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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 22, 2017

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The What Rough Beast Submittable queue has run dry…does this mean the erosion of our constitutional democracy is no longer an issue for poets?
I don’t think so!

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 21, 2017

Your Poem Here

The What Rough Beast Submittable queue has run dry…does this mean the erosion of our constitutional democracy is no longer an issue for poets?
I don’t think so!

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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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 20, 2017

Your Poem Here

The What Rough Beast Submittable queue has run dry…does this mean the erosion of our constitutional democracy is no longer an issue for poets?
I don’t think so!

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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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 19, 2017

Mary Ann Honaker
Sanctuary:

a place of refuge or protection: esp.,
a reservation where animals or birds
cannot be hunted or molested

is where the congregants josh
the preacher during his opening remarks,
and everyone has a good belly laugh

where the organist after hymns
waves her hand dismissively aw shucks
you shouldn’t have at our applause

where you can speak up about your sick
sister, nephew, mother-in-law, where
everyone will listen, hmmming sadly,

and write down the exact spelling
of that person’s name, so God will know
who they mean when they daily pray

where everyone goes down the narrow steps
to the basement rec room once a month
to eat together a raucous potluck,

the old men telling hunting stories,
the old women bragging on grandbabies,
the children cleaning off the cookie tray

where blood and screams and horror
where an entire family leaves the good earth
at once, all together in their pews

When we arrive home that morning,
my mom, stepping out of her dress flats
says, I expected something like this

During the service I always look
back at the door, I check several times
in case someone is coming in

 

Mary Ann Honaker is the author of It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in 2 Bridges, The Dudley Review, Euphony, Juked, Off the Coast, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and elsewhere. Honaker holds a BA in philosophy from West Virginia University, a master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 18, 2017

Robbie Gamble
Preamble to the United States Constitution: an Erasure

We the                           Order

                        establish

                         the         defence,

                        and secure

                    our Posterity,

this Con                           State of America.

Robbie Gamble’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Slipstream, and Poet Lore. He works as a nurse practitioner caring for homeless people in Boston, Massachusetts.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 17, 2017

D. S. Butterworth
the drunk on the bicycle sees his hair as a pentecostal fire

Wind is life, and a moving bicycle manufactures a wind
that violates the principles of hair when the rules

of order operate according to vanity. A nun’s
wimple would work the prow of his face toward

the eternal beachhead that is the world. But he hates
nuns. His eyes, too, squint from blanched lids at the grit

that makes him want to banish the silicates always crumbling
at the seams of infrastructure. It may be shellac

breaking down in his self-generated gust, or treason
of the tire tread funneling up microscopic debris

into the slipstream of irritation before his face.
He composes a law even as the sound of his breath

swims to him through the fog of exertion and the fact
of his labor. Work should be for the plebes. Lord of the machine,

he considers abolishing existence—why the bicycle,
why a street, why legs and pumping heart, at all?

He grimaces as if a vision were to emerge from his bowels.
Where was he going? What was it he needed to tweet,

that joke about Dopey fucking penguins? He laughs and feels
a moment of joy, the intoxication of movement, of telling

the wheels where to go, having them comply. And when
he sees his reflection in the window he knows he has been

touched by the finger of the gods, his hair swelling bigly,
reports of his enemies’ immolation redolent in a tongue of flame.

 

D.S. Butterworth is the author of Waiting for Rain: A Farmer’s Story (Algonquin Books, 1992), The Clouds of Lucca (Lost Horse Press, 2014), and The Radium Watch Dial Painters (Lost Horse Press, 2011). His work has appeared in Cream City Review, The Wisconsin Review, The Louisville Review, The Portland Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Santa Clara Review, The Midwest Quarterly Review, The Windless Orchard, Plainsongs, Flyway, Amoskeag, The Rockhurst Review, Poet Lore, The Seattle Review, Willow Springs, and The Baltimore Review. He teaches writing and literature at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 16, 2017

Sylvia Byrne Pollack
More About What the Deaf Woman Doesn’t Want to Hear About

The screams of drilling, of trees falling, water diverting, fracking in
national parks and forests makes the tiny bones in her ears vibrate
in pain.
The deaf woman forces herself to listen.
She turns up the volume on the TV, hears wails of people and sirens, sees
carnage caused by an unhinged man with an unlimited supply of
automatic weapons and ammunition shooting into the fishbowl of
20,000 concert goers.
The deaf woman cannot distinguish her tinnitus’ trill from the shrieking
sirens.
It is all too much.
Just like it was the last time, and the time before that and soon the next
time as we manage to average one mass murder a day in these
Disintegrating States of America.
No one should have to hear this—hear of it, hear about it, hear how it went
down.
The mood of the country is sinking, sucked down by a fair-haired fat baby
president latched onto the nipple of America, sucking her dry,
spitting up all over her, pleased with himself.
The deaf woman hears her own revulsion.
It holds her head in its hands.

 

Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s work has appeared in Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Clover, and Antiphon, among other journals. A recipient of the 2013 Mason’s Road Winter Literary Award and a finalist for the 2014 inaugural Russell Prize, she is currently writing a series of “Deaf Woman Poems” inspired by Marvin Bell’s “Dead Man Poems.”

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 15, 2017

Barbara Reynolds
One hundred years from now

the cemeteries will be full of us.
Others will be living in our houses

and our neighbors will be gone,
replaced with new, quieter ones
with different pets.

Shoppers in the market will be different
with different cashiers, and different boys
will recover the carts in the parking lot.

The children in the classrooms will be gone,
replaced by the children of the children
of the children that are there now.

The teachers, too, will change,
and what they teach, especially history,
will not be the same.

One hundred years from now, people will be mixed
then matched, and perhaps no one will care
anymore who belongs and who doesn’t.

Others will write about us and our times,
how we lived, what we did,
what we should have done,
what was better left undone.

 

Barbara Reynolds’s work has appeared in The Avocet. She is a retired high school math teacher and an instructor in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for November 14, 2017

Adam Zhou
Cause Célèbre

Children left naked in ponds, unattended.

Even when drank, black water leaves no shadows.

A cloth, a layer of skin, some threads sticking out.

Only fish can taste the flesh: sweet and raw.

Chests rise and collapse almost simultaneously.

Spry laughter, a dissonance caught in a loop.

 

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 November 13, 2017

José Sotolongo
The Country and The Country

—After China Miéville

We occupy the same land, the one
We tend to like to be proud of, tell
Ourselves the best country on earth
Our lies so ingrained don’t make us blush
We lack shame and regret in
Our shortcomings or no not that, not flaws
We have fatal lacunae like a heart so wounded
Our best surgeon flounders like a fish
We hook and watch die an epileptic death
Our guns we must have though should not
We trample dark skin that we are
Our women not sovereign
We know is birthright undermined
Our hands poised at the ballot
Our choices too quiet and still like that fish.

 

José Sotolongo’s poetry has appeared in The Peacock Journal as well as in that magazine’s print anthology. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Nest, Atticus Review, Opossum, and other journals. He is a physician and lives on an old goat farm in the Catskill Mountains with his husband.

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