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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 21, 2017

Susan Charkes
I Am Not Who I Am

1.
The beech bark sky
What falls—feathers

I eat—feathers
The bluebird in the frame

What falls—leaves

The bluebird out of the frame
I eat—leaves

The bluebird in the frame

What falls—bark

The sky is full of blackbirds.

The bluebird out of the frame.
I eat—blackbirds.

What falls—
I eat—

2.
I stop traffic to move
a turtle out of the frame.

I am not a member
of the turtle clan.

3.
today I am a pipe

O Mao you are a framed poster now

power > out of the barrel
into the pipe

peace > out of
the passing
(of the pipe)

one end of the pipe is out of the frame
one end of the pipe is out of the frame
passing the pipe moves the frame

4.
there were more of them than I remember
at the signal, each in a hollowed-out beech tree—the fires lit

5.
pop, caught on
pop, speared by
pop, crushed between
pop, slit through
pop, hollowed out
pop, scalded with
pop, buried under
pop, suffocated in
pop, wrenched around
flourishing amongst the scattered ejecta were numerous and diverse armored

 

pop, batted down
pop, stamped upon
pop, flayed until
pop, pressed into
pop, substituted for

6.
dug into the bark(full of sky)
corner, a wedge(bones in flight)

 

Susan Charkes lives and writes in southeastern Pennsylvania. A poetry chapbook, sp., is forthcoming from The Operating System.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 20, 2017

Terence Degnan
the mind of a prsdnt

did yu c th wndrfl boats
cn u see th boats
are we not going to talk about thbts
Illcuncrt
the boats are in the belfry
the lam in on the lam
wht gd r nuclear wpns
if you nvr use thm

I’ve nvr mt ptn
I dnt kno ptn
why dnt you go whr Harlem fts
ptn on the Ritz

itl be a wndrfl wall
itl be a wndr
fl
wall
know wall lk no other
it’ll stretch frm mra-la-go to Hawaii
the lks are fcts
the fcts are fcts are illlgl
will catch the leaks in the act
we will lock the leakers
did yu cee th boats

itl be aye wndrfl glf crs
onc we drain th swmp
itl be aye wndrfl ingration
leest rcist prsdnt
leest rapy prsdnt
bigst win snce nxn

Icn cee Russia frm my htell
chyyyyynuh
wee wtchd fndng Dori
in th mstrs chmbr
brng me th bust ov MLK
I wnt 2 electoral cllge
nd mastrd in teevee
lt us pry for Arnld
lt us pry for th opn ning bell

are you a nice reporter
are you fake negative poll
are you I assume are good people
are you perhaps I’d be dating her
are you I tried to fuck her she was married
are you my fingers are long and beautiful
are you I could shoot somebody
are you on Fifth Avenue
are you and my voters
are you wouldn’t lose any

gnrl fln wz iz a good man
nt a ft pig
he cn see th boats
r we gna tlk abt th boats

 

Terence Degnan is the author of Still Something Rattles (Sock Monkey Press, 2016) and The Small Plot Beside the Ventriloquist’s Grave (Sock Monkey Press, 2012). His work has appeared in Prime Number Magazine, The Other Herald, and The OWS Poetry Anthology, as well as in the anthology, My Apocalypse (Sock Monkey Press, 2012). His two spoken word albums, BC (2008) and Calling Shotgun (2010) can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

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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.

What Rough Beast | Poem for February 19, 2017

Laura Winberry
lila grace rose

EDITOR’S NOTE:
To preserve the complex formatting of this poem, we have included it as a PDF that will open in a separate tab when you click on the title below:

“lila grace rose” by Laura Winberry

 

Laura Winberry‘s poems have appeared in Hermeneutic Chaos and CV2. Laura is a professional cyclocross racer. She has worked on The Stay Project and other things, including legislative projects on prisoners’ rights and voter disenfranchisement. She is a promoter of platonic male love.

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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.

What Rough Beast | Poem for February 18, 2017

Susan Wolff
Götterdämmerung

Why have we believed in gods, he wonders, sitting on the bench at the bus stop for a rest, smoking a cigarette. The 204 rumbles past in the dirty winter street, not seeing him, the driver intent on making up time. The old lady is told to get up to make room for the wheelchair at the next stop. “Fucking wheelchair”, she mutters as she stumbles across the aisle. By the time the lady cripple parks in the space she is dead from the old woman’s curses and ascends into the sky to direct traffic. She turns herself red but the traffic races past. The old man with the cigarette also gives up the ghost at that moment, joining her and they fall in love, their dying hearts burning brightly in the winter mist, stopping the cars. The wrinkles on his skin vanish under her kisses and the morning grows bright. The old lady, who’d aimed so well, watches them overhead, cursing once more but it misses the ascending lovers in their ecstasy, their red love confusing traffic on the way down Kingston Road.

 

Susan Wolff is a Canadian who has been writing poems for over forty years in between living and working in Nigeria, the US, Egypt, Peru, and Germany, finally returning to Toronto in 1994. For two years at ages twelve to fourteen she also lived in Kashmir. Her work has appeared in journals but to date, no book. Is it laziness, too much work or other reasons? She of course chooses option three.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 17, 2017

Karen Hildebrand
Steve Bannon Visits the White House

If bored, the queen weaves flowers from her garden,
forsythia folded under trompe-l’oeil. When engaged,
she becomes an empty vase: Talk to me about
the shaggy chest of a ten-point buck, she says,
as a musky scent fills the room. She hangs her crown
on a hook at the end of a work day, says to the king,
How about a White Russian before dinner?
There’s a ladder dangling from the ceiling, perhaps
to bridge the gaps in their conversation. I draw
the jack of hearts every hand that’s dealt, I inform
the king, who hasn’t offered me cake. I leave
my antlers at the back door and blow out candles
as I pass, gray clouds gather above the herd,
white spots glowing on their winter coats.

 

Karen Hildebrand‘s work has appeared in many journals, including Poet Lore, Fourteen Hills, Meridian, Blue Mesa Review, The Journal, G. W. Review and WomenArts Quarterly. Her poems have also appeared in anthologies published by great weather for MEDIA and A Gathering of the Tribes. Her poems were adapted for a play, The Old In and Out, produced by Three Rooms Press.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 16, 2017

Ed Madden
Chironomia (2017)

with lines adapted from Albert Bacon’s A Manual of Gesture (1872)

Designative gestures use index finger
or open hand—I refer to the friends at my right.
Descriptive gestures indicate space—

Darkness covered the entire land—here
the outward sweep of prone hands describes
the act of covering, also the extent

of the darkness. Significant gestures are really
attitudes—a hand on the head can signify
distress. Use assertive gestures for emphasis—

the laws must be obeyed. Figurative gestures
are gestures of analogy, as when moral
conditions are analogous to the physical.

Take, for example, the darkness—darkness
covered the entire land. Substitute spiritual
for literal darkness, and the gesture

is purely fictive, but no less descriptive
than before. We understand the gesture
before we understand the word.

Consider the president’s hands.

Bloomberg counted seventy-three
gestures in one speech and named them—
quotation mark, pneumatic drill, bunny.

Consider the way he pinches thumb and index
finger together, almost an A-OK,
though we know it’s not. An expert says

the way he shapes and pinches looks precise,
as if to say he nailed it. He points and slices.
A fist clenched to your breast signifies

regret. Also, a general tendency to spread
the hands too wide should be avoided.
Both hands facing out, front and vertical,

indicate fear or repulsion. What
the prone hand puts down, the vertical
drives away. Over dinner, we listen

to the news, watch him lift each order
for display. We watch for A-OK.
That gesture, almost Buddhist mudra, almost

benediction, almost signifies
agreement, but doesn’t. He beats the air
for emphasis. It’s Little Bunny Fufu.

In some European countries, the sign
means fuck you, means you are nothing.
He beats the air with it.

Ed Madden is a professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Ark (Sibling Rivalry, 2016). His work has been published in Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, and other journals, as well as in Best New Poets 2007 and the recent anthology If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration. He is also the poet laureate of the City of Columbia, South Carolina.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 15, 2017

Marina Gascho
Sheepish

Where is the wool he pulled over our eyes?
How did he fool us without a disguise?
He’s more than a wolf—he’s a full pack
yet worse is the monster that rules at his back

Are we but dumb sheep in a house of fake brick?
Will we sleep as it crumbles under his kick?
Time to scatter the wolves and cast off the beast
Let’s gather the lambs, black, white, and least

 

Marina Gascho writes to keep her head from exploding. Most of her thoughts and ideas are channeled into short stories or novels of the speculative kind. These she hoards and polishes. Once in a while her over-active mind vents a poem, which she is happy to share.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 14, 2017

Adam DeGraff
Valora Blessing

Preening slaughtertooth’s fractal masticating
reminced mattered neurature, erascitating
balbously vaneristic raystrips, scrabbling
vaporous Valora, biflecting Daneumantheon’s
noiristicuffs, ramshackled.
Lunacopter’s bry
strobes arclining, Sartressa Suiz scorves
invertesimal haustetters, barclooning
Paladriola’s craxus. Indelphic Valora!

 

Adam DeGraff is a poet, musician, teacher and author of the chapbooks All This Will Become Dust In Just Three Minutes (We Have A Fax Machine Press) and No Man’s Sleep (Shark Books). WHEREWITHAL (Subpress, 2015) is his first full-length book and collects work written between 1994 and 2014. Along with Tyler Burba, Adam hosts the Kith & Kin reading series at the SculptureCenter in Long Island City. He lives in Sunnyside, Queens with his wife and two daughters.

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What Rough Beast | Poem for February 13, 2017

Roy Bentley
America as Ex

About the 1776th time I begged her not to spend money
we didn’t have and she ignored me—we’re not together.
But if we talk on the phone, I’ll start in wanting her back.
Lately, however, I’m hearing the language of despotism.
A dismissal of the sorrow of others. For as long as I’ve
known her, her vibrator War—that’s what she calls it—
has been her dearest tool. Before, her Federal Reserve
Bank of infidelities might have been almost defensible,
but then she whined, The effing poor are such a pain.

To say you loved her, in those days, was to place
yourself in contention. Because you wanted what
she wanted, which was everything. I loved her then.
But I’m prepared to watch her walk over the skyline,
waving off the exceptional distance ahead and behind.
I see buds she brings to flowering, that history. And can
identify some in Ohio in spring, though I hate accounting
for that weed-heart. Whatever else, screamers like her
are all about pain. And some love will get you killed.

 

Roy Bentley is the author of Starlight Taxi (Lynx House: 2013), winner of the 2012 Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine: 2006), winner of the 2005 White Pine Press Poetry Prize; Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books: 1992); and Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama, 1986), winner of the 1985 University of Alabama Press Poetry Series Award. Recent work has appeared in Shenandoah, The Southern Review, december, North American Review, RATTLE, and elsewhere.

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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.

What Rough Beast | Poem for February 12, 2017

Dan Murphy
American Carnage

(an erasure of the 45th President’s inaugural address, January 20, 2017)

Justice     of America
joined in     effort
promise     Together, we   come
we gather     we carry
we     have been     ceremony     merely
another   power     giving it
too long   a small     cost

The establishment     itself     celebrated
capital.
celebrate   struggling

our land     belongs to you
this is
what truly matters
which     controls     controlled     the people
which    world   is     crucial

a nation     great     safe     good     rusted out
which leaves   of     knowledge     drugs
lives     this American Carnage

We are     pain

Their dreams     heart     home     destiny
I take today
oath     allegiance     to industry     armies     other countries
One by one     millions and millions   ripped from
homes     the past     the future     today

Every decision on trade     taxes     immigration
ravages     countrie
making     stealing   destroying
our jobs.

I will fight
my body and I   bring back     wealth
welfare     back     hands

We will     buy American     goodwill
We will     reinforce     old     terrorism
will     eradicate   the face of the Earth
the bedrock of     politics     loyalty     each other

open your heart
there is no room

how good and pleasant
America     unstoppable
fear     we will     be
We will be
most importantly     we will be   God.

 

Dan Murphy‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Lullwater Review, Blue Collar Review, Panhandler Magazine, Alloy, and the Adirondack Review. He holds an MFA from Boston University and teaches writing and literature at Suffolk University in Boston. He lives just outside Boston with his wife and two daughters and their black Lab, Sammy Adams Murphy.

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