Thursday, May 24, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and NINETY

He would have been celebrating his birthday

How do you choose a bouquet
of flowers for a seventeen-year-old boy?

I close the bookmarks of guitars.
I was never sure which was his
favourite, was going to ask him
to suggest a top five and I'd pick
one so it would still be a surprise.

How many seventeen-year-old boys
dream of a bouquet for their birthday?

It's a day you don't think about
until something makes it extraordinary
and suddenly you remember
breakfast, your journey to work,
that unexpected phone call.

A bouquet it has to be. I'll create my own.
The standard ones are all white and blank.

One Texan yellow rose for truth.
White lillies for life that stretched toward
but never reached adulthood.
I thought red roses but they look too much
like drops of blood, splatter from bullets.

I wrap it with thoughts and prayers
as another boy, shot at school, is laid to rest.

--Emma Lee

Emma Lee's most recent collection is "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015), she co-edited "Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge" (Five Leaves, 2015), reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

day FOR HUNDRED and EIGHTY NINE


all of history


the desert at fifteen below and
you want to talk about god
to the starving and the slaughtered

you want to fuck the daughters
of the men you crucify

want to teach them the equation
that lets power become
more than love
and so this poem will be my
song of joy at the news
of your death

these words will be the stones
that grind your bones
into dust

--John Sweet

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and EIGHTY EIGHT


no leader here

donny john
playing the long con for years
used to vomit your hypocrisy
on the piss-yellow snow of aspen
in the masturbation pages of the national enquirer
but now you do it in the highest office in the country

ain’t the death of america grand?

sixty million misguided fucks
hiding behind their skin color and money
how many opioids were those shitheads on election day?
they must’ve trucked them in
in the trunk of a NASCAR racer colored
like the derelict flag and the anemic constitution

when i see you orange man i say…
there’s no leader here
just a geriatric coward who’s spent a life
hiding behind his daddy’s money
and hollow tough talk from a high rise in manhattan
a punk-bitch who called getting a venereal disease
his vietnam

donald j. trump
gotham pariah
baby dick-tator

yet you look so slick next to bubba and jethro
down there in mississippi
hollering your horseshit in dallas
on the cowering yellow backs of the gop

donny john playing the long con for years
casino bullshit gambino
but now you call it patriotism
make america great again
by courting madmen on the world stage
letting seventy years of diplomacy burn baby burn
with your sunburnt face
and your shithead smile

the very idea of you
diminishes us all                                             

--John Grochalski

Monday, May 21, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and EIGHTY SEVEN

"Music Appreciation"

the old piano was made by Bannon
1936 model worn to its nubs by
uneducated players who stay
on its white keys, that's "C"

Bud Powell would bop it
even Duke might say
"I love you madly"
or tunes might mark
the artistry of Monk
as he attempts the notes
held in the cracks
between, among,
a pound of patience
our different colors
unconsciously forgotten
that blend, it's jazz
and recalls the
improvised allay of
songs where hues
and rhythm are just us-

Americans.

--Nancy Krieg

Sunday, May 20, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and EIGHTY SIX

Lo Cool, 69 Degrees
(previously published in Kleft Jaw)

the yellowed air conditioner
in the window hums as
outside people drown
  in their own sweat and die
  in the streets of dirt and fire, in cities
far from here,
  in cities nearby, just down
the block

this air conditioner spent
seven years in an attic
before re-enlistment in a privileged
war against the sun

in the last seven years
I have watched four
people I love die
in front of my eyes
    and thousands on television from
    the endless stream of
    human catastrophe
and I feel myself joining the ranks
of the numb

the air conditioner hums
and it is getting too cool now
so I turn down the blower and
listen to cars passing
on Broadway and garbage
cans scraping pavement, one last
chore before bed for a random neighbor,
  as somewhere else someone
  turns out the bedside light
  to gunfire and war and famine
  to the sound of their
  own family starving to
death

we lament the brand of lipstick
our celebrities wear, or curse
actors and musicians for having beliefs,
and I turn down the air
conditioner’s blower even more
the little
digital green numbers reading Lo Cool, 69
   as the last drop of someone’s
   sand continues to strike the ground
   as they slave and die and are reborn to slave and die
for
   you, and you, and you out there in the darkness,
and soon for me too, no closer to answers
in the privileged cool of the night,
   for which I weep
   no
consolation to anyone, I know

--James Duncan

Saturday, May 19, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and EIGHTY FIVE

LET'S STRIKE


                                          PHOTO BY JOHN GROCHALSKI

Friday, May 18, 2018

day FOUR HUNDRED and EIGHTY FOUR

KILLING THE TUNDRA

-- WASHINGTON —President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, who opened their first year in full control of Washington on rocky terms, are closing it with a flush of late legislative achievements: a sweeping tax overhaul…and a surprise deal to open up Arctic drilling
—Louise Radnofsky and Kristina Peterson, The Wall Street Journal

we thought it a daffodil kind of glitter
childish
a tattoo of smile

but found instead
a slip of color
dying in slow motion

--Michael H. Brownstein