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by ANTHONY SQUIERS
Where is the Phoenix which will raise from these ashes?
There will be none.
12th Street, Detroit was an irritation.
Rodney King was an annoyance.
Ferguson is a fart.
A mephitic nuisance,
the ruling classes have learned to live with.
Riots are an offering to the gods who rule us.
“The flames,” they say, “justify our decrees.”
The smoke is an incense which when inhaled,
excites their exalted rhetoric,
spiritual fancies of equality
But, Ferguson is also a hemorrhagic beacon,
where the contradictions of bourgeois society
are laid bare.
It is a moment of insight,
which can instruct us.
Instead of overturned cars,
we need inverted institutions.
Instead of burning buildings,
we need the Constitution, conflagrant.
Anthony Squiers is a writer, scholar, and literary critic. His debut novel, Madness and Insanity was published in 2009 by Irish Eye Publishing. He is currently Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr and has written extensively on the social philosophy of Bertolt Brecht including the forthcoming book An Introduction to the Social and Political Philosophy of Bertolt Brecht: Revolution and Aesthetics (Rodopi). His writings have appeared in a wide range of print and online journals including, Logos, eFiction Magazine, Recoil, Communications from the International Brecht Society and Eclectic Flash. He lives is Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq.
i don’t tell you everything
by JUSTIN HYDE
i teach you
all the good swear words
where and when
to use them
the raw schematics
of your curiosity
with all the unvarnished clarity
i can muster
your mother says
i give you
too much information
the way i see it
love is truth
strung from the tree
like a piñata
but i don’t
like the guy
who broke into our car last week
the needles and vomit
in the back seat
how i cheated
on your mother
than i can remember
that i’m thinking
of breaking up
with this new woman
are starting to feel
like your brothers
or the day
eight years ago
when your mother told me
you were coming
we were here
in this exact booth
i put my hands
flat on the table
i told her
Justin Hyde lives in Iowa where he works as a prison guard.
The End of Poetry
by EMILY STRAUSS
Events occur in a person’s life
so beautiful or terrible they must
be repeated to others— this repetition
a kind of ritual, a form that begins
in the body constructed of the sum
of our experience.
This form is the same force
that moved shepherds to name
the constellations, that moves planets
around the sun and causes poets
to set down word particles.
Singers write to imprint their lives
on the random pattern of the heavens
the procession of bright stars
the waning of days and moons.
When the universe ends, the poems
Will go with it. The words may last
Several trillion years but not forever.
The last blips of light they emit
Will traverse an empty space
As the cosmos collapses into silence.
We cannot see our own deaths.
Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Nearly 200 of her poems appear in over 100 online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.
Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)
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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. Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).
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