RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Sep 27

September 30, 2016

Red Wheelbarrow Poets
Poem of the Week 9/27/2016

Mark Fogarty

Waiting to Cross the Water near the San Juan Islands

At Port Townshend, Washington,
I saw the best sunset there ever was.
Fire red, rippled by clouds
That made the reds dance like northern lights.

Now I’m ready to die.

But the skin doctor has taken a divot
From my hand, and I’d like to see it heal.
So, maybe not just yet.

There was time, waiting for the ferry,
To eat a meal by the waterside,
Scan the margins of the bay for riprap.

Georgia went ahead
To see about the car. We’d driven
Around the whole peninsula,
Seen the rain clouds in the rain forest,
Dipped a toe into the Pacific like Lewis and Clark.

I wish I’d valued her as much as she deserved.

There was time to see the sunset
Amid the riprap of bouncing thoughts
As we waited, becalmed, in the line of cars.

The San Juan Islands, bruited as
The loveliest on earth,
Do not start there, but they’re not far.

Georgia was killed by a drunk driver,
Some riffraff who walked away untouched.
I never think anyone will die.

If you take a divot from the land,
You must replace it. That’s the rule.

So I’d like to return to the bay,
Add a stone or two
To buttress the wall that holds back the sea.

Most times the most beautiful islands on earth
Are right where you are.


Poem of the Week email subscription

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (194 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (326 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (84 followers)


Workshop – new day and new location

September 23, 2016

Workshops will now be conducted every Tuesday (including the first week of the month), and will now meet in the Kindergarten room, first floor of the Williams Center, Rutherford. Be there or be un-workshopped.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Sep 21

September 23, 2016

Red Wheelbarrow Poets
Poem of the Week 9/21/2016

Nasreen Khan


Blood trickled from his ear when the men laid him on the table
among the porridge bowls and saltcellars.
There were snakes under his skin
coiling behind his eyes and writhing in his chest.

Pit viper, the men nodded and filed out.

Pak Yakub was the gardener. He planted flowers,
tied back vines, gathered the fallen avocadoes
before we children could mash them into the pavement..
I was his favorite. Hitam manis he called me,
after the way he took his coffee—black and sweet.

He showed me how to tap banana trunks
and suck the astringent water—good for the liver.
And when to dig up the taro for its root—
when the leaves start browning around the edges.

He nodded in encouragement when I wouldn’t
drink the thick cups of milk at breakfast—cow piss,
he agreed, don’t know how those white children drink it.

When I came crying to his toolshed because
my plate had been taken away—not until you drink your milk,
he’d pour me a mug of soy milk, thin and clean,
sweetened with a spoonful of his sweet, black coffee.

His third snake bite, the women shook their heads
and began to pack the wound with mud and honey.

After that, the Missus bought a snake dog—a brown mutt
that tensed at every whisper of a hiss in the breeze.
Pak Yakub didn’t pay the dog much mind. He limped
around the gardens dragging his snake-bit leg behind him,
silent—always silent now because his face drooped
like it was sliding away from him.

One night, I dreamed of dogs barking and
snakes hissing my name—hitam manis, manis, manis.
It was just Pak Yakub at the window,
slurring through his sliding mouth.

I padded past the other sleeping girls and slipped into his garden,
following in the wake of his dragging leg. He pointed—
in a root hollow of the spreading avocado tree an albino she-viper,
shining white in the moonlight, coiled and hissing, giving birth
to her small wriggling babies.

Pak Yakub reached into the nest and scooped them up—examining.
One by one he threw them to the chained and frenzied dog
until he found the one he was looking for. The tiny white snake,
curved like a gleaming rib bone, this one he put back
into the center of its mother’s unprotesting coils.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (193 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (325 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (83 followers)


GV – Red Wheelbarrow #9 & The Electric Poets Gathering

September 23, 2016


The Red Wheelbarrow Poets will launch their ninth anthology at GainVille Café in Rutherford on Friday, Sept. 30. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Musical feature: The Electric Poets Gathering featuring George Pereny. Poetry feature: Poets will read from their work published in RWB9.

Gainville Cafe
17 Ames Ave., Rutherford. 7 PM
$8 donation at the door includes coffee/tea and dessert
(201) 507-1800


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Sep 14

September 16, 2016

Red Wheelbarrow Poets
Poem of the Week 9/14/2016

Janet Kolstein

Pound of Poems

I wish the piano
could gun the engine
under the hood,
and the choir could
raise the roof on
a fortress of words.

I wish the drums
could pound out
a pound of poems
without spilling
a drop of blood.

Let the theremin
quiver in my hands,
shaping a heart
with a dagger
written in it.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (192 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (325 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (82 followers)


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Sep 7

September 9, 2016

Red Wheelbarrow Poets
Poem of the Week 9/7/2016

Nasreen Khan

This Time Around

I know his is hidden somewhere in the apartment.
I’ve never looked for it, or asked him where he keeps it.

Mine lives in a fairly obvious place, in my mother’s old jewelry box—
the faux-silver one carved with roses, that sits on little pointed legs
curved beneath its heavy body. It lies at the very bottom with
bits and pieces of broken jewelry thrown in on top—
necklaces with faulty clasps and earrings that are missing their mate.

I sold the engagement ring when I came to America.
I took the 190 to Paterson, to the row of little gold shops,
run by little brown men with gold teeth.

I knew they would see
my dark eyes, pointed brows, round chin—
so similar to the faces hidden beneath the veils of
their wives and daughters, that they would buy without question,
without asking for identification or signatures.

I didn’t even feel bad about it, I was glad to be free of the
bright little stones in their shiny band. I hadn’t liked knowing
that they were in my room, cheerfully mocking me in the way
they threw the light of the fluorescent bulbs about.

But I couldn’t sell the wedding ring. Even when summer came and
the work dried up, even when I was hungry enough to smoke the
neighbor’s cigarette butts, piled in their front porch ashtray, for dinner—
even then I didn’t sell it.

When we went to choose our rings for our wedding,
neither of us even looked at the cabinet with yellow gold.
We didn’t talk about it, just chose our slim silver bands and
walked out.

I know from old pictures that his and mine matched:
chunky, beveled gold—
heavy, like the weight of those rings could perhaps
anchor us into those first marriages, keep us from straying with the tides.

I wonder if he ever takes his out to look at, just for the hell of it,
the way I do when the season is changing or I’m feeling weepy.

I used to think about them a lot when we first began living together,
back when it seemed that those rings had burned hot little brands
on both our pasts. But now I rarely do, I’m hardly even aware of them—

interred in the domestic debris of our dressers.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (190 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (325 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (80 followers)


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Aug 31

September 5, 2016

Red Wheelbarrow Poets
Poem of the Week 8/31/2016

Mark Fogarty

Thin Blooded

I don’t know if I’m thin skinned or not
But there isn’t any doubt I’m thin blooded.
In the hospital once the CNA roused me
As I was lying in a puddle of blood.
I’d slept on the IV works
And enough blood had started out
I thought someone had stabbed me,
Or put a horse’s head in my narrow bed.

The thin blood keeps the clots in place
So they don’t break away like Baltic republics
And steer for your heart, brain or lungs.
I netted two out of three, and it wasn’t good.

No razors on me, I tell the barber.
Be careful if you floss your teeth.
That blood bubble on your hand, beware.

I need to be more thick skinned,
If just to keep the allotted blood in.

Here’s my song on the internet:
I’m thin blooded, check it and see
I’ve got a fever of a hundred and three.

I’ve had a fever every day for three months
As my body wrestles down the invaders.
It’s nothing to sing about, really.

In narrow sleep I dream of Lara, and Zhivago,
Writing poetry with the wolves at the door,
The commies not far behind.
The wolf came to my door, growled a couple of times,
And settled for a bowl of blood.

My God, says the father.
They’ve killed the Czar and his family.
I think of the Czarevich, who bled
At every fall, and his sexy madman monk,
Whose blood was so thick they had to poison,
Shoot and drown him. Son, it doesn’t do
To be thinblooded in this world,
Where night brings the night horses,
The bloody sheets, the empty wells.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (189 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (325 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (80 followers)