FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tirado, Carter and Orloski

by

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!

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, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail