We are nearing the end. But if we don’t reach our modest goal, we will have to cut back on content and run advertisements (how annoying would that be?). So please, if you have not done so, chip in if you have the means.
Race in Education: Where do I Begin?
by ANDRÉS CASTRO
Here’s to aboriculturists and gardeners
with their bags of seeds and magic tricks,
because we need to talk now more than ever.
How do we agree on anything these days,
days of police in our hallways and minds,
days of teenage suicide and murder,
days of pretend and collective amnesia,
days of surveillance, torture, and drones,
days of burning forests burning forests?
Will you begin with eyes, with skin, a sound?
The day you learned a word could be a stone?
The day you learned a word could heal?
Here are my hands in the soil—I’m just starting.
I haven’t said anything of actual substance yet.
Will you join me? Will you bring along others?
Disunion: August 4, 2013
by ANDRÉS CASTRO
Is there code to escape this ear piercing
siren? Buddha? Tibetan singing bowls
with their long sustaining harmonies?
How did I arrive in this space this time?
I am here again in a merciless universe,
where a cold Black Hole is pulling
the top of my head away from the rest
of me; I am being insanely stretched out.
I am a long thin elasticity trailing behind
a grotesquely distorted skull projectile,
close to losing all feeling in this form;
I have become a trite cartoonish figure.
Then there is the familiar hungry ache
to walk barefoot in warm white sand,
without one lie visible on the horizon,
and all the lies behind me disappearing.
Who will reconfigure me this morning?
Is only a feverish wish for immortality,
stoked by naïve vanity and childish fear
enough to rescue breaking bones and skin?
In two weeks I will be fifty-four years
old; my grown-up son suggests therapy.
Andrès Castro is listed in the Directory of Poets and Writers and is a PEN member. He is also the founding editor of The Teacher’s Voice, a small press poetry journal for anyone interested in education in the U.S. and abroad.
When mother’s needle ran away on empty
by CHARLES ORLOSKI
Forty-four years ago,
a little soldier come home from Nam,
dress-greens, a marksmanship badge, Thai Stick,
a corpse in a rice-paddy, and tonight,
build-up in Korea, Iran in cross-hair,
he looked at Porn-Hub, track-marks in arms,
too much, too much medication – Ali has Parkinson’s,
Bank of America afloat like top-heavy butterfly,
stung it’s own like Iron Queen bees –
ain’t no Taliban ever called sonny-boy ADDICT,
& mother walked miles on Nancy’s “just say no,”
hoped her son would flee to either church or Canada,
where faces bore no grudge to Rabboni & Mounties,
maybe flee to Amsterdam where junk-parks are built
free-needles for those who cannot afford clean?
O for those good-old-days when her little boy
ran Olds 442, smoked banana-peels, nickel-bags cheap,
children at play in Kindergarten-sand, not Riyadh.
Gray-hair covered a “Mom” tattoo,
mothers fashionable no more, Mothers Day hunger
and she’s more or less proud of her baby,
had enough jeopardy in Toby Keith’s jingo-hits,
they are off the shelf, at 80-years old,
she cannot handle un-truth; CNN, Scientology, Fox News
run amok in veins, more heroin (%) in heroic,
she wished for boiled ham, affordable Heating Oil,
supported erections that stood straight, stood down,
mother once had jobs where she called-in sick Mondays,
had The Guiding Light to calm her down.
Oxycontin helped get her through Memorial Day,
Stephen Foster hard-times come again 24/7,
those oh, oh, ohs when doughboys and I.D.F. marched by,
Keith Richards too stoned to help with dishes,
too many encounters with co-pays, Peace in Our Time,
she’s more or less proud of her addicted soldier-boy,
bank vaults filled with skulls, throats slit in alleyways,
ear to ear, American Gangster in mother’s V.C.R.,
she felt bad for Frank Lucas, he was so good to cops,
and the Way her son began; the Army fed him once,
paid for dental work, gave extra-points on Post Office exam,
she became unwed-mother to all fears and bombs.
Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at ccdjOrlov@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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!