Posts Tagged ‘workshop poem’


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – June 12

June 14, 2018

Poem of the Week 6/12/18

The Third Day
(for Neil and Blair)

Mark Fogarty

Tipperary is inland a bit, off the beaten track
Of the tourbas, that ancient Gaelic word.
West of Thurles a few miles there are no cars,
No houses, no telephone poles, no sign of man
But the road. We stopped for our bearings,
And I smelled a flavor I never had before—
The absence of any trace of humans.

If I had to guess, I’d say that air
Was the same as it was on the third day,
When the land was separated from the water.

There was a hall of trees, and wide brushes of green
Squeezed from the greenest tube in the palette.
The green ran up a hill to a meadow above.
Ireland is full of flowers. It rains most of the time,
And there are long lawns of land they never use.

There was a sun that day like the one on your finer days.

We couldn’t find the place we’re from.
A woman walked by with a pram,
Eva and her fussing son Conor.
“Oh, you’re heading in the wrong direction entirely!” she said.

Eventually, we found the spot, in a ruined church,
Sat on the groundstone my ancestors are buried under.
Hundreds of years beneath a common stone,
But they were not thrown in willy nilly.
Each was in his place. Each was in her place.

I’m thinking my asthma would do well
In that spot west of Thurles, if I could find it again.

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GV – John Dull and RWB Workshop Poets

June 9, 2018


The Magic Circle series returns to GainVille Café Friday, June 29. RED WHEELBARROW WORKSHOP POETS will be featured from the long-running (11 years!) weekly workshop led by Jim Klein. Our musical guest will be Rutherford singer-songwriter JOHN DULL, returning for an encore performance, hopefully with special guest MARTIN DULL. Also featuring the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Bring-Your-A-Game open mic. A $9 cover includes coffee/tea, dessert. 7 PM.

GainVille Café
17 Ames Avenue, Rutherford


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – June 5

June 9, 2018

Poem of the Week 06/05/18


Janet Kolstein

She told me she was attracted to a boy on our blanket,
a solid, dark-haired, dark-eyed, easy-going Armenian-American,

but my eyes would drift
over to her blanket
which held the dreamy Lolo.

Just for the sake of this poem,
try to remember a crush on the beach
and see him again
in my mind’s corrupt eye.

And try to hear the cawing of seagulls
muffled by waves
and a breeze that dried sea-wet skin,
and attempt to re-create Lolo
lolling like a minor Apollo
with his slender torso,
his insouciant smile.

Sand on concrete sidewalks
ending in the ocean,
dull thud of bare feet on wooden boardwalks,
a hazy horizon seen through sunglasses
filmy with salt,
friends frozen in time as teens,
no great opinions about life in general,
no judgments;
the past, in summer,
polished to perfidy.

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RWB Workshop Poems of the Week – May 22

May 28, 2018

Poems of the Week 5/22/18

The bone music maker

Claudia Serea

The dumpsters overflow with X-rays. And banned music is nowhere to be found.
The bone music maker is a bootlegger of jazz and rock and roll. His name is Sasha, and he lives on Resurrection Street. Each week, he looks for X-rays in the hospital dumpsters and takes them home to turn them into records.

Sasha presses the music into the X-rays with a machine, then cuts the disks with scissors. He burns a hole in the center with his cigarette, then holds up the result to the light: Elvis’s Heartbreak Hotel on the ribs. Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line on metatarsals and phalange. Miles Davis on pneumonia. Chuck Berry on the broken hip. Dizzy Gillespie on Uncle Misha’s brain tumor. Ready for the turntable for just one ruble.

They sound like voices through torrential rain, ghosts singing through static. Like music in fog, light years away. Piano and trumpets played by the bees. Rontgenizdat is criminal, and everyone knows it. But students donate blood to get the money to buy bone music.

Someone must have ratted on Sasha. One day, the Komsomol music patrol raided the apartment and confiscated everything: the piles of X-rays, the records still unsold, even the manicure scissors and the cigarettes he smoked, and used to burn the record holes. Some say Sasha hid in the empty coffin waiting for Uncle Misha in the dining room. Others say he went to prison, and another bone music maker took his place.

In any case, on Resurrection Street, on skulls, vertebrae, and femurs, the banned bone music lives on. And the bones shake, rattle, and roll.


God’s Doberman

Milton P. Ehrlich

At noon, on the fasting day
of Yom Kippur in ’38, father asked me
to run home from Shul and walk our dog.

I was so hungry I forgot about fasting
when I found a stick of Wrigley’s Juicy-Fruit
in my back pocket. Uncle Willy gave it to me
when he returned from a flight to Pittsburgh.
Airlines provided gum to stop ears from popping.

I walked by a barking Doberman wearing a swastika collar.
I had seen dogs like that in newsreels about the march towards war—
loading Jews on trains heading for Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

The dog lunged for me and sank his teeth into the calf of my leg.
How did the dog know I was a Jew? I wasn’t even wearing a yarmulka.

Police escorted me to Saint John’s Hospital
and ordered the dog, who had not been vaccinated,
tested for rabies. The results were positive.

I underwent painful medical treatments.
What kind of God would punish me
for chewing one lousy stick of gum?

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – May 8

May 11, 2018

Poem of the Week 05/8/18

A Train That Turned to Stone

Janet Kolstein

Eros and Psyche
rolled in late one night
and took a seat beside me
to help in counting shades.

We’d had a threesome
years before
when my blood pulsed brightly
and my senses, ripely, hung,
burning in the sun.

I was known
for playing cameos
as myself,
and on a train
that turned to stone,
a man in a bowler hat
bombarded me
with the filmy lights
of people left behind.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – May 1

May 7, 2018

Poem of the Week 05/1/18


Mark Fogarty

There is a saying, that we shall doe to all men
like as we will be done ourselves;
making no difference of what generation, descent or colour
they are. And those who steal or robb men,
and those who buy or purchase them,
are they not all alike?

Here is liberty of conscience, wch is right and reasonable;
here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body,
except of evil-doers, wch is an other case.
But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will,
we stand against.

Pray, what thing in the world
can be done worse towards us,
than if men should rob or steal us away,
and sell us for slaves to strange countries;
separating housbands from their wives and children.
Being now this is not done in the manner
we would be done at
therefore we contradict and are against
this traffic of men-body.

  • from “Germantown Friends’ Protest Against Slavery,” 1688

First protest against slavery in the British colonies, 92 years before the abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania. Signed by Garret henderich, derick up de graeff, Francis daniell Pastorius and Abraham up Den graef.


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RWB Workshop Poems of the Week – April 24

April 27, 2018

Poems of the Week 04/24/18

Agriculture Aggregated

Bill Moreland

Little Bear said,
Cut me open, climb inside,
let me keep you warm.
Dunce cap tee-pees,
more ‘had’ than fooled
for repeated lessons
never learned.
Ranges and treaties
far-reaching but broken.
Gold grain woven
with staggered gray piping.
Totem poles and refinery columns.
Mud packed adobes
and stalactite ceilings.
The swallows are nesting
in the barbed wire.
The fires are smoldering
in the fallows.
The farmers’ sons cut through them
with a shallow plow.
Sparks crisscross
the crossed-out lower forty.
The perverted profit yielding
a zero sum’s gaming
propped up soy prices
with shortages.
There’s a Xerox in the barn,
the cows are multiplying,
extra buckets are required.
Manure boots
and three-piece overalls.
Aching bunions call for a drop in the market.
The Wall Street Journal predicts a calf by half spring.
Dawn on the farm,
like automatic garage doors,



Arthur Russell

I don’t want to write a poem to you
or to the dark mole on your arm,
to your affection threading a finger under my shirt cuff,
or your octopus-ink-in-the-water soul.

I don’t want to meet the onrush of your love with words
that may deflect and send it away at an angle
I can only watch with regret, or use my verbal facility to suggest
that I am anyway the master of this rowboat.

But I will write a poem to you in the shape of a couch,
with the sound of the people talking out in the hall
and the smell of a store you haven’t been to in years
where discount dungarees were stacked on rough tables,

and the owner’s mother stopped you from pawing through the piles
by asking, in the nicest way, what you were looking for.

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