Liberty in Ashes excerpt Poems from Double Envelope Collected Poems by Gary Beck

(i.)
 
Beset
 
A semblance of normality
pervades the land,
even for the disadvantaged
struggling as usual
to make ends meet,
feed, shelter, clothe
their needy children,
who will never understand
why they can’t have
the same things
as everyone else.
 
(ii.)
 
Similar or …
 
New Year’s Eve 1968,
a terrible year for Vietnamese,
while only some Americans
lost loved ones,
as the nation consumed
vast amounts of treasure
that the oligarchs believed
would be wasted on the people.
Despite growing inequality
most of us didn’t notice,
unless our sons were killed
in distant jungles.
We still didn’t realize
that the lords of profit
were abandoning our factories,
eliminating blue collar workers,
the last group to defy the bosses.
Yet I seem to remember
it was a good year for Haut Brion.
 
New Year’s Eve 2018,
the revelers no longer hulk
in one congested mass
jammed crammed together,
thousands drunk, stoned,
muggers, pickpockets, hoodlums
visiting their neighbors,
who still had a great time.
Now people stand
in isolated groups,
regimented in the Age of Terror.
But despite the lack of drink, drugs,
they still have a good time.
 
(iii.)
 
High Crime II
 
The prison industry,
the most unproductive industry
in this ailing nation
currently incarcerates
more then a million men,
a lot of women,
more then the population
of some small countries.
The system employs
guards, cooks, teachers,
psychologists, doctors,
the list goes on,
all to maintain
adjudicated criminals,
innocent or guilty,
custodians or confined
another pustulant body
in diseased America.
 
(iv.)
 
Liberty in Ashes
 
So many want to be president.
So few know that it should be
the protector of the people,
guarding them from oppression.
Instead, these wannabe servants
eager for indenture
to the capitalist masters
who have established control
of the future of America
having successfully removed
the stout-hearted blue collar class,
the only group determined enough
to resist the blatant tyranny
of voracious oligarchs,
refusing to give a fair share
to the people who toil for them
while they consume the fruits of the earth.
 
(v.)
 
Growth Spurt
 
The march of civilization
has improved life for many,
who live longer, healthier,
with luxuries unimagined
a few hundred years ago.
As we evolved
from family, to clan, to tribe,
then made the great leap
to nation states
we devoured the resources
of a bountiful earth,
until we are poised
to destroy the world
in extravagant consumption.
 
 

 
‘Double Envelopment’ is an unpublished poetry collection in response to harsh conditions affecting many of our people, who only want a better future for their children.
 
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of plays. Published poetry books include: Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions, Desperate Seeker and Learning Curve (Winter Goose Publishing). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder, Disruptions, Ignition Point, Resonance and Turbulence (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Double Envelopment). Motifs (Adelaide Books). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength, Protective Agency, Obsess, Flawed Connections and Still Obsessed (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Call to Valor). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck, Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II and Four Plays by Moliere translated then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume III). Gary lives in New York City.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

The would-be sculptor of muses. A Poem by Fabrice B. Poussin

 

Ether comes to be in the bright light
it makes auras like so many living hosts
to chase the others as if to mate.
 
In awe of the unknown phenomenon
the maker of miracles seeks a solution
to make a wonder from such soft chaos.
 
A silent symphony emerges in a waltz
particles of a curious matter embrace
swirling in a gentle cyclone.
 
Pondering the unexpected spectacle
magician in his dreams he is still
waiting for the only moment in time.
 
Perhaps then he will be the great master
holder of the secret he has been seeking
when at last the creation becomes his muse.
 
 
 

 
 
BIO:
Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines including Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com, where he is also interiewed by its Editor DM Jackson. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. Most recent collection “In Absentia,” was published in August 2021 with Silver Bow Publishing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

LIKE THE BIRDS ON THE WIRES 3 Poems from Bradford Middleton

 
(i.)
 
LIKE THE BIRDS ON THE WIRES
 
As I walked I would occasionally
Look up, up at the sky, up where
The birds ruled, home there to the
Lucky, those who can move in the
Blink of one eye.
 
This time though the view was kind
Of different; the birds had all
Congregated, like musical notes on
A line, along the telephone wire that
Keeps us in touch with the outside world.
 
It was then I thought is that how
Leonard Cohen came up with the
Wonderful lyrics to ‘Bird on a Wire’
By looking up, up at the sky, drawing
Inspiration from a natural phenomenon.
 
(ii.)
 
FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS
 
There were times when I would live
A life, a wild time, and would often
Find myself falling down those stairs
At the last resort out of my mind,
Always always out of my mind and
Late at night as that was when this
Beautiful gift always got me best
And sometimes it would be 3-15
In the morning and I’d be falling
Down those damn stairs out of
My damn mind feeling like a cat
At the end of his ninth life.
 
(iii.)
 
LIKE THOSE OLD DAYS (with my radio on)
 
I sit here tonight and it
Almost feels like the old-times as
My radio builds up to one of the games of the year
As old footballers talk of teenagers
Turning up to training in brand new
Shiny Mercedes-Benz as I sit here
Writing a life so far removed from
Their gilded existence it just goes to
Show you how capitalism has gone so
Terribly wrong…
 
 
 
 

 
 
BIOGRAPHY
 
 
Bradford Middleton was born in south-east London during the summer of 1971 and won his first poetry prize at the age of nine. He then gave up writing poems for nearly twenty-five years and it wasn’t until he landed in Brighton, knowing no one and having no money, that he began again. Ten years later and he’s been lucky enough to have had a few chapbooks published including a new one from Analog Submission Press entitled ‘Flying through this Life like a Bottle Battling Gravity’, his debut from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and his second effort for Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK). He has read around the UK at various bars, venues and festivals and is always keen to get out and read to new crowds. His poetry has also been or will be published shortly in the Chiron Review, Zygote in my Coffee, Section 8, Razur Cuts, Paper & Ink, Grandma Moses ‘Poet to Notice’, Empty Mirror, Midnight Lane Gallery, Bareback Lit and is a Contributing Poet over at the wonderful Mad Swirl. If you like what you’ve read go send a friend request on facebook to bradfordmiddleton1.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

MOURNING DAD & Poems by Strider Marcus Jones

(i.)
 
MOURNING DAD
 
he is decomposed
from a bramble rose
now-
his thorns
of storms
drow,
foetal curled
in the underworld
faerie peat without plough.
 
is it fun
with all those comical
musical
jacketed jesters-
or primplum
suitedrun
by posh ancestors-
doing the same this and that
to keep your spirit level flat
with docile protestors
wired to silicon investors.
 
i bought this new fedora hat
in whitewashed Mijas
to be my own brown
Romany
see as-
let them face their ignominy
when i wear it here in town-
like an un-shoed horse
from the roadgorse
prancing right
through their moral less light
brim slanted defiantly down
eyes outsider brown.
 
is it no Left or Right there.
do you have your chair
to sit in.
can you smoke your pipe
gathering stars in its clouds at night
thinking thoughts in nothing.
do you still use words
to help wingless birds
or is it silent
to the violent
fermenting fear
when the truth comes near
just like here.
 
 
(ii.)
 
FEW TRUE NOTES ARE SPOKEN
 
we unravel
on the road
we travel
secret vaults
revealing faults-
into
red and blue,
or other shade
in sink and wade
of don’t know what to do.
 
the woods won’t take us back
to bark and root black
worm holes of beginning-
natures time is slow
with our time thinning
and spinning-
the instrumental bow
is broken
few
true
notes are spoken.
 
we come, do, then die
in Sauron’s eye,
even Wagner’s Ring
is the same old thing-
strutting
elite Barbarians
hunting
rebel Yossarian’s-
for mocking the Valkyrie
with Kant’s crooked timber of humanity
proving poverty and power
stalk the halls of Valhalla.
 
 
(iii.)
 
THROUGH TALL WINDOWS
 
in late afternoon meadows
low light sketched your shadows
in Mucha pose
while I watched
through tall windows.
 
opening doors
footsteps on floors
all the clocks
in the house stopped
in the sundial
of your smile-
 
then prying phones
became postponed
and dissolved the blocks
of being drones
in dosed
apartments
opening closed
compartments.
 
more Bogart and Bacall
in Key Largo,
or The Poet by Vettriano-
in the hall,
we took Hopper’s painting off the wall
with its stark stress
heart of darkness.
 
 
(iv.)
 
Us
 
we are composed
out of the fate of stars
a light dark light so old
and tuned that regards
most of Us as Other
peasants
who are clothed
without privileged presents
to burn wood in cracked stoves
under crumbling cover.
stitched to Their time
we entwine
in our own interpretation
of this spinning station.
only burlesque bright skies
and the iris flowers of abandoned eyes
can change the fixed views
of a selfish landscape
into united hues
of equal state.
our reality is broken-
we are the hosts
and ghosts
who have been stolen
the violated tokens
of corporatist totems
screen greed being traded
and invaded
then beaten for protesting by police
working for the Thief.
 
 
 

 
 
 
Strider Marcus Jones – is a poet, law graduate and former civil servant from Salford, England with proud Celtic roots in Ireland and Wales. He is the editor and publisher of Lothlorien Poetry Journal
https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/. A member of The Poetry Society, his five published books of poetry https://stridermarcusjonespoetry.wordpress.com/ reveal a maverick, moving between cities, playing his saxophone in smoky rooms.
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

3 Sonnets: Mrs. Alving Contemplates Her Nipples, Like Epictetus on Mushrooms, Another Ha Ha Chuckle for the Blessing of Rest by RW Haynes

 
(i.)
 
Mrs. Alving Contemplates Her Nipples
 
Hedonism governs men, or simple greed
Deludes them always, so these masculine minds
Delight in lies that their convenience finds
So that for them there’s nothing true indeed.
If the lies are just nature’s just excretions,
Or by-products of heated oxidation,
I see their value as no more than negation
A healthy memory turns into deletions.
Lusty dudes, braggarts, loud buffoons,
Imploring forgiveness, tender sacrifice,
Though only my surrender will suffice,
I scorn your swaggering, you groveling baboons.
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” These babies cry.
My nipples are mine now. Big babies, good-bye.
 
(ii.)
 
Like Epictetus on Mushrooms 
 
If Fortune turns its face toward the sun 
Whose light takes eight minutes to arrive, 
Then I put aside impatience to revive 
Fortitude in hope when day is done 
My sputtering candle may be noted then 
For what it’s worth, although its little light 
Took sixty years of travel through the night 
To let its fitful illumination begin. 
Duty is useless if no mark is made, 
And if the light should vanish, be unseen, 
As the Spartan said, I’ll fight then in the shade, 
Divested of incumbrance, darkly serene. 
Take your insincere sympathies, then, 
And stick them all elsewhere, all the way in. 
 
(iii.)
 
Another Ha Ha Chuckle for the Blessing of Rest
 
She thought light would leak on all
True dilemmas, personal honor, life or limb,
What to cook, what to hide from him,
And when she saw some ominous shadow fall
She knew to relish inevitability
Like an old stone statue staring in a tomb,
Silently satisfied in that silent room,
Mutely assimilating shadows she could see.
“My poetry will get you,” she wanted to smile,
“My syllabic dynamite, my shapely lines
Of harmony, tangled like wise vines,
Must stack all being in an elegant pile.
But you, O Diogenes, what you are after
Provokes no more than a brief fit of laughter.”
 
 

R.W.Haynes. Larado. Texas. USA.

 
 
R. W. Haynes, Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, has published poetry in many journals in the United States and in other countries.As an academic scholar, he specializes in British Renaissance literature, and he has also taught extensively in such areas as medieval thought, Southern literature, classical poetry, and writing. Since 1992, he has offered regular graduate and undergraduate courses in Shakespeare, as well as seminars in Ibsen, Chaucer, Spenser, rhetoric, and other topics. In 2004, Haynes met Texas playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote and has since become a leading scholar of that author’s remarkable oeuvre, publishing a book on Foote’s plays in 2010 and editing a collection of essays on his works in 2016. Haynes also writes plays and fiction. In 2016, he received the SCMLA Poetry Award ($500) at the South Central Modern Language Association Conference. In 2019, two collections of his poetry were published, Laredo Light (Cyberwit) and Let the Whales Escape (Finishing Line Press). His latest volume Heidegger Looks at the Moon www.finishinglinepress.com was published in 2021.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

OLD CHORISTERS & Further Poems by E M Schorb

(i.)

OLD CHORISTERS

Singers                                                                                 
of our generation                                                               Look                                                       
are turning up                                                                    from
dead. A serial                                                                     a high bridge, 
killer                                                                                   as highway god,
is injecting                                                                          he drops
them                                                                                    stones on old bones!
with corona                                                                         Even the sap
plus cancer                                                                          of trees is worried
heart disease                                                                        up the trunk
and stroke.                                                                           as the killer
This police                                                                           waits 
silhouette                                                                             for an autumnal 
of the killer                                                                          weariness of
isn’t made                                                                            leaves.                          
of his head                                                                            I am 
and shoulders,                                                                      Time’s agent                                                                    
but of his                                                                              his tool                                                                       
twisted mind,                                                                        he brags.
made                                                                                     Singers  
of a brain                                                                              of our generation
to answer                                                                              think that this
for his crimes                                                                       is a serial crime, 
of torture                                                                              but have 
perpetrated                                                                           no choice                                                                          
on so many                                                                           but to
choristers.                                                                             become ringers
With a rough                                                                         and to pull
cat-tongue                                                                             the ropes
he licked flesh                                                                       and toll
from bones                                                                            the bell.
and made
the others
mercy-kill
to make
amends

 
 
(ii.)
 

THE LETTER, 1942
 
Twenty years . . . years of
l’entre deux guerres . . .
                         T.S. Eliot
 
               I.
 
His mother and father
could not understand
the extreme of his grief,
for his father’s other
son was only half his brother,
and had not existed
in their lives but for letters
and occasional photographs
taken around the world
where the war was, often next
to his Wellington, or by
a field tent, wearing his wings,
a smiling twenty year old
whom he, the child in a yard,
thought must look the way
he himself would look at twenty,
and be a brave pilot
and take up the war
against Hitler and Tojo
in his turn, not knowing
that even wars do not last
forever.  How could the child
be so devastated by the news,
who barely knew of his half
brother’s existence?  How
adults box things up
the child could not know
or believe.  Hard rain.
 

                II.
 
Rivers of rain, as when
you look up through greenhouse
glass on a rainy day, crossed
his green eyes blotting out the blue
dry sky overhead, and
he told the rain of his grief and
he told the blurred, ugly yard
behind the city row house
with its junked, warped
furniture and strata of
ripped linoleum, roses
and geometry, and its wet,
stalking cat along the old spiked
wooden fence, run with rusted wire
meant to throw yourself on, told
the whole world, which was
all the rain of tears
out of his breathless,
heaving chest, narrow
as a chicken’s, out
of his pounding seven year old
heart, and cowlicked hair,
that was trapped by the
four-sidedness of fence
and could not fly with his
grief as his brother the
pilot had flown, whom
he had never known.

 
           III.
 
Let the child race
pointlessly in 
circles, trapped in the 
square yard, and cry
himself out.  The letter
was already over a year
old and smeared with
his father’s few tears,
sad horrible history,
but must be set aside
 
so that life could go
on.  “He’ll get over it.”
“I never thought—” said
his mother.  “No, of course
not,” said his father.
But the yard was sodden
with the child’s grief,
whose head burned with hope
against fact that a mistake
had been made, that this fine
brother was yet to come to him
who had no one, whose
loneliness could not be
surmised by two wise parents,
kept sane by callousing death
and full of the hard world’s rain. 

 
 
(iii.)
 

FROM THE CRIB
 
From the deep recesses of the universe
he woke to find himself
gumming the blue lead paint 
from the top rail of his crib, 
blissfully unaware
of the crack in the Liberty Bell,
or the Liberty Bell itself,
for that matter; Mussolini in Abyssinia, 
Schicklgruber, in Guernica or the Rhineland, 
Tojo in China, 
or any of the problems
of the age into which he had been dropped. 
The lead paint was delicious and maddening,
and would, 
no doubt
make a mad poet of him.
 
He looked around and for the first time 
saw other humanoids (oops, hominoids), 
much bigger, but basically the same.  
They, also, wobbled on two legs, 
holding drinks to their lips,
as he held his empty baby bottle to his. 
One fell back into a faded, flowered 
easy chair, in what seemed,
even to his innocent eyes, 
a flat, shabby and small, 
compared with 
whatever had been before.
 
Years later, photographs would tell him 
who they were.  Someone had taken 
several Kodak snapshots. 
Here was his young Aunt, 
a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, 
who hookied to the City of Brotherly Love
to help with her new nephew, 
the young Master, her big sister’s first child. 
An older boy would have noticed 
the beginnings of her breasts, 
and that she was a pretty young thing 
with startling blue eyes and 
chestnut waves piled up,
but he was unaware of 
these uplifting attractions.
The woman was his Mother.
Later he would understand
that at that point in her life, made-up 
and Marcelled, people said that she looked
like the actress Mary Astor, except 
for her harlequin-shaped glasses. 
The central figure, the one who had collapsed 
in the armchair, wearing what then he, 
himself not much more than an humunculus, 
would eventually discover—by these presents—
looked like the famous-at-the-time 
Arrow Collar Man. 
 
Well, that was his old man, tall, dark, and 
handsome alcoholic,
Depression-fallen from stocks
and bonds salesman, to selling 
The Book of Knowledge in the territory
assgned him by the publisher.
 
His young Aunt stuck a rubber nipple
in his mouth and quickly
the picture faded and never came back, ’til now.

 
 
(iv.)
 

MY WAR WITH ROACHES


                          Pitt Street, Lower East Side
 

I looked into a half-filled beer bottle
left opened and standing out,
saw six dead roaches floating atop the stale, flat beer.  
I was disappointed.
I could have drunk the stuff.
I had no aversion to warm, stale, flat beer, 
and had learned to put a head on it
by dropping an Alka-Seltzer tablet into it.
But I wasn’t about to drink beer that had
six dead roaches floating in it, 
bodies like boats and legs like oars raised up,
so aimlessly.  
The place was filthy. 
I needed order!
 
I went out, bought roach spray,
sprayed the walls, up and down, 
back and forth, until billowing clouds
of poison were closing on me from every corner.
It was bitter cold out, but I knocked the
cardboard out of the windows
and let the fresh frosty air suck the poison 
out from under my nose.
I blocked the windows again.
I surveyed the carnage.
Roaches of all sizes and shapes were swarming
over the walls, dropping from the cracked ceiling
with small, ticking sounds and 
rocking on their curled, chitinous backs, 
flicking, flailing, their feelers drooping.
 
The kitchen gas range was a stronghold,
a fortress of greasy grooves and baked-in crevices.  
I lit the oven and watched until the top
of the stove glowed red.
Out they came by the swarming hundreds, 
feet burned away, feelers melting 
into kinky hairs.  They ran over the stove 
in desperation, panic, trying to find places 
where they could put their feet.
Expectant mothers, their eggs in chitinous cases 
at their rear ends, struggled with their hindmost legs, 
as with an instinct to save their offspring,
to force or kick the cases loose.
Some had their cases dangling 
by only one side when they leaped 
from the top of the stove.  
As they landed on the floor and tried to crawl,
with their burnt feet, their dragging, kinked feelers, 
with their wings askew, and their dangling, 
thread-hanging egg cases, I sprayed them madly
then trampled, kicked, jumped up and down on them,
only wanting them dead.
I saw a fat, hideous albino roach, 
already like the pale ghost of its dead self, 
leap from the stove.  
I squashed it underfoot and swore 
I could hear its white shell crack and 
spray the pale muck of its insides out: squish! 
When I lifted my shoe it dragged itself, 
like animated pus, into a heap of glittering 
brownish bodies.  Thousands of crooked legs
moved sluggishly—then, here and there, 
with sudden convulsive speed—
over the place where the ghost had gone.
 
On the wall was a wooden plaque 
that held sets of false teeth, an exhibit, 
sold by a dental supply firm to dentists.
It belonged to an artist friend who was to use it 
for some arcane artistic purpose 
but who had forgetfully left it here.
I grabbed the plaque from the wall 
and mashed it down atop this horrible mass
of half life.  Then I jumped on it, up and down,
not distinguishing the sound of the breaking teeth 
from the sound of roaches snapping on the stove 
like popcorn.  When I looked down 
there were rolling and bouncing human teeth 
among the slimy dead and still crawling.
Sakyamuni says they will live again.
Needed:  Sneaky Pete, pot, peyote. 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Schorb’s work has appeared in Agenda (UK), The American Scholar, The Carolina Quarterly, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Stand (UK), The Sewanee Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), The Yale Review, and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.
 
His collection, 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.
 
Most recently, his novel R&R a Sex Comedy was awarded the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor.

 

 

 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Poets Out of Service (V6) By Michael Lee Johnson. Audio Text Poem

 

 

Like a full-service gas station

or postal service workers

displaced, racing to Staples retail

for employment against the rules of labor,

poets are out of business nowadays, you know.

Who carries a loose change in their pockets?

Who tosses loose coins in their car ashtray anymore?

iPhones, smartphones, life is a video camera

ready to shoot, destroy, and expose.

No one reads poets anymore.

No one thumbs through the yellow pages anymore.

Who has sex in the back seat of their car anymore,

just naked shots passed around online?

Streetwalkers, bleach blonde whores,

cosmetic plastic altered faces in the neon night;

they don’t bother to pick pennies

or quarters off the streets anymore.

The days of surprise candy bags for a nickel

pennies lying on the countertop for

Tar Babies, Strawberry Licorice Laces

(2 for a penny), Wax Lips, Pixie Sticks,

Good & Plenty are no more.

Everyone is a dead-end player; he dies with time.

Monster technology destroys crump fragments of culture.

Old age is a passive slut; engaging old age

conversations idle to a whisper and sleep alone.

Matchbox, hand-rolled cigarettes,

serrated, slimmed down, and gone.

Time is a broken stopwatch gone by.

Life is a defunct full-service gas station.

Poets are out of business nowadays.
 
 

 
 
Michael Lee Johnson
lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 244 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 43 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 3 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 536 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Ode to Olivia. By Jack D. Harvey

 

Oh, Olivia, during
what disingenuous dialogue,
getting closer and closer,
you told me
in that bar by the seashore
“pretty good-time girl
comes once, comes often,”
eyelashes shyly lowered,
thick and lustrous,
lowered time and again
to hide the hard eyes
I knew were there.
 
I was surprised by
your interest;
vital with intent,
your lithe body
tilted towards me,
white teeth showing
in a smile, breasts
firm and unfettered
in your summer blouse.
 
Delirious with your fancy magic
I nearly fell off the bar stool,
fell like a fairy-tale frog
clear down to the bottom
of the mossy well, my member
swelling in your favor,
transported to
to your body’s joyful openings,
anticipating
hot and wet,
those ports of entry,
those sweet breasts,
that sweet tongue
flicking between your lips;
promises of things to come.
 
O ye spermy nights of the gods!
 
The rune on our canoe’s tail
says “enter here, ye of little haste”
and willows brush our arms
as we paddle down the river
of ardor and fulfillment
and coming together and
whatever else
we can muster up
from a time of dreams,
from the manna
of this earthly paradise.
 
Olivia, you were brown as a nut
from a summer of sun;
a glamorous summer goddess
there for the taking and still
it came to nothing.
A change of heart,
a parting glance,
and off you went.
 
Your naked this I never saw,
your curly that I never pawed;
alone in the majestic garden
of self I sit stiff and cold
as a block of ice;
a lonesome soldier in a sentry box
waiting for the gate to open;
it never does.
 
Olivia, you left me
as you found me
and just as well
for the both of us.
There we were
in that bar,
and there we are forever,
enshrined, inscribed
like Keats’ Grecian urn,
graceful outlines,
a frieze of some long past event,
at rest in that luminous
wasted moment forever;
no future, no past,
no time at all and
what never happened,
what is not there
just as real
as what is there.

 
 

 
 
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.
 
The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.
 
His book, Mark the Dwarf is available on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Dwarf-Jack-D-Harvey-ebook
 
Ode to Olivia first appeared in Ramingo’s Porch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)