AMERICAN MOBILE. A Poem by EM Schorb.

      The pure products of America go crazy . . .
    —William Carlos Williams
      Miss Smith, she dead.

 
. . . my blind left eye don’t stop me
I swivel quick around then get ahead
back at the panorama
striped down and then back up the hill
to any future peak greened brown black cut through
white striped like up the leg on a uniform
the wind don’t wall me
my aerodynamics
they’d lift my license for my eye full of sugar
but I still drink
that VA doctor’s lower’n fish shit
no beer no way
but I drink Lite test my blood take my insulin
I eat right mostly but my Drake’s cakes
I’m thirty-three feet back
sixty-six long times to here
always dreamed of motorhoming
free to be you and me
Maxine’s you
she sips at that beer
stares through the wraparound
like she’s watching home movies
and shoots bytes at me like look there
did you see that
she’s frightened at being sixty next week
I told her look at me—you plus six
and I’m still steering
still truckin’ but I never was a trucker
was a kid a soldier a vet a cop and
a guard at Disney’s that was my whole damned life
that back there behind me on the road
but it comes along with me in my sugar-eye
my shotup shoulder from War Two
my skin cancer from standing all those years in the sun
reflecting off tarmac and parked cars at Disney World
 
Max says look Jersey plates
she says Joisey we started out in Jersey
we fell in love haven’t slept together in years
Max thinks I’m not well interested
but it’s the sugar
I don’t tell nobody not even her not especially her
suppose she knew I couldn’t
what kind of man would she think
look she says back in back her mother sees it too
I don’t know what it is must be on my blind side
but I don’t say no way I let them know
I’m blind as a blackboard over there
not hurtling along at eighty
they’d piss their beer
you got to hold to your lane
the old lady’s nearly ninety but full of it
not only beer either if you know
look Max says
shut up Max but I don’t say it
I don’t listen about Alabama moons
Georgia peaches glorious Asheville leaves
I talk to myself my only friend
they suck me in like black holes
the old lady and Max everything goes
into them nothing out toward me
did I believe in love
I’ve stopped laughing even
I’ve been driving too long
 
I see us off the edge of a cliff if I don’t keep him awake
old man hunched up at the wheel was he my hero
I think there’s something wrong with his eyes now
the way he jerks around to see I’ve noticed
I ride not swiveled in a bucket by a tilted instrument pod
but sometimes behind him astraddle his first Harley
his long blond hair snapping in my eyes no helmets
my fingers feeling in the deep holes
through his shoulder and his ribs
where the sniper’s bullet drilled through
he died he said and came alive again on a table in England
I still wore his white dress shirt
hanging out over my rolled-up blue jeans
shiny pennies in my loafers
Frank Sinatra made me scream Elvis my one daughter
Buddy’s blonde princess the Dead my grandson
nobody sings anymore all back there somewhere
with my mother boozed up at ninety
a Depression-made cheapskate
sipping cheap port
and a hundred thousand in the bank
how did we get here
 
where are we going why must I come
Harry could save me
clever with life how left-handed he
mangled his right hand in the leather machine
made them think he was right-handed
more compensation
at last a little house and money in the bank
and I got us out of Jersey
like war in the project then
the Sixties the long hot summers
bullets through the windows
down to Max and Buddy in Orlando to my little house
Harry why must I travel with them
the youngsters even are old but Harry’s gone
crazy at the end
fighting in the trenches again
Argonne Belleau Wood
gone on the road behind us
dead and buried in Orlando
buried and lost his grave lost
we are going to sue
I have no place to put flowers
no place to talk to him anymore
they lost my Harry
tough leather guy from Brooklyn
tough guy so sweet once
poor old crazy man
gone back to the trenches back to Pershing
mustardgas and Belleau Wood
another world so far away
to his grave at ninety-five
I don’t want cable
only my one soap-opera station
only my wine
don’t even want life to come back
what is the wind
Star stories say some of us are aliens
supermarket tabloids Maxine calls them
and tries to make me think they print lies
sometimes I think Buddy and maybe even Maxine too
I bore her but maybe pod people have taken over her body
like that old movie
maybe she isn’t Maxine at all she doesn’t act like Maxine
I could have a baby too
like the hundred year old woman in Australia
it would kill me at ninety they must eat something
yogurt like those Russians who live forever aliens too
and the little girl no older than smaller than
who had quadruplets by a tom cat
all of them born with whiskers
the pictures were right there I saw them
whiskers and pointed ears and long tails I saw them
what is that going by where are they taking me
 
“Good Housekeeping” said
the kitchen was the warm womb
of the colonial home and early-American women
would stand at the hearth watching the turkey turn
as they pumped up the flames
packing sandwiches for an airline ain’t exactly
the big time but we made it
Buddy and I paid off the American dream
for his bedroom and my bedroom
and the alligators down on the lawn
to the rock seawall wanting sun
what’s life
put the rocks back put
back build up fall put back
two slices Wonder Bread
one slice waterpumped ham mayo mustard
my long thin fingers all little silver scars
I’m nobody what did I deserve
not Buddy and my mother anyway
sixty ain’t the end yet
not even with all my loose belly skin and
stupid strokefoot dragging when I’m tired
like Buddy on Omaha Beach
but I got it right through the head
like being brain-shot and nine weeks in the hospital
stealing our money
there she is sipping her wine at ninety
defying nature and three out of five of us kids with strokes
always demanding maybe she gave us the strokes
but nobody’s dead yet they say we are all lucky
so that’s what luck is not being dead
a case could be made
 
driving into the dusk is like driving into a dream
better hit the lights
that big cluster of stars down there
I aim my good eye on ahead
now in the dusk it gets tricky
but I don’t let Max know
extreme macular degeneration
sugar-induced doc says
then he says you got varicose veins in your eye
laser beams he says burn ’em out
so I see blue for a week from the dye
and the blue fades to gray and that’s it
my credit’s good
social security veteran’s pension Disney retirement
I’m a triple dipper
plus equity in the house poor boy makes good
I’m driving fifty thousand dollars across America
like I started out with anything but
a piano-teaching widowed mother
like I had a chance in life
I play my own tapes me at the organ
singing Willy Nelson songs
“On the Road Again” Max hates my music
she’s jealous but says I could of made a living
at it could of but couldn’t take the joints
composed some myself guitar piano organ
my tape plays “King of the Road”
my plates say NO MORTGAGE NO BOSS
NO JOB NO WORRIES I’M RETIRED
twenty years standing in the sun eating Twinkies skin cancer
Harry thought Max could do better
he never had a home like ours right on the gators’ water
he’d say he never had alligators on his lawn either
only stinkbugs in his old palm tree
sometimes I miss fighting with him
him on the Kaiser me on Hitler
who was worse all ancient history
even the Commies are dead
nothing left for Freedom to fight
and the world moves moves into the next century
away from us what we did and needed
it’ll all be computers and new people
no more like us we’re dinosaurs
old people but we move
and we take our houses with us like hermit crabs
we circle Asheville in leaves we land at Normandy
not ten minutes in and all my bones break
until I wake up on the table in England
purple heart silver star
I remember the sea swashing puffs of smoke
our flag it still stands yesterday’s news who cares
Max is sarcastic once she was proud
I can’t help it Max
it’s the sugar sugar
 
. . . who betrayed me so many times with his Harley
with somebody else’s legs around him
fingers in his wounds
hot stuff and joins the police
to wear his beautiful blue uniform
and ride his police cycle with his blond hair
fluffed all around his blue visored hat
and me pregnant alone with his blonde love in my stomach
stud making a fool of his wife making a fool of his life
with nogood burgling cops only Orlando left for us
thank the chief who saved us and that was when I began
when I began I began began to be old
 
Maxine looks like me at sixty
you could compare her to a picture of me then
O Harry do you remember
where are we
North Carolina
why are we here climbing this mountain
full of beautiful leaves
is that heaven up there what is that up there
a jetstream
a flying saucer
why don’t we just stay home
where I know where things are
they don’t think about me how I can’t see
how I wish Harry were here
how he was when he was young
so neat courtly so kind and sweet
not like at the end afraid of the Hun
hiding under the table gone crazy old man
with old-timers disease
it was all there again for him
no time had happened
no me no all that life all wiped out
and he was there again and it made me wonder
if we aren’t all just here or there or where are we
 
Asheville we pack it in at Nashville
Max and the old lady won’t go to the Grand Ole Opry
so I’ll leave them to themselves
I’ll go like I always said I would
could hear it in Jersey when I was a kid
could hear it all over the country
Hank Williams Minnie Pearl Tex Ritter Hillbilly Heaven
a southern yankee I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
Max says we should of gone the other route
to Memphis first Graceland Elvis can wait I say
but it turns out to be Hank Williams Junior and Rockabilly
not like I dreamed of it glitz and bang
even a vet can yearn for the old sweetstuff
Junior’s daddy the original Hank the real thing
the lyrics were in a language I could understand
we fought the wars and longed for love
they march for peace and seem to hate
like I’m still waiting for the fat lady to sing
President Truman even introduced Kate
Smith to the Queen
as “America” Oh beautiful for spacious skies
but the Opry’s like the rest of it now
maybe we should try Dollyland at Pigeon Forge
no Max wouldn’t like it because
 
angels come to our door but Buddy won’t let them in
do you know these are the last days
not if you have something spiritual
it’s on Earth
he was sent by the God of Love
that’s why Graceland is a church
even if it’s like they say
that his body ate twenty Big Macs a day
his soul had to live on Earth didn’t it had to eat
so Buddy’s blonde daughter tells me
my daughter too but more his blonde like him
now nearly bald not her him not dark like me
well gray but if Elvis could bring happiness
then he is a god
 
he’s one of those aliens Max
he was sent here to sing and bring love
they say Graceland is more beautiful than Heaven
that it’s all blue like the sky with no clouds
no thunderbooms and tin-roof rain clatter
where are we
 
like when Buddy grinds his choppers
he is eating us up in his sleep
our night war like our day war cannibal
shoved our beds apart into separate rooms
trumpets saxophones trombones
Buddy names my snoring while he grinds on
and her crazy on the convertible back there
all night coughs and chatters in her sleep
about chicken wing prices
it’s like a gone-nuts orchestra
OOMPA OOMPA OOMPA CLICKETY-CLICK BLAH BLAH
his teeth telling how much he hates his life
at different times broken uppers and lowers
life that never did what he wanted it to do
we rocked that motorpark in Nashville
hooked up Winnebago nearly laughed itself free
electric lines tore out as it rolled over on its side
and later shaking with screaming
Mama and I had sucked the city of any last drop
of Southern Comfort
Buddy never came back from the Opry till it was dying out
drunk himself from shit-kicking with urban cowboys
I told him his sugar’ll kill him he sleeps grinding his life
like steak into hamburger I’m his life
what’s life
Mama refuses to die until we do
gray and stroked and sugared and beer’d under
but how could we leave her at home who’d watch her
nobody’ll take her in if we go she has to go
won’t go to nursing home no way you know no how
and I don’t mean not to go go go before I die
thank GOD for Winnebagos
next stopover next postcard
P.S. life’s a war and you can’t give up
love Max at sixty
 
heaven is a place like Graceland
they say Elvis’s daughter owns it now
she’s the spitting image spitting image
listen Max at least the foreigners don’t own Graceland
like they do everything else
it ain’t true that we don’t work as hard as the Japs
but the unions Max I never did trust the unions
 
you think like a scab-cop
my father was a union man Buddy
 
her father was a union man
Harry was always a good union man
and a good Democrat
 
if they’re good for anything the aliens’ll be UNION
if I didn’t belong to a union
do you think they’d of paid me so much
for making lousy sandwiches
did you get enough sleep
we should of gone to Graceland first
read a “Reader’s Digest” article once
first it was the farmlife held us to place
then industry mills and trading and
later the big factories up north
made cities centers now no more
anyone anywhere now the computers
no more fixed life no more unions no more
democrats no more stay put go go go
like the damned beatniks hippies used to do
on the road in the sky
a whole corporation inside your portable
computer workforce anywhere
regions don’t mean nothing cities countries
my country ’tis of thee
I’m caught between the old lady back there
and my grandson
he’ll be part of it the brave new world he said
college boy and his kids won’t even know
what we were
can’t you just see it grandpa
no boundaries no borders
even space the moon Mars
business everywhere signals flying through the air
caught between times becoming part of it
losing it at the same time
with my sugar walking down the street
I never noticed how sweet beer is
injections they’ll be able to fix that too grandpa
and the whole world and even space
will become AMERICA
 
you look at your mother and you think
how could I have come out of that sixty years ago
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Max
it’s a chorus of whiskey-cracked voices
a duo of dead and gone ghosts
calling back over their shoulders
it’s bye-bye Maxine you’re as good as dead
with your mastectomied pumped-up plastic tits
what’d you need them for for him
could of caused the stroke I’m told
but then why my brother and sister stroked out too
my face I had burned with acid and scraped
for him forty years ago
acne pits from her tea and cheap day-old cake
to stuff us just before supper all of us
faces like burned-red moons
from her brother-can-you-spare-a-dime
cheap Depression soul
the old man back from Belleau Wood
mustard gas and the formaldehyde stink of the tannery
the whole goddamned century’s been a war
I could live to see the end of it
no more goddamned Twentieth Century
now we fight each other we can’t stop fighting
we’re like three hairy-assed Marines
landing on each other’s beaches
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Maxine
Christ he kissed me breath like death blow out my candle
if I could I’d blow them out of the Winnebago
and get my wish a little time on earth alone a little life before I die
 
Max was always tough even as a little girl
she always fought
her father’d have to drag her off
from a fight but he was proud
my Max don’t take no shit he said
 
we had to be tough Jersey we all glow in the dark
better than hard cold and cheap
we had nothin’ but trouble like the plague
Nineteen-Nineteen she says
the doughboys brought the influenza back from Europe
all those displaced persons
my best girlfriend died of it everybody
was dying you’re too young to know
good to be too young for some things
why do you think God does it
screw that
God helps them who help themselves Buddy
he likes that one damned Republican
but he’s right it’s like Elvis
a success a blond guy with black hair and a cape
God loves us all Max He’s sending them to help us
well He’s got a damned funny way of showing it
your granddaughter says He sent Elvis
or is it Elvis sent her
I told her he came in on a saucer
they’ll all be here soon
 
Buddy singing playing the organ he installed
coming in on a wing and a prayer
his feet pumping he loves to show off
he says Harry was just a leather worker
says my mother taught piano class will tell
your people don’t have no class no way
then it’s a Donnybrook
in the musical world
 
in heaven this couldn’t of happened
if Max would spell me
I’d go back and get drunk with the old lady
sit in my Seat w/Telescoping Pedestal
and stare at her until I could see inside her BRAIN
but Max won’t spell me won’t drive no way no how
just sucks in sixpacks and farts at speed bumps
I’m mustard gassed like Harry at Belleau Wood
turn on the BTU’s she says watch out
open the vents here comes Max
but she admits it was damned embarrassing
we got the Arizona state troopers all over us
here’s the old lady telling the pump jockey
at our time of life we want full service telling him
I’M BEING KIDNAPPED BY ALIENS
I have a lovely home in Orlando
they’re forcing me to go with them
they want my money a hundred thousand dollars
it belongs to Harry he earned it with the wrong hand
call the police help help
it takes some explaining but I tell them me I’m an ex-cop
look I say but they got me and Max over a car hood
if I had one of those BIG FOOT trucks
I’d drive right over top of this traffic jam
crushing cars like an angry giant
that’s why everybody loves Big Foot
I look at the cops and twirl
my finger in a circle at my temple
nuts the both of them I say
they feel sorry for me and because I’m an ex-cop
 
get real Buddy do you think God’s in California
or in the Painted Desert or the Petrified Forest
I want to see the first Disney place is all
Max is mad like Mel great roadman
people say it’s the end of America
from the coast there on it’s out forever
and the sea climbs into the sky
Buddy it’s your music
sometimes you sound like some godawful poet
song of the open road Max
there’s good trucker songs Max
trucker poets cowboy poets
you’re ignorant Max
don’t start Buddy don’t start
I tell you what Buddy
Vegas is God
you get a bucketful of change and pull handles
until something good happens
gangsters built Vegas Max
gangsters built everything Buddy
Bugsy Siegel is God and Vegas is heaven
for shame Maxine
what do you know Mama
it’s all a chance and to hell with your aliens
can’t you see saucers Maxine
clouds Mama we’re in the mountains
Sierra Nevadas Mama
I’m not your mother I’m hers maybe
and the white bombs of love
like the Star says it’s Elvis in his saucer
lots of Elvises because this is the end of time
they have big dark eyes and sideburns down to here
real smooth cheeks and they wear wonderful jumpsuits
with colors like Las Vegas that night
the first or second so it was stacks of colors
and everything blinking they wear clothes like that
with glittery things hanging down from their sleeves
I was a little girl when Dreamland burned down
my mother your grandmother Maxine
said you could see Dreamland burning from Jersey
I had been to Coney Island I had been to Dreamland
I’m sure I saw Vesuvius erupt and a great naval battle
where New York was bombarded by foreign ships
and then an American admiral went out
and defeated all of them
you see children it is all a dream
and you keep waking up to something new
we aren’t really here at all we are here
and somewhere else at the same time in Dreamland
Meet me tonight in Dreamland under the silvery moon
my mother used to play that one Mama
I am not your mother don’t call me Mama
you’re alone in the world Harry never liked you
motorcycle-head he called you
Maxine’s got me if she is Maxine
of course I’m Maxine
Christ of course white bombs
SNOW
where are we Maxine
if I smashed this pedal down down hill
I saw a movie once about a wagon train full of people
heading west on Donner tha’s it the Donner party
they were going over these very mountains they were up here
high like this and there was a blizzard and they got caught
and they couldn’t get down out of it
blizzard starved and they began to eat each other
don’t look at me Buddy
the saucers will save us
they’ll snatch us up into Graceland
they can do anything they can make us fly
can they take us back to where they came from
is it a musical place
of course it’s a musical place
Elvis is King
yeah Graceland is the real true blue heaven
beyond the cheap chicken wings of the world Mama
beyond the world Maxine
or whoever you are
Buddy my ears just popped
we’re climbing Max
it’s getting dark Buddy
you better stop
can’t stop on the highway
some articulated eighteenwheeler
some BIG FOOT
come behind us
no visibility
now I nail my one good eye
to the white-dark wraparound
like one big cataract
faint red lights
turning off ahead
now nothing
down there’s a turn
somewhere down there
I hit the gas down hard to the floor
it’s dark and white like being wrapped in ermine
if we weren’t doing eighty ninety a hundred
it’s like a toboggan like the OLYMPICS
SWOOSH SWOOSH and we’re out off in SPACE
the cold moon and stars ahead
I push my WING-EXTENDER BUTTON
and now it’s STAR TREK
THE PANORAMA OF SPACE
I can see through the thick clusters of stars
ahead there deep
GOD’S BRIGHT MUSICAL CASTLE
but the saucers hold us floating in air
HIGH OVER GRACELAND
you can see the lights
I told them I told them
and THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS
of GOLDEN COINS COME GLITTERING
CRASHING OUT
 
 
 
 
 
E.M. Schorb’s Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Other works include 50 Poems, Hill House New York; Words in Passing, The New Formalist Press; The Ideologues and Other Retrospec­tive Poems, Aldrich Press; Eclectica Americana, Hill House New York; Manhattan Spleen, Aldrich Press; Last Exit to East Hampton, Kelsay Books; and The Poor Boy, Dragon’s Teeth Press, Living Poets Series. The title poem, “The Poor Boy,” was awarded the International Keats Poetry Prize by London Literary Editions, Ltd., judged by Howard Sergeant.
 
Schorb’s novel, Paradise Square, received the Grand Prize for Fiction from the International eBook Award Founda­tion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A Portable Chaos was the First Prize Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction. His latest novel, R&R, a Sex Comedy, has won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor. But Schorb maintains that he is first and foremost a poet, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publi­ca­tions, such as Agenda (UK), The American Scholar (US), Frank (FR), The Hudson Review (US), Stand (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), Queen’s Quarterly (CA), The Yale Review (US), and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.

CODA: THE GHOSTS GO HOME. A Poem by EM Schorb.

      O lost and by the wind grieved,
      ghost, come back again.
      —Thomas Wolfe

. . . so this is luck says Maxine
you can take your freaking luck and shove it
Mama says it was the aliens who helped us
hundreds of flying saucers piloted by
Elvises in sequined pod suits
they lifted us off the cliff
I told you they would I told you
she’s nuts Buddy we’re dead right now
dead and floating away Max dispersing smoke
and just when I thought I was going to heaven
to God’s bright musical castle
where I could play the organ
play Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
for all the heavenly days of my death
O.K. Buddy but what in hell do you think
I’m travelling for
we left the other goddamned Disney place
three thousand miles back
I want to get away from it all
that’s my heaven
every place is the same Max
every place is Disneyland
now don’t you start sniveling Mama
but home is where the heart is
my heart is with Harry in Orlando
poor old Alzheimer man
I loved him so much
for God’s sake we got all freaking bummed out
I sent a card back home to tell
how you’ve acted you son-of-a-bitch you killed us
and I think you did it on purpose
you think you can drive through space now Buddy
still steering Max
Maxine
what Mama
you children are enough to drive me out of my mind
but the National Star
and the Pod People keep me sane
look at all that space
can you fly this thing Buddy
an American G.I. can do anything he has to do Mama
Buddy sometimes you remind me of Harry
why thanks Mama
doughboys is what we called G.I.s in my day
like you he came back full of holes
but gassed in Belleau Wood
beautiful name to be so horrible
I know I don’t tell you very much
but now that I know we are all going to
heaven together or somewhere
well wherever the pod people take us
I love you both
we love you too Mama
don’t we Max
O.K. so all us suckers love each other
just keep this smoke floating
Mama I think Maxine is blubbering up
crocodile tears Buddy she’s hard as a rock
no Mama you should see her up here
shut up Buddy
she’s had too much beer
no I think the crash is just now sinking in on me
but I’m not going to stop drinking my Lite
I don’t care if I’m dead
you are dead Max we’re all dead
Buddy are you sure you can fly are you
does smoke rise up from a fire
and finally vanish in the sky
I keep on truckin’ like I always done Max
through war and peace Mama
our flag must still wave
through hell and high water Max
I could go on flying this big beautiful
Winnebago with the eagle wing span of an
Enola Gay forever across America
back and forth across this great big
God bless America country

FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA
 
 
E.M. Schorb’s Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Other works include 50 Poems, Hill House New York; Words in Passing, The New Formalist Press; The Ideologues and Other Retrospec­tive Poems, Aldrich Press; Eclectica Americana, Hill House New York; Manhattan Spleen, Aldrich Press; Last Exit to East Hampton, Kelsay Books; and The Poor Boy, Dragon’s Teeth Press, Living Poets Series. The title poem, “The Poor Boy,” was awarded the International Keats Poetry Prize by London Literary Editions, Ltd., judged by Howard Sergeant.
 
Schorb’s novel, Paradise Square, received the Grand Prize for Fiction from the International eBook Award Founda­tion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A Portable Chaos was the First Prize Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction. His latest novel, R&R, a Sex Comedy, has won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor. But Schorb maintains that he is first and foremost a poet, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publi­ca­tions, such as Agenda (UK), The American Scholar (US), Frank (FR), The Hudson Review (US), Stand (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), Queen’s Quarterly (CA), The Yale Review (US), and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.

Now Even Now. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

 
now even now
it’s like a ghost town now
& O the distant hills
 
are a more ghostly blue
than before
 
now even a few stray locals
come & go stranger even now
than they were before &

O the dear police cars patrol
with speakers are more ghostly too
 
& through my bedroom window
the gable ended stone house wall
grows evermore iconic faces
 
than before — even now
as daily the days flock by
more than before — now even now
 
strange fruit in the wet market
a vampire kiss
human blood — human meat
 
but save the economy not the ecology
surveillance – surveillance – surveillance
 
monitor our sick brains
& bury the remains in silicon valley
until hyssops burst through
 
the green embedded
fissures of our padded cells
& the pavements crack beneath
 
save the insects — death to pesticide
save the world with clay balls
like caryatides we bear alms to our own epitaphs
 
the hours of the street endure their empathy
with landscapes ordered from the abettoir
cockroach traffic cockroach computers
 
user friendly – amplify & invade = degrade
habitats – “exotic wildlife threatens humans”
population growth summons armament
 
 

 
 
 
 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times ; his publications include
 
All the Babble of the Souk , Cartoon Molecules and Next Arrivals, collected poems, and the recently published Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems, as well as translation of Guadalupe Grande´s La llave de niebla, as Key of Mist and the recently published Tesserae , a translation of Carmen Crespo´s Teselas.
 
You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

THE VIRUS MONOLOGUE. Translation from Source: https://lundi.am/Monologue-du-virus by Amparo Arróspide & Robin Ouzman Hislop

THE VIRUS MONOLOGUE
 
 
“I came to shut down the machine for which you could not find the emergency brake. “
 
 
“Silence, dear humans, all your ridiculous calls to war. Lower the looks of revenge you have on me. Turn off the halo of terror that surrounds my name. We, viruses, from the bacterial background of the world, are the true continuum of life on Earth. Without us, you would never have seen the light of day, nor would the first cell.
 
We are your ancestors, just like stones and algae, and much more than monkeys. We are everywhere you are and where you are not too. Too bad for you, if you only see in the universe what is your liking! But above all, stop saying that I’m the one killing you. You do not die from my action on your tissues, but from the lack of care of your fellow men. If you weren’t as rapacious among yourself as you were with everything that lives on this planet, you would still have enough beds, nurses and respirators to survive the damage I do to your lungs. If you did not store your old people in dying rooms and your able-bodied people in reinforced concrete hutches, you would not be there. If you had not changed the yesterday still luxuriant, chaotic, infinitely populated vastness of the world or rather of the worlds into a vast desert for the monoculture of the Same and the More, I would not have been able to launch out a planetary conquest of your throats.
 
If you had not almost all become, throughout the last century, redundant copies of a single and unsustable form of life, you would not be preparing to die like flies abandoned in the water of your sweet civilization. If you hadn’t made your backgrounds so empty, so transparent, so abstract, believe me that I wouldn’t be moving at the speed of an aircraft. I have only come to carry out the sanction which you have long since pronounced against yourselves. Forgive me, but it is you, as far as I know, who coined the name “Anthropocene”. You have claimed all the honor of the disaster; now that it is accomplished, it is too late to give it up. The most honest among you know this well: I have no other accomplice than your social organization, your madness of the “big scale” and its economy, your fanaticism for the system. Only systems are “vulnerable”. The rest live and die. There is “vulnerability” only with regard to control, its extension and its improvement. Look at me carefully: I am only the reverse of the reigning Death.
 
So stop blaming me, accusing me, tracking me down. Stop paralyzing against me. All of this is childish. I offer you a conversion of the look: there is an immanent intelligence in life. You don’t have to be a subject to have a memory or a strategy. You don’t have to be sovereign to decide. Bacteria and viruses can also make rain and sun shine. So see me as your savior rather than your gravedigger. Feel free to believe me, but I came to shut down the machine for which you could not find the emergency brake. I have come to suspend the operation of which you were the hostages. I came to demonstrate the aberration of “normality”. “To delegate our food, our protection, our ability to take care of our living environment to others was madness” … “There is no budgetary limit, health is priceless”: see how I have the language and the spirit of your governors forked! See how I bring them back to their real rank of miserable swindlers, and arrogant with that! See how suddenly they denounce themselves not only as superfluous, but as harmful! You are for them only the supports of the reproduction of their system, even less than slaves. Even plankton is treated better than you.
 
Be careful, however to blame their shortcomings. Avoid wasting your energy. To accuse them of carelessness is to lend them more than they deserve. Ask yourself, how did you find it so comfortable to let yourself be governed? To praise the merits of the Chinese option against the British option, of the imperial-forensic solution against the Darwinist-liberal method, is to understand nothing of either, of the horror of one as the horror of the other. Since Quesnay, the “liberals” have always regarded the Chinese Empire with envy; and they continue to do so. They are Siamese brothers. That one confines you in your interest and the other in that of “society” always comes down to crushing the only non-nihilistic conduct: taking care of oneself, those one loves and what one loves in those one doesn´t know. Do not let those who led you to the abyss pretend to know how to get out of it: they will only prepare you for a more perfected hell, an even deeper grave. The day they can, they will patrol the beyond with their armies.
 
Thank me instead. Without me, how much longer would all these unquestionable things suddenly suspended been regarded as necessary? Globalization, contests, air traffic, budgetary limits, elections, sports competitions, Disneyland, fitness rooms, most shops, the congress and parliament, school crowding, mass gatherings, most office jobs, all this drunken sociability which is only the flip side of the anguished loneliness of metropolitan dwellings: all this was therefore unnecessary, once the state of necessity manifests itself. Thank me for the test of truth for the next few weeks: you are finally going to live your own life, without the thousand loopholes that, year after year, keep the untenable going. Without realizing it, you had never moved into your own existence. You were among the boxes, and you didn’t know it. You will now live with your loved ones. You will live at home. You will stop being in transit to death. You may hate your husband. You may vomit your children. Perhaps you will want to blow up the decor of your daily life. To tell the truth, you were no longer in the world, in these metropolises of separation. Your world was no more livable in any of its points than on the condition of constantly fleeing. It was necessary to be dazed by movement and distractions so much ugliness had gained presence. And the ghostly reigned among beings. Everything had become so effective that nothing made more sense. Thank me for all of this, and welcome to earth!
 
Thanks to me, for an indefinite time, you will no longer be working, your children will not go to school, and yet it will be the complete opposite of the holidays. Holidays are that space that must be furnished at all costs while awaiting the expected return from work. But here, what opens up before you, thanks to me, is not a demarcated space, it is a huge gaping hole. I am here to disassemble everything. Nothing can guarantee you that the non-world of before will return. All of this profitable nonsense may be over. By dint of not being paid, what could be more natural than not paying your rent? Why would he still pay his debts to the bank, the one who can no longer work anyway? Isn’t it suicidal, in the end, to live where you can’t even grow a garden? Whoever has no more money will not stop eating, and the one who has the iron has the bread- as Auguste Blanqui used to say.
 
Thank me: I place you at the foot of the fork that tacitly structured your lives: the economy or life. It’s up to you. The range is historic. Either the rulers impose their state of emergency on you, or you invent your own. Either you get attached to the emerging truths or you put your head on the chopping block. Either you use the time I am giving you now to figure out the next world from the lessons of the ongoing collapse, or it will end up by radicalizing, even more. Disaster ends when the economy stops. The economy is devastating. It was a thesis before last month. It is now a fact. No one can ignore the fact that it will take police, surveillance, propaganda, logistics and telework to repress it.
 
As you face me, do not give in to panic or denial. Don’t give in to biopolitical hysteria. The coming weeks are going to be terrible, overwhelming, cruel. The doors of Death will be wide open. I am the most devastating production of the ravage of production. I come to nullify the nihilists. The injustice of this world will never be more glaring. It is a civilization, and not you, that I come to bury. Those who want to live will have to make new habits, and their own. Avoiding myself will be the occasion for this reinvention, this new art of distance. The art of greeting each other, in which some were short-sighted enough to see the very shape of the institution, will soon no longer obey any label. It will be an agreement between sentient beings. Do not do it “for others”, for “the population” or for “society”, do it for your own. Take care of your friends and your loved ones. Rethink with them, sovereignly, a just form of life. Make good life clusters, expand them, and I can’t do anything against you. This isn´t a call for the massive return of discipline, but of attention. Not for the end of all lightness, but of all neglect. What other way was left for me to remind you that salvation is in every gesture? That everything is in the infinitesimal?
 
I had to face the facts: humanity only asks itself the questions that it can no longer not ask itself. ”
 
Source: https://lundi.am/Monologue-du-virus Original French Version

Laminations in Lacquer. Audio Textual Poem. Excerpt from Moon by Robin Ouzman Hislop

http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
 

 
 
In a bright lit night, he lays his bed
deep in hues of Lapis Lazuli.
In the corners sit the winds
dressed like musical chairs.
 
An olive ferments in a pastel saucer
into mossy green minutiae
where a painted flower swallows
against its form, liquid spaces
in lean reflections towards a bottomless well.
 
Veils swim on the verge the flower
defines drawn against
an olive splash of skin
in the glazed lacquer
gloss to the anonymous images.
 
A cock crows cockle doodle do
discrete, concrete, on the fronds
ruffles in the red sprocketed throat
a screech of feathers
stilled in the flower’s passion
in the pool’s hoard.
 
The gibbous mound
a crimson flash in the curtain
through which he passes
beneath the bridges.
A stairway in pastel hue
laps tranquilly cool
to a hole in a wall
a cavernous breach which retains
the scream of the arch
scrawled on a screen
defiant in the stance of plumages
hordes of epiphanies
buried in petrified pastel ripples.
 
Below the rift of its eye
the sealed beak that will open
gleams on the lee.
 
Throughout the entire circumference
can be seen the tilt giving rise
to both translucence, transparency
where the acid, oil separate
only to appear to coalesce
in the almost pure liquid sheen
containing its own light
even in the presence of the vegetative
silt at the bottom of the bowl.
 
At the moment of its brimming
at that line of definition
in a room that roams without corners
he must rise with a chalice of blood for lips of shades
where the vertigo edge of the flower distils the dish
together with the quantities of immeasurable throng
on watery groves billowing with ivy bowers
sprung over hidden lairs of concealed hoards.
 
Night begins and the dogs draw nigh
scavenging for scraps
yapping at the walker’s naked ankles
in the dust of unknown alleys.
 
The broken lights of the bazaar
spangle with glittering promises
the eyes of the dusky beggar
sunk in their sockets maze
in crooked cul de sacs embargo
amidst the furls of silk that foil
the flickering lantern niche
throttled in an olive tray
whilst the flower’s blur does not allow
the stroke that blurs its horizon
and all beneath to return.
 
It is helpless in its light
a camouflage to visitation
to the sigh of the rock’s flow
so few, so few, so few.
 
The olive saturates its wish
outlining monuments amidst the rubble
in momentary musical explosions
and the spell is cast.
 
Fireworks like a diaphanous lithograph
print an emblazoned sky
on the craggy mountains of the night
where comets play at kites
& glistening the eerie beak hisses.
 
 

 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is on line Editor at Poetry Life & Times at Artvilla.com. His numerous appearances include Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Honest Ulsterman, Cratera No 3 and Aquillrelle’s Best. His publications are collected poems All the Babble of the Souk, Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals & Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems and translations from Spanish of poems by Guadalupe Grande Key of Mist and Carmen Crespo Tesserae (the award winning XIII Premio César Simón De Poesía). In November 2017 these works were presented in a live performance at The International Writer’s Conference hosted by the University of Leeds, UK. A forthcoming publication of collected poems Off the Menu is expected in 2020.

Poetry, National Literature Prize 2018, Francisca Aguirre, Translated from Spanish by Amparo Arróspide & Robin Ouzman Hislop

Francisca Aguirre, Premio Nacional de las Letras 2018 El jurado la ha elegido 
“por estar su poesía (la más machadiana de la generación del medio siglo)
entre la desolación y la clarividencia, la lucidez y el dolor"

Francisca Aguirre, National Literature Prize 2018
The jury chose it "because its poetry is (the most Machadian* of the generation 
of the half century) between desolation and clairvoyance, lucidity and pain"

* In the tradition of Antonio Machado

https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/11/13

Francisca Aguirre was born in 1930 in Alicante, Spain, and fled with her family to France 
at the end of the Spanish Civil War, where they lived in political exile.  When the Germans 
invaded Paris in 1942, her family was forced to return to Spain, where her father, painter 
Lorenzo Aguirre, was subsequently murdered by Francisco Franco's regime.  
Aguirre published Ítaca (1972), currently available in English (Ithaca [2004]), when she was 
42 years old. Her work has garnered much critical success, winning the Leopoldo Panero, 
Premio Ciudad de Irún, and Premio Galliana, among other literary prizes.  
Aguirre is married to the poet Félix Grande and is the mother of poet Guadalupe Grande.



From "NANAS PARA DORMIR DESPERDICIOS"

LULLABIES TO LULL THROWN AWAYS

by FRANCISCA AGUIRRE

Translated by Amparo Arrospíde & Robin Ouzman Hislop ***

NANA DE LAS SOBRAS                                                                             A Esperanza y Manuel Rico Vaya

canción la de las sobras, eso sí
                      que era una nana para dormir el hambre.
Vaya canción aquella
                      que cantaba mi abuela con aquella voz
que era la voz de la misericordia
disfrazada de voz angelical.
                             Porque la voz de mi abuela
nos cantaba la canción de las sobras.
                             Y nosotras, que no conocíamos el pan,
cantábamos con ella que
                             las sobras de pan eran sagradas,
las sobras de pan nunca se tiran.

Siempre recordaré su hermosa voz
cantando aquella nana mientras el hambre nos dormía.
                                         **
LULLABY FOR LEFTOVERS                                                          To  Esperanza and Manuel Rico

Well, a leftovers song,
                    that truly was a lullaby to lull hunger to sleep.
Wow, that song 
                    my grandmother sang with a voice
that was the voice of mercy
disguised as the voice of an angel.
                              Because my grandmother´s voice
sang for us the leftovers song.
                              And we, who did not know bread,
sang together with her that
                              bread leftovers were holy,
bread leftovers shall never be thrown away.

I will always remember her beautiful voice
singing that lullaby while hunger lulled us to sleep.

                                                                                                       **

NANA DE LAS HOJAS CAÍDAS                                                                       
                                                                                                                       A Marián Hierro
Casi todo lo que se pierde tiene música,
                                                             una música oculta, inolvidable.
Pero las hojas, esas criaturas parlanchinas
que son la voz de nuestros árboles,
                    tienen, como la luz, el agua y las libélulas
una nana secreta y soñadora.
                    Lo que se pierde, siempre nos deja
                       un rastro misterioso y cantarín.

Las hojas verdes o doradas
              cantan su desamparo mientras juegan al corro.
Cantan mientras los árboles las llaman
como llaman las madres a sus hijos
sabiendo que es inútil, que han crecido
                     y que se han ido a recorrer el mundo.

                                                                                                      ****

LULLABY FOR FALLEN LEAVES
                                                                                                                     To Marián Hierro

Almost everything which is lost has a music,
                                                                     a hidden, unforgettable music.
But leaves, those chattering creatures
who are the voices of our trees
                       have -- like light, water and dragonflies --
a secret dreamy lullaby.
                                   That which is lost to us, always leaves
                                           the mysterious trace of its song.
Green or golden leaves
                        sing of their neglect as they dance their ring a ring of roses.
They sing while trees call to them
as mothers do calling their children
knowing it is futile, as they have grown up
                                     and left to travel the world over.
                                                                                          
                                                                                                                               **

NANA DE LAS CARTAS VIEJAS

Tienen el olor desvalido del abandono
y el tono macilento del silencio.
Son desperdicios de la memoria, residuos de dolor, 
                                                   y hay que cantarles muy bajito
para que no despierten de su letargo.
En ocasiones las manos se tropiezan con ellas
                                                  y el pulso se acelera
porque notamos que las palabras	
                                                 como si fueran mariposas
quieren bailar delante de nosotros
y volver a contarnos el secreto
                                                 que duerme entre sus páginas.
Son las abandonadas,
                                 los residuos de un tiempo de desdicha,
relatan pormenores de un combate
                                 y al rozarlas oímos el tristísimo andar
de los presos en los penales.

                                                                                                         **

LULLABY FOR OLD LETTERS

They give off the helpless smell of neglectfulness
and the emaciated tone of silence.
They are memory´s cast offs, residues of pain
                                                   and should be sung to in a low croon
so as not to awaken them from their lethargy.
Sometimes your hands chance upon them
                                                   and your pulse races
because we realize that words
                                                   wish to dance before us
as if they were butterflies
and tell us again the secret
                                                  sleeping inside their pages.
They are the neglected,
                                                  the remnants of unhappy times,
recounting the details of a struggle
                                                  and as we brush them we hear the saddest steps
of prisoners in jails.

                                                                                                          **

NANA DEL HUMO

La nana del humo tiene muchos detractores,
casi nadie quiere cantarla.
                                            Muchos dicen que el humo los ahoga,
otros piensan que eso de dormir al humo
                                            no les da buena espina,
que tiene algo de gafe.
                                   El humo no resulta de fiar:
en cuanto asoma su perfil oscuro
todo son malas conjeturas:
                                             se nos está quemando el bosque,
aquella casa debe de estar ardiendo.
El humo es un extraño desperdicio,
                                             tiene muy mala prensa.
Es un abandonado,
                                   es un incomprendido;
casi nadie recuerda que el humo es un vocero,
un triste avisador de lo que se nos avecina.
Y por eso, cuando lo escucho vocear con impotencia
yo le canto la nana del silencio
                                   para que no se sienta solo.
                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                       **

LULLABY FOR SMOKE

The lullaby for smoke doesn´t get many supporters,
almost nobody wants to sing its song.
                                               Many say smoke stifles them,
others think to lull smoke to sleep
                                               makes them queasy, 
that it´s a bit of a jinx.
                                  Smoke is not trustworthy:
as soon as it rears its dark head
it conjures up conjectures
                                                        -- a forest fire,
a house burning down.
Smoke is a weird remain,
                                             it´s got bad reports.
It´s a reject,
                                  it´s a misunderstood thing;
almost nobody remembers smoke is a herald,
a sad forwarner of what looms over us.
That´s why, when I hear it calling out helplessly,
I sing to it the lullaby for silence
                                             so that it doesn´t feel so lonely.


                                                                                                     ***
Translators:

Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published 
seven poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos 
poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar, Presencia en el Misterio, En el Oido del Viento, 
Hormigas en Diáspora and Jaccuzzi, as well as poems, short stories and articles on 
literary and film criticism in anthologies and in both national and foreign magazines. 
She has received numerous awards. 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include 
All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist 
the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande 
and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. 
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest 
Collected Poems Volume at  Next-Arrivals 

100 Thousand Poets for Change(100TPC) Leeds 2017 Free Online Anthology

100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) is a worldwide artistic movement whose aim is to raise awareness about our man-made social, political, environmental, moral and economic crises.
Artists have an especial sensitivity and language, as well as a commitment to beauty, spirituality and truth and that is why Artists can and should make a difference in bringing people together and reinforcing their solidarity, with a view on transforming society.
This book was incepted as a digital initiative supporting the 2017 100TPC events across the World that took place on 30 September 2017 concertedly with Thousands of other Artists on the whole planet, including our own reading in Leeds, held in The Chemic Tavern in Woodhouse under the auspices of Word Club.
We have included poems by generous West Yorkshire artists who wanted to contribute to our cause by responding to our invitation with poems on: Revolution, War, Streets, Business, Nations, Equality, Politicians, Conquest, Racism, Love, Europe, Nature, Death, Life, The World, The Good, the Great, the Evil. The Human and beyond.
This is the second of a series of 100TPC published by Transforming with Poetry, this time in conjunction with Word Club.
 
 

 
 

 
 
Co Editors of 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) Leeds 2017. UK
 
 
Mark Connors:
Mark Connors is a poet and novelist from Horsforth, Leeds. His debut poetry pamphlet Life is a Long is a Long Song was published by OWF Press in 2015. His first full length poetry collection, Nothing is meant to be Broken was published by Stairwell Books in 2017. Mark won the Ilkley Literature Festival Open Mic competition in both 2014 and 2015 and has received a number of prizes and commendations for his short fiction. His debut novel Stickleback was published by Armley Press in 2016 and was longlisted for The Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker Prize.’ His second novel, Tom Tit and the Maniacs was published in 2018 by Armley Press. He runs spoken word nights for WORD CLUB in Leeds and comperes and performs regularly at Literature Festivals. He is a managing editor of the new independent publishing company, Yaffle Press, For more info visit www.markconnors.co.uk
 
 

 
 
Antonio Martínez Arboleda:
Antonio (Tony Martin-Woods) started to write poetry for the public in 2012, at the age of 43, driven by his political indignation. That same year he also set in motion Poesía Indignada, an online publication of political poetry. He runs the poetry evening Transforming with Poetry at Inkwell, in Leeds, and collaborates with 100 Thousands Poets for Change. Tony is also known in the UK for his work as an academic and educator under his real-life name, Antonio Martínez Arboleda. His project of digitisation of poetry, Ártemis, compiles more than 100 high quality videos of Spanish poets and other Open Educational Resources. http://www.artemispoesia.com/ . He is the delegate in the UK of Crátera Revista de Crítica y Poesía Contemporánea , where he also publishes his work as translator from English into Spanish. He published his first volume of poetry in Spanish, Los viajes de Diosa (The Travels of Goddess), in 2015, as a response to the Great Recession, particularly in Spain. His second book, Goddess Summons The Nation, is a critique of the ideas of nation and capitalism, mainly in the British Brexit context. It incorporates voices of culprits, victims and heroes with mordacity and rhythm. It consists of 21 poems, 18 of which are originally written in English. It is available in print and kindle in Amazon and other platforms.
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrivals

Like a Pea. A Poem by Fabrice B. Poussin

 


Some die of a heart frozen to ice,
broken in shatters on a marble tombstone,

others suffer a heart so enlarged,
it cannot find a home in its cage,

I hear many live to such excess,
it just gives up in disgust or disease,

a few leave it behind, abandoned,
to be trampled under the feet of masses;

on occasion the cherub with arrow and bow
smiles at the agony left by his piercing blow;

millions saw their last sunlight in a trench,
when their insides were sublimed by copper,

now I wonder is it possible also to expire,
from a shrunken heart the size of a pea?

I ask why in this land of dreams among us all,
there would be no nurturing to this one,

littler, shier, out of place among the giants;
its faint beat, unperceivably, becomes quieter,

pea among peas, soon a little it shrinks again until…
finally it vanishes, forgotten, invisible and alone…

 
 
Fabrice B. Poussin
 

 
 
Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry,
his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography
has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (Leeds University) .