“Haiti” by Matthew Harris

Haiti

January twelfth two thousand and ten
    nameless
       crushed
           island
              salvation
                  nameless
                     invaders
                        proselytizers
                           slaughter
                              nameless
                                 two ten and twelfth thousand  January.

Matthew Harris
12/3/2016

bp1
(Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images)

 

TSPJ Call for Submissions: Stand Against Racism

The Skinny Poetry Journal (TSPJ) seeks new poetry. Poems submitted can embrace any theme, however, we are particularly interested in submissions that paint a picture of racism in America–the unresolved legacy of slavery–in the interest of healing our nation of that cancerous social affliction.

TSPJ is a literary journal that is dedicated to The Skinny poetry form (and edited by a rotating team of poets). A Skinny is a short poem form, created by Truth Thomas, that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, those words can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical.

The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject. They can also be linked, like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. To submit your work for publishing consideration, email it to: theskinnypoetryjournal@gmail.com with your poem, or poems, copied into the body of your email.

NOTE: TSPJ is now opening up our journal to advertising. To learn more about our rates, feel free to email us at tspjads@gmail.com

 

“chromatics” by Curtis L. Crisler

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chromatics

i.
there is no more specific life
skin

god
purpose

beaten
skin

strange
bodies

own

skin
there is no more life specific

ii.
us apart from our bodies
action

house
gun

fear

action
skeletons
unspokens

bloodlines

action
our bodies apart from us

iii.
a pile of unspokens not reached
burnt

trees
crowing

racial

burnt
moths
flaring

melodies

burnt
piles of unspokens not reached

Curtis L. Crisler
11/13/2016

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“mass incarceration (an extended skinny)” by Brian Gilmore

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mass incarceration (an extended skinny)

1
our world has always been
jail.
work.
home.
travels.
jail.
deny
access.
exclude.
jail
has always been our world.

2.
these separate lives.
us
and
them.
mostly
us.
over
here.
hating
us.
separate these lives.

3.
this design of wickedness.
see
it
everyone.
look.
see.
there.
here.
multitudes
see
this design of wickedness.

4.
must we continue to suffer?
this?
we
cannot
believe
this.
who
would
allow
this
to continue. we must suffer?

5.
even in the schools we are
prisoners.
our
essence
unmentioned.
prisoners.
wondering
of
us.
prisoners
we are, even in the schools.

6.
got jail bars on all the houses.
fear
rules
the
streets.
fear
erodes
our
spaces.
fear
got jail bars on all the houses.

7.
you cannot cross
redlines.
tracks.
walls.
borders.
redlines.
suffocating
are
these
redlines
you cannot cross.

8.
we became at last.
free.
at
least
legally.
free
like
dogs
dashing.
free
we became at last

9.
so new prisons were built.
necessary
evils
they
say.
necessary
like
green
hair.
necessary
so new prisons were built.

10.
finally released from them jails.
boys
are
now
men.
boys
of
angry
time.
boys
finally released from them jails.

             11. (for betts)
the new jim crow.
bastards
of
the
reagan,
bastards
of
the
clinton,
bastards
of the new jim crow.

12.
man must mean something to
rise.
build.
illuminate.
dazzle.
rise
magically
from
destruction.
rise
man. mean something to someone.

13.
freedom is a deeper memory.
stories
of
maroons.
revolts.
stories
unspoken
like
family
stories.
deeper freedom is a memory.

14.
makes me want to go like norman bates:
psychotic.
adore
peace.
psychotic
when
peace
eludes.
psychotic
like normal bates, make me want to go.

15.
we can all get along
rodney
no
one
heard
rodney.
no
one
respects
rodney
can we all get along?

16.
overcoming is the persistent of continua.
aluta.
forward
like
always.
aluta
keep
on
pushing.
aluta
continua is the persistent of overcoming.

Brian Gilmore
11/12/2016

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The Skinny Poetry Journal Call for Submissions: Stand Against Racism

160831065059-election-2016-racism-large-169-1

The Skinny Poetry Journal (TSPJ) seeks new poetry. Poems submitted can embrace any theme, however, we are particularly interested in submissions that paint a picture of racism in America–the unresolved legacy of slavery–in the interest of healing our nation of that cancerous social affliction.

TSPJ is a literary journal that is dedicated to The Skinny poetry form (and edited by a rotating team of poets). A Skinny is a short poem form, created by Truth Thomas, that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, those words can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical.

The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject. They can also be linked, like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. To submit your work for publishing consideration, email it to: theskinnypoetryjournal@gmail.com with your poem, or poems, copied into the body of your email.

NOTE: TSPJ is now opening up our journal to advertising. To learn more about our rates, feel free to email us at tspjads@gmail.com

“Justice Cannot Be Trumped” – Truth Thomas

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(photo by Melanie Henderson (c) 2016

Justice Cannot Be Trumped

On the evening of November 8, I was in church, along with a fairly large assembly of black folks. It was good for me—for us—to be there as we were praying for the nation and for God’s will to be done in the 2016 Presidential Election. In the course of that service, I was reminded of one crucial point in the context of the historical African American experience: we are survivors. The world’s most abhorrent slavery trade took place in the United States, and we survived it. All of the most heinous, post 13th Amendment, manifestations of that same slavery/social control (from paddy roller horror to the American apartheid of Jim Crow) are also evils that we survived. That perspective gave me a good indication of what a possible Donald Trump’s win would mean to millions of people of color. It would mean, quite vibrantly, we would survive. Of course, we later learned that the election outcome was not what any of the black people who gathered at the prayer meeting wanted (or for that matter, what millions of progressive Americans would have wished). Nevertheless, my confidence in the enduring resilience of black and brown people—and all citizens of good will in my country—remains unflinching.

With the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, America has installed a Hitler-like figure as the leader of the free world. That has to be said. Indeed, the man who will soon occupy the White House, and have his finger on America’s nuclear trigger, has received the support of countless Neo-Nazi extremist organizations in the United States (Mahler 2016). To date, he has not renounced any of them.  Also, while a great many newspapers in the states did not endorse Trump, the Crusader, one of the Ku Klux Klan’s most prominent publications, did—and did so boldly (Holly 2016). This news is not a secret. Trump’s racism and antisemitism have been well documented (Heilman 2016). However, for those who support him, none of those issues matter. What that says about America is that significant numbers of its citizenry are willing to risk global catastrophe in order to promote white supremacy.

Having said that, I hasten to add that millions of people of all colors did not vote for him. The strides forward that were made in the Civil Rights Movement were not erased from the consciousness of time because one hate monger–seemingly–won one political contest. In spite of Donald Trump’s White House triumph, America’s progressive contingent–and particularly black and brown people–have already redoubled its efforts to fight injustice. Certainly, efforts to ratchet up the battle against racial genocide will have to be more robust as a result of Trump’s “Make America [White Dominated] Again” crusade. Absolutely, work against Trumpian foreign policy efforts that might increase the prospect of war in the world must be much more purposeful and ardent. However, the battle in America for all people to be afforded equal rights and human dignity continues.

Trials Now and Trials Ahead

Race-based brutality and murder in the United States are common occurrences. Even in Donald Trump’s campaign, citizens of color were routinely assaulted for peacefully protesting.  In fact, Trump made it a point to fuel that violence from the safety of his podium perch. Given the vitriol of his hateful rhetoric, it is fair to say that violence aimed at all non-white and non-Christian “others” will only increase after he assumes office.  What is surprising to some, especially after 8 years of a black president, is how intensely mainstream racism appears to have rekindled itself—and is raging like a burning church in Mississippi.  I am not surprised. I grew up here. Shortly before he was assassinated, Dr. King made it clear that “there are difficult days ahead” (King, “I’ve Been,” 222─223). He also added, that although he might not get to the Promised Land with us, that we, nevertheless, would “get to the Promised Land” (King, “I’ve Been,” 222─223).  Racism—and all of the hateful “isms” that Donald Trump embodies never went on holiday.  When I think about present day America, I must consider it within the context of King’s freedom fighting continuum. As a result of the election results on November 8th, 2016, that continuum of social justice activism has been re-invigorated. Though systemic racial inequality in the United States never took a vacation on a “post-black” cruise ship, there are multitudes of Americans working daily to send it packing.

The poisonous legacy of slavery, America’s original sin, continues to manifest itself via police murders of people of color, Native Americans raped of their land, the mass incarceration of nonwhite citizens, and more. I will not sugarcoat that fact. Arguably, the consequence of Trump’s political ascendance may mean the normalization of state-sanctioned racial abuse on an unprecedented level.

Clearly, there is nothing about Donald Trump in the White House that bodes well for either America or for the world—certainly nothing that has to do with the business of freedom. Despots always help an undertaker’s business. This should be of concern for anyone who has children. To be sure, with a Donald Trump presidency, fear of war waged somewhere around the globe–in the alleged name of “freedom”—is real. Without question, there is great concern about conflict escalating in the streets of America in response to ongoing protests against police domestic terrorism, poverty and despair. However, none of that fear has stopped the NAACP or the Black Lives Matter movement, and many other similar activist groups from ramping up their efforts to oppose racial oppression.

That is the great power in the African American freedom fighting story, and most decidedly, our strength. When you have been beaten, tortured, murdered and disenfranchised for centuries, at a certain point you realize there is nothing anyone can do to intimidate you. That is the state of black and brown America—a survivor’s state. We are not afraid to fight, march, and die—if necessary—in order to be free. As a result of Donald Trump’s recent rise to power, many Americans are wide awake and active—reinvigorated, in the battle against political leaders legislating hatred in high places. That is as it should be—as we should be, at our best.  Injustice has a way of waking justice up whenever it allows itself to fall asleep in pillowed beds of apathy. Indeed, Civil Rights activist Ella Baker once said that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest” (Dreier 2014). I believe that. I also believe that the current rebirth of social justice activism will continue in the United States. To my way of thinking, it has to carry on, because no freedom-fighting struggle is a single round (or single election) fight.

Truth Thomas
11/10/2016

References

Dreier, Peter.  “Ella Baker, Ferguson, and ‘Black Mothers’ Sons.’” The Huffington Post 22 Dec.

          2014: Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

Heilman, Uriel. 2016. “Donald Trump’s anti-Semitism controversies: A timeline.” Arutz Sheva

          / Israel National News 6 Feb. 2016: Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

Holly, Peter. 2016. “KKK’s official newspaper supports Donald Trump for president.”

          The Washington Post 2 Nov. 2016: Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

King, Martin Luther. “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” A Call to Conscience, eds. Carson

          and Shepard, 2001.

Mahler, Jonathan. 2016. “Donald Trump’s Message Resonates With White Supremacists.”

          The New York Times 29 Feb. 2016: Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

Repair Hopewell Baptist Church

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On Tuesday, November 1st, 2016, unknown criminals burned a predominantly black Baptist church in Greenville, Mississippi and scrawled graffiti on it: “Vote Trump”. (Link to local news coverage. )

The animus of this election cycle combined with the potent racial history of burning black churches as a political symbol makes this event something we must not ignore.

Repair Hopewell Baptist Church
Support the gofundme campaign @
https://www.gofundme.com/repair-the-hopewell-baptist-church

Reviewing the Bookrise: “This” Ameri-can-ah

crisler_front-cover

By Rosetta Codling, Ph.D.
This Ameri-can-ah
78 pp. Cherry Castle Publishing. $16.95. 

Synopsis: Readers will find that Curtis Crisler’s latest work THIS AMERI-CAN-AH is a testimony to the temporal, testy times in which we thrive and persevere. There is a definitive, jazz tempo within the lyrics in each of his poems. For example, Crisler captures the pace of the times in his selection “If Miles played for Barack (on Swearing-in Day).” The inauguration of President Barack Obama was indeed a momentous occasion for the Black populous of the world. Yet, the poet manages to privatize the occasion for Jazz enthusiasts. One becomes privy to the ‘aesthetical callisthenics’ that a musician endures. The underlying rhythms are poetry in motion:

“He’d start his morning with push/ups-tonguing a gold mouthpiece/
fifty times in succession–all evil/
in him washing up against the round surf/

of his big canine eyes, where one tear/
hesitates. Miles would play to conceptualize/
this new day.”/

If one ponders. one recalls that Miles conceptualized his free, verse jazz. Crisler finds kinship in this strategy for President Barack Obama’ impending administration. But, nothing could have prepared the general public, the Black populous, Miles Davis, and the Obama for the actual his presidency commenced. Still, the ‘poet musician,’ Crisler states …”reminding him that the bass’s/pulse was a hot throb back in hard cotton fields,,/ back two migrations north, back to/grandmother’s motherland…/ Freely, the reader is launched back in time and forward to the present of the candidacy of Barack Obama. Miles could bridge the gaps freely and maybe it would not be so free…for those of African-American past.

“Living just enough for the city,” by Crisler echoes the fragile nature of Black Lives Matter for the most endangered, Homo sapiens on earth. The poet, town crier bellows:

“My mind fingers the aged pages that push/
“we could have saved lives with ifs.”/

The ‘ifs’ in life form the black hole of our domain. The narrator of this selection reminds us all that: “Where I’m from, fear will cop a seat next to you.” The speaker is well aware of his vulnerability from within and without.

A really introspective entry in this collection is the poem “A Pen Pal with HIV Gets Lost in Shuffle.” Crisler’s spokesperson is a remorseful pen pal. He admits that …”I still picture pictures where your smiles leave my throat a lump—how/HIV couldn’t strap you down. You let me in on your new boy toy…/” The narrator recalls what once bound them together. But, the relationship fell apart. In the first lines of the poem, the speaker confesses that…”I pitched your letters for kindling. I concealed them in a plastic Kmart/bag….”/ True, it is that the narrator had moved on and married. But, people are people and not mere discards. Crisler is the messenger with the message that we live in a throw-away society. Nothing and no one is immune from being ejected into the landfills of our minds.

Critique: I loved this collection because it spoke of the world past and present in my life. Crisler captures the world of street life above and below the fences and the projects. I can see this work being absorbed and fully utilized at Howard University in English and History courses focusing upon African-American literature and history. Crisler is a major voice. He will resonate political literacy through his poetry for many years. I look forward to the challenge.

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photo by Lou Bryant (c) 2016

Click Here to Order: “This” Ameri-can-ah

Reviewing the Bookrise: Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness

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By Truth Thomas
Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness
Edited by Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones
240 pp. Lexington Books. $75. Kindle $67.99.

One of the first noticeable aspects of both science fiction and speculative fiction is that, for the most part, black people are absent in those narratives. Traditionally, Eurocentrism is the sun around which future focused literary imaginaries revolve.  Whether one considers “Star Trek” in the 20th or 21st centuries, for example, black folks are cast as happy sidekicks on space ships of white supremacy.  As a result of the poisonous legacy of slavery, non-white people all over the world are envisioned as marginal human beings in the context of literature, film, music, and technology–if we are envisioned at all.  To a significant extent, black people are chained to alien, invisible, less-than-ness identities in the world. In spite of that reality, we are here, have been here, and are on our way to a liberating “away mission” of our own deciding. This point is made profoundly clear in Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, edited by Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones.

Indeed, in one of the many essays that punctuate the anthology, David DeIuliis and Jeff Lohr write, “Afrofuturism imagines positive futures that, through speculative discourse, sever the shackles of slavery’s shadow” (177).  Their entry is entitled “Rewriting the Narrative: Communicology and the Speculative Discourse of Afrofuturism.” It abounds with black and hopeful future thought. For this reason and a multiverse more, Afrofuturism 2.0 has enduring noteworthiness because it explicitly promotes the idea that black people must first imagine themselves free to be free.

Mark Dery coined the term “Afrofuturism,” and describes it by saying that it, “…fosters the artistic practice of navigating past, present, and future simultaneously” (Dery 1994). Lisa Yaszek puts it thusly: “‘Afrofuturism” addresses themes and concerns of the African Diaspora through a technoculture and science fiction lens, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences” (Yaszek 2006). Certainly, the “range” of media and artists, that editors Anderson and Jones have chosen to highlight in featured essays, is rich and thoughtful. Historic and contemporary expressions of Afrofuturism in visual art, hip hop, film, technology, theology, and Africana Women’s Science Fiction are gripping. Esther Jones’ reflections in that latter Afrofuturist area are particularly magnetic as she explores science fiction in conjunction with Narrative Medicine. Another essay that shines is “The Real Ghosts in the Machine,” by Ricardo Guthrie.  In that piece, he compares and contrasts themes of Afro-Pessimism and Afrofuturism in the films I, Robot and DETROPIA.  Guthrie writes,

In many documentary and sci-fi films of the last twenty-five years, urban America is depicted as a site of decay…overrun by savage hordes who destroy civilization or worse: persisting as the hapless inheritors of urban jungles in which no “white” citizen can survive. Heroic reconquests by whites yield semblances of hope for the future…Future urban life  is clearly a white projection of racial fears  and hopes of conquests to come. (45)

Guthrie’s observations are as sobering as they are timely, especially in light of the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” montra. In view of his broad support from white supremacist organizations (Mahler 2016), his slogan is, most certainly, a simple code for “Make America White [Dominated] Again.” Arguably, Trump has cast himself in the role of anti-afrofuturist hero–one who works to conquer black savages so that the future white world can survive.  For Trump, and too many like him, the Afro-Pessimist ship is his primary mode of space travel. Thankfully, in the interest of overcoming racism, Guthrie documents efforts–again, both past and present–where black filmmakers have seized control of their own thematic vessels.

Some of the many highlights in this book have to do with explorations of contemporary black artists like Wangechi Mutu, Sun Ra, Janelle Monae, and an interview with fiction writer Nneid Okorafor that closes out the anthology. What is particularly appealing about these elements of Afrofuturism 2.0 is that (a) the historical and contemporary artists featured are already Afrofuturist time travelers and (b) the language that frames the examination of their work is straightforward.

Undoubtedly, within the context of diction, there are elements Afrofuturism 2.0 I wish were more accessible. It’s editors and authors are scholars, and the language contained in the anthology–for the most part–reflects its academic genesis.  Points raised in the book that promote the advancement of people of color are of vital importance.  Making that freedom-speak as plain and powerful as a Malcolm X speech would have benefitted multitudes of black people in need of reading hope (which is something I am sure all of those involved with this anthology sought to do).  

Nonetheless,  as a textbook and educational resource on the subject of mapping the future black imaginary, it represents a significant literary achievement. It’s scholarship is absolutely astounding–a work of passion, creativity, and excellence–plus it’s pretty. I highly recommend it as a book to include in Africana studies curriculums worldwide.  I say that because the impact of slavery and colonialism on people of color continues to have a global death-baiting impact. In many areas of the planet where black people currently abide, they have been brought there, placed there, planted there like aliens. Author tobias c. van Veen mentions this the fourth chapter of the Afrofuturism 2.0 entitled “The Armageddon Effect.” Very pointedly, he writes, “[for Africans as abducted aliens] there is no ‘normal’ to return to” (64).  I agree–but there may be a way forward. Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness may prove to be one such vessel–a very durable literary conveyance to a future black freedom.

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Dr. Reynaldo Anderson

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Dr. Charles E. Jones

References

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Click Here to Order: Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness

Reviewing the Bookrise: “Patron Emeritus” By Chad Parenteau

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Review by Dennis Daly
Patron Emeritus by Chad Parenteau
71 pp. FootHills Publishing. $16.

Minimalist poems, like those in Patron Emeritus by Chad Parenteau, imbue each word with a density of meaning that demands resolution and balance. Without careful calibrations, stanzas would fall off the page and punctuation could explode. Parenteau not only avoids these pitfalls but successfully plays off the tension created by them. At heart these poems are narrative, although the stories, culled from the common experience of day-to-day living, the poet rubs raw, dices, compresses, and then highly polishes.

Parenteau, who hosts the famous and long-running Stone Soup poetry readings in Cambridge, Massachusetts, connects with the deceased originator of that venue, Jack Powers, in his first poem. There is sensitivity here and also a not unexpected validation. The poet says,

Thought I saw you
walking taller, talking clearer

nearby crutches
lady at your table

cowboy hat
ten gallon paladin

head weighed
nodding toward me.

In the poem entitled Manifesto Parenteau navigates two different venues of performance poetry with unabashed excitement and, interestingly enough, admits to liking the comfort and inclusion of committee work. Of course, society is really a set of self-appointed committees so why not. Here are the pertinent lines,

I strafe both sides
one-way streets
run down

running
crop circles
slim pickings.

Committees agree
I do my best work
when in committee

belonging still…

I like the use of the crop circle image. Like some open-mike participants they appear suddenly at night and take surprising shapes.

Even charged language can be funny. In Parenteau’s piece Come Lately the persona-host of a poetry reading venue is at his wit’s end on a particularly bad night. I’m guessing Stone Soup.  Here’s how the poem begins,

Scant showing
only host pays
success insisted on.

Those closest
edge forget
no hands

left to hold
outreach
let alone signal

help
what they know
malady.

Of course the production of a comedic scene is at the host’s expense and due to his very earnestness and caring nature.

Another humorous poem entitled Working Late struts out longer lines and a less compressed syntax. It is one of a handful of exceptions to the poet’s prevailing style. The poet’s persona, making a living like the rest of us, works in a lab. His duties include prepping hamster cages. But in reality, our poet thinks subversively and has other agendas. He identifies with the intruder, the outsider. I’m shocked! The poem ends this way,

…the empty cages always need
water freshened, new shavings every week,
more if we have a visit
from the department head.

Sometimes I’ll mess things up,
leave a cage door open, watch eyes,
mouse braving the climb to
the desktop,
pupils growing large
while sniffing my similar stare
before scurry escapes.

Any worker worth his salt knows how to hide from his boss and steal precious moments of humanity through imagination or creativeness. The poet in his piece Passing has chosen one of the most common of all havens—the bathroom. Parenteau describes his sanctuary,

Bosses wait for
bidden bathroom
you rinse meeting off
face,  unsmear specs.

They know you
trespasser
door closing there
they are

talking by door
cordially predatoral…

The poem Air Lines begins with the passengers vaguely fearing discovery and surrendering their metallic implements and ends with their expected arrival in Pittsburgh, the city built on the melting of metals and its own factory-employed citizens. Parenteau catches the unease felt by many air travelers perfectly. In this context, even nature’s controls become dangerously businesslike. The poet explains,

travelers cringe at thought
added contact, padded shells
hard complimentary cashews

muttering minor turbulence
as if nature were bureaucracy
bringing us to Pittsburgh

another mill town in search
of purpose its people long
melted down

Another airport terminal. Another flawed city. The poem Not In Denver attributes Parenteau’s unpleasant work experiences to the soullessness of his surroundings. His world-weariness is evident. Yet his observations, wry visions, and the way he holds fire at the end seem to imply future hope. Here’s the conclusion,

World like
Pseudo-Denver
forget face
looking between alarm
clock stings
hand smashed poise.

Revolving doors
state soul
water bodies
looked nice
all I’ll say.

Parenteau romps over the page in the poem Phoning In. His sparse wording hits all the right notes. The poet’s persona calls in sick. His attitude mixes anger, wit, imagination, and misery. The misery seems to be more job-related than illness-related. Here’s how the poet starts off,

Calling sick
citing teeth marks,
yesterday’s wolves.

Shoulder bites
sting more recalling
pat shoulders.

The point again? Explain
more they ask your
chewed foot.

The title poem, Patron Emeritus, deserves to be the title poem. It speaks to Everyman. A poet must make do as a citizen of life. He faces internally as an artist must, but he also must deal with the external and, in that realm, hug, revisit, forgive, and remain his own person. A coffee shop represents the universal backdrop of the poet’s existence. As patron emeritus he settles in for the duration in spite of past difficulties. In a steadying voice Parenteau briefs us on how it feels,

Sitting down
finally unfamiliar
feels immune.

The manager said
Your firing was inevitable.

Ask for him
Demand halves
Take everything…

Like gemstones, the hard knocks of life shine with intensity from these accomplished poems. Get yourself a coffee. Make sure the boss is not around. Then read this book.

Click Here to Order: Patron Emeritus — $16.00 Print

The Skinny Poetry Journal is Cream

Hit TSPJ up with some Love poems on a Cream high level.

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TSPJ is a literary journal that is dedicated to The Skinny poetry form. A Skinny is a short poem form, created by Truth Thomas, that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, those words can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical.

The point of The Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject. They can also be linked, like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. To submit your Skinnys for publishing consideration, email: theskinnypoetryjournal@gmail.com with your poem, or poems, copied into the body of your email.

Bookrise: “Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak” by Lori Desrosiers

clock_cover_FINAL

Opening this new book by Lori Desrosiers you will find of memory and search, of second-thoughts and playful indecisions, poems that go back in time to retrieve music and mend heart. Indeed, the reader will find all kinds of music here: there is a violin that lacks music and there is a brother’s voice that speaks like father’s–but not when he sings. There is a reveille at 7.15am, and there is a young baby whose voice is known by her singing. And it is music that brings half-deaf father back from the dead. Page after page the reader will come to learn that it is memory–that beautiful, final chord, which reveals us to ourselves, and yet is unwritten by us. — Ilya Kaminsky

Click Here to Order: Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak — $13.30 Print

Bookrise: “Harbingers” by Jennifer Lagier

harbingers

“In Harbingers, by Jennifer Lagier, you will find the sharp eye of the photographer, the passion of the environmental activist, and a prayer for the survival of the Earth. As the poet takes you on coastal walks on the Monterey Peninsula, she reveals her delight in all natural things and her fears about global warming. Elegantly crafted poem jewels, a joy to read.” — Blue Light Press

Click Here to Order: Harbingers — $15.95 Print

“hospice” and “junebugs” by Ingrid Bruck

hospice

Jake talks to his dead brother and father in hospice
ocean
waves
boom
rocks
ocean
rips
rolls
tows
ocean
in hospice, his dead father and brother talk to Jake

***

junebugs

after the full moon shines in the pond, copper green pond scum rises
junebugs
moon
dive
foolhardy
junebugs
drown
reckless
kamikaze
junebugs
copper green pond scum shines after the full moon rises in the pond

Ingrid Bruck
8/3/2016

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