Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

Orloski and D’Errico


Looking for Cirino’s bones



Sun rays entered barn-windows –

March 9, 2012, a chicken started to run,

a cow awaited milking, a groundhog

sensed something amiss, never present,

but always a hawk there to pull shades-up,

expose lilac memories, galaxies catch more Zzzzzs

before newspaper-boy arrival, makes racket,

Madame’s radium couldn’t get at rotten liver,

and it was time to pray for Leo…, he’s along

lost river-banks, in vain, Cypress branches bend

to clean water, pre-glacial Leonard longed to live

some more in his brother’s California barn,

an upstairs apartment, not a pyramid.


“The dark, old, dusty barn may be drafty,

but with solid, dry madrone, and a good stove,

winters won’t be bone cold.”*


Oh, to have seen Cirino’s bones in an email “inbox” –

One year gone, winter’s dying, but never nothing gone,

word-Marathons, a  cold car-battery jumped alive,

there’s time to save, time to delete,

the upper-room’s stairway very steep, morphine soothes,

Leo wondered if we dreamed our whole lives away,

and how can I not look for him until Sun never set.


*From Leonard Cirino’s “Variation on a Seven-Character Regulated Verse by Zhang Ji.” (Chinese Masters, 2009).

Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pennsylvania. He testifies Leonard Cirino was pregnant with poetry, and many offsprings were moved by labors of love. Orloski can be reached (Caesarean) at



Why Are All These People Dying In Bad Shoes?



great cities of dust stand up

each grain of sand is a voice

as a human who bleeds

salt the wounds we all know

obvious as air, tactile as breath

that escapes the living


salt the wound, make the pain unbearable

put slugs in the machine

whenever you can, for the common good

for the selfish gene that wells up

there at the fingertips and spine, feel it

it’s real, it’s worth it, teach others

to grab their share and give back the rest

as a noble soul would, wizened


up off your ass collective, abandon all stations

effective now, out of that cubicle of death

go home, hug the family, friends, kiss the ground

bare earth, each gain of sand in a chorus

that matters as a human that needs

blood and conversation, how to live inside this

burden, out in the open, truthful, naked

bankrupt, beautiful



Architects of Progress



paper cut and a muffin for the boss upstairs


backache headache shoeshine new leather upholstery


sweat stink and sciatica down here


pavement thrusts out where sewer grates no longer fit


flush the summer sun works its July expansion


grey flashlight on a graveyard shift construction job


armpits cigarette butts and fast food wrappers


Harold the pan-sweeper works his magic


in the numb moonlight another Monday cross-town


bus farts out hot air

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Chris D’Errico writes poems and fiction, plays blues harmonica and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he works the nightshift as a low level government employee. For more visit


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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 two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

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