Thursday, April 30, 2015

Incident

By Countee Cullen

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Waiting for the date to be set

By Marge Piercy

Sheets of rain slither through the trees
rain that looks coherent as tissue paper
buckled by the wind but still coming
sideways ghostlike to hit the siding.

The threat of an operation hangs
before me like a black curtain
I can’t see through. I know there
are weeks of pain on the far side.
I take my fear out like a marble
I polish with the sweat of my palm.
Fear, you warble to me constantly
like a hopped up canary.
There is nowhere to go but forward
each grumpy day at a time toward
where I have no desire to arrive --but
the delay eats my brain for breakfast.
Pain’s my faithful companion already,
the yellow dog in my aging body
howling at the moon’s curved tooth.
Choice has narrowed. Onward!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All Their Stanzas Look Alike

By Thomas Sayers Ellis

All their fences
     All their prisons
All their exercises
     All their agendas
All their stanzas look alike
     All their metaphors
All their bookstores
      All their plantations
All their assassinations
     All their stanzas look alike
All their rejection letters
      All their letters to the editor
All their arts and letters
     All their letters of recommendation
All their stanzas look alike
     All their sexy coverage
All their literary journals
     All their car commercials
All their bribe-spiked blurbs
      All their stanzas look alike
All their favorite writers
     All their writing programs
All their visiting writers
     All their writers-in-residence
All their stanzas look alike
     All their third worlds
All their world series
     All their serial killers
All their killing fields
     All their stanzas look alike
All their state grants
     All their tenure tracks
All their artist colonies
     All their core faculties
All their stanzas look alike
     All their Selected Collecteds
All their Oxford Nortons
     All their Academy Societies
All their Oprah Vendlers
     All their stanzas look alike
All their haloed holocausts     
     All their coy hetero couplets
All their hollow haloed causes
     All their tone-deaf tercets
All their stanzas look alike
     All their tables of contents
All their Poet Laureates
     All their Ku Klux classics
All their Supreme Court justices
     Except one, except one
Exceptional one. Exceptional or not,
     One is not enough.
All their stanzas look alike.
     Even this, after publication,
Might look alike. Disproves
     My stereo types.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Opening Day

By Dick Flavin

The long snow-bound winter casts a dark pall
Till one day an umpire hollers, “Play ball!”
Then skies start to brighten, blue displaces gray.
Baseball springs eternal. It’s Opening Day.
The birds begin singing. The trees start to bloom.
The umpire’s dusting home plate with his broom.
It’s a brand new beginning, a time we all cheer.
In baseball language it’s, “Happy New Year!”
The setbacks will surface, the losses, the gloom.
Each team except one is destined for doom.
But the Red Sox might win it, so let’s start to play.
And that is the magic of Opening Day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Touching Tomorrow

By A.J. Huffman

Another sleepless night hovers, tangles
my mind. I try to focus,
force ritualistic countings of imaginary
sheep. Mine are electric and pulse
their numbers in mock Morse code. I decipher
the twisted language of faceless clock, figure
an hour has passed, maybe two. Not
enough. I try to rewind the ceiling
fan. Follow its rotation until we sink. Psych
it out. It slows, refuses to reverse. The effort
sucks my eyes into stalemate, between
sleep and awake. I almost miss shadows
lightening through the shades. I push
apart the blinds, palm to pain, almost prayer.
I have been delivered to another
dawn.

A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new full-length poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is now available from Eldritch Press. She has another full-length poetry collection, A Few Bullets Short of Home, scheduled for release in Summer 2015, from mgv2>publishing. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2000 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com

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