July 31, 2009

pan de carne*

swinging our hungry bodies we stumbled upon Him
those who wanted not to believe
were left in the desert
not wanting to see that there it laid
a wooden tray
with pan de carne*

those who ate survived
those who ate complied
those who ate were saved

faith was the ultimate trench for dignity
and we dug

those who turned their backs
those who laughed
those who laughed harder
we still hear their laughing

but we were there
sharing our pan de carne*
for every bread is made out of Him
and He lives in every crumble


for every bread is made of Him
faith and dignity as one
a vow for the simplest recipe:
be strong

silvia arroyo (El Paso, TX, 1972)

* Editor's note: meat bread

July 30, 2009

young, brilliant, unemployed

Coming soon
The lack of confidence
The loss of a job
The cascade of well intended advice

You are not alone, they say
But you are

* * *

Who to ponder
Where to go from here

A plain gesture
A three-hour commute
One final bus ride
Somewhere to call home
Late at night
Dim futility
Neither concern nor misappropriation
Who asked for a lawyer, anyway

Make me your reclaimed waste
Pour me into yet another cycle
I’ll be thankful in advance
With greasy gratitude
To the worn-out heiress
Waxed, trimmed
A chick pea in boiling black waters

Problems piling up
Debt surging
Hopeless and bankrupt
With a lesser eye
Frequent flyer mileage
And the pains of having everyone expect so much

Roll your call
You have seen nothing yet
Don’t you dare bet on this

* * *

So how are you supposed to feel
When everybody’s doing something about their lives
Everybody has a job
Except you
Good for nothing
On tape
A blank stare

* * *

My soul is dead
But I’m still living
And longing

* * *

Careful what you wish for
As usual he got more than he bargained for
Someone please
Chop off my neck

Gloom rhymes with doom
The prophet of alphanumeric keyboards
And bad credit scores
Damaged goods, as in a now useless umbrella
A second hand trench coat

The kid in you reads as
The failed adult that you are
The captain of losers
Leveling the playground

This shouldn’t be happening to you
This is not what you were raised for

Please insert coin
Beg us all please
To insert a coin

A not-so-happy incident
Flying away
A parade
No parachute
Hence, nothing

jeff simmons (Providence, RI, 1978)

July 27, 2009

concept unification for pizza time theater

Kabuki kings, hash-chat scenes and gorilla themed
robotics, I love how the Sing
the Dance and Skill wind
like fried junk deoxyribo-blah-blah-blah

It's as if our years of silent
lazy protest and ghosted picket
marches finally pay out. That's right
this one's paying out, and now
our piece of pizza pie just
a bit bigger. The amoebic goo on
our side of the Venn slide swallows up
the poo-poo'ers. The nay-nay's.

First we take Manhattan, two-headed
or bearded or busted-palate or just
plain Weird-Ass Babies, then
we take Nepal. We take 'em all.

james weber jr. (St. Louis, MO, 1976)

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July 24, 2009

touching hard back to soft underbelly

Lee Miller is laughing at Jean Cocteau
All black and white silhouettes
Because they are wrapped in cellophane
In a museum, dusting thin
With trumpets lining up to bathe beside her in Hitler’s bathtub

Marilyn Monroe reminds me of a summer’s afternoon
Drinking cheap week old uncovered wine
From a pint glass
Staring at a stiletto
Peering out from under a beaten couch

They be dancing under the umbrellas
Large and striped docile
Taking photographs with gasmasks
A strike away like a soldier you know
Us civilians, looking fat like santa
Blaming placed on bottom sole
Scuffed to a fine polish

When her voice crackles under incendiary bomb blasts
Picasso flashes a rounded hand claw shaped
Towards the showgirls lining my window sill
A dull throbbing castrating senses
Making America look dull like oyster colored fridges

matthew wedlock (Taunton, MA, 1984)

July 21, 2009

great David, Jane and me as either one of them

great David set the pace for innovation
inhalation, dead crumb sophistication
and there he went batting his eyelashes
after years of deprivation, bursting,
chilling bones, res non verba,
rest on Valium, sleeping in cars,
strained joints, started over,
he made it

great David said it was all cool
but his neck grew worse
waited forever to marry Jane
should have licked her forearm
when there was time to
but he set the pace and then it was too lame
and layed sedated and forgetful

rate David as a demonic lover
an accident waiting to happen
a car pooling affair with no HOV
Jane wondering and hovering and
emotionally stimulating as she was
two happy hearts beat as one
but she had better beatings to ponder

and then great David went ballistic
lost all composture and tore his worst disguise
a familiar tragedy not for the light spirited
from downtown to the suburbs at 90 miles per hour
the ladder vibes and empty rooms with no view
insane amounts of pain and debt,
like asphyxia on a summer weekend

I'm sick of it all protested David
and Jane was all over the place
took her basket, lost her patience
begged in silence, could not get over it
speeds on the beltway going nowhere
hands tied, cold blooded and belonging to none,
a shoestring, and some more pills for desert

You wish them well and would have enjoyed
knowing them better
but all in all, great David set the pace,
Jane belongs to no one,
the road is the road is the road,
begging in silence, stretching once and again,
ageing, bleeding still from minor damages

dan ariston (Cambridge, MA, 1979)

July 17, 2009

in stereo where available

My life was dust and scratches
Missing frames, poorly enacted
Reel after reel

I was a faded projection
In a seedy forgotten theater
A battered clown
Merely waiting for The End

Enter third act, you
A bulb enlightment
Twenty-four times per second

My life was Glorious Black and White
You turned it Technicolor
Full Cinemascope
In Stereo where available

eugene sanders (Atlanta, GA, 1970)

July 15, 2009

if i could sleep tonight

in silence bails my lining
been way patient for the owls
in plastic, in screaming
bears no anger

tailored fits bargained
got so lucky

taming old flames and recent fires
farming sperm
i've been flexible, elastic
patron of the lard

stuffed nose can't breathe properly
a rhino size rhinitis
making it all up for loopholes, sideways, shortcuts
and marriage

if i could sleep tonight i'd ask her
let me out and breathe in silence
for tonight i'm off, end is nigh
an old snore
a snare
no answer

bastian villalobos (Dallas, TX, 1972)

July 14, 2009

german beer

My credit card got cancelled
But I’m at home, safe and warm,
Drinking german beer

My left testicle swollen overnight
It looks like a tennis ball
But I’m uninsured
Ain’t life great?

My parents absent
Estranged from my friends
No special someone to live or die for
Not even a pet

My face raided with scabs,
Gaining weight from eating
Fast food everyday
Jerking off my only workout

My life at crossroads
Stale, a sinking boat,
A slow descent without warning
Trying to look cool

My life at crossroads
Pale, a smoking joint,
Blown and worn by solitude
Drinking imported beer


david weinglas (Montevideo, MN, 1978)

July 8, 2009

a poem is a time machine

"Remember, a poem is a time machine you are constructing, a vehicle that will allow someone to travel in their own mind, so don't be surprised if it takes a while to get all its engine parts properly working."

charles simic (Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1938), excerpt from Charles Simic on Writing Poetry, published on The Library of Congress web site, Poetry Home.

Further reading:

Poems by Charles Simic on Poets.org, The Poetry Foundation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Poetry Archive

Former Poet Laureate Charles Simic (Library of Congress)

Charles Simic, Surrealist With Dark View, Is Named Poet Laureate (The New York Times)

Charles Simic interviews at The Cortland Review, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine

July 3, 2009

mama's cookin' in heaven

Mama’s cookin’ chicken cutlets in the kitchen
Poundin’ down the poultry to make it tasty
I call it elbow grease, but she’s always right
It’s love that makes them melt so good
Some cilantro, bread crumbs, eggs and canola
sizzling smells from her Sicilian cucina’s cibo
We’ll mangia in a minute, so non tocare niente
Piatte di pasta with papa and mama on the side and my nonni
I can’t wait for heaven

victor kondratas (New York, NY, 1981)

July 1, 2009

my dearest libby

My dearest Libby
Is the type of poem
With a first verse
Just like the title line

My dearest Libby
Was my sex partner
For two years
In college

My dearest Libby
Got into drugs
Turned into a film-ready junkie
Sucked cock for coke

Once she offered to bring along
Her girlfriend
For a threesome
I said no

Being a junkie myself
I had nothing to offer
Sex just isn’t that interesting
After riding wild horses

I wish I could go back in time
And tell her: My dearest Libby
I wrote this poem for you
Title and first verse are the same

I’m not a great poet
But I love you so much I don’t care
I want you to be my girlfriend
Like, for reals

My dearest Libby

ron kenan (Colchester, VT, 1972)