Posts Tagged ‘Williams Center for the Arts’


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – February 13

February 14, 2018

Poem of the Week 2/13/18

Sometimes At Night

Della Rowland

Sleep is best done on the couch
where I become a baby in the bassinette,
lying on my back, arm thrown up,
a wisp of sleep-wet hair on my forehead,
blissful breath gurgling up little sugar bubbles
at the corners of my mouth.

My mouth is salty now,
the sea rises and falls in my breath.

Sometimes at night I imagine the big rig drivers,
18-wheelers parked on the side of an on-ramp,
curled up in the bunk between the bed and cab,
wearing all their clothes,
sugar bubbles in their coffee breath.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – February 6

February 10, 2018

Poem of the Week 02/06/2018

On The Pascack Valley Line

Bill Moreland



This morning
a gazillion bugs awakened
under a canopy of grass blades holding
a gazillion sunrises reflected
which the dew drops refracted,
endless water balloon suns
were collected.
Good Morning. Good Morning.
Good Morning. Good Morning.
It sure is brilliant today.


Rubber wires droop home
to the webbed transformer.


A lot of people at this stop.
Does everybody have to look like a cop?
Did the Tactical Narco FBI short bus break down or what!
Oh, I forgot, this stop hosts a Dunkin Donuts.
So criss cross Kinderkamack
and glide.
A cell tower, taller than the trees
tries to mingle somehow in pathetic imitation
by stabbing itself with giant pine green
pipe cleaners.
A brief respite, a caress of less with lush scenery is short lived,
a golf course…of course.


Palm fronds and an oddly shaped hunk of caved in drain
in early utility mundane
stuck in the mud, part of the terrain,
so, we glide.
Again the rubber wires scoop along
on a wobbly parallel track with the track
past PSE&G, and the Transit Bus Garage
into the brush
hushing into


Leaves are full, still green
and still.
A few more clamor aboard.
So, glide.
The deep green vegetation
holds the shadow, hovers over holly bushes
their backs to the sunrise, they
hide the ugly river.
“Tickets!, Hoboken?…”


The curbs are getting higher.
The litter, deeper.
The tracks more brittle,
sharper at the edges.
Short field weeds run amok
along and behind the mile square graveyard.


My stop.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – January 30

February 1, 2018

Poem of the Week 01/30/2018

The Knollwood Inn

Bobbie O’Connor

Full moon crowd. It’s Friday night time.
Start by the bar clock, not the right time.
Push the pool table against the wall
Before you set up your equipment an’ all.

Mingle with the people at the tables an’ stools.
Get requests, compliments an’ rules.
Don’t play so soft. Don’t play so loud.
Rip it up. Slow it down. Please the crowd.

Read their minds, you’ll have it made.
Wait for the place to close before you get paid.
Pack up everything. Don’t leave it here.
Pay up your tab. Don’t slip on the beer.

Learn their favorite song to get work there again,
But the best boss we ever had was Len.
He’d even leave it up to us what time to begin,
An’ it was fun workin” at The Knollwood Inn.

We left for what we thought was a better gig
But we were sorry afterwards — sorry big!
At every gig, after that, again an’ again,
We knew the best boss we ever had was Len.

He was a former entertainer an’ really knew
what it was like an’ what we went through.
Each night he had our pay all ready, no fuss,
an’ the minute we finished, it was handed to us.

We accumulated fans in dribs an’ drabs.
Don’t forget to sing “I Fall to Pieces” for Babs.
Singin’ everybody’s favorite song—
How nice it would’ve been if we had Lennie all along.

Sing this song for Rudy, do that favorite of Jake’s
Dancin’ to the jukebox during the breaks—
“Good to see you, Mary.” – “Pat, how ya been?”
It was fun workin’ at The Knollwood Inn.

It’s strange. Gigs change, but always much gear to pack
An when workin’ far, the awful long drive back.
When workin’ nearby, we’d head for a diner.
Breakfast at 3 a.m. – nothing finer.

Than chattin’ over coffee til the sun comes up.
Too wound up to sleep yet, so have another cup.
Sometimes we’d spend free nights brainstorming for jobs,
occasionally struggling through crowded mobs.

Workin’ bars wasn’t always like I planned,
With drunks fallin’ into my microphone stand.
I’ve been flashed, an I’ve been shoved,
An I’ve been ripped off, but I’ve been loved.

Hey, let’s hear it for a hard-workin’ band!
Come on, everybody, give the guys a big hand!
We had good times. Sometimes we’d win,
An’ it was fun workin’ at The Knollwood Inn.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – January 23

January 27, 2018

Poem of the Week 01/23/2018

Christmas, 1976

Jennifer Poteet

My mother took our first Christmas tree
and hurled it into the backyard.
The tree was artificial, already decorated
with little red bows.
Dad and I had just purchased it from Korvettes.
We hadn’t yet added the lights.

My parents screamed at each other
near the sliding glass door
of the living room. I don’t know
if it was about the tree, or her being Jewish,
or something else,
but soon all the gift-wrapped presents
were out in the yard, too.

I went upstairs to my room,
listened to records,
and harmonized with Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
I drew ladies’ faces in profile,
and, with each sketch,
made their hair bigger, more outrageous.

The house was Christmas quiet when I woke up.
It had snowed again, overnight.
Both cars were gone from the driveway,
and I could see my mother’s wedding ring
glint on the kitchen counter.

I put on my coat,
went out to the backyard,
and did what I was in the familiar business of doing.
I dragged everything back inside
and tried to put things right.

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RWB Workshop Poems of the Week – January 9

January 12, 2018

Poems of the Week 01/09/2018

Desert Eagle Reads a Book

Don Zirilli

When picking out a book to hold
between your chest and a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol,
think about the pages the bullet must get through.

Your Encyclopedia could sacrifice its H,
the letter most like breath,
Hackensack hacked through,
“2000 Years of Hair Dressing” snipped away
by this metallic Hake,
“a large food fish of greedy habits,”
leaving behind a Halo of Hanging Gardens,
ending in Hysteria.

The Bible could offer a dream of creation,
a wall full of laws,
a history of disappointment,
Surrealist predictions,
and a frantic part two revision
before succumbing to Revelations.

The phone book could give up its names.

That hardcover Impressionist tome
could splatter its feverish color,
blur itself further,
refuse to focus or to clarify its aim.

When picking out a book to hold
between your chest and a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol,
consider the stories you’re prepared to lose,
string together memories of riven words,
read new endings with your lips moving,
walk slowly to the library,
wink at bluebirds, decoupage
another day to store away.

You’ll be tempted by stiff, heavy bricks of paper,
but check out a novel
that responds to your touch,
a tale that’s open-ended, unresolved,
that dares you to keep on going
after it’s done.



Arthur Russell

I have raised my eyes to a Midwood, Brooklyn sycamore
on the walk we’d take around my parents’ block
to smoke some pot before Thanksgiving dinner,
and I have seen the stick nest of the Quaker Parrots
jutting like a beaver lodge above the leaf-strewn lawn
of the Orthodox Jews who invaded
our assimilated neighborhood in the decades
since we siblings moved to Jersey and Connecticut,
unaware that Kings would one day rise again.

And I have heard their noisy chattered ruckus, though to me they sounded less
like Dizz and Bird at Minton’s Playhouse, popping peanuts,
than housewives calling deli orders out to countermen
in lab coats and smudged white paper side caps on a Friday
at Blue Ribbon while their cars were double parked on Avenue J.
So, when my sister touched my sleeve to pass the roach,
I pointed, as first one and then another, green as Kool Aid
or Hawaiian shirts, emerged and paused at the nest’s dark mouth,
pulsed their verdant wings, then flew away, and asked,
“Cindy, are those parrots or a figment of the weed?”

My Uncle Fred and Cindy’s boyfriend Robert watching Dallas
play the Giants in the kitchen, dipping crackers in the baked brie
before the guests arrived, when we, half-baked ourselves,
got home from our pre-Thanksgiving walk, I told my mother,
peeling carrots at the sink for crudité, there were parrots
green as Kool Aid or Hawaiian shirts living in the tree
outside the Berson’s house, and she said,
“Arthur, darling, Berson moved out years ago;
the yahmmies live there now.”

In his Clinamen Improvisation, Gregory Pardlo
sees those parrots, whose ancestors arrived from Argentina
in the hold of an airship and escaped from a crate at JFK,
as surprising avatars of love dispersed and thriving
on electric poles and street trees from Green-Wood,
where I’ve never been, to the ballfields of the college,
where I also smoked some pot back in the day.

Now, the cognoscenti give Quaker-Parrot tours to day-trip hipsters,
who are forced to sign agreements to keep nesting sites a secret,
lest the poachers catch and make the parrots into pets,
the very things that they were meant to be that distant day
their forbears came to America in crates.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – January 2

January 6, 2018

Poem of the Week 01/02/2018

John Barrale

The Warm Coney Island Sand

I think of my father when I shovel snow.

The simple act of picking up
and throwing down

reminding me
of him,

in WW II,

tramping through

the Belgian snow.

I still mourn
the frostbitten toes

my father left

at the battle
of the Bulge

though the blackened ounces
were as lucky as rabbit’s feet

because he
came home.

=They don’t hurt, he said, reading my mind
as he wriggled the four stumps
into the warm
Coney Island

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – December 19

December 20, 2017

Poem of the Week 12/19/17

John Barrale


I look down at them
play God—

reduce the world’s species to two

a left
a right,

my first act of non-creation
to downsize,

that there be

no beasts, no people,

no flowers,
no clouds

just fingers
and thumbs—

because even God
needs angels,

& maybe,

when time
is scheduled to begin

I’ll let one
open the day
like a curtain.

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