Archive for poetry

IT’S GOTTA BE AOC by Marc Janssen

Posted in Marc Janssen with tags on June 29, 2020 by Scot

Foxes newest bogeyman
Of course not a member of the clan,
Catcher her catch her, if you can
This darling of C-SPAN
Makes Hannity look like a caveman
A madman
Just keep dishing that garbage, man.

She just got there they whine
Obsess about her hem line
Confused she’s not a concubine
Don’t understand the green lifeline
Blow up and keep stepping on that landmine
Not bowing to a dollar sign
Or mainline
Made a cutout of her next to the “Socialist breadline.”

Every day’s another slight
Another note that she’s not that white
More from the deranged alt right parasite,
More from the slant-head luddite,
More from the establishment snakebite-
To them she’s kryptonite
She a Jacobite, a blazing light, a frigging muscovite
But the reality is, she’s smart, integrity and up to the fight.

I NEVER STOPPED by John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on June 29, 2020 by Scot

The letters would arrive,
I’d see the insignia of the
prison stamped all over:
he could barely read or
write and it must have
been a challenge for him
and he’d write with
irregularity: the letters
are simple, open and
direct: ‘God bless you
John’ he’d end all the
letters, though he held
no theological faith:
the letters were full of
promises and wishes
and sentiment, broken
repeatedly but I never
stopped loving him,
his was my father,
I got to know him
during my late teens,
we drank and fought
and had many wild
adventures:
I hold the letters now,
like one would a
small injured bird
in the cradle of
a hand,
I can feel it’s pulse
it’s spirit
it’s energy
to fly once again.

hart island by Jack Henry

Posted in Jack Henry with tags on June 29, 2020 by Scot

i picked the wrong year
to quit drinking;
to quit snorting speed;
to quit cheating on my taxes,
to quit being narcissistic,
(although i may keep that one.)

2020 started off
w/promise, w/a
cash payout on
a debt repaid,
w/optimism &
hope, & a tattoo
that didn’t need
to be reworked.

2020 started off
w/a blowjob on
New Year’s Eve, a
half dozen new
friendships, an
opportunity for
advancement in
a career i didn’t
want.

2020 started off
w/a new house
in Arizona,
finally moving
from meager living,
finally catching
dragons that had
eluded me
so long.

now i find myself
crying as i watch
drone video of
the burials on
Hart Island.

i think we all picked
the wrong year
to be anything
other than this.

Four Poems by Wendy Rainey

Posted in Wendy Rainey with tags on June 25, 2020 by Scot

Shine

Thank you, woman in the dented Buick,
pulling up to me
in the lot at Stater Bros. Market,
as I was tying a bandana around my face.
Your braids piled high in a colorful scarf,
wedding-ringedhand
pulling a pair of latex gloves
from a diaper bag,
handing them to me out your window.
“Ya might want these.”

The rest of the day
I thought about the dark circles
under your eyes,
the photos of your daughter
on your dashboard,
and the way the sun
caught the gems in your dangling earrings,
making them sparkle
and shine.

____________

Daily Constitutional

She’s hunched over like a U-turn,
pushing her walker
down the deserted boardwalk.
Wrap around sunglasses,
pimped hoodie,
bling sweats,
polka-dot Nike’s
with glittering soles.
I adjust her mask,
grab another from my bag,
pull the straps over my head,
sunglasses covering
the rest of my face.

We walk past empty restaurants
and silent bars.
A congregation of gulls
have taken over the patio
of a popular fish joint.
She waves me over,
pointing at a tattooed man
in his underwear,
sprawled on a table,snoring.
I shake my head,
“Not my type, Margaret.”
The boats on the marina are still,
except for a yacht
blasting Margaritaville.
The smell of pot
hangs on the breeze.

A young couple approaches,
wearing backpacks,
bandanas covering their faces.
Spotting us,
they turn around,
disappear into the mist
rolling in from the ocean.

I look at my watch,
“Time for your pill, Marge.”
She grabs the prescription bottle from my hand,
tosses it over the railing,
pulls off her mask,
drops it in the sand.
“How ‘bout a cigarette instead?”

We sit on a bench facing the harbor.
The sun is a flaming orange ball
sinking into the ocean.
“My husband and I used to park the Eldorado
in that lot,
watch the sunset,
and screw for hours.”
Smiling, she takes a drag from her smoke.
“He had the windows tinted
so no one could see us.”

A flock of Canada Geese flies over our heads
in “V” formation.
The squawking so loud
we can barely hear our own shrieks.
Gaping, we watch them fly
into the fire ball,
escaping into a blood red sky.

____________

Hoarder’s Room of Shame

Had two shots of whiskey at 8:00 am
before waiting in line half an hour
to buy tuna and beans at Target.
Couldn’t wait to get home
and stack the cans in my dark little room.
My hoarder’s room of shame.
Alphabetized the beans,
built a castle
with water bottles
and toilet paper
next to the Campbell’s soup installation.
Couldn’t help myself,
took out my secret bottle of hand sanitizer,
unscrewed the top,
and inhaled the “Mountain Breeze.”
Nearly wet myself
when I scored a 40 lb bag of brown rice at Costco.
Dragged it into my den of degradation,
savoring the heftiness of my prize.

Watched the news last night.
Crops tilled under,
vats of raw milk poured down the drain,
pig killers infected,
processing plants closing.
People lined up
for twelve hours
in their cars
at food banks
that run out of food.
Nursing homes hiding bodies
in sheds.
Skating rinks turned into
morgues.
And I’m thinking I should’ve grabbed
that last flat of pork chops
at the market yesterday.

I fell asleep in my hovel of fear
and deprivation.
Dreamt about animal flesh
roasting in fire
inside of a pit
that led to a secret tunnel
connected to my hoarder’s room of shame.

Woke up to CNN blaring on the tube.
Between Cialis commercials
and death toll reports,
are plugs thanking
the essential workers.
No one gave a damn
about grocery store clerks,
bus drivers,
postal workers,
a month ago.
But now the people
who risk their lives
by going to their low-paying jobs,
are heroes,
while the rest of us
sit on the couch,
streaming Tiger King.

From my palace of toilet paper
and beans,
I watch crowds of people clapping
and cheering from balconies
all over the world.
A nurse on Zoom is shaking and crying.
“We’re all in this together”
the anchorman says,
his white teeth gleaming.
But thousands die alone everyday.
The poor are dying alone.
The old are dying alone.
The nursing home staff are dying alone.
Even doctors
who drive $100,000 sports cars
are dying alone.

I scan the headlines:
“FORMER LABRADOODLE BREEDER HEADS PANDEMIC TASK FORCE”
“TRUMP CLAIMS INJECTION OF LYSOL KILLS COVID-19”
This is not the apocalypse
I had hoped for.
Retreating into my echo chamber of rage
and doom,
I am counting the bottles of Jack Daniels
I bought at Costco,
stacking them next to
the stun gun,
the pepper spray,
and the baseball bat.

In my cave of foreboding,
my little hole of dread,
I fall asleep on a mountain
of triple-ply toilet paper,
dreaming about what will happen next
when the thin veil of civility
is finally flushed away.

____________

Real Men Don’t Wear Masks

The world pities us,
hog-tied,
gagged,
and saddled
with a cheap grifter
spreading a deadly virus.

Odd that a germophobe
who perpetually
washes his hands,
hates coughing,
has been on a campaign for years
to stop hand shaking,
would refuse to wear a mask
in the thick of a global pandemic.

Why the mixed messages?
Because real men take risks.
Real men revolt.
Real men are rugged individuals.
The rules do not apply to real men
-at least not the white ones-
Real men don’t wear masks.

Not to mention
his campaign promises,
infantile gibberish
about sweeping the country
of people of color,
and now
the poor,
the old.

Waking up this morning,
turning on the news,
pummeled by the daily rantings
of an unhinged derelict
tweeting conspiracy theories,
tantrums and quackery.

Unnerved at the grocery store
to see half the consumers
without masks.
Two men in a brawl
when one of their wives
asks the other to back up in produce.
One leaves
using his bandana to wipe the blood
streaming down his nose,
while the other screeches his pickup
throughthe parking lot,
bare-faced, fist shaking,
an American flag on his bumper.

Rattled at work
while rolling a wheelchair patient
throughher beach neighborhood.
A block party in progress.
Blonde hair and freckles laughing in the sunshine.
Tanned torsos,
barbequed chicken,
and volleyball in the street.
Pandemic?What pandemic, dude?

Fell asleep
in front of the tube.
Dreamt of a bug
invading host bodies,
multiplying and duplicating.
Its fanged mouths
suckling brains,
noshingon flesh.
Its tentacles milking scrotums,
invading vulvas,
starving hearts.

Woke up at midnight
to a special report.
Newscaster looking into the teleprompter,
“The world has loved, hated,
envied us.
And for the first time in history
the world pities us.
The world pities us.”

Blackbird by Charlie Brice

Posted in Charlie Brice with tags on June 24, 2020 by Scot

 

A knee broke
the blackbird’s neck
but now knees contract
in contrition and
street curbs weep.

Broken, he flies over
400 years of stay put,
400 years of moneychangers
desecrating our country
with his people’s chains;
he flies over hate, shame, division,
across the demesne of white privilege,
to bring us day, sun, warmth—
change.

His midnight song is gone.
Like MLK he won’t
get there with us,
but he leads us
to the far-side
of freedom,
to the soul missing
from the cop’s shoe.

The eye of a needle is small.
George Floyd threads it for us all,
threads it still,
for some things
you can’t kill.

Three poems by Jason Baldinger

Posted in Jason Baldinger with tags on June 23, 2020 by Scot

the eyes of the world
(for billy wilder’s sunset boulevard)

skip tracers
repo men
and the corpses
at the morgue
sing the tune
st louis blues

hey betty schaffer
you ought been told
william holden is a coward
he’s sidewaysswimming
slippery fuckin’ eel

the eyes of the whole world
knew gloriaswanson
they memorized her matinees
lost everything but her eyes

a microphone drop
shatters depression glass
she never left 1932
a ghostfinds voice
a facesalomecan never forget

three shots
the body slips
staggers into the pool
water turns to blood

shedoesn’t know it
this moment
is the perfect precipice
the moment before
how much was lost

the last second
before crescendo
before lights
everything still
the eyes of the whole world

____________

when hope is on life support

there was planet
on the playground
big and small holes
children pop through
a game of wack-a-mole
the ever-present smell of piss

that planet is gone
no more pisspants
no more brutalist concrete
seventies playgrounds

now people get married here
I’ve been to a couple
mostly because I always know
the exact right time
to play purple rain

tonight, punk rock babies
are taking pictures
of their miata
in the shadow of observatories

a 79 bonneville hangs a left
beeping horns for familiar
faces, time goes out
of focus, it’s 83 perhaps
waiting on my father’s tan
plymouth fury to turn
around the cul de sac
then wheeze into park

that car was a beast
abandoned to three flat tires
forgotten after my father’s death

my mother finally sold
the fury in 86, for a benjamin
seed pods falling into snow
as the tow truck took it away

it was a cold day
off from school
I shoveled snow
drank hot cocoa

the same kind
of mid-eighties winter
day in the rust belt
when hope is on life support
and rockets fall out of the sky

____________

 

working poor pretend

I didn’t have anything
smaller, so I put a twenty
in the dollar changer
at the laundromat

it rained quarters
nearly a full minute
I was rich during that time
all that silver drained out
over a slot machine eternity

this is working poor pretend

Two Poems by William Taylor Jr

Posted in William Taylor Jr. with tags on June 20, 2020 by Scot

The Endings of Things

I was on Geary Street waiting for a bus
and a few feet from the stop there was a guy
on the sidewalk yelling

at the passenger side window of an idling car,
the shape of a woman in the driver’s seat.

Let me in, he yelled,
I promise I won’t talk about it anymore!

I didn’t like the way the guy was dressed
or the sound of his voice, so I imagined his transgressions
and condemned him accordingly.

Open the goddamned door, he yelled,
I told you I won’t talk abut it anymore!

He hit the window a few times with the palm of his hand.
The door didn’t open, but the car didn’t move.

I didn’t know the facts, maybe the driver
was completely at fault, but I very much wanted
to see the car speed away and leave him there,
seething in his backwards baseball cap.

I sensed my bus stop brethren were of a similar mind.

After a few minutes more of his yelling and pounding
the door finally opened and he climbed inside.

The yelling continued as the car sped off.

All of us bus stop people turned away, disappointed,
as usual, at the endings of things.

People are weak and the bus was already
7 minutes late so I just walked.

_____________

What the Radio Says

 

Don’t, as they say,
kill the messenger,
but I am here to
gently remind you
that Jesus isn’t
coming back,
and what if he did?

I might also mention
that no matter what
the radio says,
love is not enough,
and contrary to the
teachings of any number
of inspirational memes,
humanity will embrace no
heretofore undiscovered
courage or wisdom
as our carefully
curated nightmares
grow bored and
hungry, blinking
beneath a dying sun.

We’ll have to make do
with whatever beauty
we’ve hoarded and hidden
in the secret pockets
of our favorite shirts.

Be careful, trust no one,
and give nothing away,
because you’re
gonna need it all
and then some when
this whole mess
goes sideways
next year or a week
from Tuesday.

Tonight I’ll Stalk the Street of the Dead by Bradford Middleton

Posted in Bradford Middleton with tags on June 20, 2020 by Scot

 

Tonight i’ll go down the
Street of the dead looking
For fun on this random
Tuesday night. I’ll be out
Looking for my Henry Darger
A genius unafraid to go
Unrecognised until after
They’ve gone.

The street crawls with the
Living dead, the wide-eyed
Junk fueled detritus who’ve
Found a new home. More
Likely something closer to
Death here in this lunatic
Asylum by the edge of the sea.

FROZEN OCEANS by Steven Storrie

Posted in Steven Storrie with tags on June 20, 2020 by Scot

All my photographs are swollen
Unrecognisable
Sands of time take them in
There I am a polaroid
Lack of action and senseless void
I don’t remember being him
Remember them
Anything
Metallic waves behind the shore
Grainy smiles and flaccid jaw
Smooth skin on chrome
White sky
Chipped tooth canvas
A stranger
Coffee stained
Alone.

Two Poems by Matt Borczon

Posted in Matt Borczon with tags on June 20, 2020 by Scot

Going

My orders
were written
and all
the gear
I need
is in a
duffle bag
by my
door I
will fly
to Philly
bus to
Fort Dix
and work
in a
makeshift
hospital
in NYC
while I
am there
who knows
what I
will do
treat the
sick and
pray for
the souls
of the
dead and
wonder
about 100
years from
now when
all this
is just
a fairytale
about death
becoming
a person
who takes
the form
of a
bat to
fly across
the world
killing everyone
the next
generations
story of
the witch
that eats
children.

____________

Quarantine

 

For 2
weeks I
watch a
construction
crew build
a parking
ramp outside
a hotel
room I
am not
allowed
to leave

and I
think it
is good
that someone
is building
something
because after
deployments to
Afghanistan
in2010 and
New York
on 2020

I need
to see
something
come up
from the
ground instead
of the
other way
around