19 June 2010

Michael Lee Rattigan

Marybeth Rua-Larsen

Janice D. Soderling

Michael Lee Rattigan

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No. 8

......for kwaku Agyeman

A number where a name should be: Immigrant No.8.
A plaque set roughly into concrete, stained with damp.
Two dates. The first for when a skinless body was discovered;
a second for the burial.

His widow prone against the stone-
crying speaking. To her husband through tears
from the stomach of her sorrow.

Pressed warmth on the stone-
compacted human grief.
A storm's foul news tossed up at sea,
three days adrift of a name.

Flowers, like tears, trail on the stone-
bright tongues bruised and crumpled;
their only freshness in grief.


Bio:
Michael Lee Rattigan was born in Croydon, England. He studied at the University of Kent and Trinity College Dublin. He has lived and taught in Cancun, Mexico and Palma de Mallorca. Through Rufus Books he has published “Nature Notes” and a complete translation of Fernando Pessoa's Caeiro poems.


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Marybeth Rua-Larsen

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Unarmed

......for Furkan Dogan

Unarmed. Unjust. It’s pandemonium
when wheel chairs and cement can’t reach the quay,
when protest, or Lennon on harmonium
for “We Can Work It Out” can’t take away
their righteousness. Unthink. Unspeak. Unhide
the guns that don’t exist? What choice but splinter
sticks on legs in self defense? Outside
we witness tensions rise but unsign Pinter’s
name from JfJfP; we’re facing
nothing, our policy’s a giant brick
we hurl to sink their ships as TV-chasing
politicians slip and slide in their own slick.

Four bullets in his head. Can we refrain?
Undo? Unlearn enough to start again?


Note: JfJfP is Jews for Justice for Palestinians


Bio:
My work has been published or is forthcoming in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Raintown Review, Measure and The Battered Suitcase, among others. I live on the south coast of Massacusetts and have spent my teaching career working with affirmative action programs building basic writing and reading skills and teaching English to second-language learners at the college level.


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Janice D. Soderling

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We Wait

Another brick through the window last night.
They used to come only at night.
Not now.

Nights are the worst,
but even in the daytime, I startle at every sudden noise,
the slam of a car door,
loud voices of passers-by.

Now it is dark again but we cannot sleep.
We wait. Our child sleeps, sandwiched between us
like a slice of prime meat between bits of old bread.
I lie in the purple silence and try to find
something good to think about.

My husband lies tense beside me in the dark.
He repeats it like a mantra.
A man should be able to protect his family,
His thin arms.
He is a scholar, not a fighter.

We lie waiting. What will be thrown in tonight?
A Molotov cocktail?
The severed head of a pig?
Do you know the cost of replacing a broken window?

Last week, the neo party members,
the ones who call themselves patriots,
piled out of their vans in the public square.
I was there. I saw it all.
One held a brief speech. The others stood at attention,
holding flags.
They trashed everything breakable.
They were gone in ten minutes, leaving chaos.
No one said a word to oppose them.
When the police cars showed up,
no one had seen anything. I kept quiet too.

What can we do in this darkness
but wait?


Bio:
Janice D. Soderling is an American-born poet who lives in Sweden. Her work is in the current print journal Magma and has appeared at Babel Fruit, nth position, The Pedestal, The Flea and numerous other venues.



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05 June 2010

Paul Hostovsky

W. F. Lantry

Mae Keyson McAuley

Paul Hostovsky

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People in Deaf Houses

Here’s the church and here’s the steeple.
The deaf students have barricaded the door,
hot-wired the school buses, moved them
in front of the gates, and let the air out of the tires.
They’ve shut the campus down, and the police
can’t do anything about it because they don’t
know sign language. And neither does the president
of the college. And neither does the chairman of the board
of trustees, and neither do the trustees themselves.
The trustees can’t be trusted with this college, this
church, this school, this blessed sacrament…

In the deaf world deaf is good. Deaf people marry
other deaf people, and live in deaf houses,
and do not throw deaf carpenters’ telephone numbers
away, but give them to other deaf homeowners
looking for a good deaf carpenter, because deaf
is a good and trusted name all over the deaf world…

Here’s the hospital and here’s the urology unit.
Open the door and see all the doctors
with their deft fingers and expensive educations.
Here is one performing a vasectomy
on a deaf patient who has elected to have it
because he doesn’t want any children.
And the surgeon has a slight accent, maybe
German. And the sign language interpreter
has a professional code of ethics,
and is signing what the surgeon is saying
but not what the interpreter is thinking
about German-speaking surgeons and vasectomies,
about Aryans and eugenicists and the forced
sterilizations of the congenitally deaf
in Europe only 40 years ago, about the protests
going on right now at Gallaudet, and about
cochlear implants being performed in this very
hospital, on deaf children who haven’t elected to have them…

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
He was a teacher of the deaf. He had a deaf mother,
and a deaf wife too, and he knew
that deaf people marry other deaf people
and live in deaf houses. And he deplored that fact.
He deplored deaf people. He urged Congress to act,
to prohibit deaf marriages, to reduce the risk
of more deaf babies. He wasn’t a Hitler,
or an Eichmann exactly. He didn’t advocate
killing the deaf. He loved the deaf. He taught the deaf.
He was only trying to eradicate the deaf
for their own good, for the good of the world…

Here’s the church and here’s the steeple
and the deaf students are burning
their oppressors in effigy. They’re saying: Look!
To anyone with eyes to see, they’re saying: Look!
And the interpreter’s fingers are flying,
and the surgeon’s fingers are snipping, and the nurse is
adjusting the light above the deaf patient
lying on the table with his johnny hiked up, his little
deaf penis the center of attention. And the interpreter
who has been trying all this time not to look at it,
looks at it. Takes a good long look.


Bio:
Paul Hostovsky's latest book of poems is Dear Truth (2009). To read more of his work, visit his website at www.paulhostovsky.com



(author retains copyright)

W.F. Lantry

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Listening to an Old Poet

I believe he knew
perfectly well
there were bombs falling
as he wrote

but he didn't care.
I believe he knew
that during the time
it took to compose
each line, a child
died alone
in another hemisphere.

And as he moved his pen
from one stanza to begin
the next, he knew
a man or woman's heart
stopped beating
a few blocks away,
or the breathing ceased,
the weary chest
no longer rising
and falling like the rhythms
of his lines.

He had an interest
in all these,
an indirect profit,
but more than that
he decided no matter
what he did, the bombs
would keep on falling,
the vain mouth would open
to receive no grain,
the heart would still,
the lungs empty.

And so he wrote
knowing that soon enough
he would be unable to move
from stanza to stanza
that the pen would soon fall
from his hand.


Bio:
W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Ma├«trise from the Universit├ę de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the recipient of the University of Montana CutBank 2010 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry and the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Umbrella, New Verse News, Unsplendid and The Wallace Stevens Journal. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.



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Mae Keyson McAuley

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Patricide

It was by chance that I was teaching at a University Hospital in China,
where Chen was being held for killing his father with a knife
meant to fillet the carp languishing in the kitchen sink.
I was immediately drawn into the tragic drama of an oedipal complex.

I met Chen on the day he was interviewed by the Director.
He was thin, 16 years old,
seated erect on a green metal chair.

The room was crowded with men in white lab coats,
their faces obscured in a nauseating fog of cigarette smoke.
For two hours Chen answered questions thoughtfully, clearly.
I listened to his mythic account—
a rich father, high-ranking official
disgraced by his “stupid” son’s school performance,
a weeping mother unable to protect herself or the boy
from the father’s alcoholic rages, burning shame.

Blink.

Something happens that cannot be undone.


Bio:
Dr. Mae McAuley is clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and a retired professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. A world traveler with her husband, Dr. George McAuley, a noted psychiatrist, her poetry often concerns issues around the subjects of human rights, social justice and poverty in a straightforward narrative that is easily accessible. Her passion equals her talent.



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