Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Whatever Lifts your Luggage

By Adam Stone

The nun teaching sex education
rolls the condom the wrong way over the banana
in a room full of starved monkeys

The sheep in wolf's clothing tells you to master your own destiny

The chickens are giving lessons in proper lipstick application

Every frightened old faggot in a red white and blue balled suit
wants to cure your homosexuality with his star spangled asshole

The praying mantis preaches monogamy and non-violence

The suitcase wishes you'd never leave the house

The republican drafting anti-gay marriage legislation
only sucks dick for research
It's not like he's getting enjoyment out of it

The sequins sing the praises of subtlety

Lions roam from college to college
educating students on the benefits of veganism

Plankton are trying to save the whales

Senators tapping their feet in airport bathrooms
are just practicing Morse Code

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Prayer for My Grandson

By Bonnie Lyons

He places anything resembling a cell phone
against the side of his head and listens,
and when his pudgy, dimpled finger fails
to awaken music from the iPad icon

his fist carries his mother's finger over, assuming
she has the magic touch.
For now she does: she adores her giggly
gorgeous black 16-month-old son.

But her finger can control gadgets, not people
and when at Arlington Vermont's "Norman's Attic"
(think Rockwell) street fair I buy him a handmade (in China)
sweater, his wary grandpa whispers, "His first hoodie."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ay, ay, ay de la grifa negra

By Julia de Burgos

Ay, ay, ay, that am kinky-haired and pure black
kinks in my hair, Kafir in my lips;
and my flat nose Mozambiques.

Black of pure tint, I cry and laugh
the vibration of being a black statue;
a chunk of night, in which my white
teeth are lightning;
and to be a black vine
which entwines in the black
and curves the black nest
in which the raven lies.
Black chunk of black in which I sculpt myself,
ay, ay, ay, my statue is all black.

They tell me that my grandfather was the slave
for whom the master paid thirty coins.
Ay, ay, ay, that the slave was my grandfather
is my sadness, is my sadness.
If he had been the master
it would be my shame:
that in men, as in nations,
if being the slave is having no rights
being the master is having no conscience.

Ay, ay, ay wash the sins of the white King
in forgiveness black Queen.

Ay, ay, ay, the race escapes me
and buzzes and flies toward the white race,
to sink in its clear water;
or perhaps the white will be shadowed in the black.

Ay, ay, ay my black race flees
and with the white runs to become bronzed;
to be one for the future,
fraternity of America!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Robert Underhill’s Present

By Cynthia Macdonald
He was eight when they gave him the felt overcoat—
his birthday.

He knew it was special.
He was still reading Walter Scott not Gogol. The coat was light grey   
and he was a knight in armor. It was adamant. Iced snowballs   
and other missiles no longer hurt. Or barely.

He grew as do all boys who are not dwarves or midgets. The coat   
grew, too. It kept pain out, and in.

He only looked at colleges in northern places.

He often drew the coat about him, like heroines   
wrapping their shawls more tightly.

He was the intrepid leader through fresh snow and blue snow   
and rotten ice and the Mojave.

He loved to look at women. It is difficult   
to make love wearing an overcoat.

Gestalt and sandbox therapy did not help him   
remove the coat, but helped him to talk about it,   
to acknowledge it was there.

He knew that all the others knew, had always known.   
Some urged him to undress.

He saw La Boheme in San Francisco and felt betrayed   
when Schaunard sold his coat. Each time he played the CD   
he cried at the last act.

He knew he had to get it off. Several times: Almost. Almost.   
Perhaps that is exaggeration. He’d cut off a sleeve or a lapel.   
But only pulled and wrenched the whole: it was so thick.

Finally, at sixty-five he knew he could not. And sank   
into despair, the very state the coat was meant   
to turn away.

He took a ship to France for his last meal.
He took one home to jump. Felt really pulled   
him down into the deep.

Friday, August 14, 2015

I Worried

By Mary Oliver

I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Short Note to My Very Critical and Well-Beloved Friends and Comrades

By June Jordan

First they said I was too light
Then they said I was too dark
Then they said I was too different
Then they said I was too much the same
Then they said I was too young
Then they said I was too old
Then they said I was too interracial
Then they said I was too much a nationalist
Then they said I was too silly
Then they said I was too angry
Then they said I was too idealistic
Then they said I was too confusing altogether:
Make up your mind!
They said, Are you militant? Or sweet?
Are you vegetarian or meat?
Are you straight? Or are you gay?
And I said, Hey! It’s not about my mind.