Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


GV—Electric Poetry & Music, Anton Yakovlev’s Book Launch—May 31

May 13, 2019


The Magic Circle series returns to GainVille Café Friday on May 31, celebrating the beginning of summer. ANTON YAKOVLEV will be launching his latest book of poetry, “Chronos Dines Alone.” Among his many accomplishments, Anton is the 2018 winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize. Musical feature will be THE ELECTRIC POET GATHERING with GEORGE PERENY. George will have both music and poetry on tap. 

Also featuring the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Bring-Your-A-Game open mic.
Hosted by the poet Mark Fogarty.

A $9 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert. 
7 PM, GainVille Café, 17 Ames Avenue, Rutherford. 


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—May 7

May 10, 2019

Arthur Russell 


When I started writing stories, I’d be writing a story,   
and a good line would come to me, 
And I would laugh.  In my room, alone. 
I’d be delighted; and this laughter, typically the chuckling sort, 
but sometimes I would just fall out 
from how goddamned funny I was; 
like this one story where the protagonist is complaining about the deli counter man 
getting pickle juice on his pastrami sandwich, I slayed myself so hard, I think I wept a little. 

I think Moses must’ve fallen out when he wrote Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Damn, he must’ve cried onto his chisel from that one, 
little rust spots on his chisel where the tears fell.   

Or maybe it was not a joke at all. Maybe before he went up on Mr. Sinai, 
he caught Zipporah with Aaron, and he was wroth, 
but he had to go to work, so he couldn’t confront her,  
and he just added Thou shalt not commit adultery
in with the other commandments as a kind of personal message to her that  
I see what you’re doing, girlfriend, and I do not appreciate it.

And Zipporah’s like Really?  
Like who are you, Mr. Smack The Nile
With Your Staff And Make The Waters Part?  
Smack my Nile, why doncha?
Do you know how long I’ve gone without a little staff?  
My kids are on social security, that’s how long. I’m dying here.

Oh, are you taking suggestions for those tablets?
How about this one: “Thou shalt not forget to schtupp thine wife from time to time
or else some other guy will do it for you.  
You’re giving a whole new meaning to wandering in the wilderness.”

But that doesn’t happen anymore. 
I haven’t laughed while I was writing in something like 40 years. 
I just sit here in the quiet kitchen 
with the humming refrigerator and sometimes 
the sound of the garbage truck telling me  
it’s time to stop for the day, go take a shower, 
eat breakfast, get dressed. 


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Apr 30

May 2, 2019

Frank Rubino

The Old Whetstone

My brother and I fight about the Bible,
resting on an end table in his house, no joke,
beneath his handgun. The gun’s on top.
I pick it up. It’s heavy, black metal, 9mm Glock.
He generally wears it on his hip, even around the house.
Now, I’m admiring it as a well-made object.
Never look down the barrel of a gun! yells my brother.
And I fucking am, how embarrassing.
And do not say it is just a book! he says, when we get back to the Bible.

Newark to Seattle; drive through the pines,
past an acre lot stacked with used Fisher-Price playhouses.
A guy sells them out there in the drizzle on 101,
where somehow my brother’s grown a real gun on his side.

I know the roots of it, some.

We’re in our lunch truck; he’s in the middle, Dad’s driving,
wearing his Saint Christopher medal and a white t-shirt.
I’m trying to catch my face in the passenger side rear-view.
Always the same thought, the same eldest child dream:
Am I Superman? Am I the hero in this scene?
The mirror is the size of a bread loaf,
because the steering is so bad you need complete visibility.
The struts the mirror swings on are white,
and the mirror bolts onto the struts
with brackets welded to the back.

All the things in our life are made of the elements:
dirt, wood, screws, paint, batteries,
motor oil, blue Cub Scout knife,
conic pumping motor oil can with long needle spout—
crooked at the top— making throat singing noises,
glock glock, when pressed on the bottom,
and a drop is forced out on the whetstone
where you lay the Cub Scout blade
and move it in an arc to sharpen it.


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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Apr 23

April 29, 2019

Mary Ma 
For a year, I smell like guava or whatever Dove has to offer 

My roommate hates the smell of cigarettes,
doesn’t know I smoke.

I shower between two and four times a day,
short bursts of hot water on my bones.

We talk to each other about calories
the way we read about them online.

Neither of us get our periods
and that’s all we have in common.

We agree to stop keeping food in the room,
agree that we shouldn’t eat after 7 pm.

We sleep through our alarms so thoroughly
the other girls on our floor have to shut them off.

We get drunk enough to allow ourselves to eat
and that’s the only time we eat together.

We dig our heels in until

Andy tells me she is moving out.
Her best friend is on our floor too and
Andy says it just makes sense.

She leaves the next week and I buy
a second set of sheets

for the bare twin bed.


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WCW—Jennifer Franklin—May 1st

April 18, 2019

Williams Readings-JFranklin-May2019.indd

For the month of May, the Gang of Five is excited to feature Jennifer Franklin, a NYC poet of exceptional talent.

Please join us on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019, 7:00 PM at the William Carlos Williams Center, One Williams Plaza in Rutherford NJ to hear Jennifer.

About our feature:

Whether ekphrasis or autobiography, Jennifer Franklin‘s hard-hitting poems make personal heartache universal through her choice of detail, imagery, and deep compassion. Her work has a hypnotic quality so breathtakingly immediate in its ability to engross the reader, one almost forgets how startlingly beautiful the visuals, the metaphors, and the language are, line after line.

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—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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