Posts Tagged ‘Williams Center for the Arts’

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 20

November 27, 2018

Arthur Russell

We Won’t Come This Way Again

We won’t come again to this grimace,
to this wax-covered place
where we fought ourselves and each other to a cold draw.
We won’t return to the bed we prayed to bring us together
or the workshop where I made shoes and you left food.
We won’t be married.
We’ll be deflated lawn Santas.

We won’t come this way again.
We bit our lips to cover our teeth;
we stared each other down,
yet the sap rose to the same signal
hidden in the February air. I scraped my knuckles
on the side of the well. You drove the scooter
to Newark in search of a ravine.
Our love was tuned
to a gray hair’s curl on a black sweater,
to a fear with a field so magnetic
it made tree rings
on the papers that you handed me.
We won’t come this way again.

Half of half of half of half of half,
the chain saw does its work.
How sad the roots will be when they find the trunk
is gone. Oh, the water that we drank!
And we thought only love could nurture duty.

Shoulder to shoulder, we saw the world
like a television show, but not each other.
One for the pain, another for the waste,
a third for the lockout, a fourth for the forgotten bliss.
Like stammering Egyptians spilling wine
in the rich silt of the Nile,
we won’t come this way again.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 13

November 14, 2018

Claudia Serea

Windy nights are like alcohol

They both bring back the past
in sips and blows,
both make me dizzy,
drifting.

And, of course, the wind doesn’t speak to me,
and the leaves don’t gossip
in a foreign language,
but still—

On this windy night, I walked out of the bar
where we went for drinks for my colleague Steve
who’s leaving the office,
and where I found myself telling Sam
the story of my life, over Heineken,
from Romania to the United States
(short version, because he asked,
and you should know that Sam and Steve
are half my age,
and charming).

So I realized I drifted through life
sometimes with eyes closed,
other times, wide open,
and, in rare moments, seeing it from above,
understanding it
with a dizzying clarity.

I left the bar with the distinct feeling
I’m drifting again,
eyes open.

Left and right, people rushed, laughing,
chatting on the phone,
looking,
not seeing,
engrossed in their own screens.

The night was windy
and charged.

A Chinese woman passed by
with a blanket over her head,
pushing a loaded cart
with two big sacks of cans
hanging on its sides,
contorted wings.

And her small eyes met mine.

I’ve seen
what you’ve seen,
they said.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week: Nov 6

November 9, 2018

Arthur Russell

April Was Fatal For Jesus, But Not For Me

The seasons are not my metaphorical daddy.

The wine-dark leaves of cut leaf maples
spread like a king’s robe on the wet lawn
are not a sign the end is near to me.

I give not the slightest shit
that hardened winter buds
on the slender branches
of a sapling oak
are promises to some sad soul
that spring’s rebirth
is ’round a few months’ corner.

I do not believe
in cherry blossoms clustered
in the climate-varied air of April,
or that any kind of thaw
implies any other kind of thaw.

We are not babies.
We are disappointed people
like to die.

I don’t need summer days
on Vineyard beaches
swimming through my lover’s legs
in sunlit surf
to make me see the truth.

The caveats are ample as a bedspread
without the sweetened lemon suffrage
of an August afternoon.

March is wet and cold,
and so’s your mom.

Go ahead, I dare you to correlate
the weather that eleventh
of September with the outcome.

Seasons are the guy who swears
he didn’t fuck the maid.

And whatever I say about the seasons
goes double for the daffy crap
imputed by the lovelorn mass
to morning, noon, and night.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—October 30

November 2, 2018

Zorida Mohammed

PARKING SPIT IN SUNLIGHT 

Her father missed no chance to spit in her face.
She glared at him, speechless.

Her mother fed her money,
lots of it, on the side.

She stole from her parent’s store.
By the time she was 18,
her tiny frame had ballooned to 300lbs.

She slipped into denial.

Everything worthwhile was unreachable.
Self-loathing was the only knock she embraced.

Chaos was where she thrived.
She developed a knack for it.

She ate to tamp down something that she could not put her fingers on.
Sleeping was her 2ndfavorite thing.

She lived in her id.

She visited the Louvre several times
because it was the thing to do.
It was a listless chore
because no man was on her arm.

Forever in debt,
she learned to return the things
of fleeting happiness.

She managed to stay at 126 lbs.
for years after surgery,
but the pounds, all of it,
crept back ever so slowly.

For twenty years, she’s been picking the droplets
off her face and parking them in sunlight.

Cake and candy,
nay, sugar,
is still her daddy.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—October 23

October 24, 2018

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—October 23

Frank Rubino

PRETTY GOOD MORNING

And how do I define ‘pretty good morning?’
Picked the wilted cilantro leaves
off the cuttings in the water glass.
A bee kept approaching, hovering.

When I stepped back, it sampled, found no
pollen but then came back again, so I wondered about
the bee’s value system, how it kept getting fooled
into thinking the cilantro was a flower. It flew off.
I picked some yellow arugula leaves from the planter,
the driest ones, but all the rain lately means
the leaves aren’t seared by drought, so why yellow?

And how do I define ‘bad year?’ The year
2012. Gil, Gloria, and Dad died.
Fallen trees, pulling down lines, breaking houses:
Sandy left us without power for weeks. It was cold,
greasy and always twilight in the house.
That was the year, too, when Ryan
suffered their most acute
body dysmorphic disorder.
Oh back in that bad year 2012,
my father looked at my thirsty tomato
plants, and he advised scribing
irrigation ditches in the dirt. They had yellow
leaves like this arugula.

One finch keeps returning, the brave one
with the scruffy head. He learned I would
not hurt him and stayed faithful all week long
while I filled the seed dish, and it incited
various disputes and squabbles amongst established friends.
And some of those bird friends did not return though I poured
Kaytee Wild Finch Blend, and the Mourning Doves
declined, perhaps got tired of winning?
(They are the biggest, and they push the others away.)

Wrote my poetry. This has to be included as a good
activity, but why I value it I have never known,
as why any creature values existing over not.
Is that a cricket chirping to Bose, Satie’s Gnossienne?
Here we are in this house made of popsicle sticks.
I’ll get up. I’ll walk. I don’t know why on earth
I headed for the room I’m entering.

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WCW—Susana H. Case on November 7

October 24, 2018

Williams Readings-Nov2018-SusannaCase.indd

Susana H. Case’s poems use wit, high-energy cleverness, joie de vivre, and a certain daredevil sensibility to shine a light on some of life’s most harrowing rites of passage and most difficult questions. In equal parts–and often simultaneously–entertaining and devastating, these poems are as archetypal as they are personal, thoroughly riveting no matter what culture or mindset the reader or the listener may be coming from.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, 7:00 PM at the William Carlos Williams Center, One Williams Plaza in Rutherford NJ.

Please note: There is an open mic with generous reading times.

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—September 25

September 26, 2018

Della Rowland

 My River, My Flood

The Great Flood of ’37 was lore.
I heard about it from Dad,
how 16 inches of rain in 11 days, then an ice storm and a couple feet of snow
hit Evansville, helplessly tucked up on an oxbow in the Ohio.
The river climbed 19 feet above flood stage to cover 13,000 square miles,
and spread to 25 miles wide at points.
The next year, the dam and locks and levees were built
to keep the river away from the businesses and grand homes downtown
and the shacks along Pigeon Creek.

The family Sunday drives always ended at the floodwall
that stood stout against the waters’ surges,
where the entertainment was watching the river, now in its proper place.
Dad would point out second-story water lines on the McCurdy Hotel,
where coast guard cutters had docked to bring supplies to the stranded.

Dad wasn’t alive in 2018 when we had the wettest February since 1897,
and the river again jumped its banks
just four uphill blocks from his last house in Newburgh,
an antique town five miles from Evansville,
on the high cusp of the oxbow,
where I stay sometimes.
Huge tree trunks churned down stream to the gravel yards,
their roots sticking up in the urgent current, waving like drowning arms
trying to grasp onto one of the coal barges
that trudged up and down, day and night.
The brown water licked the knees of the white stone benches
on the Water Street walkway, and snuck in
the backdoor of the houses built on the view line
to snort at their sump pumps and taste fresh foundations.
I took pictures like a tourist.
I hoped like the devil the drizzle would never let up.

My flood!

A child watches out the front room window of her house,
waiting till the rain lets up to dash out and swish up and down the swollen gutters
after a summer thunderstorm has choked the street drains.
A girl runs through her Grandpa’s vineyard like a wild animal,
wet arms and hair akimbo,
ignoring her Granny’s frantic cries to come inside, to be safe from the lightening.
A high school girl dives off her boyfriend’s family boat
to swim in the muddy current, wearing a new baby blue two-piece swim suit.
Her sister takes a picture of her leaning against the boat’s rail,
jaunty cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth.
A young woman lies under the fall night on the river’s far flood plains with Bud,
who loves her and is dying of leukemia.
Four adult children pour their mother’s ashes into the Pacific.
A woman listens to her father recollect the flood of ’37
and how it tattooed its high watermark on the posh stores
and overturned Posey County farm houses.

I am held by rain, by water, by this river.

After a good month, the 2018 floodwaters in Newburgh settled down,
seeding the banks with driftwood, soggy sneakers, plastic trash.
Fancy homeowners surveyed their optimistic basements and sun decks.
Citizens once more strolled the walkway on Water Street
towing toddlers and dogs,
and teenagers on skateboards swerved between them
wearing blue tooths that drown out the river’s voice.
Then, right before Spring,
one night when the moon was full,
more snow came,
and I wanted the waters to will out once more,
to rise past the moon’s reflection
with a shared resentment for dams and locks,
for things that thwart and interrupt passage from childhood to leaving.
But the river had already gone back to its bed
with not enough snow to entice it to swell up and swallow homes
or revive its appetite for concrete.

O River!  O, wide muddy Ohio!
A little girl sits in the back seat of the family’s Buick
holding a dripping ice cream cone,
watching you flow,
believing you have flowed forever, magically,
with all your gallons.

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