FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Three Poems by Gene Grabiner

Red Scare

by GENE GRABINER

 for the Rosenbergs

 June 19, 1953

 

We lived in Parkchester the summer they burned

those other Jews.

Mom stuck to the radio

fear in her face.

The neighbors spoke softly.

Dad came home worried—

they’d gone once to a commie camp

so the Senate might get them too

and the angel of death passed over our house.

 

In July the Times said a mother

plunged from a fifth story window,

infant daughter in her arms;

a doctor and his wife were found dead

after drinking “poison cocktails.”

 

Riding through the Midtown Tunnel,

Harvey from across the street warned:

 

pull up your socks,

the water might rise

and we’ll all drown.

 

One day in August, Harvey,

who we thought had no elastic in his socks

made the front page,

shot his wife

and two sons

piled up on one side

of the bathroom door,

Harvey on the other

doing the government’s work.

 

 

Fingered

by GENE GRABINER

 

When the slim disease came to Sing-Sing,

the hacks would shove in dinner

on metal trays with brooms:

a quarantine shuffleboard

 

He had blotches on his face, or his teeth rotted

or maybe he was queer, with a strange cancer—

worked in the kitchen

So when other cons

burned his cell, he got administrative segregation,

was sent to the hospital—

out of the narrow alleys

of their lives

 

One time, this lifer met with the counselor,

filled out a form,

handed back the pen

She just sat there,

pen untouched on the table

 

When the slim disease

came to Clinton, hacks in the yard

wore goggles, gas masks, gloves

 

In the beginning

AIDS fingered eight thousand when it came inside

 

 

Hardly Seen

by GENE GRABINER

            Monticello

 

At Jefferson’s home, the slave quarter

foundations along Mulberry Row

are invisible

from his backyard, the Winding Lawn.

Cook-slave Edithe Fossett’s

cave-room held eight of her children.

It swims under my feet on the South Terrace.

Our docent, who doesn’t mention those places

must be prompted by a question.

 

The great man is buried

in the fenced-in family plot

an obelisk

guarding the memory

of the Declaration’s author.

 

At the parking lot a plaque

by an open dirt patch

framed by a wood rail fence:

 

slave cemetery.

 

[s]lave cemeteries were the first black institutions

in America.

 

Next day, late morning at the hotel.

Most guests are gone, beds get tossed.

The familiar cart with towels, refuse bags, cleaning tools.

 

Briefly whisking in,

and out of the empty rooms—housecleaning,

two black ghosts, this man and this woman at work.

Gene Grabiner’s poetry has appeared in Rosebud, Ilya’s Honey, Blue Collar Review, J Journal, In Our Own Words (ezine), Earth’s Daughters, HazMat Review, and other journals and anthologies. He was a runner-up in the William Stafford Award Competition, has been featured at the Jackson Heights Poetry Festival, in New York City, has read at IFPOR in Toronto, and was a semi-finalist at the “Discover”/The Nation national poetry competition, Unterberg Poetry Center, also in New York City. Grabiner lives in Buffalo, New York and is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus.

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 (.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).

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!

More articles by:

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
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail