Posts Tagged ‘Rutherford’

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 3

December 5, 2019

Janet Kolstein

Isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?


At twelve tons and 77 feet tall, 
this year’s Christmas tree is estimated to be
in the same age group as me —
a Norway Spruce in its brilliant final stage
with 50,000 lights and a crystal star.

Who would agree to be cut down in maturity
for a death blazing with glory?
65-75 in tree years is not that many
compared to the Giant Sequoias
who’ve been one with the earth since before the time of Christ,
maybe Moses too,
and have never been the type for tinsel.

The cacophony of a crackling, never-finished city 
whooshes in a rush of energy
with the thronging, milling guests around Rockefeller Center
where the evergreen holds court,
so far in spirit from the tree’s last address.

Most Manhattan dwellers are transplanted from somewhere else,
I’d venture to guess,
and I was once one of them,
unburdoned by the ghosts of Christmakkah past
when both parents were alive and fairly well
in our house in Halcyon Park,
and the plain tree in our backyard stood healthy and tall.

Adding to this season’s poignancy
is an awareness that the glorious conifer’s destiny 
will soon be the lumber mill —
a humbling fall from splendor.

“Spruce” spent its early years on a coffee table in Florida, New York, until being planted in 1959. Admired for its Grecian symmetry, it was cherished as a friend to many. Whether bird or squirrel, it welcomed all who sought rest or shelterin its generous limbs, garnering international fame in its last few months.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 26

December 2, 2019

Rachel Wagner

Dirty Money


Who touches more money throughout the day 
than the dude running the corner store? 
I think not a single person in the world. 
Probably not even a banker. 
Passing around quarters, pennies, dollar bills 
that have been around the block already themselves.
He barely even thinks about the prices,
his mouth just knows it when he sees each product.

I remember one time a kid was trying to trade me 
hella coins for cash so he could go buy a fake $2 gun.
It was the one that all the kids were buying that night.
I was like why don’t you just go buy it if you have the money? 
He said he didn’t want to look broke at the store.
I was like dude, you’re like eight years old. 
And why would I want all that dirty ass money 
ya’ll been scraping out of nowhere? 

It’s basically the same materials getting gathered by local fiends
then getting passed between bags of dope hopefully.
Same dollars needed to hold the powder in a hammock, 
on the curb lookin like they might just be breaking down a bag. 
But they also got another dollar rolled up to inhale.
And those are two of the bills that will get fumbled around later, 
gathered together searching for a dealer,

who’s with me in my car. 
They look over at him to see if he got it on him. 
He’s sitting there telling them he doesn’t have shit. 
Already passed out the last of it.
Already tossed the plastic baggy it was bagged up in, 
which, in another world, 
could have maybe held a little sandwich.

Meanwhile, 
he’s been dipping into his pockets and stuff all day. 
Organizing everything. Taking money in. 
Taking it in singles, fives, tens, pennies. 
Doesn’t matter. Taking whatever. 
Then trading the liability he got on his body, 
stuck to his balls or sitting behind him sloppily 
tossed back, using underwear as a pocket,
like a cotton wallet.

The money slips into his actual pockets. A big wad of it. 
With me, he takes out the whole thing to pay for everything. 
Even if he just needs to peel a dollar off it. 
And as he’s doing that, I remember back to my babydad.
He would have me hold all his money just to get it off his body. 
But even when you got nothing on you people think that you do. 
You get harassed by the cops, or else you got junkies coming up to you 
to see if you got it or else who got it?

Then at the end of the night, me and that guy 
could be found around the corner on my couch. 
His hands on my body in the warmth of the house. 
Got his arms all around me as if I were a fat stack of cash, 
but I’m small, so his arms still meet each other behind my back. 
Touching me gentle as hell like he’d been waiting to see how I’d feel.
Then he stopped like wait he gotta wash his hands,
there’s black shit on his fingertips from touching money all day. 

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 19

November 22, 2019

Rachel Wagner

Carrie’s Blood


There was this one time I fucked this dude 
like a week after taking a Plan B pill for this other dude. 
I mean, who hasn’t been there, right? Well, we had a wild night, 
then we woke up the next morning to a fuckin bloodbath. 
I mean, both of us covered in blood on some Carrie shit. 
Like straight up blood not period glops that are thick. 
This was thin red blood all over the bed, his legs, my butt. 
It looked like we were sacrificing a goat or something,
blood all over the place. 
Or maybe it was some pseudo virginity thing—
you know how people wanna hang up wedding sheets.
It was like that. 

I had to buy a new bed set,
and, actually, you know I never had my hymen cracked. 
Like the first time I had sex, there was no blood at all. 
A young tenderoni on my boyfriend’s cousin’s bed 
while his other cousin slept on the floor. 
It was the middle of the night, 
no one was supposed to know. 
But his cousin turned out to not really be asleep,
and, when I wrote about the experience, 
my father found the Word document. 
Then he kicked me out for it. 
And I was only over there cuz I had got kicked out my mom’s.
All that shit going on but no blood stains, at least. 

Anyway, this time, you know after the Plan B 
effectively forced my uterus to pour itself out, 
I remember the dude woke up before me,
well, fake-before-me cuz I was actually up. 
But he sat up, and I felt him looking over at me, 
so I pulled the sheets over me. 
I opened my eyes, then he was like, Wasup with all this blood 
you know if you were anyone else I’d probably run.

Whole time reading Carrie lately, 
I keep thinking of that drunk dude Carrie dated on Sex and the City
He comes to her window in streetcar-named-desire style,
pops up drunk the night they broke up and strips and calls her name.
Carrie!
All she can’t help but think is, Hmm maybe I do have good pussy, 
when, in reality, a dude like that is scary. That’s a real horror story. 
Dating a guy in recovery and he wants to fuck too much and jump into a relationship and relapses right outside her spot, naked? 
She’s lucky the episode ended there. 

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 12

November 13, 2019

MARK FOGARTY

NOW YOU KNOW ONE OF THE MISSING

During the time that Misty was gone, she was one of more than a thousand indigenous women missing in North America.
—The Guardian

Misty Upham’s drama coach
Told her to find another line of work.
Despite that, she became a professional actor.
You’ve seen her in August: Osage County
And many others. I saw her in a movie called
Frozen River, where she gets involved in a scam
To smuggle people in from Canada
Through a tribe’s right to move unimpeded across the international border.
That’s real, guaranteed by the Jay Treaty of 1794.
The white woman was the star, but you’d remember
Misty in it, her persistence, her push
To cross borders. She would catch your eye.

Misty Upham was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award
For her work in Frozen River, and for a joint cast award
From the Screen Actors Guild for August: Osage County.

Now you know one of the thousands who have gone missing.
Now that you think about it, you remember her, too.
Oh yeah, the quiet one. The one who played the Indian girl.

Misty achieved what she did
Despite perpetual agony and anxiety.
Misty was gang raped as a teen. And she was raped
At the Golden Globes the year before she died.
She used alcohol and a whole formulary of drugs
To push on; she tried to kill herself several times.

When Misty went missing on the Muckleshoot Reservation,
Local police declined to search for her. She was just out partying
With other drunk Natives; she’d turn up.

Nothing fucking happened until eight days later
When CNN asked why no one was looking
For this notable young actress.

Her family, not the police, organized a search party for Misty.
After she was missing 11 days,
They found her dead, at the bottom of a ravine near the White River.
Her blood was full of alcohol, but the coroner ruled
He could not come to a conclusion as to why she died.

The treaties don’t protect you from shit.
You lived near a border of relentless indifference,
Near something inside that’s gone grossly missing.

And when they found you,
Your family touched you through the body bag,
Your arms, your legs, so you’d know
They came looking for you.

For Misty Upham, 1982-2014, and advocates for MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women). A detailed article from The Guardian about her is at https://www.theguardian.com/global/2015/jun/30/misty-upham-native-american-actress-tragic-death-inspiring-life

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 5

November 6, 2019

Frank Rubino

Deserted Corridor in the Airport

When I passed the duty-free shop there with its perfumes,
it smelled like you, after you’ve left a place.
I’ve read the sense of smell is plastic, 
physical pattern matching:
an airborne particle’s molecular shape 
sifted through the olfactory matrix,
or whatever they call it. I am sure
this jigsaw puzzle conception is simplistic
and like most things I think I understand,
incomplete, and the product of childish curiosity
I long ago set aside for business.
I remember before I got in an Uber
in 2003: the flex of your hair 
gathered in my hand, the smell that arose
from your scalp of fine shampoo from Soon Beauty
on 22nd street, and the way your brain
seemed so Edenic cased inside your head.
So much marvelous stuff you think all the time,
I’ll never know! And loving you,
even, I still don’t know, and it’s come back
now that I walk this bleak terminal, that curiosity.

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GV—Book Launch, Jaco Bday Salute—Nov 15

November 6, 2019

The Magic Circle series returns to GainVille Café Friday, Nov. 15 for our annual Jaco Pastorius birthday salute and the launch of a great new book of poetry.

Featured reader will be DAVID MESSINEO and his new book of poems TWENTY MINUTES OF CALM. David is the longtime publisher of Sensations Magazine and the author of nine books of poetry.

Musical feature will be a birthday salute to JACO PASTORIUS featuring bass great and Jaco devotee JENNIFER VINCENT.

You don’t want to miss this!
A $9 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert.

Also featuring the RED WHEELBARROW POETS and the long-running BRING YOU’RE A GAME open mic.

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

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WCW—4 Terrapin Books Poets—Nov 6

November 6, 2019

For the month of November, the Gang of Five is co-featuring four very accomplished poets, all recently published by Terrapin Books: Hayden Saunier, Sarah Wetzel, Gary J. Whitehead, and Michael T. Young.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 7:00 PM, at the Williams Center, One Williams Plaza in Rutherford, NJ, to hear these fabulous poets.

About our features:

Hayden Saunier is the author of four poetry collections, most recently How to Wear This Body. Her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and Gell Poetry Award. She is the founder of the poetry + improvisation group No River Twice. (www.haydensaunier.com)

Sarah Wetzel is the author of The Davids Inside David, recently released from Terrapin Books, River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Prize (published 2015) and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize (published 2010). Sarah is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

Gary J. Whitehead’s fourth book of poetry, Strange What Rises, was published this year. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, American Life in Poetry, the Guardian’s Poem of the Week, and the BBC’s Words and Music.

Michael T. Young’s collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. He received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council. His poetry has appeared in Atticus Review, One, Rattle and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His poetry has also been featured on The Writer’s Almanac.

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:
Blog – https://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets Twitter – @RWBPoets.