Key West ll

A Poem by Stephen A. Rozwenc

ha ha ha
your mind caught in your zipper
like a mask without a flipper

like a hip hop stripper homophobic
lap dancing on some honky tonk bar
Howdy Doody constituent

her oxycodone swabbed medulla oblongata
a mindless sea shell
oracle vagina
that slides into the Doody’s side pocket
to check his ID
to find out what kind of death
is appropriate
for a real estate parasite life
and how much money
he’ll hide in the washing machine
to keep it their secret religion

we’re in Key West now baby
we’ve got all the new labels

Jose Cuervo humping Jack Daniels
bulb pink Elvis flashing le petit mal go-go boots
Marilyn Monroe post-op sillycone boobs
papa Hemingway cojones brains disdain

give me
your tired your poor your huddled dildo stores
hope dope and semen smugglers galore
reciting eloquent penis soliloquies

hail Mary Natasha Halenka Treblinka
millions of Russian Italian Irish Cuban Israeli
Polish Chinese Japanese African Mexican muslim
immigrant fairytales
pierced belly buttons selling T-shirts and trinkets by day
squirming on sex slave backs by night
in some cocaine dealer sugar shack
owned by the photo-electric gun runner politician
full of grace

we’re in Key West NOW baby
where good and evil dress up
as sex death and money
for slick street corner threesomes

blessed art thou amongst islands
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb
that
frizzy
voiced
Mandingo
Mau-mau
mulatto
transcontinental concubine
plucking
her sooty homeless toes
like corn row strings of rain
that pray for us sinners
in the hour of our blessed terror
as
she
lounges lemon jello demure
against
a toenail red
fire hydrant
scratching her luxury street suite
she’s our incest bred
junk bond
virgin queen statue lady
of liberty
releasing
the
ultimate
suicide scream sacrament
of an entire culture
that
can’t
wait
to die
and she knows just how
she’ll
do it

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A Painting by józef Czapski

A Painting by Józef czapski

See also: Józef Czapski
A LIFE IN TRANSLATION
by KEITH BOTSFORD

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THIS WINTER WE STAY HERE

A Poem by Andrea Wyatt

This winter we stay here,
packed in crates of smashed bone
that cover the hills of Cambodia and Viet Nam, the
boulevards of Prague, the Chilean mines and vineyards—
fruit plantations of Guatemala
where men sit
outside the gates begging for bread—

of Guantanamo—the crust of blood on the Cuban coast;
My country rots away like dead flesh,
betraying history, my country,

built on the bones of slaves, eats
the bodies of her children, cages music and poetry in pens like dogs—

my country, that I will not leave—
that I cannot love—
that I cannot sleep inside of—

AMERICA!
Your children lie piled high
beside the train depot—
in thick rubber bags—
with their names stenciled at each end—

I stand on your ruined shore—
weeping
for your enemies.

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The Eternal Wars

A Poem by Chris Butler

Blood and oil
have never mixed,
as all the grains of sand,
are outnumbered by the stars
in the bosom of the earth
that are never rinsed clean
with biblical floods,
showing the indifference
of our one and only god,
choking the stenches of
gunpowder, lime
and the freedom of death

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Independence Day

A Poem by Violet Mitchell

All the ammo is gone in the sky.
I stocked everyone’s back pocket

with a stub of aloe vera, just in case
the war can’t wait. We celebrate,

and sometimes forget what day it is.
My great uncle says they sound

like his trench buddy slumping over
and the red dripping down the bridge
of his nose or the boy he kicked
to the jungle to save him from orange
morphing American War bones.

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The Kübler-Ross Model

A Poem by Violet Mitchell

You hold me closer to the light
of the wick, the flickering
the wicked
sell numbers at the bottom of pages
pagan sage
pay a gun’s corsage

I haven’t been to a wedding in sixteen years,
the gap in your front teeth says.
I forget how a bouquet of stems
squeaks against sweaty palms.

psalms disappear from vows
dispense dirt from sore cheeks
seek research on the history of baby’s breath
breadth of waist
bread to waste
crumbs water falling down a veil
water presenting autumn’s fashion trends

I remember your dinner prayer
air sucking string
for a hymn
kinship, inheritance
brushing hips with plot

the heel of your hand
scratching my forehead sweat

the evergreens with tinsel
could drape their last days
no matter the holiday

the shadows keeping the North snow
shatter rows of carrot leaves

the idea that zeroes are important
that heros import giants

aunts sing in choirs, discuss rhetoric,
design table legs
I knew you could see how
the roasting process is slow,
but not linear.

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