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

Fleck, Gaffney and Trowbridge


Lovers embrace below flickering city lights.
Taste – Sweet – Salt.
Shards of glass.
Pitch – Black – Silence.


Nina Fleck is a writer, theater director, designer, and filmmaker based in New York City. Originally from Germany, Fleck moved to NY in 1997.  She started to write Poetry in the late 90s’, however; she never had the courage to submit her work until now.  For more information please visit www.ninafleck.com.



We Arrive, Finally

The vain days of December
are hard again upon us,
the rump end of another bad year.

No succor in language.
The nursery rhymes have been plucked long since
from the mouths of small children
and made into marketing jingles.

More than ever, one yearns for simplicity,
a natural affectation,
the certainty of flagstone,
one single act of true contrition,
the beauty of a warbler’s song,
even a feathered wing
or a shaft of dusty sunlight through a lonely window.

But who can discern the artifice
of a hundred elephants swarming on the head of a pin
when baseless hope is the buzz of fools
and substance gives way to garish spectacle,
forte of scoundrels?
No wonder the hollow sound.

We are pretenders,
more lame with every passing day,
determined to look good, if nothing else
even as we are rendered down
into vestigial eyes and ears.

We who once held truth so dear
have become like stem-cells,
the unwitting national feedstock for anything
and everything malignant.

Forget solace.
There will be none for stupid
walking around on two legs calling itself smart.

They say the mark of the beast
is a chip about the size of a rice grain.
When mothers yearn for it
we will know the fertile breast
that nursed the Neolithic tribe
has shriveled to a sterile lump
and the hearts of the people finally lie prostrate
upon the earth.

In a race to the bottom one is likely to arrive.
Do not be shocked by the familiar face of evil.


Mark H. Gaffney is an author, peace activist, environmentalist, gardener and occasional poet. His last two books have been about the September 11, 2001 terror attack: Black 9/11 (2012) and The 9/11 Mystery Plane (2008). He may be reached for comment at markhgaffney@earthlink.net.



During the Vasectomy

The urologist wanted to talk about evolution
and religion, and more evolution,
and that was fine by me.

While he made cuts he discussed a point about randomness
and belief in chances
and I talked about an essay by Paul Davies
with typing monkey metaphors.

We discussed culture while the numbness set in
and I told him (gratefully) about the Renaissance of Islamic science,
how they taught Europeans
the importance of anesthetic,
(while he opened me up), that the Book of Hadith
contains aphorisms that say a true Muslim
promotes science to know God’s creation more deeply.

He told me about anesthetic procedures around the world.
There are places where hospitals choose to save time
by shortening the procedure to five minutes
by not administering anything for the pain.
He named some countries where they don’t wait
the fifteen minutes it takes.

And then my leg kicked.

Sitting up, slightly stunned afterward,
I noticed he had not brought up
Dawkins’ selfish gene.
(A conspicuous silence).
I would like to think it was because he understands his job
makes Dawkins’ question redundant.
The urologist is our society’s guide to escaping the genetic imperative.
He is our culture’s way of cutting the connective tissue
that used to tie together divine responsibilities.

Ursula K. Le Guin
once wrote that in menopause,
women overcome the risks of procreating.
Nature frees them from nature.

Thanks to him I can follow women’s example
liberated from the anxiety of so many chances.


Terry Trowbridge is a PhD student in Socio-Legal Studies at York University, Toronto. Recently his poetry has appeared in Carousel, The Great Lakes Review, The Dalhousie Review, American Mathematical Monthly, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, and subTerrain.


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. 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 suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!