Implied subject || sottofondo: by Bonnie McClellan

•March 25, 2017 • 4 Comments

It is the thing that lies under
……..under    lies
below the foundation
……..like a time signature
……..signalling in silence:
there
there
there
there
……..we are.

È la cosa che sta sotto……..
sotto    stante
sotto il fondo.…….
come il tempo quaternario
segnalando in silenzio
ci……..
ci……..
ci……..
ci……..
siamo.

Horizon lines: by Bonnie McClellan

•March 18, 2017 • 4 Comments

the world is dark.
shutters open.
the sky’s glacial pool opens.
three morning stars laugh
over the horizon line.

* * *

this copse of time
this stand of hours
………..between nows
becomes a minute
………..thicket
bristling towards the moon.

Ouachita / Winding through Ouachita by Liliane Richman and Adina Richman

•March 8, 2017 • 2 Comments

I would like to present the A pair of poems in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017. The first, by Liliane Richman, and the second, by her daughter Adina Richman, are both responses to a road trip to Arkansas that they took together. A beautiful mix of perspectives at the intersection of two different generations:

 

Ouachita

You and me
and me and you
driving
lacing through
the Ouachita Mountains
Elevation 2,464 feet

Through clouds and shadows
the greens, the pale sky blues
Dripping through the majestic pines
I knew and loved in my childhood
In Sabres, Landes

So much majesty around us
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach
Elevating the castle in my mind
Wherein blooms new altitudes
A call for other adventures, different vistas
Colors and sounds
Young sense, new desires

Still together
You and me
Forever

copyright 2016 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

Winding through Ouachita:
For mom

Mozart in the mountains
Spaghetti road lacing the Ozarks
From foothills to headwinds
Weaving us back and forth
Hairpins and switchbacks tucked
Among trees of green fire,
Iridescent June bugs, cottoned in rising mist
Sheltering fawns, bears, bobcat
Diamond waterfalls, wind whispers and secrets,
Flowers of gold, purple and silver,
And ancient furled ferns
That reach across time and space
To brush my cheeks and tie me again,
Inextricably,
To you

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

Untitled: by Sam Kilday and Jane Hunter

•February 28, 2017 • 8 Comments

The following is a collaborative work by textile artist Jane Hunter and poet Sam Kilday

This land

Abound with shades and hues,
kaleidoscopic,
polychromatic.

But a tilt shift,
a definite rift.

Colour draining away.
Inward, dark,
and grey.

Look up without superiority.
Vibrance and warmth.
Welcoming. Diversity.

A depth of palette.

And richer for it.

Photography, styling and poetry by Sam Kilday for Scottish artist Jane Hunter. Jane's embroidered textile map of UK with dynamic wool threads suggest a draining of colour from England and a brightness emanating from Scotland.

Photography, styling and poetry by Sam Kilday for Scottish artist Jane Hunter. Jane’s embroidered textile map of UK with dynamic wool threads suggest a draining of colour from England and a brightness emanating from Scotland was created by Jane as a response to the rise of xenophobia following the EU Referendum (Brexit).

Goodbye M’baye: by Adina Richman

•February 27, 2017 • 2 Comments

For M’baye Diagne*

There are so few heroes in a war zone
Especially in a struggle no one wants to name
Military action, civil skirmish, rebel uprising, genocide, not my problem –
Whatever its name or non-name,
Hard to be a hero
In a place where each exhalation is occupied with the business
Of measuring itself, calculating how much fear is safe to expel and
Each inhalation a well-timed sniff, testing what stench is floating about.
In these times where one must breathe like a snake flicks his tongue to taste the air,
One hundred times a minute, because things can change
It is not easy to be a hero

Those who knew him
This Senegalese cowboy
describe three things:
His stride, his smile, his cigarettes
Always one step ahead, moving forward
His beacon grin
Incandescent in the night,
casting light on your face, and his;
Glowing
As if he’d swallowed the moon
Anything was possible with the power of the stars, the force of the heavens
Beaming from his gut.
He walked with purpose
Lassoing all in his orbit
With that toothy smile
He drew up the slack and pulled in close
Making friends with his moonman laugh
Alien amidst screams, wails, the chop of the machete
To offer you something –
Strength, courage, confidence
A joke, a smoke, a sandwich
A fingernail of time, just long enough
To hang on or let go
The space to decide

He did what he did
Again and again
Crossing terrain from which it’s best to flee.
Laughing with men who didn’t try to hide
Blood spots on their white shirts;
Rotting flesh on the soles of their shoes.
Never allowing even the smallest scent of fear
No fragile tendril of disgust
To waft from between the spaces in his teeth.

No, he laughed, while under the back seat of his Jeep huddled
Bony shoulders clacking on floorboards
Three children stifle their cries
Wishing it was yesterday
When there was still a guarantee of tomorrow

And that was how he did it
No guns, no soldiers, no strategies
Playing the stars, playing the numbers
Three children here, five people there
Twenty-two checkpoints in twenty-four hours
One hundred days, a thousand hills to the Mille Collines,
800,000 corpses and then we stopped counting while
He did what he did
Again and again
One hero, impossible
The man on the moon
Or the moon in a man
His courage light years away from our trepidation
Our feigned ignorance
Our refusal to act

Good bye, M’baye
Peace unto you that persevered in patience!
May you dwell in the Gardens of Perpetual Bliss
Promised in your Qu’ran
Breathing ginger and jasmine
Instead of blood-metal and corpse
Tasting fruits with no thorns
Instead of fear bile and smoke

I wonder- will your heaven be flat, like Senegal-
You can see what is coming for miles-
Or dense, lush, like the forests of Rwanda
Hiding what is always just beyond
The next moonlit mountain
Another chance – there’s always another chance
To be a hero

• M’baye Diagne (1958-1994) was a Senegalese military officer and a United Nations military observer during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. He is credited with saving many lives during his time in Rwanda through nearly continuous rescue missions at great peril to himself. There is an excellent documentary Ghosts of Rwanda, and a BBC News article, “A Good Man in Rwanda” that might be of interest to the reader.

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

To find more poems by Adina Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Fear: by Liliane Richman

•February 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This is my nightmare
I know the right way
Even if I am scared
Let’s say you knocked at my door
Dripping with blood
In the middle of the night
Would I open up?
Claim I’m afraid?
Say it’s Halloween
Some spooky disguise?

I’m smelling some trick
You might want to rape, kill me
Even if you were no mere stranger
You, my neighbor,
With your safe face
Begging shelter

Would I find the courage you need
Or would I desist
Trembling, wishing
I were in training
To be
Super Woman, undoing evil

 

To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Liliane Richman’s recently published memoir, “The Bones of Time” can be found HERE.

Raining Mud: by anonymous 20th century poet

•February 25, 2017 • 4 Comments

On the day that I found a brass crayfish figurine at the Pound Store
(It was missing a cheliped,
but I figured that happens in real life too,
so I bought it.),
the day started overcast and windy;
then, it was overcast and really windy with minimal visibility due to blowing dirt;
then, it was overcast and really windy and raining,
which means it was actually raining mud,
which seemed bad enough…
until a video post
came across my Facebook news feed
of a Palestinian family
being assaulted by Israeli police.
First, I watched it without sound
because I always forget that most of the videos have sound,
but that you have to turn it on yourself.
Then, I watched it with sound,
but I couldn’t watch it all the way through,
so I scrolled away,
but the sound,
the screaming,
continued.

When I was four,
I found a photograph in a magazine
of Vietnamese refugees boarding a plane.
I must have had a grown-up read the caption for me.
In their panic,
these people,
families,
were trampling each other
to death.
I did what I always did with images from the Vietnam War;
I cut it out
and included it in a collage
of similar images,
which I pasted,
facing out,
in my bedroom window,
facing the street,
with a dictated letter,
inviting all those suffering,
to come to my house,
for prayer.
I would come to wonder,
in time,
why no one came.
My mother explained that it probably wasn’t visible
from the street.
I suggested we make a big sign then.
She didn’t go for that.
I wonder if the mailman read my letters
when he walked by my window
to deliver the mail?
I wonder what he thought?

I went looking for that image,
wanting to look with now adult eyes
at the image that had rendered me so horrified
as a four year old child.
I didn’t find it,
but Google images offered up refugees,
past and present,
previously unimagined.
Was it the child’s body,
washed up on the shore,
lying face down in the sand,
the unending stream of refugees
walking past a field of the discarded dead,
the man trying to pull his wife from beneath the feet of the panicked
that demolished any sense of personal potence
to effect the state of the world,
so overwhelming a task it seemed?
At four,
I believed,
with my whole heart,
that with prayer,
I could correct the world’s ills.
At sixteen,
I made a promise to God
that I wouldn’t pray
until I knew whether I believed in his existence
or not.
I still don’t know.
I still don’t pray.
What then is to be done?

To hear more poems by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.
To read more poetry by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.
 
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