FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Freddie Gray’s Spine

Freddie Gray’s Spine
by JOAN KRESICH

had 33 vertebrae
aligned in perfect order
and millions of nerves
calling and receiving
messages of life
millennia-made
uprightness
evolutionary sculpture
perfecting walking
leaping jumping
running.

the whole history
of empire came down
on Freddie Gray’s spine
on his bony spine deep
in a body that took off
running a perfect spine
that six men ripped apart
with their hands saying
I am the power
don’t run from me
don’t stand up

then hundreds of spines
poured into the streets
unstoppable standing
upright unbreakable
backbones
refusing to be
spine
less.

Joan Kresich is public school educator now working to bring restorative justice and sustainable practices to her community. Joan’s poetry and prose have appeared in Adanna Literary Journal, Chrysalis Reader, HeART Online, Albatross, and CounterPunch, among others. She is the author of “Picturing Restorative Justice.” She lives in Livingston, Montana and Berkeley, California, in one place listening to the cries of wild geese, and in the other, the tumble of urban dialects.

When the Poets Went on Strike
by GARY CORSERI

1.

Because there had never been many
(Eking out livings in cold-water flats,
Or homeless and broken on urban grates,
Or gathering breadcrumbs, like birds, in parks)
The general public hardly observed
A gradual lessening of the sun’s corona,
A confusion of diphthongs—as though tongues
Wagged lazily; and, everywhere:
A coarsening… a blurring. …

The moon-June crowd went on going on
To haphazard applause;
And the apolitical, precious types
Continued pretending power and words
Were water and oil, as they rubbed
Sappiness into the wounds on the runway.

But the children felt a yearning hollowness
They had no words for bridging.
And the old ones hungered to be filled again,
Recalling lines that had cauterized, lines
That had cleansed; lines that had healed.
Lines that had kissed them awake
And asleep. Lines that returned as prayer.

2.

“What do they want?’ someone wondered. “Surely
There’s enough to deter us, without their
Gobbledygook, roundabout, circumference-
Hugging saying things; intimating this
And that; implying, signifying, hint-
Ing with all their rigamarole-whirligig
About metaphors and similes, images
And scrimmages—rhymes, I mean!—subtly
Adorning fully-intentioned thoughts; as though
Anybody had the time these days to ferret
Meanings from allusions, let alone
Consider fabrications’ implications!”

3.

But, they persisted; having lost the three-
Thousand-year-old battle to acquaint
Humanity with what it just might mean
To be free in one’s thought, to honor Earth,
To feel the utter serendipity
Of heartbeats and tornadoes, babies
Whispering in dreams and dandelions
In a breeze. They held out… until
An envelope of dullness catacombed
The globe; and scam-artist banksters
And gamester-politicos, and the sham-
Man and sham-woman in their cubicles,
Marching into corridors, stood up an
Esculent moment, looked around, listening,
Wondering: What was it? … Who? … And how,
And why, it mattered.

Gary Corseri has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has published novels and collections of poetry, has taught in US public schools and prisons and in US and Japanese universities. His work has appeared at CounterPunch, Village Voice, The New York Times, Redbook Magazine and hundreds of publications and websites worldwide. Contact: gary_corseri@comcast.net.

Even If Just Ice
by ALI ZNAIDI

I still believe in justice,
although it turns to be just ice
because glacial entities
sooner or later will melt away
in the mud of thorn fields
& every drop of water
will circumcise despair
& despotism.

Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). More at http://aliznaidi.blogspot.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 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!

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!

August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail