nicks is silently dancing
in all her ‘80s, gypsy-black, gauzy,
gossamer glory (Lord, just send me
Stevie in my dreams and maybe
keep all mamas and babies safe
for atleast one more day) and now
the Red Hot Chili Peppers
are really funkin’ and rockin’ out
and the Dodgers and the Angels
have hit the 7th inning (at 7 to 7,
no shit, guess we’ll see who gets
lucky tonight) and the Goodyear blimp
is in retrograde as the ghost of Kurt Cobain
is coming to us live and unplugged
(did he really mean to unplug and
sign off for good when he had his
ultimate dark moment of dispair or
was there something else going on there?)
and I could use another drink about now
and the bartender has been MIA for sometime
and the conspicuous odor of pot smoke
is wafting from the men’s room (seriously,
am I the only one noticing this!?)
and there’s an old gal who looks
a lot like my mother (unnervingly so,
in fact, like separated-at-birth similar)
saying HELLO!? HELLO!? into the payphone
and now some old boy is moaning
the Medicare blues, bent over the trashcan
by the backdoor with a bloody nose,
who, it turns out is an old harp player
I used to know, as he sits down on
the bar stool next to me (vodka on the rocks)
like nothing ever happened (pretty sure
we chased a possum together down Broadway
one night in 1995 behind the Stillwell Hotel)
and I say Hey man, you’re part of my poem!
Bending his ear lower and closer to me,
he says I had a feelin.

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