Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jazz

The piano keys of luxury
take us to sweet magnetic industry
glowing with black magic
music shining off the instruments
and into the moment of grace notes
music sheets swaying with every key
that unlocks all the rhythm's harmony
all the peace we love to see
in our day of carefree.

JoyAnne O'Donnell

Sunday, June 15, 2014

GUILLOTINE
 
As the metal descends
you anticipate its cold waterfall hitting your nape
The consensual sport of becoming THE ascending cascade
 
The doting worms who inhabit the wood block
you placed your head on
wriggle into the arena of your ear
Impersonate your idol Suzette
the fire-breathing track star
 
CHOP!!
 
Like a thrashing salmon
you’re free
 
Your athlete’s body is sold
in a thrift shop for freaks
They wear your glory not as idolatry
but as irony
 
The devil is a talentless DJ
who spins your gilded head on a shoddy turntable.
 
James Mirarchi

Monday, June 9, 2014

GUMS
 
Bad taste turns Baby Chi
into fake gold shrine
Standup comedian with no comedy
but sugary sermon of gibberish
 
Baby Chi humors his adult pets
eating kudos from high chair
bobbing his diapered bum
like Rockette kicking up heels
His politics of WAAAAAAA’S
is song and dance for parents
Fred Astaire-suckling doesn’t tap feet
but STOMPS with cutesy athleticism
His guardians cheer and fist-pump
 
Baby Chi introduces his betrothed babe
(and resulting cartoon kin)
to parents’ unwavering approval
 
Popular punch line arrives when he dumps them all
nibbling off umbilical cords with toothless gums
leaving them nonplussed and flailing for shelter.
 
James Mirarchi

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gadfly

he gathered in the public courts
spreading his ideas, sharing
his notions, tacking them onto fledging
wings and watching them take off,
some falling to the earth, some rising
to the clouds, some resulting
in his imminent demise, the price
of having original thoughts.

The Strange Story

the picture demonstrates a bony
man floating over a room of observers -
what story is this, featuring a naked
phantom, wizened geriatric figure,
dancing across the foreheads
of a group of distinguished guests,
the secret tawdry Dickens sequel,
featuring a streaking Marley?

Father's Boots

he listened to the whistle
of trains until he could hear
no more
he crawled on his back
under trains, across the expanse
of stony earth
so do not complain to me
about air-conditioned, pill-counting
fluorescent jobs
when I remember the weight
of his rubber boots.

 Cosmetic

she is a purple neon madness
countenance, blinking peacock
of a person, eyes closed,
while I prefer the bare skin
of truth, the honesty
of the epidermis, not bathed
in thick chemical, free, weightless
and living flesh.

Discount Store

daughter, do not put yourself
on the discount shelf so easily,
hanging the tag from your side,
putting yourself in the cardboard
bargain bin on the sidewalk,
instead see yourself as queen,
regal figure of the universe,
gracing us with your presence.
 
 JD DeHart

Sunday, June 1, 2014

bruises

i have bruises on my arms, she says

what can i say? i tell her, i’m a passionate man

i have them on my wrists and ankles too

have you checked your inner thighs?

she goes into the bathroom
jesus christ, she says, a moment later
what in the hell were we doing?

what comes naturally, i say
there’s one on your ass as well

wow, she says through the door

people are going to think i beat you, i say

it looks like you did, she says
coming out of the bathroom

but i’m a lover not a fighter

you have some on your arms as well, she says

you brute, i say

she blushes

how about i put a hickey on your neck
to clarify, i tell her

don’t you dare, she says

how about one on your ass?

no

then she goes back into the bathroom
to look her body over again

and i wonder if she’ll find the small bruise
that’s on her left breast. 


just stop


to the 24/7 media cycle
the one who keeps reporting
on each and every mass shooting in america

we the people have a message for you

just stop

stop reporting on them
stop mentioning them

stop taking a moment of silence
during your broadcasts
to show us the faces of the victims in happier times

and stop showing up with your cameras
at each and every ubiquitous candlelight vigil
to film all of the tears and wasted wax

just stop already
because we concerned citizens have had enough

we’re tired of these special news reports
interrupting another politically biased crossfire talk show
on the falsity of climate change
interrupting our sports and market reports

we’re tired of sitting through
five dead and thirteen wounded on a college campus
or twelve dead in a movie theater
or a dozen kids blown away in connecticut

when we just want video of our favorite celebrity couple
fighting in an elevator

or another exclusive on those cute pop stars
getting married at the vatican

just stop

stop bringing us down
with your statistics on how violent america is

can’t you see that we don’t care?
i mean if we did
don’t you think we vote out the politicians
getting kickbacks from the NRA?

the ones who come on tv and tell us
that we need more guns not less?

we’re not idiots, you know?
we do rank thirty-first in the world in math
twenty-fourth in science and twenty-first in reading

so take that you media oligarchs!

just stop okay?

can’t you play something nice during your broadcasts?
a human interest story or more health and cooking tips?
a little piece on a dog and cat living together in harmony?

we like news stories like that

not stories about ten people gunned down in a mall
or seven soldiers murdered (again) on a base in texas
or even some junior high girl who hung herself
after being gang-raped at a weekend party

who wants to hear about that stuff
after working another eight hours?

if you want to report about all of that sad-sack stuff
why not give us the lowdown
on which of our favorite television characters
will be dying this season

instead of pre-empting the damned show
over another employee who lost it in the office
killed himself and took four others with him

so please just stop

for all of us
do it for america

get back with the program guys

come on and get happy in this land of the free
home of the brave

otherwise we’ll stop tuning in

and those advertising dollars that you crave so much
well, they’ll be going somewhere else
along with millions of viewers

because we know you already know
there ain’t nothing more powerful in america
than the almighty dollar

or when a ton of us get together
to support a common cause

like that time we stopped that sitcom from being cancelled

and that time we stopped that one kid
from beating that other kid

on one of those awesome talent shows.


fleet week

the three of them
were sitting at the end of the bar
in their starched white uniforms

like returning heroes
like princes of new york

christ, they all looked like sunburnt popeyes

drunk and liberated from their duty
waiting to go back aboard their ship
to shower with each other again

we were drinking nearby
drunk and liberated from our jobs
waiting to back to our apartment
to shower with each other again

when one of the little soldier boys asked me
is that you’re wife?

well, not yet, i said
which i thought was good enough conversation

but the jerky little g.i. joe
kept staring at me

kept staring at my woman
like he needed to get something out

the other two in their starched whites
just kept looking around
waiting for another drunk patriot to buy them
a congratulatory drink

or for someone to pat them on the back
and say, hell of a job, soldier

when he said to me, they must be fun

what do you mean? i asked

well, he started laughing
then he put his hands toward his breasts
like he was holding two balloons

i’m not too quick
especially when i’m drinking

but i think i understood what he was talking about

you know what i mean? he said
you know?  you know?

finally i leaned over and said to the other two swabs
you better watch him in here
this is a communist bar

when they saw what he was doing
they tried putting his hands down
but then he fell off of his stool anyway

another brave soldier gone down

we’re sorry, one of the sailors said to me
but i wasn’t buying it

we’d been watching clowns like these
harass women all week in the city

like conquering titans
like golden gods

so i finished my beer
then my fiancé and i got up to leave

i felt drunk and liberated
by never becoming just another
misogynistic, volunteer asshole with a gun

it’s all right, i told them
maybe we’ll all get lucky in the end

and he’ll get his balls shot off
when you boys sail back to iraq


blomfield

blomfield always comes in
when there’s five minutes left in the day

when i think i’m just about done
with the pain and the agony
of public servitude

there comes blomfield right through my doors

he’s always dressed the same
no matter the weather

black skull cap
diarrhea green army field jacket
baggy jeans that look like he crapped himself

sparkling white sneakers

yes, i’ve examined blomfield from head to toe
because some hatreds must be
engrained in the memory to truly blossom

he always wants something from me
a newspaper that’s a week old
a phone number to be looked up
keys to use the bathroom until the very last minute
to peruse the magazine racks
or just to walk around the building for the final five

i used to think they were up to something
that the big wigs sent blomfield down here
like some sort of secret shopper

now i just think he’s deranged

the rest of my co-workers are scared of him
it’s understandable when blomfield is wearing
his heavy army jacket in eighty-degree heat

we’ve been trained in america
to hate what we don’t know
what he can’t understand

but i don’t hate blomfield for his coat
or his skull cap or his jeans or his sneakers

for the fact that he never seems to labor or sweat

i hate him simply because he’s the last impediment
in the way of me getting back to my life

he’s the train or bus that i’ll miss
he’s the drink that i’ll have five minutes later or the couch
he’s the meal that i’ll burn thinking about how bad i hate him
the restless sleep that i’ll have

blomfield

standing there reading fliers
for kid’s magic shows and free math tutoring
at one minute til the hour

checking his watch until the very last second
that he knows we’re open

before he exits the doors
to stand outside looking both ways

scanning the street for a block party
or a community board meeting

wondering whom in the hell to torture
next.


some alien force

i’m on the bus
when i see them come around the corner
hand in hand

these two immaculate, well-coiffed bores

my wife has made me drink with them
break bread with them on a few occasions

it is always the same dull ritual
monotonous stories about her job
pointless tales about his video gamming

and when he’s not around she bitches about him
and when she’s not around he just looks relieved

and when we get home
i always tell my wife, never again
dear, never the fuck again

but there they are on the corner
looking beautiful and fresh and damned
like mormons going door to door

and it feels as though some alien life force
has taken possession of my faculties
i start pounding on the bus window to get their attention
waving and smiling at them like i’m their oldest friend

when they see me they get excited too
he starts waving and she screams, we’re going to the bar!
like it’s an invitation or something

suddenly i wake up
i’m sweating and i feel sick
but i can’t stop waving

so i mouth, good, go and fuck yourselves too
through a huge smile

as the buses passes and rounds the corner
and they’re finally out of my life again

at least for now.  

John Grochalski

Body Talk
Parse directly
with moon to light us,
this story our bodies construct.
Squabble
wordlessly.

In the language of muscle
and skin and scent,
sound is sweat,
gender is only
consequence.

Toss your spangled hat to the floor.
My hand in yours is a long letter,
a chronicle.  I teach with silence,
lingua viscera,
poem.

The Shaman
He has walked through the classroom door one thousand times.
You replay the details: pouch of dung, horn bowl, ashes,
sun-bleached hair woven with feathers and bones,
dried animal blood, healing shells.  
His mask is two wounds: blindness and sight. 
The force of an archetype
can knock us to the ground, shatter us.
He looks just like Jesus. 
That shattering.

Great un-doings, grand falls, will not piece together, say why.
Spirits visit us.  There is water.  Man walks into a room.  
He is not you, not yours.  His are not your wounds. 
Keep him close, without desire or need  –
but tell the truth about it – you
pursued him.  You sent his staff arching over the ravine.
You won’t ditch him, even though he is not, nor can be,
the lover you thought
you had saved. 

Iridotymous
Born suspect.  Born exiled  
on Adam’s street.  My name.
Marker of my mother and her mother,
her father before, his forty-acre tract
of Carolina outland – invisible –  
poverty of black on black.  Word for it
litany of my childhood,
first word I remember, first word
meant for me, my skin
the story, Everyman’s story,
speck upon
seeing
who I am not.

Albrecht Speaks
Tragedy is a woman who reads portents, watches for rains
that never come.  One evening during the Wanderjahre
as we stand drinking in a tavern,
I show her my drawings, trials in wood and in bronze,
scraps of paper lined up on a bench.
She finishes stories in the spaces
between them, says, as her face dents into planes,
as she bends low over the crumbs under the table,
as if she might like to scoop them up,
“When you are here, you are so much here,
and when gone, all gone.” I take her by the arm and lead her with me
into the dusk of the square, point to cloud towers edged in rose,
church spires, my own feet in their felt boots – all species of miracle,
all ways of knowing how pain sharpens love –
recall for her my underworlds, rocks sprouting from lichen,
a triptych with its face of Jesus, my face,
dancers on riverbanks, men and women marketing in haggles,
scribes overturning words and finding bricks,
husbands at twilight counting sacks of wool into coin,
and children reckoning reeds or hacking at one another with stars,
crying, “Ha. You’re dead.”
Spoiled son, haunted soldier, oaf queen,
paper tigers incline from general to specific
and return hissing meditatively, unperturbed.
A hare cowers where I follow it into the sedge,
its terror, my terror,
its little life, my life, and this woman tonight, geometries,
ovals and squares of particulars, trace of foam on her cheek.
The waters of heaven and earth are all the same waters, I tell her
silently.  Time is all time.
“But I am alone,” she says.

Golden Orb
dream catcher, yellow bloom,
coral legs so straight and horned they tempt
teeth, spits this sparkling mourning crown
for us to blunder into, first word already torn,
already provisional, a thread
we wipe our mouths on: no wonder
she eats silk, vanishes around the corner
of the house like fourth of July,
like Christmas.

COLLEEN M PAYTON