WCW—Julie Hart

2016-08-11 08.58.03

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

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


Originally from Minnesota, JULIE HART has lived in London, Zurich, and Tokyo, and now in Brooklyn Heights. Her work can be found in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Anti-Herion Chic, Beautiful Losers, Juniper and at juliehartwrites.com. She is a founder, with Mirielle Clifford and Emily Blair, of the poetry collective “Sweet Action.”

Memento Mori

I see you’ve noticed the skull–it was his
idea. After donating the brain
to Princeton, it was picked clean by beetles
at the Science Museum, sawn in half,
hinged, fitted with this hook. I could keep things
in it—old keys, rubber bands, paper clips,
worn erasers—but I won’t. Yes, I talk
to it. The teeth still seem to be him, the rest—
not so much. Some people find it creepy,
but to me it’s comforting, this part of him
that thought and ate and talked—above all, talked.
I’m still honing my thoughts against his head
as a whetstone, imagining his jaw
dropping, his eye sockets thrown to the sky,
his laugh filling the whole room, any room.


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

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—June 26

Poem of the Week 6/26/18

Stuart Leonard

Mr. Blue

She painted the car
with a brush of her own.

Went and named it, Mr. Blue.

Could’ve been just another blue Chevy,
and I never thought she named it Mr. Blue
just because the car was blue,
or because her eyes were blue,

or her heart,
or a blue moon over Jersey,
or her dad strumming the blues,

or the blue captain’s uniform
her first step-father wore
when he visited her at night.

It was all of that,
a Who song,
a sky to fall from,

a blue ’72 Impala,
Turbo-Jet 400, four-barrel carb,
and Deluxe features.

Hit 150 on the turnpike, four in the morning,
near the Pulaski Skyway,
and we laughed as the world
was torn into shreds.

Mr. Blue wasn’t dragging along any baggage.

Took us way uptown, to the bag-lands,
gun to your head, didn’t mean shit,
knew how to throw a party,
only let the blue-eyed girl pick the music.

Sometimes when we were cruising,
stoned and silent,
her blue eyes fixed on nothing ahead,
she just started to cry.

Mr. Blue would hand her a tissue
and play “Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes.”

I would keep driving,
usually nowhere,
usually find somewhere
to pull over,
get in the back,
sweat up the seats,
get Mr. Blue jealous,
take that urge out on each other
as if we were being forced.



RWB Workshop Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week, 8/15/17

Zorida Mohammed

If I Died Today, I Would Not Mind


I am sitting on my kitchen porch steps amidst my flowers,

in high summer, as peaceful as Ferdinand the bull.

The red dahlias that have survived many winters tower over me.

Bronze maple leaf hibiscus, as well as ordinary ones of different colors, surround the porch.

Echinacea have lost their rosy pink petals, and rounds of dark, spiky seeds

now sit atop the tall stalks waiting for whomever will eat them.

Bleeding hearts, with their ferny foliage, live in the shadow of the blue columbine,

the seeds spilled from its papery pods into the surrounding soil.

The irises and lilies are all strappy leaves;

their stick-like green stalks are all that’s left of their blooms.

The lady slippers, grown from seeds snuck in from Romania

by a friend’s mother, are so prolific I weed them like weeds.

The geraniums and snap dragons require frequent pruning to keep up their show.

The oleander cuttings that I’ve stuck into the composty soil

have sprouted new growth. The plant given by a friend

will now be potted up to grace the home of another friend.

Numerous other flowers are being short- changed and will go unnamed.

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jul 27

Return to Eastern Europe

Claudia Serea

Come to Baba, little girl,
says the old hag

and spreads her flabby thighs,
revealing her vagina

equipped with three rows
of sharp teeth.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (185 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (317 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (78 followers)

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 20

John Barrale

I remember the bittersweet smell
of my mother’s lipstick
melting in its gold cartridge
when we went to Coney Island,

and how the glossy burst of sun was like a poster
when we walked out of the subway station—

and how, riding home, I slept
in her suntan-oiled arms,

and the smell of the sea,
so old and fertile,
rose like a ghost
from the sand-wet bottom of my pail,

and how after she died,
the lonely cigarette and onion sweat
of my father
would wake me
for school in the morning.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (160 followers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets (307 likes)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RWBPoets (74 followers)

WCW—Sharon Mesmer


476558_10151065359287802_509981710_oWednesday, August 3, 2016, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts • Cinema 3 • One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

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

Sharon Mesmer is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and essayist. Her newest poetry collection, Greetings From My Girlie Leisure Place, published by Bloof Books, was voted Entropy’s “Best of 2015.” Previous poetry collections are Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (chapbook, Belladonna Books, 2007), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998) and Crossing Second Avenue (chapbook, ABJ Press, Tokyo, 1997). Her awards include a Fulbright Specialist grant (2011), a Jerome Foundation/SASE award (as mentor to poet Elisabeth Workman, 2009) and two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships (2007 and 1999). Her essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and the Brooklyn Rail, among other places. As an original member of the flarf collective, she read her work at the Whitney Museum in April 2007 (in the “Flarf Versus Conceptual” event), at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, and as part of National Public Radio’s “Studio 360” program on January 23, 2009. She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs of New York University and The New School.

From “Stupid University Job”

I thought I had it bad
until I met that handsome Scottish man
whose parents tried to make him spontaneously combust
by feeding him haggis laced with gunpowder
and making him sleep in the stove.
Instead of an ear, he had a shiny, snail-shaped ridge.
I guess we all have our tragic flaw.
Mine is like that of the naked man
who holds up a sign that says “I’m naked”
and runs screaming through the park.
My handlers say I’m difficult,
but don’t you believe it.
My soul still radiates a luminous intensity
despite this stupid university job.

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 10

Janet Kolstein

Long ago, in another shelter,
I had raised the shade
in my father’s dying room
to present the backyard’s branches
stripped for winter —
but he was done with nature,

so I pulled the shade back down
as he closed his eyes against the outside,
and his ragged breath
was all that was left.

GV—John Barrale



The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café on Friday, June 24 at 7 PM for our 7th (!) anniversary. There might be cake! But there definitely will be music and poetry. Popular duo JOE VERNAZZA and WALTER PICKWOAD is our musical feature. Our poetry feature will be JOHN BARRALE plus an open mike for any poet who has read at GV in the last seven years. An $8 cover charge includes coffee/tea and dessert. 17 Ames Ave., Rutherford, NJ. 201-507-1800.

WCW—Cathy Cavallone


Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
Cinema 3
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

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

Cathy Cavallone has been a resident of Bergen County for much of her life and studied at Montclair State University. She has been writing for decades, but began pursuing it seriously in 2014. Her last feature was at the Classic Quiche in Teaneck, New Jersey. She has been published in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, The New Verse News, Turk’s Head Review, Rose Red Review, Nerve Lantern, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and teaches English to middle school students.

Releasing the Burka

First, she will feel the caked earth
under mud huts seeping through
her blistered toes.
Then, the winds will wrap about her ankles
and coil up her splintered calves.
Next, her knees, like desert rocks,
will buckle and shake as she exposes
her heaving midriff to the flagrant sunlight.
Then, her breasts, like two ashen husks,
will quiver in the stagnant air. And finally, her eyes,
like landmines about to detonate onto the world,
will gaze upon the adumbration of where
a woman once stood.

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