RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jan. 27

January 28, 2016

Carriage Horses

Richard Greene

lined up at Central Park South,
waiting with equine patience,
or melancholy,
heads hanging,
daydreaming perhaps
of racing across the steppes,
powering a chariot in the Hippodrome
or, splendidly caparisoned,
bearing the flower of knighthood
into the lists,
now waiting for tourists
at 59th and 6th.

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GV – Winter Festival of Music, Poetry and Television

January 26, 2016

The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café on Friday, Jan. 29 for our first gathering of the year. JOEL ALLEGRETTI will be the featured poet. Joel has just edited a well-received book of poems on television called Rabbit Ears. Musical guest will be THE ELECTRIC POETS GATHERING featuring GEORGE PERENY. There will be an Open Mic for poets afterward.

GAINVILLE CAFE, 17 Ames Ave., Rutherford. 7 PM.

$7 donation includes coffee/tea and dessert.

(201) 507-1800


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jan. 20, 2016

January 22, 2016

Randolph Holder, After His Death

Arthur Russell

After he was shot in the face,
Police Officer Randolph Holder
fell to the ground and died.
His fellow officers shot, pursued
and caught the man who killed him,

Peanut, who had pitched the gun
into the East River, where two men
fishing from the promenade
saw the splash and showed the spot to cops

who called the divers who arrived by boat and helicopter
from Lower Manhattan and Floyd Bennet Field
where they wait, on call, to respond to emergencies in minutes.

For five days and nights, in teams of two and four,
they groped along the silty river bed by inches in darkness,
feeling their way along a rope on the bottom,
with bubbles rising up to the surface, to find the missing gun.

Harlem River tides are so strong divers can work
only three 90-minute slack periods each day.
“Definitely, we want to get this firearm,”
said a 13-year member of the police scuba team.
“This was a firearm that killed a police officer.”
He nodded towards the divers waiting in the police boat.

Six Daily News reporters and two New York Times
followed the search until, at 3 a.m. on the Saturday
after the shooting, John Mortimer
fished the gun from the river.
“Hey, I got it here,” he said.

Next day, police closed the FDR Drive,
and scores of officers in white hazmat suits
went step-by-step for forty blocks
along the closed highway, searching
for the actual pebble of lead,
the slug that had killed their comrade.

Thousands of men and women in blue
braved the dowsing cold outside the cathedral
in Jamaica, Queens to pay their respects.
NYPD officers as well as those from Suffolk,
Nassau and departments across the country
consoled one another. And there were bagpipers.

Pallbearers in dress blues carried the coffin
draped in the green, white and blue flag of the department
into the cathedral where flowers replaced the flag.
Floral arrangements rested on the altar
and along the sides of the cavernous chapel.
One grouping, shaped like angels wings,
had a sign that said “Blue Lives Matter.”

The Commissioner promoted Holder,
posthumously, to the rank of Detective.
The Mayor, Holder’s fiancé, his stepmother and his father spoke.
Hundreds of reporters and news trucks and camera men
under plastic tarps and umbrellas wrote and recorded
and replayed every word and sentiment.

Six cops flew with the body to Guyana,
and carried the coffin to a hearse at the airport,
and a Guyanese military band played the Last Post,
and family members stood on the tarmac.
The Daily News was there. The Guyana Police Force Band
played The Star Spangled Banner.

The New York Times sent a reporter
to investigate the cemetery named Le Repentir
in the Lodge community of Georgetown, Guyana
where they would bury him,
to talk with a childhood friend,
and the owner of a thrift shop
where he bought chocolates as a boy,
and reported how the Georgetown authorities,
to the moment he arrived, had been cutting down
clumps of vegetation, cleaning trenches,
and opening a path to the tomb they had prepared
to hold him.

Meanwhile, in New York, The Daily News
referred to the bail hearing for Peanut as “redundant”
when they really meant it was a mere formality
in a city that needed to bolster its respect for the dead cop
with hatred for the suspect and disdain
for the system that had returned him
to the streets after prior arrests.

They laid Randolph Holder in the ground.
They left flowers and candles.
They walked away from his grave,
returning to their original premises,
secure in the belief that
Detective Randolph Holder’s life mattered.

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WCW – Anton Yakovlev

January 21, 2016

Anton Yakovlev

Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor


Born in Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev has been a member of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets since early 2012. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). His work is published or forthcoming in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, The Raintown Review, Blue Monday Review and elsewhere. He has also directed several short films.

The Samurai Season

Move along, nothing more to see here.
The beheadings have all been moved to museums.
We’re all here only by the grace of
shutting up—a miniature survival.

Reaching the lookout, you praise the epicurean landscape,
set aside the miserable sticks and stowaways of your child.
You keep readjusting your glow,
you underdog you. In the samurai season, religion
is a kind of ballad, sprinkled with fresh skeletons of birds.

Never mind the pervasive spectacular feathers.
Open your mouth, and the entire forest disappears

Contact: John Barrale – john.barrale@gmail.com


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jan. 13, 2016

January 16, 2016


Claudia Serea

In 1954, hands in his pockets,
Frank O’Hara was walking at noon
on the glaring New York City streets,
thinking of poems
and lunch.

At 7 p.m., the sun was still strong in Romania.
My father was 14 at the time,
and plowed his father’s land, hard as concrete,
with a horse blind in one eye,
thinking, no doubt, about poems
and dinner.

On 5th Avenue, O’Hara stopped,
lit a cigarette,
breathed in the smoke,
and looked at the sky.

My father stopped and smoked, too,
maybe even at the same time,
inhaled, exhaled,
and looked at the same sky.

Yes, they were young,
skinny, and thoughtful,
and didn’t know each other,

but I imagine them sharing
the gestures of lighting up,
tight lips holding the cigarette,
the flicker, the blue breath,
the crust of the earth,
the sun.

67 years later,
I’m reading the Lunch Poems on the bus
and think of the lives of these two men,
each one caught in his own
grinding machine.

And a rabbit runs
from the field in Romania
into a bar in New York City,

foolish enough to believe
it can escape.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Dec. 30, 2015

January 1, 2016


Zorida Mohammed

Alexander and Balthazar were brothers.
They owned the only pharmacy around.
Alexander looked a bit like Freud,
serious and a bit dour.
He was a tad fairer than Balthazar.
If they were twine,
he’d be taut, and Balthazar would be limber.

As a kid,
I’d walk the distance and present
a verbal list of symptoms
my mother had made me repeat to her.

They moved purposefully behind the counter
in an air appropriate for an apothecary.
The shelves reached the ceiling
and held hundreds of jars,
bottles, and brown packages
tied up with twine.
One of them would adjust the rolling ladder
attached to the shelves,
climb, and fetch the medicine.

They knew where everything was stored.
They were patient and kind
and loved my mother.
Every Xmas they gave her a Pear’s soap
that was oval, transparent-brown,
and apothecary fragrant.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Dec. 23, 2015

December 25, 2015


Janet Kolstein


In the first preamble
after the Playhouse date,
it was late,
you offered us a ride.
(we had a car)

Lit cigarette,
fidgety in my fingers,
burned a little hole
in the leg of my pants,
(you brushed it away)
a souvenir in the black velvet,
in my best friend’s apartment,
just the three of us
skylarking and sharing sweat.
(I think we had white wine)

Our waiter at the China Clipper
brought us the check and said, “I’m lucky boy,
accepted to Harvard.”
“Lucky boy?” chortled Bill, in an aside.
(Later, the hostess confided, “Joe Namath was here!”)


The long drive into the night,
the pit stop
with noir-ish light,
the guy at the pump
looming over the windshield
with a wet rag in his hand.

And, just when it appeared we were clear,
he asked for your autograph —
the captain,
the explorer,
the man at the helm.

The bearskin rug in your den
had a story to tell,
and the little book in the loo
told a tale of flowers
like Givenchy’s Le De.
The glass doors to the pool
were so clear as to fool
any young bird flying unfazed,
but you, in your electronic ship,
would be beamed far into space
along with Lucy and Hoss
and all the rest of the televised estate.
(you said)

I held on to your sides
as we leaned into the mountain’s curves,
the motorcycle purring, the wind rushing
and tiny things from the road pinging
at my unprotected knees,
back to the low elevation
of Long Beach.


The St. Regis was fit for a fling.
College classes could wait
while we ran lines
for something you were starring in —
some details, events, dimming,
some preserved in a harsher light.

We ended up in some bar one time on the West Side
deep in conversation,
but I could still see the grins and glances
out of the corner of my eye.
What did I know about needing reservations
for Tavern on the Green?
(you should’ve told’em who you’re bringing!)

I remember quite a bit,
you probably won’t recall any of it.
And there’s more, lots more —
the garden berries and the magic danish,
low caloric.

And once,
I almost set my pants
on fire.

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