Luke Kuzmish

autumnal (fragment)

 

Ellyn picks up a stick
that lays in the road

mustve come from
the white oak over there
when it stormed last night
I woke up at 5 from the thunder
crashing on the predawn
without any sympathy
for the three doubles
in a row
I pulled

me
I don’t know trees
their names or leaves
and I sleep heavy and sound
through precipitation and guilt
caffeine and bad dreams

 

Paul Hellweg

The Universal Idiocy of the Human Race

 

Remarque wrote the words

I borrow for the title to this poem

my response is

oh my yes and amen.

I’ll never forget being dumbstruck

learning that the average IQ was 100

and I’d always felt anyone under 120

was moron par excellence.

 

What, me intelligent?

Maybe not. The crown for idiot king

lies upon the head I call my own

I always thought there was hope for humanity

and still do,

but I read about war

in novels, poetry, history

trying to comprehend the incomprehensible

why humans so willingly kill one another

when the species’ survival is at stake

with or without intelligent leadership,

mostly without.

 

 

Ian Copestick

My Teachers

I remember when I was a kid at school,
I really suffered from the hatreds.
I hated everyone and everything,
But most of all, I hated myself.
My ginger hair, my glasses, my acne,
And most of all, my shyness.
Nothing seemed to ever go my way.
The only things that gave me pleasure
Were records, and more importantly, books.
Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, Henry Miller
These glimpses of life
Helped to save mine.
Now here I am over 30
Years later and still it’s
Books that keep me going,
Dostoyevsky, Bukowski,
Raymond Carver, Knut
Hamsun, Philip Larkin.
Helping to explain this life
That makes no sense at all
To me.

Gwil James Thomas

Paris. 

 

Feeling like I’m on the run from

what I don’t even know anymore –

I leave Spain and take the train up to Paris –

watching the land and architecture

slowly change from

yellow to green, white to grey.

 

In a grubby Parisian hotel room

that’s cost the remainder

of my fruit picking wages,

I check out the view from the window  –

outside several prostitutes pace up

and down the sad looking road,

whilst bored looking couples

eat in a McDonald’s.

 

Elsewhere in the city –

police brutality is up and the word

on the street is that the police blew off

one protestor’s hand earlier.

 

Romance    is    dead

even in Paris –

but tonight the poems are flowing

like a deep river

and maybe that’s no coincidence.

 

Tohm Bakelas

mixed intentions

 

many times the blade

has been held

aimed at different parts

with the intention

of

exploring insides

but it has always been put it down

it was a close call the other night

the boiling static and pressure

needed to be released

i refrained

and placed

my face

against

a cold window

when it started to burn

i went to bed

the next morning

i woke up

feeling

much better

 

Jeff Perchuck

THE LION AT REST
 
                                                                                                 (For Allen Ginsberg)
Late afternoon random mental notes twilight ride into
   New Jersey, open
                    to implausible diversions up the road, a 
                       wedding, and I am here,
                                          quizzical and attentive
            to speed of light mental transport
                                                                                                                                                                        past brick face cottages covered                    
                                                                                                                                                                     bridge refineries
                                                                                                                                                             skeletal towers & glittering shopping centers
            church spires & viaducts
                                                                                                                                                                    dissolving into transparent
                                                                                                                                                                                                          blue dusklight.
 
                                                                                                                                                      Red lights blink out hazards
        as we negotiate
                                           this friendly country road
                                                                                                                                                               realizing how distant is New York City
                                                                                                                                                   with its incessant yak & crosswalks curbside chatter.
 
                                                                                                                                                                 We take in chintzy suburban landscapes
                                                                                                                                                                                                   interspersed by green pastoral bliss;
                                                                                                                                                                                           TV
                                                                                                                                                                               antennae & celestial transmitters;
                                                                                                                                                                                                         phone wires strung across miles
                        designed for suburbanites
                                                                                                                                                                        who listen to radios of sinister frequencies
       and don’t even know the electrons
     of pure thought!
 
                        Drowse murmur of local news 1010 WINS
                                                                                                                                             sports earthquake terrorism
                                                                                                                                                                         inhuman
war extravagant car crash toothpaste apes society murder
              gregarious football blue collar scientific adultery,
Bulletin!
 
That the bearded custodian of the universe
should notice:
                                            Allen Ginsberg is dead,
gone now, returned to the void,
karma resolved,
sorrow undone, heart restored
lack love no more,
the tender plea of the poem honored at last.
 
In “Mescaline” he once asked
                                                                                                                               “What happens when death gong hits rotting Ginsberg
on the head”?
knowing that he would soon be blessed by visions &
revelations;
                                                                                                                                                                       think of WC Williams,
                                                                                                                                       years past the voluptuous cognition experienced
by the flesh.
 
             This, an incidental miracle:
             that he loosened the breath of the continent
                     mid-century
                                                                                                                                             with improvisational cerebrotonic bop after
                                   he abandoned the six-pointed star
                                                                                                                                                                 of hallucination
 in relentless pursuit of retinal seizures
                                   & assorted eyeball kicks
                                                                                                                                                    hoping in the end to illuminate
                                a small part of the Dharma.
 
                                                                                                                                                                How many years then
                                                                                                                                        to wander ancient cities
                              populated with unrecognized sphinxes;
seeking out the glories and mutations
      of the flesh?
 
                                                                                                                                                                  How long for
     the lover of love whose sexual incandescence
ignited a world
that believed only in prostitution?
 
                                                                                                                                           Seeing his own consciousness
assuming a bold multiplicity of forms
                              a mirror of his own incarnation; a human shadow
across reality.
 
                                                                                                                                             Words alone, mantras & poems
                                                                                                                                                                                invoked his mission to abolish
                                                                                                                                        war asylums corporations prisons slums banks
     while still trying to improvise
                                        on his own angelic lusts, given to
                                                                                                                                             battling middle-class voodoo & psychoanalytic
split-level magic
                                                                                                                                                        state police CIA A-bombs & armor-plated nationalism
armies & academies
muscular Christianity & all stone-faced gods
of inflexible will.
 
      The victory secured
     with the help of the kindly reagent marijuana
                                     his carnal beard, archival mind &
the instantaneous grin & whatever Jazz
followed the motion
                         of his naked soul.
 
 
                                                                                                                                                          The music of his invention
                                                                                                                                        still apparent even at the end: deathbed
                                                                                                                                                                          agony;
        sweetly transmogrified in a moment
                                                                                                                                                    breath released, brain gently
                                                                                                                                                                                short-circuited,
spirit liberated, the universe
                         that only thought it existed
                                                                                                                                                              vanished in the expired
& holy phrase
   “AH”
 
 
 
      
 
 
(Thank you, Allen)
 

 

 

JUDGE SANTIAGO BURDON

A Statue Speaks
The morning takes it’s first breath of daylight
Exhaling the sunrise that fills the sky with colored
Chirping often mistaken as singing by winged troubadours.
disrupts the gloaming’s silence
Shrill announcement of their agendas prior to flight.
I stand in bronzed stillness
Aware of the onslaught about to befall me
A daily routine of  humiliation.
Statues are City scarecrows
Just as ineffective as their country counterparts
Pigeons are first to perch on my structure.
Cooing laughter while they shit on my oxidized green copper surface.
Their feces leaving white spots about my body
As though I was infected with Vitiligo
These rats without wings are indigent of respect
I’m a creation of spirituality for Christ’s sake
a pious image of an Arc Angel
Crows and Magpies swoop in like gang members
commandeering territory the Pigeons
vacate in a cowardly fashion
They squawk in triumph and sharpen
their beaks on my alloyed body,
committing the same sacrilege as the prior visitors
Milky excrement drips into crevices
Sliding downward scoring long white lines
An expression of their contempt
a display of discourteous actions without apologies.
The Bible contains many verses and references
pertaining to their reverence.
“Look to the air and the birds
Your heavenly father feeds them.”
But God like an undisciplined child
takes no responsibility
for cleaning up after their mess
He’s occupied creating Divine catastrophes
that doesn’t leave  dirt under his fingernails.
The day is evicted by the Sun’s stealth exit
a grey landscape surrenders to the night.
Another vandal with equal disregard for public art
employs a method of deviant behavior
in contrast to the winged assailants.
They’re referred to as “taggers”
The weapon they holster is a can of spray paint.
scribbling  nonsense and irrelevant messages
containing misspelled words,
profanities out of context
grammar of an illiterate
Their desecration is accompanied by the hissing of the spray can
I’m transformed into a marquee
Displaying their stupidity in color.
Their graffiti leaves a scar difficult to erase
I’m painted in areas that cause me to be embarrassed
Enter the drunks, addicts, thieves,
homeless and the mentally deranged
Each group staging a unique performance.
some voicing prayer like a child asking Santa for presents,
believing that their requests will actually be answered.
Assuming I’ve got a direct connection to God’s ear.
Others curse, swear and scream  at me with contempt
suspecting that I am the cause of their misfortune.
As if had a hand in their bad luck and demise
They choose me to be the victim of their displaced aggression
I am the one to blame.
They reward me with piss and vomit.
Breaking bottles against my metal frame.
Under the cover of foliage behind me.
Lovers moan with pleasure from engaging in sex.
They scream with delight
Young voices expressing orgasmic sensations
Hookers provide discounts for acts of oral gratification.
my stature keeps them hidden and undetected.
I’m sentenced to constant exposure to  the forces of nature.
No matter the  weather I stand vigilant braving the  elements,
being at the mercy of each season’s unpredictable climate
Assaulted without relief never provided with shelter
Against the brutal atmospheric conditions.
If in the near future you pass an anchored figurine.
Take a moment to notice it’s grandeur,
admire the curves, the expression, the attention to  detail
And comment on the creativity of the artist
Now being aware of a statue’s stiff existence.
Your appreciation will give purpose to it’s frozen pose.