11/29/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by John Grochalski
Michael Tapp CC
was the only black kid in my grade
back in the 1980s
when reagan was all the rage
in poor neighborhoods and in central america
reagan’s hate was a benevolent one
he fought a war on drugs
and put millions of dads and sons and brothers in jail
bryant was a basketball star and a football star
he didn’t like me
because of my friend, billy calvin
billy called bryant nigger lips in class
he called him porch monkey
whispered it to him while we were learning u.s. history
billy said bryant ate watermelon
hog jogs and possum grits
billy had a lot of hate in him
which came from his old man
but he was learning at a young age to make it all his own
back then i never understood why bryant
didn’t beat the shit out of billy
he was popular and had a lot of jock friends
i never understood why he sat there and took it from him
with that steely look of hate that i’ll never forget
or why bryant transferred it to me on the playground
pushing me around
and calling me fat ass in front of all the pretty girls
as billy laughed and laughed
and got away with every single one of those words
but i think now maybe it’s because i never said anything
never told billy to shut his fat mouth
never told a teacher what was going on in the back of that classroom
and my silence looked like hate to bryant
an american institution bigger than any of those words
said back in those salad days of ronald reagan
when quiet insults flew like bombs over libya
and we didn’t learn a thing from our shared history
other than to learn how to hate
as if it were our only true curriculum
as if it were the american way.
black girl swinging
black girl swinging
in the park
before eight in the morning
big headphones on
high as she’ll go
with a smile that won’t stop
as i sweaty from the heat
go running by
another shadow in the sun
past parked cars with violent bumper stickers
telling me who to vote for
this world just a blue marble
not a cop in sight.
the brooklyn sun
is setting tonight
over another national embarrassment
and everyone on this bus
sounds like a computer
with the beeps and whooshes of their gadgets
except this one guy
sitting two seats away
bug-eyed and foaming at the mouth
singing into the white noise
of our artificial intelligence
then clucking like a chicken
CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK!
before howling like a wolf
ready to blow this whole country down
and threatening his new imaginary friend
as i put away a book that i won’t remember
and stare out the window
at the cop cars taking hostage
another garbage strewn block
watching their blue and red lights swirl
against the sunset and subway tracks
as they got some kids pressed up against
the wall of a closed bagel shop
spread eagle and looking scared
and i sigh too deeply at this
imagine myself awash true sea of tranquility
wading deep in a great and wondrous
Bio: John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.
11/29/2017 1 Comment
Poetry by Judy Shepps Battle
When The Student Is Ready
born of nothing
technicolor bursts and
swaddle naked hearts and
gone as I name it
gone as I claim it
long enough to teach
this sultry summer dawn.
Ode To The Poet Doing Her Thing
Poetry is a form of protest as well as a
tribute to beauty. Softly speak the words.
Gently cry the canticles.
Behold the weeper
crouched over aging typewriter. Listen
to her tear saturated fingertips
making words. Touch
the dots, commas and wrinkled
creation and taste its muted message.
Words protest by being silent too.
Listen to the anti-dialectical nature of Momma
Nature. Hug the beat of the sunken guitar
harmonizing with turned-on piano. Weird
music spirals to soul shattering crescendo
and dies in diminution.
The music is our tune. The changing beat is us.
Rock with me. Twist ‘til sacroiliac groans
in protest and continue ‘til soft sound vibrates
with unequal harmony.
and live it
Weep gently poet into creative hands covering
cynical eyes. Crescendo begets crescendo and
the mind splits into twenty equal pieces.
Bio: Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, consultant and freelance writer. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications including Anti-Heroin Chic, Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal; Epiphany Magazine; Joyful; Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; the Tishman Review, and Wilderness House Literary Press.
11/28/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by Miriam Kramer
Andrea Merletti CC
The cardiac plexus is a network of nerves that electrifies the heart.
A direct blow knocks the wind out so fast,
trying to replace the air is like inhaling smoke.
Each gasp tastes like hot coal. Attempting to laugh
is a poor choice, even for a masochist.
I choked at the sight of you,
heart racked with laughter, lungs on fire.
While a drilling a hole in my jaw, a dentist told me,
“be grateful for your strong bones.” I have not broken one to this day,
though I have tumbled down hills learning to rollerblade,
been kicked by strong thighed cyclists,
played fight club with walls – leaving knuckle holes
in every place that never felt like home.
And I have been hit pretty damn hard in the chest.
If I am not good at signing up for pain, I am not good at anything at all.
I have never tried to hide this, I displayed it on my body with pride,
displaced reflection masking the broken at my core.
I wore the neon band aids. The ones that scream
“I dare you to ask me what stupid shit I did this time.”
insides held together, lit up brightly like it was 1993.
My outsides ached to glow, to show what I could not articulate.
The English translation for the heart chakra means unstruck.
The sound of no objects hitting one another.
The Zen conundrum of one hand clapping.
Sitting on a bench in the cold was when
I noticed your green eyes. You broke the stare,
curious of my hand clasped in yours,
pulled my clenched fist to your mouth.
That kiss spilled questions on my flesh.
You turned your melting ice eyes back to mine,
I was reborn in that glance. I told you then, it was ok to ask.
My backbone grew tall with confidence.
In Buddhism, the heart chakra is called Dharma.
This phenomenon of essential energy resides
behind the spine, protected by the breast plate.
You place your hand on my chest, tell me I am not broken, you see light
emanating from my cracks. Kintsugi means to join with gold,
a concept born in 15th century Japan,
when a tea bowl was repaired with no attempt to disguise the damage.
The first time I noticed gold in your eyes, you kissed the scars
on my shoulder, learning my history with your mouth.
There was electricity in your trembling jaw.
Five Seconds and Counting
I have started closing my eyes
while driving at night.
I have gotten up to five seconds.
I tell myself the roads are familiar.
I tell myself my other senses will take over.
I tell myself maybe I will crash.
Maybe I will crash, and because
I did not see it coming, no one will blame me.
No one will blame me for my mangled remains,
for the hard, clockwise jerk of the steering wheel
on the overpass on Union Avenue,
for the bouquet of fake flowers at exit 13 on highway 287.
I close my eyes.
I hold my breath.
I count to five.
When I open my eyes, the night sky is blinding.
When I open my eyes, I am still driving.
When I open my eyes, I am alive.
I try not to ask why.
I just close my eyes and count to five.
I hold my breath.
I open my eyes and count forty more seconds.
I can hold my breath for 45 seconds
before instinct kicks in.
I trust the burning in my lungs more than the fear
living in my stomach. I trust the total darkness
behind my eyelids more than the noise inside my mind.
With my hands gripped on the steering wheel,
my white knuckles shine
under passing street lights.
I tell myself my bones are strong.
I tell myself I am weak.
I tell myself maybe I will survive.
Maybe I will survive, and because
I did not see it coming, I will stop blaming myself.
I will stop blaming myself for my mangled remains,
for my cringes at careful hands
and familiar touch,
for the tears after sex with the man I love.
I close my eyes.
I hold my breath.
I count to five.
Bio: Miriam Kramer studied Creative Writing at Pacific University, and works at a local bookstore. Her work has been published in The Rising Phoenix Review, and Indigent Press. She lives in Bound Brook, NJ, with her faucet obsessed cat, Ernie. Miriam is overly sentimental, often rescuing items from other peoples’ garbage.
11/28/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by Dave Worrell
Andrea Merletti CC
jodie’s wiping down
the bar and nothing’s
my bag’s still there
under the booth
with it this time
minutes to catch the last chance 2:14 to camden
the train hangs off
the side of the bridge
gotta stop looking down at the frozen river
signals fly past
red yellow green
searing light city hall station leaps up out of darkness
hard bump stop
my raggedy bag
spills open wide
all my papers
fly wild across the aisle under six rows of empty seats
across the floor
scoop up my shit
hold the doors
but the motorman
doesn’t want to wait
the doors slam shut
the train speeds on far into deep sleeping suburbs
Red Brick Row House, 4051 Spruce
William J. Young (1946-1968)
He had the ground floor railroad flat. The same cracked
sidewalk out front, cabbage weeds still thriving in crevices.
On the façade, a lone strand of ivy beginning to redden.
October fades as I peer through the window he once looked out from.
His Harley hit a concrete wall at a hundred. They say
he’d been working on that bike, removed the seat,
rode it standing up. By then the Army had me. I couldn’t
go to the funeral.
I’d ridden behind him on that bike,
accelerating up the narrow ramp from Admiral Wilson
Boulevard, curving low left, howling manic onto 130 South,
a screeching stop in the White Castle lot.
When he was sixteen,
cirrhosis killed his father. All that summer, he stayed in the cellar
with Tolstoy and Nietzsche, taught himself Beethoven’s
Two years later, playing Lizst afternoons
on the grand piano in Houston Hall, long hair flying
across his forehead, he always left with a woman.
One day it was Ruth, a nice Jewish girl who knew how
to calm him, but a year later he said he was choosing turbulence.
New and alive, his final letter said. At peace.
Bio: Dave Worrell’s chapbook “We Who Were Bound” was published in August 2012 by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. His ekphrastic collection “Close to Home” was published in 2015, featuring paintings by Catherine Kuzma. Dave’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Slant, Canary, Shot Glass Journal, Referential Magazine, Wild River Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Exit 13 and elsewhere. He has performed his music-backed poems at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia and The Cornelia Street Café in New York.
11/27/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by Gabe Kahan
Don Harder CC
dearest waitress of cosmic bronze and feather.
We have stumbled on a ghost town of bugles and sesame seed angels.
We have spun voodoo dolls from ruins.
The moonlight in tandem
with my pupils spilling hot black coffee
across a truck stop diner's tiled floor.
We almost fly off the pavement,
our footsteps so full of bliss they're angry.
But we know like we know our father's crooked heart
that the redness in our cheeks will pack up soon enough
and hitch a train full of spiraling repetition.
The Practice Poem
I am accosted
by the black milk
laying dead in my eyes
on a Twitter profile picture.
It is night in this poem. It must be
time for a momentary revolution of self.
Pop in Lemonade to the imaginary
I feel a malnourished lapse of presence
coming on like an orgy. It shoots straight up
from the belly of a whale
budding out across the dark gray. The discord kisses me
like a cold sore. It has sprouted.
But I'll sing
and I'll sing it again.
I look into a musician's eyes
wish I could write a folk song
about the drying paint and malaise
in my lungs back and forth
struggling like a tortoise
my days are carcinogenic seashores
my nights are shamanic mahogany leather
I wish I could put words into the brackish water
tucked behind my lips as I swim
I close my eyes and I see all their faces
nasty and gesticulating like a guru gone mad
overflowing with shadows
how ugly you appear how ugly we all are to play
in a web manicured like a grocer's trash bag
the moments are electric pivotal full
like a moth
so I pierce my lip and decorate my palms
puncture the gurgling past now so frail
a testament a riverbed feast
the mandolin is finally in key I say
my future will be warm
stuffing pillows at day break
a soft goodbye till tomorrow
like the way my brain paints together Brooklyn
as a little boy closing the door to his family's apartment
High Security Clearance
i don't remember when the feeling started
but here it is
and here it will forever stay
the smell of life made a home inside my nose
without me ever asking
to borrow its library card
because who can read the wind
when you feel swallowed up in a desert
writing your way into the scene
Bio: Gabe Kahan is a poet, freelance writer, visual artist, and the founding editor of the literature and arts journal, Taxicab Magazine. He has forthcoming poetry in The Occulum, The Bitchin' Kitsch, The Paragon Journal, and others. He lives and writes in New York and Washington, DC. He never leaves the house without his Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm. You can follow him on Twitter @GabeKahan or visit his website at gabekahan.com.
11/26/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by Steve Klepetar
Neal Wellons - CC
Braying at the Moon
You could stand here forever,
braying at the moon.
Or so it seems, when night
and moonlight freeze
on the lake and time disappears.
Across the hills, wolves moan.
Their voices paint shadows
on the star-sprinkled sky.
No wind. A weight of stillness,
and you sink into yourself,
recalling your blood
as it pulses through your body,
carrying light to your hungry brain.
Staying Out All Night
We walked to the river, climbed down
beneath the bridge, listened
to cars rush overhead,
watched boat lights spread on the water.
We sat on warm stones
as they slowly cooled,
and slowly in the darkness
we came to ourselves.
We spoke softly.
Earth felt new in our fingers,
smoky and raw.
Fish splashed near the shore,
the sound rich in our ears.
All night we lingered in that velvet world,
prowled the shore, lithe as cats,
eyes glowing with the gentle light of stars.
To Drown the Night
We are tramping on streets far from home.
Here we are, breathing humid air,
bodies packed in close.
Though we carry bold signs,
we are terrified as we cross bridges
toward the park.
Dogs growl as we pass.
Women watch us from their yards, faces
pulled into shadow and mist.
Everywhere, men with guns and clubs.
This city sinks faster every year.
After a hard rain, fish swim
in puddles on streets
near the shore. The city pushes
out into wetlands.
Tall buildings rise along the coast.
Music pours from cafes, flags
flutter in the wind.
We step with our aching feet.
Our throats burn, sunshine stabs our eyes.
Here in this parade, we are bodies, we are clay.
We are droplets in a sea, gathering to drown the night.
Bio: Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include Family Reunion (Big Table), A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), and How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps).
The Blankness at the Edge
We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us
more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. (Margaret Atwood)
The bullets ping chips from walls and
enter sandbags with a dull staccato.
Head down, away from gaps no longer
veneered by glass, I am nothing
if not cautious. My memories live
only between cupped palms, face
pressed close. What I was has no place.
What I will be hunkers, undecided.
Alert to pretention and pretending,
snipers stand ready to drop the forgetful.
Still, daily, hunger drives me to probe.
The least scrap swells me bulbous,
an explosion of spores. I master
the mycelium creep, the age’s new
locomotion, the code of the like-
minded, the subtle semaphore.
Not whole, I’m proximate. Bone
piles remind me what’s worse.
Bio: Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found here and in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.
11/24/2017 1 Comment
Loaf by Christopher McCarthy
Throw open and kick-stumble the door shut. Struggle. Jostle the deadlock and twiddle the chain. Struggle. Quick button the little twisty lock in the handle. Sink down, butt against the door, slowly, slowly to the floor.
It’s an empty little one-bedroom. But the furniture is gone – not that there was much, the few foldup chairs, the TV, floor matt, everything. The whole kitchen is cleared out. The walls, all white, white, white, but still the mattress sans bed sheets, and still the empty floor... ‘if all the works of Joseph Conrad are written on raw salmon and wrapped around your head, as the salmon starts to cook, starts to pinken from brain waves, tales of being at sea will show up like grill marks.>>>’
Face in hands, desire sleep. Free thought. Up for days, and now want only to sleep. Up for four days, head pounding, thoughts reeling, throat killing, reeling some more, mind seizing up, caught up in a net, cooking brain, and all going down from here. Strangle up. Every breath is a newfangled, mad-driving thought… ‘what is that?>>>’
There is a gurgling black cube on the floor. Be silent now… ‘There it goes again!>>>’
Reach for the door. No, don’t dare escape. Gurgling, pulsing, grinding, whining, screaming, a cube vibrating… ‘it’s heralding the mad mechanisations of body munching, feed you to the fishes frenzy polar vortex.>>>’
Cower… ‘It stopped. Maybe it will just go away.>>>’ Listen in agony. Watch. The cube lets out a puff of steam. It starts up again. Cower even lower on the floor.
Sense time winding backwards, slowly, circle-semi in the counter-clockwise direction, winding back, back, back, back. Shake. Time is winding back, back, back. Shake uncontrollably.
Totter over, ear to veneer, feel the vibrations of the cube across the floor… ‘Virgin Mother of Christ! Hallucinations! All of it. Dream mountain dream. White walls, white tundra, white trucks, white grotto, white sky, white sheets, sheets of snow, nowhere to go, all in your mind, wait. White, white, white clouds, clouds in the sky, weather station, drool stream, wifi, data entry, power supply.>>>’
Press up on elbows, knees, up… ‘It pulses in robot speak! Hear its invective of zeros and ones!>>>
All thoughts come to a standstill. An exultant sense of self-preservation, of escaping danger, fills the whole of the moment. Enter calm. Predict nothing. Analyze nothingness. Plan non-existence. The past is a blank slate and time winds counter-clockwise, circle-semi, and always in irregular intervals. Chisel away doubts… ‘there can be no questions left if the mind is nothing but nothingness.>>>’
It is a moment of total relief and spontaneous, purely animal joy. Make peace with the nothing, the black cube, who now shares this one-bedroom. Drop. Joy-slip.
All reprieve is followed by an inevitable, horrific relapse into raving insanity… ‘A child again! A child again! You will revert into a nitwit baby, cooing, goob goob murmuring, feckless, hairless skin bag, shrinking, melting clock stop, drain down an animal meat soul central viaduct.>>>’
Weep. Tears sting. Notice emptiness. Raise legs. Stand… “steam clouds the sunlight of the mind.>>>’
The cube is the only other presence, moving and breathing, apart from a face of tears. Hear the intimate inviting words. Each whining gurgle from the machine is a low, guttural HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. A pause follows… ‘HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK? What are you saying? HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK?>>>’
Pulse. Listen to the mechanical HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK.
Persevere to the completely unfamiliar. Reach the peak of exhaustion, the climax unannounced and unprecedented. Drop into a trance. Dark electronic music plays in the background. A strange and terrible sensation creeps across skin. Hear distant music. But what makes it all the more tormentingly painful is the idea, more a sensation than a perception, the sense that tiny voices make these sounds—that HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK is whirling at a dizzying speed now, getting faster and faster, while the voices, simultaneously become smaller and smaller. Hear it drilled into the core of the mind at the volume of a whisper. Twenty, or perhaps thirty matryoshka dolls separating top from bottom, and with each separation a new, littler voice adds itself to the medley. Clutch head in hands. A direct unmediated, sensation, a deluge, drowning in an ocean of sound, touching every nerve before the most tormenting sensation of all: a little boy singing a far away melody in another dimension, HILARY BOOK. HILARY BOOK.
Shiver. Feel cold now. Fever break. Rest the weight of the body on both elbows. Crawl towards the cube humming in the centre of the room. The walls darken and wisp again with flashing nightlight across white. This unnatural pulsing light flows and flows, midnight bloodletting.
Crawl nearer the cube. Forearms pass over some disgusting black snake. Hear the blood-draining hum. See the faint, and yet inviting, orange glow. The cube is warm. It breathes warmth into the cold dark room. Circle around the cube. Drift off to the sound of its lullaby. Sleep.
Time moves forward. There is pounding. There is drumming, banging, and the jangling of chains…
“Open the door, you’ve left the chain on, Gear!”
The pounding continues…
“Gear I know you’re there! The door isn’t bolted. Let me in.”
Rise up slow. Push up from floor elbows, arms, and knees. Rise. Flick lights. Smell alluvial wetland armpits. Twiddle the chain free. Taste ash in mouth. Open door grog…
“Hi Catriona, what would you like?”
“My stuff. Brought you a coffee.”
Mainline caffeine. Get warm now. Waken. Enter sun: natural light on white. Play attentive. Focus on dialogue…
“Poor Gear. You didn’t think you’d still be living here after Terry got back from Calcutta did you?”
Look perplexed. Make comprehending statements. Show keys.
“But there’s nothing, nothing of yours here.”
“My breadmaker. Fresh bread! Unplug it. There’s butter in the fridge.”
Bio: Christopher McCarthy is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. He lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut with his wife Stefanie.
11/22/2017 1 Comment
Poetry by Lindsey Woodward
She is blind mythology
with piercing duality and tireless mysteries,
her many miseries lure her away
so very far from my mind and her own --
Together we have compared histories,
written and revised our own elegies,
concluded that we have lived like ostriches
and fed reality to the porch squirrels and alley cats --
I listen for her airy morning footsteps,
the softest steady beat
as though she's tiptoeing --
she probably is, always
careful not to upset the halcyon dawn,
but her jewellery clamours out of tune
sends her stumbling --
she howls and curses and falls in her sleep -
down two gyrating flights of stairs,
down a fourteen storey elevator shaft,
wakes up with five cracked ribs and a fractured collarbone,
but can't recall her dreams --
she says the vivid ones happen during the day,
in the rich, warm soak of afternoon,
while drinking in sunlight through old windows,
while boiling water for tea,
or smoking her thirtieth cigarette --
She keeps me awake,
streaking pillows with mascara,
having arguments with god, with herself --
sometimes when she can't sleep, she wakes me
to crawl in beneath the blankets and asks me
to tell her about angels and heaven, and
beautiful things --
sometimes I do and she's out before I'm done speaking, or
sometimes I tell her the truth.
Winter Crisis Version I
In the hollow mists of swollen membranes
of angry white walls
that try to hide our smiles
and our expanding/contracting pupils
imploring the eggshell nurses
and the heavenly fucks of whispering darkness
of unrelenting nighttime
The ocean passed us by without a beckon
I called to my shipwreck
he replied with the fury
of a thousand choking lunatics
sputtering on bile and waste
as the blankets are tossed to the washers
And drink the slaves to emancipate yourself,
You crying ember, from Your loathsome fortress!
I was destined to fall into flames and emerge as a snowy ashen goddess
my romantic ideals have been swallowed
by my insatiable appetites
I’m starved for a Rose
Ravenous for a thoughtful gesture
Why can’t you love me like the sun loves the sea as it sinks and simmers?
I’m anchored to my truth but truth is hard to discern
when the World is your oyster
but you can’t find the pearl.
My laughter erupted in red
sharp and unbridled
until men with stethoscopes
reduced this volcano to ash
There is no laughter here.
My hairpin lips creak
leave a crooked path of crumbs
along rims of tea-stained mugs
Trace my past across deeply
where I danced in
over tufts of tissues that wiped rivers
from painted cheeks
It’s dark in here without a window,
like a torn orifice sewn shut -
I’m left alone to pick at loose stitches.
Bio: Lindsey Woodward began writing poetry at age 9 because she found pencils and paper easier to communicate with than people. 25 years later, she still prefers the company of books and cats. Born and raised in Port Hope, Ontario, she inevitably fled and studied art history and English at Carleton University in Ottawa. Upon completion of her studies, she returned to the area although she remains uncertain why. Her chapbook Huckster Piss (2008) was published by In/Words Press, and she is a regular contributor on The Mighty website.
11/22/2017 0 Comments
Poetry by Larry Rogers
Growing up in a small
In the dark ages
Of the 1950s
When your father
And your father’s father
You learned to hate
The word heredity
You learned to hate
The word heredity
Behind your back
You learned to hate
Those who asked
How’s your old man
When they knew
He was undergoing
Of shock treatments
And the way they
Looked at you, watching
Of that old adage
Like father like son
Your first thought
Was to suggest
They all go to hell
But a young boy
Talking like that
Would have been
They were looking for
I’m whiskey drunk
and whistling Dixie
past a Confederate graveyard
in a piney woods town,
limping toward a boarding house room
where tonight, my first night
back in the Real World, I’ll be grateful
for the hissing and rattling
of a radiator that distracts me
from the constant shelling in my head,
and grateful for the sirens on
the street outside that boarding house
that distance me from the sound
of small arms fire in my head.
I’m whiskey drunk and whistling Dixie
past a Confederate graveyard
in my hometown; collar turned up against
the wind that isn’t blowing.
Bio: Larry Rogers is a poet-singer/songwriter. Golden Antelope Press recently published a full-length collection of his poems titled "Live Free or Croak." It's available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.