FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Jared Carter and Charles Orloski

Moment of Silence
by JARED CARTER
We went back to the old fieldhouse.
The band still plays the National Anthem
before the tip-off, but no Baptist minister
takes the mike to call for a moment of silence –

a time when I can remember the hush
that came over the crowd, the fiddling
with overcoats, the teenagers giggling –
a sound like the twittering at the Zoo

when you enter an enormous glass building
full of birds, that are completely out of sight,
waiting, doing nothing. Back then people thought
that in such moments you could speak to God,

that he listened, that he watched ball games, too,
or the flights of sparrows, that he could tell
sound from silence, and that he was intrigued
by such contrasts. And yet they believed

he cares nothing about who wins or loses
or where the birds land. Though occasionally
he hears them singing in their cages. Sometimes
he looks down and notices young people stolling

hand in hand, sometimes he sees corpses,
piles of them, or cities about to be burned,
or cities that are nothing but ashes. Places
where balls were thrown in the air. Where birds wait

in the stillness. Where there are long moments
of silence. Nothing like that happens now. The fans
sing along, they stand holding their coats, waiting
for the horn to sound, for the screaming to begin.

(First published in Witness.)

 

 

Hunting, Gathering
by JARED CARTER
It is a man thinking all day of eating ice
because he has no money for anything else.
Is ice not water, is water not free?
Does it not fall from the sky, forming

pools in the street, places where a man
could drink, could cup it in his hands,
pretend it is frozen, it is something
to eat? Could he break it from the ruts

in the road, and drown out the breaking
in his head? But no rain hammers down,
there is only the deluge of plastic cups
and sandwich wrappings, hub caps

and prophylactics, it is only aluminum
that recycles, that pays by the pound,
that gets eaten by some vast machine.
No one pays anything for glass bottles

or steel cans, he must keep searching
for beer cans, for Pepsi and Coke,
looking in rusted barrels and dumpsters,
he must trudge along with the others,

with old men talking to themselves,
pushing their wire carts, with bag-ladies
searching along the highways, combing
through the weeds, with runaways

standing by the entrance ramps,
with veterans out of work, holding up
their cardboard signs, all of them searching
for something, though it be nothing.

(First published in Writers Write On Magazine.)

 

Jared Carter’s work has appeared in The Nation, Pemmican, Stand, Witness, Wheelhouse, and Animal Liberation Front. His fifth poetry collection, A Dance in the Streeet, has just been released by Wind Publications in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He blogs at www.the-growler.com.

 

The Wasted Land

by CHARLES ORLOSKI

 

They say refugees turned back out of shock,

stared at downtown Baghdad blown to bits,

wept, said to Allah, “how can they do that?

Nobody bombs their cities, sanctions their bazaars,

They behave like desert storms, gangs of rich dust,

mean-spirited old wind-bags, who make uranium blow — they shall not want democracy in cloudy heaven.

 

Hot was the sand she died upon,

a Defense Contractor’s spit-shined boot

kicked her rib, and repulsed, Allah understood,

He reasoned infidels shouldn’t do that to people,

& The True Church knows better.

 

“Dear Allah:  Just send us the invoice for all martyrs, we pay net 90-days.”

 

With air-cover, walkie-talkies, television cameras,

An Arizona Senator passed through Baghdad streets,

evaluating all the fine restaurants, a 4-Star Hotel,

windows blown, plumbing leaks,

it shall make a comeback when oil rigs begin churning,

varroooom, varrrroooom, swwoosssh,

& it’s evident to Johnny all Iraqi refugees will soon return.

What is that noise?  An explosion, camels takes flight,

Purple-fingers in bits, Baghdad diners are hopping,

the Senator is most certain democracy-by-bombing

is a matter of white man’s burden.

 

Something changed in Fallujah.

Maybe that leveling of a sandal-factory was premature?

An American potentate grew a beard to look Arab.

No more Cassius Clay, he had lots of work to do,

the liberated-dead cling to grievances,

& there must be somebody at mosque-school

like Steve Jobs, who can connect Shiite & Sunni,

turn stubborn street-lights back-on,

get Fallujah on track with Raleigh-Durham, a new start?

one mosque in a pot, a chicken-head beneath every burqa.

 

“Dear Allah the Merciful:  I am sorry our recent check bounced.  Maybe we can have lunch at the Rose Garden next time your in town?”

 

I made no comment, tired, I am too tired.

I work everyday, and I cannot have everything.

Every morning, my nerves are bad, noises,

no explosions, just Section 8 noises too close,

there’s talk about gun control, unleashing hell in Teheran.

I rub my coffee pot, coffee per pound cost keeps rising,

and Jeannie must be either sleeping or on night shift —

she has racial prejudices, and I dream of her achieving citizenship, displaying ass-cheeks in Rome.

Everything changed  here in Iraq County, heroin in my veins, Exxon-Mobil built a refinery

where an oasis used to be, Gulf gasoline’s down to $3.39/gallon, and I won’t keep staring-back at what Lot’s wife became, turned into a Bilderberger entitlement.

 

Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CCDJOrlov@aol.com.

 

 

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

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 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.

 

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit CrowVoiceJournal.blogspot.com and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

March 25, 2019
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail