JAMES P. ROBERTS – 3 POEMS

FLOW POETRY IN HUE, VIETNAM

                                                        for Adam

You speak to your ancestors
lying in shallow graves
mulched over by jungle.

You speak to alligators
and elephants, creatures
life spans longer than yours.

You speak to huddled mothers,
black-eyed babies who utter
never a word or cry.

You speak to bamboo winds,
hollow temples, dynasties fallen
and long forgotten.

You speak to fog-shrouded mountains,
roiling muddy Mekong River,
a black market dog tag.

You speak to rows of mildewed books
in a dozen languages, histories
yearning to be heard.

The raucous birds speak to you:
Go back home or we will use your dreads
to feather our lonely nests.

AND IF PAIN BECOMES A POEM . . .

I am full of poetry.
Poetry screams from every pore of my body.

My right ankle cracks poems so loudly
a microphone twenty feet away picks up the sound.

My left elbow tightens hard enough
I cannot bend it to write a poem without a rough

shake. Electric pings course through my chest,
irregular rhythms, like free verse, thrum inside a fat breast.

(man tits . . . the worst kind of poetic pain!)
Clumsy fingers struggle to write a refrain.

Dimming eyes spill tears, these inky words,
bright flashes of images vanish, go unheard.

Yes, I could continue this medical literary litany
and if pain becomes a true poem, I will die saintly.

COWARDS

I see them on the news.
The scary people.
The scared people.
The people who think of nothing
but themselves.
Who watch as the chaos mounts.
The people who have built
their survival tombs,
stocked with enough food and ammunition
to last as long as necessary . . . until
the last not-one-of-us has fallen
and they can come out again.
These are the cowards.
The true cowards,
for they have the means to change
the situation,
to take charge
and avert the damnation.
But they won’t.
Because they are hollow.
They are too selfish.
They are too scared.
It is their own fear
that will doom them.
They will become nothing
but shadows
wandering
a destroyed land.

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KEEPING MY APPOINTMENT… – Deborah L. Wymbs

KEEPING MY APPOINTMENT WITH MY ATTORNEY ON A GORGEOUS DAY

School is in session,
Time for another life lesson on the living of life:
Small trees bend from the pressures of an invisible partner,
The wind takes the lead during an unrehearsed tango—
A day of bouquet beauty.

Two young men skate board warriors with tattoo armor
Scroll down the steep asphalt city hill.

I look to the pastel blue sky.
Am I looking at it or looking through it?
Its beauty is my bookmark.

I chose my attorney by the appearance of his desk,
The picture story relief, an atlas of events carved into wood,
Tree rings of life beneath layers of dark stained beginnings.

When will this fiasco end? I ask
And the answer he knew I wanted to hear,
Soon, with hopefully attached loosely.

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3 POEMS – HOWIE GOOD

Safety Instructions for the Twenty-First Century

You probably won’t look like the real you. Stay calm when you come upon it. Face it and stand upright. Speak firmly to it. Do what you can to appear larger – raise your arms or open your jacket if you’re wearing one. You want to convince it you aren’t prey and may, in fact, be a danger to it. Give it a way to escape, but if it attacks, don’t panic and run. People have fought it with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands. So remain standing or at least try to get back up.

Ashes Have No Memory

The man crossing the street carries a ruler in his pocket to measure the passing of time. He has nice clothes, gold chains. But even so, he may be in trouble, may be on the run, may have no future in Lithuania. All he can see is eyes. He tried to lock up time in the eyes of lovers. “It has to look easy,” he said. “That feeling like it just happened.” He and I lead parallel lives, one a collaborator, the other a resister, two ghosts discussing invisibility in front of a mirror, a pretty crappy way to die.

Alienation Nation

First they’re an animal, then they’re a volcano, then they’re playing with their cat. What if they do have mental disorders? I’m not a fucking therapist. I’ve had two years of absolute violation of my right to peace and quiet. The problem is too many people. I see a lot of them every day. We’re always going to be in this position of losing ourselves in crowds. It’s scary. And it’s messy. After a few Guinnesses, I leave flowers at the latest place where it happened. I can’t keep doing that. People are still at the window screaming for help.

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JOHNNY HUERTA – 2 POEMS

THE RED HOT COILS

the fan sitting on

a window sill

was gently blowing

the curtains on to

a radiator heater

the phone rang and rang

water boiling in a kettle

steam whistling out as if

it were a toy locomotive

circling the red hot

coils on a portable

electric range

plugged in to a

bloodstained wall

water overflowing in

the old clawfoot bathtub

Randy Travis blaring on

a portable FM radio

from an empty living room

~

DRYING OUT

Drying out

An army cot

Above the Taos

Fire station

Is not an ideal spot

But the cool breeze

Coming through

The window

Sure feels

Nice

~

Purchase Jon Huerta’s debut collection of poetry and moonshine recipes HERE

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BEN NARDOLILLI – 7/23/16

7/23/16

When the sun sets, I wish
I could take a decent picture of it,
the whole view from Harlem
while looking down at Midtown

It’s not about the steel and glass
glittering in front of me,
there’s plenty of that
building a crown on the horizon

It’s about the brick and stone
piled up into nearby apartments,
when the sun sets on them
they look like cliffs by the ocean

~
find Ben online

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TERRY HERTZLER – NAPALM

NAPALM

The boy wears only a pale green shirt,
no pants or shorts or shoes–a six-year-old,
fat stick in hand, squatting in the dirt.

He glances up as our convoy passes,
eyes dark and blank, and shifts his weight
to favor his left leg, ridges of scar
from ankle to hip twisted and shiny as plastic.

Yellow dust, kicked up by our truck
hangs in the air, thick and choking.
But the boy, face calm as a cat, just stares,
only his eyelids moving, up and down
up and down. Finally, he looks away and
raising his club, resumes his task,
pounding ants.

~

This poem was originally published in Second Skin by Terry Hertzler (Caernarvon Press, 2003)

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HOLLY DAY – KISS IT ALL AWAY

Kiss It All Away     

 

I crumble under the weight of your wings

as you leap from the balcony and find that you’re only human

and the two of us fall.

 

There are gods burning in the fire place

painfully smiling through bruised lips

I’ve got runs in my hose from their fingernails; they need us, too.

 

What a disappointment it was to discover

that you still have one foot stuck in the real world

and it’s the foot that counts.

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