Ellenberger, Anderson and Williams

by POETS' BASEMENT

The Watcher and the Watched, 2012

by HARRIET ANN ELLENBERGER

            for Susan Robinson

I send a poem to my friend,
asking her, Do you think it is finished?
My poem speeds off to join internet traffic,
passing through the super-computers of US intelligence
before it reaches her.

 

If I call long-distance to read her my poem,
each word I say,
each word she says,
travels through the same computers.

 

This gives me an idea.

 

What do these super-computers do?
They scan for keywords selected by humans
following the daily threat assessment.
And what do poems do?
They tell the truth of human feeling.

 

What if the world of poets
scanned the news for probable keywords?
What if we scattered them liberally
throughout our poems and shared our poems
prodigally, far and wide—
would humans who answer to no one
be forced, by the exigencies of their job,
to read poetry?

 

Poets too assess the real behind the rumour,
and should our keywords catch their ear,
what then—spy to spy—shall we say
to the boys and girls at the NSA?

 

We’ll say that humans are become
a single suffering tribe,
moving into unmarked territory,
hungry and hallucinating.

 

We’ll say, here’s a truth of human feeling:
it hurts to be awake out here.

 

Harriet Ann Ellenberger is an advisor to Trivia: Voices of Feminism www.triviavoices.com and writes for the Return to Mago blog www.magoism.wordpress.com. She lives in rural New Brunswick (Canada) and can be reached at akadesmoines@gmail.com.

 

 

Gaza 2012

by KEMMER ANDERSON

 

Through a pillar of cloud godlike Israelis

Fire by night airstrikes and drone eyes:

Missiles and epistles twitter through the sky.

 

Children scramble into bunkers, scatter

Through emergency rooms feeding on IV tubes

And shrapnel while rockets burst in the air.

 

Stones topple, crumbling concrete collapses

Under bomb weight and alliterative artillery fire

From the sea. Words fall apart, dirges and moans

 

Set syllables stuttering: sentences suture the skin:

Blood drips from the operational pen.

 

Kemmer Anderson just finished teaching Homer’s Iliad. He may be reached at kanderso@mccallie.org.

 

 

Palestine

by HEATHCOTE WILLIAMS

 

Israel is the colostomy bag

Of a dying empire, America.

 

It’s emptied out each day onto Gaza.

Everyone can then settle down

To relax and enjoy

A continuous firework show

Which costs three billion dollars a year.

It is paid for by the IDF

And the US of A.

 

There are cluster bombs,

Thermobaric missiles,

Depleted uranium shells,

And white phosphorus –

All carefully choreographed

To light up Palestine’s sky.

 

These novelties are regularly despatched

To a clientele hungry for pyrotechnics

From the Pentagon Incendiary Company –

Though it has a poor safety record

As its products routinely kill

Anyone who gets too close.

 

Resenting those who stage this spectacle

Of flying limbs and spurting blood

And tiny corpses with napalmed flesh,

Gaza residents occasionally

Strap home-made fireworks

To their own bodies and leave

Their open-air torture chamber –

This coliseum of exploding sewage –

And put on a display for their captors.

Heathcote Williams a poet, playwright and actor, has made a significant contribution to many fields.  He is best known for his extended poems on environmental subjects: Whale Nation, Falling for a Dolphin, Sacred Elephant and Autogeddon.  His plays have also won acclaim, notably AC/DC produced at London’s Royal Court, and Hancock’s Last Half Hour.  As an actor he has been equally versatile – taking memorable roles in Orlando, Wish You Were Here, and Derek Jarman’s The Tempest, in which he played Prospero.

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us as http://www.facebook.com/poets.basement.

To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com 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 CrowVoiceJournal.blogspot.com and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 03, 2015
Sal Rodriguez
How California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Confinement Reforms
Lawrence Ware
Leave Michael Vick Alone: the Racism and Misogyny of Football Fans
Dave Lindorff
Is Obama the Worst President Ever?
Vijay Prashad
The Return of Social Democracy?
Ellen Brown
Quantitative Easing for People: Jeremy Corbyn’s Radical Proposal
Paul Craig Roberts
The Rise of the Inhumanes: Barron, Bybee, Yoo and Bradford
Binoy Kampmark
Inside Emailgate: Hillary’s Latest Problem
Lynn Holland
For the Love of Water: El Salvador’s Mining Ban
Geoff Dutton
Time for Some Anger Management
Jack Rasmus
The New Colonialism: Greece and Ukraine
Norman Pollack
American Jews and the Iran Accord: The Politics of Fear
John Grant
Sorting Through the Bullshit in America
David Macaray
The Unbearable Lightness of Treaties
Chad Nelson
Lessig Uses a Scalpel Where a Machete is Needed
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy