Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Jared Carter and Charles Orloski


Moment of Silence
We went back to the old fieldhouse.
The band still plays the National Anthem
before the tip-off, but no Baptist minister
takes the mike to call for a moment of silence –

a time when I can remember the hush
that came over the crowd, the fiddling
with overcoats, the teenagers giggling –
a sound like the twittering at the Zoo

when you enter an enormous glass building
full of birds, that are completely out of sight,
waiting, doing nothing. Back then people thought
that in such moments you could speak to God,

that he listened, that he watched ball games, too,
or the flights of sparrows, that he could tell
sound from silence, and that he was intrigued
by such contrasts. And yet they believed

he cares nothing about who wins or loses
or where the birds land. Though occasionally
he hears them singing in their cages. Sometimes
he looks down and notices young people stolling

hand in hand, sometimes he sees corpses,
piles of them, or cities about to be burned,
or cities that are nothing but ashes. Places
where balls were thrown in the air. Where birds wait

in the stillness. Where there are long moments
of silence. Nothing like that happens now. The fans
sing along, they stand holding their coats, waiting
for the horn to sound, for the screaming to begin.

(First published in Witness.)



Hunting, Gathering
It is a man thinking all day of eating ice
because he has no money for anything else.
Is ice not water, is water not free?
Does it not fall from the sky, forming

pools in the street, places where a man
could drink, could cup it in his hands,
pretend it is frozen, it is something
to eat? Could he break it from the ruts

in the road, and drown out the breaking
in his head? But no rain hammers down,
there is only the deluge of plastic cups
and sandwich wrappings, hub caps

and prophylactics, it is only aluminum
that recycles, that pays by the pound,
that gets eaten by some vast machine.
No one pays anything for glass bottles

or steel cans, he must keep searching
for beer cans, for Pepsi and Coke,
looking in rusted barrels and dumpsters,
he must trudge along with the others,

with old men talking to themselves,
pushing their wire carts, with bag-ladies
searching along the highways, combing
through the weeds, with runaways

standing by the entrance ramps,
with veterans out of work, holding up
their cardboard signs, all of them searching
for something, though it be nothing.

(First published in Writers Write On Magazine.)


Jared Carter’s work has appeared in The Nation, Pemmican, Stand, Witness, Wheelhouse, and Animal Liberation Front. His fifth poetry collection, A Dance in the Streeet, has just been released by Wind Publications in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He blogs at


The Wasted Land



They say refugees turned back out of shock,

stared at downtown Baghdad blown to bits,

wept, said to Allah, “how can they do that?

Nobody bombs their cities, sanctions their bazaars,

They behave like desert storms, gangs of rich dust,

mean-spirited old wind-bags, who make uranium blow — they shall not want democracy in cloudy heaven.


Hot was the sand she died upon,

a Defense Contractor’s spit-shined boot

kicked her rib, and repulsed, Allah understood,

He reasoned infidels shouldn’t do that to people,

& The True Church knows better.


“Dear Allah:  Just send us the invoice for all martyrs, we pay net 90-days.”


With air-cover, walkie-talkies, television cameras,

An Arizona Senator passed through Baghdad streets,

evaluating all the fine restaurants, a 4-Star Hotel,

windows blown, plumbing leaks,

it shall make a comeback when oil rigs begin churning,

varroooom, varrrroooom, swwoosssh,

& it’s evident to Johnny all Iraqi refugees will soon return.

What is that noise?  An explosion, camels takes flight,

Purple-fingers in bits, Baghdad diners are hopping,

the Senator is most certain democracy-by-bombing

is a matter of white man’s burden.


Something changed in Fallujah.

Maybe that leveling of a sandal-factory was premature?

An American potentate grew a beard to look Arab.

No more Cassius Clay, he had lots of work to do,

the liberated-dead cling to grievances,

& there must be somebody at mosque-school

like Steve Jobs, who can connect Shiite & Sunni,

turn stubborn street-lights back-on,

get Fallujah on track with Raleigh-Durham, a new start?

one mosque in a pot, a chicken-head beneath every burqa.


“Dear Allah the Merciful:  I am sorry our recent check bounced.  Maybe we can have lunch at the Rose Garden next time your in town?”


I made no comment, tired, I am too tired.

I work everyday, and I cannot have everything.

Every morning, my nerves are bad, noises,

no explosions, just Section 8 noises too close,

there’s talk about gun control, unleashing hell in Teheran.

I rub my coffee pot, coffee per pound cost keeps rising,

and Jeannie must be either sleeping or on night shift —

she has racial prejudices, and I dream of her achieving citizenship, displaying ass-cheeks in Rome.

Everything changed  here in Iraq County, heroin in my veins, Exxon-Mobil built a refinery

where an oasis used to be, Gulf gasoline’s down to $3.39/gallon, and I won’t keep staring-back at what Lot’s wife became, turned into a Bilderberger entitlement.


Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at



Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).


Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.


For more details, tips and suggestions, visit and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians