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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – March 13

March 14, 2018

Poem of the Week 03/13/18

She’s Not My Woman, No One Would Possess Her

Bill Moreland

She left a broken home broke,
scavenging around the Big Apple,
squatted in the Chelsea Hotel,
and feasted among the art elite.
She dined with Dali who let her hold his jewel-encrusted cane.
Indeed, he dubbed her the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll.”
Gaia told her Dali never let anyone hold his pikestaff,
that she should feel special.
Special, still she didn’t give a shit.
For they were poseurs slumming,
she was slummed.
They sought in her inspiration for art,
but she was art inspired.

She’s not my woman, no one would possess her.

Pre-punk with the heart of a lion,
crude and rude with a pink streak in her spiked hair,
she had radar for bullshit, and called it out of hiding.
Once, she stood between a gun and its target
until the barrel was lowered, ashamed.
Naked, she climbed a street pole reaching for the some truth in its light,
was saved by a black saint,
and followed the sound of a Gabriel’s horn
bounding and rebounding
in the alleys of Alphabet streets, graced.
She ran door to door barefoot, pounding,
alerting the junkies and the whores in a burnt out building
burning once more.
She felt rewarded, when in its charred remains,
she found a perfect pair
of dancing slippers.
She was fucked up and fucked over,
guided by a steel weathervane still,
pointing her on a righteous path.

She’s not my woman, no one would possess her.

Then we met, and loved, and fought with vigor.
We dared to up it up
a notch.
“If you thought you had courage once,” she said,
“be responsible for three hungry babies.”
The sleepless night will kick the covers off the bed,
in there is a fear not greeted before.
There is no fake in the ache of this woman.
There is no tame in unbridled love.
There are no half measures in the full cup of motherhood.
There is no losing a battle
when winning is the next day.
Going it alone is child’s play.

Children playing children’s games carried its own heavy load
of laundry, and groceries, and ass wipes, and patience,
with dreams supplanted
while they dream,
listening to her read;
“And hand in hand,
On the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon…
They danced by the light of the moon.”

She’s not my woman, no one would possess her.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – March 6

March 8, 2018

Poem of the Week 03/06/18

Relations

Arthur Russell

What it means to join a team who’ll have you
is that, holed up in a city job,
suburban mall, or dried and hollow log,
you’ll find a fellow who can help adjust
your grip or stance or attitude, suggest
a change of method or remind you,
when you’re all used up, that days are only days,
and misses are forgiven on the dugout steps
by rubbing someone’s head.

I have such a team assembled
on my book shelves, all around
the outside of my room, immune to time
and quick to stay asleep until I call them,
and difficult to reckon then because they never
stop believing in themselves
exactly as they made themselves, and each
is only with me for as long as I can give them
what they wanted all along,

and this I only do in shortened stands
by writing in their margins like the 6th grade boy
who wrote I love you with a felt tip pen
on Hollis Seidner’s hand
in the schoolyard near the cyclone fence
around the unused flower garden
just outside the kindergarten.

Some, I never knew except in runes,
some, in offices, on college afternoons,
where thoughts wore fenders to protect
their brittle hulls, but we never did go far enough
because they never loved me well enough.

It always was for love, though unlike life,
where wanting more than people have
to offer is a barrier,
in books, where adamantine
is a virtue, relations take a subtler course,
and patience grows in silence
where the ever-present present lands me side by side
with time’s most prickly souls, where I’m happy,
both myself alone or wearing someone’s jersey.

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March 7th reading postponed due to weather

March 6, 2018
We’re sorry to say that due to the Noreaster heading our way, the reading scheduled for tomorrow evening (Mar 7th) at the Williams Center has been cancelled.

As soon as we know, we’ll send out a notice with the rescheduled date. Stay safe in the storm!
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(postponed due to weather) WCW – Emily Vogel and Joe Weil

March 5, 2018

(Postponed due to weather)

Williams Center for the Arts

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

Free

Emily Vogel’s poetry, reviews, essays, and translations have most recently been published in Omniverse, The North American Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Lips, City Lit Rag, Luna Luna, Maggy, Lyre Lyre, The Comstock Review, The Broome Review, Tiferet, The San Pedro River Review, 2 Bridges Review, and PEN, among several others. She is the author of five chapbooks, and a full-length collection, The Philosopher’s Wife, published in 2011 by Chester River Press, a collaborative book of poetry, West of Home, with her husband Joe Weil (Blast Press), First Words (NYQ Books), and recently, Dante’s Unintended Flight (NYQ Books). She has work forthcoming in The Boston Review and Fiolet & Wing: An Anthology of Domestic Fabulism. She teaches writing at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College and is married to the poet, Joe Weil.

Joe Weil is a poet, storyteller, and pianist who has played at art centers, universities, and festivals throughout the United States, including the Detroit Opera House, the Long Beach poetry festival, NJPAC, the Geraldine R. Dodge poetry festival and Pittsburgh University. He is the co-founder of Monk Books, currently runs Cat-In-The-Sun Books with his wife Emily Vogel, and teaches at Binghamton University. His latest poetry collection, A Night in Duluth, was a finalist for the Lascaux poetry prize in 2017. Weil was the 2013 recipient of the People’s Poetry Award by Partisan Press and currently performs with a music/poetry group called Dark River Ensemble. He lived most of his life in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but now makes his home in Binghamton. He is always happy to return to the Garden State.

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

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – February 27

March 2, 2018

Poem of the Week 02/27/18

Union Man

Mark Fogarty

For such a hardassed place,
Hoboken smelled like heaven,
The scent of coffee being roasted
In tubs the size of shipping containers.
No one could ever sleep or be calm
In such a caffeinated spot.

They sent me to cover a strike.
The union base was a storefront.
There were open bottles of whiskey
On the tables at 10 AM.

I was a union man myself,
Local 30 of the Newspaper Guild.
The shop steward was a Reagan conservative
Who said I had to get over
Any “socialist shibboleths” about being in a union.

I wasn’t worried by any socialist shibboleths.
We got paid better than our non-union competitor.

That particular strike got resolved (with no bloodshed I can remember).
Local 30 threatened to strike as well
When management started with this galling thrust:
“We feel the employees of The Jersey Journal
Do not deserve a raise.” We were ready to walk
Until we got a stingy bump of four percent or so.

I kept my union card long after I left Local 30,
Appreciated the coffee and whiskey adrenaline
Ginned up to defend new workers like me.

None of my other employers was a union shop.
But last summer at the journalists’ convention
The union had a table over against the wall.

Times change; they are now The Newsguild
As newspapers fall by the wayside.
They gave me a few old-school reporter’s notebooks.
I told them I loved the union still.
When the bastards offer you $1.50 a week
While keeping the millions for themselves,
The union will put the bottles on the table.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – February 20

February 22, 2018

Poem of the Week 02/20/18

Cats

Della Rowland

I
A cat followed me one afternoon as I walked across my college campus.
A car hit it as I was coaxing it across a street.
I knew by its glassy eyes it was dead.
I stood looking at it from the curb for a long moment.
I don’t remember the color of its fur.

II
A Manx cat was sitting in the middle of the road one night
as I drove through a wooded suburb near campus,
pure white against the dark road and tree trunks.
I stopped the car and opened the passenger-side door.

The cat hopped in as if he’d been waiting for me to pick him up,
tapping his paw on the blacktop as he watched the clock of the moon
move across the sky,
ticking away the mid-night hours.

I took him home to my youngest sister
who named him Bunny.
He was killed by a big dog who lived down block,
who got out of its yard
and broke the cat’s soft white neck
with one good shake,
then flung him under the next-door neighbor’s car
where we couldn’t reach him.

Bunny pitched and clawed the air for a few long seconds
while I tried to scoot under the car in my good clothes and hose.
Stretching my arm toward him, I saw his eyes turn glassy.
I wrapped him in a towel, put him in the car,
and took him to the vet anyway
because my sister was hysterical.

III
In the year of my madness
I roamed the woods behind my college campus
and spent nights in the graveyard, unafraid of death.

A knoll of sparse grass slopes down to a pond,
and in the still water, my kneeling reflection,
and that of a cat coming over the green ridge toward me,
its eyes growing larger until they are all I see.
The brown or black cat turns lurid colors and disappears,
along with the slope and pond,
behind one looming platter-shaped eye.

I cannot breathe under such scrutiny.

When at last I can,
I scribble down the incident,
and find it is the same as the one the night before.

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GV – Klein, Venette, and the Dulls

February 17, 2018

MELANIE AND KEN AND JOHN AND MARTIN
IN THE MAGIC CIRCLE

The Magic Circle features a couple of couples on February 26th! Featured musicians will be JOHN AND MARTIN DULL, returning for an encore visit. Featured poets will be MELANIE KLEIN AND KEN VENETTE and we hear Ken has a new chapbook in hand. As always we will have our Bring-Your-A-Game open mic featuring the Red Wheelbarrow Poets.

A $9 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert. 7 PM

GainVille Café,
17 Ames Avenue, Rutherford
201-507-1800