Tirado, Carter and Orloski


Thirty Three Twenty Nines by JOSÉ M. TIRADO for Oscar López Rivera Oscar…Oscar… Thirty three twenty nines are enough! Too many May 29s, For you. For us, to remember you is To learn about us- To remember a people denied. To remember you is to reflect: We are a people denied the right to remember. They took what we had, then took Who we are. I need to remember, Oscar. I´ve forgotten so much… I´ve forgotten much of my tongue, Wet with passion and sexy vowels, I´ve forgotten the swing of the hips to dance to the light of our music, I´ve forgotten the sad urges that pushed our people to leave Their green country for the stale city bricks Built by the soulless people who Turned our rich green countryside’s flesh Barren of fruit for our tables But swollen with green for theirs. I have forgotten that, passed to me was more than a name, More than a culture, More than a tongue, More than the tropical music of the forest coqís Or the dulcet ripeness of our food. I have forgotten me. I am part of a history denied. A people denied. A culture denied. We have even our own now Who deny us Kissing the feet of their masters, The ones who deny us from outside, Yet who are part of us, denying us from within. They cannot continue to deny us for much longer, And they want to deny you. I won´t. I have forgotten so much, Oscar. But thirty-three twenty-nines are enough. José M. Tirado is a Puertorican poet, and writer living in Hafnarfjorður, Iceland, known for its elves, “hidden people” and lava fields. His articles and poetry have been featured in CounterPunch, Cyrano´s Journal, The Galway Review, Dissident Voice, The Endless Search, Op-Ed News, The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, and others. He can be reached at jm.tirado@yahoo.com. Anthem by JARED CARTER Then I entered that place of metallic corridors and hallways, of iron bars chipped and repainted, of hands that reached out through dark portals Of bright overhead lights that never dimmed, of bare floor, lidless toilet, cantilevered bunk, of sounds and odors issuing from unseen bodies Yet everywhere I saw peering out the faces of those who had learned to survive, no matter what they had done to bring them to this place In this way they resembled misshapen stones plowed from a field, and carried to a fence and left in a pile, one stone on top of another Has it been worth it, I wondered, to survive here, where there is no rain, no sunlight, has it been their good fortune to linger here Rather than be subjected to harsher measures? What news could I carry back to those thinking of new retributions, or ways to achieve closure? And what would philosophy say, or religion, now that these persons are consigned to live out their lives in this way? Does any of it matter now? But there was no answer, only the endless clang of heavy doors being bolted and unbolted, locks spun and revolved, then locked again And the anthem of voices singing to no music, voices stifled and silenced by the stone, the walls, the bright lights on the asphalt, the barbed wire. Jared Carter’s work has appeared in The Nation, Pemmican, Stand, Witness, Wheelhouse, and Animal Liberation Front. His sixth collection, Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, is available from the University of Nebraska Press. He blogs at www.the-growler.com. Gabryella’s America the Beautiful by CHARLES ORLOSKI Gabryella Lashinski, I heard when alive and a little girl, you liked to help neighborhood people during The Great Depression, and now, so down, on Lexapro meds, I need someone to pour me stiff drinks – Can you teach me how to sing America the Beautiful? Gabryella, I heard your father died of cancer, 1940, a heavy smoker, he worked the Pine Coal Mine, and mother had bad asthma, ulcerated legs, she could not work much, and you became Lashinski family ‘Caretaker.” How could you never attend school, forsake the three R’s, instead, tend to five sisters and one brother’s needs? How at 13 years old, 1941, you worked in a Scranton clothing factory, made pants for US Army and Navy? And now, so down…, my cap and gown doesn’t fit anymore, and I need Gabryella to stitch buttons upon my “Sunday Best” fatigue shirt. Gabryella, I heard how Dr. Mazaleski taught you how to administer insulin shots to three suffering Minooka neighbors. As non-certified First Aid training, Doc Mazaleski used grapefruits, and for practice, you plunged needles deep inside the fruit, until deemed competent, capable to inject. And now, so down, blood sugar count and food price spike, grapefruit juice spills all over me, and I need your steady hand in mine. Gabryella, I heard a handsome “Big-Shot” from Scranton’s Chevrolet Company once “Came a courting.” He offered to take you to a fine dinner, you replied, “No thanks, I had a big supper,” and blew the fellow off. And now, so down, gas gauge on empty, I need to sit at your table, observe, taste homemade holupki which nourished you enough to resist fleeting charms like mine, continue forever, rare selfless care. Gabryella, I heard how you were Chief Cook, at annual family reunions. Gave kids balloons, Crackerjacks, alone, you staffed barbeque pit out back. When you unexpectedly died, age 63, July 4, 1980, many people cried upon quilts you made, three Catholic priests attended funeral. And now, so down, but somehow grown up, an acute awareness, and had I tried, I too could have been a little like Gabryella, and knowing NOW, too late (?), there’s nothing nobler in American life than piercing one’s amber colored and highfalutin balloons, like practice needles into Dr. Mazaleski’s spacious bygone skies and beautiful grapefruit. Author’s Note:  Gabryella was my wife Carol’s beloved aunt.  Carol’s mother Florence, 86,  often tells stories about sister Gabryella’s extraordinary simple life, and although never married, she became an honorary member of bygone days, the respected Mothers Club.  Yesterday, Florence emphasized that without Gabryella’s endless care and NOBLENESS, she and siblings “would have been orphans.” Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at orlovzek13@aol.com. 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. 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 suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 03, 2015
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
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System