The Red Wheelbarrow Poets read at The Red Harlem Readers Series

On Sunday, April 25th 2010, The Red Wheelbarrow poets read from their anthologies at The Red Harlem Readers, at the Indian Cafe in New York City.
Below are some pictures from the event, courtesy of Richard Gaffield.

Many thanks to Anne Gefell and the Series Associates and to Sondra Singer Beaulieu who hosted the event.

The Phoenix Reading Series: Claudia Serea & George Held—Plus: Open Mic

The Phoenix Reading Series features
Claudia Serea & George Held
Plus: Open Mic

Sunday, February 28, 2010, at 5:30 pm

Bengal Curry
65 West Broadway, New York
between Murray & Warren Streets
1, 2, 3, A, C, or E trains to Chambers Street
1 1⁄2 blocks below Chambers St

Just then, the blizzard rushes into the street
on its messenger bike,
trailing its heavy veil through the crowd.

Is this a sales offer from the store,
or is it something that will change my life, I ask,

but the snowflakes fill the tall man’s mouth
before he can answer.

Claudia Serea, Blizzard

A Boat on an Ocean

A boat on an ocean,
something a Japanese might like.
It could build.
Serenity with complementry peril.
Because you long for me,
I’ll never sell you short.
Tomorow will be a happy day.
What a sendoff we’ll give it.
I know it’s easy to think
this is just a small part
of a dolorouus story,
but to think so
is a dog-brained istake.
Take hold, lover.
Do whatver comes to you.
It will be serene and bright.
Little if anything will ever
break up this happy time.

The City of Wampum

Rice and chicken breasts,
heedless if anything flat might intrude.
No one had the right
to obsolete him in such a manner.
Lacking a building supply,
the mind contrives itself of dialogue.
The city of wampum never lies
so many seashells at rest.
Fleas trade dogs.
The shore with one fisherman
needs the lone swimmer.

Jim Klein

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)