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Poet’s Basement

Melons and Mendelssohn
Melons and Mendelssohn
mellow days of autumn
the end of harvest
andante season.

And yet our country teeters,
weapons plentiful
as the fallen leaves
or hanging soldiers.

Winter rains bring floods
unyielding soil
dying cities
and dying souls.

We are extended like Khazars
our backs to cold desperates,
peoples we despoiled
just waiting to pounce.

I dream of another
country of un-fearful young
to wars un-driven
by our wars untouched

a generous country
under a harvest moon
serene melon
a hefty moon.

(Previously published at poetrymagazine.com)
Robert A. Davies lives in the booster village of Portland, OR.  He was co-editor for Mr. Cogito magazine for more than 20 years and has published widely in the little magazines on and offline.  He is author of Tracks In Oregon, Timber and Sometimes Subversive.  He can be reached at rjdavies3@comcast.net.


A Political Story

Government places me with Crystal family, murky

yet patriotic. And walking distance to the prison

where I go monthly to see my parents.

Both incarcerated for attempting to overthrow, etc.

Mother with explosives, my father, vague tactics.

In less hysterical times he’s sent home with a scolding.

After each visit, daughter Jeanette asks me five questions, recording my answers in a marbled composition book.

Since the answers are glaringly obvious, she stops

after a few months.

In Dickens, an attraction develops, but she has no sex,

and shares the family trait of periodically exploding

for no reason.

After both parents die in prison, I get sent to a recently-discovered uncle in Montana. He proves pure gold!–open, loving, fond of fart jokes. “Emotionally, I never got out of the six grade,” he announces in his rusty pickup

as we bang over dirt roads on the way to fishing holes.

Yeah, it’s all too Norman Rockwell.

Saves my life.

He passes when I enter Missoula as an Art Education Major, a flight of flannel-shirted angels carrying him to St Peter, who detains him until he hears every single fart joke.

Well, my fancy. I’ve others.

Strange to say, I now teach in the high school not far

from the prison. Jeanette warms up enough to marry the hardware store owner, who, noting a curt way with

customers, sets her up with an International Maids

Franchise, where immigrant women clean houses.

Ostensibly in an old-world, scrubbing way.

I got the best job in the world, teaching art to willing youngsters. And, blessedly, out of the political loop

run by a cabal of English and Shop teachers,

being too “flighty.”

Live-in girlfriend considers me normal. We’re both,

of course, crazy.

Frank Ford watches yachts glide by in Florida–no recession evident.


Two Ostriches

Both right and left

Have their heads buried in the sand

Not in the same hole of course

Each has its own

The right

Keeps its head buried

In the “Magic of the marketplace

Will make us all rich” hole

The left

Has its head stuck

In the “Identity politics

Multicultural golden age” hole

While the same bombing

Starving, invading, enslaving

Imprisoning, torturing, assassinating beast

Bears down on both of them

Jon Taylor lives in Nashville, TN. He can be reached at jtab@bellsouth.net.


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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).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

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

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