Beware The Poem
By Jim Smith
Beware the poem.
If you are seeking comfort
in clever words
you’ve come to the wrong place.
Beware the poem.
It is a stabbing light
that cuts through the thickest fog
And shows what we don’t want to see.
Beware the poem.
It tears down the walls
that hide us from the truth
of the onrushing abyss.
Beware the poem.
It will find us
no matter how far
or how fast we run.
Beware the poem.
Its edges are knife sharp
and its essence
is the future.
Study of Marigolds
by Aryn Youngless
It’s all a bit of mayhem
Craziness wrapped in cellophane,
Crispy and see through
And we run around in circles, lost
Confused by what has happened
And what hasn’t happened at all
Then we wait for someone to guide us
What else it there to do?
The absurdity is just
We are just, aren’t we?
I am just, when I can be
And the world spins on
Befuddled, bemused, demoralized
Music swells
Everyone dances,
But the jagged coughs make my chest burn
How did we get here
Dizzied and confused
Fingers digging into the dirt
Grasping for the earth
As it spins us, like a rotor
Pasted to the wall,
The floor falls out from under our feet
We hang, groundless
Helplessly waiting for the something
The one thing, that should rescue us
From calamity and woes
Never realizing we have our own capes
We are our own heroes
Rise above the fraudulent imagery
Move past the intricately placed words
And we find, life
Spun into the duality of a cocoon
Warm and comforting
Hot and suffocating
Choices woven into the silken threads
We over look for we think should be
The something that never was
Rest, or panic
Meditate, or run
Stand alone, but stand strong
As you look to them, they look to you
The earth will spin, and they will dance
And the burning will fade with time
Is it real, or is it a dream?
It’s before you, for you to decide
What will become of what was
And what will never be at all?
Inside the mayhem are the marigolds
Puffs of beauty and color
And in their simplicity, the answers lie
But you must sit and listen to the nothing
For as long as it my take
Minutes, hours, years
And then the answers will appear
Put on your blinders, then you will see
Oakwood Mothers
this is dedicated to all those single Moms
trying so hard to raise their kids up
hold down a job or two
who sacrificed things they wanted for their kids
bought the kids new clothes before they bought
for themselves
the ones who believed the hype:
if you just get your kid through school
their future would be so bright
some of those kids never made it –
shot and killed by their neighborhood,
by the colors they wore and didn’t wear
by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Is this Venice? you ask
Hell, yeah –
it sure ain’t the bedazzled coating they put on everything
behind all the glamor and the glitz
kids grew up in Oakwood, with not much money,
not nearly enough
the real stories are there to be found
single Moms, just barely out of their teens,
trying to raise their babies to be successful
when they didn’t know what success looked like.
leaving their kids home alone so they could work
and make the rent
grandmothers and aunties filling in the gap
so proud of their kids –
and some of those kids are not here now,
since the gang war, kids were killed and taken away.
now people are being evicted, businesses are closing,
because of the greed taking over Venice.
this is our community, what’s left of it.
the closing of businesses,
the evictions of people
people gone away, forced out of here by greed
the greed of the developers and politicians
now we’re asked to vote for new politicians,
to replace the old ones
carpet-baggers, can’t wait to get in on the money
taking away the flavor of our community
making everything cost so much
people can’t afford to live here,
in their homes, in their spiritual homes.
single moms and their kids,
don’t they deserve to live here?
their mamas lived here and their grandparents,
but not them
people becoming “displaced people” in their homeland
treated like the Palestinians in Israel
everyone forgets their history
but they were here first
and now Oakwood is filling up with white,
upwardly mobile screenwriters and actors,
leaving “ordinary people” with no place to stay.
apartheid of money, not skin color,
but the result is the same:
separation of people by income levels,
not skin color
so where is the “diversity” that Venice is so proud of?
it’s priced out of the market, ok?
it can’t be “diverse” when it looks all the same.
the yuppies with their expensive strollers
hey great, they are colonizing Venice
just as the Romans did to most of the planet
it’s all gonna look the same –
it already does.
– Mary Getlein
She looks down and wonders
if she feels at peace.
She looks down and wonders
if she’s what she needs.
She looks down and wonders
if she’ll ever know.
She looks down and wonders
how fast she’ll grow.
She looks down and wonders
if she’ll sleep tonight.
She looks down and wonders
if she’s doing it right.
She looks down and wonders
if she’s in any pain.
She looks up and wonders
exactly the same.
For my mom, coincidentally on Mother’s Day.
I love you.
By Emily Wood
order of merit
the scum rises also in the swine pool
that is the venerated joke
a pig in a proverbial poke
bought for some by yet some other fool
Christopher Mulrooney
12:51 Monday, April 15th, 2013, Adullam ….. The fence beyond my window is
alive With vernal growth, and barely time to save, Before the surface breaks
over the bow, Beginning the descent, to rest below. Or seated in a box at Ford’s
Theater; A demon comes to visit from the rear. Supposing T.S. Eliot was right,
This Ides of April won without a fight. Capitulated, I, gave in to fear Of
tragedies to come. They’ll find me here. Of blessings and of curses, I don’t
know The one from other, opening my door. The lilacs in my churchyard shade my
grave, Like herald angels, singing me alive ….. Roger Houston
Like an Animal Without Faith
Believe and you shall, inevitably, become the object of fury and suffering when the entity whom you allowed to seduce you and to whom you surrendered your will fails—despite the power that you attributed to it—and does not satisfy your expectations of pleasure.
Believe in god and accept your suffering as the natural consequence of your sin and you will satisfy his condition for being worthy of his love. This is the terrible condition that incites theist belief.
Believe and suffer. Suffer and believe that your suffering has a value that you can exchange for redemption. Your pain is your merit. This is the perverse tramp—created by the church and adopted by the state—in which cardinals and senators exploit the ignorance (fear and impotence) and bury humanity’s suffering.
The logical understanding that life is unsatisfactory leads to the conclusion that its impermanence is a condition that can not be altered by belief. Consequently, the human being who possesses this knowledge is free to reconcile with the nakedness of its nature and endure the suffering required to stay alive and die serenely, like an animal without faith.
—Humberto Gómez Sequeira-HuGóS, the Antigen