Three Poems by Paul Lojeski

by POETS' BASEMENT

Back in the Day

by PAUL LOJESKI

 

Back in the day

I smoked Pall Malls,

unfiltered in the cool

red package, when

you could still smoke

anywhere: on

planes, in offices,

in supermarkets,

even in hospitals.

Which I was doing

that time of my father’s

dying in the cancer

hospital, in that bleak

world of last breaths

and deadly waiting

rooms.  I lit one

and inhaled deeply,

sucking in the heat,

the poison, the high

I thought was real

as the organ player

out in the hall began

working the keys

and some cheerfully

annoying tune floated

into the sadness

and suffering, a music

so insultingly wrong

and out of place I felt

like going out there

and busting the thing

up, when he said,

You smoke too much.

I looked over at him,

my father, hooked

up to iv’s and machines,

his yellow skin a pasty

glow in the bright

fluorescent light,

staring straight up

at the ceiling, rigid,

his hands in fists,

looking like he was

trying to hold on

to something.

I said, You’re right.

But I kept on puffing

and puffing, trying

to hold on, too.

 

 

Newtown

by PAUL LOJESKI

 

And the fields

were laid bare;

that ample,

golden harvest

burning

in moonlight,

blades

of bright flames

scorching

a white sky.

Witnesses

broken by

an inexplicable

cruelty

and madness

huddled

in those

invisible

shadows,

crying out

in the gathering

storm

 

 

Night Flight

by PAUL LOJESKI

 

In dream in a battered subway

packed with the beaten

and insane, rattling along

 

under a burning city like

a refugee train in the Great

War, I was alone and lost.

 

I wanted a certain destination,

I was sure, but I’d forgotten its name

as the train screamed down

 

the tracks, roaring past

stations, never stopping until there

were no more platforms,

 

just the dark, glistening walls

of that dead stone.  Months passed

into years and I grew razor thin

 

and twisted and my clothes turned

to tatters and I no longer spoke

but grunted guttural sounds

 

like the others slumped about

on hard benches in that seething

blindness.  And the train sped

 

on and on through the black,

black tunnel.  And I didn’t care

where it was going.  I didn’t care.

 

Paul Lojeski’s poetry has appeared in journals and online, including at Counterpunch. He’s also the author of the satiric novel, The Reverend Jimmy Pup.  He lives with his wife and daughter in Port Jefferson, NY.

 

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
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Stephen Lendman
The Show Trial of Saif Qaddafi: a Manufactured Death Sentence
Dmitry Kolesnik
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: A New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone