Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Negotiations

By Rae Armantrout

1.
 The best part
is when we’re tired
of it all
in the same degree,
a fatigue we imagine
to be temporary,
and we lie near each other,
toes touching.

What’s done is done,
we don’t say,
to begin our transaction,
each letting go of something
without really
bringing it to mind
until we’re lighter,
sicker,
older
and a current
runs between us
where our toes touch.

It feels unconditional.

2.

Remember this, we don’t say:
The Little Mermaid
was able to absorb
her tail,
to form legs.
This meant that
everything’s negotiable and that everything is played out
in advance

in secret.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Subterranean Homesick Blues

By Bob Dylan

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alleyway
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
and the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten
Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin’ that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone’s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tiptoes
Don’t try “No-Doz”
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
Get sick, get well
Hang around a inkwell
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
By users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch the parkin’ meters
Get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better not chew gum
The pump don’t work
’Cause the vandals took the handles

Monday, February 5, 2018

Not Enough

By F.I. Goldhaber

Your tears are not enough.
Your prayers are not enough.
Your shares are not enough.
Your hashtags are not enough.

Your grief for one dead black man
will not erase systemic
racism that has imbued
this country since its founding.

Get off Facebook. Take to the
streets. If only black faces
show up, protesters will be
dismissed as rabble rousers.

Bear witness. Take videos
and distribute them to lift
the veil of secrecy from
rampant police malfeasance.

Your tears are not enough.
Your prayers are not enough.
Your shares are not enough.
Your hashtags are not enough.

Demand police accept blame,
face murder charges, prison.
Punish cops who refuse to
testify against their own.

Insist on changing laws that
target POC, protect
cops. Fire judges who send black
men to prison but not white.

Recognize your privilege.
Use it to foster change, to
hold others accountable.
Don't shrug off racist jokes, posts.

Your tears are not enough.
Your prayers are not enough.
Your shares are not enough.
Your hashtags are not enough.

Leave the echo chamber and
expand your world view. Read books
written by POC, buy
POC movies, music.

Teach your children to respect
diversity. Expose them
to stories featuring non-
white heroes and good guys.

Educate your parents, your
Fox News watching uncle, and
your neighbor who displays the
confederate flag inside.

Your tears are not enough.
Your prayers are not enough.
Your shares are not enough.
Your hashtags are not enough.

Don't accept the status quo.
Never assume it's only
someone else's affliction.
Police murder white men, too.

Don't condone cop shootings, but
don't blame all POC for
their deaths. Accept that we all
suffer when race wars explode.

Racism creates toxic
environments that only
hate can sustain. That poison
is tearing our world apart.

Your tears are not enough.
Your prayers are not enough.
Your shares are not enough.
Your hashtags are not enough.

F.I. Goldhaber has worked as a reporter, editor, business writer, and marketing communications consultant, and she has produced news stories, feature articles, editorial columns, and reviews for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits in five states. Now her poetry, fiction, and essays appear in paper, electronic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, anthologies, and street signs. Her fourth collection, Food ♦ Family ♦ Friends explores how those three things send us feasting, flinching, and/or frolicking through life.