All posts by mbroder61@gmail.com

What Rough Beast | Poem for January 21, 2018

Marjorie Moorhead
Singing in the Choir of Trees

I sing in a Forrest Choir.
Tall, slim trunks; textured with bark; their verticality barcode-like, bridging to the sky!
I walk to them. Tonal humming begins. Vibration. Finding our song key, we are tuning our hearts. Wind is Choir Leader; clouds, audience. In concert, we soar.
Soprano, Alto,Tenor, Bass harmonies fly!

Childhood; looking up through deep green pine boughs to blue, blue sky was my Communion.
My non-disconnection-affirmation: Nature and I are not two.

A young adult, feeling apart, wondering what was my role; my station.
I observed, looked upon, watched, but did not belong. This I knew.

Attracted to outsiders, I happily loved, and lived with a gifted, afflicted Artist I found.
Using the language of trees, he went from “marcescent” to “deciduous.”
Withering, yet holding strong, until ultimately, shedding all; joining ground.

On Twitter, an account parcels out “word of the day.”
Using lovely forgotten or underused language; describing-words, they
name what surrounds us. A joy to receive these selected morsels, it’s invitation to play.
Today’s tweet delights with multiple words for icicle:

“clinkerbell” (Somerset; archaic); “aquabob” (Kent); “ickle” (Yorkshire);
“tankle” (Durham); “shuckle” (Cumbria); “conkerbill” (Newfoundland).

Maybe I will tell a story of ice, weaving one of these tinkling twinkling words into a tale;
hoarfrosted, mythical.

As Poet member of the Tree Choir, I realize how I Belong.
Perfervid, sonorous as an Oak, finding language to own that knowledge,
I sing it with words. My song.

 

Author’s Note: The words for icicle come from the Twitter feed @RobGMacfarlane.

 

Marjorie Moorhead‘s poem “Starlight in My Pocket”  appeared in the HIV Here & Now project annual run-up to World AIDS Day in 2017. Her poem “Wandering the Anthropocene” is included in the anthology A Change of Climate (Independently published, 2017) edited by Sam Illingworth and Dan Simpson to benefit the Environmental Justice Foundation. Her poems will appear in the anthologies Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont,  Vol. 2 (Blueline Press, 2018) and in the Opening Windows Fourth Friday Poets collection forthcoming from Hobblebush Press in 2018. Marjorie lives in New Hampshire near the Vermont border.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 20, 2018

Elizabeth Poreba 
Albany, November

This year, the magnolia that usually
turns brassy then heaves its leaves
like a hoard of coins over the lawn
held on green through November,
a dulled green, gloss lost, like an old idea
it couldn’t figure out how to reject.

When a hard frost seared all that was left
to a drab brown close to black,
the tree still gripped its leaves and shot
a few deformed catkins above its crown
like furred antennae tuned to hear
news of strange changes in the year.

Then early snow weighted the leaves
and broke some boughs. Could be
the roots stored wealth enough to green
again next year, or could be the tree
has spent its last on this event and must,
like so much else, begin to disappear.

 

Elizabeth Poreba is the author of Self Help (Resource Publications, 2017), Vexed (Resource Publications, 2015), and The Family Calling (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Ducts, Feminist Studies in Religion, and Commonweal, among others. She taught English in New York City high schools for 35 years and now volunteers for environmental groups.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 19, 2018

Devon Balwit
Creationism

Magazine has been tucked inside the Bible
I’ve no use for and returned, already familiar
with its characters, parables, and stories—
good and bad.
I left the table for the psalms
as well, unwilling, for even one more year,
to suffer the infernal missionary’s knock
unsought. Whether you mean well or just
to take a soldier’s stand
against godlessness, regardless
of affront, I’ve no clue. My dearest friend’s
a quieter sort of Christian, more trusting
in the divine to do his own work
and persuade me—
unlike you, who seem
doubtful he is able, and so storm each
conversation, each gathering, like a bandit,
demanding we hand ourselves over—
that and everything we value.

 

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, Oregon. Her poems of protest have appeared previously in What Rough Beast as well as in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, RattleRedbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, and more.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 18, 2018

Kris Beaver
Nothing News

How long must we wait for word
God finally stepped in to regain control?
Of all the stupid ideas, to let
Muddle-minded creations have a go
Running the family business.
How could the Great-I-Am not know
We wouldn’t live up to loving one another,
Let alone nurture the planet or ourselves?
Face it, we’re do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do folks.
Greedy stewards. Weaponized whackos.
Naturally, we blow it. That’s the way it is
With short-sighted dumb shits.
Besides, this game is rigged in His favor.
He throws us the big blue ball
And laughs while we scramble. Then we fall
On the couch with fast food and beer
Checking ESPN for breaking news of redemption.
We’ll always lose. What the hell.
At least we grab His attention.

 

Kris Beaver’s poems have appeared in ERGO: The Bumbershoot Literary Magazine and Spindrift, among other journals. She holds a BA in English from Whitman College (where she twice received the Delta Gamma Creative Writing Award) and an MEd from Lesley University. Recently retired after a long career as an elementary school teacher, she has returned to writing poetry.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 17, 2018

Bridget Langdon
Division

Order becomes
oppression, individuality becomes
chaos, conviction becomes
intolerance, belief becomes
fact, enlightenment becomes
blindness, inquiries become
ignorance. Humanity becomes
divided.

We are
imprisoned by our freedoms,
we are
finite, only human,
we are
wrong in our need to be right.

 

Bridget Langdon’s work has appeared in Grassroots Writing and Research Journal, Sick Lit Magazine, Dime Show Review, and HIV Here & Now. She has also been a guest reviewer for Whet [Lit] Journal and Grassroots Writing and Research Journal. Langdon is a second year master’s student at Illinois State University, studying in the creative writing program with an emphasis on creative non-fiction. She can be found on Twitter @FormerAltruist.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 16, 2018

Irene Cooper
Memo re: sciencedied vernacular of CDC budget submission for 2018

Due to indications that that evidence-gendered transscience operates at a level of feverosity that results in basement analysis of probable diables, we strive to serve the vulnerbased by honoring community concerns not exclusively sitybased & genderable. It is decided that to evientitle vulnerosity is to encourage a feverment of dencebase. A scienceable transbase, aka, entitleus diverment, prevents the evigendered confusion of the usbased fetle tusenti, which, as is universally understood, must be protected from the viral infectiousness of the broader vulnerus.

 

Irene Cooper’s poems have appeared in The Feminist Wire, Poems in the Aftermath, What Rough Beast, and Verseweavers. Cooper lives, writes, and cooks in Oregon, is a fierce advocate for public school, arts curricula, accessible health care, any available toilet, and the popular vote, among other things. She believes that language is imperfect, and so, miraculous.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 15, 2018

Freesia McKee
Precedents 20:17

For I was hungry and you gave me a drug test. I was thirsty and you poisoned my water.
I was a stranger and you sent me away. I needed clothes and you sexually assaulted me.
I was sick and your company denied my coverage. I was in prison and I became something else to you, my freedom changed into your free labor.

How do the righteous answer? “A common hunger, a common thirst, a common need?’” When did we begin to see you as a threat? When did we begin to believe we wouldn’t have to pay? When did we see you sick and in prison? Who labors for free? When did we decide our greatest joy was over-filling our plate?

The King will reply, “Whatever you ignored this year, you did for me.”

 

Freesia McKee is author of the chapbook How Distant the City (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her words have appeared in cream city review, The Feminist Wire, Painted Bride Quarterly, Gertrude, Huffington Post, and in the anthology Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity (Sundress Publications, 2016), edited by Fox Frazier-Foley and Erin Elizabeth Smith. Freesia lives in North Miami.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 14, 2018

Marjorie Moorhead
Rat-a-Tat Rain

Sitting in a room where raindrops reverb.
Pinging hard, like machine gun fire today.
Disturb pitter-patter rapid-fire style.
Bump stock speed: no delay.

Picking off leaves one by one.
Red, golden, orange, brown.
Torn from branch and stem; each bullet drop
tears one down.

Shapes gather to form a blanket, wet.
Lay atop autumn grass and let
death’s gleam shimmer and wink.

The joke: Winter must come. Don’t think
it won’t. All will slow and fester;
in small places sequester.

Huddle for warmth and shelter!
The Ice Queen cometh; we’ve all felt her.
“Shelter in Place”! “Rat-a-tat” there it is again!

In meditation; legs crossed, spine straight
that’s when I hear it: harsh rain.
Usually too busy to let it into my brain,

in silence and full presence
I hear the drops above.
An introduction to this Season’s essence:

Light to dark,
fluid to frozen, active to hibernating,
abundant to empty; stark.

 

Marjorie Moorhead‘s poem “Starlight in My Pocket”  appeared in the HIV Here & Now project annual run-up to World AIDS Day in 2017. Her poem “Wandering the Anthropocene” is included in the anthology A Change of Climate (Independently published, 2017) edited by Sam Illingworth and Dan Simpson to benefit the Environmental Justice Foundation. Her poems will appear in the anthologies Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont,  Vol. 2 (Blueline Press, 2018) and in the Opening Windows Fourth Friday Poets collection forthcoming from Hobblebush Press in 2018. Marjorie lives in New Hampshire near the Vermont border.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 13, 2018

Sang Yun Jee
A Farewell

On a midnight flight
to a country I don’t know,
The clouds slither by
like dark glaciers in an ocean of air.
I can see the desperate lights
of anglerfish down below,
hoping to catch a lonely soul
in the darkness.
Nobody will know what I am
in a land where nobody can speak to me.
Light cannot catch blind fish.
The moon, unblocked, casts itself onto clouds
melting them
into white frost
that drips down
Below.

 

Sang Yun Jee, otherwise known as Martin, studies in the Philippines as a sophomore in the International School Manila. He wants to use his various experiences to follow the path of English Literature. He is currently the poetry editor for a student-run magazine, The Mckinley Review.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for January 12, 2018

Devon Balwit
The Force Needed to Escape Orbit

…the bridegroom arrives
Lord of the mirrors!
It is himself he guides

In among these silk
Screens, these rustling appurtenances.
—Sylvia Plath

You’ve met
his ilk, the type
who asks questions

only he
can answer,
you, an ear,

a megaphone, a pump
to inflate
the limp cock

of self-regard.
Respond or don’t,
it’s the same

to him. All
he needs is a mute
cliff for an echo.

Move,
and you will see
him turn,

heliotropic,
seeking a new face
for his heat.

To watch him
spin about so
staggers.

 

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, Oregon. Her poems of protest have appeared previously in What Rough Beast as well as in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, RattleRedbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, and more.

SUBMIT to What Rough Beast via our SUBMITTABLE site.

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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