Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—August 6

August 7, 2019

Zorida Mohammed


I was coming up for air
from the loss of my mother,
when Pretty Boy, my pup
chased some sparrows into the street.

Dinner plate hibiscus were in full bloom
when my spritely boy laid motionless in the street.
I covered him with pink blossoms
before I covered him with earth in the backyard.

The dogwood seems to begin turning
color earlier and earlier each year— 
the nondescript brown, 
like a parasite, overnight
on the green leaves.

Tending the garden beds,
grown so wild and prolific,
it prompted a gardening friend 
to blurt, “Lowe’s has got nothing on you.”

August is a weighty month.
Even perfect days are overlaid with lack luster.
Nothing, no thing counterweights
the weight of August.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—July 30

July 31, 2019

Frank Rubino

Changing a Battery

My brother-in-law Laszlo who was the family engineer
and Hungarian, rewired our furnace ignition during Hurricane Sandy.
Working with laconic deliberation, 
connecting the leads with his needle-nose pliers 
and voltage gauge according to the rehearsed steps in his mind, 
he reconfigured our ignition switch to draw power not from the dead house feed,
whose riverside PSE&G sub-station transformer the Passaic had flooded,
but from a green extension cord he passed through the basement window. 
I daisy-chained it to my other cords from Christmas to reach across the street. 
The guy who lived there, Dr. Paul Wicherburn, 
suffered from a degenerative nerve disease
that was killing him over a ten year period,
but he was out of his wheelchair, 
and walked around back through the snow 
to show me where to plug into his generator 
to ignite my furnace and warm my house. 
A few days later, more snow fell, 
and the township plowed the street, 
ripping out Laszlo’s extension cord,
and inside our house it was cold again. 
We felt like squatters, running the dark hallways in our headlamps and parkas, 
and saw our breath indoors, and felt the itch of our armpits in our dirty clothes.

I figured my son’s no-start was connected 
to the alternator they had replaced 
without analyzing the root cause. 
When we popped open his hood, 
his battery looked shot, 
with sea-green corrosive salt crusting the posts. 

In my derelict Mazda was a new battery, 
and we could swap it into my son’s car, 
and we would start his car 
without bothering his Uncle Laszlo for once.
We had to knock all the corrosion off with a wrench,
and hope the nuts weren’t locked in with rust,
and hoist it out of the compartment 
to make room for the replacement, 

and it was then that my son’s great strength, 
his wide shoulders and broad chest,
filled me with gratitude for his youth, 
and I stopped faulting him 
for all the damages he had done to our various cars,
among which had been the disastrous 
front-lawn off-roading that left my Mazda 
with no working capacity except its battery charge. 

With his vigor, he extracted his dead battery— 
a fifty pounder shoed-in with a hidden bracket— 
and thudded it into the curb grass 
in front of Dr. Paul Wicherburn’s house, 
where we happened to be working,
as it had been a convenient place to roll 
his disabled vehicle in neutral— him pushing,
me steering. 

When his disease finally did kill him,
Paul’s wife, Molly, told me that Paul 
had loved to watch our family’s antics
on bad days, through the window, 
from his wheelchair.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—July 23

July 25, 2019

Marc Pollifrone
the transorbital mustang

into fine lines of unfocused un-finite
hurling towards we are not
we are knodding on ether

how withers hastened
how lies too lest asleep
how much north matters
even yellow can pray
remember the brightly pink shaking
remember the some some of dreams is drenched
drenched in the squeaks of souls
in hallways of every waiting waiting
for the evisceration of weighting

it is always there
to hang you
in the fishing
of your leathers

drinkable on side tables
from the
fifties people call you
about gluten but not about toe nail clippers

remember milkshakes
mausoleums marooned on the
dastardly side table things

in time find stares at the belly of 
mad mad
visage softly softly the crane sleeps
sleeps about midnight sugar coaxers
of incongruent powders from latrine sunsets

only light is pink
when you speak
of birthdays birthdays of all things birthdays


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WCW—Hilary Sideris & Rick Mullin—August 7

July 23, 2019

For the regal month of August, the Gang of Five is excited to co-feature Hilary Sideris and Rick Mullin, two poets of great talent and majestic expertise.

Please join us on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019, 7:00 PM, at the Williams Center, One Williams Plaza in Rutherford, NJ, to hear them.

About our features:

Hilary Sideris’ poetry has appeared in numerous print and online publications. She is the author of Most Likely to Die (Poets Wear Prada), The Inclination to Make Waves (Big Wonderful), Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay) and, most recently, The Silent B (Dos Madres 2019).

The poet George Held wrote of her latest collection: “Do not read The Silent B unless you love John Donne, Cole Porter, and Richard Pryor; unless you dote on word-play, satire, and wit; unless you cherish the silent “b” in “dumb,” cognates for “fire,” and the leap from “gaffe” to “laugh”; and unless you feel for the dyslexic, the dysphemic, and the different.”

Rick Mullin’s poetry has been published in various journals and anthologies. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry and two chapbooks, including Soutine (Dos Madres Press), a biographical novel in verse written in terza rima, and his most recent collection, Lullaby and Wheel (Kelsay Books, 2019).

The poet Anton Yakovlev wrote of Rick’s poetry: “From the moment you read the first poems in Lullaby and Wheel, you know you are in the hands of a master. Rick Mullin’s voice is one of the most distinctive and recognizable in metrical poetry today, and this collection sees the poet at the top of his form. Effortlessly switching from the whimsical to the philosophical to the deeply personal to the fanciful and again to the personal, these profoundly enriching poems guide the reader through a whirlwind of emotions and mindsets, recognizable and startling in equal measure.”

Please note: We must now pay $100 per month rent for the use the Williams Center for our readings. This is in addition to the $100 per month rent the Red Wheelbarrow workshop must pay for the use of their space in the Williams Center.

We need your help to survive and continue to hold our monthly readings. We will be asking for donations. A $5 per person donation is suggested. If we all contribute, we can pay the rent!

You can follow everything about the Red Wheelbarrow, its events and poets at these sites:
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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—July 15

July 17, 2019

Arthur Russell
That Couple the News Had Followed

I saw us as that couple the news had followed 
during the seven years it took the wife to descend
from adorable goofball to a head slumped in the wheelchair. 

I thought of us when the cameras found him 
on the sofa’s edge admitting he wasn’t up  
to staying with her till the end. He was haggard. 

He lowered his voice so she wouldn’t hear. 
She was in the kitchen, at the Formica table, 
sitting on a metal tube kitchen chair 

with a vinyl seat cover and furniture tacks. 
She had a terrycloth bathrobe on. The collar
was up, so she looked elegant gazing at the sink. 

I love you just like that, that much, that broken way. 


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—July 9

July 11, 2019

Zorida Mohammed
The Spirit of the Pines Still Haunts Me

I first set eyes on the two pines
in their adolescence.
They were so robust and so ferny and green.

They kept pushing upward
at such a rapid rate
I could almost see them grow.

The two pines became part of my woodwork,
always in the background of my daily life.
They billowed out, taking up a large space
on the ground and against the sky.
They seemed determined to poke a hole
in the sky.

They kept me company
when I made my 2 a.m. pee.
Avert my eyes upward, out the bathroom window,
and there they were,
always waiting, always welcoming.

Then came the gnawing drone of saws —
saws are always droning in the neighborhood.
The sound went on for two days.
First, the pines were defrocked of all the branches.
The two giants with their fresh wounds stood
as if in the town square, denuded and ashamed.
I could bear to look no more.

When my eyes did fall on that spot in the open sky,
phantom pines appeared and melted in my eyes.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—July 2

July 3, 2019


Whenever you talk about stable housing,

I think of horses, she says.

When my mother was my age,

She used to break horses on the res,

What a badass! I could do it, too, bareback.

You make friends with the horse first,

She’s cantering around, spooked,

You whisper in her ear how beautiful she is,

She with her straight hair and you with your angled,

You lean your hair against hers, and she knows.

You ask her permission to swing up on top,

Feel the rocket strength of her between your legs

Where I am strong, too, where I carry my people’s beauty.

Then you grab her by the mane

And ride, fast, through the long, green grass of the res.

And then you slow, slow until it’s logical to get down again.

Except for the horseshit, she says, I don’t think I would mind stable housing.


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