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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 27, 2017

Carla Drysdale
Found Poem on Facebook

Pay down your debt

A crash could eat up what

You don’t own

Stock up on Plan B for your daughters

Hard-wire your generator

Set up a rainwater collection system

Don’t go out if the sun is setting

Get a handgun or bear spray

Take care of yourself so you’re able to fight

Keep your passport up to date

Stay in Canada or France

Stock up on tampons or anything women will need

Rethink buying a house

Get an IUD now

Say yes we can, one red county at a time

Join a freeze-dried club

Marry a Canadian

Burn a Rump piñata

Keep a stash of vitamins

Buy an R.V. and learn Russian.

Get rid of inner garbage

Don’t retire early

Don’t buy a gun

Grab the cats and be ready to run

Prepare to shelter in place

In case of nuclear winter

Make breakfast an act of resistance

 

Carla Drysdale is the author of the poetry collections Little Venus (Tightrope Books, 2009) and Inheritance (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Spiraling, Public Pool, Cleaver Magazine, PRISM International, The Same, LIT, Literary Review of Canada, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, Global City Review, and Literary Mama, among other journals, and in the anthology Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo. In May, 2014 she was awarded PRISM’s annual Earle Birney poetry prize for her poem, “Inheritance.” Born in London, Ontario, she lives with her husband and two sons in Ornex, France. To learn more, visit www.carladrysdale.com.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 26, 2017

Melinda Thomsen
Constitutional Crisis

The U.S. Constitution
And Fascinating Facts About It
stays by my desk, its wave of red

stripes, white stars, and navy field
calms me like lemon balm tea.
Khizr Khan waved a similar one

at the Democratic Convention.
“Donald Trump, you’re asking
Americans to trust you with their

future. Let me ask you, have you even
read the United States Constitution?”
George Washington said,

“The Constitution is the guide,
which I never will abandon.”
In Gilbert Stuart’s Washington

portrait, books pile up beside
the table leg, including, you
guessed it: Constitution

And Laws Of The United States.
President Trump says, No.
“It’s a very rough system.

It’s an archaic system…
It’s really a bad thing for the country.”
Librarians mobilize to Bury

the White House in Books.
Librarians read writing on walls.
They urge Trump to, too.

I sent Jane Austen’s Persuasion,
a view of women with no rights
and felt the shame of sending

this to a shameless President.
So, here we stand: a citizen imploring
our President to read the U.S. Constitution,

librarians organizing a massive book
drop, thousands of scientists marching
to protest ignorance, and a French President

inviting American climate change
researchers, entrepreneurs, and engineers
to emigrate to France. Witness a nerd revolt,

or worse, our precious dweebs emigrating
as they flash their good-byes with travel-sized
constitutions, and we take a last look at thinking.

 

Melinda Thomsen is the author of the chapbooks Naming Rights (Finishing Line Press, 2008) and  Field Rations (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her poetry has appeared in Heliotrope, Poetry East, Big City Lit, New York Quarterly, Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems, Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews, and Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 25, 2017

Karen Hildebrand
Bee Keeper

Let me come with you
to the honeycombed palace
where you live somewhere
in Saskatchewan. I want to soak
my feet in your pollen. Surround me
with drones to carry my pillow
and mute the wailing that
bleeds through the walls.

We are all immigrants
born to manual labor
misplaced in this world.
Give me something to do
with my hands, beyond their
surrender to a manicure.
Spare me your stories
of sting and run.

 

Karen Hildebrand’s recent poetry publications include, “Steve Bannon Visits the White House” (What Rough Beast, Indolent Books), “Benefits (in the voice of Kellyanne Conway)” (Maintenant 11, Three Rooms Press) and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (Portable Boog City Reader). “A History of Feminism,” forthcoming in great weather for MEDIA’s anthology, was a finalist for the 2017 Disquiet Literary Prize. In 2013, her work was adapted for the play, The Old In and Out, produced in NYC. She lives in Brooklyn and is chief content officer for Dance Magazine.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 24, 2017

Tom Daley
Pledge

I have neither given nor received
I have neither presented or secured.

I have given noon its broad disruption,
morning its secure equalities.

I know that transitions retire
before the confirmations do their lava stunts.

My heart is an extradition, my glands
reliquaries of king pins in the back alleys

where coat hangers smell of E. coli
and the students lift themselves

into the sweet deals of designation.
I will engage, I will unfund,

I will mortgage my toenails,
the inserts I used to cook

in the heat-treating oven.
I will leave before the coach comes calling

to pray over my lack of minutiae
and bad loans. He spoke to me once

in my room, and I wanted him to take
his shirt off so I could raid the tart

tent of his nipples with my eyes.
I am a distended pupil lost

in the shell corporation. I swear
these forms are complicated.

Later, for tariffs. Later, for more staff.
That’s an infection I forgot about,

a new regime that will drive my tooth
decay all night long.

 

Tom Daley is the author of House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies Hacks: Ten Years on Grub Street (Random House, 2007); Poets for Haiti (Yileen Press, 2010); The Body Electric (CreateSpace, 2013); and Luminous Echoes (Into the Void, 2017). He leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online for poets and writers working in creative prose.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 23, 2017

Tanya Singh
Most Days We Are an Enterprise of an Excavated Archaeological Site

after the fourth wife’s only husband

most days we are an enterprise of an excavated archaeological site,
and some days we are politics of identity, who are better at being headless.
every now and then gestalt psychologists fall prey to the unmercenary
doctrines of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
i’ve heard that some parts don’t make a sum as big as the whole.
and if you put a kettle on the stove, that’s where the kettle stays,
unlike birds whom  you may place adjacent to grey ribbons in sky,
and later find them vicariously hidden between its folds of cellulite,
i asked for another day after tomorrow when I am finally home,
still to contemplate the prospects of a start-up that builds start-ups,
the bird doesn’t find itself back in the sky after displacing itself,
over generations of snake charmers. even when mumtaz called out to them,
they are brainless creatures with tiny brains, the size of a leprechaun’s
uniform, and simper lankily between whites of purdah and chick peas,
and when we fall among the gallery of ruins, our pits covered with feathers
of some ostrich’s dreams, the size of its egg, there will be quietist bodies
vibrating to a persian bebop siren. say we want to be alive when we grow
up. how impotent is being potent. you mean ‘important’?
mumtaz was not taught english in the mughal era, she only married
a bewitching misogynist who hides his contempt in the ivory walls
of the seventh wonder of the world, among others such as patriarchy,
see birds are closest to kings after drainage systems named in their honour.
and from what i’ve heard i know birds don’t build their graves in the sky.

 

Tanya Singh’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Literary Orphans and Dear Damsels, among others. Tanya serves as the blog editor for Moledro Magazine. Interested in all things poetry and philosophy, she lives in India.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 22, 2017

Eileen Tabios
From The Ashbery Riff-Offs
—where each poem begins with 1 or 1-2 lines from “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” by John Ashbery

Witnessed in the Convex Mirror: Vice

We have seen the city; it is the gibbous
mirrored eye of an insect. All things unfold
without accuracy. City slickers never lack
for new myths to inflict on the unsuspecting
There’s an angle waiting to entangle our
intentions. Look there at that street corner:
a puff of smoke from the last cigarette
smoker on the planet. Or so he proclaims
doffing his fedora. But on the other side
of the planet, my grandfather is stripping
green, wide leaves from his tobacco
fields. They will dry to brown in one of
the many shanties dotting the 30 hectares
he sacrificed to acquire. He and his gum-
teethed cronies agree under the shade
of a mango tree where they take their
lunch break of rice and smoked fish
“Demand never abates for vice, even
what will kill its patron.” In the capital
of his country, another student falls
to the street, her tattered books spilling
to the nearby gutter, the plaid skirt
of her school uniform rising to reveal
newly-punctured wounds, roses blossom
-ing from her tiny limbs—their President
understands creating a war solidifies
power, even if it’s a domestic drug war
helmed by beer-bellied men with gibbous
eyes, too incompetent to shoot straight

 

Eileen R. Tabios has released about 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in eight countries and cyberspace. Her most recent include The Opposite of Claustrophobia (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2017) and Amnesia: Somebody’s Memoir (Black Radish Books, 2016). Forthcoming poetry collections include Mantattan: An Archaeology (Paloma Press, 2017). Inventor of the poetry form “hay(na)ku,” her poetry has been translated into eight languages. She also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 12 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays as well as served as editor or guest editor for various literary journals. More information is available at eileenrtabios.com.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 21, 2017

Herbert Abelson
Conflagration

Washington is burning
indignation flames as
history and nuance
flash in the heat of madness

It burned before, the Brits
torched it—Madison fled for a day
saved by a thunderstorm or hurricane
always simmering since

Feel the current burn
takes your breath away
stomach cramps, cough
Smoke gets in your eyes
Comey’s testimony today
will light a fire under any
and all—he made detailed notes because
he believed the POTUS might lie—incredible

Burn baby burn
Public School Education sucks says Betsy
Coal is good for the climate and you chimes Scott
Taxes are not for the rich snits Mnuchin
Laws are fungible fumes Jeff
(This is your brain on drugs
white versus brown eggs
who will be charged—don’t mess with Jeff
or look to the East)
Health Care and Tom’s stocks are a match
Courts are trash heaps says POTUS
Burning crosses for Steve
Housing is expendable; Ben says burn the bad stuff
Energy still okay since Rick can’t recall the burn

So let’s burn books
science is a hoax
climate change only interests those
without private jets

barn burning okay if you
burn candles at both ends
with comments flaming and
hair on fire
it fans the flames
of a funeral pyre
fostering malcontent with lies
blazing a trail of ashes to the ultimate
Fire and ICE

 

Herbert Abelson’s poems have appeared in SilkwormThe Pharos, and the Senior Bulletin of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a retired academic physician widely published in the scientific literature.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 20, 2017

Carla Drysdale
Dream

What if we could be happy?
Let the self live
its transgressive self
replace matrimony
with polyamory in body
& mind & law.
What if we adhered
to Oscar Wilde’s conviction:
pursue pleasure
as the highest ideal—
not ordeal?

Let the satyr seduce
the martyr within ourselves.
Let the lover’s hand or our own
roam while the sermon revs.

Live a happy, dangerous life—
be like the blue poles in Jackson
Pollack’s painting, standing tall,
held, yet leaning, ready to fall
in the magnificent swirling
chaos?

 

Carla Drysdale is the author of the poetry collections Little Venus (Tightrope Books, 2009) and Inheritance (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Spiraling, Public Pool, Cleaver Magazine, PRISM International, The Same, LIT, Literary Review of Canada, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, Global City Review, and Literary Mama, among other journals, and in the anthology Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo. In May, 2014 she was awarded PRISM’s annual Earle Birney poetry prize for her poem, “Inheritance.” Born in London, Ontario, she lives with her husband and two sons in Ornex, France. To learn more, visit www.carladrysdale.com.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 19, 2017

Kathleen Hogan
Down The Rabbit Hole

We are ensnared in a long hall
with doors of all sizes,
and we shrink/grow
In a jiffy flash.

DRINK ME/EAT ME
the unbreakable cycle,
as Katy and Chuck natter on that
Vladimir is menacing our democracy.

“Où est ma chatte?”

I feel like The Hatter
drinking tea all the time,
stuck in a sticky web of noxious tweets
or engaged in a game of croquet
with flamingos and hedgehogs,
waiting amidst the chaos to hear,
“Off with her head!”

Dodo has invoked the Caucus-Race,
and all of our boats circle endlessly,
while every pebble we throw at Him
turns to bits of moist pound cake.

We need to enforce Rule 42 soon,
let no one taller than
a mile high stay in the room,
or we may awake to find
the falling leaves truly are
living playing cards.

 

Kathleen Hogan’s most recent poem was published in the Nancy Drew Anthology: Writing & Art Featuring Everybody’s Favorite Female Sleuth (Silver Birch Press, 2016). She lives in New York City.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for June 18, 2017

Karen Hildebrand
Parade of the Republic

We ate nothing but salmon that summer.
Caught it wild, prowling at the foot of the falls.
The silvers would swim madly, right up
to our furry butts and flop from the clamp
of our jaws. We ate them right there

still squirming, a long strand of innards
slurring our chins as we lumbered off
to relax at the edge, rising only to ward off
any who would challenge. Let the sows fend
for their scrawny cubs downstream.

 

Karen Hildebrand’s recent poetry publications include, “Steve Bannon Visits the White House” (What Rough Beast, Indolent Books), “Benefits (in the voice of Kellyanne Conway)” (Maintenant 11, Three Rooms Press) and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (Portable Boog City Reader). “A History of Feminism,” forthcoming in great weather for MEDIA’s anthology, was a finalist for the 2017 Disquiet Literary Prize. In 2013, her work was adapted for the play, The Old In and Out, produced in NYC. She lives in Brooklyn and is chief content officer for Dance Magazine.

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If you want to support the mission and work of Indolent Books, consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Indolent Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.

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