• Letter to the Brother taken by War – Antonieta Villamil
  • Winter – hillary kaye
  • Ah Romantics, Thus Are We – Mark Lipman
  • Gaza, 90291 – Jim Smith
  • Monday Morning Errands – krista schwimmer
  • Untitled – Jack Cross
  • Hiroshima – Jessica Aden
  • Commitment (to Mark “Sponto” Kornfeld) – Suzanne Verdal
  • Snapshots of the Unemployed – Sherman Pearl

———–

 

Letter to the Brother taken by War

By Antonieta Villamil

What can I tell you  
Dear brother  
Mutilated in silence.  

You disappear,  
As so many of  
My brothers, with  
rigorous sin-chronicity.  

The dripping of the clock  
Coagulates my eyes.  

Between brows and eye-corner glances   
I keep an ash  
That repels the fire  
That doesn’t find your bones.  

A tomb I know by heart  
Butchers my hands.  

With the only effort  
I have left  
I write these lines,  

While outside 
And around us 
everything collapses 
and bleeds.

————

Winter
 
by hillary kaye
 
Winter
silence
snow
crunch
bird
silence
cold
I am
my self
alone
I am
to
my self
unkind
as the winter
is
to
the weak
Hey bird
fly
like you would
past
any set of circumstances.

———–

Ah Romantics, Thus Are We

By Mark Lipman

Ah romantics, thus are we,
Who sit by fire bright
Uncontent with life we flee
To passion’s burning light.

Ah romantics, thus are we,
Who dream of starry sky,
And curse aloud the misery
Of a loveless gloom on high.

Ah romantics, thus are we,
Who steal a lover’s kiss,
And regret the lonesome life we lead,
When love, we know have missed.

But what is the good alone,
Of fire and kiss and star,
Without the feelings of loss be known
To make us romantics, who we are?

———-

Gaza, 90291

By Jim Smith

The Gaza strip
extends from
Santa Monica 
south along the coast

Many thousands of us are packed tight
and cannot leave what is called
the world’s largest prison

We have been driven west
until we can go no further.
Here, under the Pagodas
we line up for UN food distributions

Walking down the Boardwalk
I see the wounded, 
and the ghosts of many friends

A new explosion billows
black smoke across the sand
sending us into chocking fits.

A women on her knees is crying
“They took our land and homes,
what more do they want.”

A man walks by. 
He was a vendor not long ago
Now he is a fighter, “They want us gone.
They want us dead,” he shouts.

Ali walks up and whispers in my ear,
“They are targeting The Waldorf and 
5 Rose today. Stay away,” he urges.

But where can I go? On the sand
I feel naked and exposed. 
Should I swim out into the ocean?
And how could I run away
when our people are dying?

Once long ago, our tormentors
were the tormented.
They were horribly incinerated
on another continent.
They came here to find peace,
and found…us.

Today, another hideous crime is underway.
Four hundred children dead already.
Genocide is such a big word to 
describe a little guy being blown apart.

Boom! A missile has exploded
an apartment building a block ahead
Many of us are running to help the wounded.
Bodies are strewn across Ocean Front Walk
The living are screaming and crying.

Should we fight back? 
They call us terrorists when we do.
And with what shall we fight? 
Do we throw sand in their faces?
Is it sacrilege to hurl devotional candles at them
from Sponto’s memorial.

The tanks are rolling down Pacific Avenue now.
Someone has found gasoline for a 
Molotov cocktail. He hurls it at the tank,
but it burst against the steel without effect.

The tank turns and fires down Paloma.
The roof of a house flies off, a fire erupts.
Was a child inside doing her homework?
or just playing a video game?

Is there no justice in the world?
Why do people see our destruction 
and turn away?
Are we not people? Do we not suffer?

In my reverie, I’ve wandered close to 5 Rose.
Soundlessly I see white bricks flying toward me.
They push me back into the parking lot
I cannot stand the pain, then it ceases.
Now I am riding the bricks into the sky
I look down and see Gaza one last time.

———–

Monday Morning Errands
Now that i have been
redeemed by love
& thrown away
all thoughts of enlightenment
i find there
is little left for me to do
but observe the world.
This morning while returning
the video “Three Lives of Thomasina”
& a play station 2 Smack Down dvd
a young couple walks by me
absorbed by each other.
The macho one grabs
his girlfriend’s ass
while she looks down
at the sidewalk
immensely enjoying
the public display.
Should i tell them now
i think, as i cruise by towards
the video drop slot
the truth about love? i say
nothing, turning instead to watch
them both as he continues
his proud grope.
Later, two mourning doves
are standing in the middle of Horizon
the male chasing the female’s tail
both so dazzled by each other
that neither seem to care about
the fast approaching SUV.

–krista schwimmer
———-

I too have stormed heaven.
The very moment I realized
it was my lock
and my key,
I kicked down the door and announced myself,
but found no one home
but me.

– Jack Cross

———-

Hiroshima

By Jessica Aden

Death drops on steel wings
as the solitary aircraft climbs.
And generations tremble at the sound,
of cherry-blossoms burning in the radioactive air.

———–

Commitment
to Mark (Sponto) Kornfeld

Spontabulous!
Spontomiraculoso!
You flew away
To the sounds
Of benevolent water angels
Through the showerhead
What messages did
Those Angels of Oxygen
Take note as you
Passed in to the nebuli
Or did they, themselves
Pluck you up with your agreement
A mission accomplished 
From faithful commitments
To the sanctuary you made available?
Where so many could hear
Revelations through poetic word
Informational moving pictures
And interdimensional communion.
A loading zone for creative vision
And comfort food for the unsheltered
Or did the Greed Demons
Of this bereaved earth
Bear down too hard
On a battle of impossible terms?
You made your Mark
And left a legacy
Willingly or not…
Your signature will remain
On the very concrete of 7 Dudley
And now, words of thanks cannot be measured.

–Suzanne Verdal

———–

Snapshots of the Unemployed

By Sherman Pearl

They scan the classifieds- circle, underline, clip–
compose lyrical resumes
that sing the praises of who they once were.
They dress for success, lug failure to interview rooms.
They knock on locked doors,
peek through windows
for glimpses of careers that last a week
but give them somewhere to go on workdays.
They visit agencies that tell them times are hard
and offer to retrain them as
grave diggers or night watchmen
for banks besieged by the dispossessed. 
They stand in long lines,
shuffle toward windows that dole out 
baskets of shame.
They stand on edges of cliffs
staring down at the future, tempted to leap
into it, out of the present.
They sink into sofas and watch dreams flicker by.
They study their hands, evaluate the lifelines,
curl the fingers
to see whether they still make a fist.
They stand on corners holding cardboard signs
with our names inscribed.

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