CATCH A MATCH

A Poem by A.J. Huffman

strike moment, I spark.  Catch, flame, fly. 
Consuming my surroundings, I sputter, cough, choke
on the repercussions of my success.  Flicker, fall
out.  Puff, I slink away in one last breath
of smoked regret.

Thousands of miles away, a companion
strikes a cigarette outside Dow Chemical headquarters,
watches clouds lightly streak pristine sky, stands
gloriously ignorant, oblivious to the disastrous
havoc I, his billion-dollar brainchild, have
ravaged across innocent lands.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rejection

A Poem by Linda M. Crate

Judgments are based
on appearances always,
and now more than ever
people are ripping apart
others on clothing or body
shape alone. Imagine, Monsanto
and Dow Chemical, your
grandchild with deformed limbs,
your family starving to death.
The stretch would be too
great for your imagination.
You should be ashamed.
Is your defense the rich deserve
to profit off the backs of the poor?
You’re just as greedy as the politicians,
but at least they didn’t poison us
with anything but lies.
You’ve murdered families and starved
children of love, how can you look in the mirror
and live with yourself knowing your atrocities?
Origami with folded wings pushes against
the wind in a way, these children
shamed from the eyes of the world cannot—
they parish long before they began
not knowing this world would try to
mold them in their mantra of beauty and
reject them because you couldn’t let them conform.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DIOXIN

A poem by Sao Mai Nguyen

http://theeyeoftheneedlevietnam.blogspot.com/

Dioxin
Dioxin kills weed
I knew it from Monsanto’s Roundup
Dow has produced a similar one
I found it in the soil
Not only just that
Inside the veteran’s body who had sacrificed for his country
Not only just that
It passes on and on
Something needs to be st

Posted in Nguyen Sao Mai | Leave a comment

Monsanto’s Birth Defects

A Poem by Birtha de Fect

band aids of breath fleshly blob
intrusive tumors:castrati & anti
revolting and angered—the slur
taking the point  from the point
here and now…achoos and ahah

despite the deaths and a dread
enemies mired in mud–where
fingers missing…the worms of
egos out of controls, out of we
calling and calling, no!, the sac
taking Monsanto’s birth defect

Posted in Birtha de Fect | Leave a comment

The Gravedigger’s Secret

Poetry by Maik Strosahl

The Gravedigger’s Secret
–in the Spoon River tradition
of Edgar Lee Master
(unknown—interred July 16th, 1915)

As we cut the clay with shovels,
I noted his mood had soured.

I saw him take a broach off Miss Stevens
before we resealed her box,
filled the hole in on top of her;
then the fine pocket watch and wedding band
off of Old Judge Hamilton,
who now rests under the willow.

All I asked was fair share
of what we found together
on the dear departed.

Mrs. Williams here wore pearls
and the biggest diamond ring I ever saw.
We waited for the mourners to disperse,
dropping down to crack her coffin.
Would have been a shame to leave them
buried six-foot deep.

I climbed second from the hole,
just reached for my spade
when his smashed me from behind
and I fell back into the pit,
spread awkward over her casket
as he poured the earth over us both.

Poor Ma will wonder where I ran off to.

Katherine Williams (1868-1915)

My Hobart, if he only knew,
would be mortified.
His jealous soul was so sure
another had soiled our bed,
suspicious of mailmen, milkmen,
icemen, coalmen;
not to mention the butcher,
who surely was smitten—
Thursday’s chops were always too perfect.
Yet, in truth, I never strayed.

Elsie, my youngest,
insisted I keep my pearls with me
and Grandmama’s diamond—
said it would not seem right
for another to wear.
Wish now she would have
passed them on to her girls.

O, my Hobart!
Were he to learn
I share this space with another,
he would surely dig us up
to kill us dead once again!

Posted in Maik Strosahl | Leave a comment

Holding a Black Lives Matter Sign in America’s Most Racist Town

A Video by Rob Bliss

Posted in Rob Bliss | Leave a comment

Why we must protest

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.

–Dasnte

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Translation

A Poem by Stefanie Bennett

Reading a teacup
the headlines
carry guns

From her new book, Hoka-Hey-Completeness, Burringbah Books, 2019.

Posted in Stefanie Bennett | Leave a comment

Murder Creek

A poem by Maik Strosahl

I buried my sin in
the muddy bank of Murder Creek,
washed the blood from my hands
and walked away,
a great weight lifted.

I prayed,
first time in forever,
prayed—
not for forgiveness,
but just to be heard,
a brackish soul passing through
these swamplands and Pascagoula
to be baptized into the bay,

my salts to the sea,
sea salts back to me.

Posted in Maik Strosahl | Leave a comment

1920

A Short Story by DC Diamondopolous

A ray of sun strikes the copper’s badge and bounces off, lighting up the voting box inside H. L. Drugstore in me South Bronx neighborhood.

Now washed and mended, I wear the same once-blood-splattered and mud-stained dress, patched at the cuff, tattered ‘round the collar. It shows the scars from when we marched down Broadway, I holding a sign, The Vote For Equal Pay For Equal Work.

It had started a glorious spring day, fresh from a night of rain, splendid with the radiance of blooming cherry blossoms. Little sister Annie pestered to come along. I told her, “Stay home with the youngins. You’re too small and there might be trouble.” She says, “I’m big enough and I’m a comin. So there.” And so she did, running along the sidewalk, keeping step with the march. Annie inherited the stubbornness that we McPhersons shared.

Hundreds marched. Me arms feeling the ache from holding the poster high above me head. Women clutched banners that stretched the avenue. Coppers on horseback, coppers on foot, looking for agitation—someone stirrin’ the pot.

It did me heart good to protest among me own, knowing our numbers was a force to reckon with. Still an’ all, we had to keep going, every day, every spare moment spent on the vote.

A man outside Woolworth’s shouted, “Only vote I give you is a kick in the knickers.” Someone threw a rock. Glass shattered. Horses reared. Men broke through the lines. Big oaf of a bloke grabbed me sign, slammed it hard on me head, he did. I fell to the ground. “Lucy!” Annie’s voice had the shock in it. I sprawled in the street until I forced meself up. I looked ‘round for me hat. I got to me feet and when I did something hit the back of me neck, and I tumbled. Slumped on Broadway, staring at the buildings, the raging men, determined women, the world and all its unfairness swirling then dimmed.

Sirens, distant on the rim of me twilight, wailed, coming as a call to get meself up. On hands and knees, I was, when a copper kicked me in the chest. With great pain, I grabbed his ankle and raked short broken nails into his flesh. He shrieked. I rolled a ways over. Stood. For the sake of me sisters, I held up me fists like Jack Dempsey, but before I could sock ‘em in the kisser two other coppers pulled at me shoulders, squeezed meaty hands around me breasts. I kicked. Sunk me teeth into their fingers. Their red Irish faces flushed with the memory of booze, their breath foul as the steerage our family sailed in across the sea.

They threw me into the paddy.

Father brought us here after mum died, for a new start, a better life. Working in a factory twelve hours a day, no windows, low pay, bosses forcing themselves on me. If I’d a had no father or brothers, I might a hated all men. But I and me family could eat. Back home, how can you march with an empty belly? So I wrap hopes and dreams and those of me family in the red, white, and blue.

From inside the paddy, I looked over me shoulder for Annie. The riot swallowed her whole. “Lucy!” But I heard her voice shrill as a whistlin’ tea kettle.

Across the aisle from where I was sittin’ a woman with a gash on her cheek bled something fierce. I ripped off me sleeve, dropped to me knees, and pressed it against the stunned woman’s cheek. Through her tears, I saw eyes that kindled rebellion. The woman beside her began to sing, “Let Us All Speak Our Minds.” The others, meself included, joined in the anthem. A copper in the front of the paddy banged his billy club on the grill and yelled, “Shut-up!” With no mind to the brute, we continued to sing. Louder. On the floor, a poster encouraged us with the words, Never Give Up. Our voices united, overpowered our fears, until he unlocked the gate and struck the nearest woman with his wooden stick.

Annie appeared, her thin arms waving as she ran alongside the wagon. I yelled through the bars, “Go home.” I, the eldest of six to me parents’ brood, demanded a say in their raising and sending me brothers off to war.

Head aching, chest hurting, hair falling ‘round me shoulders, me hat trampled somewhere in the fight. To jail I’d go. A criminal. A dangerous woman. I smiled at the notion and the girl who held me cuff to her head nodded as if reading me mind.

The wagon’s siren split traffic with a blaring fright as we drove down Broadway and turned a corner. The Harlem River glimpsed between outdoor markets, shops, and eateries. Fear starting to get the best ‘o me.

The jail full of suffragettes, it had nowhere to lock us up. So they let us go.

A year passed since the brawl as I wait to vote. I look into the face of the women around me. Pride. A quiet jubilance. The change in our lives happening in this tiny drab storefront.

I think of the women who fought before us not having the chance to live this day. Do they know? I reckon they do.

I want to believe in something bigger now. That brotherhood will find the compassion to form a union for all of mankind.

I’m next.

A copper stands beside the ballot box, protecting the case with a scowl and a gun on his hip.

He motions me forward.

I keep me head high as I stride to the glass box. I write me vote in big letters and slip the paper into the slat as if planting something that one day will bloom.

I thank the good Lord for this day. Knowing that so shall life get better for me, it will get better for all.

Posted in DC Diamondopolous | 2 Comments