- CounterPunch.org - https://www.counterpunch.org -

Gaffney and Corseri




I have seen the ghastly cemetery
where rainbows go to die.
I cannot walk the desecrated ground
without trembling with rage
at ravening steel and
the unspeakable perfidy of men.

Phantoms assail me,
indelicate echoes, tortured reminders
of what was
–––and what we have wrought,
indecent as a plastic Jesus or
a child host served up to Moloch
on some sanctimonious slab.

Forget sums, reason, logic.
My eyes boil over, my legs fail me.
How I yearn to cast off this torn and bleeding flesh.



Heading Out



It’s usually a spur of the moment thing,

when I’ve seen one too many familiar faces,

and the parade morphs into so much less…


as, for example, when one of the local

born and raised herd animals

takes stupid to another level,

reminding me of the pact I made, long ago,

to go my own feral way…


or, when I can’t hear your lilting voice anymore

(or can’t get you out of my head no matter how hard I try)…


or, when I become an albatross to myself,


or, when, for whatever reason,

the strict convenience of the parts breaks down…


Then the “live factor” kicks in,

the what-the-fuck who-gives-a-damn part of me,

and I toss my gear into the back of the pickup

and head out to the Fremont,

no destination in mind,

hopefully to get lost, if I’m able,

to meet no one, if I’m lucky,

and definitely to stay gone until

I touch the wild and

return to myself, again.


Mark H. Gaffney occasionally writes poems about Oregon’s amazing outback, east of the Cascades. His latest book is Black 9/11. Check out his website: www.gnosticsecrets.com.



Every Day is the 4th of July: Mourning in America



Full Spectrum Dominance leads to washout…, Blues,

SCOTUS/POTUS hocus-bogus news, shoes

On backwards, going nowhere faster than

A speeding mullet, Superman deader than

A doorknob, heart-throb Brad Pitt in some shit

Zombie flick about some sick (sic!) almost sit-

Com, catastro-fee, end-of-world, whirled

Hurled, furled, metaphored, whored, skirled,

Simile’d, speed-freaky, spy-leaky, lie-creaky mush-

Room cloud we can’t get out of, hush, hush, hush

Sweet Charlotte, don’t you cry, the Shadow knows

And the NSA, what secrets lurk, smirk in a hose

Snaked down Guantanamo windpipes to force

Food, water, air, whatever in the course

Of human events when necessary

In this monetary, predatory crematory

To dissolve the political bands of all hands

On deck while the band plays on the sands.


O say can you see-saw from the Sands

Of Iwo Jima to the halls of Montezuma

And the beach near Petaluma,

My country ‘tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing. … Land of the pilgrims’ pride,

Land where my fathers died, land where they fried

700 men, women, children, who had been living,

Just prior to our first “Thanksgiving,”

Celebrating their Green Corn Dance, got locked into

A big old barn, set fire to

By prurient pilgrims, wrapped in the platitudes

Of their ingratitudes—

God-fearing, blood-smearing progenitors

Of all of us proprietors

Of that glorious revolution

Aimed towards this present dissolution.


“Those that scraped the fire were slaine,”

Wrote William Bradford, the historiaine.

“It was a fearful sight to see them frying

And the streams of blood quenching,

And horrible was the stincke and sente thereof.”

And to God they offered prayers thereof!


And we are they!  Givers and takers,

Forsakers, care-takers, undertakers,

Makers of to-die-for myths, celebrants

Of ignorance and our own slip-shod deliverance

From everything we fear– out there…

In here… in the boil exploding everywhere.


“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,

Cry if I want to, cry if I want to. …”

And in our credence,

And in our decadence,

“Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant!”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:


“That all men are created equal. …”

All… created… equal. …


(first published in L.A. Progressive)


Gary S. Corseri has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at US and Japanese universities. His prose and poems have appeared at CounterPunch, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Redbook Magazine, and hundreds of other periodicals and websites worldwide.  His dramas have been produced on Atlanta-PBS, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  He has published books of poetry, the Manifestations literary anthology (edited), and the novels,  A Fine Excess and Holy Grail, Holy Grail.  He can be contacted at Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.



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 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!