Dorbin, DeWald and Ford

by POETS' BASEMENT

A Soviet of Sound, 1986

by SANFORD DORBIN

 

Here’s Sviatoslav Richter

scouting the steppes by train.

Stops ad lib in some unpromising village

& his aides have a concert organized

in an hour. A tortoise convention, full house.

The tender and tough-love way he addresses the keys

lifts their bread-and potatoes-hearts.

People who’d never heard this kind

of music before locked elbows after,

swaying in the aisles in tribute—

Richter-scale enthusiasm & away

first thing in the morning.

 

[NOTE: In 1986, Richter embarked on a six-month tour of Siberia with his beloved Yamaha piano, giving possibly as many as 150 recitals, at times performing in small towns that did not even have a concert hall. It is said that after one such concert, the members of the audience, who had never before heard classical music performed, gathered in the middle of the hall and started swaying from side to side to celebrate the performer. –Le monde de la musique, May 1989]

 

Sanford Dorbin is a retired librarian and wood cutter living in northern California. Never Enough Light: New & Selected Poems 1966-1994 was published by Igneus Press of New Hampshire in 1995.

 

 

Sleeping Lions

by JAYDN DeWALD

 

Evenings, in the damp grass under the folding table.

   Were you grappling with your loneliness, even then,

      Little plastic sword across your lap?

The pine trees

Rustled in the darkness; the Coleman lantern hissed.

I remember: I would tap my father’s workboot, and

One callused hand would descend,

pinching a scrap

Of pork meat. My mother would skim her bare feet

Over the grass. Hours, watching the shadows dance

In the turnip garden,

listening on the TV to the war

In Iraq. But they had made a space for you: a chair,

      A placemat. Once, against the chainlink fence, I sat

Reading Aeschylus,

ignoring their bellowing at me,

Hot blood spurting from Agamemnon’s neck. Rain

Brought us together again: beneath a dripping eave.

      Did you believe you’d find something—

         a little soul—

         Deep within? Mornings, and the gray lambs bleated

In the silence, in the mist. I lay under our dark coats

In the closet, my mind flittering from empty sleeve

to empty sleeve.

 

Jaydn DeWald, a graduate of Pacific University’s MFA program, currently lives with his wife in San Francisco, where he plays bass for the DeWald/Taylor Quintet and serves as Senior Poetry Editor for Silk Road. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bellevue Literary Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The National Poetry Review, West Branch, Witness, and many others.

 

 

Taft, California: January 10, 2013

by MATT FORD

 

At the base of the grapevine

You’ll find a valley which city-dwellers

Forget exists

Emptiness. Finally out of L.A. smog, but

You wont be able to see

Air thick with oil and pesticides

Your lungs channeling more energy

Simply to function

Unless you grew up there

Horizon dotted with rocking oil drills

Back and forth, up and down

Nonstop, relentless

Big white Chevy pickups

Farm owners

Small houses where workers live

Working to keep roaches from occupying their beds

Merle Haggard and Buck Owens

Bakersfield sound

Country music on the radio stations

 

If you proceed west from Highway 99

Like a tumbleweed, you’ll roll into Taft

Conceived with the railroad

Nursed on oil

Still nursing on oil

Standard Oil’s corporate headquarters

Local holiday: “Oildorado”

It’s the Wild West, but rich

Chevron rich

No labor unions rich

Named after a huge trust-busting president

A union man

Who is gnawing at the wood of his coffin

Disgusted with his name

Being used for a corporate town

His legacy ignored

Making his way back to the surface

To scorn his namesake

And that slave labor legislation of 1947

 

Today, a child brought a shotgun to

Taft Union High School

Carried it down Wildcat Road

Past the neighbors

To shoot two students

Now you’ve heard of Taft

It’s on the map

First school shooting of 2013

Some say guns don’t kill people

I believe that

But they wont say

Social environments create people

Who kill people

 

Matt Ford lives in Fresno, California. He is a history teacher, traveler, and writes poetry to stay sane.

 

 

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 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.

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us ashttp://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. Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions). Submissions not following the guidelines may or may not receive a response.

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

For more details, tips and links to past installments, visithttp://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. 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