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Three by Kathleen Hellen
by KATHLEEN HELLEN
Find us in the disappearing Find
light The smoke contoured with slightest
orange The iron-sun hunched
against the picked fish of sky
A city quits its dues Michigan’s
condition of employment Alabama’s
Idaho’s and Iowa’s Louisiana’s
How will beef in Kansas manage
Plants in Alabama Tennessee The Carolinas
Paper mills in Georgia Petroleum in Utah
How will captains right the worth of work
in Mississippi Nebraska
scale back to nothing Taft-Hartley hardly
thrift of unions
Find forms impaled by trees The leaves
of grass shifting Find the eye of need
The hands to work The practices of feet
Sketch the last straws of the wind
MiG Fighters Bumped My Story Off Page One
by KATHLEEN HELLEN
How to be objective when the verdict isn’t grand? I cover juries. The shackled in their savage-orange jumpsuits. I type two-fingered feeds
on the romance of the priest. The back door of the rectory. The inner reaches. I swear that gloating, bloated swami in the compound sleeps with secrets in the sheets.
Fact or fiction? it depends
on Tall Boys in a dim-lit bar with whistle-blowers. “Too bad about your story getting bumped,” he says, leaning in, the way a man leans in who wants to know your body. We talk of sex. Tielard de Chardin. HIV on River Street. Habits on knees like praying.
I cover shots of Ouzo. An aperitif. The lethe of copper stills to still the memory. The asshole of the city like a taste.
by KATHLEEN HELLEN
You hate the politics of Monday night
Salsa night Tight geographies of Spanish guys
pointing on a dance floor lit with
what you never see that disappoints
what you know
the words to songs you sync but
he won’t try his limbs against
the real sangria Tequila shots
This one: He can’t dance He can’t make up for
whiteness so he says
go ahead dance
with any dude you want to any
Latin lover but
that’s how problems start
walls get built prisons
that’s how worlds get blown apart
Kathleen Hellen is a poet and the author of Umberto’s Night (Washington Writers Publishing House, 2012) and The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her poems are widely published and have appeared in American Letters & Commentary; Barrow Street; Cimarron Review; Nimrod; Poetry Northwest; Prairie Schooner; Stand; Sycamore Review; Witness; among others; and were featured on WYPR’s The Signal.
Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)
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To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).
Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.
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