Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day for the War Dead

By Yehuda Amichai

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you. Mix
sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history,
which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning
on one day for easy, convenient memory.

Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."
No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.

Memorial day. Bitter salt is dressed up
as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes,
for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly,
like stepping over broken glass.

The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads
with the swimming movements of the dead,
with the ancient error the dead have
about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with
dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages:
Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.

A great and royal animal is dying
all through the night under the jasmine
tree with a constant stare at the world.

A man whose son died in the war walks in the street
like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Touched by An Angel

By Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Friday, May 27, 2016

An Open Letter to the Christian Right From a Follower of Christ

By Ryk McIntyre

May God forgive what you’ve done to Jesus.
You’ve taken the hand he taught you to reach out with,
turned it into a fist, and use it to feed your children intolerance.

You’re lost souls standing by the only road they know,
putting up signs that read “Only Way.”
Name-dropping Jesus like you’re praying hard
to get into the after-party. But once inside
you’d be the first to slam the door on the rest,
singing “Praise the Lord and Pass the Limited Access!”
Your songs describe a Prince of Peace on the attack--

I want my Jesus back.

I’m sick in my soul with all you Onward Soldiers
carrying Jesus around in a cross-draw holster,
unaware of all the damage that you do:
when most people think of Christians, they picture you
arming a religion Jesus never would have blessed.
putting words in Jesus’ mouth that would never pass his lips.
Blind to the world, eyes fixed on the day Jesus returns.
What makes you think he left?
Maybe he’ll walk into your church today, dressed like a health inspector
asking, “What garbage are you serving in my Father’s House?
Your hands are red, and you’ve got weapons in your mouth?”

You use the Cross to rally anti-immigrant laws, until
all but one finger on Liberty’s right hand’s been sawn off, so
all foreigners see is an iron lady saying “Fuck You” with a torch.
But when did Jesus say close the doors?
or ‘Blessed are the locked-down borders’?
What he said was "In my Name, do charitable acts."

Give me my Jesus back.

Stop claiming the Sermon Mount as sniper vantage
for the weapons you keep in your mouth.
Stop whoring for dollars like God’s overdrawn his bank account.
Stop spreading a gospel of bondage and sin.
You’re not listening, so here’s an example:
whether you argue abortion’s not a right but murder?
It doesn’t matter. Either way, Jesus still loves her.
It’s time to stop judging and start looking for real results.
If you hate abortion that much, open free daycares or shut up.

And Jesus doesn’t hate gays, never did. That’s St. Paul and Leviticus,
and they were simply wrong because "Hate" isn’t what a Loving God does.
The only thing Jesus cares about gay marriage is that they're happy.
In a world of war and starvation, Jerry Falwell takes on the Teletubbies?
Those weapons in your mouth make your every word perverse.
Fred Phelps and your Westboro Baptist Church?
I could do a whole poem on you. But you’re not worth it.

I'm calling out the Patriarchs of Christian America: get right
with Jesus: Stop hating other religions, try a slice of humble, see the light
as it falls across a world where’s there’s so much real suffering endured
Instead of bibles, try giving away food to the hungry and poor
Your false Jesus is a Warlord, fraudulently caucasian.
I'm taking my Jesus back. Keep your pale imitation.

You’ve taken the hand
Jesus taught you to reach out with, and balled it into a fist.
Your sin is thinking there could be anything Holy in this.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Great Escape

By Charles Bukowski

listen, he said, you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a 
no, I told him.
well, what happens is that now and then one crab
will climb up on top of the others
and begin to climb toward the top of the bucket,
then, just as he's about to escape
another crab grabs him and pulls him back
really? I asked.
really, he said, and this job is just like that, none
of the others want anybody to get out of 
here. that's just the way it is
in the postal service! 
I believe you, I said.
just then the supervisor walked up and said,
you fellows were talking.
there is no talking allowed on this
I had been there for eleven and one-half
I got up off my stool and climbed right up the 
and then I reached up and pulled myself right
out of there.
it was so easy it was unbelievable.
but none of the others followed me.
and after that, whenever I had crab legs
I thought about that place.
I must have thought about that place
maybe 5 or 6 times
before I switched to lobster

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Blind Spot

By Cheryl J. Fish

Never mended my blind spot—thought the volcano swerved
>A graphic novel monster, stationary molten rock
At Windy Ridge, Mount St. Helens, 30 years post-eruption
Cartoon-like, cracked.
Cell phone powers up approaching the ridge—four bars.
A series of beeps in your pocket
Imagine those hikers falling from a snow cornice
Thinking they stood on solid rock, not packed snow
Posing for a photo, they slid down the south face
Blurred in winter’s majestic light, flashes of old growth forest
Charred in pyroclastic flow
No more solid than the peak that once glistened distant
On blue Portland days
What you can’t fathom finds you
Objects unto obliteration.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


By Naina Kataria

When a man tells me
I’m beautiful
I don’t believe him.
Instead, I relive my days in high school
>When no matter how good I was
I was always the girl with a moustache
He doesn’t know what it’s like
to grow up in your maternal family
Where your body is the only one that
Proudly boasts of your father’s X
While your mother’s X sits back and pities
It’s unladylike-ness
He doesn’t know the teenager
Who filled her corners with
Empty consolations of
Being loved for who she was - someday.
He doesn’t know hypocrisy.
He doesn’t know of the world that
tells you to ‘be yourself’
and sells you a fair and lovely shade card
in the same fucking breath
He doesn’t know of the hot wax and the laser
whose only purpose is to
replace your innocent skin
with its own brand of womanhood
He doesn’t know of the veet and the bleach
That uproot your robust hair
in the name of hygiene
Hygiene, which when followed by men
makes them gay and unmanly
He doesn’t know how unruly eyebrows are tamed
and how unibrows die a silent death
All to preserve beauty
And of the torturous miracles that happen
Inside the doors marked
So when a man calls me beautiful
I throw at him, a smile; a smile that remained
After everything the strip pulled away
And I dare him
To wait
Till my hair grows back.

This poem was originally published on Facebook by the author, and then went viral.