Posts Tagged ‘poem’


GV – Susanna Lee and a Birthday Salute

November 20, 2017

The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café on Friday, Dec.1. Our poetry feature this month will be SUSANNA LEE, a Red Wheelbarrow Poet Workshop member who has a book of poems called Sunrise Mountain and who has just been published in The Red Wheelbarrow 10 and the Poem of the Week 2. Musical guest features the music of bass maestro JACO PASTORIUS in our annual birthday salute. The Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Bring-Your-A-Game open mic features poets and musicians rocking the mic.

An $8 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert

GainVille Café
17 Ames Avenue


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – November 14

November 20, 2017

Poem of the Week 11/14/17

Elinor Mattern

Cardiac Nurse

The doctors say she’s very good at it,
she tells me in her South African lilt. A skill that’s rare.
Is called on when surgery requires someone who can stand still
and hold a heart in her hands without moving for hours.
No food. No water. Little breaths. A sacred trust.

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WCW – Emari DiGiorgio

November 8, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

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


Emari DiGiorgio is the author of Girl Torpedo (Agape, 2018), the winner of the 2017 Numinous Orison, Luminous Origin Literary Award, and The Things a Body Might Become (Five Oaks Press, 2017). She’s the recipient of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, the Ellen La Forge Memorial Poetry Prize, the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, RHINO’s Founder’s Prize, the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award, and a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She’s received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She teaches at Stockton University, is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet, and hosts World Above, a monthly reading series in Atlantic City, NJ.

Mudflap Girl Speaks

My hot minute as a pin-up: the golden hour’s
slick ruse. More likely, Stu drew the thin frame

of a girl downtown, feral dame I feared as a newly
housed wife. Or a wisp of the she before me,

untethered Amazon freewheeling the countryside.
Her body’s open road, long haul, radio static,

bellowing semi horn her call. Maybe she was
a goddess of his dreams: the slope of spine

a dangerous curve at night, dark crease along hip,
one-way bridge, flashing lights. Change gears

too fast, and areolas’ inverted potholes will shred
thread, send a rig skittering sideways across

Highway One, a full cache of beer and glass
crashed. I prayed that he’d come home, wanted

to bang the road from his bones, but I tired of his
crass jokes, how he thought time stopped when he

was gone. I sundialed in sheets, pined for a woman
who went braless at the post office, the peaked

grottos of her tits in the cool dark of an old cotton
shirt. My breasts were a roadside attraction, though

the toots and whistles were for a phantom sexpot
they dreamt of bending over, never kissing.


Contact: John Barrale –


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – October 31

November 3, 2017

Poem of the Week 10/31/17

Arthur Russell

How To Replace A Toilet

First, have a father, one who owns a car wash
where he employs poor black men,
preferably those who have come North in the Great Migration,
but any poor black men will do,
as long as they have historical disadvantages
that have translated into self-destructive behaviors
that make them the target of disdain and predatory labor practices.

Grow up at his kitchen table,
hear his precise mimicry of their accents,
mockery of their foibles,
his weirdly intimate knowledge of their weaknesses
and hopes bordering on, and even bleeding over into,
affection that never reaches all the way to respect.

Go to work for your father.
Start off drying the cars at the exit end,
and gradually learn all of the jobs
while imbibing his attitudes
towards the men you work beside, although you,
made differently, or is it just youth and naïve sympathy,
appreciate their struggle.

See them come to work still drunk from the night before
while you are spending your summers at summer camp
learning to smoke pot behind the bunkhouse.
Get paid the same net $1.25/hour the men get,
with the difference that they are living on it
and you are saving up to buy a Sony stereo music system
so you can play Carole King’s Tapestry.

Take out Pete Watson’s oozing head stitches
at the lunch table with a fresh razor blade and tweezers
so he doesn’t have to leave early to go to the ER and miss work.
Learn to send men home with no work on slow days,
how to absorb their abuse, their special hatred
of your father, blooming when drunk,
transferred to you, and how to resist their requests
for new uniforms to replace the worn ones
that you send to the local dry cleaner for patching.

Lean over their shoulders as they vacuum the cars
to stop them from sucking up the change in the ashtrays.

Follow them around the corner to stop them from buying beer
on their 45-minute lunch for which your father charges them an hour.

On a Saturday morning at 7 AM, when Jerry Howard has used his one call from jail
to call your father, go to the Brooklyn Mens’ House of Detention on Boerum Place
to bail him out after he got arrested during a fight with his wife,
because Jerry is the best entrance driver and it’s Saturday,
two days after a messy snow, and you may wash 1000 cars.

Another time, find Irving Hyde hiding inside his locker after closing
hoping to burglarize the place if you locked him in.

And listen, always listen, even when you argue against him,
to the embattled logic your father uses
to justify stealing from the men’s tip box,
withholding pay they’ll never get back in taxes
because he pays them off the books,
and giving them alarm clocks for Christmas,
but only if they come to work that day.

So you are ready one morning
when someone tells you that the men’s toilet
is broken, and you go into that cubicle to see
that it’s not the flush valve or the toilet seat,
but the commode itself, the vitreous bowl,
that has cracked with an obvious fissure from base to rim
where someone has jammed a liquor bottle
upside down in the drain and evidently stepped on the base of it
hoping that the bottle, not the commode, would break apart and flush away
so that the bottle would not be found in the trash
and raise suspicions that he had been drinking on the job.

Go to your father where he sits behind his grey steel desk
making tea, and tell him what has happened.
Wait while he squeezes the teabag against the spoon
and swings it deftly by the string into the wastepaper basket
before he looks up at you over his half-moon reading glasses,
and says, “Well, fix it, Sonny.”

Admit you don’t know how to change a toilet.
Watch your father take a stubby pencil from his back pocket
and draw a schematic diagram of a toilet on a writing tablet.
Listen to him explain, with the same patience and easygoing charm
he used to talk to your teachers on Parents’ Day,
the two bolts, the wax ring, the pipe wrenches, the Teflon tape,
then make up a list of parts for you, and send you in his Lincoln
to Davis & Warshow to get what you will need,

then call you back at the door to remind you
to put a board across the toilet before you go,
or they’ll use it while you’re gone
and you’ll have to clean out their shit by hand.

Keep the schematic diagram for future reference.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – October 24

October 27, 2017

Poem of the Week 10/24/17

Della Rowland

Trade Winds

One day it rains in Indiana,
the next in New York.
Weather winding from the Pacific across the North
follows the wind’s drop down,
down to the boot toe of Indiana where I grew up,
where the Ohio encounters the Wabash,
where Indiana knees Kentucky and elbows Illinois.

Then the weather heads back north and east,
courses up invisible banks
over ordinary Ohio,
endless Pennsylvania,
industrial New Jersey,
to the stop sign at the Hudson
where I live now.

The Ohio curls up in the armpit of my hometown,
curves against flood banks on the Kentucky side,
slides under pastel and fluorescent sunsets
to meet the moonlight on the Wabash.

Humidity hangs heavy in that river basin,
a damp blanket on everything,
even tree leaves’ undersides.
It clings to your skin,
even after you’ve left.

My angry sister snows on every road I drive to reach her.
My sad sister sends me rain and autumn leaves by the rake-fulls.

My dead father’s disapproving voice blows north wind cold,
cold as his marble monument,
his children’s names on the back,
hieroglyphs depicting servants buried with the pharaoh for eternity
under a stone sunset.

The smell of Mom’s roses and laundry on the line
crosses state lines and years,
travels the wind stream and veins.
We scattered her long ago in the Pacific with roses.
She and their scent flow under our bridges,
up our rivers, in the rain,
lie like soft humidity on our skin.

My Indiana won’t send its historic thunderstorms
or infamous tornado tunnels north.
It’s waiting for its earthquake fault line to finally fall in.
You’d think it was LA where my brother fled
to escape that weather pattern.

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Meadowlands Museum Launch of Red Wheelbarrow Poets #10

October 25, 2017


Join the William Carlos Williams Poetry Symposium and the Meadowlands Museum in celebrating a launch of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets #10 anthology. The afternoon will feature readings from many of the 52 area poets included in the anthology, as well as an open mic.


The Red Wheelbarrow Poets began as the WCW Poetry Cooperative of Southern Bergen County which was cofounded by poet John J. Trause Janet Kolstein, whose poetry has been Instigatorzine, Lips, The Poetry of Place: North Jersey in Poetry, and the Newstead Abbey Byron Society Review. She is a member of both the American and International Byron Society. An artist as well, she is a member of the hob’art cooperative gallery in Hoboken, NJ, and exhibits throughout the tristate area. Her collage work is featured on the cover and throughout the #10 anthology.


November 4, 2017, 1 – 4 PM. An open mic and a reception with refreshments follow the featured reading, and books will be available for purchase.


The Meadowlands Museum, 91 Crane Avenue in Rutherford.

The Meadowlands Museum is home to the William Carlos Williams Room, the first permanent exhibit dedicated to the poetdoctor’s legacy. The exhibit contains objects never before displayed, including his highchair and cradle, plus medical equipment.

For more information, call the Museum at 2019351175.


WCW – Christopher Salerno

October 23, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

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


Christopher Salerno is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His newest collection Sun & Urn, selected by Thomas Lux for the Georgia Poetry Prize, was recently published by University of Georgia Press. A NJ State Council on the Arts fellow, his poems have appeared in The New York Times, American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prairie Schooner, Jubilat, Fence, and elsewhere. He’s an Associate Professor at William Paterson University in NJ where he teaches in the B.A. and M.F.A. Programs in Creative and Professional Writing.


You climb a tree to eat the day’s fruit
until the boughs crap out
because a body must test the air
to be art. Braid legs with branches
until the sun dulls. I am no docent
but so much depends upon
proper diffusion of light. It’s not
the moon, though it pursues you. It’s how
faces in paintings are lit like dead
relatives in dreams, their eyes
pairs of dark gems. Caravaggio
painted over several of his apostles
before giving Bacchus those sick eyes,
that crown of vines. We like this
kind of art, but to buy it would cost us
everything. Like listening to the story
of our own afterlife: once the stars
pull out and frost hits the field.
Honey crystalizes in the jar.
We vie for a view of something real—
oleander or our old selves—
but both contain poison.

Contact: John Barrale –