Monday, March 16, 2020

Eichengrün in Terezín, 1944

By Peg Duthie 

Fingers numb
from lack of insulin
and lack of heat

he sighs
at the tremors
almost thwarting
his placing
of the paper
into the typewriter. 

He is here
because his stationery
did not include “Israel”
within his name.

It had not mattered
that his name was not included
on the US patent for aspirin

back when it had not mattered
that he was Jewish.

He is a man of science,
trained to examine
all the possibilities.
Once upon a time,
they’d earned him homes
and tailored clothes,
a handsome car
and a yacht,

but now
he has nothing
except the truth

so he types
the whole history
of what really happened
at Farbenfabriken Bayer:

his supervision of Hoffmann,
his defiance of Dreser—
Dreser, whose name
appears with Hoffmann’s
as co-inventor of aspirin
in Munich’s Hall of Honour.

A man used to secretaries,
Eichengrün types slowly.

He has never been
the praying type,
but now he prays
he will not run out
of paper

or time.

Peg Duthie is the author of Measured Extravagance (Upper Rubber Boot, 2012). She works at a museum in Nashville and dances from Asheville to New London. There's more about her at, and she tweets @zirconium.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


By Charles Bernstein

Home team suffers string of losses.—Time to change loyalties.
Quadruple bypass.—Hold the bacon on that next cheeseburger.
Poems tanking.—After stormiest days, sun comes out from behind clouds, or used to.
Marriage on rocks.—Nothing like Coke.
Election going the wrong direction.—Kick off slippers, take deep breathe, be here now.
Boss says your performance needs boost.—A long hot bath smoothes wrinkles.
War toll tops 100,000.—Get your mind off it, switch to reality TV.
Lake Tang Woo Chin Chicken with Lobster and Sweet Clam Sauce still not served and everyone else got their orders twenty minutes back.—Savor the water, feast on the company.
Subway floods and late for audition.—Start being the author of your own performance. Take a walk.
Slip on ice, break arm.—In moments like this, the preciousness of life reveals itself.
Wages down in non-union shop.—You’re a sales associate, not a worker; so proud to be part of the company.
Miss the train?—Great chance to explore the station!
Suicide bombers wrecks neighborhood.—Time to pitch in!
Nothing doing.—Take a break!
Partner in life finds another partner.—Now you can begin the journey of life anew.
Bald?—Finally, you can touch the sky with the top of your head.
Short-term recall shot.—Old memories are sweetest.
Hard drive crashes and novel not backed up.—Nothing like a fresh start.
Severe stomach cramps all morning.—Boy are these back issues of Field and Stream engrossing.
Hurricane crushes house.—You never seemed so resilient.
Brother-in-law completes second year in coma.—He seems so much more relaxed than he used to.
$75 ticket for Sunday meter violation on an empty street in residential neighborhood.—The city needs the money to make us safe and educate our kids.
Missed last episode of favorite murder mystery because you misprogrammed VCR.—Write your own ending!
Blue cashmere pullover has three big moth holes.—What a great looking shirt!
Son joins skinhead brigade of Jews for Jesus.—At least he’s following his bliss.
Your new play receives scathing reviews and closes after a single night.—What a glorious performance!
Pungent stench of homeless man on subway, asking for food.—Such kindness in his eyes, as I turn toward home.
Retirement savings lost on Enron and WorldCom.—They almost rhyme.
Oil spill kills seals.—The workings of the Lord are inscrutable.
Global warming swamps land masses.—Learn to accept change.
Bike going fast in wrong direction knocks you over.—A few weeks off your feet, just what the doctor ordered.
AIDS ravaging Africa.—Wasn’t Jeffrey Wright fabulous in Angels in America?
Muffler shot.—There’s this great pizza place next to the shop.
Income gap becomes crater.—Good motivation to get rich.
Abu Ghraib prisoners tortured.—Let’s face it, shit happens.
Oscar wins Emmy.—Award shows are da bomb.
FBI checking your library check-outs.—I also recommend books on Amazon.
Gay marriages annulled.—Who needs the state to sanctify our love?
President’s lies kill GIs.—He’s so decisive about his core values.
Self-Help.—Other drowns.

Friday, March 13, 2020

My Death

By Tim Dlugos

when I no longer
feel it breathing down
my neck it's just around
the corner (hi neighbor)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation

By Natalie Diaz

Angels don’t come to the reservation.
Bats, maybe, or owls, boxy mottled things.
Coyotes, too. They all mean the same thing—
death. And death
eats angels, I guess, because I haven’t seen an angel
fly through this valley ever.
Gabriel? Never heard of him. Know a guy named Gabe though—
he came through here one powwow and stayed, typical
Indian. Sure he had wings,
jailbird that he was. He flies around in stolen cars. Wherever he stops,
kids grow like gourds from women’s bellies.
Like I said, no Indian I’ve ever heard of has ever been or seen an angel.
Maybe in a Christmas pageant or something—
Nazarene church holds one every December,
organized by Pastor John’s wife. It’s no wonder
Pastor John’s son is the angel—everyone knows angels are white.
Quit bothering with angels, I say. They’re no good for Indians.
Remember what happened last time
some white god came floating across the ocean?
Truth is, there may be angels, but if there are angels
up there, living on clouds or sitting on thrones across the sea wearing
velvet robes and golden rings, drinking whiskey from silver cups,
we’re better off if they stay rich and fat and ugly and
’xactly where they are—in their own distant heavens.
You better hope you never see angels on the rez. If you do, they’ll be marching you off to
Zion or Oklahoma, or some other hell they’ve mapped out for us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I want a president

By Zoe Leonard

I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no air conditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth [and an attitude], someone who has eaten [that nasty] hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.