Poetry and Remembrance

Join the Red Wheelbarrow Poets at GainVille Café Friday, Nov. 22 as we present the fine poet FRAN LOMBARDI and a special feature, our third annual birthday party for JACO PASTORIUS, the avatar of the bass guitar.

Fran is a member of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ weekly writing workshop and has had her poetry published in our most recent anthology.

Our Jaco b’day salute joins a tradition that has been ongoing every year since 1997. We will have music from THE THREE BASSES (bass guitars, that is) of PETER McCULLOUGH, BILLY CARRION JR. and MARK FOGARTY. And we’re hoping Jaco himself will drop in, through the miracle of technology.

After that we will have our Bring Your A Game open mike with generous reading times. Join us for a special night!

7 PM, 17 Ames Ave., Rutherford.
A $6 cover includes coffee/tea and dessert.

What a magical night! Video highlights of The Red Wheelbarow # 6 launch

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As promised, here are some video highlights from the launch of issue # 6 of The Red Wheelbarrow on Wednesday, September 4, at the Williams Center in Rutherford, NJ. We had a great time and the issue looks fabulous!! You can purchase your copy here. Enjoy!

Opening words by managing editor Mark Fogarty; featured poet, John J. Trause

Mark Fogarty

Melanie Klein

Don Zirilli

Jim Klein

Anton Yakovlev

Janet Kolstein

Loren Kleinman

Amaranth Pavis

Claudia Serea; George Held, read by Claudia Serea

Jen Wos

Mike O’Brien

Joel Lewis, read by Mark Fogarty

Zorida Mohammed

Fran Lombardi

Tony Puma

Amy B. Barone

David Messineo, read by John J. Trause

Akram Al-Katreb

Fred Duignan

Jim Gwyn

Tom V. Gianni, Jr.

Nicole Zach

Gail King, read by John Barrale

Dan Saxon

Daphne Williams Fox speaks about her grandfather, William Carlos Williams

Radiation

First published in Lips (2006/2007)
(slight modifications 2009)

Radiation has not killed the tumor —
merely stunned it —
stunned us.
Down city streets half-deserted at night, we walk,
my father still reeling from the effects
of the monstrous MRI.

When we come upon an old shop with the carcasses of animals
hung in mullioned windows, like an oil painting by Soutine —
flesh, flayed raw — surrendering to the everlasting bones,
my father murmurs, “Beautiful,” as if in a trance.

Suddenly, we are transported
in a Model-T spaceship
to a village where women in babushkas
are embracing live chickens.
Men in black hats and beards
are driving horse drawn carts
and a little boy, head shorn of hair, turns to me with blue topaz eyes.

And immediately, I recognize my father,
but he doesn’t know me,
doesn’t know I know him,
doesn’t know he will live in a new language,
set sail on a merchant ship and wear the uniform of a soldier.
He does know his mother loves him
and that when she is gone, he must soldier on.

The boy who will be my father inhales the steam rising from potatos roasting in gutter fires
as snowflakes lightly salt the fur collars
of the bourgeoisie
and the fur coats of alley cats.

Then, reality invades and we are once again
on a glittering Manhattan sidewalk
standing transfixed before dead meat inside a butcher shop.
And for a few moments, we don’t want to leave — want to stand there a little while longer
in the warm winter night before this magical tableau.

Looking at my father, soon to be drafted into an army of skeletons,
I feel like a desiccated leaf sinking to the bottom of a pond.

Towels, already tear-stained, are prepared for the bloodletting…
the anchor is rising from the seabed —
the iron links have rotted —
the flesh is falling away.

Radiation has not killed the tumor —
it has awakened the ancestral spirits
in my father’s memory
who radiate the path towards home.

And years later,
with my hands tapping the keyboard,
my eyes staring at the screen,
I can hear his quiet voice in my head,
reading and savoring my words.

Janet Kolstein

The Real Stuff

By the din of the found melody,
real time unwinds
from which two-water solutions
are coaxed and sold to those
who think this is the real stuff,
the silveriest flottage
or below depth in the parlance,
while magic-buttoned
is a puffed cello blowing notes
like a pipe fitter abe to join
reed to tree, leg to elbow,
and bent mouth all the way
around to perfectly bent.

Jim Klein

Unspooling

keep it simple
the poem comes from your unformed thoughts not from a blueprint

let your relaxed mind unspool on the computer until it comes to something important
separate that out and throw the rest away

make it into grammar and natural language and rhythms
get rid of extra words and affectations

if there are rhymes they will have come from your unconscious
do it every day like prayer

the only sin is to be false
come Wednesday when you can make it

Jim Klein

Urned

A car pulls into a driveway
deep in shadow,
and focus falls sharply
on a tipped beach chair
hard by the rock garden:
a wedge of old man,
powerless to get back in.
He’s right.
Lots of this is funny.

To eschew a gravestone,
to be emptied into an urn, instead.
Then to be planted
between twin scrub pine
beneath a brass plaque
inscribed with his own poem:
he would have said
he had urned it.

To ride a horse,
to shoot a rifle,
to sit a building.
Something to live by.
The garage cameout a bit high.

On his hands and knees,
he dug out of sand
at the west end.
For what?
He told me, but I forgot.
Something about roses.

Rev. Ernst E. Klein (1916-1979)

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