Archive for the ‘Poem of the Week’ Category


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Apr 9

April 12, 2019

Della Rowland

Pork Pie Hats            

We are all wearing knotted neckties and porkpie hats in the photograph,
very butch.
We are in the subway.  No flash, TriX pushed to 800
like Garry Winogrand and I’m Garry taking the shot
because I’m not in it,
just Louise, in the foreground, half turned to the camera,
her cheekbones, sharp as a cattle catcher, slightly blurred,
and Catherine, in soft focus, as she always liked, the gentle lighting,
her mouth pursed in a pithy comment, looking sideways
at Erin, who is pulling down the brim of her hat
to hide a cigarette.
God, did we know how to smoke then,
how to make the most of every cigarette gesture,
when and how long to take to light one up,
to take a draw, to blow the smoke out of our mouths
or let it drift up and out the nostrils,
very French,
how to use the cinder-tipped white wand like a conductor before sex
and stand behind the swirl of smoke like in b/w movies,
like in b/w film, TriX pushed to 800 to have natural light in subways
or dim, loud clubs, light natural so you could hear the glasses clink
or the silk lining in a jacket swish.

I found Erin again, some 20 years after she lost her accounting business to coke
and married Flora, a photographer.
Louise stopped sculpting and stopped talking to Erin and Catherine
and sometimes me, for ten years once, but always to Brigit,
who wasn’t with us.
Catherine, a designer, talks to everyone.

Where were we going on the subway? Max’s Kansas City?  Jimmy Days?
A party uptown at Brigit’s?  She rented two apartments
and removed the wall between.  Were we high already?
The only time I danced after eighth grade was at Brigit’s parties.
Maybe we were going to a play? We went to a lot of plays when they were cheaper.
We saw Langella in “Dracula” and had to run out to the lobby
at intermission to smoke and stroke our necks, he was so sexy.
Did we just have to ride the Staten Island Ferry to see some horizon?
Mid-westerners need that once in a while after moving to The City.
If we were going to Chinatown, we’d have already been to a club
and we’re headed downtown for chow fun
in our thrift store jackets, knotted neckties, and porkpie hats.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Apr 2

April 3, 2019

Claudia Serea

When I got back from the Gulag, my father says

I was so skinny,
skinnier than a thread through
a needle,

almost a fold of air,
a shadow,
a soft cough.

We were let out by the thousands:

a sudden call,
here are your belongings,
sign here,
a pressed button,
the open gate.

I walked slowly
as if still shackled,
startled by dogs
and any noise.

Through the train window,
I looked at the world, wondering
if anyone knew where I come from,
if they would let me back in.

I had no illusions:
they wouldn’t.

When I got back to my mother’s house,
I scared her more than any ghost.

She rushed to cook,
but I refused the food.

For days, I laid in the shade,
trying to forget what I’ve seen,

those hands,
those desperate eyes,
those semi-human beings,
so starved,
they risked being shot
for a watermelon rind
picked up from garbage.

I couldn’t tell my mother
why I couldn’t eat.

I just wanted to sleep
without being chased
by German shepherds,

and caught,
and brought back
each night.

I just wanted to sleep,
hidden in a crease of earth,
curl in the ground like a pebble
and forget.

I wanted rain to fall over me,
and leaves,
and snow.

I just wanted
to be forgotten.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Mar 19

March 28, 2019

Bobbie O’Connor

Maywood Memories

It wasn’t illegal to burn leaves
or have open fires, back then.

Every once in a while,
we’d rake up a huge pile of leaves
from our big oak trees on Fairmount Ave.

We’d bring them
to the end of the dirt driveway,
on the Coles Street side:
no sidewalks there.

The grownups would light the leaves
for a big bonfire.
It was usually early evening.

The neighborhood kids
would begin congregating there.

Soon, a few of the moms
would appear with lawn chairs,
one or two with a cup of coffee.
A couple of dads would meander over.

Someone would show up with a few hotdogs,
and some would bring marshmallows.

Quite a few would disappear
and be back shortly with a couple of potatoes,
which they’d stuff into the leaves
around the base of the fire, to bake.

The grownups would sit around,
talking a little.
We kids would hang around,
poking the leaves with sticks,
listening to the grownups talk.

Every so often, an acorn would pop.


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GV—POW 3 Celebration—March 29

March 21, 2019



The Magic Circle series returns to GainVille Café Friday, March 29, at 7 PM. We speak all kinds of creative this time! Our musical feature is Irish piper BRENDAN FOGARTY and Irish vocalist FIONA CONWAY in a popular St. Patrick’s Day encore. Latinx poet and prose writer REBECCA CARVALHO will demonstrate her focus on relationships/sex, wellness, food, and travel/leisure. And workshop poets from the POEM OF THE WEEK 3 anthology will share their best-in-show poetry. Also featuring the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Bring-Your-A-Game open mic.

A $9 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert.

7 PM, GainVille Café
17 Ames Avenue, Rutherford