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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Jan 15

January 17, 2019

Frank Rubino

THE RUSSIANS

It was walk or freeze one night on Hudson Street.
You know how New York can get desolate and frigid
in some neighborhoods. Nothing’s open,
and it’s just river wind rushing back and forth.
The next time you can sit down warm is long, long blocks away.
My back was so bad, I lowered myself on my cane,
and sank onto the sidewalk ice.

I was OK after a while but

my friend Gigi had been immobilized in her bed
for long weeks. Each of her convalescences
was scarier and, in diagram form,
a livelier animation of black dots:
cancer spreading at a quicker pace.
We skyped so she could show me her wigs,
and talk about our problems with pain
in the funny, philosophical way she liked to talk.

I flew to London where she was in a hospice apartment
Paul arranged. He cooked for her and left us alone
to say goodbye. “Read me the Russians,” she said.
Her hair was shaved close, growing in from chemo,
and she liked me to read and scratch her scalp.
“I can’t control it,” she said,
when her diarrhea gurgled in a tube.
I said, “It doesn’t matter,” and she accepted that.
She wanted to talk about knowing she was dying.
I heard from Paul that she ranted and threw plates
in the very last days, seized by the fear of being forgotten.
She confessed that fear to me, too, as I would pause
reading out loud, making sure that she really wanted to hear
all this about Gusev, the poor Chekov character who slid
dead off a plank and sank into the sea.

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Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org
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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Jan 8

January 10, 2019

Milton Ehrich

HARRY JAMES

Let it just be said
that I went up to do a one-nighter
with archangel Gabriel.

His embouchure breathes soul into a Bach Stradivarius trumpet
that he inherited from his father.

His fine bony fingers do the talking,
playing dolce and dolcissimo to not intrude on the bird-chatter
of fluttering doves under the canopy of the firmament.

Everything is stilled when dancers stop and listen
to the liquid gold of his chromatic glissando.

Later, he hits a double-high C, that only a dog can hear.
His arrangement of Ciribiribin is hummed and strummed
by every Venetian gondolier.

His radiant tunes are heard by unseen ears on faraway stars.
Angels can’t sit still and must get up and dance.

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Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org
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GV—Claudia Serea book launch-Jan 25

January 7, 2019

Flyer-Jan 25_v2.indd
Twoxism
, a new book by Claudia Serea & Maria Haro

Claudia Serea and Maria Haro are launching their book, Twoxism, published by 8th House Publishing, Montreal, Canada, at Gainville Cafe on Friday night, 01/25/2019, at 7PM.

Twoxism is a 116-pages, full color book of poetry-photography collaborations with photographer Maria Haro. See more info here.

Musical guest: John Dull.
Hosted by Mark Fogarty.

The Red Wheelbarrow Poets Bring-Your-A-Game open mic with generous reading times follows. $9 includes coffee/tea and dessert.

17 Ames Ave. Rutherford, New Jersey tel. 201-507-1800.

The book is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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WCW—Daniel P. Quinn

January 2, 2019

Happy New Year!

Please join us tonight at the Williams Center for this exciting event.

Williams Readings-DQuinn-Jan2019.indd

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 18

December 25, 2018

Zorida Mohammed

Earthworm

I aspire to be like an earthworm.
How else could I survive
the trauma-soaked debris
that my clients place on my plate?
Unbeknownst to them,
they depend on me to digest it,
making it more acceptable for them
like my mother chewing food from her own plate
and feeding it to me in infancy.

With as little affect as possible—
though sometimes a tear will roll out
without my permission–
I welcome the stories
that mar and rule their lives.

An eight-year-old knows
when it is time to hurry to the garage
(for privacy) so her military father
can be serviced.

I must bear witness to a stepfather
raping a daughter as the mother
forces liquor into her five-year-old mouth
with a stick at hand for any resistance.

Fifty years later, a blond little girl
in a 55-year-old body
no longer looks down from the ceiling
on the assault—

When she eventually is able
to allow herself to remember,
she dry-heaves and wretches for days
as she attempts to evict the demon semen
from her body.

I envy the earthworm
because it completes its life
without complaint and never
questions its place or purpose,
and never gives a shit
that its shit is gold.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 11

December 12, 2018

Mark Fogarty

WUTHERING

The best word I’ve come up with to explain myself
Is “wuthering.” And I don’t know what it means.
Out on the wildass moors, the spectral hound,
The ghost of passion, the sweet-natured vets.
Othello, ready for the hard-won Desdemona
To be swiped away by the prodding Iago.
Clueless. Except I wouldn’t kill her.
I’d check the train schedule for her.

Heathcliffe, it’s me, Cathy
I’m coming home now
So co-o-old, let me in your window.

Wasn’t it Heathcliffe out on the moors
And Cathy waiting at the window?
I guess it doesn’t matter. What’s the difference
Between men and women anyway?
An ounce or two of estrogen, testosterone.
A few inches out, a few inches in.

Kate was too dramatically beautiful even for me.
They model-posed her with her legs wide open on the cover.
I figured, if they want me to check out her snatch
Then her voice can’t be any good.

I can sit by the fire, drinking coffee
With no use for the empty moors.
For all my wuthering,
I can’t sit in an empty theater.

Kate’s voice was, though, good. A little mad, maybe.

The Irish came to the Caribbean, too,
Indentured servants, and stayed
For the green water and the lack of fog.
My brother told me about one of them with our name,
A captain in the Royal Navy,
Went down with his ship fighting the Nazis.
Well done, cousin, on those wuthering waves.

—Lyrics from “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush, from The Kick Inside (1978).

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 4

December 6, 2018

Mark Fogarty

HOMAGE TO KOLA BOOF

Kola Boof tried to kill herself.
Her boys didn’t want to come for Thanksgiving,
And that was the last straw.

She has been strong enough to survive anything.
Kola Boof was infibulated, as many girls were
In her native Sudan. The butchering knife cutting the labia,
The remaining skin sutured up, I never
Wanted to see it. I had a horror of it.

Kola had her first periods through a straw.
But she said her cut pussy
Was the only way she was like her mother,
Murdered in her earshot when she was a girl.

She spent the night with her mother’s and father’s dead bodies.
She didn’t die then, somehow.

Kola has been nothing if not determined.
She’s had miles of sex jammed in her,
And it hurt every time, she told me.

I was too timid of the blood berry.
But now I want to kiss Kola’s cut pussy,
Not as an act of sex, but of homage.


Mary Ma

I’m Probably Ruining It

(or Why I Never Assert My Pronouns)

Comobordity is another way of saying

salt on the wound.
All I am is a salt wound.
All I taste is the salt
from the blood
from the biting
of my tongue.
I can’t always say the thing.
Can’t we have one night, one dinner, one moment without —
me, throwing up the main course,
running the faucet so no one can hear
or
me, drawing blood from my skin
or
me, making a scene?
All of those nights are a million years old
and by a million years I mean
at least ten. 
A decade is long enough to forget.

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