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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 23, 2017

Adam Zhou
Undulations

A wave takes shape in the form
of a human body, shrouded in a fiery dress
as if making sure scattered footprints
can at last find in its mind’s cranny, a faint glint.
Like that of a passage stretching out
coarse fingers onto a child’s body.
Perhaps it may find eyes hiding behind
the hours of night. The coarse landscape
you do not seem to know because feeble tears
etch red marks on skin. They never fade,
so let the wave wash against a shadow. Let its body,
vacant and wandering take shape in the form
of a raft, drowned in its own planks,
as if making sure scattered bones, not fully grown,
can at last find in the ocean floor, a home.

 

Adam Zhou’s poetry has appeared in The Rising Phoenix Review and The Kill List Chronicles. In 2017, Zhou won a National Silver Medal for personal essay and memoir from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers), the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program in the United States for creative teens in grades 7–12. He is a sophomore at the International School Manila.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 22, 2017

Gregory Luce
After Las Vegas

Nation of bullets
Nation of smoke and cracked mirrors
Nation of lead flowing in the water and flying through the air
Nation of rivers that flow unnaturally red over pavement
Nation of mass death and isolation
Nation un-led by an orange bullethead with an itchy Twitter finger
shooting deadly blanks
Nation of bullets bullets bullets

 

Gregory Luce is the author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications, 2010), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013), and Tile (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Recipient of the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Luce is retired from National Geographic, works as a creative writing instructor for Writopia Lab, and lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 21, 2017

Zachary Taylor Knox
(impaired judgment)

repent, repent the confederate judge lent
the judgement from the words of his own denial in the
recent black boy’s trial because it wasn’t
he who was the one who stood close to
the fire he spent hours wrapped up in the
latest and greatest styles on which to buy
his very owned miracle mile and pay

a merry band of illegal immigrants to design
the landscape of his fertilized lawn to
conceal the closing in steel gate that
shielded him from the reality of
his commitment to the incestial rape
of his daughter, he reasoned it didn’t
matter because of all the things he

bought her and the life lessons it taught
her

 

Zachary Taylor Knox’s poems have appeared in Ealain and Penny Ante Feud. He lives in Fort Madison, Iowa.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 20, 2017

Charlie W. Brice
The Trumpet Shall Sound

After Theodore Roethke

Melania appears in stiletto heels,
Hurricane or not, you can still make deals.
Commerce revolves on a gigantic wheel,
And Trump sits atop it.

McConnell and Ryan he says are bums.
He doesn’t need them, he’s a party of one.
His political affiliation is narcissism.
And Trump sits atop it.

You’re fine if you hate and have a gun,
If America Great means immigrants gone,
If soundbites and slogans are your only song.
And Trump sits atop it.

Healthcare for all’s a messy affair.
Insurance for the wealthy few seems more fair.
Who needs insurance when you’re a billionaire?
And Trump sits atop it.

They want to impeach me, but I’ll show them.
I’ll nuke North Korea and fry me a Kim.
I’ll still make a profit and so will my kin,
And I’ll proudly sit atop it.

 

Charles W. Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (WordTech Editions, 2016) and Mnemosyne’s Hand (WordTech Editions, 2018). His poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Hawaii Review, Chiron Review, The Dunes Review, SLAB, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Sport Literate, The Paterson Literary Review, VerseWrights, and elsewhere.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 19, 2017

Deborah Bacharach
F It

The morning after Trump, I woke forsaken,
freaked out, what with
Forty-five fragging our country.
Freaked out isn’t far enough. The air fouled,
the EPA a foxtail Trump hung in his truck
to wave at the wankers like me. Me and Emma Goldman,
we phone our senators. A fortress of friends
all fandango together tonight.
Give us a minute, we promise to be less afraid.

 

Deborah Bacharach is the author of After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her work has appeared in Poet Lore, Arts & Letters, Blue Mesa Review, and The Texas Review, among other journals. Her work has also appeared in Jump Start: A Northwest Renaissance Anthology (Steel Toe Books, 2009), A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-Five Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books, 2002), and Sex and the Single Girl (Seal Press, 200). She is a writing tutor in the Seattle. Find out more about her at DeborahBacharach.com.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 18, 2017

Andrew K. Peterson
The Beginning

In memoriam Joanne Kyger

After a 2006 dream where Allen Ginsberg invites me to pick his set-list for a poetry reading in a medieval village barn. I choose a leather-bound volume called The Beginning. Awake, I discover Allen does not have a poem called The Beginning.

The Beginning is for what i always want to be
(no beginnings, and without reservation)
where it seems you’ve always been.
Tonight might not snow on the poor
whippoorwill singing just delineations
of emotion through bleak measure’s fair
night outside the repertory of bad science
fiction, my loneliest guilty pleasure.
how fear keep us in wonder apropos
democracy, cf. “do we really care about
the magna carta?” or the always dream of being
one of a billion breathing comets crashing
around the tropic scientific expedition,
we few’d be select not for expertise
but for kindness & ability to learn & teach
knowing the best “learn bring rest to others.”
chef, singer, poet-astronomer, fire-swallower,
a hip old scientist like Kyger in a lab coat
leads us daily to our study: soil effects on turtle
migration, kelp flow on otter populations,
sand in the eye on dispersals of methods.
slowly, what we learn from everybody: play
ukulele in unique ways—i mean modern ukulele—
identify each star song & bird fight to the solstice
gifts us from this, our daily pain,
take what we have from what we can continue
giving away, return to one another’s friends
i to yours, you to mine if you so choose
take me to where you belong,
readjust to this new life of infinite divisions and
love’s indivisibles. learn from what we can, leave
the rest behind in the greened-out seventies
before-the-giant squid-attacks-me-kind-of-fear,
not so much the fear of being dead, but the cost of
dying. with no locks, just respect the cucumbers
we call friends & find some ways of fuller living
inside the all ways dream where we do the daily waking

 

Andrew K. Peterson is the author of The Big Game Is Every Night (Locofo Chaps, 2017), Anonymous Bouquet (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015), and bonjour meriwether and the rabid maps (Fact-Simile, 2011). His work appears in Emergency Index 2012 (Ugly Duckling Presse) and has been featured in museum exhibits and performance projects. He edits the online literary journal summer stock and lives in Boston.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 17, 2017

Suzanne Edison
Staying

Try to praise the mutilated world.
—Adam Zagajewski

If I say praise,
inhaling jasmine & stench of subway piss, let
euphorbia’s milky saprasp
my skin inside the nap
of a velvet dress

I need also say, forgive
my crackdown
on budding desiresthe smack
upside a child’s mouth
full of questions
when I turned away, shellacking
kindness.

Warped & rusty
how do I stand
under a flag
whose red & white glare now flares blue
on those longing

for their war-born rights?

If I say to myself, listen

beyond the swarms of must have,
& those who breed hate

I also want to sting
awake this somnolent body,

shouting
not one more
be taken
nameless.

Let me not forget
the unruly world revolts
plate against tectonic plate.

All our cleverness will melt
with the ice. It must be

then, whatever keeps me steady
be like morning glory, bindweed,
cross all our divides.

 

Suzanne Edison is the author of The Moth Eaten World (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in UCity Review, Bombay Gin, The Naugatuck River Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Seattle Review of Books, Spillway, and The Examined Life Journal, as well as in the anthologies Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith Mysticism and Awakening (North Point Press, 2004), edited by Linda Hogan and Brenda Peterson; and The Healing Art of Writing, Volume One (University of California Press, 2011), edited by Joan Baranow, Brian Dolan, and David Watts. Edison lives in Seattle.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 16, 2017

Adam Zhou
the woman next door

a chinese woman lives next door, and i hear her whispers when i head to bed, words like beautiful repeated without end as if putting them together would stir up an entirely different meaning. maybe something like emptiness, something quivering in the arms of a fog and reaches out, only to find that there is the illusion of an illusion. i’ve seen her gaze so many times, a palette of misty amber that trickles down into its reflection; sliced up memories in the desert of a stomach. sometimes, i feel the shadow of her eyes tailgating that of mine, making sure to send trickles of sand in my path. cluster adds on to cluster, yet i don’t know what to see. tomorrow, i’ll ask for her guidance, before shaking her gloved hands and whispering bye auntie mei.

Adam Zhou’s poetry has appeared in The Rising Phoenix Review and The Kill List Chronicles. In 2017, Zhou won a National Silver Medal for personal essay and memoir from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers), the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program in the United States for creative teens in grades 7–12. He is a sophomore at the International School Manila.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 15, 2017

Laura Page
Ross 128

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course you’re tired.
—Albert Goldbarth

The radio frequency seems tangled
in the quivering bark-stuff,
the ghost-orphan limbs of Virgo.
I listen to its pulsing eleven light years away.

Though researchers feel sure
it’s the red dwarf, Ross 128, from which these frequencies
murmur, the notes still seem suspect—
like the words of the only lullaby I know:

rock-a-bye baby
in the tree top.

It could be any companion star—
Gliese, Wolf, V* RT SEX, or k2-18.
It could be interference,
a high-orbit satellite, a ricocheted cadence,
poignant error sent up, then shot down from
the bassinet of space.

when the wind blows
the cradle will rock.

Considering likelihoods, the frequencies stop.
They haven’t really ceased—all that ghosts me now are the seconds
of audio filed, downloaded. I hit replay.

when the bough breaks
the cradle will fall

Why sing descent
to those most prone to it?

One theory is that we remember, retrospectively,
not knowing we remember, that only chaos can truly comfort—
and only if sung very beautifully.

down will come baby,

cradle
and all.

 

Laura Page is the author of Children, Apostates (dgp, 2016), Sylvia Plath in the Major Arcana (Anchor & Plume, forthcoming), and epithalamium (forthcoming), chosen by Darren C. Demaree as the winner of the Sundress Publications 2017 chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Crab Creek Review, The Fanzine, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Red Paint Hill, The Rumpus, Unbroken, Maudlin House, TINGE, and elsewhere. Page is a graduate of Southern Oregon University and editor of Virga Magazine.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for October 14, 2017

Zachary Taylor Knox
(sexual dysfunction)

forget the bombs that fell from his big
strong trump arms just microwave the cold
lie and stare deeply into michelle
osama’s big brown twinkie eyes
keep living just to be alive is
only a disguise for the repression
we hide in bearded caves

of watergate that scholars
contemplate but remains a mystery
to as why we care the scandal was
his hair, jfk just looked more
presidential like he wanted to
fuck you, after all he said he held
people’s needs near and dear once they

turned eighteen and become a part
of the never ending machine that’s
the kind of fear i want to live under
a leader that will get behind me
and whisper in my ear as he
makes love to me with a dildo
the size of the twin towers while

shouting about the peaceful
devotion the flower power
generation showed them in the
exiled seclusion of a
nursing home

 

Zachary Taylor Knox’s poems have appeared in Ealain and Penny Ante Feud. He lives in Fort Madison, Iowa.

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