POETRY: Keith Landrum – My father’s prayer

My father’s prayer

It usually starts
with heavenly father
and then goes
into asking
him to make
the food do all
the things food
will do
on it’s own

like taste
good
and digest
in our guts

I stare
at my shoes
and am reminded
I need
new ones
that will do
all the things
they were designed
to do
as well

like be
durable
comfortable
stylish

and the prayer
continues without
asking for anyone
to be punished
by wealth
or blessed
with poverty
the way our lives
so often
are

like capitalism
or the way
we look at
ourselves
in the mirror

and it usually ends
with the same
simple word

amen

and we let it
be

as if
there were
no other
way

to get
through
this

 

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POETRY: JACK FREEMAN – DECISION THEORY

Decision Theory

I understood its meaning
to the extent
required of conversation
in the cocktail pools
and heavy-air parlors,
but an explanation
would test the water
and prove me
thin.

And when a woman
in white silk
leaned over and breathed
vapor in my face,
asking for my opinion
on the very subject,
I answered in a cloud
with no edges.
She inhaled my words,
held them in,
and blew them out
in satisfaction.

And when we were done,
she lay on her stomach
and in misty breath
processed my words,
picking and pulling
them apart like
papier-mâché,
determining
just how full of shit
I really was.

And she clothed herself,
leaving without her
electric tobacco.
I lay on my back
exploring the pattern
of plaster in the ceiling.
There were truths
in that ceiling; how
the light from the street
drew disjointed, scraggly
shadows that faded
by dawn.

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POETRY: LUCAS HERNDON – ODE TO CHUCK B.

Ode to Chuck B.

Bukowski you old devil
You got me through
The worst of times
And gave me the perfect thing to say
When I found the best of times
I sit here
Stuck to myself
The remnants of love
And lust
Adhering to each other
Seems for me the two are intertwined
Not so for others
Or maybe
More easily distinguishable?
Doesn’t matter about others though
I’m happy
So goddamn happy
To sleep in rumpled sheets
Sweat and and other solutions
A perfect damp nest to lay myself down tonight
I found something else that fills though
You were wrong about that
Well, probably you weren’t
But you were right to mark the good
More often than the bad
Tonight’s tryst was bumble bees
With budding flowers awaiting pollination
A late spring on an autumn night
My neglected manhood in both metaphor and noun
Rocked boldly once more into an upright and erect existence
And now dawn approaches I defy it with clouds of smoke
Bringing in that acrid stench
Sweet let down to my racing fevered mind
I’m shaking with post anticipation
Of history repeating itself.

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POETRY: JEAN VALENTINE – Silences: A Dream of Governments

Silences: A Dream of Governments

From your eyes I thought
we could almost move      almost speak
But the way your face
held there, in the yellow air,
And that hand, writing down our names–
And the way the sun
shone right through us
Down with us

Then
the plain astonishment–the air
broken open: just ourselves
sitting, talking; like always;
the kitchen window
propped open by the same
blue-gray dictionary.
August. Rain. A Tuesday.

Then, absence. The open room
suspended      The long street
gone off      quiet, dark.
The ocean floor. Slow
shapes glide by

Then, day
keeps beginning again: the same
stubborn pulse against the throat,
the same
listening for a human voice–
your name, my name


This poem originally appeared in Jean Valentine’s 1979 volume called The Messenger.

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